Thursday 30 July 2015

'Cheap as Chips' ~ DIY Stamps

        Hi everybody Its's Toni here to share another one of our inspirational posts. I've been having a go at stamp carving and thought you might be interested in what I've discovered. Some time ago, a very good friend sent me a gift of some  Speedball, 'Speedy - Carve'. I set to work with my lino tools not really knowing what I was doing. Here are a couple of pages I made a long time ago using some of the stamps I made....
Since then, I've discovered that you can get some very good results by carving into erasers. If you haven't tried stamp carving, this may be a good, cheap, starting point.
You will need a lino cutting tool, I use one made by Speedball, it comes with a selection of different sized cutting blades. You will also need some erasers, here are a few that I managed to find in my local shops....
When starting to carve into a rubber eraser, use the side without a printed image, as the printed surface is often quite slick and may not take the ink so well. Here are some of these same erasers after I've carved into them....
If you are new to stamp carving, I would suggest keeping to simple shapes. To begin, sketch your design onto the surface using a soft pencil. Then take your cutting tool and fit in a small ' v ' shaped blade. Be aware that the blades are pretty sharp! Start the carving process by cutting a narrow groove around your design, as if you were giving it an outline. Its a good idea, when you're cutting around a curve, to move the rubber instead of the tool. Always cut away from you and keep those fingers away from the blade. Here's one that's just been started.....
You can see my very rough sketching and the pale lines where I've started carving the outline. Once you have carved a groove all the way around your shape you can change to a wider blade and start to cut away the background. Start from the groove and work outwards. If you start from the outer edge of the eraser and work in towards the shape, you risk accidentally cutting into your image. Continue until the image appears to be raised from the background. You may then wish to change back to the narrow 'v' blade to add in some fine detail, such as the veins on a leaf. You can take a test print at anytime during the carving process, just use a water based ink pad such Distress Ink, which you can easily wipe off without removing your design. 
Shaped erasers, such as the flower shaped ones pictured below are great as they need very little carving to give great results. 
Here are a couple more prints which I think will make lovely backgrounds for cards, I've printed these two with black Archival ink over a Distress sprayed background.
If you think this is something you'd like to try and have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment and I'll do my best to answer any queries. I've got a spare pack of four square erasers, the same as the ones pictured above with 'RSPCA' printed on, which I'd love to give to one lucky person who leaves a comment on this post. I'll choose someone at random on the eve of our next inspirational post. In the meantime, happy crafting ! 

Thursday 23 July 2015

Welcome to today's Guest Designer, Jennie !

Today we are welcoming Jennie Atkinson of Live the Dream  as our Guest Designer. Jennie, I'm sure, is known to many of you and her work is beautiful. So, without further ado, let's move on to hear from Jennie.

Hello! Jennie of Live The Dream here and I am very honoured to have been asked to share a project with you today as Guest Designer for the current challenge Happy Holidays. Like everyone else my style has certainly evolved over the years and I really love where I am at the moment reaching for stamps, stencils, paste and gesso for everything from scrapbooking to card making. Gone are the days when everything was clean! Those of you who know me will know that I love making flowers and I love experimenting with new dies and inks to create different shapes.  They are normally the signature style on my shabby chic projects, but today I am sharing an art journal page with you celebrating a wonderfully happy holiday I had in New York back in April - so no flowers!

I really enjoy this crossover style of art journalling and scrapbooking, creating a mixed media background for a photograph and paper collage.

I started with two pieces of cardstock to fit my art journal which I taped together with tissue tape to keep the two pages unified. Texture paste through a stencil came next and then everything got a coating of gesso.

Then the exciting bit! I used Faded Jeans and Broken China Distress Spray Stains. I use plenty of water and mop up a lot before drying with a heat gun. I used Faded Jeans Distress Ink through another stencil for the lettering and also stamped with it here and there.

Then it was stamping with Jet Black Arcival Ink and a bit of spritzing. I find now is a good time to separate the pages and scuff the edges.

Well I was finding the colour a little too strong for the elements I wanted to put on the page, so ………. I sprayed everything with water…… mopped it up …. and hey presto I got a more subdued look.

Whilst everything was drying I put together the items I wanted to use for the collage - all things which remind me of the wonderful time we had.

And then I started layering. A little stamped flourish creeping in there when I thought it looked a little bare!

Finally I sat and dry brushed gesso over the metal and added a little blue and brown ink to tone everything in. 

A fun page bringing back some lovely holiday memories. 
Once again thank you to Sue and the team for the invitation to be here with you today.

Jennie x

Absolutely stunning page Jennie! Thank you so much for sharing it with us and providing even more inspiration for the current challenge, Happy Holidays. If you would like the opportunity to join us as Guest Designer make sure you play along, you still have plenty of time !

Thursday 16 July 2015

Lots of Layers

Hi everyone, Yvonne here with my mid challenge inspiration post.
This time I have decided to share one of my  favourite ways  to make a card using numerous layers.
Many of these layers will only be seen at the edges on the finished card.
But I have enjoyed making  them, that's the fun of crafting.
Also, keeping to this months  challenge theme of  'Happy holidays', I 'm taking a City Break

So lets start with the base layer

Layer 1--- Dry embossing, using a wood grain folder and a pretty  pale  paper,
which at the assembling stage was lightly shaded with Cracked Pistachio distress ink.

Layer 2--- Stencilling  I mixed the modeling paste with some acrylic paint.

Layer 3 & 5 --- the same stencil  onto a plain pale patterned  paper using distress ink, Cracked Pistachio

Layer 4  --dry embossing, which was lightly rubber over with some silver gilding wax

Layer 6 --stamping elements Crafty individuals post card
Also the main image using Archival Inks Cornflower Blue for the cards and potting soil

Indigo Blu main image stamp

The main image was simply torn around all the edges and curled over using a pokey tool
and again the same colour distress ink for shading, which was used on all the layers.

Starting to layer,  after going round all the edges  with a blunt pair of scissors,
sometimes this will tear the card, but this adds to the shabby look.

Once all the layers were in place, I wanted to add a little more texture using
 Stampendous Aged Ivory Embossing enamel.
I used folded greaseproof paper to mask an area, covering this with a piece of tin foil.
I did not get a good photo with the foil , but I think you will be able to imagine that bit.
Sprinkle with the powder, which can be heated from the top, it spreads a little depending on how close you get to the card with the heat tool. [thats why I use a mask]

Thank you  for reading how this card was made.
 I hope you will join  our Happy Holiday challenge,
which  is still  open for  two more  weeks .

Thursday 9 July 2015

Marbling with Shaving Foam

Hi, I'm Sharon and I will be showing you what Inspires me for the Inspiration Post here at Stamps And Stencils.

I have signed up for a online Art Journaling post with Valerie Sjodin a very talented lady who creates the most beautiful art journals. I haven't completed my journal yet but I am really enjoying the Marbling technique, working progress I should say!!!!

You will need a baking tray, unperformed shaving foam, window scraper and some cocktail sticks. Most of the other items you will have in your stash....

Golden Paints, kitchen roll it does get messy, shaving foam the gesso is for later. Sign up for the online course and you find out why?

Combs made from cardboard and cocktail sticks. Warning they are sharp!!!

Spray the foam into the baking tray, smooth it out as flat as possible so that when you dip the paper in  it gets an even cover.
Start adding small amount of paint. Three or four colours of your choice.

Then with the combs gently pull them through the foam. You can go both ways, try not to mix into a muddy mess.

Or as I did below, do a figure of 8 with a skewer.

Close-up of the marbling.
The golden paints colours are "Golden Green Gold, Phthalo Green and Diarylide Yellow"

This is the first tray I did, but I did not like the colours as much as the greens.
Here is the watercolour paper placed onto the foam....

Sorry the colours are not consistant but I got carried away with all the foam....
Paper before swiping with the scraper.....

Revealing  the marbling and you never know what it will be like?

Hope can see the details...

So this is the front Flap of my new Journal Book.

I hope this inspires you to have a go, it is great fun but be prepared with a dust bin bag and plenty of kitchen roll. Most of all enjoy.

Many thanks for joining us at 

Stamps and Stencils 

Sharon xx

Tuesday 7 July 2015

Winner and Top 3 - Small is Beautiful

Hello and welcome back. Today we're announcing the winner and Top 3 of our 'Small is Beautiful' challenge. With such a small area to work on you really demonstrated your creativity and produced delightful pieces of miniature art. As usual the standard was very high which made it very difficult for the DT to decide...but we got there in the end. We're very happy to announce the winner is

Congratulations Lula! Your altered tin is stunning, a delight inside and out and just packed with gorgeous details. As the chosen winner Lula will be invited to Guest Design for Stamps and Stencils at a future date.

Now on to the top 3:

Congratulations everyone, please email for your top 3 badge. 
All of the winners will also be pinned on the Stamps and Stencils Pinterest Board! 
The current challenge is Happy Holidays and you've still got plenty of time to join in.

Ruth x

Thursday 2 July 2015

Happy Holidays !

It's that time of year where you may be thinking about dusting off your passport and digging out your swimsuit! Yes it's holiday time ! Whether you're a lover of the seaside or someone who enjoys a city break, we would love to see your holiday inspired projects. This could be journalling, altered art, a card or layout. Just remember that we are a mixed media challenge blog and your project should reflect this and as the name of our blog  suggests, don't forget to include some stamping and stenciling. I turned to a box of old family photos as inspiration for my project. A few old snaps of a childhood holiday made me feel very nostalgic. I decided to honour the memories of some very happy holidays, by making an album to store prints of the pictures. I think you'll agree that there's some fabulous inspiration from the rest of the design team. I hope this will get you in the mood to share your interpretation of 'Happy Holidays' with us.

I hope you get chance to join us for this challenge, looking forward to all your fabulous entries !