More Alcohol Ink Tips

Alcohol ink makes some of the prettiest pieces of art! And there are as many ways to use the inks as there are people working with them. I still have so much to learn about these beautiful colors! Today I want to show you how an absolute mess was turned into a wonderful save that hangs on the wall in my studio now.

This piece began with five colors of alcohol ink that I dropped randomly over the surface of my 5″ x 7″ piece of Yupo paper. I had just gotten some new colors and wanted to see what they looked like. Not loving it and not feeling inspired, I brought out a blending tool with a pad attached and started dropping dots of color right onto the tool pad itself.

Next I took the blending tool and started stamping it all over the paper. Sometimes I turned the tool, and I added more colors when I needed them. Still, I was not loving it.

Not letting that deter me, I added more color right onto the paper itself. No blending tool this time. And what a yucky mess I had! There was only one place on this whole piece that I actually liked. What to do next? I hate throwing things away! Remember Dad-ism 101?

Ah! Alcohol. I got my fine liner bottle filled with isopropyl alcohol and proceeded to add some of that to the mix.

Can you make out the squiggly line of alcohol I added? All across the entire paper. And I waited to let the alcohol work and figure out what to do next. It’s a learning process. When one thing fails, try something else.

I liked it better than to begin with, but I still didn’t like it! And there was way too much wet on the surface! So I took a paper towel and placed it over everything and blotted. I mean, what could it hurt? Right? Had I ever used a paper towel with alcohol ink? No. Not ever. Never even thought about it.

I removed the paper towel and just waited for this mess to dry. And when it was totally dry, this is what I had. And I loved it!!! Still do! And it is now in a frame and hanging in my studio to remind me . . . nothing is ever so broken that it can not be fixed. Dad-ism 101. Thank you, Daddy!

Alcohol inks are one of my favorite art supplies to work with and experiment. There are a lot of techniques I do not know yet but I do not let that stop me from playing and having fun!

Art From Others

Does your artistic journey ever need to be inspired? Where do you go to find new ideas, new techniques, new artistic things you want to try? Well, I’m hoping this spot right here is one of those places! For sure! Even I need encouraging, motivating and inspiration. To meet those needs I keep a file of artworks that have been sent to me by others. And occasionally I share a post with you featuring some of those art pieces. You are in luck because today is one of those days!

This ATC comes by way of Creative Crafty Friends‘ admin Sarah O’Neal. She sent this to me for the 1 For All and All For 1 swap. I love that name! I really like how the guy is taller than the ATC! He stands out in my binder when I flip through to admire all the ATCs I’ve been sent! And Sarah added some really cool texturing through a stencil. I haven’t done that in awhile. Maybe that will be my inspiration for today.

Sarah sent me some other goodies to play with, too!

Beth Broadway made these cool ATCs. Beth does collage people better than anyone I know! Anyone else notice the text behind the girl? How it flips orientation depending on which side you look at? Part of being brave? I like it! This was for our 1 For All swap, as well. The card on the right was an extra Beth sent, it is going to find its way into my Zen-untangled! journal.

Jennifer Marker is the other admin in Creative Crafty Friends. She made these wonderful art journal pages for me! Jennifer did some really cool things with these two pieces. The one on the left has pop dots under two of the stars to elevate them from the page and add dimension. The other page has painting through a stencil for texture and I really like the way she made the flower petals! The sentiment is really important to remember in life. Don’t let anything hold you back, not even your own fear.

We also make index card art in our swap group. Kasey James made this fun card for me – it measures about 4″ x 6″ and it is bright and colorful and fun! Kasey even used my signature printemps in the background. And jewels on the flowers for extra texture. I really like how the swirls in her hair replicates the printemps. Or is that vice versa?

For the Letter O Swap, Ann Wood made these beautiful ATCs. Ok, what do I like about each? The ornament card has such wonderful depth with the layers of elements! And the splattered white dots are reminiscent of snow and you know how much I love snow! At least, in November and December, not so much in April. On the owl card, just look at all those little pearls of white and the necklace Ann made using them! And again all the layers building up to make this fun owl ATC. I need to think more about building layers like Ann did.

Can I just say Rachel loves me? Rachel Foster that is. Several times a year Rachel sends me happy mail with a selection of fun items I can use in my own art. She has kept me supplied with lots of text items including oriental characters and candy wrappers and newspapers and sheet music and cookbook pages and . . . . well, you get the idea. She loves paper and she shares! I used at least two of these hearts on the Letter H Heart ATC I showed you a few days ago. I am saving the other hearts to use in my Zen-untangled! journal.

Can I just say one word? Color! Boom! Sally Kroske knows exactly what I love! Color! Sally made this awesome vintage ATC for the 1 For All swap. So many layers and texture! You should hold this one in your hand and feel the surface! Hahaha! It is pretty incredible! And she sent me color, too! The pink is an alcohol ink piece that I can tangle. The yellow and green piece is on cold pressed watercolor paper and I have already included it in my Zen-untangled! journal, I just haven’t shown it to you yet. I love it all, and I am truly going to work on more layering this week.

Here’s another fun art set from Sarah O’Neal! This was for the Alice in Wonderland ATC swap. She knocked these out of the park! Not a lot of fancy texturizing, or collaging, or painting, Sarah kept these more low key and by doing so made them stand out and be excellent. Card stock bases that she stamped some text on, some word blocks she printed on her computer and cut out, a couple small stamps for background shapes, and her focus pieces. The Alice characters are Stampotique stamps that Sarah colored and put in place. And she added some pen work. A lot of love went into these three pieces and I think they are perfect! And wonderful! I mean, they are about wonderland, how could they not be wonder-ful?

And one last set for today, came from Amber Patterson. A completely different take on Alice in Wonderland. Three ATCs and extra pieces of backgrounds for me to play with. Look at that Cheshire! Isn’t he awesome! Just below him is a little pocket with a smaller Cheshire that you can remove from the pocket. I’m thinking these images are from the book itself. And that Queen of Hearts is amazing! Hahaha! Amber colored these pieces. I really like how she placed all three characters on a texted circle and adhered them to the ATCs to give continuity to the set. And she used some really nice embellishments!

Swapping art with friends is a great way to stay in touch. We learn from each other. We gain inspiration with each piece of art we look at and appreciate. We each have something to share, regardless if we are brand new and just starting out or if we have been at it for years and years. Me? I started about 7 years ago and believe me – I study other people’s art to see what I can learn from it. I don’t always try everything I want to, but it is there in my mind to be brought back out again when I have the time. Encourage a friend today and send them a piece of art. Afraid to send through the postal service these days? Send it virtually. It will be loved. I promise.

Marabu Alcohol Ink

You already know how much I love color! Making color in almost any media just makes my day. Yesterday I was having a little trouble getting anything accomplished – like many of you are right now – so I turned to a favorite product. Alcohol ink. Specifically Marabu Alcohol Inks. In this post I want to walk you through two simple techniques involving the use of isopropyl rubbing alcohol with your favorite alcohol ink.

I began with a small sheet of Ranger’s Alcohol Ink Cardstock and five different colors in the Marabu line. Working on a dry piece of cardstock, I shook out dots of color randomly all over the paper.

Next I took my bottle of isopropyl alcohol and squeezed out a squiggly line of alcohol from one lower corner to the opposite upper corner. You can see the colors were already starting to move and blend, making new colors and intensifying others.

I used my new Tim Holtz alcohol ink blower and moved that color and alcohol around the surface of my paper, adding a few drops of color here and there where needed. Then sat it aside to dry.

Once dry, the colors are a little softer, the edges in some places a little more defined. I may just put this one in a frame and hang it on my wall. Remember in this technique we worked from dry to wet.

In this second project, I worked wet and skipped that whole dry step. I began with a squiggly line of alcohol, then shook in my colors. This time I skipped the purple and went with pink, blue, green and yellow. Marabus are great for shaking drops. Just make them randomly all over the card.

I used my air blower tool and pushed the alcohol and color all over the card until I reached a point I liked. That messy background? That is my plastic cake spinner from Walmart. I work on it so I can spin my tile as I squeeze the air to push color. If one side needs more work, I just spin the cake plate till I am where I need to be.

You can see the cake spinner better here. Marabu has some really nice metallics and I thought this piece of art could use a touch of gold. So I just shook out a bunch of drops all over. Be sure to shake the bottle up really well first.

Hard to get in a photograph, but all those little dots are ringed with gold. And I loved it, so I sat this aside to dry.

Same piece dry, colors softened and photo taken in natural lighting from the window in my studio. This has to be one of my favorite alcohol ink pieces I’ve ever done! So maybe I need a double photo frame! Hahaha! I hope you will give it a try!

Paper Bag Junk Journal

Looking for something to do while you socially distance yourself? Something different, fun and easy to do with the supplies you already have on hand? Today’s project is the ticket!

Today I made a paper bag junk journal. Gathering my supplies, I brought out four lunch bags, a variety of scraps of scrapbook paper, some ribbons and some fun word stickers.

I am going to show you the finished project and explain a little of what I did. This particular book is going to a lady in our swap group. I don’t really know anything about her, what she likes or dislikes, but I figured everyone could use a good dream right about now! I did cheat a little with this book, though. Years ago when I had an Etsy scrapbook shop I made paper bag books filled with Disney ephemera or Princess goodies and sold them for $50 – $75.00 each, depending on what I included. This paper bag book is leftover from that time frame and it already had holes punched in it and the bags were sewn together down the middle. To get to that point, take your four bags and stack them in alternating directions. Fold the whole stack in half, open the stack back up and sew down that center fold. For my front cover I used a pretty piece of scrapbook paper with a couple heart elements that I ran through the sticker machine. The butterfly and small flower are what is called outline stickers. I get mine at Paper Wishes.

My theme was dream. My papers were all similar in color: pinks, greys and blacks. If you think about what you already have on hand in your art supplies you can easily make a similar book.

I love these colors together! This is my favorite page spread. Let me point something out. Along the edge of the left hand page – you can see that is the ‘top’ of the bag, the end with the opening. Inside that opening I put some surprises.

Hahahaha! This little block doesn’t go with the color scheme but I love the wording! As you can see, you get quite a few pages using just four bags. I mentioned surprises that go inside the flaps. Let me show you.

The thought is the person I send this to can use the book any way she wishes. She can add photos, she can journal, she can draw in it, add collage art, other types of mixed medias. Any idea she can dream up will be just perfect! These extra pieces in the flaps can be used as extra pages. And if you include the backs – that doubles your number. I figure counting the covers, you have 16 pages in this paper bag book. Sixteen work surfaces. The book comes with four flaps in which I stuck two extra pieces like the ones above in each flap. That gives an additional 16 pages, for a total of 32 pages in this little paper bag book. Unless I added wrong cause I seriously stink at math!

For an easy to make project with supplies from your kitchen and art stash, you get a whole lot of bang for your proverbial buck! I could have done a whole lot more embellishing but I want the person that receives this book to be able to add her own ‘touch’ to it! Paper bag junk journal! Easy peasy! I’d love to see what you make!