Wednesday, 21 April 2010

A minor victory for woman over machine

I have been continuing my experiments with the Golden Mix More Media kit provided by Lynne at The Altered Element for my April challenge. The products themselves are quite easy to apply but I have been struggling to get prepared materials to go through our basic ink jet printer because they need to be flexible enough to make a right angled bend as they pass through.

My latest success has been with mulberry paper. Although preparing it with medium removes a bit of the softness, if mounted onto copier paper it will go through. I found I needed to tape it down the sides as well as the leading edge though to stop it crunching up and jamming inside the machine. I think that's because it stretches and buckles a bit when it gets wet from applying the medium.

I used my printed mulberry paper for the cover of a hand made book. First I gave it two coats of clear digital ground, then printed it using a design from the Artylicious Decadent Brocade CD. Once dry I painted on a coat of UV protective gel medium to stop the colours from fading. I embellished the pattern by outlining with a Sakura stardust pen and added highlights of Stickles.
To constuct the book I used basic copier paper for the inside pages and the back of an old A4 pad for the covers (you need to gesso the chip board because the colour shows through the mulberry paper and dulls the image if you don't) . I followed instructions on how to construct the book from one of the videos recommended in fellow DT member Trace's bookbinding tutorial which can be found here. The fly sheets were printed on copier paper using the same Artylicious design as the cover. Having them coordinate covers up a multitude of sins if, like me on a first attempt, your alignment is not the greatest.

It was surprisingly quick to make this book. Even allowing for drying time at various stages I completed it within a day and now I know I can do it my head is full of ideas for making books that incorporate pre-decorated pages. Oh the possibilites....

Thursday, 15 April 2010

DT Challenge - month one, part two

I have been experimenting with the products in the Golden Mix More Media kit that Lynne at The Altered Element challenged me with this month. These products are intended to allow ink jet printing on surfaces other than paper, and the Golden web site provides instructions on how to apply the products which are clear and - when done by experts - make it look very easy.

As is typical for me I launched straight in, and as a result have a few mishaps to report and some advice to give.

1. Practice running the materials you intend to eventually use through your printer before you do anything else. The Golden website recommends using a printer where the "paper" passes flat through the printer but mine (and a lot of other small home models) either passes the paper in a U shape doubling back or in an L shape from the veritcal rear loader bending at right angles to pass through the printer. It is therefore not possible to get some materials to go through without jamming the printer. I only discovered this after I had spent time and used lots of the product painting layers on unsuitable things,so put the materials through as a test (print one full stop in a corner if your application tell you there is nothing to print) before you do anything else. I couldn't get Ten Seconds Studio metal or kitchen foil taped to paper to go through at all but had more success with thin canvas stuck to paper.

2. Buy a foam brush. I tried applying the media with a normal paint brush and when I had done two coats in opposite directions the result was quite heavy and textured. That might be OK in some circumstances but wasn't what I really wanted so bear it in mind. You get a smoother coverage more quickly if you use a foam brush.

3. Play with both clear and white media on test surfaces so you can compare the results. I started out using the clear medium on some canvas thinking it was already white in colour and clear would be sufficient, but then decided to paint a strip with the white medium as well to compare results.

The image on the RHS is printed on the white medium and the others on the clear. The colours are stronger on the white which I prefer.

4. If you have prepared material which won't run through your printer don't despair, recycle. I have found that by using a very damp washing up sponge you can gently rub off the Medium for non porous surfaces and any printing disasters from Ten Seconds Studio Metal sheet so it can be used for something else.

The images I didn't like on the canvas experiment I simply gessoed over the top so I can reuse that too - but probably not thorugh the printer now!

So onto my project.... Having had some issues with printing onto various substrates my best results to date were onto canvas like fabric so this is what I have used as the focus for this piece.

The base is a canvas that I had prepared previously for another project. I covered it with torn pieces of old sheet music to give some texture. Old book pages or scraps of other paper would do too. Over this I swiped Gesso and then layers of paint to get a mixture of toning colours at random which complemented the picture. You could do this also by recycling a cardboard box with a lid as the base instead of a canvas because once it is covered no one will know.

Because I was working with a picture on canvas I wanted to include other fabric and stitching within the project. I coloured a scrap of muslin and some ribbon with Glimmer Mist (but Cosmic Shimmer Misters of Ranger Adirondak Colour Wash would work too) and sprayed paper flowers too.

The ribbon is glued right round the outside edge of the canvas.

Being unable to resist a bit of glitz I sneaked a small square of ironed Fantasy Fibre into the mix before stitching the canvas picture to the coloured muslin. If you don't have a sewing machine and/or don't have thread the right colour spritz some to colour it and hand stitch instead.

I then added lots of paper flowers coloured to match. These extend round the sides and over the top of the canvas, although I've kept the base free so the canvas will stand up.

Each flower is finished with a button or sequin glued in the centre.

And the final result looks like this....

Experiments will continue, so don't be surprised if Golden Media put in an appearance in later projects.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Better late than never!

I'm getting worse, as in later, with posting my 365 day challenge pages each month! This time it wasn't technology that was the problem but a malfunction in me... I've been in hospital for an operation and got all behind with it.
Anyway, better late than never, here it is posted to prove I have eventually finished.
And here are the April pages ready to start.

DT challenge, month one, part one -AKA Be careful what you wish for!

Here's what Lynne at The Altered Element sent me for the design team challenges in April....

Firstly, a Golden Mixed Media kit with products for making various materials suitable for ink jet printing. I have to confess I am still regarding this with some trepidation. Followers will know I am a bit technophobic -straightforward printing on a sheet of A4 paper is about my limit. However, I did confess to Lynne that image transfer was something I'd like to try so this is a case of be careful what you wish for. I will report back on my experiments in due course....

The second items were six little wooden building blocks for the upcycle challenge. Lynne selects interesting things from the local charity shop for us to turn into something new.

The first thing I made was a perpetual calendar. Now you can do this with only four blocks by putting six months onto each of two blocks and the numbers onto another two as follows:

First block: 0,1,2,3,4,5
Second block: 0,1,2,6,7,8 NB You need to use a 6 which can double as a 9 when turned upside down.

However if you are a fuss pot like me it will drive you mad having the spare month block lying around (or worse still put safely away so you can't remember where it is six months later). I decided to put four months on each of three blocks and add images to the spare faces on each so all the cubes can be displayed at once.

You can use any technique to decorate the cubes so long as you keep the surfaces smooth and flat because your blocks need to stand level on every face. I covered each face with patterned paper scraps and then doodled with black and white gel pens to create the numbers and months. I used rubber stamps for the images. I put men's faces onto one side of each month cube and nature images on the others. That way there is a choice of theme to display with each month, or you can mix the two if you aren't obsessed with things matching!

I sanded back the single block left over to remove the paint and used it as the base for a dinky little ornament.

The bird is by Twiddleybitz. I have painted it with Tim Holtz Distress Crackle Paint in Antique Linen. I needed to water it down as it is a bit old and was too dry to work with so the crackle is quite fine (unintentionally). I rubbed Pine Needles Distress Ink over the top to highlight what cracks there were and blend the colour closer to the sanded wood.

The stick is a bamboo skewer from the kitchen drawer, trimmed and slotted into a hole drilled into the block. The pointed end was pushed into the bird. I wrapped some jute ribbon round the stick. It was dark green to start with but I'd previously used it to sponge through with paint for a background so it too was quite distressed, and recycled, so I prettied it up with a few Prima flowers.

I stamped the block using eden green StaZon Ink with assorted nature themed images and sanded back a bit to soften the colour, before glueing the elements together.

Friday, 2 April 2010

New Craft Stamper out today...

The May issue of Craft Stamper is in shops today (well yesterday actually but I couldn't get Blogger to cooperate with me last night) and I've got an altered book project featured. Click on the image to find out more about the other great articles included.
You can see a small picture of my book on the magazine cover - next to the free stamp - and here's sneak preview of part of one of the pages. It has something of a creepy crawly theme!
I've been in hospital for an operation recently and now I'm feeling a bit better I'm in catch up mode. Watch this space... I hope to have my March 365 challenge page finished and posted over Easter and the first installment of my Altered Element DT challenge ready to show too.