THE BIG REVEAL, PART 1.
This is the first of two posts today.
Many of my regular visitors have been justifiably very frustrated and impatient with me lately because I’ve been working hard on several secret projects that I wasn’t at liberty to reveal until now. With her permission, I can now reveal that I have been making stuff for Shaz. As many of you will know, she is about to undergo major surgery and has been through so much over the past year. She and her lovely hubby share the same birthday and I have made cards for them both, a get well card for her (still under wraps) and a selection of bits and pieces for her to play with once she feels up to being creative again. She opened the parcel on her birthday (14th Aug.) and now that she has received them I can share the making of them with you. Until now, I didn’t want to spoil her surprise as she visits my blog regularly. Throughout my own cancer journey, this wonderful friend has been such an encouragement and support to me, and this is one way I can thank her, and show my own appreciation and support. I know that she would love a visit from you to wish her well for her surgery on 2nd Sept.
I shall be uploading a couple of posts each day over the next few days until all is revealed. Please scroll down for earlier posts.
Steampunk birthday Card
This is my first attempt at a true steampunk design on a card. This card is for Shaz’s hubby. The background of the card is made from some of my faux leather masterboard which is a great background for steampunk.
I found various images online to download, print and cut out to apply to the card. The steampunk man that I found wasn’t really what I wanted, so from other images I gave him a new digital top hat, a digital pince-nez and a digital droopy moustache and then he looked more how I wanted! I added these elements in my photo editing software, and then collected the other images I needed, and resized and arranged them using my desktop publisher, ready for printing.
The gearwheels image had some nice colour in it so I decided to retain this, but the other images I desaturated so that I could hand-tint them myself.
The first step was to dull down the stark whiteness of the card that I printed the images on; I used Antique Linen distress ink and an Inkylicious Ink Duster to give it a more aged appearance.
Because inkjet ink is not waterproof, I did not want to risk painting with water to introduce colour into the images, so I took a fairly small, stiff paintbrush and picked up the colour direct from the ink pads, stippling it onto my craft mat to distribute the colour in the bristles of the brush, and gently hand-tinted the images. I picked colours which would co-ordinate with the coloured gearwheels image: Seedless Preserves, Ripe Persimmon, Spiced Marmalade, and Spun Sugar to introduce a bit of colour into the poor fellow’s pallid cheeks – this doesn’t show up very well on the photo unfortunately – I also added some of this to the pointing hand as well.
After this was done, I sprayed the whole thing with some inkjet fixative. I could have done this first, and then painted the images knowing that the printing would not run, but the fixative leaves a finish which does not take water-based ink very well, and I preferred the subtle tinting from the dry ink anyway.
Before I did any more work on the front of the card, I decided to work on the inside. I usually leave this till the end, and then find that where the card is folded, the distress ink is picked up more, which emphasises the fold line. I thought that if I did all the inking first and then folded the card, I could avoid this problem.
I began by inking the whole surface with Antique Linen distress ink, using an Inkylicious Ink Duster. This again dulled down the stark whiteness of the card and gave it a softer, more vintage look. The next step was to lay down my gearwheels stencil (Carabelle Studio’s art mask “Rouages Steampunk”) and to ink over the top with Tea Dye distress ink, moving the stencil around the edge of the card, and being careful to avoid over-inking the overlap, so that the design appeared more continuous. I also inked over the stencil in a narrower band up the centre of the card, where it would be folded.
After this I went around the edges and up the middle with some Vintage Photo distress ink, again using an Inkylicious Ink Duster. The final touch was to use my blending pad to distress the edges with Black Soot distress ink. Below is a detail photo of the stencilling and distressing.
The trouble is, as I continued to work on the front of the card, I realised that I had not thought ahead sufficiently to realise that I was going to pierce the front of the card with brads, and these would need to be covered up. Read on below to see how I dealt with this problem – a lot more work but worth it in the end.
In the last-but-one photo, you can see the small piece of card that I used to mop up the ink from the craft sheet – I started by spritzing the stencil and laying it down on the card to blot off the ink, and this gave quite a subtle gearwheel pattern once it was dried, but this has been more or less obliterated by subsequent mopping up. The overall colour is subtle browns and greys and I may well add more stencilling later, and make a useable background for another project.
Before working on the front of the card, I inked the edges well with Black Soot distress ink, using a blending pad. This was in case any of the edge showed behind the faux leather, and anyway I didn’t want a hard white edge to the card.
I cut a piece of faux leather from the masterboard a fraction of an inch larger than the card, and lined it up along the top, sticking it down with Scotch Quick-Dry Adhesive, and then trimmed off the excess using my Stanley knife. I had to add a little more glue around the edges in places, to make sure the faux leather was securely adhered all round.
I then started fussy-cutting the printed images. In the picture below you can see the steampunk man, the hot air balloon and the pointing hand all complete, and I am still working on the gearwheels at the top.
Returning to the inside of the card, I found a nice alphabet set online, in the form of vintage typewriter keys which I thought would go well with this theme.
I opened this image in my desktop publisher and chose the letters I wanted, to spell “Happy Birthday.” I added a drop shadow to each one and then saved the image as a png file with transparency.
My original plan was to cut each one out with a circle punch and stick them inside the card. However, having had second thoughts about the inside of the card because of the backs of embellishments, I scanned the inside which I had inked and stencilled, and saved it, with the added bonus that I could also use it for future steampunk or clock cards.
I added the sentiment and as it had transparency the letters appeared with no background, and printed it out ready to attach inside the card.
I collected together various embellishments for the card and laid them out to choose the best arrangement. You can see that I have finished fussy cutting the gearwheel image at the top. Here is a mock-up.
The brads are at present resting upside down in the positions I have chosen for them. The rubber stamp of the hinge was not yet mounted so that had to be attended to before I could complete this card. The metal gearwheels at the bottom were used to create silicone moulds from which I cast Friendly Plastic embellishments, to be stuck down at the bottom of the card, forming a holder for a small tag with the words “happy birthday” on it.
I stamped the hinge with Versamark onto a piece of brown scrap card, using a stamp from the Crafty Individuals set CI-304. These stamps are now all mounted.
I applied a small amount of copper embossing powder randomly, using a soft dry brush, tapped off the excess, and covered the rest with brown distress embossing powder, and heat embossed it.
After this I fussy cut the hinge.
I further embossed it with Versamark and two layers of clear UTEE, using my heat gun.
I added the elements to the card. The paper ones were applied with soft semi-gloss gel medium. I pierced holes for the brads and added them, and then applied the Friendly Plastic gearwheels that I had made, using tacky glue. However, as I suspected, this was not adequate to secure them, so I removed them and reapplied them with Pinflair glue. I made sure that the gearwheels along the bottom right were secured along the bottom edge only, so that the completed embellishment could be used as a holder for the tag.
The hinge was glued down with tacky glue. Once down, I realised that it looked too similar to the semi-gloss brown finish of the faux leather background, so I outlined it with a gold gel pen.
The next step was to make the tag. I took a small piece of the faux leather masterboard and cut and embossed it with a Nestabilities frame die. It’s ages since I used any dies and I had to get out my instructions! I don’t have many dies but should definitely use them more. I like the embossed edge you can get with them.
I heat embossed the “Happy Birthday” sentiment in gold and matted and layered the tag onto a small piece of gold mirror card.
For the back of the tag I took a small scrap of white card and embossed it using the Cuttlebug embossing folder “Clockworks.” I like this embossing folder because the elements on it are quite small and it lends itself well to a small project like this.
I inked it with Vintage Photo distress ink, using a DIY ink blending pad. After this I attached it to the back of the tag with double-sided tape, trimmed off the excess and gently rubbed over the embossed detail with gold gilding wax. I read somewhere that if you want to ensure a really light touch with this, imagine that what you are touching is red hot!
I decided that the printed gearwheels at the top of the card needed embellishing so I chose two Friendly Plastic screw heads from my stash and rubbed on silver gilding wax.
Here they are attached to the card. I stuck them down with Pinflair gel glue.
I found a piece of bronze-coloured chain in my stash of junk jewellery and bits, and attached it to the brad at the top right of the card. In the next photo you can see this chain, and the tag holder made of Friendly Plastic gearwheels glued down onto the card with Pinflair glue. It’s a shame that the camera doesn’t pick up the different metallic colouring of these gearwheels because there is a mixture of gold, silver and copper.
Here is a detail of the Steampunk man with the gearwheels glued down, also using Pinflair glue. You can see the brads to the left.
The next photo shows the tag attached to the chain. I put an eyelet in one corner of the tag, through which I threaded a ring and attached the chain. I didn’t have any jump rings large enough so I made a few by coiling some wire around something of a suitable diameter, and then cut them off with wire clippers.
Here is the back of the tag, attached to the chain.
Here is the card, nearly finished, with the tag on its chain, in place in the tag holder.
All that remained now was to attach some charms to the chain. I added a “made with love” metal charm at the top; a Friendly Plastic key in the middle, and a metal gearwheel at the bottom. Here is the front of the card, complete.
Before attaching the card insert, I inked a piece of card to match the inside of the card and stuck it down on the left-hand side to cover up the back of the embellishments. I left the other side with its existing inking and stencilling.
To complete the card insert, I inked and stencilled the back of the right hand side to match the rest of the card inside.
To finish off the inside of the card insert, I added some Vintage Photo and a little Black Soot distress ink around the edges and attached it to the card using a strip of double-sided tape stuck immediately to the left of the fold. This means that when the card is opened, the insert also opens. If you also attach it to the right of the fold, the card will not fold properly, and it doesn’t need to be attached here because once open, this side of the insert lies flat.
When you stand the card up, the insert does tend to open, which is why I inked and stencilled the back of it. In this picture you can just see the inking and stencilling behind the insert on the right.
The envelope was inked and stencilled to match the card insert. I’m afraid this photo is a bit out of focus.
Finally, I started creating another, larger background sheet by spritzing the clocks stencil and blotting it off several times as before, and then spritzing and mopping up the non-stick craft sheet. If you look carefully you can just make out a few gear wheels. I shall continue to work on both these sheets in due course, possibly adding some more stencilling.
Layering the clock parts and other elements over the printed image, I was able to create some depth and interest in the card, and produce a nice authentic steampunk look which I hope would delight any steampunk enthusiast!
I went in for my fifth chemo today – nothing of note to report except it all went well, the port behaved perfectly, and I sat with some very nice people to chat with. I did some of my brainless knitting, some puzzles, and listened to my iPod. As usual I came home feeling the absolute pits but just have to ride the tide and know that it will pass in a week or so. I am now officially over half way through, and after the next one, I will be three-quarters through it! We will have to see how the increased steroid dose they’ve given me helps over the next few days. I’m not enjoying this particular game of snakes and ladders but the game will end in mid-October, and I know that I am going to WIN!!