Sunday, May 30, 2010

Smacking acetate tutorial

Several people have asked about the smacking acetate technique for creating backgrounds and papers. It's the simplest of techniques and anyone with some Distress Ink and a piece of acetate can have a go. I've put together a quick tutorial to show you how.

1. Equipment

  • A largish piece of acetate (A4 or so)- it is there in the picture, honestly!!
  • Distress Inks or other waterbased ink pads- Distress Inks are idea though, as their colour doesn't fade or split.
  • Card/ ATC blanks/ whatever you want to colour
  • Water spritzer- mine's an old hair product bottle!
  • Rock or sea salt (optional)

I usually work on a waterproof craft mat, but I've worked on white card here so that you can see the colours.

2. Apply colour to the acetate

Put the ink direct from the ink pad onto the acetate. Work from your lightest to darkest colour to prevent contaminating your ink pads. Randomly swoosh your ink onto the acetate, but try not to overlay the colours. There's no right or wrong way to do this, so try whatever takes your fancy. I've used Bundled Sage, Worn Lipstick, Dusty Concord and Victorian Velvet here. Often the more unusual colour combination work better.

3. Spritz with water

Spritz the acetate and inks with water. Again, there's not right or wrong way to do this, you'll just get a different effect with more or less water- a bit of experimentation is in order!! To start with try to get some beads of water and ink like in the picture above.

4. Get smacking!!

Now the fun begins! Start with something small and smack the acetate- actually it's more like you dip your card into the ink and water on the acetate. Just lay the card onto the acetate, press down slightly and lift off. Don't move it around too much on the acetate or the colours will muddy quickly (they'll muddy slightly anyway, but no sense in making it worse!!).

5. First result!

You can keep on dipping as long as there's ink on the acetate. As it dries up, you'll get smaller, more pronounced drops of ink on the card. You can also come back to your first dipped pieces of card later on when the ink is making different effects and redip them. Don't be afraid to have some white bits, often that's what makes the background more interesting.

Other possibilities are spritzing the acetate again to get a more diluted ink mixture and lighter colours, or putting a whole A4 sheet of card over the acetate to get a whole sheet covered at once. It's easier to redip smaller pieces, but you get different effects with a larger sheet.

6. Salt optional!

If you have a particularly wet sheet of card, a nice idea is to sprinkle it with rock or sea salt and leave to dry. It's worth doing this inside a box or something with a lip as the salt goes everywhere!!! The result is an unusual pattern where the salt sucks the moisture in.

8. Final results!

Here's my final set of ATC backs from this smacking acetate session. Fab aren't they? I like to make a wodge of backgrounds at one time, so I've got some ready made when I need them. If you wipe off the acetate you can use it time and again.

And...... here's a few examples- some ATCs made with smacking acetate backgrounds.

Don't try to stop me, I'm on a roll......

I've made ANOTHER boy's card, this time with a little chap in mind, hence the hair colour and initial. It's the same Lli of the Valley stamp as last time, but this time a little bit brighter. The image is coloured with Promarkers (what else......) and the DPs are from Hot off the Press and DCWV.

I went for a long thin card- mostly because it was what came to hand first, but I think I like it, so I might do another one. The brown paper is punched with a fab Stampin up spiral punch.

This is being entered into the following challenges-

Simon Says Stamp- Blue and Green and Brown
Ooh La La- bright and Cheerful
Lili of the Valley- Sketch
Passion for Promarkers- Anything goes

Plus, just to get good inky value out of getting a stamp out, I made an ATC as well!

This is stamped on some leftover grey card and water coloured with Rusty Hinge Distress ink. The edges are sponged with the same ink through some sequin waste and then flipped over and pressed down to get a reverse impression. Cute isn't he?

A Distressed Card- hope it doesn't cry......

In keeping with my recent resolution to make some boys cards for my card box, I give you......

 A boy's card!!! Ok, Ok, stop the applause please, you're embarrassing me....... The lovely little boy is a Lili of the Valley stamp, coloured with Promarkers as usual! The horizontal strip of backing paper is from the V&A Quilts paper collection, a pad of paper I just had to have, but which I've found quite hard to use. The vertical strip is made by crumpling paper,  swiping Tea Dye Distress Ink over it then spritzing with lots of water. Everything (including the card itself) is inked with Tea Dye, or Old Paper or Scattered Straw Distress inks, or all 3, and the dirty looking bits are inked with my new favourite colour- Pumice Stone. 

I'm entering this into the following....

Tuesday Taggers- It's a Man's World (well,a boy's in this case, lol)
Crafts and Me- Distressed
Passion for Promarkers- Anything goes
Papertake- Sketch
Spoonful of sugar- Celebration (birthday card)

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Just for a change I've made an ATC!! I've been a bit carried away with making cards of late, so it was really therapeutic to get back to making these little cards that I looooooove. Especially as I had an uninked Stampotique stamp lurking in my collection........

The background is stamped, gessoed in places and inked with Dusty Concord Distress ink.The Stampotique people are highlighted with white gel pen and Amethyst Promarker. A bit of extra doodling with a black pen, some stamped Studio G words on a book page and then I went mad with the Crop a dile!!!

I'm entering this into the Stampotique designers challenge blog where the current theme is Purple.
Also it's my entry for the Allsorts challenge where the theme is Black and White and one extra colour (purple).

Thursday, May 27, 2010

When stressed......get the stamps out!!!

I've had a bit of a stressful evening, well stressful in principle because my son and husband were both at their grading exam for their blue belts in Tae Kwon Do. I was at home with Little Legs, and once she was asleep I got really nervous for my boys. Ridiculous isn't it, but still, I needed distraction. SO in actualy fact, once craftily distracted I wasn't as stressed......

Distraction required, distraction arrived in the form of a list of blog challenges I'd written down earlier. I thought I'd have a go at making one card to fit several challenges at once..........

I'd already coloured a smashing Kraftin Kimmie image with Promarkers, and I wanted to use one of the new tan cards I bought for a song in Cardiff at the weekend. They've been lying on my desk ever since we got back, and I wanted to prove to myself that they were worth the 66p I paid for them (BARGAIN!!!!). The papers are from Stampin' Up, and the swirly stamp images are from Basic Grey- I looooove that stamp set, very, very versatile.

The swirls and inked edges of the main image are echoed on the couple of mini tags with the sentiment on. I added a couple of punched flowers, charms, lots of blingy gems and some punched swirls- my favourite punch at the moment, from Papershapers, it's huge and scrumptious......

I am entering this into the following challenges-

Kraftin' Kimmie- Charming (key and heart charms)
Allsorts- Tag/ticket
Totally Gorjuss- Bling it up
Stamp something- 2 of something (charms, flowers, papers, tags)
Fussy and fancy Friday- Recipe (3 images- Kraftin' Kimmie, sentiment, swirl; 3 embellishments- charms, flowers, gems; 3 Design papers)
By the Cute and Girly- Celebration (2nd entry, different craft item)
Passion for Promarkers- Anything goes

A much better day and a decision on artsy vs cutesy stamping.

Thanks everyone who commented on WOYWW yesterday, I'm having a much better day today. No headache and a little nephew to play with this morning, so LOADS nicer! I'm watching my Little Lets play with her cousin and having a look at some of the challenge blogs for a bit of inspiration for some thank you cards I want to make.

Whilst I was blog hopping I came across this fabulous blog candy on the Lily of the Valley challenge blog.

It's a limited time only deal, so get across quickly to have a chance of winning a full set of the 12 new release LOTV stamps.

I always thought I wasn't a cutey stamp person, and to be honest the majority of my collection is much more arty- I have lots of Paperartsy, Crafty Individuals, Elusive Images, that sort of thing, and animals, flowers, elemental things that are generally combined to make a finished project rather than just coloured in. I very rarely make a cutesy ATC for example, but I think I'm a bit more scared to make an artsy card. That, and I do enjoy colouring in with my Promarkers, it's really quite relaxing.

Sooooooo, I have decided not to tie myself down, and to enjoy all of it. I love the arty side of ATCs, art journalling and altering things, but I'm not going to deny my pink and fluffy side either. I have always found card making to be a bit of a chore, so I'm pleased to have found my inner cardmaking girlie, lol!!!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Goooooooood morning!!!!! I'm having a bad hair, headache and too much to day morning so far, and I'm not going to be back at my desk for aaaaages, so I'm also sulking a little. Here is my desk as of this morning....

Very dull and boring, I'm afraid. If you peer into the gloom and ignore the mess you will see.....

Some home made flowers made with BIG punches
Lovely tan cards I got for a song from a shop in Cardiff at the weekend
An image or two waiting to be made into something or other
My bottle of perfume, that is nearly empty, but I'm leaving it out to remind anyone I can that I need some more.........

If you want to see more, hop over to Julia's blog where she has a lovely long list of desks to look at!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Last minute...again!!!!....and I won a prize.....again!!!!

OK, so I was doing really well with not being so last minute about making cards......until last Friday when I realised I'd wrapped a present for my friend's son and not made a card- all the cards I've got made up are girly ones, so my next task is to make up some emergency boy cards!

Ah well, at least it allowed me to tailor make one for him, and I quite enjoyed myself in the process! He's recently taken up Judo, so I spied a reason to ink up my karate/judo/TKD Luca stamp from Sugar Nellie. He's come in very useful has this stamp.

Backing papers are from my stash- the image is coloured with Promarkers, and stamped 3 times to decoupage up slightly. The extra swirls and the sentiment were from a Scrappy Cat clear stamp set. I stamped them in Onyx Black Versafine and highlighted the swirls with white gel pen. I managed to smudge a bit of ink on the sentiment, so to cover up my mistake I used a sponge with lots of  holes in it (you  know the cheapo nylon ones that look like really expensive natural sponges), ripped a bit off and sponged on some Pumice Distress Ink.

The challenge over at Crafty Cardmakers at the moment is to decorate the inside of your card as well as the outside. I'm guilty of neglecting the insides- so it was a nice change to take some time to make the inside a bit posh too!!

On reflection, it was totally the wrong paper to choose, try writing on those stripes, lol, but I won't make the same mistake twice!!!!

Ooh yes, and I wanted to tell you that I won over on the Kraftin' Kimmie blog, where the challenge was to make something that wasn't a card. I entered Hattie's door name canvas. Woohoo!!! Doing the happy dance, la la la la.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I really look forward to being nosy on Wednesdays, and looking round everyone's workspaces. Here's mine, taken at 6.30am. Relatively tidy, for me!

If you peer long enough, you will spot.........
  • the pink name canvas I made for my Miss Little Legs for being a good girl (full blog post here) - Daddy hasn't put it up on her door yet. Plus an identical blank canvas on the right of the picture, cos I've been asked to make one for someone else!
  • new stash- new Cosmic Shimmer colours, as used on the name canvas, some new brushes (I want to try painting out details on stamped images with bleach, as shown in this month's Craft Stamper) and some very shiny big beads I found in the kids' craft stuff
  • some attempts at brayering onto Silk card and then stamping onto it
  • Lili of the valley images in the process of being coloured
  • ATC backgrounds, including 2 that have been divided into quarters ready for a JAM swap I'm hosting
  • various bits of bird and twig punchings
  • my coffee mug (decaff, skimmed milk, 1 sweetener)

Can't wait to get back to it, to make it a bit messier. If you wish to peruse more desks- take a look at Julia's blog for the full list.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A princess name plaque for my little princess

My lovey Little Legs (aged 4) has been a very big girl and has slept right through the night for a whole week. TO celebrate, she asked me for a pink picture with her name on for her bedroom this morning. Mommy worked her magic and Hey Presto! here it is......

It's a 10 x 30cm canvas (just under 4 x 12 inches), which I sprayed with Candy Pink Cosmic shimmer mist, then swished it around with a paint brush to make sure it covered all the white. Then I sprayed with more Candy Pink and a splodge or two of Mallow Blush. Once dry, I stamped over it with some foam swirly stamps and foam letter stamps in Blazing Red Stazon, I find anything less permanent doesn't stay put on the coloured canvas.

I'd already coloured a Kraftin' Kimmie image with Promarkers, so on she went, along with some paper flowers and a generous dotting of Stickles.

She is very pleased with it, and is already asking Daddy to put it on her wall!! Not bad for a morning's work, eh?!

I'm entering this into.......

the Kraftin' Kimmie challenge which is Anything BUT a card,
the Celebrate something challenge at Stamp Something,
Shiny, sparkly and special over at Papertake,
By the cute and girly's Celebrations challenge.

Phew! That's a lot of challenges, and a happy girl :)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mini sunflower canvas- Crafts and Me challenge

I've finally had the energy to make something! It's a little canvas I bought from Dunelm a while ago, about 3 inches square. The challenge over at Crafts and Me is ANYTHING BUT A CARD, so I thought I'd try using a Sweet Pea stamp on it.

I painted the canvas with Claudine Hellmuth Ranger Studio semi-gloss paints in Dab of Yellow and Altered Orange. Once it was dry I used the lid from a  pritt stick to make some rings in Pastel Yellow and some gold acrylic paint. I quite like the current trend for splodgy paint circles!

 I stamped the Sweet Pea stamp Sunflower Angel onto card already coloured using the smacking acetate technique and Distress Inks. A bit of a cut out and some gold gel pen highlights and she was ready to be stuck on to the canvas.

I think that the mottled effect works well. I added some ribbon as her puppet strings, clear stickles to enhance the wings, and some flowers and buttons to finish it off. The words are stamped onto tissue paper.

Loving these Sweet Pea stamps!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Photobook for Jack

My gorgeous nephew Jack was one this week, and as I distinctly remember sitting in bed in a caravan on holiday crying my heart out because I was so happy to be an Aunty, I can't work out where the year went! I wanted to make him something to keep and decided on a little photobook.


It is 4 pieces of chipboard covered in Cosmo Cricket papers and laced together with string. I then added lots of photos, buttons, ribbon and letters. I like it!!!

The last page is left for his birthday photo! You can spot photos of my 2 children and my Dad on the pages as well. I love the distressed feeling of the papers, they were very easy to work with.

I enjoyed making this- could I be ready to tackle the scrapbook I've had hanging around for aeons???????