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alcohol inks review

13 Apr

Guest Blog Post by Design Team Member Pat Mathes

Comments in Italics by Deb

My final journey with the Design Team is working with alcohol inks.  I love the bold look of the finished process, and am learning to refine those colors into soothing looks.  It is all in the process.  I am by no means an expert in this – I am just the opposite, a novice but willing to learn.  I will warn you right now that you need to wear gloves with this media.  I didn’t at first and ended up with yellow and green fingers.  And this is a very permanent ink.  The craft scrubbie  is a must for any mixed media artist, and it did take off a bit, but not much.  So WEAR GLOVES!  Protect your clothing and your workspace.  I used my Ranger nonstick craft sheet, also available at Blue Twig Studio, to protect my table. (I do protect my table, but rarely wear gloves myself. I kind of like the ink on my hands – makes me feel like I actually did something creative!) 

Alcohol inks are an acid-free, highly-pigmented, and fast drying medium to be used on non-porous surfaces.  You work with drops from the bottle, not a paint brush (although I do teach using the paintbrush in my Exploring Alcohol Inks Class – which will probably be on the schedule sometime in the summer, so watch for it.). There is a wide variety of colors.  The two most popular brands are Adirondack and Pinata.  The major difference between the two is the color palette.  The Adirondack line of colors is very earthy and rich.  The Pinata inks are rich, but basically primary colors.  And bright.  The Adirondacks are a bit more fluid, also.  The Adirondack inks are softer, and the Pinata quickly overpowers with its color.  Vivid primary colors.  If you mix the two on a project, and they are mixable, the Pinata will be the dominant colors because of the intensity.  Both brands of ink are very fast drying.

As I work through these examples, you will note I talk about the ink moving.  This is one of the great ways this ink works.  If you pick up the paper and tilt it, the ink moves on top of the paper.  If you put blending solution on it, the inks move.  So when I say the ink is moving, it is doing just that.  It sits on top of whatever surface you are using.

Tools needed:  (1) Surface:  Alcohol inks do not work well on paper.  The drops just sink into the paper.  I did some experimenting with a piece of gesso painted wood and got a different effect – you don’t get the bloom on the drops as much and you don’t get the flow.  The inks work great on any other surface – plastic, metal, glass, and on Yupo, my favorite, which is a plastic paper that you can purchase at Blue Twig Studio either already cut or in a large sheet you can cut to the size you want.  The Yupo  has a surface that really works well with the alcohol inks.  (2) Blending Tool (available at Blue Twig Studio).  You drop drops of the different colors on it and pounce with it, and you will get different effects.  On the pieces in this article, I will tell you when I used the blending tool

AI 1

(3) Alcohol Blending Solution – an awesome product.  If you put some on the blending tool and daub it on a finished piece, it dilutes and lightens the effect of the alcohol ink. The solution will also clean the alcohol ink off of surfaces, hands and tools.  You can also use 91% rubbing alcohol.  I have a water pen and a spray bottle filled with the rubbing alcohol.  Please note that you need 91% rubbing alcohol, not the everyday kind you probably have in your cabinet.  There are a couple of examples below where I used the pen or the spray.

First, I am going to show you some comparison studies I did with the alcohol inks, using Yupo paper and glossy photo paper.

***I have put 3 different colors on the blending tool, dropping them around randomly.  You don’t totally cover the pad on the tool – you will get the feel of how many drops to use.  (See the tool below in picture 12 of the domino) On the Yupo paper, using the blending tool, it has a much softer appearance and a slight bloom.  On the glossy paper, it is more intense and the inks don’t move.  You can pounce the tool over and over.  On the Yupo paper, the ink sits on top of the under colors and blooms a little more, not darkening.  On the glossy paper the ink just sits on top of what you already did and darkens more, not moving any.

AI 2

 

 

*** I put blending solution on the blending tool and swiped it through the first sample below.  You will note that with the Yupo paper, it smeared and spread the inks.  The effect on the glossy photo paper was that it didn’t do much to what was already down, it just smeared it a bit.  These were both dry when I used the blending solution.

AI 3 (1)

 

**When you put a drop of another color on top of a color on the Yupo paper (below left), it blooms and you get that neat ring around it – on the glossy paper, it doesn’t show a lot of effect.  It doesn’t move the bottom color at all and in fact overpowers it.

AI 4 (1)

 

 

****The next sample is another one of layering the colors.  And then I took the water pen filled with alcohol and swiped through them to see what effect I would get.  You can see with the Yupo paper, it removes the ink.  On the glossy paper, it doesn’t hardly have any effect.        AI 5

 

On the Yupo paper, you can keep layering colors, and even drop the alcohol solution in it, and each drop will bloom on top of the others.  Here are some examples of this.  In picture 1 I layered 3 colors.  You can see how they bloom on top of each other, creating those rings of intensity.  In picture 2, I dropped a drop of alcohol blending solution.  See how it lessened the intensity of the color?  In picture 3 I dropped a drop of white on top and then spritzed with rubbing alcohol.  It creates “droplets” on top.AI 6

 

 

***Next, I wanted to try some marbling.  I put a thick layer of shaving foam on a paper plate and dropped some drops of alcohol ink on top.  I then took a pallet knife and cut through it, kind of swirling the inks.  After you place the paper into the foam and pick it up, you just take a palette knife or paper towel and wipe off the foam to reveal the colors and lay it aside to dry.  The picture on the left was done using card stock and the picture on the right is the same process using Yupo paper (the three lighter ones) and on the far right are the glossy paper.  You can see that the colors are more intense on the card stock and glossy paper than on the Yupo paper.  So it would depend on the appearance you wanted. These are now ready for embellishing.  At this point you could use these as backgrounds for a greeting card – collage on them, draw on them, do Zentangle on them – any kind of art.

AI 7

Once alcohol inks are dry, you can write or draw on them with many media – remember, they are not water based so you won’t smear them with a water based media on top.

 

 

****The next sample I really enjoyed doing.  But doing this with the alcohol inks, you have to work fast because they dry so quickly.  I dropped Pinata inks (see how vivid the colors are) onto the Yupo paper, totally covering it.  I used a bit of blending solution to move the colors around a bit (this also extended the drying time a bit), and then I wrapped the paper in plastic wrap.  I left it to dry overnight.  When I released the plastic wrap the next day the effect was beautiful.  In the third picture, I did another piece using Adirondack colors which gave a more subtle effect.  (this is a great way to create special effects)

 

***And then there are dreamscapes.  This is the idea of June Rollins (she has beautiful AI work and many tutorials available).  You lay down lines of the alcohol ink across the page, add blending solution and tilt the paper to make the ink flow.  Then you add another color and do the same thing.  You take coffee stirrers and move the ink flow.  You take an old credit card and move it.  Get the picture?  Her pieces are beautiful – these are my first two attempts.  These take a lot of practice to get them to really work right.  I just love the looks of flow that you can get with these inks.

AI 10

 

 

Next one turned into kind of a hot mess.  I put down a mix of colors and then laid a stencil on top.  I dropped the blue through the stencil.  That is the outer part.  You let it sit a while and you can kind of see the stencil.  I didn’t like the way it did the inner part, so I put another stencil on top and dropped clear blending solution on it.  That created the small circles you see.  So the overall effect is okay, and I took a silver Uniball pen and a microperm pen and did a tangle on it.

 

AI 11

 

**I dropped ink on the blending tool and pounced it on a blank domino (just an inexpensive plastic domino).  These are fun to collage on, punch hole through and make necklaces.

AI 12

 

***To show a couple other effects, I did a light background, then placed the circle stencil on top of it.  I put blending solution on the blending tool and pounced through the stencil.  This took the ink off in those places.  Then I used a stamp with Ranger Archival Ink and stamped on the bottom.  On the right hand side, this is one of the earlier pieces where I showed drops on top of each other.  I inked my stamp with Ranger Archival Ink (has to be this type of ink) and then took a damp paper towel and removed the ink.  I wasn’t careful enough and did smear it a bit, but you get the general effect – it removes the color just like the blending solution does.

AI 13

 

Last but not least, here I just used drops of color on the blending tool, pounced it all over the Yupo paper, then used some blending solution on top of it and pounced some more.  I also did some drops directly on the Yupo paper. Once it dried, I did some quick art on top of it with white gel pen and black Microperm.

AI 14

 

When I step out of my comfort zone and work on something new, I am sometimes quickly frustrated. It doesn’t look the way I think it should or the way that the picture/video I am working from looks. I expect perfection from myself and it should be easy peasy. But that doesn’t happen. It takes practice, and finessing techniques my way, and coming up with a way that works for me.  That way I can start to develop my own style.  This was a really fun way to step out of my comfort zone!!  I see more playing in my future!

~Pat

Thanks Pat for a great tutorial. Alcohol Inks are fun and addictive to use. There are many more ways you can use them besides what Pat has shared here. She is right that you just need to start playing and developing your own style to use them. One of the wonders of AI is that you really have just a minimum of control and that takes some getting used to. 

Blue Twig Studio sells all the Ranger Adirondack Alcohol Inks and the Pinata Alcohol Inks, as well as the Yupo paper and various tools, including craft sheets (although everything may not be listed on the website). Watch the Class Schedule for the next Exploring Alcohol Inks class – which I try to do once or twice a year. It is a great way to play and experiment with various surfaces and tools. I love to see which techniques/surfaces/tools the students love and which ones they ignore. 

~Deb

Let Your Inner Artist out to Play

Blue Twig Studio

5039 N Academy Blvd 

Colorado Springs, CO 80918

719-266-1866

 

 

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PanPastels

2 Apr

Guest blog post by Design Team member Terri Ayers

Comments in italics by Deb

Pan Pastel projects

 

PanPastel Colors are professional artists’ quality soft pastel colors packed in a unique pan format (cake-like). To me they are like applying eyeshadow to your desired canvas.  PanPastels are easy-to-use, blendable, paintable, quick-to-use, erasable, versatile (works well with other media), easy to control, low dust, portable, stackable, and very addictive!  They come in 80 colors plus a handful of pearlescent and metallic colors, as well as a blender and some mixatives.

PanPastel Colors recommended uses are:

  • Block-in color – quickly & cleanly for underpaintings, washes & toning paper
  • Layering – build up thin layers & glazes of color multiple times without overfilling the paper’s “tooth”
  • Apply controlled marks – from intense strokes to delicate marks, for painterly effects
  • Mixed Media – combine with other artist’s media & experiment with a variety of surfaces for new creative effects

I experimented with the 5 shade set that also contains few of their Sofft tools for application and blending.  I can never stop at just a few and have added more colors to my collection as well as more tools and applicators.

There are numerous videos on the Internet about how to use PanPastels and many that amaze me at what can be accomplished with this fairly new art medium.  There are many fine artists that use them for portrait and landscape artwork.  I focused on the mixed media arena as that is one of the many areas where I like to play.

Here are 3 techniques that I experimented with.

 

 

FullSizeRender (7) Versamark background wash

First I  embossed a piece of cardstock with a texture folder (Tim Holtz), then I applied Versamark to the entire front surface. Then I  applied 3 different colors of  PanPastel as a background wash.  I sprayed a fixative over the top (outdoors for good ventilation) to seal the work.

FullSizeRender (4)Texture paste and stencil

 I used a stencil (Wendy Vecchi) on cardstock to apply PanPastel then kept the stencil in place and applied Ranger Transparent Texture Paste over the top of the PanPastel. (Stencils are a great way to use PanPastels.)  Just to add a little flair, I spritzed some water and added a sprinkle of ColorBursts powder.  The paste did not resist the Colorburst, so be careful where you sprinkle!  The nice part of the texture paste is that it will hold the PanPastel color firm and there is no need to use a spray fixative.

IMG_3265Stencil and modeling paste

I did a light background wash on card stock and then applied modeling paste through a poppy stencil.  After allowing the paste to dry, I painted on the PanPastel to the top of the paste and inside the image and then sprayed with a fixative.  After drying, I then applied more color for shading and enhancement and followed with a final fixative spray.

FullSizeRender (6)

 

I am working on a mixed media piece on a canvas board using the PanPastels, stencils, tissue, embossing paste, stamping and maybe a few other art tools.  This project will be offered in one of our Exploring Mixed Media classes that take place on the first Wednesday of the month.

IMG_3268

The PanPastels can be used over canvas, paper, cardstock, gesso, matte gel medium, and with encaustics.  It can be used to distress, add shadows, stamped with and incorporated into other forms of mixed media.  It can be used in coloring books and is great for card-making and scrapbooking.

I really enjoyed this product and now have added more colors to my stash.  The Sofft tools are very helpful and durable and hold up better than cosmetic sponges (even though they look like they are cosmetic tools).  Mistakes are easy to remove with an eraser.  If multiple layers are used, or the surface will be touched; it is recommended to use a Spray Workable Fixative.  I think it would be really awesome if they came out with a mini pack like an eye shadow case so that I could have all of the colors at once and take it on my travels! (That would be awesome to have!)

~Terri

Thanks for another great demo Terri. I’ve always loved how easy the PanPastels are to work with. Even though they are a chalk product, they don’t have that gritty feel that most chalks do. They are super soft and a little bit goes a long way. They blend nicely and you can create depth with layers. You will love them!

~Deb

Let Your Inner Artist out to Play

Blue Twig Studio – 5039 N Academy Blvd – Colorado Springs, CO 80918

719-266-1866

 

 

 

 

Distress Products

5 Mar

Guest Blog Post by Design Team Member Pat Mathes

Comments in italics by Deb

 

The items in my packet for February were Distress products  (by Ranger)- Ground Espresso Distress Marker; Vintage photo distress ink pad; Fossilized Amber distress spray stain; Ground Espresso distress paint and Carved Pumpkin distress stain.  I already had quite a few different Distress ink pads, and bought some distress paints recently.  So I combined it all together to do this post.  I will apologize in advance for the extensive use of the words “spritz” and “mist” but I did do a lot of spritzing and misting while preparing these pieces.  It is important to have a blending tool to use these inks in the following ways.  So sit back, look at the process and then have FUN!!!

Distress 1

Distress ink is formulated to give an aging effect on paper, fibers and photographs.  The inks are reactive with water and will travel on the paper.  The inks stay wet longer so you can blend with them.  The inks are not permanent, and you can go back and mist them and reactivate them or water spot them.  You can get a great look by letting it all dry, then spatter it with some pretty good sized drops of water and just let it sit.  The water splotches left by doing this make a pretty cool background effect.

The distress inks are a lot of fun to work with.  Here are some pictures of the work in first stages:

Distress 2

The top left picture was first misted with Fossilized Amber spray stain.   I then blotted some Carved Pumpkin stain on an acrylic block, misted it and laid the paper on it.  When that was dry, I put some Ground Espresso distress paint and Mermaid Lagoon distress paint on an acrylic block, and using a sponge, sponged the paint through a stencil.

Bottom left picture was first stamped with white acrylic paint.  The top stamp was full strength, and the bottom one was the ghost image of what was left on the stamp, making a nice contrast to the first stamp.  The acrylic paint acts as a resist and retains its color.  Then I used the blending tool and laid down a background of blended ink of worn lipstick and weathered wood.  I took Fossilized Amber distress stain and put it on an acrylic block, spritzed it with water and laid the piece down on it to take up some of the color.  I then let it dry.

The third piece was an accounting paper tag.  I crumpled it in my hand, and then while still crumpled, I took the walnut distress ink pad and ran it over the creases.  I spritzed it with water, let it run in the creases, and while still wet, placed it between two pieces of parchment paper and ironed it out.  I used Fossilized Amber spray stain and gave it a spritz.  Then took the blending tool and weathered wood ink pad and stenciled the dots.

The fourth piece has a background of blended ink using the blending tool.  I then blotted some Carved Pumpkin stain from the dabber bottle on an acrylic block, misted it and laid the paper on it in a couple of places.  I took a stencil and using the blending tool and the vintage photo ink pad, sponged the image.

Here are the pictures of my finished pieces.  I used black ink for the stamps used, except for the tag with the tulip.  There was other wording on the stamp I didn’t want to use, so I used the distress marker and colored the stamp.  The wording on the “Delight” piece was enhanced by the Distress marker.

Distress 3

 

You can stamp the ink pad on an acrylic block and mist it, then lay the paper down on it and sop up the ink.  You can use as many colors as you want as long as they don’t get mixed up and make a mud color.  You really need to be careful with the colors.  You could also do them individually and use a heat tool in between.  This method makes a really nice blended background.  You could then put a stencil on top of that and spritz it with water and careful lift it up, leaving the ghosted image of the stencil on the blended background.  You can also do the same thing with the distress stain in the dabber bottle – only you really don’t have to mist it – you can use it full strength.  You can also take the liquid stain and put it in a mini mister for better control.  These products are transparent in nature, so you can really do so much with them.  For instance, if you have a really bright scrapbook paper and want to tone it down a little, you can use the blending tool and ink pads and apply directly on the scrapbook paper.  It tones down the color, lets the new color shine through.

Pictures 4 and 5 are very interesting uses of the distress ink pads.  I had already done these background pages but since they use this product, I am sharing them.  First, take gesso and apply through a stencil and let it dry.  Then use the blending tool and the ink pads, and cover the background – these are done in two colors.  Once you have the background in, take another stencil and lay over the stop.  Spritz water through the stencil, let it sit a minute and then take a damp paper towel and blot up some of the ink background.  These make beautiful backgrounds.  Picture No. 5 is a finished piece using this process.

Distress 6

Another great way to use the distress ink pads – Blot your stamp on an Embossing ink pad, lightly blot it off and mist with water.  Then stamp it on distressed background and watch it wick, giving it a watercolor effect.  You can also do this with the stain.  I did a couple of pieces here – I didn’t use the embossing ink first – just stamped it on the ink pad and spritzed it lightly.  The image on the top is full strength and the one on the bottom is the ghost image.  I just used a white background, but the potential for some beautiful pieces is definitely in this process.  Another tip for this one, even after it is dry, you can use a water brush and move some of the ink around if you have a darker area or one that didn’t wick much.  I really like this process.

Distress 7

Last, but not least – a journal page.  First, using white acrylic paint, I did three images on the two pages and let them dry.  I then took the Carved Pumpkin spray and sprayed it through a stencil on the upper right corner.  Once that dried, I used the blending tool and the mowed lawn ink pad, and did a blended ink over most of the two pages.  You can see that in some instances, I used a heavier hand with the blending tool, making a darker shade of the ink.  I sprayed some more Carved Pumpkin on the left side.  Then I used the Mermaid Lagoon distress ink on the bird stamp and stamped the image.  I used the Walnut Stain ink paid and inked the large flower stamp – I did very very lightly spritz it with water before stamping to give it a slight watercolor effect.  The face was stamped with Ground Espresso paint on tissue paper and applied with Matte Medium.  I put a little gesso under the image to break up the green a little.  Also, you can see on the top left portion and the bottom right where I used the large water splotches to give a different effect.  I then took the vintage photo ink pad and the blending tool and distressed the edges of the pages.

I don’t show much use of the marker in these pages – I did mix it in with the Walnut Stain ink pad to make sure I was getting the large stamp covered, and used it on the Delight page when the stamp failed to give a proper image.  I like the fine tip on the Distress marker, but I find the brush end is a bit firm.  Again, these are water based markers, and I am more likely to use Tombow markers because I like the brush ends better.

 

All in all, I love the Distress products.  I had not used the stain or spray stain before.  They are quite easy to use.  There are so many ways to use these products and they are a lot of fun to work with.  It is not a messy product to use.  I will definitely use these more and more in the future.

~Pat

Thanks Pat. That was an awesome demo of the various Distress products and the different ways they can be used. I really love how your journal pages turned out. I’ve had fun playing with the spray stains – but then I am a spray fanatic. Of course, we carry a good selection of Distress products of all kinds. They are designed to play well together. If you are looking for a particular Distress product and don’t see it on the website, just contact me as I very well may have it in stock, but not have it listed on the website. 

~Deb

Let Your Inner Artist out to Play

Blue Twig Studio – 5039 N Academy Blvd – Colorado Springs, CO 80918

719-266-1866

Faber-Castell product review

2 Mar

Guest Blog Post by Design Team Member Venisa Gallegos

Comments in italics by Deb

 

Blue Twig Assignment for February

This month, I got several items from Deb to try out including a set of a new kind of cardboard stencils from Faber Castell and some dimensional paint also from Faber Castell.  The set of stencils are simply called Mixed Media Stencils and contains 10 different stencils at a very reasonable price.  There are several sets of stencils and Deb gave me Set 102 to play with.  The metallic paint is called Texture Luxe and comes in Copper, Silver, Gold, and Pearl.  It’s basically an opaque paint designed to work with Stencils and is Permanent.  I’ll say right off the bat I tested it on fabric and washed it and it didn’t wash out. Yay!!! (good to know!)

stencils

textureluxe

 

Figure 1 – Set of Stencils and dimensional paint from Faber Castell

 

First I’ll talk about the Stencils.  I read that some people first coat the cardboard stencils with a glaze to help them last longer.  I actually did this but after using several stencils I decided it wasn’t worth it because the paint actually did a good job of coating the stencils.  They are also very strong and I had no problem using them over and over again.  (Side note:  Deb actually told me that I didn’t need to coat them with glaze but I had to see for myself.  Guess I could have saved myself some time if I listened to Deb in the first place.)  (Ha Ha – you should always listen to me. At least that is what I always tell my husband. )

What I loved about the set of stencils was that you can get 10 really cool stencils for a very decent price.   So if you didn’t have any stencils and wanted to try them out this is a great investment. (Plus once they are all coated up with paint and paste and stuff, and not really usable as stencils anymore, you can cut them up and use those pieces in your art!)

I spent most of my time using the Texture paint.  It has a very buttery texture and was easy to apply.  I tested it on paper and fabric as you’ll see in the next figure.  On paper it came out very crisp but my first attempt on fabric I had some leakage under the stencil.    You see that my next attempt came out better but I still had some leakage.

GetAttachment firstattemptflowers

Figure 2 – Texture Luxe on Paper and Fabric

On my second attempt I tried to stitch around the petals of the leaves to see if I could make them stand out.

As you can see in Figure 3 the stitching didn’t quite show up that well.  This is the piece I test and you can see that the paint stayed on perfectly.   I decided that the dimensional paint would be good on T-Shirts but that I’d have to make sure I had a stencil that really stayed down on the fabric.  (You may want to try to adhere the stencil down with a temporary spray adhesive like 505.) 

 

secondattemptflowers

closeupflowers

Figure 3 – Second attempt at Texture Luxe on Fabric with a close up of some added stitching 

 

You’ll see in Figure 4 that when I used a very tight stencil I got a very crisp image with no leakage on fabric so I know it’s possible to do.

 

stenciltexturepaint

Figure 4 – Texture Luxe with Stencil

 

flowersonDuckCloth

Figure 5 – Texture Luxe on Hand Dyed Duck Cloth

Finally, I decided to stencil the flowers on some hand dyed duck cloth that I had previously dyes.  I really love how the copper color popped on the fabric as shown in Figure 5.  I’m thinking of leaving this just as it is and either adding it to a collage piece of maybe even sewing it onto a canvas bag.  I will definitely look into using some of the pearl colored metallic paint and add my own color to the paint.  I can see that with this technique I can make some fun pieces to add to other types of art projects.  I also can see getting some more stencil sets because they have such a great variety.

~Venisa

Thanks for another great product review Venisa. I always love seeing what you do with the products. I love the Faber-Castell products, and the stencil sets and Texture Luxe are great! 

~Deb

Let Your Inner Artist out to Play

Blue Twig Studio – 5039 N Academy Blvd – Colorado Springs, CO 80918

719-266-1866

Painter’s Pixies

28 Jan

Guest blog post by Design Team member Venisa Gallegos

Comments in italics by Deb

 

Blue Twig Assignment for January

This month, Deb gave me a package of Painter’s Thread Collection called Painter’s Pixie Embellishment Pack made by Tentakulum.  This is a great little package that contains all kinds of fun fiber to play with including, textile cards, Threads, Crocheted beads, silk rod and silk trim material. (Each Tentakulum packet is different, with different fibers or trims or ribbons or buttons, etc)

kit supplies

Figure 1 – Painter’s Pixie Embellishment Pack

What I love about products from Tentakulum are how all the fibers are hand dyed in wonderful colors that go perfectly together.  In this picture you’ll see that I already started pulling layers of silk off the Silk rod.  You should be able to pull off three or four layers from the rod.
Now, what kind of design was I going to create using the kit?  One criteria I gave myself was to somehow find a use for all the different embellishments in the kit.  With that in mind I decided to look through my collection of stencils for design ideas.  The silk from the silk rod reminded me of feathers.  Luckily I had a small feather stencil that I had bought from Blue Twig Studio (we do have LOTS of stencils).  I also thought that somewhere along the line I might have to needle felt the feathers to the fabric so I chose a section of felted wool as my backing.  This will allow me to stitch easily into the wool with whatever threads I’m using. (great recommendation)

First step was to transfer the design onto my background fabric.  I have discovered that the best way to transfer the stencil design onto whatever fabric I’m stitching on is to use the PanPastels Chalk pads (love the PanPastels).  I simply load up a cotton applicator with the chalk from the pad and rub it into the fabric.  Figure 2 below shows the images of two feathers that I transferred to the wool felt piece.

stencil template in chalk

Figure 2 – Stencil image transferred with chalk

Next, I used the cotton thread from the kit to stitch along the outline of the feathers so that if I lose some of the chalk while stitching I’ll still have the design to work with.  I used a simple back stitch for the outline.  Next, I pulled some of the silk from the rod and basted it down onto the wool felt with the cotton thread.  Once I covered the image, I took my piece over to my needle felting machine and felted down the silk.  You don’t have to have a needle felting machine to felt you can also use a hand needle felting tool to felt the silk down.

After the silk was transferred down I decided it needed some color so I took some of the silk trim and cut off some fuzzy threads.  I then felted these threads into my feathers.  Then, I took some of the cotton thread fiber and did a satin stitch around the top of the feather.  To create the vein of the feathers and to add some feathery details, I used the brown six stand silk floss using simple straight stitches.  Once again I felted down the thread to mesh everything together.  Finally, I decided to attach the crocheted balls to the feathers and the design was complete.  Unfortunately I didn’t find a use for the textile cards but I’m sure I’ll use that in some other creation.  Deb has all sorts of fun fiber products to play with to make simple but fun designs. (There is a 4-session class starting the end of Feb called Stitch Play to teach you lots of fun stitches and how to use different types of threads and fibers in your work)

painter's thread feathers

 

Figure 3 – Tentakulum feathers

~Venisa

Thanks Venisa for showing us a cute project to do with the Tentakulum packs.  I can’t wait to see it in person. It looks yummy.

Tentakulum has lots of different types of hand-dyed kits (inluding these Painter’s Pixies). They also have individual fibers, threads, trims, silk hankies, etc. All are hand-dyed with a Painter’s color palette (like Klimt, VanGogh, O’Keefe, Picasso, etc), thus the reason they are called Painter’s colors. All the products from a particular artist can all be blended together easily, but because they are hand-dyed with a variety of colors they don’t look all matchy-matchy.

There are a few Tentakulum products on the website, however it is best to call the shop if you are looking for them so I can find exactly what you are looking for. 

~Deb

Let Your Inner Artist out to Play

Blue Twig Studio – 5039 N Academy Blvd – Colorado Springs, CO 80918

719-266-1866

Gel Crayons Review

1 Dec

Guest Blog Post by Design Team Member Venisa Gallegos

Comments in italics from Deb

 

 

This month, Deb gave me some Faber-Castell Gel Crayons.  They are very soft and come in red, yellow, orange, dark blue, grass green, black, silver, neon yellow, neon orange, neon pink, neon blue and neon green.  The cool feature about these crayons is that they come in a nice carrying case and all the crayons are wrapped in twist-up holders.  They are about the thickness of a gelato stick.

 

crayons

 

I started to use them just like you would any crayon and just started coloring.  I can tell you they have a very smooth and buttery texture and lay down well on paper.  Pretty much what you get with regular crayons, but I then wanted to see how they performed on fabric.  I pulled out some stencils and proceeded to color some white tone on tone fabric that I had (a very cool way to use these).  The crayons themselves are a little bit chunky and didn’t quite reach in all the corners of the stencil so I just grabbed a Q-top and moved the color where it was needed.  As you can see, the neon colors showed up very bright against the white tone on tone fabric.  To get even better coverage, I took a small wet wipe and ran it over the stencil (a trick I learned from Deb).  They aren’t listed as water soluble, but they seemed to work well with water.

 

all_hearts2

 

orange_heart

 

 

In fact, I think using a wet wipe is the best way to apply and blend these crayons on the fabric.  A little messy but still fun.  To dry and “set” the colors I placed a paper towel on top of the fabric and then ran my iron over it.

Since Deb always gets asked if the fabric can be washed, I grabbed a bigger piece of white fabric and used a larger stencil so that I could use all the colors.

 

 

Since I knew I was going to wash this fabric, I spent more time heat setting it with my iron.  I spent probably two minutes going over the design.  So, what happened after washing?  As you can see from the images, I got mixed results.  Basically all the neon colors washed out but the regular basic colors remained.  A bit faded but you can still see the color.  So the lesson is, if you want to put it on fabric for washing, use only the regular, non-neon colors if you don’t want any color to wash out.

I decided to try the colors on black fabric and to my surprise the neon colors did not show up very well.  In fact, after a bit of ironing the colors basically disappeared.  And here I thought the neon colors would show up the brightest (this is why we test things out – so we know for sure).  What I didn’t expect was how bright the regular colors showed up on black as you can see in the figure below.  I added backing to the image and finished it by quilting in the colored areas.

 

 

I made a few more pieces where I just took the crayons and colored on the white tone-on-tone with the results shown below.  As you can see, I stitched one of the colored pieces of fabric with different colored threads.

 

stiched cloth

 

These are marketed for small children but you can have fun too. (lots of products marketed for kids are fun for adults too)

~Venisa

Thanks for a great review Venisa. I really love how the colors came out on the tone on tone fabrics. The crayons are available at Blue Twig Studio. Samples are at the shop if you want to see them in person. 

~Deb

Let Your Inner Artist out to Play

Blue Twig Studio – 5039 N Academy Blvd – Colorado Springs, CO 80918

719-266-1866

Tim Holtz holiday goodies

8 Nov

Guest Blog Post by Design Team Member Terri Ayers

Comments in italics by Deb

What a treat to get some Tim Holtz holiday goodies (everybody seems to like the Tim Holtz holiday items as they have come into the shop and are already mostly all gone!)  to experiment with for the first month of being on the design team.  I spent quite a few days trying to decide what to do with the holiday Yuletide embellishments.  I received Alpha Parts  – Frozen, a Christmas stencil (one can never have too many stencils), Festive Ephemera , and boxwood twine.  An idea to make a burlap tree and decorate it with the supplied items came to mind.  I did follow through with that idea, and we will be offering a class Dec 4 for that (see link at end of post).  I will definitely be making some Christmas cards, but for fun I thought I would try a tag.  Tags are a great way to try out a new technique and the tag can be placed in an envelope and used as a card, added to a package as lovely gift tag, placed in a holiday centerpiece or floral arrangement or many other creative uses.

 

I will give my personal thoughts on the various items I received.  I loved the stencil – I know I can use it for many other occasions in addition to Christmas.  Distress sprays, inks and paints, modeling/texture paste, acrylic paints, Gelatos and various other media can be used with the stencils to impart their image onto paper, fabric, burlap, canvas, glass, wood and many other surfaces.  The Boxwood Twine is flexible and can be used to decorate a card, make a wreath or decorate a small tree.  I really liked it and could also use this for other holidays.  The  Ephemera pack contained many vintage images on cardstock.  These are so much fun!  They can be layered into collages, used in cards and scrapbooks and many other applications.

GetAttachment

Lastly, the Alpha Parts clear embellishments were in my stash of goodies.  They are a hard clear plastic and can be colored with alcohol inks or markers or covered with glue and glitter (the photo shows where Terri had started inking it).  The Frozen set is comprised of snowflakes and icicles.  Personally, I did not find these to be my favorite.  They were a little difficult to cut out and they are only lightly adhesive-backed. (good information to know)

 

 

 

Here is how I made this sample holiday tag.  I used the Tim Holtz distress paints in rusty hinge, antiqued bronze, and wild honey.  I applied the paints with their dauber directly onto a tag in random spots and rubbed in with my fingers.

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Initially I used distress ink to stencil in Peace and Joy.  I later went over the words with Versamark stamping the pad directly onto the stencil and used gold embossing powder. I was much happier with the gold!

GetAttachment (5)

I made a wreath with the twine and later found some red berries to wrap into it.

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I selected a few pieces of Ephemera and secured them to the tag with matte medium.  I stamped sheet music onto the top with Archival Ink and then tied the wreath onto the tag with some gold ribbon.  I added a few other embellishments and a couple of metal brads. I outlined around the Ephemera with a black Faber Castell Pitt pen to give a little depth to the overall look and then finished the edges of the tag with a little sponging of Vintage Photo Distress Ink.

20151106_152847 (2)

 

 

Thank you deb and Blue Twig Studio for all of the supplies used in this tag. (you can find these products and more at Blue Twig Studio)

~Terri

Thanks Terri for a fabulous review of products. And the tag is really cute. I hardly ever make tags myself, but have seen so many created that are absolutely beautiful. You are right, they are a great way to experiment and play with products and techniques before moving on to your final project.

You can register for the Rustic Chic Tree class by clicking this link.

~Deb

Let Your Inner Artist out to Play

Blue Twig Studio

5039 N Academy Blvd – Colorado Springs, CO 80918

719-266-1866

 

Gelatos Tutorial

23 Oct

Guest Blog Post from Design Team Member Pat Mathes

Comments in italics by Deb

 

I am so excited to be a part of the Design Team at Blue Twig Studio.  That means I get to play with “STUFF”.

1

 

My first bag of goodies had a set of gelatos (Manhattan set) – Gold Champagne, Silver Ice, Iced Rose, Metallic Icing, a dot dauber and stippler brush.  My only experience before this with gelatos (we have lots of gelatos available in many colors at Blue Twig Studio – Deb) was to use them on stencils with a stencil brush.    So I had to do some research, and some playing and experimenting.

 

One of the other items in the bag was an Artist Pad.   This is a pad perfect for Artist Soft Pastels and Oil Pastels.  The awesome thing about this pad is that there is a sheet of tissue separating the pages so the pastels don’t smear.  It is a nice weight of paper.  I decided to try it using gelatos with a stencil brush.  It performed well – no buckling, even with the baby wipes – and kept its stability.

 

2

 

I also used this Artist Pad with pastel pencils on a different piece and it is a great paper!  I am able to keep the drawing in the pad until I am ready for it and it won’t smear.

 

Back to the gelatos.  There are numerous ways you can use gelatos – (1) directly on paper with stencils, (2) a reverse stencil where you put the gelato on the paper and use a baby wipe with the stencil to remove the gelato (the bottom left one above), (3) smear some on your craft mat, and using a water brush, mix it to add as paint [you can also water it down to a consistency to put in a mini mister and use as a spray], (4) put it directly on paper or fabric or canvas, and blend either with water or baby wipes, (5) do a smear of gelatos and blend along the top of a journal page, mist it and let it drip down the page creating a great background for a journal page.  These are just a few – it is really a versatile tool.

 

The first thing I did was blend the gold, silver and rose on a piece of watercolor paper.  I then used the poinsettia stencil and did a reverse stencil , removing the gelato with a baby wipe, and then painted with a red gelato (#3 above)  to give some color back to the poinsettias.  Nice overall effect.  The second sheet was basically blending the rose, silver and gold gelatos on black artgain paper, and doing a total reverse stencil.  Made a beautiful background piece. (I like the black paper)

3

 

I decided to do a mixed media Christmas canvas with the items given.  Besides the gelatos, I had a length of green cord, a package of Tim Holtz wreath adornments, and a poinsettia stencil.  So I got out a canvas – 6” square and 1 ½” deep.  I started with the gold, silver and rose gelatos and blended across the canvas.  I spritzed with water and used a glove to finger blend.  (I don’t usually like using daubers, I would rather use my fingers. I have more control and I can give it some dimension).

 

Then I did a reverse stencil, using a baby wipe to remove the gelato along the left side.  I then used a red to add some color back in, but not much.  So I had my background set.  I then decided  to make two poinsettias out of scrapbook Christmas paper.  I don’t use a die cutter, so found a picture of the die set to make the poinsettias and made a medium and small poinsettia – 4 layers of petals.  I trimmed with gold metallic gelly roll. When I placed it on the canvas – it needed something, so I had some red feathers and made a background embellishment with them, and then attached the poinsettias using a brad which I dipped in pink glitter.  I drilled a hole through the canvas to put the brad through so they didn’t need glued and could have a bit of mobility and looseness.  I printed a Happy Holiday greeting on tissue paper, and  used matte medium to place on the canvas.  I then highlighted the lettering with a red metallic ink pen.   I ran a walnut distress ink pad around the edge of the collaged piece to give it some character.  Once it dried, I used the Metallic Icing gelato and rubbed it over the collage, blending it with a spritz of water.

 

 

I took one of the Tim Holtz wreaths and colored it using green and red alcohol inks to give it some character.  I attached the green cord, tied on the wreath and added some small silver jingle bells for more “bling”.

Here is the finished piece.  As you can see in the second picture, I also did the same technique on the sides as I did on the front of the panel.

~Pat

Thanks for a great tutorial Pat. It is fun to see how other people use the same products. I love how you added some feathers to the flowers.

Most of these products are available at Blue Twig Studio. ~Deb

Let Your Inner Artist out to Play

Blue Twig Studio

5039 N Academy Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80918

719-266-1866

Golden High Flow Acrylics review

20 Oct

Guest Blog Post by Design Team member Venisa Gallegos

Comments in italics by Deb 

So, this month, Deb gave me some Golden High Flow Acrylic paints to play with.  Included were the colors red and green and an iridescent silver. My first thought was, this will be an easy assignment and then reality set in.  What do I do with these High Flow paints? I decided to google how to use these paints and found that they have an ink-like consistency that can be used in painting, drawing, staining, glazing, inking, hand-lettering, spraying, and more. You can use them in an airbrush, dip pen or refillable marker (I loved using them in the markers).  What really caught my eye was that they come in Fluorescent colors.  Woo Hoo!  So, three colors was just not enough to play with so I went back and bought Fluorescent Yellow, Fluorescent Green and Pthalo Green (Blue Shade).  Armed with knowledge and supplies I set about my task.  (gotta love the florescent colors!)

  1. Application with Lutradur

But first I thought, why can’t I just use my regular Golden acrylics with water?  Won’t those be the same?  As it turns out, no they won’t.  Regular Golden Acrylics mixed with water get diluted.  So, that’s the big selling point with the High Flow Acrylics.  They give you concentrated color (which is extremely fluid).   I love working with Lutradur which is a non-woven, polyester fabric.  It’s basically a cross between paper and fabric.  So, I first sprayed the Lutradur with water and then started to splash the High Flow Acrylic paints onto a sheet of Lutradur.  I was immediately able to mix the colors around like finger paints to get an intense background of colors.  I was also able to easily drip and roll the paint around on the Lutradur.  The High Flow Acrylic did indeed brighten up certain areas on my sheet.  Once I had a good background I let the paint dry and once dry I stenciled on an image of a fern leaf (you know I have lots of stencils).  Since the Lutradur is polyester I used my wood burning tool with a sharp point and burned out the stenciled image.  Next, I bonded together several strips of Textiva (or Angelina film) and then put some shimmery Angelina fiber between the sheets.  I placed this between my cut out image and another piece of Lutradur that I colored.  The result is shown below.  I love how the intense colors on the Lutradur help highlight the fern leaf.

 

teamproject3

 

  1. Application with Canvas

For another application of the paints I took a sheet of canvas paper and sprayed it with water before again adding the High Flow Acrylic paints.  To see how the color compared with regular watered down acrylics I used some of my regular Golden paints to lay down a layer of blue.  Then, using the High Flow Acrylics I brightened up different areas of the canvas sheet.  I wanted to create highlighted colors that resembled water.  My thoughts on how to finish it was that once dry, I will be able to go back in and stitch around the more intense color areas and see what I get. OK, so I tried to sew through this and broke the needle.  Oh well.  But I still love how the Golden High Flow Acrylics gave me intense areas of color. (I’m sure you will find some use for this beautiful piece!)

 

teamproject1

 

  1. Application with Brusho Water Colors

Since the paints flowed like water I decided to use them with my set of Brusho Crystal Inks.  These are basically water colors.   I took some vellum paper and sprayed it with water and then added the Brusho Water Colors.  Next I dripped on some of the Iridescent Silver paint on the paper.  I really liked how the paint mixed with the water color and gave everything a shimmery look.

 

teamproject4

 

Conclusion

So, I found that what I liked best about the paints was that they produced intense colors and I could play with them like water colors.  Also, since they are acrylic, the paint can be painted over and not bleed or move around.  I’d definitely recommend trying some and seeing what you can do with them.  Now I have to go back and get some more of those magnificent fluorescent colors.

~Venisa

Thanks Venisa for a fun tutorial and review of products. Blue Twig Studio does carry the Golden High Flow Acrylics and the Brusho Crystals – however they are not currently listed on the website, so if you are interested let me know. The Lutradur and the Angelina are listed on the website. Or you can always stop by the shop to see what is available. ~Deb

Let Your Inner Artist out to Play

Blue Twig Studio – 5039 N Academy Blvd – Colorado Springs, CO 80918

719-266-1866

 

 

Color Bursts vs Brusho Crystals

28 Sep
Brusho vs Color Bursts

Color Bursts vs Brusho

I have both the Color Burst and the Brusho Crystals products in the shop. Both appear to be very similar type of products, but I wanted to do a head-to-head comparison on them so I really knew what they both could do.

Color Bursts are concentrated microfine watercolor powder. Brushos are watercolor ink crystals. Similar but not exactly the same. Both can be used in similar ways.

I started with using a watercolor paper (140lb hot press), since they are both watercolor products. I tried them both with sprinkling on the paper first, then adding water, or spritzing the paper with water and then adding color. Both ways work great – it probably depends on the effect you want or how you like to work or how entertaining you find the process. You can go in and blend them further with a brush if you like.

I also tried both of them on glossy photo paper, which offers up another look for you. Both gave great colors and created interesting effects.

I tried them on silk fabric as well, since I know lots of people work on fabric. They both bled nicely into the silk, although they needed quite a bit of water to do so. However, even after drying and heat-setting, they both bled a lot of color when I got them wet again. Definitely not permanent on fabric – even if heat-set. But if you were using a fabric in a mixed media piece that wouldn’t be washed, you might like the results, especially if you were trying to color match something.

I also was able to mix both with small amounts of water and create my own liquid water colors. So if you want to paint something directly, or create a wash of color, or make a spray – it is pretty easy to do. The Brushos do take longer to dissolve in water (which was true no matter which process I was using).

Both also mix well with other mediums. If you like to use a glaze, or gel medium, or fiber paste, or any of those types of things, you can get nice color mixes.

Both do reactivate with water once they are dry. This is common for watercolors, so you just need to be aware of it so you can use it wisely in your projects. You can see I was able to pull brush strokes of color from the original color splotches. Of course, you might want this effect. 🙂

Both are easy to write on with pens or markers once dry. So I am envisioning some beautiful Zentangle® pieces.

As you can see, both offer similar results across the board. The colors are vibrant and blend nicely. The effect you get when sprinkling with water is fun to watch. The main differences are the packaging and the powder vs crystals.

I like the Color Bursts packaginging better. It shows the color right on the label vs the white label with just the color name printed on the Brushos. Much easier to just grab the one you need when you are working. I also like the Color Bursts tips that lightly poof out a very small amount of the powder when you use it. The Brushos have an open top which you can shake out the crystals you want, or dip with a brush or pinch with your fingers. While that gives you more options, I found it was harder to control the amount of crystals. Mostly I ended up using way more than I needed, so there was more waste (you can always punch a couple small holes into the cap so you can use it like a shaker).  I thought the closed bottle with a small tip of the Color Bursts vs the open bottle with the Brushos was better. If you accidentally tip over the Color Bursts, they don’t spill everywhere. Plus if you are working with numerous colors and have all your bottles open, you have to be careful about spraying water into the open bottle of the Brushos. It felt like there was more risk of waste or spillage with the Brushos. However, there are quite a few more colors available in the Brusho crystals than the Color Bursts. Since they are very similar products, I think you could easily mix and match the colors you wanted from each product’s palette and use them in your art.

I really enjoyed using both products and seeing the ‘magic’ results that happen when pigments meet water. I can imagine different ways to use these products to create effects. Plus they are lots of fun, and isn’t that the most important thing? 🙂

There is still more experimenting to be done of course, but this offers you a quick reference to the two products. Both products are available from the shop.

~Deb

Let Your Inner Artist out to Play

Blue Twig Studio – 5039 N Academy Blvd – Colorado Springs, CO 80918

719-266-1866

 

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