Technique Thursday: Embossing

There are so many amazing rubber stamps on the market these days, I cannot imagine not stamping. I use stamps all of the time in many of my projects and I love them.

A few weeks ago, one of the customers at Capture A Memory in Flint Township asked me about embossing. So, in her honor, we are going to emboss this week for Technique Thursday.

You can use any type of stamp to emboss with. You can also use a variety of inks — an embossing pad, Distress Ink Embossing Pad, Versamark or any pigment ink pad. As long as the ink stays wet long enough to sprinkle powder and heat it, you can use it.

First, you need a heat-resistant surface to work on. You can use your Ranger Non-Stick Craft Sheet or you can make a surface by covering a clipboard with aluminum foil. This works well because you can clip the corner of your art to the board and protect your fingers from the heat.

Step 1: (optional) Wipe the paper you intend to work on with a dryer sheet or anti-static pad. This helps prevent stray embossing powder from clinging to the paper around your image.

Step 2: Tap the stamp lightly onto the ink pad until the entire image is covered and then press straight down onto your paper. Apply a bit of pressure and then lift straight up. I used Ranger’s embossing pad, which is nice because it is tinted so you can see the image. Notice the light teal image stamped on the right side of the paper below. (click on the image for a larger view)

Step 3: Sprinkle the image with embossing powder. I like to use a tiny metal spoon (it cuts down on the static). I also put the image on top of a coffee filter to collect the excess so I can dump it back into my container. Coffee filters do not hold on to static, so they are great with glitter and embossing powder. Once the image is covered, gently tap off the excess. Do not flick the paper like you do with glitter or you will take too much off.

Step 4: If you have embossing powder outside of where you want it, like I do in the image below, use a small paintbrush to get rid of the excess.

Step 5: Now you are ready to heat it. Place it on a heat-resistant surface and heat it with a heat gun (Ranger’s is my favorite. It’s quiet, it doesn’t blow much and it is hot.) DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS WITH A HAIR DRYER. It will just blow your powder all over. Hold the heat gun in one place until you see the powder change. In most cases, it will become shiny. Notice the chicks on the right of this sample … they are finished. The ones on the left are still waiting to be heated.

That’s it! It is really rather simple, once you know how to do it.

Now, for a few more tips …

If you do not want to buy lots of colors of embossing powder, buy clear and use the ink colors you already have. It will give you the same effect.

You can also use your embossing powders to change the colors of brads, frames or even shrink plastic. Just cover the area you want to emboss in embossing ink, sprinkle on some powder and heat.

Not all embossing powders give you a shiny smooth finish. Some are more transparent. Some have glitter. Some have more of a matte finish. I love these by JudiKins because they are a mix of colors. I used Granite on the flamingos.

Some embossing powders retain their bumpy feel even after heating.

This jar was embossed with Ranger’s Antiquities embossing powder in cement. It stays rough even after heating.

Now it is time for you to try your hand at embossing. Stop by Capture A Memory in Flint Township from 2-6 p.m. today and give it a try. I’ll see you there!


Fairy Art

Last May, at the Great Lakes Mega Meet, I discovered a new product and promptly fell in love … Globecraft Memories. The globes come in kits with chipboard frames that can be layered around a globe — which is perfect for 3-D items.

It’s taken me a while, but I finally put one together using some wonderful products from Art Glitter.


This one was particularly challenging to photograph because of the reflections in the globe, so I’ve included some close up photos to help you see all of the dimension and sparkle in this project.

First, I stamped the fairy (from JudiKins) three times on X-Press It Blending Card and colored each image with Copic Sketch Markers. Then, I cut the three images out and used foam adhesive to attach them together for dimension.

I thought her dress and hat should be really special. I imagined the dress as layers of beaded fringe, so using Designer Dries Clear Adhesive with the Ultrafine Metal Tip, I covered her dress and hat in Small Glass Beads in Clear (810) from Art Glitter.

Then, I added Microfine Winter White glitter (711) to the spots on the wings and her socks. Since this glitter is transparent, the color shows through underneath.

I wanted her to have a bit more sparkle, so I added Microfine in Poupon (717), which is also transparent, to the place where her wings come out from her body.

While that dried, I turned my attention to the frame.

I wasn’t in the mood to trace, cut and sand, so I decided to ink the frame instead of covering it with paper. I used Rusty Hinge Distress Ink to cover each piece. Then, I used stamps from Tim Holtz and Studio 490, along with Ranger Archival Ink, to create pattern.

Next, I used Designer Dries Clear Adhesive to adhere the fairy and the globe to the background, and then to attach each of the frames to the top.

For accents, I covered some Grungeboard flowers from Tim Holtz with Vintage Glass Glitter in Chocolatta (624). (you could use cardstock or chipboard to make your own, if you need to). I glued those to the frame and then found a few dried flowers in my garden and added them. Once the adhesive was dry, I added a bit of twine from May Arts and some additional glue underneath to make it all stay put.

I love the juxtaposition of the Vintage Glass Glitter with the dried flower pods …

(TIP: It takes a bit more time to adhere Designer Dries Clear Adhesive to glitter than it does to other surfaces. So, I took my time and watched television while I held each flower in place and waited for the glue to set. It does adhere beautifully, it just requires a bit more patience than we are used to.)

I covered some additional Grungeboard die cuts (of butterflies and dragonflies) in Ultrafine Halo (230), Ultrafine Sand (68) and Ultrafine Sage (122) and adhered them around the frame.

Finally, I added a few brads and pronounced it finished.

(I received Art Glitter products in exchange for this post)


Christmas Mini Album

I’m probably spoiling the surprise, but I am so in love with this project, I cannot wait to share it …

So, Stephanie, if you are reading, stop now and go to a new site …

My sister, has a new man in her life. He’s a great guy and they have a lot in common. They’ve been together for quite a while and things seem to be getting serious, so I decided to make them a mini album to document their first Christmas together.

I wanted something they could record their new traditions, their love and their time together during this most wonderful time of the year. So, using book covers from 7 Gypsies, I created this …


I wanted to give the look of Christmas Eve night, so I used a Tim Holtz mask and then covered the cover with Distress Ink in Faded Jeans and Black Soot. Once that was done, I sprayed it with Heirloom Gold Perfect Pearls Mist.

For the title, I used one of Tim’s stickers and alphabet stamps from Close To My Heart (with Snow Cap ink from Ranger). The “1” is Grungeboard from Tim and the “st” are chipboard from Maya Road. I stamped both with a Studio 490 stamp from Wendy Vecchi in Archival Ink and then covered them in Distressed Ink and then a layer of Diamond Glaze.

The date is stamped and then covered in Glossy Accents. I added eyelets with the Crop-a-Dial from We R Memory Keepers and then attached some beads and chain. Finally, I added ribbon from Bo Bunny.

Inside, I cut pages to fit from Bo Bunny paper, added embellishments, cardstock, ribbon, etc. and then attached two pages back to back to make them thicker (and hide the backs of the brads, pins, staples, etc. Mini albums are a great place for those leftover embellishments …

Where I left space for photos, I didn’t attach the embellishments completely, so my sister can slip in her photos behind the film ribbon, in this case. It is only attached on the edges and the key is pinned to the ribbon itself.

Since my sister and her boyfriend are going Christmas shopping in NYC, I included pages for shopping, along with pages for holiday treats and family traditions.

I’m not showing you all of the pages because I want some of it to be a surprise, but I hope this gives you an idea of how easy it is to create a mini album of your own — for Christmas or for any special occasion.

Unzip the man

Inspiration is all around us and I take it from a lot of places — scrapbooking magazines, galleries, blogs, idea books, as well as advertising, fashion and home decor. Sometimes, I am inspired by the paper itself.

But this time, it was the new mini gear die from Tim Holtz/Sizzix that provided the inspiration and pulled all of the pieces together.

I am an as-I-go sort of cropper. I rarely have a finished picture in my head when I begin working. Normally, I gather things I think go together and then play around, adhering things as I go and figuring out the rest of it at the end. Somehow, it usually works.

I had this paper by Creative Imaginations (Be A Man) for a while, but hadn’t quite got around to using it — until the new die came into the store.

Suddenly, I saw the entire finished page in my head. I knew exactly how it would look, what tools I would need and how I would put it together. In fact, the hardest part was finding a photo of my husband that would fit the page. Eventually, I gave up that task and used a favorite of the two of us together.

Here’s how I did it …

The ribbon is from Maya Road. It comes with the zipper together. Since there is no zipper pull and I wasn’t sure I could back together if it came apart, I adhered the part I wanted to stay closed to the fence-link paper by Creative Imaginations, first. I used Glue Lines because they are strong and adhere instantly.

Then, I carefully took the zipper apart, adhering the rest onto the paper.

Once that was done, I used scissors to cut off the paper behind the zipper ribbon — so it would look like the paper was unzipping. Then I backed the whole thing with another sheet of Creative Imaginations paper, so everything was strong and secure. I matted the photo and attached it, cut out the title with my Cricut and then got to work embellishing the page.

The back of the gear paper has a lot of words on it and I really liked some of the phrases, so I cut those out (of an additional sheet) and adhered them. Then, I added a couple of stickers off of the coordinating sticker sheet.

Using some circle punches in various sizes, I punched out some of the gears from that extra sheet of paper and placed them around the page — some of them using dimensional foam. Then, using the gear die, I cut out a few gears from cardstock, dipped them onto an embossing pad and then covered them with embossing powder from JudiKins. I heated them to melt the powder and then placed them on the page as well.

Finally, I added some metal gears, brads and coins from Tim Holtz/Ideaology.

Here’s a closer look.

By the way, I used Art Glitter Designer Dries Clear adhesive to attach the metal pieces.

Click on the images for a larger picture or visit Scrap Tales in Brighton for an in-person look.

Inspired by Tim Holtz

It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Tim Holtz. I love the thought process that goes into making his products — and the ideas he shares to use them after we get them.

That said, you can understand how last week was one of my favorite weeks of the year. I loved the lessons and inspiration he put into his 12 Tags of Christmas.

Although I haven’t had time to try all of the techniques, yet, I did make a custom stamp pad with Distress Ink Re-inkers and Cut & Dry Felt. I even tried embossing after stamping with Distress Ink for a unique “looks wet” sort of look. Here’s the link to Tim’s instructions ...

And, here’s what I did …

Pretty cool, eh?! And, it came out perfect on the first attempt — which is even cooler.

Since rubber stamps are my latest favorite product, I am challenging myself to use them on scrapbook pages. It sounds simple, but it really is more difficult than one would think. So, this was my first attempt at incorporating stamps into scrapbook pages. The paper and ribbon are by Bo Bunny. The stamps are by Tim Holtz and JudiKins. The date is grungeboard letters by Tim Holtz, painted with a Ranger Paint Dabber. (Click on the images to make them larger).

If you notice the date, you will realize why I need to make myself incorporate my new love of stamping into my scrapbook pages!

Stickles Shelf

When you get more than a few of any one thing, you need a way to store it.

My latest obsession has been with Stickles and Distress Stickles by Ranger. While I don’t have all of the colors, I had enough that they needed a permanent home.

This was my solution …

I started with the mini-album shelf from KaiserCraft. I used Paint Dabbers from Ranger to paint the edges and paper from K & Company to cover the shelf.

Then, I took inspiration from Wendy Vecchi and Tim Holtz and decorated it with stamps, Grungepaper, Distress Ink and other embellishments.

This side features a Grungeboard keyhole from Tim Holtz. I painted it with Mica Gloss from JudiKins and used a Glaze pen to fill in the hole.

When I hung it over my desk, it made some other shelves look sad, so I covered a portion of them in coordinating paper. It’s so easy for me to get carried away!


my new header

I finally got around to doing something I have been wanting to do for some time … make a header for my blog.

I used some of my favorite products, along with some of my favorite subjects and a few of my current favorite techniques.

The background is made by inking a piece of cardstock with Distress Ink and then applying a mask by Tim Holtz (I have always had a clock thing, so this one seemed appropriate) and inking with a second color of Distress Ink. Then, I used a Studio 490 stamp — Fly Poop — to add a little texture. When one discovers a stamp made by one of her favorite companies, designed by one of her favorite designers named something silly, like Fly Poop, one MUST buy it!

I then used some rubber stamps to showcase some of my obsessions — hot air balloons, Winnie the Pooh, and chickens. That Winnie the Pooh stamp is destined to be my next tattoo, but who knows when I’ll get the courage up to do that! I colored all of them in with Copic markers — another new obsession of mine.

Next I added some die cuts from Dies Direct — I collect hippos and have a recent thing for birds … All of them were inked with Distress Ink. I love how the color blends and shades itself. It is almost magic.

For the name, I used two different techniques on chipboard letters by Maya Road. The first, taught to me by Wendy Vecchi, is to color them with Distress Ink and then stamp over them with a background stamp — I used words because I am an editor and writer in the real world. The second is super simple: I used my finger to spread Mica Gloss by JudiKins over them. Don’t you love the shine?

Finally, I added a few stamps by 7 Gypsies, lace from Graphic 45 and some metal pieces by Tim Holtz.

What do you think?

What can you do with Glue Dots®?

Mini Glue Dots® were used on this to fix edges that didn't get adhered properly and to hold tags in place.

When I was asked this question, my first response was, “what can’t you do with Glue Dots®!”

I have been a huge fan of Mini Glue Dots® since the day I discovered them some 10 or 12 years ago. I first used them to attach decorative buttons. Then, when metal charms and accents were all the rage, I used them for that.

Eventually, I developed my own techniques.

For instance, I never learned to sew. I understand the concept, but the whole knotting thing is just too much for me. So, when I want to “sew” a button onto a scrapbook page, I run embroidery floss through one of the button holes. Then, at the back, I attach Mini Glue Dots® so it holds the floss in place. Next, I run the floss through the rest of the button holes and then add another Mini Glue Dots® to hold it all in place. I trim the edges and adhere it to my page.

The Mini Glue Dots® on the perforated sheets are my favorites — so much so that I special order them from my favorite scrapbook store (they carry both the value pack rolls and the Dot N’ Go Glue Dots®. But, I love using the perforated sheets when I teach classes.

They also come in handy when working on altered art. It never fails that no matter how much adhesive I apply, I always seem to miss a corner of the paper here and there. With the perforated sheets, you can slip the Mini Glue Dots® under the paper, press down and yank the sheet back out, leaving behind a perfectly adhered corner.

I also like the Removable Glue Dots®. I use them to adhere small pieces of chipboard to my Non-Stick Craft Sheet when painting or inking. They are also helpful in keeping ribbon wrapped up on its spool.

The only adhesive used on this frame were Glue Dots®.

But, in response to the question I was asked, I decided to experiment and see what you really could do with Glue Dots®.

As it turns out, you can use them to hold embossing powder in place while you heat it (see the blue lines in the frame above). You can also use them as an adhesive for glitter, flock or Sparkly Fluff. And, they can hold just about anything, as shown in the travel frame I made to celebrate a train ride my husband and I took.

Incidentally, my husband took one of my Mini Glue Dots® and used it to fix his camera the other day. While I wouldn’t recommend that, he’s happy and in the end, that’s all that really matters!

Here are step-by-step directions for making the Travel Frame:

1. Sand frame by KaiserCraft.

2. Paint with Ranger Paint Dabbers — I used Black and Silver. Since the tape is transparent, the different colors underneath create a bit of depth and interest.

3. Once dry, place a photo in place and assemble the frame using Glue Dots®.

4. Cover the front of the frame with Tissue Tape by Tim Holtz.

5. Apply two strips of Continuous Glue Lines® and sprinkle with JudiKins Embossing Powder in Lapis Lazul. Heat to melt.

6. Using Sizzix Dies by Tim Holtz, cut out Tickets on plain white cardstock and flowers using paper by Tim Holtz.

7. Stamp desired tickets with Ranger Archival Ink using Tim Holtz stamps by Stampers Anonymous. Color with Tim Holtz Distress Ink. Journal. Crinkle and bend as desired and staple on each side using the Tiny Attacher. Add mini paper clips by Tim Holtz.

8. Bend flower dies as desired. Pierce hole in each and connect with Hitch by Tim Holtz.

9. Attach lace, buttons (My Mind’s Eye), and pin (Tim Holtz) with Mini Glue Dots®.

10. Thread chain (Tim Holtz) through key (Tim Holtz). Place Mini Glue Dots® on the bottom of the key and Pop Up Glue Dots® on the top of the key and attach to the frame. Drape the chain over the frame corner and attach in the back with Mini Glue Dots®.

11. Attach flower with Mini Glue Dots®.

12. Attach a Game Spinner to a Clock Face using a brad (all by Tim Holtz) and use Glue Dots® to adhere.

13. Place a Mini Glue Dots® on top of Gear (Tim Holtz) and attach a Dew Drop (Robin’s Nest).

14. Using jump rings (Tim Holtz), attach charm (Maya Road) to gear. Then place another Glue Dots® on the back of the gear and adhere it to the frame. Push it into the Continuous Glue Lines® for extra security. Be sure your charm hangs freely in front of the photo. Enjoy!

“I wrote this blog post while participating on the Glue Dots design team.”

Fun with Alcohol

I have been wanting this stamp by Judi Kins for months and finally broke down and bought it. I imagined it warm, sunny and sparkly.

So, for the next challenge for Scrap Wars, I created a special tag to go with this special stamp.

Our challenge was to make a standard tag and use acetate somewhere on the tag. I decided just to make the tag from acetate.

I used Judi Kins Embossable Window Plastic to make the tag and added Tim Holtz Alcohol Ink to the back side. I then stamped the image on the front and heat embossed it with Zing embossing powder.

When I got done, I decided I didn’t like the fairy’s flesh colored in yellow and orange, so I used a Q-Tip and some blending solution to remove the color. In retrospect, an Alcohol Ink Pen filled with blending solution probably would have worked better.

I then added glitter to the backside, so it didn’t get in the way of the details. I used glitter and clear glue by Art Glitter.

Some eyelets and beads (by Maya Road) at the bottom and a ribbon up top completed the look.