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Clean desk, made some coins for a change

A pleasant and diverting morning making some ATC coins. People os a certain age will probably get the words, especially combined with the images. The image is from an old magazine (1997) and it made me laugh. One of those times the whole piece sprang, fully formed, into my head, and I just had to do the work to make it.

I printed then cut and coloured with Copics (coloured and cut?) the mouth and punched out the background from a scrap of paper from my first Frida set.

I love the weight of the large Zip Lock bags packs we get from Costco, as they are the perfect combo of sturdy enough for a coin backing yet thin enough not to bugger up my punch.

Once I stick the paper to the backing, I stack them between stamping blocks so I get good edge-to-edge sticking.

I wanted the little line of gold dots, but getting them straight was a bit time-consuming…

…til I spotted this roll of washi tape. Worked a treat. I stuck the dots over the circles on the tape, added a dot of glue to the back

then flipped the whole shebang over to stick all the dots in a row at once. Let it dry for a second, peeled off the tape and TaDa!

I think the top one looks better and took so much less time to accomplish. I’ll keep this trick in mind for future sequin use.

For the first time in forever I made a set where the coins are virtually identical. I rarely do that, but easier to photograph LOL!

Sorry for the shadows – it’s sunny outside today and the drapes are open wide.

So glad I managed something actually art this week. We’ll see what next week brings…


A little book and a bit about home printing…

I have purchased a TON of digital images and int he past I always stressed about them smearing in an art journal, or the colours being quite dull when printed. Not any more. I have had a couple of packs of this paper, in a couple of weights, and I have to say it is fab for printing things and having them come out quite bright and lovely, even in normal (rather than the ink-greedy HIGH quality) mode.

I hope you can see how bright and detailed that colour is. The paper is from PPD and it comes in 120, 170 and 210 gsm. I love the double-sided coating version cause then it doesn’t matter how I load it into my printer!

They have a Buy 100, Get 100 free offer on at the moment. I’m stocking up!

It isn’t just colour – black & white pop on it too. I made this little booklet, based on a kind of a running family joke around our disdain for the font Comic Sans. I know. We are weird. The booklet is made on mixed media paper, torn at an angle, to create a stairstep effect when folded.

and the background is warm neon colours on one side and cool on the other so you see glimpses of both when it is folded closed

I added some spatters and some stenciling, using many of the plastic lettering stencils I have hanging about in black and white to add more interest

The focal images are these odd birds, from a digital kit. I just like them a lot – I can’t say the tie between birds and fonts is super strong but the images are striking. The cover it tied and when you open it you see the warm side first. Flipping it over reveals the cool side and the final “joke” is in, of course, Comic Sans.

Just a bit of playfulness – at least it got me using my gel plate, which was fun. It’s been quite neglected now for a while. I am also working on some odd ATCs, using these same images but with a more surreal feel to them. I even have the perfect name for the series: Absurd Birds! It’s coming along.

School is back in session so my days will be a lot freer, I hope. More crafting! Yay!


Safmat substitute? Maybe….

Funny sequence of events. One of my WOYWW mates stumbled across a very old (2011, I think it was) post about SAFMAT. That is an old product as well, clear, that you can print on and it is self-adhesive.

So I never saw the point of it for what they seemed to tout as it’s selling point – that you could print a sentiment on it and lay it over a card, where it would sort of melt into the background. First, it didn’t – there was a clearly defined sheen to the product, and second, why not just print on the paper? I wanted to put the printed area very specifically over a pattern on the paper, so for that, yeah, it was helpful. But otherwise, not 100% sure it was revolutionary. It was acid-free and that was unique, I think. When I posted about it Letraset had just re-released it, after being unavailable for a long time. It is now unavailable again (but there are a few for sale at stupid prices, like almost £100 on Amazon. doh!)

Considering the qualities that made Safmat useful, I thought of what else would work the same. I riffled thru my stash and found some full-sheet self-adhesive labels from Avery and had a go using those.

What I remember was that the ink-jet ink dried fast and if not permanent on the Safmat, it was …semi-waterproof, let’s say. On the labels material it was quick to smudge. I tried my usual sealing technique, using matt gel medium on a gel plate, and it worked pretty well – although there was a weird byproduct of that which bears exploring some day – so long as I gently laid it on and tapped lightly on the back rather than, say, brayering over the back to get a really good coat of the gel medium on it. That did tend to smear a bit more. Left, brayer over the back, right, lightly tapping to coat.

Applying the clear sticker to paper, in this case some rubbish, an old gloss spray overspill sheet, works really well. and if you burnish the sticker paper better than I did here, it really does almost disappear.

In this case, I planned to cut out the wings so there was no real need to do that. In the end I didn’t end up using these wings as I planned, but they did look good!

I have a couple of other kinds of clear labels to test. Both are from Amazon, in the under £7 range, but for far fewer sheets than the Avery ones:

The glossy vinyl one says specifically non-waterproof. and all the “waterproof” ones seem to be white. Still if the gel plate sealing works on the plain sticker paper, surely it will work on both of these. And it does. A couple of interesting facts. The glossy-labelled one is not only glossy, it is a lot thicker. May be good if you want something to retain some dimension – like the wings,raised above the surface but not great if you want it to melt into a background. For that, the Avery labels are thinnest.

The PPD paper is also glossy and slightly thinner.

Unlike the Avery sticker labels, the inkjet ink dries very well and pretty quickly on both of these. But they are quite glossy, compared to the Avery version I sealed with the gel plate and matt medium.

And of course you can seal the other two just like the Avery one. I tried a couple of methods. Brushing on the gel medium smears the inkjet ink pretty easily. Daubing on the medium with a sponge actually works pretty well, although for my sample I had a slightly dried blob on the sponge and didn’t realize it so it isn’t as good as I am 100% sure it would have been if the gel had been all smooth. I did try sealing with the gel plate on other samples but then messed them up by trying to pick them up before they were fully dry – busy day and no time to hang about! On the top is the daubed on gel and the bottom is brushed on. Personally the brushed on is very smooth – except where it smeared. DOH! I used totally the wrong brush for this, but it was what was in arm’s reach.

I think that the Avery labels, especially if you have a laser printer, and laser print labels, is 100% the best option. The resulting print has a definite sheen but is not gloss-glossy IYKWIM. Of the other two, again, it’s likely the laser version will work best, and otherwise if you want a thicker sturdier piece, go for Evergreen Goods. A thinner more flexible version, PPD. And if you want to seal the inkjet ink with a spray fixative, it is likely going to be better than anything else. You can get a bundle of clear sticker paper + fixative spray (in gloss or matt) from PPD. I have it. It works. It does smell a bit, but they all do! I should test the spray over the Avery labels. That might be the magic bullet. Now, where did I put that…?

So then the only real issue is the acid-free question. And that might be a question that won’t get answered for years, when someone can look back and see if the art has deteriorated or bits have fallen off! I am not sure if I care about that. I cared deeply when I was scrapbooking and it was my photos of my kids (and even so many were duplicates or prints from digital media, so not one-of-a-kind photos) but I am not making art that I sell or that I expect to last for decades. No one cares about it but me. If I were selling it then I might buy that £100 package of Safmat from Amazon LOL! I’d be able to afford it…


A little tip – stamped journaling frames

Working on a layout today (I KNOW! unbelievable!) and did something that helped me with one of my weird fixations – I don’t stamp often on layouts because I am not a very competent stamper and I wouldn’t risk stamping onto an actual layout if I could avoid it, unless I had a plan for later covering it up when I botched it. So I tend to stamp on some bit of paper or card then cut it out and put that on the layout. MUCH safer! But it annoys the life out of me that I always start well, cutting just the right amount of a border, following the stamped lines, then at some point it all goes horribly wrong. I try to correct, but in the end more often then I care to admit I just throw the stamped thing in the bin and do something else!

This may be only helpful to those who are as cack-handed at cutting a symmetrical border around them. I stamped a couple of lovely little journaling frame (Inkadinkadoo) onto kraft card to cut out, and while taking a deep breath and collecting myself to begin cutting, my eye landed on the acetate that the stamp was stored on. Hum. A little printed frame, with a sort of semi-cut border around it. I put down the scissors and had a think. I didn’t really want to to cut up the storage sheet, although I certainly could have to get the same “tool”, so I grabbed a bit of acetate from the shelf. Looking at the stamp I could see the stamp itself provided the border. I figured the stamp makers know what they are doing. The edges of the stamp are precisely placed, and frame the stamp perfectly so why not make use of that??

Flipping the stamp over onto the acetate I simply traced around the edge of the stamp. I also traced inside the stamp, because I could envision using the cut out as a mask to, for example, spray glimmer mist or ink or chalk inside the stamped image, just where I would write or stamp the text. I cut it out of the acetate with a craft knife on my very old CM glass cutting mat. I laid that over the stamped image and traced around the outside and cut that.

When I cut out the frame I was, for the first time, happy with my final product. and I can store the mask with the stamp so I shouldn’t have to do it again. The finish is more like a real PRODUCT and less like a hand stamped, badly cut out bit of tat (yes, yes, I’m sure YOURS are not tat, but mine usually ARE!)

A little inking on the edges and it was ready to add to the layout (done now so you can see it here)

I do think maybe a bit of glimmer mist in the middle would be a nice touch (not for this layout, but someday) so I will def. do this again. Even for things like annoying little butterfly antennae, it would take the guess-work out of where to cut, and for me that is a huge benefit!