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Monday, January 31, 2011

Cigar Box Books

Since I’ve been posting cigar box labels and edgings that you can download and use for your art I thought I would share with you my cigar box books.  To make these books I cutoff the top and bottom of a cigar box and use them as the front and back covers of the book.  The inside pages are cardstock.  I sew the groups of pages or “signatures” together with wax linen thread.  The ribbon is woven in the spine as I sew the signatures together.  I glue the top and bottom box lids to the top and bottom sheet of cardstock.  In the pictures below you can see different closure options (knob, handle with key, and leather with latch).
If you missed the postings on the downloadable images, here are the links.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Tutorial - Creating a Stained Glass Look by Embossing Transparency Film

In November I posted a tutorial on “Creating a Stained Glass Look Using a Glass Slide”.  Embossing transparency film is another option to creating the look of stained glass although I don’t think is sparkles quite as nicely as real glass.  But with transparency film, you can print and emboss any digital image, whereas with glass, you are limited to rubber stamps.

The base of the ATC below is an image of an art nouveau stained glass window that I printed on transparency film and embossed.  So that you could better see the colors on the transparency, the first image of the piece is photographed on white paper.  The second image is photographed with the light behind the piece.  Be sure to click on the image to see all the details.
The image below shows the piece with the light behind it.  You can see the rippling effect of the embossing that looks like old stained glass.

What you will need:
  • Transparency Film for Inkjet Printers
  • Clear Embossing Powder
  • Heat Gun
  • Versamark Stamp Pad
  • Versamarker Pen

There are two options when working with transparency film.  You can use a rubberstamp and Staz-On ink to stamp and emboss the image on the film or you can print the image on the film using an inkjet printer.  This tutorial covers printing an image.  With either method make sure the transparency film is made for use in an inkjet printer so that it will standup to the heat of the printer and the heat gun.  You can purchase transparency film at office supply stores like Office Max and Staples as well as online stores like Amazon.  The film comes in letter sized sheets (8 1/2“ x 11 ½”).

Transparency Film
You can purchase transparency film at office supply stores like Office Max and Staples as well as online stores like Amazon.  The film comes in letter sized sheets (8 1/2“ x 11 ½”).
You can purchase Versamark stamp pads and Versamaker pins at most craft stores and online craft and scrapbooking stores.
  • Transparencies usually have a smooth side and a rough side.  Stamp or print your image on the rough side.
  • If you are printing multiple images only print on about a quarter of the transparency film at a time.  The ink needs to be wet for the embossing powder to stick.  If you print too many images, by the time everything has printed, the first images printed will be dry so the embossing powder won’t stick.  Once you have embossed your images you can cutoff the part that is used and run the unused portion through the printer again.
  • If your printer feeder doesn’t pull the transparency film, use removable double stick tape to adhere the film to a sheet of paper and try again.  Some transparency film comes with a white strip on one end to make it easy for the printer feed to grab the film.
  • Before you start to print have your embossing powder ready to sprinkle on the image the moment it comes out of the printer.  You don’t have much time before the ink dries.
  • Use a heat gun to melt the embossing powder.  Keep the gun moving and don’t over heat the transparency film or it will begin to warp.
When you finish embossing you can go back and add paint and or ink to your piece.  I added purple alcohol ink to the grapes in the art nouveau piece as I thought they would look better darker.
If your printer ink dries too quickly to get a good result:
Let the image dry completely.  Use a Versamark pen to coat the desired areas.  Next, apply embossing power and heat to melt.  Versamark provides a clear tacky surface that embossing powder sticks to.
If you want to add additional embossing:
Use a Versamark pen to coat the desired areas.  Next, apply embossing power and heat to melt.
If you want to emboss the entire image:
Print the image on the transparency film and wait for it to dry.  Use a Versamark stamp pad to coat the entire image.  Next apply embossing power and heat to melt.
To frame the image you need to sandwich the transparency film between two pieces cardstock or chipboard.  For the art nouveau piece I cut two 2 ½” x 3 1/2“ pieces out of thin chipboard (one for the front and one for the back).  I then cut a hole in the center of each piece leaving a thin border and painted the chipboard.  The size piece you cut and the hole you cut in each piece will depend on the size of your project and how much of the image you want to expose.  Make sure that you cut the embossed transparency image slightly larger than the opening so you have room to apply glue to the edges.
Chipboard Frame (make 2 pieces one for front & one for back)
Transparency Glued Between Two Pieces of Chipboard

You are finished and ready to add images and embellishments.  The images and embellishmentsl add stability to the piece.
If you are looking for more of a matte finish, don’t emboss the transparency.  Below is an ATC titled “The Lady of Shalott”.  In the poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson, the lady of Shalott sits by a window and weaves.  She is cursed and cannot look out of the window at the view of Camelot or she will die.  I wanted to create the effect of a window so I printed the picture of the castle on transparency film but did not emboss the image.

Click here to download PDF file of this tutorial.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Butterfly Art Doll

Friday, January 21, 2011

Le Courtesan - Altered Cabinet Card

I made the turquoise flower in the upper right corner by first printing the flower on white presentation paper then printing the image in three smaller sizes on vellum.  I glued all the pieces together and added pearls.  The butterflies, bee and fan are all images of jewelry.

If you aren't familar with cabinet cards they were the style of photograph which was universally adopted for photographic portraiture in 1870. It consisted of a thin photograph that was generally mounted on cards measuring 4¼ by 6½ inches.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Gypsy Altered Cabinet Card

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Marie Antoinette Tag

The birdcage on this tag is a rub-on I created using Grafix Rub-Onz.  Click here for the tutorial.

Gypsy ATC

For the image in this ATC I used the crackle technique described in the Tutorial – Aging and Crackling an Image.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Love Potion #9 ATCs - Song Swap

This set of 4 ATCs was created for a song swap.  The premise of the swap is that you choose a song and illustrate it in four cards.  I found the first challenge to be choosing a song.  It turned out to be a difficult task to find a song that could be neatly illustrated in four cards.  In addition the lyrics must also be included on the card.  I finally chose Love Potion #9, which has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid.  At the bottom and top of each card is a niche that when pulled expands the card to reveal the lyrics.  In the third card the bottle contains real ink and is sealed with wax.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Gypsy Fortune Teller ATC

Organizational Tip - Using Thimble Display Cases as Storage Trays

To store small containers I use thimble display cases.  Laid flat they become a storage tray.  They work great as you can see the color of the container and it’s easy to take the tray where ever your project is.  I purchased my trays on Ebay.  The newer cases are expensive but older inexpensive ones pop-up regularly.  My trays have 100 slots and measure approximately 15 ½” x 14”. 
Some of the products you can store are:
  • Ranger Alcohol Inks
  • Ranger Stickles (large and small containers)
  • Viva Pearl Pens
  • Lumiere Paints
  • Liquid Pearls Paint
  • Neo Opaque Paint
  • Adirondack Paint Dabber
  • Tulip Slick Paint
  • Glimmer Mist
  • Stamp Pad Re-inkers (Staz-On, Color Box, Distress Inc. etc.)
  • Some Glue Containers (Tombo Multi, Glue Sticks, etc.)

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011

    Venetian Mask ATC

    The base of this three dimensional mask is the standard ATC size of 2 1/2" x 3 1/2".   
    I embedded wire in the decorative triangles at the top so that they would hold their shape.

    Thursday, January 6, 2011

    Dress Form

    I made this dress form for a swap in the Marie Antoinette Mail Art Group.

    Wednesday, January 5, 2011

    Three Muses Challenge - Old Fashioned

    The Three Muses Challenge this week is “Old Fashioned”.  My entry is an altered cabinet card titled “Miss Prim”.  She of course has all kinds of rules that a woman must follow.

    • Do not scrape your plate
    • Set the table as beautifully as possible
    • The husband should always find the wife fresh, beautiful, sweet as a flower
    • Never scratch your head, pick your teeth, or clean your nails in public
    • Do not be in haste; compose yourself
    • Loud thumping with canes and umbrellas, in demonstration of applause is decidedly rude.
     The card is coated with wax.  I pressed a stamp in the corners while the wax was hot and added alcohol ink to give it more dimension.  Below is the card before altering.