I recently did a blog post about Ryn Tanaka, who designs beautiful art stamps. I had ordered some stamps and when they arrived, I decided to make a card for Ryn using some of them as I know how much she likes to see how her stamps are used (who wouldn’t?) and also because there was a new technique I was keen to try. (I wrote this blog post as I was making the card, but I couldn’t upload it until I had heard from her that she’d received it as I didn’t want to spoil the surprise for her!! I’ve just received an email from her that it’s arrived, so now I can share it with you.)
Some time ago I bought some Angelina fibres and did a small amount of experimental melting and fusing work which incorporated some of these amongst other things. (I didn’t pursue this much after this, but it’s in the back of my mind to do some more.) At a craft show last year I saw someone using a wooden fabric printing block to melt Angelina fibre onto, using an iron, and I was eager to try this with one of Ryn’s stamps as they are deeply etched, and I thought the effect would work well.
This is not a technique one can do with clear stamps because they would melt under the heat of the iron, but genuine rubber stamps work very well. You put the stamp down face up, lay the fibres over it, and put a piece of baking parchment on top, and then iron it until the fibres fuse – the iron will only be fully in contact with them where the design of the stamp is, so the design of the stamp is fixed into the fibres.
Here are the materials ready to start.
Here I am laying the Angelina fibres on top of the stamp ready for ironing. I spread them out as evenly as possible, adding more until the stamp was covered. The small iron I used was my hubby’s travel iron – I am hoping to get myself a decent craft iron before too long, but this is more or less OK in the meantime.
This is what the Angelina fibres look like once they have been fused. As usual with shiny, iridescent, reflective or glittery surfaces, the photos do not do it justice. The fibres are very shimmery, and where they were fused, they have turned a gorgeous metallic copper colour.
I had some brown coloured aluminium foil in my stash box, which I think probably came off an Easter egg, and I dug it out for this project once I saw the colour of the fused fibres.
After I made the 80th birthday card with the floating butterflies, I had some pieces of white card left from cutting the frames, and I used one of these for this project, covering it with the brown foil. You can see it in this picture, where I am smoothing out the worst of the wrinkles from the foil with a plastic modelling tool. I wasn’t too concerned about getting it absolutely flat and smooth (impossible anyway), because I quite liked the texture.
In the next picture, I am about to start spreading regular matt gel medium onto the card piece, to adhere it to the foil.
Laying it down onto the back of the foil, I went over it firmly with my brayer to make sure it was sufficiently adhered.
After this, I trimmed off the excess foil, leaving an overlap.
This overlap was then painted with the gel medium, ready to turn and stick to the underside of the card.
Before turning it, it had to be snipped at right angles to the edge, so that it would follow the curves of the card when turned in.
Here it is with the edges turned over and stuck down.
This is the right side of the card, covered with the brown foil.
The next step was to apply the gel medium to the back of the fused Angelina fibre piece.
Again using the brayer, and a piece of baking parchment to protect it, I applied the Angelina fibre piece to the centre of the foil covered card.
This is what it looked like at this stage.
Because the photo was so disappointing, I departed from my usual practice and tried a flash shot – I don’t like flash generally, because it alters the colours and gives a very flat appearance as a rule, and of course, with reflective surfaces, it can give a huge amount of glare, but I wanted to show just how reflective the foil and Angelina fibres were.
The next stage was to create the background piece. I wanted a nice watery effect, echoing the green colour of the unfused Angelina fibres, and found some turquoise cardstock. I have got a set of Fiskar’s Texture Plates which I can use with the Cuttlebug, and chose one called “Carpet” which actually looks more like ripples.
The normal sandwich for embossing with Fiskar’s Texture Plates in the Cuttlebug is: A plate, Fiskar’s Texture Plate (RS up), Cardstock (RS down), Tan Embossing Mat, C plate.
These plates will emboss a piece 5 1/2 inches square, but unfortunately my tan embossing mat isn’t as wide as this – I needed the maximum amount of embossing because of the size of the foil covered card, so I used my No More Shims mat which is a bit wider. It is also a bit thicker, though, so the usual Cuttlebug sandwich for embossing with Fiskar’s Texture Plates wouldn’t go through the Cuttlebug. Grrr. Anyway, I got round it by using a B plate and two thicknesses of scrap card as a shim, instead of the C plate of the original sandwich, and it worked OK, although the embossing wasn’t that deep – more shims (with the No More Shims mat, he he!!) would probably give a better effect. Anyway, it was sufficient for my purposes. This picture actually shows the card after it had been embossed and inked (because I forgot to take it before!)
This picture shows the card being inked. I experimented with some scrap, trying one or two different Tim Holtz Distress Inks to get the colour I wanted, and in the end chose quite a yellow-ish green in the form of Peeled Paint, which blended very well with the turquoise card to give a nice patchy, mottled effect of sea green. (This doesn’t show up terribly well in the photo.)
After this, I painted the whole surface with iridescent acrylic gel medium to get a nice pearlised finish.
I dried it well with my heat gun before proceeding to the next step. (The green ink shows up a bit better on these next photos.) You can see the reflective surface on the card, generated by the iridescent medium.
Here it is, dried off, lying on top of some of the original turquoise card, to show the different effect I have created.
Now came the exciting part! My favourite of Ryn’s stamps is her incredible water droplets one, which once seen, just HAD to be had!! I’ve never seen such a realistic effect – it’s stunning! Here it is, with the card and my archival black ink pad.
In this picture you can see that I have covered the whole surface with the water droplets – I had to fill in a few gaps where the shape of the stamp didn’t go to the edge – normally this wouldn’t matter too much, but since much of the centre would be covered with the Angelina fibre topper, I wanted the full effect of the water droplets. When I took this photo, I had just added a little distressing around the edges, in the form of a light dusting of Black Soot Distress Ink.
Here is the topper attached to the background with foam pads around the edge, and a good splurging of Pinflair gel adhesive in the middle to stop it collapsing. I could have used Pinflair for the whole thing, but I wanted a consistent height, especially around the edges, so I opted for the foam pads to establish this, and then filled in with the Pinflair.
Again, here is a flash photo to give an impression of the reflective nature of the project. It’s rather artificial because it’s not that reflective, but you can see the idea.
The next step was matting and layering. I spent a long time trying to decide what was best – it looked much too dark simply matted onto black – I wanted the black to pick up the colour of the water droplets, and eventually decided on a 1/16 in gold mirror card mat which just lifted it a little, and made all the difference.
Finally, the completed card. The base card was some Conqueror iridescent cardstock in gold haze that I got through Thyme Graphics – I didn’t really want to use this as a base card because I bought it for cutting with Sheba, my Black Cat Cougar cutting machine, and didn’t want to waste it, but the colour was just what I wanted, and I love the finish on it, which mirrors the rest of the iridescence of the project. (You can’t really see it on this next photo because it’s against a white towel, but it’s a narrow cream border around the black.) I also added tiny dots with a white marker, to highlight each water droplet.
Again, a flash photo to show how reflective it all is.
The final step was to create a card insert on the computer, trim it to size and insert it with double sided tape.
I didn’t have an envelope to fit this card, so I used an ordinary white A5 one, and decorated it. Using the same fish stamp, I stamped with Versamark and created a resist with clear embossing powder. Because the paper was white, I had to add some blue (Salty Ocean Distress Ink from the Summer seasonal set) as well as the Peeled Paint one. I blended them together and when I’d finished, rubbed over it with some kitchen paper to clean up the heat embossing and reveal the fish. Some water spattering completed the effect, and I sprayed the whole thing with fixative to prevent it getting damaged by rain in the post! It’s got a long journey to complete – all the way to Canada!
This card was created for Ryn to say thank you for her gorgeous stamps, and just for being so lovely!!