Wednesday, July 16, 2014

As Gomer Would Have Said ... Surprise, Surprise, Surprise! Or was it Guber?

My thanks to my friend Mary Ann Russo, who alerted me to this YouTube video by Journal Artista Paula Phillips --

--that updates an old technique, packing tape transfer.  It's done exactly like the original technique, except that a stencil is sandwiched between the paper and the overlapping rows of clear packing tape.

Not just any stencil.  It's important to choose a design that has no loose, unattached lines or designs.  An example of this kind of stencil is my 9"X12" Facets Precious Gems . Clicking on the image below to enlarge it, you can see that all the lines forming the design are attached to other lines.  Also note that the lines themselves are thick, as opposed to the thin lines that are needed in other types of stencils -- for example,  Vintage Script has thick and thin lines (to create the look of calligraphy.)

Above:  The bottom layer is a colorful magazine cover.  The middle layer is my stencil.  The hard-to-see top layer is a row of clear packing tape strips, laid across the stencil and paper with each strip of tape slightly overlapping the next strip.  My next step was to burnish the entire surface with a tool like a bone folder, to insure that the stencil and paper were in full contact with the top layer of clear tape.  Without this step, the overall design details would have been lost.
Having done this kind of transfer many times in the past, I was expecting it to turn out exactly as it had in the video cited above.  I placed the 3-part sandwich into a basin of water and waited, assuming that when I lifted it out again, I would need to manually rub off the paper to leave only the colored inks on the clear tape. 
Imagine my surprise when I came back to the soak basin and saw the paper (formerly a magazine cover) floating by itself -- no longer attached to the rest of the sandwich!  Below is that sheet of paper, which naturally wrinkled during its drying period.

And below is the layer of tape and the imprint of colorful inks now embedded into the sticky side of the tape-sheet--

 They look almost identical here, but the difference between them is that the top one, being paper, is still as opaque as it originally was, and it has no shine.  The lower one is translucent, just like every transfer, and it's shiny because it's made from clear packing tape. 

I haven't yet found a use for the paper, but the transfer has been cut into halves and used on greeting card covers.

Above:  This is a silvery 6"X6" greeting card.  This picture doesn't capture the shimmer of the silvery cardstock; here, it shows up as a faintly gray background.  It has to be seen in person to appreciate the sheen of the background, showing thru the translucent transfer.

Above is the cover of another greeting card, this one 5"X7".  On both cards, I've added embellishments that I made from wooden hearts and scrap papers.
Okay, what caused the surprise? 

I think two factors were involved.  All clear packing tapes are not created equal.  Different brands might very well yield different results.  I used the generic Staples brand of tape.

And, as JournalArtista Paula Phillips mentioned in her video, there is also a wide difference in magazine pages and covers.  I happened to choose one that was probably created with minimal expense, since it was a free hand-out at Whole Foods.

So I advise using free hand-outs for this technique, because it may save you the trouble of all that rubbing to remove the paper!

One last word:  As I mentioned earlier, for this technique, avoid using stencils of a more flimsy type.  If the stencil and tape stick firmly together, as they did in the video, a more fragile stencil could be damaged. 

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