Experiments in Gel Printing

At the Craft & Hobby Association’s Mega Craft Show this year, I met Laurie Karian, who has her own line of gel printing plates at www.gelpress.com.

I’m a relatively new convert to the joys of gel printing but now that I’ve gotten started, I can’t stop!

I was lucky enough to get a 3×5 inch gel plate to play with, and I went a little crazy:

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Look at all pretty pieces! (Did I mention how addictive this is?)

I played around with a variety of acrylic paints, including Americana® multi-surface Satin™ by DecoArt® and Dina Wakely heavy body acrylic paint from Ranger. To create the patterns, I also used a variety of objects, including stamps, bubble wrap and corrugated cardboard.

I really loved using Plaid’s Fabric Creations™ block printing stamps, which look like old-school wooden block print stamps from India, as well as some foam stamps from Art Foamies (which worked really well with the paints).

The small plate was perfect for creating smaller 4-bar cards, which measure about 3 1/2 x 4 7/8 inches when folded). Some I kept clean and simple, some I indulged with stamps, etc. Here is a sampling:

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The bird and birdcage are from a Prickley Pear stamp/die set. The birdcage was die cut twice, then stacked and gold embossed. The bird has a coat of clear Wink of Stella. The sentiment, black embossed on vellum, is from Hero Arts’ Everyday Sentiments CL497 and attached with a Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher.

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For this piece, the foam stamp was stamped into the wet paint, removing some of the paint; the green leaves were stamped after the print dried, using StazOn ink. The Dew Drops are from Robin’s Nest and were attached using Ranger’s Glossy Accents.

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Here I cut poppies and a sentiment (both from Elizabeth Craft Designs) and added some Ranger Glossy Accents dots. So easy! (The pattern was made using good ol’ bubble wrap.)

One note I have neglected to mention for a while … I have been using ScraPerfect’s Best Glue Ever for a lot of my gluing, especially of tiny pieces. I’m loving this adhesive!

Stay tuned for more of my gel addiction!


Random Craftiness

Here are some bits and pieces of crafty news:

Let’s give a warm welcome back to Prickley Pear Rubber Stamps. Prickley Pear, which opened in 2003 by Nicole LaCour and closed last August, is back with new owners but the same fun, whimsical designs.

Tanya Doner-Kostynuk, owner of Riley & Company and Cornish Heritage Farms stamps, and Sue Helm are the proud new parents.

With nearly 900 products in 36 categories, Prickley Pear boasts a large assortment of vintage designs, many of which remind me of the cards my grandmother used to send me! Stamps come in clear polymer or red rubber and there are many matching dies.

Here’s a card I put together very quickly, using just scraps that were on my desk, and the birdcage stamp and die set:

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I die cut the bird and cage from some card stock that I think was made using Ranger Distress stains and/or sprays. The butterflies were from punches, the sequins from Doodlebug Designs and the cool background is the Art Deco Texture Plate from Spellbinders.

It’s great to have Prickley Pear back!

. . . . . . . .

If you love fabric and you love vintage, take a look at 7gypsies‘ new Gypsy Seamstress line here and here, which  brings together the look of old fabric prints, quilt-like bunting shapes and gypsy style printed banners.

Aren’t these yummy: 7 gypsies fabric IMG_6498_large

The collection includes banner making surfaces, totes and an apron.  Besides adding lace, fabric, charms and other bits and baubles, you can color them with  markers, acrylic paint, watercolor, glimmer mist, ink, etc. 7gypsies is part of the Canvas Corp Brands. 

. . . . . . . .

WOW! Embossing Powder (www.wowembossingpowder.com) has come out with its own embossing “mixing” jars so you can create custom-made embossing powders. Why, you ask, do you need to buy a special jar? (Well, that’s what I would ask …) Because these jars are treated with an anti-static material on the inside so your powders don’t cling to the sides. They also have a label so you can jot down your mixology notes. Check out the video here:


If nothing else, check out the website for lots of embossing facts and to see the company’s wide range of powders and more. You’ll say “Wow!”

Thanks for stopping by for this little craft update.


Random Acts of Stamping

Oh, boy, is my desk a mess. It’s time to clean up and make a fresh start. For a cardmaker, cleaning means using up all those bits and pieces left over from other paper projects. What a great way to clean! Here are some Random Acts of Stamping:

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Buried among other bits and pieces was this cool background piece made by rubbing Gelatos (see this post and this post for more info on Gelatos) on water color paper. The big fish is from Rubber Stamp Plantation.

Here’s another card made using random pieces found on my desk.
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The birdcage (a stamp and die set) is from Prickley Pear; the quote is from Hero Arts; the die cut border is a Spellbinders die; the gold paper is, I think, Die Cuts With a View.

There is so much more to clean! Stay tuned….

Wow, What a Challenge!

Wow, talk about a personal challenge! Using 10 embellishments on one card? Yowza! I had to do it. The challenge is from Moxie Fab World and did I mention it required me to use 10  — count ’em 10! — embellishments?

Why was this such a challenge? Because I tend to hoard things, saving them them for the “perfect” project. So I broke into my stash of flower embellies and found these cute pressed flowers from Petals & Possibilities that I got a few years ago and never used. (Shame on me!) (Sorry, I couldn’t find a viable web site for the company.) Since I’m into Valentine mode, these heart shaped beauties were the perfect fit.

Take a look:

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Here’s the scoop: paper from Bazzill Basics Miss Teagen Sue collection; bird stamp with matching die from Prickley Pear, stamped with Hero Arts Cup O’ Joe, then highlighted with pearlescent chalk from Pebbles;  twill ribbon from Making Memories; baker’s twine from Close to My Heart; pressed flowers from Petals & Possibilities; pearls from Hero Arts.

The Moxie Fab Blog is offering several challenges from Paper Crafts’ new publication, “75 Creative Card Challenges.”


Do check them out! As for me … I’m going to dig out some of my stash and use it with wild abandon!

Fabulous Finds Friday — Tools and more!

I have a few cool things to share today…

How many times have you cut yourself on a craft knife left exposed on your desk or in a drawer? Uh huh. Been there, cut that.

Enter the retractable knife from EK Success.

First, I love that it clicks open and closed. But to make it even better, you don’t have to touch the blade to load or remove it.  Just click the button on the top of the knife to expose the blade and stick it onto a new blade to load it from the nifty case; click again and point into the OTHER end of the case to unscrew the old blade safely. Genius.

I haven’t yet worked much with this tool, the Kellycraft Get-It-Straight Laser Square… but I am intrigued. The L-shaped tool shoots out a little laser light to help keep you on the straight and narrow:

It makes it easy to see a straight line so you can easily line up images, or make sure your sentiment is straight. The light shines through an acryclic block for stamping purposes. Put a cutting mat under it and you can line up a metal-edged ruler and cut away without drawing any lines.

One more find: I love the Miss Teagen Sue collection from Bazzill Basics Paper. I used one of the mini prints on this card:

(bird image with matching die from Prickley Pear Stamps, stamped in Cup O’ Joe Hero Arts ink, bird highlighted with Ranger Gloss Accents; ribbon by Making Memories; baker’s twine from Close To My Heart.)

Thanks for stopping by!

Fabulous Finds Friday — Dies, Details and the Imperfect Stamper (Me!)

My latest article for Crafts ‘n things magazine is all about die cutters — from manual to electronic to computer-based. Oh, the choices! It is almost overwhelming. (Do check out the article — it’s in the August issue of Crafts ‘n things, on news stands now. And the issue sells out quickly.  I know, I know. I hear you gasping — the AUGUST issue is out now? June has barely given way to July!)

Anyway…. one thing I found in my research is that many stamp companies are making dies that coordinate with stamps (and vice versa.) Companies include  Heartfelt Creations (coordinating stamps/dies), Technique Tuesday (stamps made to match Spellbinders’ Nestabilities), Prickly Pear (dies/stamps), PaperTrey Ink (dies/stamps), Gina K Designs, Layers of Color, JustRite Stampers and others. Hero Arts and a few others contribute designs for the Silhouette.

Check out this cutie from Prickley Pear. Can you imagine how tedious it would be to cut out this birdcage? Not to mention the little bird and owl hiding in the corners.

The only problem is, I am an imperfect stamper. I can’t seem to properly line up my stamp, even though it is clear.  (Maybe my depth perception is off???) See how it’s wonky?

But I still wanted to use the little birdcage …. so I hid the flaws beneath a layer of Zing (by American Crafts) apricot colored embossing powder:

(wreath, Hello: Hero Arts. Parrot: Prickley Pear.)

Oh, I was so pleased with myself!!! (Grin.) I love Zing powder because it is smooth, opaque, and melts evenly — it gives great coverage, and the colors are yummy.

But I shouldn’t get too cocky. I fared a little better (just a little — I need more practice!)  with my stamping on the next cut out, but messed up the card itself.

Can you see that the bottom of the damask print decorative paper is too short? Sigh.

I fixed it by trimming with a scallop edged scissor. And when I added the little bird and the Prima flowers, it wasn’t too bad:

And there you have it — the Imperfect Stamper strikes again!

Thanks for joining me on my die cutting adventure, warts and all. And if you have any tips for getting your stamps to align with a die cut, send ’em in!

Happy Independence Day to my U.S. buddies.

Fabulous Finds Friday — Fireworks! and Goosebumps

(Warning — long post!!!)

I’ve recently been playing with color misters.  This week, I tried the new Fireworks! sprays from Tsukineko. The spray bottles are small (only .05  oz.) but pack a lot of punch. The water-based sprays come in 24 Memento colors and have a delicious dash of shimmer. (Also shown: Goosebumps, a clear texturing spray.)

So let’s spray! I started by spritzing Fireworks! on scrap cardstock cut to ATC size (using this handy tool from European Papers — a great source for everything ATC). Be sure to spray in a “spray box.” (I used the nifty Color Catcher from Clearsnap.)

Here’s the finished ATC:

(Stamps by Purnima Girouard for Stampington & Co.)

Naturally, when you spray there is spray leftovers. Can’t let all that extra spritzy goodness just dry up, right? So I took a piece of ATC-sized watercolor paper and smooshed it into the overspray:

I repeated this process a few more times, using cornflower blue and then walnut antique spray (also from Tsukineko.) The darker colors took over, but I liked the aged look.

I played some more, and finally stamped:

(copper embossed images by Judikins; quote from Tweety Jill; butterfly punch from Martha Stewart, text stamp from Hero Arts)

Then I started playing around with the Goosebumps, and went a little crazy, spraying the Goosebumps on cardstock and then on a piece of scrap plastic, as seen here:

When the Goosebumps dried, I covered the left half of the sheet with Clearsnap’s Smooch pearlized paints and the other half I covered with Ranger alcohol inks. Here’s a close-up to show you the texture from the Goosebumps:

I punched flowers using a Tim Holtz die and my Sizzix Big Kick:

The flower looked too flat to me (and it was too big for the ATC), so I CAREFULLY and gently warmed it with my heat tool (holding the flower with a tweezer) just until the plastic softened and started to curl.

I affixed the flower to my stamped ATC using a Glue Dot, then added Judikins’ Diamond Glaze and beads to the center. Here is the finished ATC:

(TIP: I used Judikins’ Tidy Tray to catch those teensy beads. The plastic tray has a spout. Background stamp by Stamper’s Anonymous; sentimet and frame by Technique Tuesday.)

Tired yet? Wait, I’m not done playing! This time I spritzed a bit of Fireworks! directly on my craft sheet, which was placed in my Color Catcher:

Smooshed the ATC around to pick up the color and here we have it:

(stamps: Prickley Pear)

Before putting away my spray box, I sprayed cornflower blue, cherry blossom and walnut ink antiquing sprays and added a spritz or two of Ink Potion No. 9 blending solution, all by Tsukineko. And so I leave you with this:

(All images: Tweety Jill.)

Whew! Thanks for sticking around so long!