Learn How To Create Cards With Versatile Vellum

by Elina Stromberg

Learn How To Create Cards With Versatile Vellum

As a paper crafter, I’m sure you’ve come across a material called vellum. Hundreds of years ago ‘vellum’ was used to describe a thin, yet durable paper made from calf’s skin, but today this translucent, parchment resembling specialty paper is made from cotton and pulp. Vellum is usually white, but it is available in various other colors, too. Vellum’s unique characteristics have made it a popular material among paper crafters. However, some crafters consider vellum to be a bit tricky material to work with and knowing a few tips and tricks may help in the process. The best way to get familiar with the versatility of vellum is just to start playing and experimenting. Let me share with you a couple of ideas of how I like to use this great material.

Layering vellum on patterned paper

Vellum is translucent so it can be placed over a patterned background without completely hiding the underlying pattern. This characteristic is a great way to calm down a busy background, and if you place other elements on the vellum layer they will not blend into the background pattern.

Layering vellum on patterned paper

Transparency of vellum has its pros and cons. The background pattern will show through, but so will most of the adhesives that you need to use for attaching vellum on the background. However, lightweight vellum does not require too much adhesive to stay in place, and the trick is to use glue only on spots that you can cover later with other elements like frames, cut-out images or sentimetns, flowers, sequins, enamel dots, buttons etc. For some projects, a stapler is a good option for fastening, and on other projects, a metal brad will do the trick.

In my card sample, I die-cut a paper frame that I used for hiding the glue marks.

In my card sample, I die-cut a paper frame that I used not only as a fun layout element, but also for hiding the glue marks where the vellum is attached to the background.

 

Heat embossing

Vellum is a great material for heat embossing. Same supplies (VersaMark and Embossing Powders) can be used for vellum and for paper, and the melted powder will stick as it does on paper.

Simply heat emboss the text on a piece of vellum and attach the strip on the card.

Translucent vellum takes heat embossing to a new level, providing new possibilities to layer stamped elements. This is especially the case with stamped sentiment texts that in some cases are tricky to position on a card. Simply heat emboss the text on a piece of vellum and attach the strip on the card. While the vellum will highlight the raised text, its translucent background will let the underlying pattern to show through too.

Coloring with inks or watercolors

Vellum can be colored with markers, pencils, paints, inks, and watercolors. Vellum does not absorb wet media too well and a watercolor painted vellum surface may start to curl. However, this vellum characteristics can be utilized for creating beautiful vellum flowers where you can use the curling as an advantage:

I started with stamping and heat embossing simple flower images on a piece of vellum.

I started with stamping and heat embossing simple flower images on a piece of vellum.

 

I colored the flowers with All-Purpose Ink in Cherry Pink, adding with a water brush quite a rich amount of water on the petals

I colored the flowers with All-Purpose Ink in Cherry Pink, adding with a water brush quite a rich amount of water on the petals. While vellum was still a bit moist, I cut out the flowers and dried the color with a heat gun.

On this card the background is heat-embossed also, using clear embossing powder.

Using the heat gun to dry the wet inks curled up the flower petals, and by layering two stamped flowers I created a beautiful 3-dimensional flower to be used on a card.

If you are not big on heat embossing, Delicata and Brilliance inks will dry on vellum without heat embossing. Remember though that it will take longer to dry on vellum than on standard cardstock.

Dry embossing

Vellum has a smooth finish that can easily be dry-embossed. The result looks amazing, as the embossed lines turn from frosty white to bright white. If you’re using embossing folders and a die-cutting machine, make sure that you’re applying as little pressure as possible on the folder. A detailed image and heavy pressure will easily break the vellum. I prefer using a stylus for dry embossing vellum. In this technique, I place the piece of vellum on a surface that is a bit soft, like the Imagine Craft Mat or a mouse pad, and trace the lines with a stylus. It’s important to apply just enough pressure to change the vellum from translucent to white, as a stylus can also tear or punch the vellum if too much pressure is used.

With a stylus, you can write texts, doodle swirls or draw

With a stylus, you can write texts, doodle swirls or draw. Instead of free-hand drawing, you can also use a stencil as your guidance. Just place a stencil on the vellum and trace the pattern with a stylus:

Instead of free-hand drawing, you can also use a stencil as your guidance.

I attached the vellum panel on the card with a few stitches on each edge as I did not want to frame it for this layout. Instead of hand-stitching, I could have used a sewing machine for attaching; it works just as well!

I used this dry-embossed vellum background for a simple card project. The dry embossed pattern adds a whimsical element that does not compete with the bold sentiment.

Hope these ideas inspire you to use vellum on your craft projects. I’m sure you will love the versatility of it!

Supplies

Imagine
Other
  • American Crafts – Vellum
  • Stamps: Carabelle Studio – ‘Little girl with ball’, Visible Image – ‘Somewhere In Time’, Honey Bee – ‘Congrats’, Stampin’Up! – ‘Diagonal Stripe’, Jasmine Jones+Studio Calico – ‘Happy Birthday’, Altenew – ‘Freeform Greenery’.
  • Other stamps: “Thanks” sentiment, Flowers
  • Sizzix – Nesting dies
  • Fiskars – Stylus
  • Dot stencil
  • Water brush
  • Cardstock
  • Card bases
  • Embroidery yarn & needle

Mythbusting – StazOn Ink & StazOn Cleaner with Clear Stamps

by Nadine Carlier

StazOn ink is a solvent ink that can be used on plastic, glass, metal, paper, and a host of mixed media surfaces and ephemera. So it is natural to assume that it might damage your stamps. We asked Nadine to talk a little bit about why StazOn is totally safe to use with any stamp set!

Supplies

Other

Tips and Tricks: Crafting on a Budget

by Roni Johnson

Tips and Tricks: Crafting on a Budget

Crafting can get pricey! If you are spending too much on crafting and it is taking some of the joy out of it then we are sharing some easy ways to scale back but still engage in a great crafting routine. There are lots of articles out there about crafting on a budget and most of them discuss the same list of common sense ideas…

  • Price shop
  • Clip Coupons (IRL or web)
  • Shop at Dollar Stores or Thrift Stores
  • Upcycle/Recycle various items
  • Search web for ideas/patterns

These general ideas are nice and they are a good start but I want to give you some specific ideas and tips to help you save not only money but something more valuable…your time.

Buy Unmounted Rubber Stamps

Unmounted stamps can cost as much as 50-80% less than traditional wood mounted stamps, take up less space and are easy to store and use. To use unmounted rubber stamps, apply Tack ‘N Peel to your acrylic blocks. This is a clear reusable cling sheet that has a protective liner sheet that can be used over and over. Once it has been affixed to the acrylic block it is very simple to use, remove the clear liner sheet; position the stamp on the block as desired, ink and stamp. When you are finished stamping simply peel the rubber stamp off the block and replace the liner. If the Tack ‘N Peel loses its “sticky” quality simply wash with water and let it dry. After it is dry it will once again be ready to use.

Make your own Texture Stamps and Stencils

This is a fun and easy task when you stop and look around your home. You’ll be surprised at how many items can be turned into a usable texture for all sorts of crafts. For example, lace, food netting, cheesecloth can all be used as a stamp or stencil. Foam food trays can be carved to create stamps, bubble wrap, rubber bands, fibers, leaves, coins can all be turned into stamps by sticking them to an acrylic block. Pencils tips are great for the bokeh technique, kitchen utensils, game pieces, tools, feathers, flowers, and more can also be put to use. You only have to take a moment and look around to see what you have on hand that will create fun and new stamps or stencils for your art.

Clearly Embossed

Let’s face it there are hundreds if not thousands of colors and brands of embossing powders on the market. You could easily spend a small fortune collecting the various embossing powders available today. A great option is clear embossing powder; the original ink color will shine through and match your project perfectly. No need to sort through jar after jar trying to find the right color to match your project and no more storing all of those little jars either! Tip: Did you know you can turn virtually any dye ink into an emboss-able image? Press your stamp onto a VersaMark ink pad then onto a dye ink pad and then stamp the image. The image can now be embossed because of the VersaMark ink. This works particularly well with a clean VersaMark ink pad for lighter colors and I keep an old grungy VersaMark for darker colors.

Make Pattern Papers

Let’s face it, most of us have more pattern paper to last us the rest of our lives so instead of buying yet another sheet, pack or collection, break out your stamps and make your own pattern! It’s easy; all you need is a sheet of plain cardstock, ink and complimenting stamps. All sorts of designs can be achieved quickly and easily. Give it a try, you’ll be surprised how quickly it is to make. Making a pattern doesn’t have to be perfect…if you make a stamping mistake, look at it as an opportunity to embellish!

Coloring Pages as Art

There are thousands of beautiful coloring sheets up for grabs on the internet free for your personal use. These coloring pages are great because they can be re-sized to fit your particular project and they can be used for backgrounds as well as the main focal point. You can choose to print the images on the appropriate paper to fit your particular use and mediums you would like to incorporate be it plain cardstock, bristol cardstock, watercolor paper, mixed media paper and more. The uses are limitless.

No More Waste

To eliminate wasting various mediums by keeping a supply of plain tags or A2 size blank cardstock panels handy when you are creating. Use these spare pieces to pick up excess medium from your work surface and tools. You may choose to pick up mediums once or several times depending on your preference. These tags and panels can then be used to create one of a kind artwork in a snap. All of the hard work has already been done. Simply pop on the main image and/or sentiment and your set to go. Instant card or tag for whatever your need.

Multiples

When you’re making a card or gift be sure to work in multiples! By doing so you will cut down on waste and left-over scraps. If you use a quarter sheet of cardstock rather than pitch the extra or place it in the never-ending scrap basket make two or three similar cards to help use up all of the extra bits. Rather than having a basket full of scraps that you might or might not use you’ll end up with a basket of finished cards, tags, ATC’s, etc. that can be used in a moment’s notice.

No matter how you structure you crafting habits and budget you will find there are several ways to keep costs at a minimum. Thank you for stopping by the Imagine Blog!

Supplies

Imagine

Learn the Basics of Stenciling

by Iris Rodriguez

Learn the Basics of Stenciling

Stencils are a great tool to use for creating images and effects on just about any creative project. You can decorate a  journal with them, create card backgrounds and textures, use in your paintings, or in home décor projects. Imagine’s inkpads, inks, sprays, and texture mediums can all be used with stencils. In addition, Imagine has you covered with applicators such as Sponge Daubers, Palette knives, and Stipple brushes. In this article, I’ll discuss some ways to organize, use with different products, proper care and cleaning your stencils.

Organizing Your Stencils

There many ways to organize your stencils. One excellent way is to search crafting, office and home goods stores for options on storage containers. Whichever you choose, it’s important to lay them flat. I think on of the best ways to keep them flat is to use dividers in storage bins or drawers. File folders can be found in office supply stores. Label your dividers by type, theme, or designer. Another way to store stencils in a three-ring binder book inside plastic page protectors. Place color cardstock paper so that you can see the stencil and maximize storage by storing two stencils on one sheet.

If you have an open crafting space then hang stencils with metal hook clips on a rack. I like the idea of hanging my stencils because I can easily go through them and find what I am looking for. I punch a hole in the corners of my stencils and place them in a binder ring.

I have an IKEA wooden shelving unit to store my crafting storage bins. I’ve attached long screws on the side to hang my stencils. Hanging them freed up space and I can easily access them. Some alternatives are to hang them on a clothes hanger with a metal hook or binder clips, store them flat in bins or drawer or hang them on revolving wire three-tier shoe rack with a metal hook or binder clips.

Stenciling with Imagine Inks

Imagine’s Inkblushers and Sponge Daubers work great with stencils because the soft sponge material presses ink down past the edges of the stencil’s details. The sponges produce sharp edges and finely detailed inking better than most other tool. If you have a highly detailed stencil, the sponge materials are especially handy for getting into small and intricate opening, or getting around the tight areas of the stencil.

Stenciling with All-Purpose Ink and Inkblushers. Add a couple of ink drops to your crafting mat and pounce the Inkblusher over the ink. Inkblushers are highly absorbent and work well with Imagine’s All-Purpose Inks.

Inkblushers can also be used to stencil with acrylic paints. Like with inks, you can get clean edges and good detail. Wash the Inkblusher under running water immediately. If you cannot get to the sink right away, wipe off as much paint as you can and then keep it in water, like your paintbrush water. If left out without being washed, the paint will dry and harden the Inkblusher. Unfortunately, the paint cannot be washed out. However, all is not lost; only the area that had the paint will harden, and not harden the entire sponge. Using your scissors, cut off the piece with the hardened paint and continue to use.

Imagine’s Jumbo Daubers provide fine detailed inking. The handle allows you to have great control and pressure over the stencils. Imagine’s Jumbo Daubers also work great Acrylic paints. Add a few drops of paint to your craft mat, pounce the Dauber on the paint, then pounce the Dauber onto a clean area on your mat. Get the paint evenly on the Dauber and avoid globs of paint. If you get too much paint on the Dauber, it will go under the stencil.

Imagine’s Creative Mediums are smooth acrylic pastes that provide yummy textures for any project. This is where stencils are very different from stamps because you can create an image with texture. Use Imagine’s palette knives and Squeegee to add the Creative Medium. Silver Metallic Creative Medium using a palette knife. Imagine’s Multi-purpose Squeegee has a wider surface; perfect for using with larger stencils with large openings. Use a palette knife to add the medium onto the Squeegee.

Imagine’s Fireworks Craft Spray makes stenciling a breeze. To get clean patterns, start spraying from the outside edges of the paper and spray inwards. Change up the starting point and spray. By starting from the outside, avoids harsh spray edges or heavy splotches of ink. Clean up is easy, simply wipe off your stencil and craft mat with a dry paper/cotton towel. To double down on the stencil effects you can “stamp” the wet ink from the stencil onto another piece of cardstock.

Create unique effects with Imagine Stipple brushes. These brushes have a flat, firm bristle head for stippling. It can be used on just about any surface. They are great for stenciling on fabric for getting into the grain. This creates patterns of fine dots by pouncing the brush onto the substrate. Scumble by brushing at a slight angle in a random fashion. This creates brushstrokes and because of brush’s firm bristles, it won’t get under the stencil.

Cleaning the Stencils

One of the hardest things about working with stencils is cleaning them. Even so, keeping your stencils clean will help to maintain clean edges, last longer and you’ll have a clean stencil for your next project. The key to success for keeping stencils clean, regardless of the medium, is to clean them immediately with a wet paper/cloth towel or baby wipe. Depending on the medium you will have ink/paint residue.

When using pigment inks, All-Purpose Ink, or dye inks, wipe the stencil immediately with a wet paper/cloth towel, or baby wipe. Since these inks are water-based the stencil will clean up quickly and completely. When using permanent inks, simply wiping the stencil off with water, will not get it clean. Use a stamp cleaner or Rubbing Alcohol to clean your stencil. Imagine’s StazOn All-Purpose Stamp Cleaner works well for cleaning ink off your stencils. Dab the cleaner on the stencil and wipe with a dry paper/cloth towel. The cleaner tends to leave a little bit of an oily residue. Simply wipe it off with a clean wet paper/cloth towel.

Acrylics paints are harder on stencils than inks. Acrylic paint can leave heavy buildup on your stencils and distort the edges. As with inks, clean the stencil immediately after using with a wet paper/cloth towel or baby wipe. Get as much paint off of it, as possible.

Use a cleaning or nail brush and soap to clean your stencils. Mix handwashing/dishwashing or Artist Painter’s type soap with water in a container. Dip the brush and scrub the paint off the stencil. Lay the stencil flat and rub gently, avoid bending the openings.

Sources

http://www.shellybailey.com/2014/03/project-life-2014-title-page-and.html

Source: https://www.sadieseasongoods.com/stencil-storage-magazine-rack/

Source: http://www.arthappy.me/paint-storage-display-idea/

Source: http://www.arthappy.me/paint-storage-display-idea/

Learn the Basics of Mixed Media

by Kassy Tousignant

Learn the Beginning Basics of Mixed Media

The world of mixed media has exploded over the last several years. I have to admit, I have caught the bug and there’s no turning back. Have you seen an altered 3-D object or canvas with many textural elements and just wondered how the artist created it? I am always trying to pick things apart and figure out how they are made. I love the challenge of reproducing a cool effect or technique and even more, I love when unexpected results lead to something better than I couldn’t have imagined.

There are many different tools and supplies to use in this area of artistic expression. It can get overwhelming especially if you are just starting out. I’m going to break it down for you and give you a list of supplies to get started and maybe a few tried and true techniques to help your imagination take off!

Let’s break down some basic elements of Mixed Media!

Surfaces

First, you need a substrate, which is the surface on which you are going to create. It can be paper, wood, fabric, metal or canvas. Here I have a paper tag and a canvas board. There are no limits on what type of substrate you can work on—the only limit is your imagination.

Gesso

If you have a cool idea for a mixed media project, it is helpful to gesso your substrate. Gesso generally comes in clear, white or black and is used to prime the surface. It is not acrylic paint. Gesso prepares your surface so that when you spray, paint, or stamp on it later, all pigments will behave the same way every time. When you are working on different surfaces like paper, fabric, glass, chipboard, metal, resin, the best way to ensure your pigments are going to behave the way you expect is to cover everything with a layer of gesso first. It presents a neutral ground and you will have much better results.

Gesso applied to a canvas with a flat tipped brush.

Coat your surface with a nice layer of gesso to prepare it for texture and pigment. Don’t forget to let it dry before moving on.

Texture Paste

Copper metallic creative medium and shimmer creative medium with palette knives.

Texture is a wonderful aspect of creating mixed media art. Texture allows the viewer’s eye to wander to all the fine details of the project. To create texture, you will need a type of texture paste and a palette knife. To make structured texture elements, you’ll also need a stencil or two. For each of these 3 items, there is a considerable amount of variation of product to chose from. Let’s start with texture paste. I’ll break them up into two broader categories. There is a gel, which comes in different finishes (glossy, semi-gloss, matte) and thicknesses. Imagine makes a great gel paste called Creative Medium. It comes in different metallic colors, iridescent colors, and clear. Gels that have a gloss finish tend to resist pigments when dried on a surface. This can be useful when the shiny resist effect is desired. Then there is modeling paste. These tend to be good as a strong adhesive for heavier objects. It is opaque and less flexible than gel. To spread these pastes, you need some palette knives. They come in different shapes and they are usually either plastic or metal. Both types of palette knives work well and it mainly comes down to a preference of the artist and the type of stencil you are working with.

Scoop some of the texture paste, in this case Creative Medium, out of it’s container with a palette knife. Spread it over the stencil on to your surface ike you are icing a cake. You don’t need to cover your entire surface or use the entire stencil, just spread it where you want it. Lift off the stencil and let dry before moving forward.

Pigments

Finally, you get to add color! You have prepped your substrate and now it is ready to receive the colors and inks to create a theme and mood. Whether it is paint or ink, the pigments and colorants come in all types of mediums such as water-based, solvent-based or oil-based. Tsukineko and Imagine offer a variety of inks that work wonderfully with mixed media art. Imagine has Fireworks and Walnut ink sprays, irRESISTible colored texture sprays, and Pico embellishers. Tsukineko’s All-Purpose Ink is a rich dense pigment ink that can be used as a wonderful colorant. Depending on what you are creating and what effect you are trying to achieve there are many colorants to get your desired effect.

Now that your surface is prepped and textured, you get to add color—my favorite part. Have fun!

Check out more of Kassy’s awesome mixed media projects on YouTube!

 

The Elements of Design for Crafters

by Melissa Andrew

See what design elements make a cardmaking project pop!

There are simple principals papercrafters and mixed media artists can follow to create gorgeous designs. If you think about the cards, scrapbook layouts, and canvases that you love, what are the defining elements? In the crafting industry, you hear words and phrases like “clean and simple, monochromatic and layered” which refers to a style or technique. But, the simple fact is that the creations you feel the most attracted to have one thing in common–good design.

See what design elements make a project pop!

Color

Whether it’s a bright and bold piece or a soft and subtle piece, color can either draw you in or send you flying. Let’s start with the color wheel. A color wheel itself is quite appealing and often in papercrafting, you see the use of rainbows as a part of the concept. But let’s talk about colors that can be put together to really entice your audience to want more.

Some of my favorite crafters use these complimentary colors so beautifully that it’s hard to look away. Complimentary colors are those opposite of each other on the color wheel. Card designs with blue and orange, red and green or purple and yellow paper colors or matching inks tend to stand out. When applying color theory to your project, remember not to think of these colors in a rigid way. Blue can have many hues and saturation such as turquoise, sky blue, and teal so the compliment is not a static orange but a coral, light orange, or yellow-orange. There are many tools and color charts to help you explore color theory. See the links below for Imagine’s article on the subject.

Texture

The human eye is amazing. We can naturally pick up details that are difficult to explain. Often in mixed media, the main goal is to create texture and detail to allow the eye to get lost in the magic of wandering around the design. You begin with a plain flat canvas and you add various elements to create patterns of smooth and rough or raised and flat. Another point of interest with texture is the desire to reach out and touch an element on a piece of artwork. In the image above the “you” die cut has a layer of Creative Medium in Shimmer to give a shiny texture from the rest of the card. There are a number of products that help achieve texture in card making or scrapbooking. A few of my favorite are Creative Medium, irRESISTible and even the use of fabrics on a card or scrapbook page. If you are curious about the photo above then see the full tutorial.

Shape and Form

Shape and form can go hand in hand when it comes to making a craft or a piece of art. Whether it is a square, star, heart, circle, or diamond, the shape is clear to identify and the list of possibilities is endless. Form has to do with dimension which can be another rabbit hole to explore. In paper crafting, shading an image, adding foam tape to a layer, or making a pop-up gives a project a 2D or 3D effect. Together, shape and form can change the whole appearance of a card and make it more visually appealing. In the photo above, the card has three layers–the hearts and sequins on the top, the pink linen layer has the large circles cut out in the middle, and “too sweet” sentiment and heart-shapes stamped on the base working in harmony to maximize visual interest.

Line and Space

When you hear people who design for a living speak about “line” they typically mean the addition of lines to add framing, cohesion or emotion. In card making, you often see people adding layers of paper. Layering can add little boxes to a design or layout that is an effective way to make a sentiment more noticeable. Or you might see hand-drawn doodles or stitching that has the same effect. Even a simple ribbon on a card can add a subtle line that says I’m finished, clean and organized. This line creates …. space! Space can be an important aspect as it really sets up the whole design. If too many elements are spaced oddly on a card the eye will not know where to focus. A quick and easy rule to remember is odd numbers tend to look better. If you’d like to add bling, try doing so in sets of three. This can often bring balance to your space.

Resources

Understanding these basic principals and using them to create a beautiful card, layout or canvas can help you love your artwork even more. These rules aren’t meant to constrain an artist but are intended to give you a place to start and to give you confidence. Try to keep the few principals in mind when creating and watch your creations be transformed.

Color Theory

What Ink Should I Use

Cutting Tools

Embossing Basics