scrappystickyinkymess


4 Comments

Artistic Flair Crafts – coupon code for YOU!

I got a lovely email from a new UK company called Artistic Flair Crafts.  They offered me a coupon code to try out a few products.  It was the perfect excuse to drag out my Gelli plate, as some of their main products are stencils!  I do love a good stencil.

I selected a range of them – 4×4 inch ones

2afstencils

6×6 inch ones – and yes, either by me clicking wrong or by a glitch in the ordering (combined with me not double-checking) I ended up with two of the same design!  DOH!

3afstencils

and A4 sized ones. And something they call TABS.  Loving them and wish I had more time to perfect the use of them.

4afstencils

I tried scraping the pain thru the stencil, but was a bit careless cause I was rushing.  And scraping thru, without a bit of light adhesive to keep the stencil in place, was a bit silly.    I know they will be fab with sprays or sponging thru them, for art journal pages or layouts.

7afstencils

Another unique item is the cake topper stencil.  I got small cupcake ones but they have a nice range of bigger ones (8 inches) too. And cake SIDE stencils are Coming Soon.

afstencils

So cute.  Obviously I don’t make cakes, but with a little surgery I converted one of these for Gelli plate use:

5afstencils

I think they would work nicely with the round plate  – I like the fact that the stencil is designed as a circle, radiating out from the centre, so the effect is not just a regular stencil in a circle. IYKWIM.

6afstencils

I only had a few minutes to play, so my samples are not hugely inspiring but everything is still all out all over my desk so I may try to find a bit more time and carry on.  It was fun!

They also have a range of cute little wooden shapes, if stencils aren’t your thing. Aren’t these adorable?

Most importantly, here is a code you can use at checkout to get 20% off for yourselves!

SCRAPPYSTICKY

Let me know what you buy!

Advertisements


2 Comments

Stencil storage – finally happy!

Just a handful of return visits for WOYWW, then more cleaning, food shopping, blah, blah, blah.  It’s just endless.

BUT I keep finding things I bought ages ago and always intended to use for one thing but now find them perfect for another.  This is one of those things.  It’s a fairly big (A2, so about 16.5 x 23.5 inches) with just a handful of sleeves and 4-hole ring binder set up.  Of course virtually all my 12 x 12 sleeves are 3-hole punched but I solved that easy enough by punching a template or the 4 holes

stencilstoresleeves

clipped it securely to a stack of page protectors – matching up one of the holes seemed to be the best placement

2stencilstoresleeves

then used the Big Bite to punch new holes.  I found punching thru a stack of them (three to four) was actually better/easier/cleaner than punching thru ONE, and the Big Bite was better than the Cropadile.

3stencilstoresleeves

I kept most of the A4 size stencils, paper and report cover ones I cut with the Cricut, in an A4 binder in A4 sleeves.  There are too many of them and the binders and sleeves are cheap (free, in fact, cause I have so many of them kicking around!)

2stencilstore

and I found a cheap, thin, paper pad that I used between the back-to-back stencils so I can clearly see what they look like

3stencilstore

In the portfolio, I have the 4-6×6-to-a-page sleeves but to keep the centre from being too bulky I used only some of the holes – does that make sense? So some are towards the top, using maybe the top three rings, some in the middle and some at the bottom, using the bottom two rings.

5stencilstore

6stencilstore

Then I have the 12×12 sleeves with all the standard stencils – some of the old Crafters Workshop ones that are punched for storing in a binder have been added without a sleeve.

7stencilstore

In the larger sleeves that came in the portfolio (annoyingly they are NOT 12 inches across) I have some of the oddball ones – plastic canvas sheets, teflon cooking mat, big letter and number stencils from the hardware store, and one sleeve full of crappy magazine freebies that I haven’t used yet, but MIGHT, someday …. LOL!  Not totally mended my wicked ways, have I?

8stencilstore

The front has a sort of flap/pocket area that fits the cardboard that has textured wallpaper on it, some of my favourite texture tools for Gelli printing.

4stencilstore

9stencilstore

They are painty and hard to get into a sleeve sometimes so this is better, having them all grouped like this.

Now there are just these two places, rather than the Crop in Style binder, the A4 binder, a large file box, and a couple of book rings, to look thru when wanting a stencil.

stencilstore

There is still room in the portfolio for more, so I have room to grow!

Now, back to those visits….

 

 


9 Comments

Stencil letterpress

I saw this video late one night and fancied having a go, but I have very few wood veneer pieces.  A star from last year’s advent calendar and a couple of trees, I think, and that is about it.

The star worked, although I had the same problem she had with one area impressing too deeply and cracking:

star
 I was looking for other things that might work and decided to try some chipboard.

fauxletterpress

It worked too, although the pigment ink soaked in to the chipboard more than I would have liked on some pieces – and getting the pieces down on the cardstock in any sort of reasonable alignment was tricky,  The pigment ink is so wet and stays wet for so long, even the tiniest dot on a finger tip ends up on the final piece.

2fauxletterpress

3fauxletterpress

But the emboss is quite deep, which is nice. Also some cracking…not so nice.  I did play around with the idea of coating the chipboard with gel medium to keep the surface from peeling away when you pull it off, but the brush strokes (and even the texture from the brayer, using my Gelli plate-to-coat trick) show.  Maybe the kind of chipboard that has a coating on it would be the best kind for this.

So I have done faux letterpress with embossing folders but the real problem with that is it’s so hard to skim the paint or ink on just the raised bits and not into the open areas.  But as I had the big shout out anyway, and a couple of new stencils, I thought why not try those?

stencilletterpress

Not bad – some darker areas along the lines where the ink was heavier, and the stencil has a border around it, like many stencils do.  I played around with cutting a mask, which helped, but you still get the embossing even if you don’t get the ink:

2stencilletterpressDSCF9889

I may play around with it a bit more, but the best plan seems to be just to trim it – which makes it less like letterpress!  But overall it looks better.

3stencilletterpress

Stencils without a border are clearly the best choice for this, but I only have maybe three like that so not ideal.

You can see on the back the emboss is decent – not as deep as the veneer but it doesn’t crack at all.

4stencilletterpress

Well work further play.  I must go back and watch a few more of her videos – I always liked her work in scrapbook mags and books and her cards are cute, but she seems to have a lot of technique videos.  I am ALWAYS on the look out for them!

Off to make falafel.  Should have bought some while I was out, then I could keep playing…. oh well….

 


2 Comments

AJ page – Storm in my head (stencil shift)

I was thinking about the fact that I so often make stencils Using my Cricut.  Not everyone has one, so I was thinking of stencils I could make with other tools.  I thought about windows, and my Nestabilities.

So I took a filmstrip die – now this die cuts as a rectangle, and I thought that would suit my purposes.

AJStorm

On a Gessoed page I sponged on dark green paint

2AJStorm

Replacing the stencil but shifting it slightly (I know I saw this someplace – could have been a Stencil Girl video but it’s been a while so I’m not sure) I sponged some lighter lime green paint over it. They key here is that you need good coverage and heavy bodied paint.

3AJStorm

4AJStorm

It gives it a bit of a halo effect.  I added some olive-green Pitt pen, smudged along the join of the two paints for a little more depth, but given how much I layers over it, it was perhaps a wasted step!

5AJStorm

I scribbled some purples onto the background

6AJStorm

and blended them with a baby wipe, letting some of the purple skitter over the rough texture of the page

7AJStorm

Then I carried on with the usual – some stencils, some stamps, some punchinella stenciling, some tiny scripty text, and some BIG stamps in black.  That gave me a nice complex background.  Over a particularly busy area, I stencilled a face that I cut (sorry, back to the Cricut, but this time with SCAL tracing the image.

8AJStorm

I masked the lower compass so it (I hope) looks like it’s in front of the face. I stamped the “title” – do you call it a title when it’s and AJ page?  I do, but more as a way to call a particular page to mind,  less as a TITLE, IYKWIM.

9AJStorm

Now off to file paperwork.  And maybe try to finish up the last two cards from the Marathon – although cause I have to photo of the sample and only the barest memory of what the cards actually looked like, that may all come to nothing…..


13 Comments

The Distress Spritzer? well, not REALLY…..

This is one of those posts that is a weird confluence of events.  Someone once asked me Where do your ideas come from?  I thought for fun I would document it – the steps may be unique, but the process isn’t. It’s just the way my mind works and the benefit of a messy desk  Feel free to just look at the photos – they should tell you all you REALLY need to know.

1. I got an email from a UKS sponsor announcing they had received the new Tim Holtz Distress Marker Spritzer.  

The more I looked at it the more I was convinced I had one.  Not that exact thing, but something pretty similar. So I had a bit of a hunt and sure enough, in with my stamping markers (a drawer not opened since I got my Copics) there it was.

4waterbrush

This has to be 15-20 years old – I know I got it while in the USA so it would have to be.  I had a check for the name and while I see the odd reference to it they no longer sell it that I can find.

2. I popped a few random markers in to it.  One thing I can see is that mine seems to be lacking the inner liner for the pen-holder.  Not a big deal, it works well enough without it but I could always as one of those rubber pencil grips to super thin pens and I bet that would do the trick.

3.  As I was looking across my desk, my eye landed on one of my watercolour brush pens.  I thought, I wonder….

Now, I only have maybe two watercolour brush pens.  I’ve meant to buy some, after seeing Dyan from Art from the Heart show how she has as many water brush pens as she has colours of Dylusions and she uses them to colour with.  But I just never got around to it.  Deep in the back of my mind I had a tickle.  I KNEW that somewhere, probably in DDs “art cupboard” I had some kids version of the waterbrushes.  And guess what? Not only did I have them, I found them.

waterbrush

I know we got them maybe 8-10 years ago at Costco. Some of them are fairly empty.  I deconstructed one of them, thinking I could just replace the cheap ink with good ink, although I thought as the Dylusions aren’t waterproof either, I might as well just pick one or two of the near-empty ones to play with and use up the rest of the ink with mixed media stuff rather than just empty them.

2waterbrush

There is no seal on the pens, which surprises me as it’s for the kids market.  I would expect them to be sealed and you would need to buy new ones once these ran out. But no, they disassemble just fine.

3waterbrush

I tossed out the cartridge and the little slim tube.  For use with the spritzer you don’t WANT to slow the flow, like you would with a potentially messy pen, with kids, so I binned the cartridge and the tube.

4.  What to fill it with?  Obviously ink is going to be pretty much the same as using a marker, but then…

5waterbrush

Perfect.  Acrylic liquid ink. This gives me something, a matte and almost chalky look, that I am not going to get from a marker (I only have ONE Distress marker, the Picket fence one, so I don’t really know if that would be similar to using acrylic ink) and is waterproof. Note:

6waterbrush

And wipe over it with a baby wipe

7waterbrush

The ink on the wipe is not from the acrylic ink, it’s from rubbing the paint off the stencil.  It give a nice watercolour-y effect.  I also did the flip-and-stamp you might normally do with an ink loaded stencil. The acrylic ink dries really fast so the stamping part has to be done after a spritz of water  on the slick surface of the stencil, and you can also then smear the acrylic ink thru the stencil with a wipe. Kinda both on the same area here

10waterbrush

5.  And then, of course, there is WHITE.

8waterbrush

Using the spritzer gives you a way more controlled spray than the spray bottle does, so you would use this for either the Acrylic ink OR the Dylusions for this sort of scatter.

So there you go.  I’m still in my jammies and my hands are covered with ink and paint, and my stamp-storage tower (with the wood-mount stamps, where the Blitzer was hiding) is pretty much dumped out on the floor, but now I have a new toy to play with, a whole heap of waterbrushes, a bunch of ink to use up, and it’s only just after 9 AM.  Or was when I started typing….

And Texas Flood is playing from my playlist, the accident payment has been sent, DH is back from his conference, so no school run, and the house is pretty tidy (well, downstairs, anyway) and the laundry done.  Where can the day go from here?  Downhill, probably, but I can always hope ….

{grin}


1 Comment

Using Cricut Craft Room to design stencils

After I did the fairly extensive set of reviews of the Cricut Mini and Craft Room, I was told I could keep the machine.  That was a bit of a surprise, as I had already disconnected it and gone back to using my ancient original Cricut.  It’s pretty much stayed in the box till now.  But I wanted a stencil of a particular shape and I thought I remembered there was something suitable amongst the images so I dragged it out again and plugged it in.

I’m not going to lie – the process is a little fiddly, but as a few visitors commented they quite liked the resulting stencil I though I would take a moment to explain how I made it, what image I used (and what cart contains it) and maybe give others the idea of how they can create their own unique tools.

This is called DOILY 12 from the Cricut Alphabet cart – here you see it in its original form:

doily12

 

I know that text is small but at the bottom you can see the cart from the list and the image (circled in blue) and I’ll explain the red items as I go.

First, open your new file and add the original image – the big blue scalloped circle.

Click the double circles in the red box top left.  This is what locks the aspect ratio of the image so it doesn’t go oval as you try to scale it up or down.  That looks like this close up:

lock

 

Increase the size to as big as you want. Click on the box that says HIDE CONTOUR (in the red circle)

hidecontour

 

That shows you the outline of the image.  Anything you click on will be hidden and will NOT cut. In this case I simply hid the scalloped circle . It grey’s out so you know it’s hidden.

hidden

 

The darker lines are the cut lines and the greyed out lines will disappear when you Exit.

duplicate

 

One complaint I have about Craft Room is the couple of useful commands that don’t appear.  Maybe it’s there and I just don’t have it triggered in some TOOL menu or another, but it would be REALLY helpful to have a SCALE option, so you can scale things by a percent.  Instead I copy the cut-selection and duplicate it then scale it so the circles nest, by eye by dragging in the corner.  The + in the red circle denotes the exact centre of the image.  This is critical to line things up absolutely and keep your circle from looking wonky – although that might be the look you want and if so, just line it up off center how you want. This is where I would LOVE to have an ALIGN option to centre each circle at the absolute middle with a click.  Since I can’t do that, I instead make use of the grid of the mat.  I simply line up that + at a grid-intersection.  If you have it lined up exactly, the + will totally disappear, as the lines are thinner that the bold grid lines.  Can you get that from this shot?

align

 

If you cut if from fairly heavy cardstock, as I did, you should be able to easily use it as a stencil, either for spray inks or modelling paste.  As it isn’t washable, with paste I just scrape it really well – so long a there is not clots of paste that harden on it, you should be able to use it again and again.  And if it does get ruined, just make sure you save the project in Craft Room and you can quickly cut another at a later date.

2woyww250

 

3woyww250

 

Obviously you could easily group your selection and scale it back then scatter smaller circles across the entire sheet:

many

 

And if you group the series of circles then SKEW the shape, using the corner than does that (top right maybe?) you can get a more oval shape, like so:

skew

And again, easy to repeat that and scatter the ovals across the page. The point is you can easily design unique-to-you tools for use in your mixed media projects.  It’s just a matter of looking at the images you have available to you and considering how you can adjust them to suit your purposes.  There are SO MANY images available via Craft Room and the ways you can alter them are endless.

I’m ALL about getting the most from stuff you already own AND about making things for MY work that is unique to me.  I do get that not everybody is willing to take the time to do this, but if it interests you, give it a go.  A side benefit might be that if the stencils you cut have a limited life you won’t be lazy (like me sometimes) or fall into a rut of using the SAME “favourite” images over and over again.  When one of my hand-cut stencils falls apart, there is at least the CHANCE I’ll create a totally new one rather than just cut the same one again LOL! Keeping it fresh…

 


6 Comments

Handwriting stencil

So I was working on an AJ page and when I got to the “title” part I considered and discarded a number or ideas – stamps, printed text, a lettering stencil, magazine letters.  I tried a few lettering options on scraps, to see if I would be happy with just writing it, and I really wasn’t.

wordstencil

 

I have one handwritten letter stencil and I really like it, but it is someone else’s handwriting.

2wordstencil

Much as I hate my own, I am TRYING to get more comfortable with it.  I had a bit of a flash and thought, well, why can’t I make one from my OWN handwriting?  and of course the answer was, I CAN.  And so can YOU LOL!

The first thing I did was write the phrase I had in mind on white paper.  I used three different types of pens: a fat Sharpie, a brush tip Pitt pen, and a chisel tip marker.

3wordstencil

 

I scanned that.  No reason to scan it at a supper-high resolution.  Frankly you don’t WANT every little stray brush mark.  I did 150 DPI but I suspect 72 dpi is fine.

scanwords

 

Once I had that, I cropped the scan to create three .jpgs, one for each version.  I imported each one into SCAL and used the TRACE option.  Once I had traced it I selected the BLACKOUT option – the effect is pretty much the same in the end, but there is no need to cut both the letter and the opening as cutting makes all the letters that have an enclosed white area (like the O, the a, the l, etc.) end up as just an opening, like the stencil.

words

 

Why cut both when it’s just going to fall out anyway?

I was being lazy so I lined up all three so I could cut them from one sheet

3choices

 

I can just mask off the ones I don’t want to use. It’s heavy card, covered both sides with contact paper and it wipes clean (but I wouldn’t try to wash it LOL!)

4wordstencil

 

Cool!  I tested them with spray ink and paint with a stencil brush.

5wordstencil

 

Not bad – it’s more my technique that needs work – I never press the stencil flat to the page, and I never move my hand back and forth like I should.  And with the paint I used paint that was perhaps a little too liquid.  A thicker, more heavy bodied paint and a sponge and I think it would have been crisper. But the real win for me was using my homemade modelling paste!  That worked out perfectly.

6wordstencil

 

You can sort of see the commercial stencil sample I showed when I did the post. My handwriting is not so lovely but my STENCIL works equally as well.  So then it’s just a matter of deciding what phrases are worth doing, or, like the original, just writing out the alphabet in my own hand.  COOL!


5 Comments

Stamp-thru on a Gelli print

I have some stuff I need to do so I just thought I would add this thing I’ve been playing with – limited success, until I approached it logically LOL!

I used a stencil over a Gelli print, and stippled the black thru it, but there is no reason you can’t do the same thing when you have used a stencil to PULL a print.

stampthru

Once I had the black in place and it was DRY, I used my homemade white acrylic ink stamp pad (I had to slightly refresh it with a bit more ink last week, but it is still working well) to stamp text thru the stencil so it only appeared on the black.

2stampthru

 

My problem was that the clear stamp was very fine, and although it sort of worked on my home-cut stencil, the raised text might not be deep enough to work with a commercial (thicker) stencil.

3stampthru

 

Some areas worked better than others.

So I thought how I might solve that – it’s a trade-off really.  The thin text looks better on the thin lines of this stencil, but the thicker foam stamps give a much bolder impression.

4stampthru

 

But with the bigger letters you lose the detail to the point you can’t tell they are letters.

So the solution is to use a stencil that has a much bigger area.  Shame I used the wrong stamp, the one with the letters reversed to use on the Gelli plate to remove paint.

5stampthru

With that much black, even the clear stamp showed up well. As I’d messed up the stamping already I figured I might as well give it a go over LOL!  I may still find a use for it, but even if  don’t it was worth having a go.

6stampthru

 

I def. like the effect so will be playing around with this a bit more, I’m sure!

 


2 Comments

Stencil…ME!

This is a bit crazy, I’ll admit, but I think it is fun and not too hard to accomplish with the right tools.  The problem is every time I start to create one, with the idea of making it a tutorial, I make different (and not always better) choices.

There is going to be a LOT of trial and error, depending on your photo, I think.  What I can do is try to explain it then you will have to play with the process to see what you can come up with.  I am sorry, but there are just so many variables, I can’t give you precise settings or a proper step-by-step list.

Basically you want to start with a photo.  A good face shot is probably going to be the best choice.  I have an old one (honestly – so old) that I used for this.

1. Open your photo is PSE or the like.  Start by clicking IMAGE > Mode > Grayscale and click OK to Discard the Color Info

All this does is turns your photo B&W – if you prefer to do it another way, do that.

2. Click FILTER > Sketch > Stamp in the drop down menu.  This will turn your photo into something that looks a bit like this:

sketchstamp

There will be issues with this – I had on a patterned sweater and that shows as white spots. Some of the lines are too fine to cut well, or show well when stencilled.  You can correct some things by playing with the sliders in the Filter – take the Light/Dark balance UP and nudge the Smoothness up a bit too.

Another trick is to pick areas that are too thin – like the frames of my glasses.  Select them, then click EDIT > Stroke and make the WIDTH maybe 2 -5 pixels and select OUTSIDE.  Make the colour the same (Black, in this case) the OK.  This will effectively thicken the line.  Sometimes you can also select the area then use the Fill bucket.  That will sometimes smooth out the edges a bit too.  No idea why.

One issue with stencils is the need for things to be connected.  See the WHITE areas to the left?  They fall totally INSIDE the black.  When the black gets cut away they will fall out with it.

I found it easiest to use the Magic Wand to select ALL the White and ALL the Black in turns, then put them on a new layer so I could see them easier.

3. Select all the WHITE with the Magic Wand. Easiest to select one area with the Magic Wand then SELECT >Similar to select all that colour.

4. Click New Layer, be active on that layer, then Click EDIT >Fill Selection and pick WHITE.  You will end up with a layer with just the white areas.  Hide the other layer and you can really see any possible issues.

layerwhite

Now, assuming that the WHITE areas are going to be the MASK (ie when you smudge the black ink on it will fill what you see as the transparent grid above) you need to identify the problems and fix them.

I’ve made the part we want to keep, the MASK part, gray so you can see a bit better:

layerannotated

See to the right?  That white bar?  That connects the face part with the outside.  Without it, the face part would just drop away. And the other bits on the left?  Same thing. I handled those issues differently.  Adding the bar (just use the brush to swipe away that area and connect the face-island to the surround) gives me a usable stencil and all I need to do is fill in that area with paint or ink or whatever.

The black areas you see in the green circles SHOULD be white.  But if I tried to connect them somehow it would look rubbish.  You could just delete them, leaving the left of the face a solid black shadow. But that loses some of the detail.  What I did was select just those areas that would drop out, and repeated the New Layer step.  I save that layer, with JUST THE SPOTS on it.  I’ll use that as a top layer over my main stencil.

stroke

This is a prime example of where the select and stroke trick will work well.

I had to resize my two images cause it’s easier to import them to SCAL the right size.  But this shot shows you the two layers.

resize

5. Cut. However you do that.  Any electronic machine that has a TRACE function should work, but you can also cut with a craft knife and a really sharp blade, especially if you really smooth out the edges.

When I import the JPG into SCAL it already smooths things out a lot.

Scalsmooths

You can really see it with the hair.

6. Stencil the black layer.  

3melayers

Not too bad!  You can see the left is just a big black area, and here is where the 2nd layer comes in to play.

I lined up the second layer stencil

melayers

and punched three registration marks thru BOTH layers. You can see the pencil circles on the stenciled image above.

2melayers

7.  Once your black layer is dry, you can stencil WHITE over top to add a little detail!

4melayers

I still need to fill in the bar across the hair, but otherwise it’s done.

So, why use a famous face in your art journal or the face from some random commercial stencil when you can use your own?

I hope I have given you enough info and a few tricks that worked for ME, so that you can give it a go.  I am happy to try to answer any questions, but it really is going to be playing around with YOUR photo.


12 Comments

Famous people stencils

I found a brilliant site!  It’s called Stencilry and it’s just loaded with fab images for making stencils.  I cut them, as I have shown before, with my Cricut from report cover plastic.  I’m back to using my original Cricut, as the mini is boxed up ready to be returned, but my old one works perfectly fine for this.  I just save the image, open it in SCAL and use the TRACE function.  Sometimes I might have to edit it in PSE very slightly to link up an internal area that would otherwise just get cut and fall out, but some work just fine as they are.

Here are a few samples to tempt you:

Clark Gable – cut as it comes with no editing needed

stencilsite

and in use:

2stencilsite

I think this guy is called Tom Wellington – I have NO IDEA who he is but I call him Pretty Boy LOL!

3stencilsite

Can you see the split in his lip at the right?  I added just that little bar because otherwise the white bit (which fell totally within the bit that cuts out to produce the lip) would just fall out)

Marilyn – same deal with the white of her left eye:

4stencilsite

And I was stoked to find a couple of Banksy images.  This one, Girl with Balloon, is iconic.

5stencilsiteTo give the stencil more stability I surround it with strips of firm cardstock

6stencilsiteThen to make sure I can wipe it clean I cover that with packaging tape, like so.

7stencilsiteThen I can smudge ink or paint thru the whole thing or just part of it if I prefer:

8stencilsiteMy camera is acting up – it TRIES to turn on but then shuts down immediately.  I am not sure if it’s the batteries or the camera itself that is causing me problems.  I’m trying to charge the batteries again but we’ll see if it works for my WOYWW photo later.  If not it’ll be my phone.  Arrggh!  Seems like I just bought the darn thing, never been happy with it, if I’m honest, but still annoyed it won’t behave.