Wednesday, February 3, 2016

How To - Ball Jar Stitch Markers (Part Two)

This is a follow up to yesterday's How To Tuesday tutorial for making Ball Jar Stitch Markers. 

Look at how glossy those jars are!  I like Mod Podge Dimensional Magic because it pours a thick layer of gloss that sits right on the surface of the project.
Notice the difference between the colored jars, and the jars with outline only.  I like them both, and it's good to have options.
Now that the pieces are well and set, it's time to add the hardware.  Really, you can use whatever supplies you have on hand.  I happen to have and use:

Jump rings, sizes: 4mm, 6mm, and 10mm
Large lobster clasps (optional)
First, I begin with the 6mm jump ring and attach them to the plastic pieces.  Then, I open a 4mm jump ring and attach both the 6mm ring AND the 10mm ring to the opened ring.  I try to open as few rings as possible to avoid any unnecessary stretching of the metal.
Remember when opening jump rings to separate them in an "up and down" manner, not side to side.  Pulling the ring apart weakens the metal and could cause it to break.
I hope you've found this tutorial to be helpful.  All of the supplies I used for these markers were purchased at Joanns.  Except for the Ball Jar rubber stamp.  I made that, and I'd be happy to make one for you, too!

Feel free to tag me on Facebook and Instagram @hoffeeandanuffin and #hoffeeandanuffin when you've made your stitch markers.  I'd love to see what you've created!  Thanks again for following along on my handmade journey.  Happy crafting!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

How To Tuesday - Ball Jar Stitch Markers (Part One)

I've demonstrated rubber stamps on shrink film before here and here, but just for fun here's a very pic-heavy demonstration to show how you can make Ball Jar Stitch Markers.  

Gather your supplies!

Shrink film (white, clear, or matte, it's your choice.)
Chalk ink (note: any pigment (permanent) ink will work.  I happen to like the look of the chalk ink for this project.)
Colored pencils
Fine grit sand paper
Standard hole punch
Mod Podge Dimensional Magic
Parchment paper
Oven or heat tool 

(You don't have to use the brands of items shown in this picture.  This happens to be what I have on hand and what I personally enjoy using.)

 The first thing you'll want to do is gently rough up the shrink film with sand paper by rubbing the sand paper over the surface in a circular motion.  Do this only on the side you'll be stamping and coloring on.  This allows the plastic to "grab" the pencil and hold its color.
Next, stamp your images across the sheet, keeping your images as close as possible while still allowing enough room to cut them apart.  This eliminates waste and allows you to get the most out of your shrink film.  Keep in mind that wet ink will smudge when touched, so it's a good idea to set this sheet aside for a while to allow the ink to dry before coloring.
Using a very LIGHT touch, color your jars.  The colored pencil will darken quite a bit as the plastic shrinks.  It may be a good idea to test this technique with a gradient on a scrap piece of film before starting so that you can see how the color intensifies upon baking.
 Once your jars are colored, it's time to punch the holes.  You may use a standard hole punch...
 ...or a setting tool as I've used in the photograph below.  The setting tool makes a cleaner punch as there are no extra parts to accidentally drag across and smear the ink.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER TO PUNCH YOUR HOLES BEFORE BAKING.  If you happen to forget, it IS possible to create holes afterward with a very small drill bit.  However, I advise using extreme caution because your film will now be very small and you wouldn't want to accidentally slip and injure yourself.
 Bake the film on parchment paper according to the package directions.
 And there it is!  One little itty-bitty colored Ball jar.
It's up to you how you choose to seal your project.  I use Mod Podge Dimensional Magic.  It's easy to use and has a narrow tip to apply the gloss.  Apply your sealer according to package directions.
A tip if you use Mod Podge Dimensional Magic: to avoid bubbles, remember not to shake the bottle, and always squeeze a bit out onto paper to release any air bubbles that may be trapped in the tube.  
I'm going to let those markers sit overnight to set really well before attaching the hardware.  I'll post Part 2 of this "How To" to include the supplies needed and demonstration.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

How To Tuesday - Rainbow Tree

As you know I've recently discovered Tim Holtz Distress Inks and have been experimenting with them and learning how they work.  One of my favorite things to make lately is the Rainbow Tree.  I love layering and blending colors, and this is a fun (beginner/great-for-kids, too!) project to use techniques that allow colors to play with each other.  I also wanted to compare creating trees with distress inks to creating trees with watercolor paints.

What you'll need:
Tree (With Endless Possibilities) Hand Carved Rubber Stamp
Three Tiny Hearts Hand Carved Rubber Stamp
(okay, those stamps are completely optional, but I do recommend them!)
Watercolor Paper
Distress Ink
Watercolor Paintbrush
Paper Towels
A Sense Of Adventure

When I was shopping for distress inks, I deliberately purchased only three colors to see if I would even like using them.  I knew that as long as I had "red", "blue", and "yellow", I could create a "rainbow" of colors to use.  This is how the Rainbow Tree came to be.  Take yourself back to elementary school, to a time when you were learning about the rainbow, primary colors, and secondary colors.  This diagram shows the placement of color to create the "rainbow" effect on my tree.  A little bit of water and a few brush strokes between those primary colors blends to create secondary colors, and ultimately the "rainbow".  (I should note that this diagram was actually created with watercolors, NOT distress inks... but you get the point.)
 Here's another example using distress inks.  This time I added a few layers of color to really build up the pigment.  I do love the look of layers of distress ink, especially when water is added to the distress ink after it has dried.  Notice the trees in the center, and center left.  When droplets of water are added to the ink, it "lifts" the ink, and can be blotted away with a dry paper towel, creating a sort of bleached effect.  It almost reminds me of lens flare.  It's really pretty! 
Another option is to add color with another rubber stamp.  In this example, I used my Three Tiny Hearts rubber stamp, but any little stamp can be used.   I first discovered this technique for my tree when I used a pencil eraser to add R, Y, B ink to my tree, then sprayed water on it to activate the ink and get it moving around on the paper.  Later I discovered blowing on the wet ink with a straw to push it out toward the edges of the paper, as if the tree were stretching outward.  That was kind of fun, too.  (Kids will LOVE that!)
Next is a tree I made with watercolor paints.  I have been using the distress inks as watercolor so much that it sort of became a "default" technique for adding wet color to my projects.  (How do you use distress ink at a "wet" color?  See last week's How To Tuesday for that demonstration.)  In my opinion, both techniques work really well and I don't think I prefer one over the other.  They're just different.  I do feel like I had more control and richer pigment with my watercolors.  I love the layering I can achieve with the distress ink, PLUS the advantage of "bleaching" the color with the addition of water.  (That's so much fun!)  They're both great.
Top Row:
  Left - Tree (With Endless Possibilities, small) rubber stamp with Timber Brown StazOn ink.

  Center - distress ink applied as a watercolor
  Right - distress ink applied as a watercolor, "bleached" by adding water and blotting with dry towel

Bottom Row:
  Left - watercolor paint
  Center - diagram of "rainbow" effect

  Right - tree with color stamped with Three Tiny Hearts rubber stamp.

I hope this demonstration offers some inspiration and I look forward to seeing what you come up with.  I'd love to see any trees you (or your kiddos!) make.  Please share them with me on Facebook or Instagram: #hoffeeandanuffin  

As always, thank you for following along on my handmade journey.  Happy crafting!