Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Trees Christmas Card


 
Last year I may have posted this Christmas card, but when I came across it this year, I updated it with glitter glue garland.  You can better see the glitter by clicking on this image to enlarge it.
 
The original substrate was a sheet of sturdy cardstock that I covered with a coat of gold metallic acrylic paint.
 
I used my 9"x12" stencil Mimosa to sponge in first a red print, and after that print dried, a green print.  For the first print, I faced the stencil in one direction; for the second print, I faced the stenil in the opposite direction.  This way the green print and the red print cris-cross each other. 

From that sheet, I cut 3 tall triangles and 3 narrow rectangles.  (Along the bottoms of the triangles, I used Friskars decorative scissors.)  Then I assembled the trees atop a 6"x6" white greeting card blank (JamPaper.com.)
The 9"x12" Mimosa stencil itself looks like this --
 

 The Postal Service has a non-machineable surcharge of 22 cents for 6"x6" envelopes.  So the cost to mail a card of these dimensions is currently 71 cents.  I make things easy on myself by just using two Forever stamps.  But one of these days I'll go to the Post Office and get a roll of 22-cent stamps...
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Church Window Christmas Card made with Alcohol Inks

 
I stumbled upon a treasure when I discovered "metallic" greeting card blanks at JamPaper.com  ... I always feel that when I start with a blank that's already coated with a pretty surface, I've been given a head  start. This is especially true of the "pearlized" card blank that I used here, because its soft glow shows thru the alcohol inks in a way that this photo can't capture:




An added bonus is that these "metallic" cards are cut from sturdy cardstock that tolerates some serious art-making.  (No, I don't own stock in Jam Paper!)

I use the card blanks that are just slightly smaller than 6"x6" so that they perfectly fit my 6"x6" stencils.  But in this case, I used one of my 9"x12" stencils, Facets, because I wanted to create the illusion of a church window for a Christmas card cover.

First, I (masking) taped a stencil over the front of the card; then I traced the lines of the design with a black Sharpie pen.  

Next, I dropped the alcohol inks over the stencil and let them run and mix at will, with a little drop-by-drop encouragement of rubbing alcohol.  (For some reason, the blending solution that comes with the alcohol inks didn't work.) 

Next time, I'll use the dauber tools that are meant to be used with alcohol inks, but this time around, I wanted to experiment with just dropping on the inks and letting them dry.

I made the mistake of letting them dry TOO much.  So the stencil stuck to the card surface and, when lifted, it made a tear in the upper right area, above.   (This was repaired, after the above scan, using a layer of liquid gloss medium.)


Friday, December 18, 2015

It Was a Challenge...


 ... to scan this Christmas card in a way that really shows the gleam of the textured silver acrylic paint and the red glitter that outlines the leaves; I did the best I could, and you'll just have to trust me that the original looks a lot better!


I used a sponge to apply the textured silver paint thru my 6"x6" stencil Pressed Leaves, working on a red background.  After that dried, I cut off some edges around the leaves and glued the print onto a green greeting card blank.  My last touch was to outline the silver leaves with a red glitter pen.

Another Christmas card just came off my "production line"...



This time, I used my 4"x4" stencil Fern Fronds Silhouette Mini

My first step was to secure the stencil to the 6"x6" greeting card blank, using masking tape.  Then, with an old credit card, I spread heavy-body silver metallic acrylic paint across the stencil.  

Once I lifted the stencil, I saw areas that weren't up to par.  So after the heavy-body silver paint had dried, I added glitter glue to some of the individual fronds (clicking on the image above, you can enlarge it to better see those areas.)  I also added squiggles in red glitter glue, creating a frame.  

Again I have to say that the original card looks a lot better than the scanned image above; it's indeed a challenge for me to capture the gleam of metallic paints, foils, etc.! 

Regarding the second greeting card above ... Because its deep bronze metallic cardstock is very dark, I lined the inside of the card with lightweight paper, cut to fit.  

Above is what the inside of my cards looks like, after the light paper is added.

Other artists would probably skip that step and, instead, use white markers or pens to fill out the inside of these greeting cards.  

Check with the Postal Service before mailing 6"x6" greeting cards -- there is a non-machinable surcharge for sending mail of these dimensions.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas Card with Self-Adhesive Foil and Fern Fronds Silhouette Stencil Mini




Above is one of the Christmas cards I made using Inkssentials self-adhesive foil from Ranger Industries.  Foil is very difficult to photograph, but I love working with this surface because embossing it is so easy and quick.  The results are subtle, not flashy (unless alcohol inks are introduced.  Something for me to try, one of these days!) 

My first step was to measure the foil needed to cover the front of a blank greeting card, as already shown in another post --




Then, I placed my 4"x4" stencil Fern Fronds Silhouette Stencil Mini on top of the foil, holding it in place as I traced the openings with a stylus--

Note: this stencil is stained green as result of a previous project.  Click on the image to enlarge it and better see the embossed lines made with the stylus (pictured at the photo top.)

My 4"x4" Fern Fronds Silhouette Stencil Mini is what I chose to use this time, but the blank greeting card was large enough for me to have used  any 6"x6" stencil.  I buy these sturdy, square greeting card blanks from JamPaper.com.
 

After I lifted the stencil, its embossed outlines were revealed:

 


After this, I introduced Titanium White acrylic paint -- 



 -- which I brushed across the surface, then quickly removed most of it with a paper towel.  This method was called "antiquing" back when I first learned it.  The goal is to leave a hit-and-miss look, with foil showing thru in most areas, and with the majority of the paint remaining in the embossed areas:

Click on the above image to better see the remaining white paint.


Next, I got out the glitter glue.  (You can tell I live close to the Ranger Industries warehouse, where periodic sales result in my bringing home lots of their products!)  Below are two photos showing the border I created this way: 





Now I wanted to add some color, so I used red glitter glue to apply dots--

 
Above These dots are easier to see in the finished greeting card, shown at the start of this post.
 
Once the glitter dried, I peeled off the white backing paper and applied the foil to the front of the Christmas card -- as shown in the top photo in this post.

Check with the Postal Service before mailing 6"x6" greeting cards -- there is a non-machinable surcharge for sending mail of these dimensions.


Friday, December 11, 2015

Christmas Cards....I'm on a Roll

 
More Christmas cards ...  

Both cards below were made with dark bronze metallic greeting card blanks sold by JamPaper.com.  These are cut from sturdy cardstock and they perfectly fit my 6"x6" stencils.  Sturdy cardstock is important when the greeting card has to stand up to coarse modeling paste, used in the first 2 cards below:

The card above was made with my 6"x6" stencil BUDDING BRANCHES.

The above Christmas card was made with my 6"x6" stencil Swaying Grasses.


The above card was made with part of my 9"x12" stencil Queen Anne's Lace.
I created the top 2 cards using an art spatula to spread coarse modeling paste thru the stencil openings.  After the paste dried, I added highlights with glitter glue.

My approach to the third card, made with a portion of Queen Anne's Lace, was to spray acrylic paint thru the stencil openings.  Since this stencil measures 9"x12", I masked off portions of it to keep them from showing.  The same finishing touch was used on this third Christmas card, altho you may have to click on the image to enlarge it, to better see the glitter glue.

Acrylic spray paint is available on store shelves, but I make my own, so I can mix custom colors.  (See the photo below.)  I buy spray bottles at drug stores (in the traveling supplies section); then I fill them with a mix of acrylic liquid paint, water and airbrush medium.  The ratio of water to acrylic liquid paint varies, depending on whether I want to end up with a heavy spray or a light one.  The amount of airbrush medium never varies -- it's always just a few drops per spray bottle.  I clean the spray nozzles after each use.  But if they clog between uses, anyway, then I use rubbing alcohol to clear them.


Because the dark bronze metallic cardstock is just that -- very dark -- I line the insides of the cards with lightweight papers, cut to fit.  

Above is what the inside of my cards looks like, after the light paper is added.

Other artists would probably skip that step and, instead, use white markers or pens to fill out the inside of these greeting cards.

Check with the Postal Service before mailing 6"x6" greeting cards -- there is a non-machinable surcharge for sending mail of these dimensions; it comes to 71 cents per card.  I just add 2 Forever stamps ... easier that way.

My last Christmas card for today was made with my 4"x4" Fern Fronds Silhouette Mini Stencil:

 
I made this last card by spreading heavy-body metallic silver acrylic paint across the stencil, on a substrate of dark blue paper.  After the paint dried, I cut out the image with decorative Friskar scissors.  Next, gluing this to the white greeting card blank, I outlined it with glitter glue.  I also used glitter on the red center of the candle's flame.  

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Thinking Outside the Box...with BOXED VINES


Further stretching the idea of making Christmas cards with stencils not usually connected to Christmas, I made three 6"x6"cards with my 9"x12"stencil Boxed Vines... 



I started with a less-than-perfect Gelli Plate print, in a deep dark red, that I'd made with this stencil.  

I disguised the flaws using an artist's spatula to spread a thin layer of textured silver paint over most of the surface of this flawed Gelli Plate print.  (I'd made the paint by mixing white modeling paste with silver metallic powder.)  

I used the same spatula to cover the rest of the flawed print with a thin layer of reflective silver acrylic paint.  

Once the two silvery paints had dried, I cut the images into pieces to fit my 6"x6" dark bronze greeting card blanks (JamPaper.com.)  As a last step, I added swirls and dots with glitter glue...





 I still have the problem of not capturing reflective surfaces in a way that's fully accurate.  The above images look ho-hum compared with the cards themselves!

Because this deep bronze metallic cardstock is very dark, I line the insides of the cards with lightweight papers, cut to fit.  

Above is what the inside of my cards looks like, after the light paper is added.

Other artists would probably skip that step and, instead, use white markers or pens to fill out the inside of these greeting cards.  

Check with the Postal Service before mailing 6"x6" greeting cards -- there is a non-machinable surcharge for sending mail of these dimensions.

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Holly and the Ivy -- Well, at Least the Ivy -- with Stencils

 
A minority of my Christmas cards are made without reflective surfaces, in the traditional colors of red and green.

For today's post I used my 9"X12" stencil Ivy Frame...



 
Above:  I used masking tape to secure this 9X12 stencil to cardstock with a parchment-like print.  Next, I used a Distress Ink applicator brush (top right) to fill in the stencil openings with cranberry ink from a regular (not Distress) stamp pad containing dye ink.  While the ink was still damp, I used a swab to add green Pan Pastel to the edges and tips of the ivy leaves.  Below:  another shot that better shows the details--

Above:  The sheet of parchment paper after the stencil was lifted. 
After removing the stencil from the parchment paper, I sprayed the paper with Blair Fixative to keep the Pan Pastel from smearing.
This last image, below, is not a Christmas card, but while I had my card-making supplies out, I made its background using my other ivy stencil, Ivy 6: 

 
 My substrate was an old blueprint ... because I think "oddment" papers make for interesting backdrops.  Over the blueprint, I scraped textured pink acrylic paint thru this 6"x6" ivy stencil.  After that paint dried, I topped it with a spray-painted print made with a portion of my 6"x6" Gingko stencil.  Then I added swirls of glitter glue above and below the white print, as well as outlining the gingko leaves with the same glitter.  The glitter shows better when you click on the image to enlarge it.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Christmas Tree Greeting Card



I think it's fun to create Christmas trees using materials that aren't normally associated with Christmas...and less fun, trying to fully capture the festive beauty of reflective foil!  Below are two shots of the same Christmas card, under different lighting conditions:





 I started with a sheet of Inkssentials self-adhesive foil from Ranger Industries.  I love working with this surface because embossing it is so easy and quick.  

My next step was to measure the foil needed to cover the front of a blank greeting card measuring 6"x6" (JamPaper.com). 




Then, I placed my  stencil on top of the foil, using masking tape to block off the areas on the stencil that I didn't want to use.  Holding the stencil in place, I traced the openings with a stylus.

I lifted the stencil to reveal an embossed tree shape.
 
Wanting to try something new, I got out a mini paint applicator sold in the model airplane/car section of Michaels.  Alongside that I used a disposable foam plate to pour out a little Golden High Flow acrylic (Permanent Green Light.) 

The embossed outlines were very helpful as I carefully used the mini paint applicator to fill in the shapes that had started life as a fern but that now had a different starring role.

After the green paint had dried, I got out the glitter glue -- 2 colors from Ranger Industries:  Sparkles Diamond and Sparkles Ruby.  I used them to place ornaments on my tree.

Once the glitter dried, I trimmed off excess foil along the edges.  Finally, I peeled off the white backing paper and applied the foil to the front of the Christmas card -- as shown at the top of this post.

Because the dark bronze metallic cardstock is just that -- very dark -- I line the insides of the cards with lightweight papers, cut to fit.  

Above is what the inside of my cards looks like, after the light paper is added.

Other artists would probably skip that step and, instead, use white markers or pens to fill out the inside of these greeting cards.  

Check with the Postal Service before mailing 6"x6" greeting cards -- there is a non-machinable surcharge for sending mail of these dimensions.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Christmas Card Making with Stencils




The Christmas card cover shown above was a dilly to photograph because of its foil base, which reflected everything in sight.  (Can you tell I was wearing blue when I shot this?)  

The quick, easy steps I took to make the card are here:

I chose my (much-used and paint-stained) 9"x12" stencil Boxed Vines and self-adhesive foil sheets as shown above.



Next, I measured off a section of foil to fit the blank greeting card.  I used a stylus for this step, as well as the following steps, but a ballpoint pen would work.



The red circle above spotlights one of the areas where I have used the stylus to draw indented shapes into the foil (which has been placed under the stencil.)  The openings in the stencil were my guide.  Below is a close-up showing a larger version of these outlined shapes. 



Below:  The stencil has been lifted off the foil.   


Below are 2 close-ups showing glitter glue that I used to outline some of the embedded shapes:




The last steps were to cut this section of the foil off from the full sheet, then to peel off the self-adhesive backing and press it to the greeting card blank that's shown at the top of this post.