DIY Monoprint Note Cards

June 14th, 2012

Become an aspiring printing apprentice using everyday objects in your artwork. Make your own monoprint-style artist papers and turn them into gift wrap or stationery with the Gelli Arts gel plate. The surface of the gelatin plate is very sensitive, making it easy to create an imprint of your own unique design without requiring a printing press.

Materials

Gelli Arts gel plates
Craft sheet
Brayer
Decorative paper tape
SMASH date stamp

Instructions

  1. Begin by peeling the plastic layers off of the gel plate. Place the plate onto a nonstick craft sheet.
  2. Squirt acrylic paint onto the plate and spread with a brayer.
  3. Take desired tools or found objects and impress various designs into the plate.
  4. Lay a piece of white cardstock on the gel plate and press firmly. Gently peel back the cardstock to reveal your monoprint.
  5. Once the paint is dry, add strips of patterned tape. Stamp the date onto the cards with the SMASH stamp.

The key to this process is to have fun and experiment with different techniques. You might consider creating additional stamped layers with contrasting colors, or use multiple colors on the plate at a time. In addition to creating greeting cards, you can also use this monoprinting process to design your own fabric, add dimension to a canvas background, customize kitchen placemats, and more. For details on cleaning and storing gel plates, please visit The Shoppe.

Project and Photo by Vanessa Spencer

 



Sarah How-To Project Tutorials ,

Become an aspiring printing apprentice using everyday objects in your artwork. Make your own monoprint-style artist papers and turn them into gift wrap or stationery with the Gelli Arts gel plate. The surface of the gelatin plate is very sensitive, making it easy to create an imprint of your own unique design without requiring a […]

Dream Flowers: Mixed Media Collage with Guest Artist Caitlin Dundon

June 7th, 2012

We’re thrilled to welcome guest artist Caitlin Dundon to Somerset Place, where she showcases how to layer hand-drawn lettering with collage art.

I am always inspired by nature, especially flowers. From the simplest one-color tulip to the most ornate passion flowers, they fascinate me. And in these wonderful days of spring, with flowers showing their faces everywhere, I begin to dream of flowers, and they work their way into my art.

Creating a mixed-media collage is a wonderful way to make art. I find that it helps me tap into my creativity and quickly pulls me away from staring at a blank canvas or board. I often use floral patterned papers that are available at many scrapbook stores, mix in acrylic paint to add large areas of soft color, and embellish with the texture of household spackle, a rubber stamp, and a personal touch of handwriting.

Materials: decorative papers, scrap mat board, white tissue paper, acrylic paint, white gesso, white artist’s acrylic ink, old book pages, household spackle, soft gel medium, gloss varnish

Tools: heat gun, flat plastic putty knife, pointed pen holder with Nikko G metal nib, acrylic brushes, scissors, PITT artist pen, rubber stamp (with swirl pattern), sandpaper (medium grit and fine), small spray bottle or wet sponge.

Instructions

I started with an 8” square block of pine, ¾” thick – a piece of scrap wood that a local bookshelf maker sells in bags for a great price. Besides scrap pine boards, I also love artist panels made from plain unfinished birch plywood that have a more professional construction on back, so you can add hooks and wire to allow the piece to lie flat against the wall.

I like to work on wood for a variety of reasons – the surface can be sanded and water added without causing any warping that would happen on paper or mat board. I can paint and repaint over the surface if I decide I don’t like the finished piece. The surface can also be sanded extremely smooth for using calligraphy pens or markers later. The grain of wood often makes a nice addition to the pattern, and in addition, a weathered look can be achieved really easily with a little sanding.


My usual first step with most surfaces is to paint a coating of white gesso to prepare the surface. There’s just something more glowing about the acrylic paints when applied over a white surface. I don’t worry about the brush strokes, even painting in different directions with a smaller brush is fine – one quick coat will do, let it dry and after a light sanding, I am ready to start creating.

I love working with bits and pieces of text from old books. It almost doesn’t matter what book you use, since the pieces might be painted over so much that you don’t see the words, but in this case I wanted the black letters to show up as a form of texture. I start with soft gel medium and a small paint brush. I paint the spot where I am putting the pieces of torn paper and then quickly paint over the top, making sure to get all the edges. Working with small pieces makes it easier to keep from having spots of air or wrinkles. I love the texture of layering pieces on the wood and over each other. Sometimes I like to add just a little bit of dimension to a piece I am working on. In this case, I used several circles cut from thin cardboard or mat board.

One technique I love to do is tear white tissue paper into bits and pieces and adhere it with gel medium– even letting some pieces fold over each other. The transparency and absorbent quality of the tissue creates some interesting effects. I used layered tissue over the edges of the cut circles to soften them, creating a more rounded edge. I decided to add some color to my background “sky” using a blue acrylic paint mixed with some white paint, so it would appear behind the flowers. This is something I also could have done before adding my three circles.

I added a thin earthy yellow paint wash over both the torn bits of book papers with text as well as part of my sky. Adding washes like this adds more depth and variation of color that help tie the piece together. I also added a little touch of bright spring green paint to the “grass” – note how the edges of the bits of paper pick up more of the green. After cutting one leaf, I used it as a template to cut several so they’d be roughly the same size. You can see that before this point in the project, I imagined there to be three flowers, and I even started painting the middle one with white gesso for a different look, but as the piece came together I feel that it might have been a bit too busy. The advantage of painting on wood is that I was able to remove, paint over, and sand the spot where the third flower had been.

I felt that the piece still needed something. I scooped a small layer of household spackle on the right hand corner, spreading it with a small plastic trowel to be just thick enough to be able to rubber stamp into it. This is a process that works with plaster, spackle, joint compound, artist’s modeling paste – anything that starts out soft and then dries hard. These all have different effects and different drying times. I like spackle since it dries fast, but not as fast as plaster. Keep in mind that it is pink when applied and then turns white when dry. There’s about a half hour working time when you can decide if you want to redo your stamp. Get the stamp surface wet first by spraying it with water or squeeze out a sponge so the spackle doesn’t stick to it. I like to use a fingernail brush afterward to clean off any extra spackle that sticks to the stamp. After the spackle has dried, I brush it with a wash of the warm yellow paint and rub it with a cloth so it’s not too heavy.

The final step is to add my own handwriting. I used my pointed pen with white acrylic ink. Once fully dry, the whole piece is varnished with a gloss to protect it for many more springs to come.

ARTIST TIP: Working with a heat gun (the kind sold for rubber stamp embossing) can sometimes help speed up your processes. If you’ve got a good work and creative flow going, you can speed dry an area so you can proceed to the next step of painting a wash of color. But sometimes things like spackle or joint compound take some time to dry, so try working on another piece at the same time so you can alternate projects while one is drying.

Thank you for sharing this insightful project tutorial, Caitlin! Check out Caitlin’s “Family Tree” feature in the May/June 2012 issue of Somerset Studio. To see more of her artistic lettering projects, please visit her website www.oneheartstudio.com.

 



Sarah How-To Project TutorialsMixed-Media Art ,

We’re thrilled to welcome guest artist Caitlin Dundon to Somerset Place, where she showcases how to layer hand-drawn lettering with collage art. I am always inspired by nature, especially flowers. From the simplest one-color tulip to the most ornate passion flowers, they fascinate me. And in these wonderful days of spring, with flowers showing their […]

A Glimpse Inside New June Issues

June 4th, 2012

Your summer of artistic inspiration starts at Stampington, and we are so excited to give you an exclusive look into our new June issues. Don your wide-brimmed sun hat and kick off your sandals, because we hope you stay awhile! If you enjoy this assortment of titles and want to snag some for yourself, you can receive FREE SHIPPING with this special offer just for our blog readers.

Use Promo Code: BLOG0612*


This issue of Take Ten has little bits of inspiration that add up to nearly 300 stamped ideas for you to use in your card making, mixed-media, and packaging projects. You’ll enjoy quick and easy gift ideas featuring turquoise ribbons and polka dot bags and cute ways to use library drawer tabs.  With enticing color palettes that mirror the beautiful sunny season, these cards will jump right off the page and into your stash of new stamping ideas. Each card takes ten minutes or less to create, so you can whip up enough in one sitting to last you through graduations, birthdays, and holidays for the rest of the year!

~


Find the common creative thread that weaves artists together in the Summer ’12 issue of Art Quilting Studio. See how Bozena Mojtaszek translates her emotions into works of art in the form of decorative wall hangings. Cover artist Lenore Crawford shares how her fused art quilts are inspired by French architecture and gardens. To add some wit to your art, don’t miss Kathryn Clark’s unique quilt designs that are visual representations of idioms. Enjoy the Series Showcase featuring quilts depicting vintage chairs, telephones, teapots, and gardening tools, and be inspired by gorgeous ocean landscapes and fascinating DIY chalkboard quilts.

~

 
We hope you have an appetite for food, photos, and sentimental stories, because this magazine has it all. The Summer ’12 issue of Where Women Cook is packed with tasty dishes and cocktail drinks for you to make for your summer soirées. Whip up a batch of quick biscuits with Lizzie McGraw and indulge in Jen O’Connor’s Guinness Dark Chocolate Cake. Find out how Robin Shea started Southern Fried Fitness by incorporating an 80/20 healthy eating approach into her family’s meals. Who can resist food photographer, stylist, and chef Kelly Sterling’s tempting photos of her Fresh Nectarine and Shortbread Tart with Amaretto and Meyer Lemon Custard? Now that’s a mouthful of delicious eats.

~


The newest Sew Somerset is an absolute treasure for beginning and seasoned seamstresses alike.  Take needle and thread to fabric and create flower bouquets that will never wilt or whimsical illustrations you can hang in your home. Read the touching story of how Danielle Daniel discovered her family lineage and connected to her roots through stitching.  Gather tips and tricks from the pros, and jumpstart your passion for fiber arts with this stunning addition to your Somerset collection.

~


This issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry pays homage to the natural jewels of the ocean. Learn how to make a sea-inspired necklace, bangle, and earring set with turquoise shells and starfish charms. Wear your favorite book over your heart with a tutorial for distressing tiny book necklaces with inks and fibers, and create oyster rings complete with hidden pearls with Teresa Arana. With stepped-out photos for a closer look at some of the more intricate techniques, you’ll be able to follow along and dive into creating your own jewelry in no time.

~

Somerset Studio Gallery is a compilation of the best in mixed-media from a year of Somerset Studio inspiration.  Check out the mini wall art featuring The Wizard of Oz characters, and travel through time with art pieces tricked out in watch faces, gears, and cogs.  Create corrugated cardboard greeting cards with recycled flair, and fashion tiny treasure totes from fabric scraps. Packed with reader-submitted artwork including embellished notebook covers, a doll dress memo board and spirited collages for the home, this issue will encourage you to try your hand at different techniques with a variety of media!

~

*Free shipping offer applies to U.S. purchases of the following June 2012 issues only: Art Quilting Studio, Belle Armoire Jewelry, Sew Somerset, Somerset Studio Gallery, Take Ten, and Where Women Cook. Discount code does not apply to items purchased from The Shoppe at Somerset and expires 6/30/12.

 



Sarah Glimpse Inside And Sneak Peeks ,

Your summer of artistic inspiration starts at Stampington, and we are so excited to give you an exclusive look into our new June issues. Don your wide-brimmed sun hat and kick off your sandals, because we hope you stay awhile! If you enjoy this assortment of titles and want to snag some for yourself, you […]

London Market Notecards DIY

May 31st, 2012

One of the reasons why crafters flock to the bookshelves to snatch up the newest issue of Take Ten is the abundance of project samples that provide endless techniques and ideas for unique stamped cards. Another reason is that each card takes less than ten minutes to whip up, allowing you to churn out multiple cards in preparation for graduations, birthdays, and holidays in a timely fashion, year-round.

Our Shoppe Manager demonstrates how you can incorporate this versatile set of ephemera images into quick and easy cards that you can make in ten minutes or less.

Materials

London Market Petite Paper Pack

Divine Twine – Cotton Candy

StazOn Ink – Jet Black

Cardstock

Adhesive tape

Instructions

To give your cards a bit of shabby-chic flair, tear the edge of one paper to create texture. Layer coordinating papers on top of each other, adhering with double-sided tape. Stamp desired images onto papers using StazOn ink. Don’t worry if the images come out light, as that will just add to the vintage look. Finish off your projects by wrapping twine around the cards like a package, and tie off with a bow. Create a few more cards, and you’ll have quite a collection of beautiful notes the next time you want to send a sweet sentiment!

 Project and photos by Vanessa Spencer

For more cards that are quick and easy to assemble, check out the next issue of Take Ten, coming out June 1st!



Sarah How-To Project Tutorials ,,

One of the reasons why crafters flock to the bookshelves to snatch up the newest issue of Take Ten is the abundance of project samples that provide endless techniques and ideas for unique stamped cards. Another reason is that each card takes less than ten minutes to whip up, allowing you to churn out multiple […]

Sew Free Motion Stitched Brooches with Guest Artist Danita

May 24th, 2012

We are excited to welcome guest artist Danita to Somerset Place as she shares how to create these little fabric cuties!

Hi! I’m Danita and I have a passion for all things crafty.  My grandmother was the seamstress of the family, although sadly I didn’t have the luck to learn from her. Nonetheless, her creativity runs through me, as I love creating small sewn projects that I can embellish with free motion stitching – it’s like drawing with a sewing machine! This project encourages artists of all crafting backgrounds to dip their toes into the art of free motion stitching. The most important thing to remember is to have fun learning and experimenting with the process.

Materials:

Sewing machine
Darning foot
Scissors
Felt
Fabric
Thread
Interfacing
Image printed on Ink-Jet Fabric (or an image from fabric)
Brooch

Instructions:

1.    Begin by swapping out the foot on your machine for a darning foot. If you don’t have one, you can just remove the one you already have (just be careful).  Drop the feed dogs on your machine and you’re ready to start free motion stitching.

2.    Cut your image to desired size.

3.    Place a piece of interfacing between the fabric and the ink-jet printed image. With the printed image on top, take it to your machine and begin stitching around the image to secure all layers.  I used zigzag stitching in this step to secure it.

4.    Change your machine settings to a straight stitch and start forming scallops around the image, moving your fabric along the way. Remember that when the feed dogs are dropped, the machine doesn’t control the fabric – you do!

5.    After you’ve stitched all the way around the image, place it on the felt and take it to your machine again.

6.    Repeat the scallops around the fabric and onto the felt, stitching the two layers together.

7.    Trim excess fabric to frame the image and sew the brooch to the back. Be careful to sew it just onto the felt and not through the image on the front.

8.    Take a look at your new creation – sew cute!

Thank you for sharing, Danita! Danita and her artwork have been featured in Stampington publications including Art Doll Quarterly, Art Quilting Studio, Belle Armoire, Sew Somerset, Somerset Studio, and Stuffed. To view more of Danita’s artwork, visit her blog at  danitaart.blogspot.com.



Sarah How-To Project Tutorials ,

We are excited to welcome guest artist Danita to Somerset Place as she shares how to create these little fabric cuties! Hi! I’m Danita and I have a passion for all things crafty.  My grandmother was the seamstress of the family, although sadly I didn’t have the luck to learn from her. Nonetheless, her creativity […]