June 13, 2009

Create your own stamp from 3-D objects

Posted in Art, Art for beginners, Beginner's art, Crafts, Learning art, Rubber stamping, Techniques (art) tagged at 12:26 pm by amateur-in-art

I came across this technique in the book, Altered Book Collage by Barbara Matthiessen. She calls it “monoprint background” – which of course, it is – but I think of it more as a stamp. It is an easy and simple way to get some really cool looks. I think of it as sort of “negative stamping” – where the item or object is ‘blank” and the background has all the ink or color.

Get a block of fairly thick foam. I found a garden kneepad thingy at Target for $1 and it worked just fine!

Lay out the 3 dimensional objects you wish to use to create your stamp and put them on a sturdy surface.

Heat the foam using your heat gun.

**CAUTION: As always, use care and precautions when using the heat gun, do not get it too close to the foam, yourself, or flammable objects, and to be on the safe side (because I don’t know what kind of chemicals might be released when the foam is heated) – I would advise having good ventilation. Mathiessen also gives no caution about fumes, but foam is synthetic so who knows what kind of chemicals might be present. Always be safe, whatever you do! If you attempt this procedure, you do so at your own risk.

When the foam is hot, press it down on top of your objects. Remove. Let foam cool.

Voila! You now have a stamp that you can use with ink, paint, or what-have-you to make a really cool impression! Better still, when you are finished, you can heat the foam again to “erase” the initial impression and reuse the foam to create a different stamp using different objects.

BlueKeyStamp

The blue impression and the pink foam "stamp".

Lessons learned:

It is best to have all objects be the same approximate thickness.

Very thick objects may be difficult to remove from foam when you reheat to “erase” it. For instance, I was able to “erase” the keys in the foam – but after two tries, my locks still have not totally “disappeared.”

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© amateur-in-art, 2009

April 19, 2009

Soul Journal – Day 20 – Bookmark

Posted in Art, Art for beginners, Art journals, Art samples, Beginner's art, Collage, Learning art, Rubber stamping, Soul Journal tagged at 9:37 pm by amateur-in-art

Also as part of Day 20, we are to make a bookmark. In the original Soul Journal, the bookmark was part of a swap, but that was many months ago, and I’m not sure I’d want to give away mine anyway (it has its flaws, but it’s mine).

Actually, I ended up with two bookmarks. The first one I started by doing a photocopy transfer using acetone (fingernail polish remover). I had already torn up my photocopies of Day 6 and so I did the photocopy transfer using strips from that page.

firstbookmarkcopies

It is a really simple technique. Just lay the photocopy face-down on the page, dab the back of it with acetone, burnish – and there’s your transfer! You can see the area where I transferred the orange/yellow panel with a pattern just above it in this picture. Here’s a picture of the final version, below.

firstbookmark1

I didn’t like the “stripe” that showed up in the middle of my tag. It is some sort of aberration in the paper or something, I think. Maybe it has to do with how they were manufactured. Overall I like this tag, but clearly it needs more work and is just a beginning. I wasn’t sure what to do or where to go to next with it, so I just tossed it aside and started afresh.

This time, I took torn bits from Day 18 and covered a tag. I used the stamp that is my avatar (the half-face of a woman) but because the surface was uneven, it did not stamp well.

bookmarkstart

Undaunted, I pressed on. I had just seen some fabulous new stamps from Tim Holtz at the store, and knew I wanted to use the flying bird image and the “Soul/Journey” phrase on my new bookmark!

bookmarkstamps

I decided to give embossing a shot. I had gotten a heat tool and some embossing powder a little while back and had not tried it yet. This was all new to me, but since I had already made one mistake I wasn’t happy with, I figured I had nothing left to lose. So I did that, and although the image turned out much stronger with the embossing (an important lesson) – it still did not stamp correctly, due to the uneven surface of the different bits and pieces of paper glued down together. I was really disappointed that the “The Journey Awakens the Soul” phrase did not come out well.

But onward I must go. I wasn’t sure what to do about the really messed-up stamp in the lower right, but decided to use a piece from a collage sheet, add some ink to distress it, and use it to cover up the bad spot.

Distressed next to original

Distressed next to original

Positioned and outlined with dyed string from tag

Positioned and outlined with dyed string from tag

Now, to work on the back. I still used torn up bits of paper from Day 18. Then some letter-stickers spelling out “Soul Journal” and a tag-type sticker, cut in half then reattached so it would not be so big, where I wrote in the years. Then I outlined them both with a thin-line marker.

bookmarkback

Then I added a pink ribbon at the top, with two jewelry charms from (love the name) Heart & Soul. One is a key and the other says “Trust in Your Dreams”.

bookmarkdetail

Here you can see the details on the charms and you can see the other side of one of them says, “Be Free.” A few other things to point out in this detailed view. Before adding the ribbon, I also dabbed on some pigment ink around the reinforcement around the hole, on both sides of the bookmark. I took my heat tool to dry it – but I think the heat may have made the color shift just below the hole in this picture – where the two red lines are, see how it goes to black in the middle of the green, just underneath the hole? Finally, one other detail. As a finishing touch to the whole piece, I used some yellow watercolor and edged the whole bookmark, on both sides. It really gave it a nice look, overall. (You can compare the difference by looking at the back of the bookmark, and the picture preceding it which is the front, without the yellow trim.)

I definitely like this bookmark much better than my first attempt, and although I wish the “Journey Awakens the Soul” part would have turned out better, I still really like it, overall.

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© amateur-in-art, 2009

July 31, 2008

Using Bleach as Ink

Posted in Art for beginners, Art samples, Beginner's art, Crafts, Learning art, Papercrafts, Rubber stamping, Techniques (art) tagged , , at 10:04 pm by amateur-in-art

I had wondered about and then read about using bleach as a type of “ink” for rubber stamps, and finally thought I’d give it a try. Here’s how my first attempt turned out. One large stamp, and then a smaller border-type stamp. Obviously – and perhaps I should make this a formal disclaimer – there was no attempt at “perfection” here, but I figure everything I do at this stage in the game is experimentation and learning. So I try to give myself a lot of leeway to make mistakes.

I was surprised when I got a yellow result from this. I was expecting either a lighter shade of olive or maybe even nearly white. I did read somewhere that “newer” bleach was better – mine is several years old, so perhaps that had something to do with the results. But then again, maybe the bleach just brings out the “base” color of the paper, whatever that might be – in this case, maybe, yellow.

To do this, all I did was to take a paper towel, folded fairly thick to sort of make a stamp pad, put it in an aluminum foil tray, like you get at the grocery, douse it with some bleach to get the towel good and moist, but not too soppy, and then used that for my ink pad. After inking the stamp, I placed it firmly on the paper and held it in place for between 20 and 30 seconds. I think the longer I held it on there, the heavier the impression, though it may just be that I got more ink on the stamp to begin with. You’ll see several places where there is a noticable ridge or lack of impression – my guess is that I just didn’t get the stamp good and inked at that point; maybe there was a dry spot on my makeshift ink pad.

As you’re doing this, it also takes about an additional 30 to 60 seconds, after you lift up the stamp from the paper, for the air to hit the bleach and start really giving you an impression. It is light at first, but gets bolder as it is exposed to air.

I like the results I’ve got, here. Kind of reminds me a bit of an old-fashioned Victorian wallpaper. I’ll definitely use this technique again. I like the look, and I also like the surprise of not really knowing quite what I’ll get (like the yellow).

© amateur-in-art, 2008