Monday, September 20, 2010

How to: Using Embossing and Bleach for surprising effects

I remember my early days of stamping and being wowed by a Christmas card I saw published in a magazine that featured embossing on a red background that had a multi-colored tree. I studied it in amazement thinking to myself, how did they do that? Well, I am going to share with you how you can wow your friends and family, too, by combining heat embossing with common household bleach to create surprising effects.

First I will start by showing you a simple card using embossing and how you can extract color. For this Vintage Lantern Card, start by scoring  2-7/8" from right edge and 1-1/2" from the left of my trimmed 8.5" x 5.5" black cardstock. Next, fold card to create uneven gatefold. As you should always do when embossing, I prepped the surface for embossing by rubbing my embossing buddy on top to cut down on the static. I stamped the In Style Stamps lantern stamp using VersaMark clear pigment ink and drew a line from the top of the lantern to the top of the card with a VersaMarker. I used gold embossing powder , shook off excess onto a scrap sheet and heat embossed the design. To subtract the color from the background paper, use ordinary bleach poured into a small cup and a paint brush. Carefully paint INSIDE the lines of the design to remove the color of the cardstock. This works best on papers that are dyed rather than printed. I used cardstock from The Paper Company which works well for this technique. Bleach tends to be drippy so be careful not to overload your brush and to choose a detail brush with a fine point. Also, you can use your heat tool to speed up the drying process!
I liked the color variations and didn’t try to make it all even white. This gave the lantern an aged feel.

My confession: I was hurrying along with my painting and goofed. See, nobodies perfect! If you know me, I never like to give up on a design. I always feel there is a work around, and you know what...I ended up liking the fix! I got bleach outside the lines [Oh no!!!] so when it dried and I speed heat set it, I added a drop shadow with a black marker to hide the discoloration, and I liked the added dimension it created! [Yeah, I planned that all along...creative genious, right?!!! LOL]

Next, use the small stamp from Circle Circus set from Stampin’ Up!® to add gold patterns around the lantern. Reminder:  I re-prepped with Embossing Buddy to prevent lots of stray gold specs since my hands were touching this while painting. Add two purple rhinestones inside two of the designs for some bling. If they are not self-adhesive, use Glue Arts’ mini adhesive squares on the back to attach.

Cut a strip of Perfect Plum cardstock to 1-3/4" x 5-1/2"and wheel with decorative pattern of choice. I chose the Very Vintage wheel and black ink. Note that I trimmed the cardstock larger than the black right hand fold. Attach to right hand fold using Glue Glider™ Pro and high tac or perma tac adhesive. This creates a strip of plum when opened and also makes sure no gaps show when card is folded in front. To finish, use slot punch to create hole on left panel for threading ribbon. Create adjacent slit down left hand fold using a cutting knife and matt. Make it big enough to feed your ribbon through. Tie bow in front as shown. Pretty easy, but really cool, right?

Now it is time to take it to another level...multi-colored embossed images! The next card uses a combination of stamps from In Style Stamps (lantern), Innovative Stamp Creations (verse and flowers) and decorative patterns from Stampin’ Up!’s Circle Circus set. I call this card Asian Friendship Greeting. Start by trimming out black card to fold to 5.5" x 4.25". Trim red cardstock to 5-3/8" x 3-7/8". Embosss two lanterns using same steps as described above, using VersaMark ink and marker. Paint with bleach and heat set. this may need repeating to get to desired shade of white.

Color in stamps using markers in your choice of colors. I used red, green, black and lt. blue on mine.
Stamp decorative pattern around lanterns in black ink.

Stamp and emboss smaller circle elements in gold in between patterns to bring out gold and deco feel.
Use Glue Arts’ Ribbon adhesive to wrap ribbon around red panel, wrapping ends around back side to hide. Tear strip of textured blue Bazzill Basics cardstock and attach to bottom of card. Layer panels on top of black card front using Glue Glider™ Pro and adhesive cartridge of choice (perma tac or high tac).

Stamp and emboss verse in gold onto scrap of black cardstock. Trim and layer on top of ribbon. Stamp flower design 3 times on Bazzil’s French Vanilla cardstock. I did one extra in case I goofed while cutting it out. This is much faster than going back and having to emboss all over again. Cut around flower contours using knife or scissors. Layer flowers using Glue Arts’ adhesive squares on back side. Finish with mini red rhinestones added to the center of each flower.

I hope that this tutorial has helped you learn a new stamping technique. Some notes about bleach: be sure that you take care to protect the surface(s) and your clothes because it can permanently damage these. If the bleach is not fresh out of the bottle, it will not work as well. I have tried putting in a sealed container overnight to travel to a demo, and it somehow lost its potency. Use immediately for optimum results.
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