Category Archives: Tips

More Letterpress Stamp Artwork

I don’t know what it is about Western Australia, but it seems to me that the only place I’m able to find Size 8 Shipping Tags is at Stamp It in Victoria Park, which takes me over an hour to get to by public transport. These are the big tags, measuring 10 x 16 cm. They’re the ideal size for practising mixed media art on. I bought a pack of 20 from Stamp It, and only now am I realising just how rare they are.

None of the stationery shops near me have them. Not even my local Spotlight. All they stocked were the usual small tags with the string attached. My local scrapbooking store, Made With Memories, had them…but only in brown or black. I wanted white or cream.

They’re not easily available on eBay either. But luckily I managed to track one lone listing, and by gosh it was a multiple lot too, so I bought 2 lots of 40. Which should last me, oh, til midweek next week.

Meanwhile, I did find some white cards at a very nice size, 10 x 15 cm, very close to the Size 8 tags, at a newsagents.

They’re called “System Cards” and the brand is Panther. Here they are nestled hand in glove inside a thrift store box I got a while back, that had been sitting empty until now. A perfect fit!

image

image

And here’s what I did. I used Tim Holtz’s “White Picket Fence” Distressed Paint for the stamps, and the backgrounds were done and blended using Distressed Inkpads.

image

image

image

image

The alphabets that I used to make the letterpress stamps are wooden. The numbers are made of corkboard. Corkboard has a dimpled texture, different from wood, which is smoother. This difference is evident in the prints above, especially in the last one, which looks mottled.

Artful Tags

Yesterday I wrote about how I made my own alphabet and number Letterpress-style stamps using thrift store drinks coasters.

One of my favourite YouTube videos is of the awesome Tim Holtz demonstrating his equally awesome mixed media techniques with his Layering Stencils. What struck me in that particular video was not so much the stencils themselves, but Tim’s explanation about the difference between using paints and inks in relation to resists. I had trouble at first digesting the idea that paints act as resists to other media over it, while inks sink.

Here is that video: Tim Holtz Layering Stencils Part One – CHA Summer 2013: https://youtu.be/KKSvhCT2ZYk

I learn best by doing, so with Tim’s video playing on my computer screen, I followed the steps he showed.

I used my new handmade Letterpress stamps, and one of T Holtz’s layering stencils, “Clockwork”. Another stencil I used was one with gears by Artist Cellar. I used Tim’s “White Picket Fence” Distress paint to daub my Letterpress stamp, which I then stamped over two Size 8 Shipping Tags. I also used Tim’s Distress Ink pads in various colours and blending sponge pads to get the inks onto the tags. Then, finally, using a damp piece of tissue, I swiped over the tags to remove some of the inks and to reveal the white paint resist underneath.

I had 3 cute little ethnic stamps made from mango wood, a bird and 2 leaf designs, so I used them to stamp over the tags.

Very pleased with my efforts, and greatly encouraged to practice even more.
image

image

image

image

Homemade Letterpress Stamps

One of my favourite pastimes is searching for bargains at my local thrift stores. Depending on what I’m into at the moment, it could be books, canvasses, Art, bric-a-brac, dressmaking patterns, picture frames, teacups, toys…your guess is as good as mine. If it looks like I could use it somehow, or modify it to suit my purpose, I’ll buy it.

Last year I’d bought a set of 4 square melamine-coated MDF drinks coasters. Which I never got round to doing anything with.

A couple of months ago I’d bought a set of wooden alphabets. Which again I never got round to doing anything with.

Last week I bought a set of cork numbers. I’d been in town looking for stamps and stencils and had come across the set, and for some reason my mind did this calculation:

Coasters + wooden alphabets + cork numbers + acrylic medium = handmade upcycled letterpress stamp.

image

I’d always admired Letterpress-style stamps. But they were always way too expensive to buy. So why not have a go at creating my own?

And so I did. Not just one, but 4. 2 with both letters and numbers, 1 with just letters and 1 with just numbers. The acrylic gel medium worked a treat as an adhesive. I also sealed the letters and numbers afterwards with a layer of the same acrylic gel medium.

image

And now for the question – how would these stand up to being used as stamps?

I used acrylic paints and spray ink on my handmade letterpress stamps. They came out a treat, with minor imperfections, which just added to the charm.

Have a look:

image

image

The next test was – would cleaning up these stamps be easy, or would they fall apart if they went under the tap for too long?

Turns out I was able to wash them under warm running water without any problems. I used a stipple brush to get into the cracks and spaces.

Very happy with my new letterpress stamps! I have big plans for my babies. :-) Oh, and by the way, I’ve discovered that old drinks coasters make ideal mounting blocks for stamps, so guess what I bought next from my thrift store…

My Offerings to the Gelli Goddess

Okay, I’ve had more than a week to play with my new Gelli Plate. Armed with a great book on Gelli Plate printing – Gelli Plate Printing: Mixed-Media Monoprinting Without a Press https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1440335486/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_jSFcvb053C71R, I’ve tested out a few techniques, skimmed over others, tried to integrate 2 techniques at the same time, got my colours muddied up, lost my way hopelessly, had a few “aha!” moments, tried out some fabulous ideas which didn’t quite turn out as expected, got distracted by the gorgeous Tim Holtz and various mixed media goddesses on YouTube, sought out and bought more paints, inks, stencils etc, curated countless Pins on Gelli Plate Monoprinting, made a few more mixed media pieces…

Basically, I’m torn between Mixed Media and Gelli Plate Monoprinting. So much Art, so little time! I haven’t articulated it before now, but I’ve come to the (possible) conclusion that what I’d like to do is fuse together elements from both genres. Use monoprints as the starting block, perhaps, for mixed media collage.

Or, maybe I’m just going mad.😄

Anyhow, while the jury is out debating that, here are the fruits of my Gelli Plate Monoprinting labours thus far.

Try not to laugh too hard or you’ll pee yourself.

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

If you look at my previous post, you can quite clearly see who the better artist in the family is.

Child’s Play

I have a confession to make. And I make it with great pride.

My Kid makes better Gelli prints than I. Mine come out all muddied colours and smudgy. I reckon I’m trying to cram too many techniques, too many stencils and templates, too many marks on one page. I’m impatient lol.

The Kid, on the other hand, keeps things simple. A couple of colour splodges at a time, careful brayering and a judicious selection and layout of templates.

Look at the results! Neat, huh? These are just his first 9 prints on sketchbook paper. That’s my boy! :-)

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

(S)Printing back into action

I learnt the hard way that you’re absolutely not meant to leave your printer-scanner-copier machine idle for months on end while you gallivant about doing this, that or other. No, you need to play with it at least once a week, if only to print out test pages to ensure that the ink printhead doesn’t dry out from disuse. One simply does not neglect it, my dear. ;)

So, when my trusty old Canon Pixma MX870 suddenly started printing everything in light blue only, I had to go searching on the good old internet for possible reasons and solutions.

image

If that ever happens to you, fear not, you won’t have to waste hours looking up keywords on Google and checking out various websites and forums. Because here is the very simple solution, and one that works:

How to remove and clean a Canon printhead: http://youtu.be/ZheZf-vdho8

There’s no need to be precious about it. The printhead is very robust.
And don’t worry either about the chip getting wet, it doesn’t harm it one bit. Just run your tap under the hottest setting you can handle, and rinse the printhead until no more ink drops appear and the water runs clear. Some sites will tell you to use distilled water and/or a hairdryer to dry off the printhead. But I just did exactly as shown on the YouTube video, and now my printer works perfectly again.

You’re very welcome. :-)

Lulu Art

Recently I wrote about Gelli Plate Monoprinting, see link here. My plate has just arrived and now I’m currently trying out all sorts of experiments using it, some quite successful, others not so. But I’ll write about those later.

I ordered my Gelli Plate on eBay. It’s an 8×10 inch rectangular plate. The Gelli Plate comes in various sizes, but I figured an 8×10 inch is closest to an A4 size, and if I did want anything smaller, like a 5×7 inch print, I could easily cut out a mask using heavy card, and place it over the area I didn’t need to print on.

I didn’t order my Gelli Plate directly from GelliArts themselves. The simple reason being that I live in Australia, while the company is based in the USA. The actual Gelli plates are comparatively cheap to purchase on their website (their 8×10 inch plate is US$30.99)…but once I got to the bit that calculates shipping costs, I nearly had a heart attack. Postage to Mars Australia? A whopping US$57.75. Put that thing back on the shelf, girly!!

So, those of you living in the good ole U S of A will benefit most from buying directly from Gelli Arts. But for the rest of the world, especially those of us who live on other planets (LOL), it’s eBay or bust…

Or, actually no. Because I’ve been lucky enough to find an Aussie Arts Supply website that offers heaps of good stuff for creating Mixed Media Art. At very good prices too, I might add. And, even better, shipping within Australia is a flat rate of only AU$7.95, and is FREE if you spend AU$150 or more.

That Aladdin’s Cave is called Lulu Art.

Here’s their page for Gelli plates.
image

Lulu Art may not stock the full range of Gelli plates yet, but I believe they will soon. Their 8×10 inch Gelli plate is a real snip at just AU$35, (compared to the AU$50 + $7.50 postage I paid on eBay). Compared to Gelli Arts, whose 8×10 inch plate is US$30.99, Lulu Art still wins hands down. US$1 = AU$1.30 at the time of writing, hence US$30.99 = AU$40 approx. And that’s even before considering Gelli Arts’ exorbitant interstellar postage cost to Australia.

You’re welcome :-).

8 Studies

In the Musical world, we’d call them Etudes. Studies of a particular style or technique, where practice makes perfect.

I’d found a set of 8 square chipboards with ringbinder clips, at my local Spotlight store (an all-in-one haberdashers, crafts supplier, home furnishings depot).

The week before I’d been to a scrapbooking sale and among other things had snagged a lovely Stampin’ Up! block stamp with French text on it. $10 that cost me, and I’ve seen it since on eBay for over $30.

image

This was an excellent fit for my square boards. I simply stamped them all the same, then sprayed workable fixative over to stop any bleeding afterwards.

For my “Etudes”, I tried out various different techniques via trial and error. Remember, I’m a greenhorn at this mixed media malarkey. I’ve years of experience doing this on my smartphone, without any mess to clean up afterwards, but in terms of “real” bricks and mortar mixed media art, I’m still quite virginal LOL.

Some techniques worked better than others. I was very pleased how some turned out quite artistic, like the ones you see in magazines. But a few came out more Crafty than Arty. Still, it’s a learning process.

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Gelli Deli

I’d read about and seen on YouTube videos on the use of “Deli Paper” for Gelli plate printing. What the heck is it, when it’s in Australia?

I know it’s some kind of waxed paper for wrapping deli sandwiches in. It’s supposed to absorb paints really well but not allow any seepage through. It’s supposed to turn virtually invisible when painted over and stuck onto your chosen substrate. But where can you get it?

There were a few sellers on eBay selling Deli Wrap/Deli Waxed Paper/Deli Paper/Deli Sandwich Paper. They weren’t too expensive to buy on their own…but factor in p&p to Australia and you’re talking about a $1 guitar that costs $599.99 to post to your country. Not even going down that route.

My local haberdashers/craft shop/home decor depot, Spotlight, didn’t have anything like it. They had tracing paper on a roll, for drawing dressmaking patterns…at $12.99 per roll of 30m. Ouch, no go.

I had a look in my local supermarket, Woolworths, instead. Did it sell good old-fashioned wax paper? Nope. There was Greaseproof Paper, Baking Paper With a “Special Coating”, Baking Paper with a “Non-Stick Coating On Both Sides”, Greaseproof Paper with “Special Dimples To Soak Up Grease”, etc etc…but NO.WAXED.PAPER.

I bought a roll of a brand that promised to keep in the goodness of cooked food by “locking in the juices”. I thought this sounded about right for what I needed my paper for – to absorb acrylic paint without going soggy.

While queuing to pay for my MultixBake paper ($7.20 for a roll of 35m), I happened to see some large squares of greaseproof paper lying in the doughnut/muffin help-yourself cubbyholes. The girl in the bakery section didn’t know anything about what kind of paper they were, or whether they were like the ones I was about to buy, or indeed where I could buy them. But she said I was welcome to take a few to test them out for my own purposes. Don’t mind if I do!

Back home, I found my roll of supermarket-homebrand Greaseproof Paper (less than $2 for a roll of 30m) and added it to my stash. So now I’m sharing with you the results of my Aussie-style “Deli Paper” test. The papers have all been folded up so as to test both sides.

Key:
Red = fluid acrylic paint
Purple = watercolour paint
Sunshine yellow = spray ink
Orange = daubed acrylic paint

image First up. The MultixBake. Notice the beading. None of the test patches were absorbed by the paper, they all sat on top of whatever coating the paper had, on both sides of the paper.

image This one’s the freebie from the bakery section of Woolworths
supermarket. The paper appears to be waxed on one side but not the other. Top shows good absorption of all 4 test paints. Bottom is very similar to the results using MultixBake paper. Both sides of the paper look and feel pretty much the same to me, so it’ll be a 50/50 chance of me using the wrong side. Besides, this is the paper that no one could tell me anything about, even where to get it.

image Woolworths’ homebrand, cheapo Greaseproof Paper. Great even absorption on both sides of the paper. No beading. No seepage. Paper is robust and stronger than tissue. (This is what I already use for my own printing projects, I stick this paper onto an A4 canvas carrier sheet, which feeds through my Canon Pixma MX870 and I can then print out any of my mobile photography art images onto it. Then I simply remove it from the carrier sheet, and stick it onto canvas or wood).

And the clear winner is: Contestant No.3, Woolworths’ Homebrand Greaseproof Paper. Less than $2 for a roll of 30m.

Australian readers, I’ve done the legwork and homework for you now, so you won’t have to. Got Gelli, need Deli? Use Greaseproof Paper. US readers, meanwhile, may be scratching their heads and wondering what the heck “Greaseproof Paper” is back in the US of A. :-)

A Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Thingy

I believe in full immersion, when it comes to learning something. So, when I say I’m into something, you can bet anything that I’ll be researching all aspects the subject using any available means possible – books, videos, DVDs, online resources, etc. And if by happy chance it’s an Arts & Craft thing, I’ll be getting my hands well and truly dirty trying things out.

I might not get any good at it. I might flub it completely. Or, it might even turn out not as I anticipated. Or, I might get to a point where I simply can’t afford to do it anymore. But at least I know I gave it a good wallop while I could.

My current obsession is Gelli Plate Monoprinting. Essentially, you use a wibbly wobbly flat piece of gelatin, and you lay acrylic paint on it, then you lay shapes or texture plates over to make marks on the paint, then you remove those and place a clean sheet of paper over the gelatin plate to make an imprint. After that, you simply clean the gelatin plate, bray in a different colour paint and lay over more shape masks, remove masks, press your sheet of paper over, et voila! you’ve just done a double layer monoprint. Just rinse and repeat until you’re happy.

Here’s the video that inspired me to invest in a Gelli Plate:

Monoprinting Layers — Step-by-Step: http://youtu.be/8KgkK07fztY

GelliArts are the people who invented the Gelli Plate. You can read more about them and watch more video tutorials, by checking out the GelliArts site here.

And here are just some examples of Gelli prints that I’ve fallen for on Pinterest…just to whet your appetites. (Also check out my Pinterest board “Gelli Plate Monoprinting” for more curated examples).

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

If I can be a 1/100th as good as these fine artists above, I’ll be a happy bunny!

So, I hear you asking – where is the Timey Wimey element in all this? It’s in the waiting that has to be done, between layers of printing. I’m not certain exactly how long one has to wait before another layer can be added, but I’m sure that you could speed things up by using a hair dryer. And if you’re like me and don’t own a hair dryer, well then having a packet of biscuits and a mug of hot tea at hand for those “in-between” times can’t hurt, right? ;)

P/S: My Gelli plate arrived today, yay!! :-)

.