Staedtler Gel Crayons – Gelato option?

I am determined to reign in my acquisition of new stash.  I bought a set of Pan Pastels and while I do love the look you can get with them, and love a few techniques, I also now know that they are not a go-to supply.  Given what *I* do with them, they were expensive for the use I will get out of them.  In 2014 figuring out ways to use them for MY type of crafty work is top of my list.  Having said that, there are other things, like Gelatos, where I can see the possibilities immediately.  Still, I thought I would have a look and see what cheaper options there might be.  My rational is that spending less up front, to experiment and see if the TECHNIQUES are ones I would use often,  makes sense.

A couple of things to note.  I had a LOT of Amazon gift money, so that is where I got these.   I saw Lindsay (The Frugal Crafter) do a comparison of Gel Sticks v Gelatos (both by Faber-Castell) so had a look for them first.  Amazon has the Gel Sticks but they are over £40! They have another set that is proper Gelatos, about £25 for 12. The colours are within a sort of floral palette, rather than a good basic range, to my eyes.  Critically no black, and they seem to ship from the USA.  There is an even cheaper version from The Early Learning Centre for under £4 for 6 but it’s unclear how they might compare.  We have an ELC in town locally so I may see if they have a set to try out.

Then I found these – Amazon is so helpful, showing alternatives when you are looking at a product LOL!


OK so these are the “for dark cardstock” ones but they also have a Basic set with more standard colours (some of these are a bit…neon) and a Glitter set, and the sets are under £7 for 6 pens.

Here they are:

staedtlerHard to see but for each little scribble sample I smeared with my finger UP and dragged DOWN with a waterbrush.  One set includes BLACK and one WHITE but I didn’t do samples of them.  Aimed at kids, much like the Gel Sticks, they don’t come in the shaded selections like Gelatos – but then the Gelatos shaded sets (in the UK) run in the £12 for three range.  It’s a trade-off, cheaper for the basic colours,  but limited selection.  For ME, to try this supply out, that was fine.  It may not be for you.

When I first opened them I had a moment when I thought the little tip showing was all the gel there was! That would have been a disaster.  But no – twist the bottom and the gel extends:



Yes, it goes back in if you twist the other way LOL!  It’s about 2 inches of colour:


The light has been rubbish the last week (hey, at least we HAVE lights now!) so these may not be the most informative photos but you get the idea.  I did three things with them just quickly, as this is a busy time for me with UKS stuff.  First I rubbed the gel on a stamp and stamped it.  Then I rubbed it one the stamp and wet it, for a more watercolour look:



Both worked fine.  But I let the gel dry for 5 minutes or so to check the water-proof properties.  If you look at the left photo above you can see the smeared areas – that was from running the waterbrush over the stamp.  Note below that running the waterbrush over the DRIED stamped image, there is no further smearing.  Once they are dry they won’t reactivate with water.



I had a go at just smudging on some colour and blending it with my finger.  MOST of the colours worked basically as I have seen Gelatos work, but the PINK didn’t blend out very well:



You can clearly see the “ghost” of the smudge in outline.  It’s marginally better if you blend IMMEDIATELY and a heavier application seems to blend better than a light one.  I want to try it with a make-up sponge, for example, to see if it helps. Also this is on not-great cardstock.  I think that may matter too.

So this is my point – yes, the Staedtler gel crayons are LIKE Gelatos, but a LOT cheaper,  and I would say that if you THINK you might like using Gelatos, you could get away with a BASIC set of 6 for about £7 and give them a go.  If you find you like using them,  the basic set won’t give you enough colour options.  THEN you can look at true Gelatos, which have shaded ranges.  BUT if you find they don’t suit you, you don’t like the effect or find you don’t go back to them again and again, well then you haven’t wasted much money finding that out! And if the ELC crayons share the same properties, £4 for 6 in a good basic range, is even better for an initial experiment.

Happy I did find something to say and to close out 2014 with my 1200th post! Happy New Year to all…..



Last one and an interesting technique

Remember I said DH saw the canvas I made for DH and wanted one of his own? Here it is.  He is a bit more interested in grungy so this one is very much in that style:



Given his love of all things card-related I wanted to add an actual playing card to the surface as a focal point but e had trouble imagining it.  He thought it would stand out too much.  My solution was to trace the basic idea of the card with a Pitt pen on to Deli paper then collage that on the top.  I think it worked, and the wrinkly paper added some more texture.



I also used a sort of version of the “skins” I mentioned but rather than create the scribbles on clear plastic then coat the whole thing with acrylic medium to make a truly clear version I simply scribbled the Slick paints onto Deli paper then collaged it right on, Deli paper and all!



You can barely see the paper and it was both a lot easier and a lot “cheaper” – I was running low on medium (of the gloss kind – I seem to have a lot of Matte medium in my stash but no more gloss) so not using a ton of that to create the totally clear skin while still getting the effect, was a great resource-saving variation.

In the end it was LIKE the other canvas but not THE SAME.

Interestingly, I find from my stats that this is my 1199th post!  How funny  that it should work out that I will end 2013 at 1200 posts – providing I say SOMETHING in a post tomorrow LOL! What are the odds?



The hat

Just wrapping up the gifts, here is the completed hat,


and as modelled by DD, off to skating this AM:


From the side you can see the “slouchy” effect a bit better


I posted previously but here is the little video that explains the better way to do the rosebuds, the way that was a bit like how I started it but after I saw it I ripped back and changed to THIS method. And I really like the closure at the top:



using this method, called Seam it Up. It’s been SO LONG since I touched a crochet hook, and I enjoyed making it so who knows if it won’t kick off a whole new obsession?



Almost art

One thing DH always asks for it art for his office – other than that he isn’t particularly keen on crafty gifts.  This year I made him this canvas:



I had originally planned to stick on some photo corners so he could swap in and out photos, but in the end he seems to like it just as it is.  And when DS saw it, he wanted it, but settled for one a bit LIKE it for himself (birthday coming up so that works for me) as a quick discussion told me his colour-blind self could “see” that this was blue and orange just fine.  That one isn’t done yet but as he is having some input on it, it won’t be a SURPRISE, per se, and I can share as soon as it’s done.

Here is a detail shot which shows the texture, and the use of Gelli print scraps in the collage part of it:





Now I can actually share them, I’ll start with the card balls I made for DS, using some of his specialty decks that are no longer good for magic tricks.  I used a LOT of them for this project AGES ago:


and you can see them here better:


but had enough left, carefully hidden away at the time, to make this one:


and this cube:


Two side use those cards and two use the same backs from the ball:


He loves them, although they will have to be shipped rather than taken on the plane back to Uni in Scotland.  Big, yes, but luckily light! Luckily, too,  it’s all leftovers today so no cooking.  But there is oh so much more to be getting on with….


Snorfs revisited!

I just thought, before I share the gift items I have been holding off on posting (lest I spoil yet ANOTHER surprise when the recipient sees it on my blog!) I’ll re-post the Snorfs of Christmas, just for fun.  Not sure if I can force the kids (“kids?” who am I kidding? they are adults by age now, if not by actual maturity!)  to join in but I might give it a go….

You can see the post here. The link is still active, and more besides.  Possibly too late to make one for this year, but who knows? Happy boxing Day!





A very Merry WOYWW!

Argh!  We were without power for nearly 12 hours – luckily DHs office had power so he took all the food there to the office fridge – didn’t want to risk the bird being under-refridgerated! – and then once the guy came to silence the burglar alarm (3 HOURS of it going off) we finally started to get in the holiday spirit.  Food home, turkey marinating, and all is well.

Here is the obligatory shot (not a great one but done in a rush) of the tree:


Happy WOYWW and Happy Christmas to all!


2014 Calendar wrap-up

As is true for many of you, I am also deep in the throes of holiday tasks.  So with no time to be creative, and not able to share a few things due to those family members with hand-made gifts coming reading my blog, I’m just going to pop on a wrap-up of my 2014 calendar printables.  Click CALENDAR MAKING in the top menu and all the links are there for you. Hopefully one of them will suit your needs.

I would love to see what you do with any of them – feel free to link to your blog in your comment so I can (and other can!) go have a look.

Now, just a few more rows on DDs hat left to go and finishing up a last minute artsy gift for DS (he saw something I did for DH and now he wants one too!  DOH!) then it’s all cooking ….

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Crochet hat for a gift

Well, a few days later and I still have not found the hat I bought for DD as a gift.  I’m safe as I know for sure she is the one family member who doesn’t actually read my blog so I can post a photo.


I knew I wanted a flower detail and I wanted it to be a sort of slouchy hat.  I started with a strip of back-post DCs to get the rim then sewed it into a circle and added SCs in the ends of the rows.  For the flower detail I tested and discarded a number of things, including Catherine Wheels and puff stitches and waves with bobbles. but in the ended opted for a simple V stitch with a popcorn in the middle.  Halfway thru the rom I thought I was doing the popcorns wrong so popped onto the web to look for a quick stitch tutorial.  Imagine my surprise to find THIS YouTube video. I was, indeed, doing it wrong, slipping the hook into the gap behind the first stitch rather than into the first stitch, but that was exactly what she was doing.  Phew – no need to rip it back then.  I went on to see a 2nd video by her, that altered how I would carry on above the row of flower buds.  I had planned to catch the “chains” that connected the buds but the idea to do a longer stitch down into the base of the V made it all look better.  The rest of it is simple DCs, in the round, and I’ve found a good close-the-tube for the top so now it’s just the boring rounds of stitching….



Off to see DD n her final two performances of her Ice Show…..


One more calendar printable

I’ve had this hanging around because I just wasn’t sure about the positioning.  It’s pretty easy to place 3 x 4 blocks on a US letter size graphics file, but getting them right for A4 is trickier.  I hope I’ve managed it.

The other issue is the cutting.  I get annoyed myself sometimes when I print my printables then cut them out.  All that trying to line up the trimmer, missing out the outline lines!  I just want to slice down the middle then chop   chop   chop, have 6 perfectly cut pieces.

What they look like – grab the PDF here:



So how it should work is you slice it down the middle



then use the edge of the colour bar to delineate the left edge



then trim as needed, depending on what size paper yo are printing on, for Project Life sized cards.

If you want to use them to make a CD calendar, stick them to the front like so. Jeez, the colour on that shot is pretty far off!  The JPG above is a better representation of the true colours!


If you want to turn them into tear-off calendars you can trim closer to the Day abbreviations, just make sure you use one of the 6-week months, like MARCH a a guide.

With luck it will all cut fine for you too!