Some time ago, I bought a set of Ink Dusters from Inkylicious:
At the time, I had a good look on Youtube but couldn’t find any videos about using them, so I promised I’d do one myself once I got time. This year has been so busy with projects, that it’s only now that I’ve finally been able to fulfil that promise.
I am sure there are lots more techniques you can do with these marvellous brushes, but I hope this video tutorial I’ve put together will at least provide an introduction.
You can use different media with these brushes, but so far I’ve only used Tim Holtz Distress Inks with them. They blend these so absolutely perfectly that I shall never go back to blending tools or home-made blending pads made from Cut and Dry foam. I find both these methods make my hand ache after a short while, but the brushes are held like a pen, which is a lot more natural, and much easier to control, too. They are so soft that you can blend the smallest amount of ink, gradually building up the intensity of colour so that it’s always under your control, and there’s no hard line between the different colours. Because the brushes are so soft, you can easily distress quite thin paper without any danger of it catching and creasing, as can easily happen with blending tools.
As usual, when trying things out, I tend to work on ATC-sized pieces of card, because there’s very little waste if things go wrong, and if it works, then I’ve got a potential ATC done, or at least a background.
For this tutorial, I worked on four ATCs – two using pink and purple, and the other two using browns and yellows, just for contrast.
For the pink/purple ones, I used a combination of Spun Sugar, Dusty Concord, Chipped Sapphire and Black Soot, and for the brown/yellow ones I used Wild Honey, Spiced Marmalade, Vintage Photo and Walnut Stain, and a little Dusty Concord.
The tutorial covers blending, working on thin paper, masks, stencils, and using heat embossing as a resist.
I prepared a couple of cards in advance by heat embossing them using rubber stamps and Versamark, and clear embossing powder.
One card I pre-inked using the Ink Dusters, and then heat embossed so that the colour of the inks showed through the clear embossing.
Some people use the Ink Dusters straight onto the ink pad, but I find I can see how much is going on and have more control, if I smear the ink pad onto my craft mat first, and take up the ink from there. The Ink Duster is dabbed into the ink and then swirled on a clean bit of craft mat to distribute the ink into the brush.
Starting with the lightest colour, I worked the ink into the paper starting at the edges, blending towards the centre, using light circular motions, stroking motions inwards from the edge, and finally stippling motions as the ink was used up. It’s a matter of trial and error really, and seeing what works best for you. I learnt by experience that if I did not work the ink into the bristles before applying the brush to the card, I tended to get streaks and unevenness – you can see a bit of this on this photo, where I was a bit over-generous with the Black Soot Distress Ink, but I was able to blend away the streaks.
You can add as many colours as you like to get the effect you want. Working over clear embossing, it’s great to see the stamped image emerging as you build up the ink – the embossing acts as a resist and reveals the underlying colour of the card as you work.
These were some of the cards I made last year after the craft show where I saw a demo of inking over embossing as a resist. After inking, you stamp the image again, slightly offset, using a darker coloured ink, creating a shadow and making the embossed image appear to float above the surface of the card – very effective! The excess dark ink on the embossing is cleaned away with a baby wipe.
For the masking and stencilling sample, I cut some pieces of ATC-sized paper, folded them into quarters and then ripped away a corner, so that when I unfolded them, they formed little frames.
I used these as a stencil, holding it down over the ATC and brushing on the ink.
When I removed the paper frame, a white border was left.
I meant to retain the centre that I’d torn out, so that I could use that as a mask when colouring the frame that wasn’t inked, but I forgot to keep it – I just chose a lighter colour which wouldn’t affect what I’d already done in the centre, and inked in from the edges.
You could use any shapes you’d cut or torn yourself, or commercial masks or stencils.
These are the pieces I made:
and each one in close-up. The first one shows the heat-embossed butterflies acting as a resist, showing the white card beneath. The colours are Spun Sugar and Dusty Concord.
The second butterfly sample shows how the clear embossing powder, acting as a resist, reveals the card which had previously been inked with Spun Sugar and Dusty Concord. The second layer of inking was done with Crushed Sapphire and Black Soot.
The third sample is a swirl stamped and heat embossed. I got this gorgeous swirl stamp recently, and I’m thrilled with it as it’s quite large, and you can use just part of it to good effect. The inking is done in Wild Honey, Spiced Marmalade, Vintage Photo and Walnut Stain.
The final sample was the stencil made from the ripped frame. I placed this down over the ATC and inked it first with Dusty Concord and then with Spiced Marmalade, and finally a little Walnut Stain, to give a nice brown colour. When I lifted the stencil, the surround looked very stark in white, so I inked it with Wild Honey. As this was a lighter colour, it did not affect what was already in the centre. This sample isn’t very exciting but it shows what can be done. I may use it for something.
Here is the two-part video I made while working on the sample ATCs.
I hope the procedure is clear, and that you feel encouraged to have a go. I am so impressed with the way these gorgeous brushes blend the colours, and they are such a joy to use.
Finally, here is a photo of most of the stuff I used during this tutorial. The only thing I forgot was the stamps I used, I think!