Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Embossing and Inking

When I was at the craft show I saw some excellent demonstrations, and was keen to try the techniques out for myself before I forgot what had been done. The first one involved using heat embossing as a resist, and creating a background from blended distress inks. I have done a bit of blending distress inks for backgrounds before, but usually by smearing the pad onto my craft sheet, spritzing it with water and rubbing the card onto it, but this was done with blending pads straight from the ink pad onto the card, which allowed a lot more control, and also produced more intense colours. At the show I filled the gaps in my collection of Tim Holtz distress inks, so I now have a good range of colours, some of which are very similar, so they can be blended very well from dark to light.

I have also used heat embossed images as a resist, but didn’t take it further as this demonstrator did, and was very keen to experiment with it. The other demonstrator used some different techniques, and I will post about that when I’ve had the chance to experiment.

This has also got me excited about stamping again! I bought quite a lot of stamps last year when I first got started in earnest, and to be honest I haven’t used them much at all, because I felt that they were a bit limiting, and I tended to do my own thing more, but seeing the demonstrators using stamps, it has made me see that there’s far more to them than just plonking an image onto a card and colouring it. Using just part of a stamp, or stamping off the edge of the card, and making multiple impressions on the card from one application of ink on the pad – all these things add an extra dimension to one’s stamping, and I am getting my stamps out again! I am really pleased to be doing this.

So… what have I done? I started by rummaging in my card scraps box and selecting a number of small rectangles in various colours. I then chose some stamps, and stamped these pieces of card using Versamark, and applied white embossing powder. After melting with my heat gun, I proceeded to ink the whole surface of the card, starting with lighter colours and gradually working from the edges with darker colours, and blending them together. It reminded me of magic painting when I was a child – you had what looked like a blank sheet of paper, and as you painted with water over the top, the colours would emerge, and you would gradually see your picture appear. As I inked over the white embossed image, the shape would emerge.

To do the blending, I made some new felt pad blenders from squares of Cut ’n Dry Foam that I bought at the show, glued with double sided tape onto some wood blocks that I’d kept after unmounting a lot of my original rubber stamps (they take up a lot less room unmounted) – I didn’t know what I was going to do with the blocks that were left, but I’m glad I didn’t throw them away! These home-made blocks are quite a lot more substantial than the Tim Holtz felt pads held onto the applicator with Velcro, and you can put quite a lot of pressure on them. I’ve made a selection, one for reds, one for browns, one for blues, etc. and if I’m using a lighter shade after I’ve used a dark one, I just rub the pad on some scrap paper till it’s more or less clean.

After inking the backgrounds, on some of the cards, I inked the same stamp with Black Soot Distress Ink (and on a couple of them, Walnut Stain Distress Ink) and stamped the card again, slightly off-set, to create a shadow effect. The demonstrator showed us how to remove the ink off the embossed part with a piece of kitchen paper, starting from the edge and working inwards, so as not to smudge ink onto the card. The embossed part still looked dirty, so she took a baby wipe and moistened the centre part of the stamped image, and then using kitchen paper again, she wiped gently outwards this time, to pick up the remaining ink, revealing the clean white of the embossing. It’s amazing the three-dimensional effect this shadow stamping gives.

On some of my card samples, I stamped a sentiment, and on a couple, I stamped and embossed the sentiment in the same way as the images.

When I make cards out of these samples, I will probably add ribbons and other embellishments; they will be mounted on larger pieces of card to co-ordinate with my designs.

As well as putting into practice some techniques while they were fresh in my mind, and having a great deal of fun while doing it, this is also enabling me to build up a bit of a card stash of basic cards which will be useful when I need a card quickly. I have a few embossed ones I did some months ago as well, and want to make some ATCs to slot into those, and I also want to make some more cards similar to those in the stationery box I made before Christmas, with interchangeable tags with sentiments for different occasions. I am fed up with being confronted with card deadlines that I cannot possibly meet!

Here’s a picture of my efforts.


The geometric ones along the top were also painted with perfect pearls to give some added shimmer. The photo doesn’t really do them justice.

When I’ve made them up into cards, I’ll post some more pictures. This was a whole lot of fun to do!!


  1. These are really pretty, love all the colours you have used, some of the stamps are lovely and would make stunning backgrounds.
    The wet and dry foam can be washed in a washing machine at 30c if you have any left that you have not glued to the blocks, a lady demonstrator on create and craft, said she washes her when they get built up with colour just don't put them in with your other washing, just nip them into a net wash bag.
    Mind you your whites might come out really pretty.

  2. Shoshi, These are beautiful hon!! I love the vibrant colors and the way you have the inking done is just fabulous! Thanks for sharing- *Hugs*

  3. They are brilliant, and really would love to see them "in real" if you say that the pictures don't make them justice...You are really busy and a good artist.

  4. Oh WOW! These are ever so lovely. Resist is one of my favourite things to do, and you've really kicked it up a notch! Love the colours and the way you've coloured some sections of the backgrounds. Brilliant!

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