Friday, November 23, 2012

STAMPIN ON TILES TUTORIAL PART 1

The tiles I used for these samples are tumbled Italian marble available at both Home Depot and Lowe's. Always wash tiles first, and let them dry completely before stamping. The basic technique for this batch followed these steps:
1. Brush tile surface with the Embossing Buddy.
2. Ink stamp with a pigment ink (I used Stampin' Up! Basic Black Craft Ink for most, Chocolate Chip for a few) and stamp image. Stamp firmly but don't press too hard or fine lines will blur, and don't wiggle or rock your stamp! If desired, rub some craft ink on the tile edges (for a muted, not shiny, look do the edges first and let the ink dry so embossing powder won't stick to it).
3. Cover with Crystal Clear Embossing Powder.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.
 I used an old metal baking sheet covered with foil and put as many tiles on it as I could fit per baking batch. My sheet had sides, so I turned it upside down and used the bottom - the oven heat flows over the tiles more evenly this way and it takes less time for the embossing powder to melt. Before taking tiles out to cool, make sure that all the embossing looks shiny. Overbaking does not help (this is more of a problem with metallic embossing powders and/or glossy tiles, but still should be avoided).
5. When powder is melted on all the tiles, remove from oven and let them cool completely.
6. Color with inks or markers. I used alcohol inks because they dry quickly and are permanent. You can mix Stampin' Up! ink from reinkers with 70% rubbing alcohol. If desired, blot some ink on edges/corners with a piece of felt or cotton ball. You can add metallic accents with metallic paint pens.
7. Seal with a clear sealant. (More on this after I experiment some more - see my last post)


Friday, November 16, 2012

BUSY CRAFTING & A MINWAX WARNING

I have not been able to do any construction lately on this site as I've been getting ready for craft fair season! I never have enough time to make all the things I want to create for "cash and carry" selling - and truth be told I usually don't get much of that done. I show samples and offer three options: Special Order (I make it for you), Order the Supplies (and make it yourself), Take a Class (register for a class or get some friends together for a private class and for a fee I'll help you make it). And of course I show off as much as I can of all the truly awesome things Stampin' Up! has to offer for both crafters/stampers and non-crafters/stampers.

So, tonight will be a long night as I've got a fair tomorrow at Kokanee Elementary School in Woodinville, WA! If you are in the area, please stop by!

This year I was determined to make stamped tiles to sell. I have wanted to do this for ages and I've collected lots of tips and instructions from many crafty blogs and other demos on our demo forum. My biggest concern was the best product to use for sealing them. I've had some unfortunate results on other types of project (Sculpy clay for one) using spray sealants that never, ever, cured and stayed tacky forever. Okay, maybe not forever, technically, but it has been about 7 years and the darn pin I made is still sticky. I keep it as an oddity and a reminder.

So, like a good little crafter, I Googled and read, read and Googled, and decided to follow the advice of a crafter who blogged that she had tried everything to seal her tiles and found that no matter what the label said they all yellowed over time except her ultimate recommendation: Minwax Waterbased Polycrylic which comes in a can and must be applied with a brush. Now, this product is really intended for wood but since if it is on the Internet it must be true I bought it. Perhaps it works great on tiles with decoupaged paper(s) but I am here to warn you it does NOT work well on alcohol inks, which will run if you brush over the painted area or apply the Minwax too thickly and it spreads. This issue can be avoided with a little care, but it also changes some of the ink colors, as if the coating was yellow, instead of clear. Weird. But the third problem I encountered led to the destruction of all my careful, detailed painting and much of my embossing too. I added a second coat (after drying for several hours) and on the glossy tiles the whole coating rippled and buckled and fragmented and when I tried to fix it, the whole first coat peeled off taking all the ink and most of the embossing with it. All that work, down the drain. I've got new recommendations to try but they won't be for tomorrow! And I may just go back to playing with sprays until I find one I like. I will let you know when I find something that works!

Fortunately, I took photos of my tiles BEFORE I sealed them so I'll post a couple now and more in a couple of days. I used lots of retired stamps out of my collection, so that was fun! And now I can tell my mother that I really do still stamp, even though I have been doing so much with My Digital Studio lately!