V is for VIOLET – another Gelli bird

As I have mentioned, my first Gelli bird got crushed in a house move. So sad.

Well, the V: VIOLET challenge for the Gelli Arts ABC Printing Challenge struck a chord. I mean, I did make those fun alcohol ink pieces I shared yesterday, but they were just samples, not what I am really bad at, Print to Project. Looking over them, I realized I could quite easily use one of those pieces in a bird project I was considering for V: Violet. So I did!

I heavily edited my bird template in a few ways. I always created a box to add behind the base, to make it more stable, but I was able to add one to the base so it is part of the template itself, also altering the cut lines and crease line so it all worked. Result! I also made the outline curvy and got rid of virtually all the harsh angle. In the end the only bit I preserved was the two angled cuts that join the flat piece into a 3D shape.

I ended up using the same stencil from the alcohol ink play to create kinda feathery patterns on the wings and the body, in purples and gold.

and finally, I added the alcohol ink on contact paper from yesterday to the base. That gave it more weight at the bottom and offered more stability.

All it needed was a few finishing touches, including using up some of the gem swirls I pulled out for the repair of my doll banner!

And the final bird:

Pretty darn happy with that.

WOYWW tomorrow. I think I missed a few people at the end of the list so will check that and visit, so I can start fresh in the morning with the new list. Hopefully, now my back is a bit better, I can scamper up the ladder and hang the doll banner and share that in place as well as a tidy desk.

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When I am an old woman, I shall wear PURPLE….

The ABC Printing Challenge I am working on is U: Upcycle. At the moment I am sharing experiments. I was watching the sample video, gelli plate printing on plastic bags, and it made me think of clear things, like plastic page protectors, hard plastic packaging, and clear contact paper. And I thought about things that would remain clear – like Alcohol inks. That set me off on a journey LOL!

First experiment was thinking I might make a version of the circle curtain, using page protectors or contact paper instead of plastic bags. I thought they would be too opaque. Interesting but not very crisp, visually

So I tried adding the AI to the plate thru a stencil then sat looking at all that wasted ink ON the stencil. With the ink drying on the plate

I shifted over to another idea. I stuck a sheet of contact paper over the STENCIL – both sides had plenty of AI on them – and dripped a bit of straight alcohol into the holes. As part of the Upcycle part, I was using that hard foamy, plastic packaging to apply the ink, so pouncing that thru the holes added some of the ink on the packaging as well.

Such a lovely burst of colour! I stuck that to a bit of hard plastic clamshell packaging and held it up tot the light. Yummy!

Much like the first one, it is still indistinct, albeit pretty enough. Possibly need more of a play. In the end I peeled it off the plastic and added it to some white paper. And I pulled the print off the plate and did the same.

Love it but not sure how to use it. I do have a thought for the other bit, and will share that tomorrow!

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L: Layers – yeah I am all over the place…

Still trying to catch up and get the house back to normal. My crafty space is getting there, but there are other places that need more attention so it keeps getting a bit of time, the promise of more, then forgotten for a bit.

I have a piece I was playing with and another use for a bit of rubbish. You may recall I showed using some plastic packaging to get a textured effect with acrylic paint.

Well, I had a thought…the fact it is plastic might make it an interesting thing to use with Alcohol inks!

It’s maybe a little hard to explain, but you know when the AIs are kinda more on the dry side and you pounce over them, the ink disperses into little cells? You can get that sort of effect better with the plastic packaging than with the foam pads. Or at least *I* think so. Anyway, this piece had a lot of layers: alcohol ink, mica powders, a few layers or stencils, acrylic paints…

And the final piece I really like.

I feel like this could end up as a tip-in art journal page. I had a further play and made a similar piece with only a couple of layers. What I loved about this was how the mica that was clinging to the edges of the letter stencil transferred and gave me an outline while also kinda containing the alcohol inks! I love it so much and (like happens all too often) wish I could re-create the effect reliably. I plan to play with this a bit more for sure.

I will be at the hospital for the day, but am still hoping I manage a decent WOYWW view of my space tomorrow. Fingers crossed I also manage a full day of visits, before and after a potential knitting mate visit!

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Gelli ABC PrintingChallenge – day 2

The challenge for the day in Black/Brown. Pretty wide open, that. Considering my supplies, I remembered that I have a lot of Alcohol Inks in shades of brown. I think I used a lot of the old Ranger ones in the brighter colours so what is left is 100 shades of … well, I won’t say. You know.

I collected them all up, and a stencil that worked (ie a nice mix of open areas and lines)

Because the stencil is one I cut myself, I also have the surround, so I used that to contain the colours, although it is probably really hard to see since it is clear!

Loved the print I pulled.

All I had to do was trim it to size, dust the edges with some black ink to set it off, and I was done.

Only Day 2, but so far it is feeling do-able even during the window chaos. Here’s hoping….

WOYWW tomorrow and my windows will look just the same as they are one of the easier ones to sort and I am saving that for the weekend!

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When will I learn? Or maybe it’s OK

Yes, I know, I have flitted back to something from a little while ago. But I thought it was worth sharing. I am so often wanting to push things past the point they look good and into a hot mess. It’s just my nature.

What if I do THIS?

What if I do THAT?

then, inevitably

Oh NO!

I had this one print (on the left) from my play last week. I liked it, but I felt it needed something. I had added the flower as a stenciled image over the alcohol ink+paint print, and it was all a bit pale.

My first misguided effort you can’t really see, but I tried sketching around it with a very fin black pen and it was rubbish. You can maybe faintly see it if I zoom in, although it is pretty blurry, sorry.

{sigh}. What to do, what to do? I needed something that would both outline the image and highlight it in some way. The black pen limited my options A LOT. But I did have one idea. I grabbed my Art Glitter Glue and some VERY old foil sheets

and it worked!

OK so maybe it isn’t perfect, but I sure like it a lot better than the black pen! I am currently waiting for some added small dots in the middle to dry to tacky then I will rub that on as well.

You see? THIS is why I try not to throw things out, even when I suspect I am not going to ever use them again and even when I say far too often I am not a “bling-Y” person who is very much NOT tempted by foiling… DOH!

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Alcohol ink and PAPER stencils on the gel plate

I was curious. After die cutting all of those paper fronds for my texture plates, and with them scattered all over the room, I grabbed a few and thought “I wonder if they will work with Alcohol inks?” And yes they do!

So the paper does soak up more of the ink than is ideal, but I suspect that all it needs is a coat of gel medium on both sides to minimize that at the very least. I was feeling quite experimental, so even though I expected what might happen, I did roll over some hand sanitizer on a previous alcohol ink print I had done so I could press a coated bit of acetate onto it. It smeared, but I really liked the OTHER sheet, where I rolled off the brayer. It was pretty cool. I did try to get a second print without more hand sanitizer but I think I was too slow.

There was still more ink on that piece so I tried a few things, like adding the hand sanitizer to the gel plate then getting a bit of that on the frond and quickly pressing it into another print. I just loved how the splatter pattern came thru , and the ink sponged round the edges. It all just worked so beautifully I did NOT want to mess it up with hand sanitizer. And to be honest, I didn’t really want to aerosolize alcohol and risk breathing it in (another way people reactivate the alcohol ink on a plastic stencil) so while not a perfect effect, it felt far safer.

The end result, with a bit of white gel pen outlining, made me happy!

SO. Lots of play, lots of interesting outcomes, and not a lot of thoughts on what to do with them. ATCs? Cards? Can’t add in too much more to my Journal Petite, lest it become more like an open-mouthed Pac man gobbler than a journal!

I’ll think on it and see. But yeah, overall, I am pretty happy with a LOT of the prints I managed. I forgot how fun it all is.

Oh dear…


WOYWW 683 – an overview

Happy WOYWW to all! I am scheduling my WOYWW earlier than usual as I am anxious to play and if I don’t I’ll probably get swept away and forget. Silly me.

I have been playing a bit with my gel plates and some new alcohol inks. I still have a on of the old Ranger ones but all the dull vintage colours mostly left. This new set is all pretty bright and colourful. My desks, before I tidied up for WOYWW, were shocking. It was pretty early and dark and dismal when I took the photo so I amped it up so you can see what’s going on. The later ones are a bit brighter.

Yeesh. Many hours of cleaning and tidying and… across my window desk there is a wide range of handmade tools for gel printing.

The OTHER TOOLS probably need some explaining. The green thing is a slightly domed lid that I use like a baren. A Speedball baren is nearly £30. This one was free 😀 The lego is a placement tool so I can overprint on an existing print and get it right over the same area. The rectangle is an old block with a bit of furniture pad on it that I use to get good pressure with my stamping platform. The blue circles are water bottle lids and the white shapes are also furniture pads. They are flt and work great as alcohol ink application tools and you get tons for £1 and they are sticky on the back. I am a cheapskate at heart, but more importantly I like to use stuff I have before I go buy something.

My main desk is pretty tidy too

I’ll spread out some of my prints from that pile – as is my way, I am exhausting all the techniques that cross my mind with the inks before I move on to play with something else. I like some of them pretty well…

I think that’s quite enough LOL! And what will become of them? No idea. It’s not really about making a thing, it’s about playing and learning. I might tip in a few of my faves in my journal petite or make some ATCs, not sure yet.

But not before I have a lovely hop across the desks. Happy WOYWW!

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BIG CARDS – Six of Hearts

Yesterday we did a usual Sunday event.  We marinade 5 or 6 different things and BBQ meat for the week.  We did thick pork chops in BBQ sauce, Chicken in lime and mustard, sausages and burgers.  That gives us plenty of quick meals with less effort till the next weekend.  But while dishing up the plates I first had to lift the tin foil (damn the no-window-screens/living in a field/flies combo) and it CUT me.  Never had THAT happen before.  So this morning, as I await the re-scheduled BT appointment (2 hours left in the slot and counting….) I was contemplating the bandage on my finger and thinking about the tin foil and…

I added glue to the paper and brayered on the crumpled tin foil to give a good adhesion

I pounced on first Red Pepper alcohol ink, then a combo of some greens and blues over that.  No blending solution, to give a nice mottled effect.

I added some red paint thru a stencil.

The light from the window, reflecting off the foil, makes seeing the colour difficult,  If I hold the piece under the desk, away from the light, you can see it a bit better

Lastly, I coloured the letters with a Copic, thru a stencil. Red first, then outlined with black.  Tricky with the brush tip – one rare occasion when I wish I had a ProMarker with a fine bullet tip!


Interesting effect.  I’ve seen tin foil used for cards but never really played with it.  This is heavy-duty tin foil, on a roll, from Costco.  I wonder if it would be a reasonable substitute for the foil sheets from Ranger?  I’ll have to see how well the glue stick holds it all – it seems a good stick, but I’ve found glue stick loosens over time.  I’ll check it in a week and see if it’s still strong.

Now, where is that BT team??  I swear if they miss me again today I will be LIVID with rage…..

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BIG CARDS – Two of Hearts

I admit that I did much of this yesterday.  I was playing around with water marbling and not having any real success.  The one thing I KNEW worked well (scraping pastels or chalks over the surface then dipping) I couldn’t do because I can’t figure out where I stashed my pastels.  I have my chalks but they are very pale so really a bit of a waste to use them.

I moved on.  I tried a few things, mostly knowing they wouldn’t work WELL but I thought they might work a bit.  Ink sinks and colours the water – so does Cosmic shimmer mist, acrylic mists, really any other water-based thing.  So I thought back to my childhood, and the immigrant community where my Grandparents lived.  Every Easter they used to marble eggs.  God, it was probably dangerous to eat them, but we all did and survived.  They had a tub of water that they flicked oil paints over, swirled with a stick and dipped.  It was very long ago, but somehow I feel like gasoline was involved at some stage, as that was the overwhelming SMELL I recall.  Perhaps it was just that they always did it in the garage.  Frankly if gasoline WAS involved I can’t imagine my Mom letting us eat the resulting eggs.  But I digress….

What I did have success with, a bit, was dropping alcohol inks into the water.  As you may be able to see the water still has the ink, mists, etc still in it, with the alcohol ink floating on the surface.

So I was thinking about surfactants – what might allow the water based ink to float (important: that I HAD ALREADY)?  I thought about dishwasher rinse aid.  I tried it – not great.  Here are the samples of the two alcohol ink dips and one that was rinse aid with inks dropped on it.

Interesting but not perfect, any of them.  I did a larger sheet with AIs and then dripped spots of AI colours onto that and set them all aside.  I wasn’t happy with any of them really, and when I went to bed the plan was to get up and try something new. They were all left in a jumble, on top of each other, overnight.

But when I got up and moved them I found that the larger piece done with the AIs, which had the others on top, had picked up some colour from the rinse aid and ink one.  I really liked it. So I decided to build on it.

I added a bit of Distress Ink, some dotty mask areas, a bit of stamping and ended up with this:

Interesting, yes?

The areas that picked up the inky bits are quite cool. You can see the bright blue and hot pink in this area particularly well.

Now, I don’t fool myself into thinking that I can ever recreate this – it was too much of an accident to expect to have it happen again.  That is partly why I carried on and used the piece.    Like all things arty, accidental is interesting but who wants to spend the time to refine something to the point you can get expected results even 80% of the time, wasting resources to get there? But it might be something worth playing with when time is more free, just to see if it is possible. I’m wondering if just brushing on rinse aid then dripping ink on and laying it over other stuff is enough….

I do know that floating AIs on a water tray DOES work, although it is def. more blotches of colour than true marbling.


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BIG CARDS – 4 of Spades

I love crafting with household things.  After my play with waxed paper, I cast my eye across my stash and it fell upon my frequently-used box of freezer paper.  This is such a useful item.  I’ve used it to stabilize things to send thru my printer (like printing on paper towels) and for a few other things, but not as the actual “paper” before.  The plastic-y coating is shiny and what I thought was that would take alcohol inks pretty well.  It does, with a few surprises.

The first thing I did was grab a strip and crumple it up.  The crumpling, even when you iron it later, will still result in a slightly smaller end product so make sure your starting sheet is an inch or so bigger on all sides! I swiped a Staz-on ink pad across the ridges made by crumpling and let it dry.

This is a bit tricky.  I loaded up my ink applicator with a few blue Alcohol Inks and pounced that over the inked ridges.  Pressing too hard will remove too much of the Staz-on, being they are both solvent based products. Some of the AI will mix with the Staz-on but some of the ridges will remain very black.  The wetter the inks are the more they remove, so the first few pounces take more away, later ones, as the felt dries a bit, will remove less.

Iron it.  Use a non-stick craft mat against the shiny side as the iron will melt the plastic coating a bit.  Or don’t – I did one with a paper towel against the shiny side.  It adhered to the melted plastic, but gave an interesting texture from the towel!  Some bits did stick and were hard to get off, but that in itself may produce some interesting effects.

I used a template to sponge thru Staz-on, then outlined the inked areas with a Sharpie.

The Sharpie, also solvent based, did work well.  And while the template was a mess with the Staz-on all over it, a quick swipe with some Surgical Spirit took care of that! And gave me a further idea.

I started off using a stencil to draw on the letters with a Copic marker.  The Copic dissolved the inks and gave an interesting effect, but then I though more about the Surgical Spirit.   I used a Q-Tip (ear bud for my UK friends) dipped in Surgical spirit to make the ink fluid again then whisked it away with the a clean one.  This has to be done quickly as the spirit dries very fast so no step by step photos – I had my hands full, and moving fast. Once the area inside the stencil was very pale I filled in with a bright Copic.   I didn’t take it to the point of pure white, although it will get there, as I wanted some of the distressed looking quality to be in the letters as well.  But I can see just taking off the ink in the stencil areas rather than making it darker with pens as a neat alternative.

So here you go.

The colour on the close up isn’t great – too dark and dismal here this morning but here it is anyway:

I like how the darker ink pools around the edges of the letters, almost framing them. The freezer paper is quite sturdy so really takes a beating and still holds up.  It has a leather-like quality to it by the end.  I think you could make some pretty flowers by doing a sheet then punching and layering them up.  I would say punch thru from the paper side (or use dies) and you shouldn’t have any trouble.  I may give it a go myself later. Have fun with it and LMK if you try it.