Tuesday, January 5, 2016

How To Tuesday - Playing With Distress Ink

I've recently discovered playing with watercolors and distress inks against my rubber stamped images.  I am absolutely having fun with the resist technique!  This is not a tutorial per se, but I will share a little bit of what I've been doing here as best I can.

Before we get started, I'd like to remind you that I am not a rubber stamp or scrapbook/card-making expert.  I design stamps.  I carve stamps.  I like to use stamps.  But when it comes to the knowledge of inks, powders, papers, tools, and methods... I'm still learning all of those things, too.  THAT is why this is not a tutorial.  I'm not going to tell you what you should do.  I encourage you to pick up some supplies to explore and discover this medium for yourself.  See what you like.  See what works best for you!

Here are a few tips to help get you started:

For the majority of us, standing in the rubber stamp aisle at the craft store can be extremely overwhelming.  There are 100s of different types of inks and tools staring right back at us.  You pick some up, you put a few back, you grab another color, you debate that color, then put it back...  Where do you begin?  As I was standing looking at the display of Tim Holtz Distress Ink, I decided it would be best to begin with the basics.  That meant I would need a red, yellow, and blue.  From there I could also have orange, green, and purple.  Perfect!  Of course, I wanted them ALL, but that's just not practical.  So, I picked up Picked Raspberry, Wild Honey, and Salty Ocean to begin with.
I bought the little daubers, too.  Those are fun!  I also bought the MISTER bottle by Ranger because it promised to produce a fine mist.  It does!  I'm glad I picked one up.  That was all I bought to get started because I didn't know if I would love it or hate it.  I'm pleased to say that I will eventually be adding more colors to my collection.

The supplies I used for these samples were:

watercolor paper (cut to 5" x 7", and scraps)
white pigment ink
clear embossing powder
heat tool
Tim Holtz Distress Ink
MISTER bottle
paint brush
laminating plastic (palette)
paper towels
p a t i e n c e
s e n s e   o f   a d v e n t u r e

To begin, I stamped my images with white pigment ink onto watercolor paper.  Then I coated the wet ink with embossing powder and set it with a heat tool.
Then I cut a piece of laminating plastic (I used half of one side) and placed it on my table, smooth side up.  That is what I used for a palette.  I pressed the ink pad directly to the surface of the plastic, then spritzed it with the water bottle to make the ink wet.
From here we could do one of a couple of things.  On one of the book marks, the one that is very light and looks like watercolor, I turned the paper over and pressed it onto the ink.  Then I lifted it, turned it a bit, and pressed it down again.  It's very random.  It's very cool!  If you don't like the way it looks, you could dab your paper with a paper towel to lift the color (there will be residual color) and you could press it again.  Or paint over it.  Or throw it away and start over.  It's not a BIG deal.  Keep trying!
Working with distress inks for the first time.
The other, darker bookmark was created using the daubers.  That was more of a dry application of ink.  I used the daubers to sort of "paint" the color onto the paper.  There is a LOT more control with that method.  When I first started, I tapped the charged dauber onto the paper (dot, dot, dot) then later discovered that I could rub the dauber around to better blend the colors.  Try anything.  See what works for you.
The result of this method would have been different if I had spritzed the paper with the water bottle.  The colors would have played and blended like watercolors.  I decided that I liked the bold color on the paper and chose to add a few droplets of water for interest instead.  The way this ink works is that it is reactivated when you apply water to it.  So... for this bookmark, for example, when I added droplets of water to it and waited for about half a minute, then pressed a dry paper towel to it it lifted the water along with the ink in those spots to create sort of a "bleached" effect on the paper.  It's cool!  Give that a try.

Another thing to try is to paint with the wet ink from the palette with a brush like you would with watercolors.  What's really cool about a stamped, embossed image, is that you can get color to "pool" inside the raised surface, OR, you can use that surface as a barrier to keep color away from an area.
...and keep those paper towels nearby!  You'll use them to clean up little spills and extra sprayed water.  They can also be used to wipe your palette clean between projects.

I hope this helps to give a little bit of an idea of what's been going on in my little corner of the world.  I hope you feel inspired to grab a few colors and give it a try.  Be brave.  I don't think you will be disappointed.
(Hibiscus and Social Media hand carved rubber stamps are sold in my Etsy shop.) 

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