Monday, 16 July 2012

Faux Porcelain Sentiments

For a birthday card I am making, I am following a tutorial on the Splitcoast Stampers site by Shelley Hickox for faux porcelain. I haven’t got all the ingredients for this, so I am having to compromise somewhat.

The first step was to create the card pieces which were going to be transformed. In Inkscape, I have designed a set of nesting ovals, which can be found on my Skydrive – this was following an excellent video tutorial by Carolyn of the Inkscape Cutting Designs forum, using the Interpolation method.

From this nested shape, I selected two adjacent ovals, and duplicated them so that I ended up with this.

This file can also be downloaded free from my Skydrive.

I cut the set of ovals using Sheba, my Black Cat Cougar cutting machine, and stacked the three small ones together and held them in place with a dab of Pritt glue stick. I then lined up this stack with one of the larger ovals and again located it with a dab of Pritt. I embossed this in the Cuttlebug, using my No More Shims mat, with the following sandwich from bottom to top:

A Plate; ovals stack with large one uppermost; No More Shims mat; 2 B Plates.

This is what the oval looks like once embossed. It measures 2 1/4 x 1 5/8 in.

I removed all the small ovals, and replaced one in the recess, sticking it down firmly with Scotch Quick-Dry Adhesive, an excellent firm-holding wet glue. I used this same glue to adhere the rest of the large ovals onto the back, making sure the glue went right to the edges, thus forming a laminated oval, nice and thick and ready to receive the faux porcelain treatment. I could have set up Sheba to cut the shape out of mount board, which would save a lot of time and effort, but I would not have been able to achieve the embossed effect. You can also purchase die-cut mount board shapes which would do as well.

If I had got myself organised and learnt how to do print and cut (contour cutting) on Sheba, I could have done the next step a bit more efficiently, and cut the oval already printed, but since I haven’t, I created a sentiment to fit the embossed oval, using Serif PagePlus (my desktop publishing software), together with circles to mark the attachment holes, and printed it on 100 gsm paper. The font is Engravers MT, which I think matches the project quite well – this is the sort of font you see on real porcelain pieces. I cut out the printed oval slightly oversized, lined it up on the laminated oval and glued it in place, pressing down around the embossing, and then carefully cut away the excess to fit the laminated oval. At this stage I pierced through the circles to create holes, into which I will eventually fit a couple of brads. Of course, if I had used mount board, I would not have been able to print on this, and would have to have used a rubber stamp, or alternatively, set up Sheba with a pen to write the text – this is last option is definitely something to try!

As you can see, there are always many different ways to achieve the desired end result, according to what equipment and materials are at your disposal – just because one doesn’t have everything that a tutorial says you need in order to complete a project, it doesn’t mean you can’t improvise!

The correct order to proceed with the faux porcelain effect is to apply the crackle paint first, and then stamp on top of it with archival black ink, but I did not have a suitable stamp. Since I was using Clear Rock Candy Crackle Paint, not having any white, I thought this would work OK.

The crackle paint is applied in quite a thick layer, and left to dry. The thicker the layer of paint, the larger the cracks will be. Once cracks start to appear, it’s OK to speed up the drying process with a heat gun.

As the crackle paint was applied over white paper, the cracks didn’t show up that much, and because I wanted a vintage look, I rubbed a small amount of Walnut Stain Distress Ink over the surface once the paint was dry, and then cleaned it off well, leaving the Distress Ink in the cracks.

It was now ready for the UTEE treatment. In case you don’t know, UTEE stands for Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel. This is somewhat different from ordinary embossing powder in that it is much more granular, and thicker. You cannot stamp with it and expect fine detail. It can be melted in a Ranger Melting Pot and items can be dipped into it to coat them, or you can apply it over the whole surface of something, as I am doing with this project. Applying Versamark clear embossing ink over the whole surface, one can then sprinkle on the UTEE (or dip the piece into the pot of UTEE, which is what I did), shake off the excess, and heat it with a heat gun to melt the UTEE all over the surface. This gives a wonderful glazed appearance, enhanced by the addition of further coats until the desired effect is achieved. Being clear UTEE, the detail of my piece (the text, the cracks and the Distress Ink) all show through.

This is the setup on my table, ready for heating the UTEE.

Detail of the first coat of UTEE applied, ready for heating. If you look closely, you can see how granular the UTEE is – almost like sugar, and quite unlike ordinary embossing powder.

This is how it appears after heating. You can see where the light catches the edge, that it has a rather lumpy appearance, which subsequent coats will smooth out.

After each coat, I poked through the holes again, to keep them open, while the UTEE was still soft.

Here is the finished tile, after 3 coats of UTEE have been applied. You can see how the irregularities have been smoothed out, and it has a genuine, glazed look. With the Distress Ink in the cracks, it has a nice beaten-up, vintage look to it!

Looking at it at an angle you can see the glazed effect where the light catches it.

Edge on, you can see the thickness of the laminated card, and the embossing. The whole thing has warped slightly, making it somewhat concave – I had expected that the layers might fall apart as the glue heated up, so it’s not too bad. This was all a bit of an experiment in improvisation, not having all the ingredients listed in the original tutorial, but I think it’s turned out OK in the end.

Now to make a card to put it on.


  1. Hi Shoshi. Yes you have done a good job there, it has turned out great. Nice to see you back in the swing of things. I'm still looking forward to seeing what you are going to do with your Dylusions Ink Sprays. I've just treated myself to some Pan Pastels but I haven't got round to having a play with them yet.

  2. Wow- doesn't it look great! It's something else on my must try list!!

  3. LOL - I should have read backwards before commenting on your next post. Fab tutorial, and a great effect. Will have to try this too...!!!

  4. Wow what a brilliant idea - lots of work but it looks so effective :D


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