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Block Printed Ornaments Featuring Terial Magic

Block Printed fabric snowflakes created by Judy Gula using Terial Magic spray

No matter how busy the holiday rush is, I want to handcraft at least one gift or ornament each year. But because of that very sameholiday rush this year, I wanted a project that could be done quickly and easily!

I created these ornaments using Terial Magic™ (a fabric stabilizing spray), an assortment of our wooden printing blocks, WB171 Snowflake, WB393 Snowflake and WB394 Snowflake; Opaque Textile Paint by Artistic Artifacts, various shirting scraps and WonderFil Dazzle thread.

Supplies used to create Block Printed fabric snowflakes

I trimmed the shirting fabric to the size of the wooden printing block plus ½” each side. After trimming, the fabric was treated with Terial Magic. The simple steps to use Terial Magic are 1) Spray to saturate (photo below), 2) Dry until damp and 3) Iron to set. (Last summer we wrote a review of Terial Magic and included complete details about how to apply it and its many uses: a useful and versatile product!)

Treating fabric swatches with Terial Magic spray

Once the treated fabric was dried and ironed, we stamped using the snowflake wooden printing block and one color of paint. I’ve provided many block printing tutorials in the past, but as always I want to emphasize the importance of using a dense foam printing mat under your fabric to achieve the best results. Each ornament requires four snowflake stamped fabric pieces.

Block printing onto Terial Magic treated fabric swatch

Block printed snowflake on a Terial Magic treated fabric swatch

After the paint has dried the fabric is ironed and trimmed closer to the shape of the snowflake pattern (photo below). The snowflake prints, now cut out, are stacked with snowflake print up and then alternate snowflake print down, snowflake up, snowflake down.
Trimmed fabric block printed snowflakes

Sew a straight stitch down the center line of your neat stack, which holds all the snowflakes together.

For a bit of festive sparkle, I cut a piece of Dazzle Thread by WonderFil to use for the loop to hang the ornament, zig-zag stitching to hold it in place (photo below).

Adding Dazzle thread by WonderFil to stitched fabric snowflake

Finger press your fabric sections open, and there you have it! My finished ornaments are pictured at the top of this post…you can also see a resin cookie cutter ornament created by my niece in a recent class held here at the shop by Leslie Brier.

P.S. We are making progress getting the wide assortment of WonderFil threads up on our website — keep checking in with us! The Threaducation Center is your place to interact with like minded people, develop new friendships and be inspired! Schedule your next fiber arts group activity with us at the Center today!

Block Printing as the March Artist for The Printed Fabric Bee!

Posts in Judy’s March Artist for The Printed Fabric Bee series:

  1. Block Printing Intro
  2. Creating and Embellishing Block Printed Textiles
  3. A Sampling of Block Printed Art Quilts

Earlier this year I directed you to the “reboot” of The Printed Fabric Bee where, instead of creating monthly themed fabrics for the Bee members (with 6″ x 6″ swatches as a prize for those who commented on the posts), in 2016 members of the Bee are each taking a turn hosting a month focusing on a technique of their choice — resulting a year of free tutorials and classes from national and internationally known surface design artists and teachers!

I wrote then that you should mark your calendar for April for me, but turns out, I am representing the month of March! The focus of my posts for The Printed Fabric Bee will be on Block Printing for art quilts and other fiber projects. My first post is copied below:

A wooden printing block being hand-carved by a master craftsman in India

Block printing is one of the most ancient forms of decorative art. We carry a very wide range of wooden printing blocks in our shop. These blocks are hand carved in India and are part of our free trade products: we are proud to be a part of the support of 40 families in India!

For my first post, I’m including a video below that was taped while I was running my on-site “pop-up” shop at the recent Art & Soul creative retreat in Portland, Oregon. The video begins with me answering a question from my audience: where do wooden printing blocks come from?, and then moves into the basics of how to block print.

While traveling around the US vending at shows and teaching, I hear many of the same questions over and over, so I am using this opportunity, below and in the video, to briefly answer the most common ones.

  1. What type of wood is used?
    The wooden printing blocks are carved out of shisham wood, which is a locally grown, sustainable hard wood.
  2. Will the white paint come off?
    The white marking is there to give the carvers, or as they prefer, Block Makers, visual guidance as to where to chisel and carve the wood away.
  3. How do I care for wooden printing blocks?
    Do scrub them with soap and water once your printing session is over. Use a soft nail brush if necessary to get paint out of the fine lines. However, don’t let your blocks soak in the sink or a container water. I dry them face down on a dry towel.
           Know this: they will never be ‘clean’ again — embrace that! (We find them beautiful with the hints of paint and use; see photo below.)
  4. How can I use them?
    … well, the answer to that is for the next blog post!

Wooden printing blocks that have been used multiple times

Wooden printing blocks that have been used many times with many colors of paint have their own special beauty.

My next blog post will give you a few ideas of how to embellish your block printed fabric.

Comment to Win!

NOTE: Prize has been awarded. In addition to the surface design tutorials posted here on The Printed Fabric Bee blog, each month, the specified artist offers a fabulous giveaway. Simply leave a comment on at least one of the blog posts during that month to be eligible. I have selected a beautiful circle design wooden printing block, an orange foam printing mat (critical to successful block printing), and a jar of True Blue PROfab Opaque Textile Paint as my prize. However…if you are selected and are local to the Virginia/DC/Maryland area (or are willing to travel), you can instead choose to attend my Woodblock Printed Art Quilt class on June 11 for free!

March Printed Fabric Bee prize: wooden printing block, textile paint and foam printing mat

Leave a comment below to be eligible for this block printing prize!

P.S. If you would like to travel to India and meet the families who carve our wooden printing blocks, visit the Colouricious website in England to learn about the Textile Trip of a Lifetime!

Transforming Chipboard Shapes

Chipboard does for shapes what particle board did for furniture. The options are limitless. Chipboard is a lamination of layers of paper pulp — it comes in many thicknesses, shapes and sizes. Our most recent session of our How Do I…? monthly demonstrations was on the versatility of chipboard; we used both commercial shapes as well as cutting into large sheets of thin utility chipboard in our experiments.

Chipboard embellishments available at Artistic Artifacts

We carry some great chipboard shapes and embellishments, but otherwise, the most common place to find chipboard is in the scrapbooking aisle of your local craft store. A simple material, but what you can do with chipboard is anything but ordinary!

Covering a chipboard frame with fabric

This blog posting will touch on just a couple of techniques — know that this is only the tip of the iceberg! We used fabric, washi tape, embossing powders and VIVA products: Inka Gold, Ferro Special Effects Paste, Croco Crackle Paint, Precious Metal Colour to alter our chipboard.

The only tricky option is applying fabric to the chipboard. I ironed fusible web to the back of the fabric and then made my cuts into the fabric (similar to wrapping a package) to cover the frame and fused with an iron in place. Another option is to apply a thick glue like Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue to the chipboard and then wrap the fabric smoothly on the top and around the edges.

Products used to color and alter chipboard

Washi tape is one of the simplest ways to add interest to any paper (or other) project. Mixing different strips to a chipboard frame that still has its center in place is a fun twist: then simply run your craft blade around to cut the tape and pop the center out. Replace it in a different orientation, or use the center shape separately.

Chipboard frames covered in washi tape

Embossing Powder is really magic! Using a stamp paid with “embossing” glue (we used the EMBOSS Embossing Stamp Pad) I stamped the glue onto my precut chipboard frame. Working on a sheet of deli paper, I sprinkled Tim Holtz Distress Embossing Powder in the gorgeous Peeled Paint shade of green.

Mixed media tag by Judy Gula with a chipboard frame transformed with Tim Holtz Distressed embossing powder

Working on deli paper, it’s easy to pour the unused granules of powder back into the jar. I moved my heat tool over the embossing powder until it melted and fused, creating a unique surface. Tim’s Distress powder is formulated to giveyou a worn , weathered finish, as you can see with my tag above.

Metallic embossing powders will ‘wow’you when the heat is applied. They sprinkle on looking rather flat and dull, but after a few seconds turn to looking like molten metal! You can see an example with my journal page below with the gold frame. I love creating a “peek a boo” element by framing a cutout on one page to look through to the next (see below and inset detail).

Judy Gula journal page with a peek a boo cutout framed with embossed chipboard

The journal pages you see here are from “How Do I Use This?” Meets the Art Journal Page, a fun class I’m teaching on April 23-24 where students create original and layered journal pages and bind them into a custom art journal…all supplies provided!

Ferro Special Effects Paste, Croco Crackle Paint, Precious Metal Colour and other paints and mediums can all be applied with a brush or spatula to the chipboard.

Art journal page by Judy Gula
Chipboard tags and frames, painted, embossed and more

Our hands down favorite surface finish for chipboard was to use a die-cutter or paper punches to create shapes, then texturizing the shapes by running them through the diecutting/embossing machine with different embossing folders. The created texture comes alive with paints and Inka gold.

Plain chipboard, die cut into shapes and embossed with texture

Just a tiny amount of Inka Gold is all that’s needed, applied with a fingertip, baby wipe or paper towel.

Embossed chipboard with Inka Gold highlights

The Box Challenge

One of the original display box frames used in the Box Challenge

Most of you know the story about the building that now houses Artistic Artifacts. In its former life housing high-performance auto parts, we had a huge display wall with dimensional wood box frames that showed off product. During a recent warehouse cleaning, I uncovered a box full of these frames, most approximately 5×5 inch square (as pictured) I offered these up to Barb Boatman of Cut Sew Create studio, a dear friend and JAMs member, to come up with a project.

Barb challenged members of JAMs to use these surfaces to create small artworks that incorporated products from Artistic Artifacts that they had in their stashes that could then be used in the shop and at events as samples.

The big reveal of the boxes was this past Sunday at JAMs. We shared some photos on our Facebook page…you will certainly be seeing more of these in this space, as they were all so beautiful and are great examples of mixed media and fiber art techniques! Here are two that use chipboard.

Artwork by Sharon McDonagh: embossed chipboard highlighted with Inka Gold colors

Coming off the How Do I… evening, Sharon McDonagh embossed a chipboard square and then used Inka Gold in blue, copper and violet colors to bring out the texture of the pattern, and green paint topped with a bit of Inka Gold on a chipboard frame with a vintage photo.

Below, Lindy Millman used the Leaf Stems chipboard frame, lightly sprayed with a gold metallic ink, on a base of Tim Holtz fabric (the Entomology design) and accented it with her own ephemera and a skeleton leaf.

Artwork by Lindy Millman: Tim Holtz fabric, chipboard shape, skeleton leaf, ephemera

Create a Composition Book Cover!

I wanted to share a quick book cover tutorial with you.

Swatch of Roc-lon Multi Purpose Cloth

I find composition books ugly, but plentiful and cheap. My goal was to create an attractive book cover where I can easily pull out a filled-in notebook and replace it with a fresh one. I believe that composition books will be around for years into the future, so it’s a reliable resource.

I used Roc-lon Multi Purpose Cloth (MPC) in this project. I’ve often remarked on this versatile product on this blog — it can be used whenever you would use canvas: easy to cut (doesn’t fray) and sew, soft, flexible and already prepared to accept paint or mediums.

The first step: measure and cut a piece of MPC the size of the book cover, including inside sleeves. The composition book I used was approximately 9.5 in. tall x 7.25 in. wide (closed), so for this book I used a 24 in. wide strip that was 10½” tall. This measurement was approximately an inch taller than my book, which is approximately 14.5 in. wide when opened.

Painted strip of Roc-lon Multi Purpose Cloth, the inside of the book cover

Next, paint one side of the MPC with your choice of acrylic paint(s) — I chose shades of tomato red (above). This painted side will be the inside of the cover.

I choose Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 as my fusible for this project (instead of the Mistyfuse I so often recommend to you) because Steam-A-Seam is sticky: you can put your fabric in place, but can move your design around because the adhesive is repositionable before fusing it permanently.

Your Steam-A-Steam needs to be the same size of your MPC. I had sheets of Steam-A-Seam in my stash, so I needed to butt two sheets together for this project, but this product is also available by the yard so you could easily match the length you’d need for this project. (Note that there is additional information from a previous blog posting on working with Steam A Seam 2.)

Fusing fabric strips and selvedges to Lite Steam-A-Seam 2

I have long collected the selvedges from my fabrics rather than discarding them. I love the writing, number and circle color codes on them! I used a lot in this project, but did intersperse colorful strips of fabric too (above). Remember that you can use paper with Steam-A-Seam too…and your design doesn’t have to be in strips as mine is: let your imagination run wild.

Once you have covered your Steam-A-Seam with your fabric (or paper), then fuse it to the unpainted side of the MPC with your iron (follow the instructions included in the Steam-A-Seam packet.

Fused MPC before trimming and creating the sleeves

Above is where we are with the project so far. As you can see I didn’t worry too much over measuring my fabric strips ahead of time; simply used my rotary cutter and ruler to trim the edges even.

Once my cover was trimmed, I took it to my sewing machine to use some of my “fancy” machine stitches to embellish it further (detail below).

Using various decorative machine stitches to embellish the book cover

The MPC has a sturdy weight to it and the fusing holds it all together, so stitching isn’t necessary — and leaving it out makes this an even quicker project! But I love the decorative touch it adds.

Folding and sewing down the sleeves to hold the composition book in place

To create the sleeves, place your composition book, opened, in the middle of your collaged MPC (painted side up). Then fold your extra width over each side. You can crease the MPC to mark it or clip it down as desired. Then slide the book out. I top-stitched each sleeve down at each end with a straight stitch on the right side.

Adding extra strips to the inside to use for bookmarks

For an extra touch, I tacked down two extra selvedge strips with zig zag stitching at the top middle of my inside cove (above)r, so I can use them as bookmarks.

Finished selvedge strip composition book cover by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Above is my completed selvedge strip composition book cover!

Another version: binder cover with Angelina embellishments

And here’s the same concept, except that this time for my cover I used a single piece of fabric for the cover (from my stash; it’s printed to look like marbled squares placed side by side). I embellished this with retangles of Angelina and free motion stitching in curves and circles. I used a recycled binder for my inside.

Inside view of binder cover with Angelina -- sleeves were created wider

Notice with this version the sleeve covers more of the notebook than the previous one did. The edges for this one were satin-stitched all the way around using black thread.

I hope this tutorial inspires you…this project offers lots of design possibilities!

Using Brusho Crystal Colours

In today’s enewsletter we included a product new to our online shop, Brush Crystal Colours…which were also the feature of our most recent How Do I Use This? program. These vibrant watercolor inks in crystal/powder form are versatile and give you wonderful effects with ease.

Brusho Crystal Colours on watercolor ATCs

In addition to our own experimentation, we’re including some photos and links to other blogs that contain helpful info on using Brusho. We would especially recommend visiting Dina Kowal’s blog “Mama Dini’s Stamperia,” as she includes comparisons and pros/cons of four different brands of watercolor powders…plus she links to a video tutorial she produced for Split Coast Stampers that thoroughly demonstrates a number of ways to use Brusho.

Brusho arrives in a sealed plastic jar. Many recommend carefully transferring the powder contents to a container with a shaker lid; others punch one or more holes into the lid, as we did. We fell for the Brusho jar labeling technique used by Bibi Lindahl of Rubber Dance (her photo below) and copied it for ourselves.

Bibi Lindahl of Rubber Dance created this Brusho Crystal Colour labeling method

Smart, and pretty too…an unbeatable combination! Using Brusho couldn’t be simpler: simply sprinkle a few grains of one or more colors onto a wet substrate: watercolor paper, mixed media paper, canvas, fabric (more on that below). Most of our samples are watercolor papers cut to ATC size.

Brusho  Crystal Colours sprinkled on top of wet watercolor paper

Above, left, you will immediately see the color react to the water and begin to spread. Just a tiny amount is needed…you can get somewhat misled by that instaneous nature, but rather than using additional shakes of product, give it more time to react.

Brusho  Crystal Colours sprinkled on top of dry watercolor paper, then misted with water to activate

You can also sprinkle the Brusho onto a dry surface, and then spray with water, as above. Results differ a bit between these two methods, so experiment with both to find out how you like the effects.

Black Brusho Crystal ColourOne of the reasons we chose to stock Brusho over other brands was that it is available in 34 beautiful colors, including a black and a white. All colors are fully intermixable, and with a black and a white, your shade/tint possibilities are even greater! Brusho colors are created using a multitude of different color crystals, and you will see those different colors bloom and react. When we first sprinkled on the black to create a test swatch (shown here, right), we actually gasped!

Mix Brusho with water in a spray bottle for your own custom spray ink(Of course, you can mix Brusho with the desired quantity of water in a palette cup to create a watercolor you apply with a brush, as in regular watercolor painting. We were having so much fun creating these backgrounds we haven’t even tried that yet!)

Add a bit of the Brusho crystals into a small amount of water to dissolve, then add additional water to the desired strength, and you have your own custom spray ink. We diluted the Brilliant Red to make a pink spray you can see on several of our examples.

Brusho can mix and dissolve with any water-based medium. Add it to any acrylic medium to create a heaveir-body paint. We enjoyed mixing a few custom colors of molding paste and adding texture to some of our cards through sequin waste.

Mixing Brusho Crystal Colours with molding paste
Applying Brusho Crystal Colours mixed with molding paste
FInished examples of Brusho Crystal Colours mixed with molding paste

Again, just a small shake of Brusho gives you a lot of color! Above, in the yellow tag example, you can see that the underlying Brusho Crystal Colour “seeped” up through the paste to give it even more color and texture. Below, you can see a similar effect: we gessoed over a fully colored mixed media paper journal page, and love how tints of the underlying colors came through in varying intensities.

White gesso applied on top of a page colored with Brusho Crystal Colours

We also experimented with stamping onto our blank cards with clear embossing ink and using clear embossing enamel to create a resist for the Brusho. The butterfly example below also shows the mixability of the colors: the outer border was a mix of red and yellow powders in a bit of matte medium to create a paint.

Brusho Crystal Colours applied over a stamped, clear embossed resist

One of the “rules” for our Thursday evening How Do I Use This? sessions is that anything you can do on paper, you can do on fabric. Below, top, is a strip of 100% white cotton that was spritzed with water and sprinkled with Brushos. Very cool…but what about permanence?

Fabric swatched colored with Brusho Crystal Colours

As we did when we experimented with Gelatos® from Faber-Castell(Part 1 and Part 2) we tried using Jo Sonja’s Textile Medium to treat the fabric and activate the Brusho. This is a water-based acrylic medium used to convert acrylic paints into fabric paints that, once heat set, are permanent and able to be laundered. The bottom two swatches were once one strip, but instead of water, we moistened the fabric with diluted Textile Medium and added the Brusho. Once dry, we cut it in half, and washed one half. We had very little, if any, color loss or run off. So, while watercolors are never thought of as being permanent, there are ways…

Alice Hendon, CZT of The Creator’s Leaf experimented with doing her Zen Tangling on top of pages painted with Brusho (see her example below).“Once this was completely dry, I added tangling with a Sharpie fine point. I did not have any trouble drawing on the Brusho at all,” she writes. “The Brusho dried flat and smooth, and accepted the penwork with no problems. No skips, no pulls on the nib, no dragging lines. Smooth as could be!” Read her full review »

Alice Hendon, CZT of The Creator's Leaf

Roni Johnson of the Ink Stained blog wanted to experiment and “instead of water I decided to use Sparkle Shimmer Mist” to activate the Brusho Crystals she had sprinkled onto dry ATCs, a museum grade preservation matboard. She notes “I added lots [and] the ATC’s didn’t warp, buckle, etc…. they took the liquid perfectly and the colors are beautiful and vivid.” See her result below:

Roni Johnson of Ink Stained used shimmer mists to activate her Brusho

She also created a blog posting featuring color swatches of 32 of the Brusho colors, showing off side by side how each appears on two different types of paper, Neenah 80lb cardstock and Fabrino 140lb watercolor paper.

P.S. While we haven’t yet explored this method, Brusho can be used to add tints to wood and is a great way for you to preserve the grain pattern, as it creates strong, but transparent color. Colourcraft recommends choosing a light-colored, close-grained wood to start, with the following steps. Dampen the wood, dry and rub back before application (to minimize the stain raising the grain. Mix Brusho colors and apply very sparingly with brushes, cotton gauze or an air brush. Stained wood can be sealed with a polyurethane or acrylic varnish.

Artistic Artifacts’ Modern Squares Quilt Tutorial

Modern Squares Quilt designed and quilted by Christine Vinh for Arttistic Artifacts/Batik Tambal

One of the hits of our booth display at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX was this stunning quilt, which was designed, pieced and quilted by Christine Vinh. Chris has a beautiful instinct for mixing colors and patterns, and combined fabrics from our own Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik collection with those from Frond Design to create both the above pictured quilt, and another version in cool colors.

Want to make your own? Here’s how!

Modern Squares Quilt Pattern

       Designed and quilted by Christine Vinh, StitchesnQuilts

This pattern is a modification of a free pattern by Erica Jackman of Kitchen Table Quilting named “Simply Styled Stacked Square Quilt.” For the Artistic Artifacts/Batik Tambal version, Chris reduced the measurements to 8-inch squares and 2-inch strips. She cut all material from yardage instead of using Jelly Rolls and Layer Cake sets (as Erica did).

The quilt is made up of 23 squares, using one large square and two pairs of strips for borders around each square.

The following are details to get you started: use our instructions for cutting (download a PDF of print instructions), and review Erica’s tutorial for sewing and placement.

Fabrics from Frond Design and our own Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik to create the Modern Squares Quilt

Fabric requirements for a lap quilt, approximately 56 inches x 64 inches:

  • 1 yard each of two (2) focus fabrics (as mentioned, we used fabrics from Frond Design and our own Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik)
  • 1 yard white
  • ½ yard of 6-8 fabrics
  • ½ yard fabric for binding
  • 2 yards fabric for backing


From the two focus fabrics and the white fabric, cut 2 (two) 8- inch strips and 2-4 (two to four) 2-inch strips the width of the fabric (WOF).

Cutting 2-inch strips the width of the fabric

Cut one of the 8 inch strips into 5 (five) 8-inch squares (below). From the second 8-inch strip, cut 2 (two) 8-inch squares, and then 4 (four) 2-inch strips from the remaining width of strip long.


From your assorted ½ yards of fabrics, cut 2-inch strips, or a combination of 8-inch strips cut into blocks and strips (as above). If you have chosen fabrics with stripes, cut the fabric with the stripes running the length of the strip.

Once cut, randomly select one 8-inch square and two sets of different fabric strips to create each block. Vary the selections so your blocks will all be different.

Sewing the Quilt Top:

Adding 2-inch strips to the sides of the 8-inch square

Erica chose to cut the strips for inner and outer borders around the square; Chris instead used her WOF strips, and trimmed them square to the block as she proceeded.

Sew two strips to top and bottom of a square, press, trim (above). Repeat the process of sewing the same fabric strip to the opposite sides, creating a square within a square. Repeat these steps for the second border (see below).

Modern Quilt Squares block completed

An assortment of completed Modern Quilt Squares blocks

Once all squares are sewn (assortment shown above), cut each square in half vertically (pictured below), and then in half again horizontally.

Cutting a completed Modern Quilt Squares block into halves vertically

With the horizontal cut, you will then have 4 (four) identical quadrants of your original square (pictured below).

Cutting the Modern Quilt Squares block horizontally for four identical blocks

Once all of the blocks are sewn and cut, the real fun begins! Lay out the blocks into a rectangle eight (8) columns wide by nine (9) rows tall using your design wall or open floor space (pictured below).

Designing the Modern Quilts Squares layout

Chris used a placement that used a selection of both the Frond fabric blocks and the Batik Tambal Exclusive fabric as “whole” squares, to feature the fabric. Carefully arranging the other quarter squares around these intact blocks is what gives the stacked illusion. You could also choose to be completely random without having any “whole” blocks. The design is all up to you!

Identifying and sorting your blocks and rows as you begin to sew

Once you have an arrangement you love, mark/sort your blocks (above) in whatever method you’d like so that your layout will be intact. Sew your rows together using a standard ¼-inch seam allowance.

The Artistic Artifacts/Batik Tambal sample is borderless, but you may add one or more borders if you desire.


Note that you will end up with some unused strips and small blocks. Erica suggests that these be pieced together to add interest to your backing fabric.

Once your top is layered with batting and backing fabric, machine or hand quilt as desired.

Use leftover fabric from the yardage to piece your binding, or you may choose to use a complementary fabric. Bind your quilt using your choice of techniques.

Rusty Pumpkin Tutorial

Mixed Media Pumpkins by Artistic Artifacts using Rusty Paper and Rusty Patina

Click the above image for a larger view »

What’s that old saying? When the cat’s away, the mice will play? Lead “cat” Judy left this morning to drive her trailer full of goodies to Texas for both Quilt Market and International Quilt Festival. So “mice” Julie Middleton and Sharon McDonagh took some time to play!

A previously posted tutorial on this blog introduced Rusty Paper by Viva Decor. We were asked by readers whether Rusty Paper could be used on fabric, so during our October session of How Do I Use This (which focused on Rusty Paper), we tried it out. We created mixed media tags that used both paper and fiber, including altering our Web Weave Ribbon with the product (see below).

Rusty Paper and Rusty Patina with mixed media tags

To further explore the question of fabric, Julie and Sharon created this fun Halloween project.

Rusty Mixed Media Pumpkins Tutorial

Rusty Paper, available in original (dark rust) or Rust Orange, is a paint product that gives a realistic rust appearance and texture to paper, cardboard, wood, metal, plastic and more. Adding the Rusty Patina (available in Copper and Oxyd) makes the effect even more varied and realistic.

Julie Middleton drafting her pumpkin pattern

We used a black batik fabric as our base (doubling it up although we only painted one side), both deciding to cut out our pumpkins after we had painted the fabric. Julie chose to sketch out a pattern first (above). Sharon freehand cut her pumpkin’s facial features out of label stock and stuck them in place (below).

Sharon McDonagh used label stock to create a mask for her pumpkin's features

Rusty Orange by Viva DecorWe used the Rust Orange color of the Rusty Paper…an obvious choice since we were making Jack o’ Lanterns! It’s important to stir thoroughly the jar of Rusty Paper, which has a thick consistency (right), before you apply it to your chosen surface. Julie used a sponge to apply the product to her fabric; Sharon brushed it on over the label masks. Use either, or use a dauber, palette knife…whatever tool you like to apply the product to your surface.

Applying Rusty Paper with a sponge onto fabric

Below, Sharon brushed too vigorously over the nose and dislodged the label paper mask. Oh well…it was always meant to be a wonky pumpkin! Wash your brushes and tools as soon as you complete a step; once dried, this product is permanent.

Applying Rusty Paper with a brush

Our pumpkin fabric dried after one coat:

One coat of Rusty Paper

Above, Julie intentionally left the black fabric to show through to give the impression of the ridges of the pumpkin. Below, Sharon peeled off the label masks after the first coat had dried.

One coat of Rusty Paper, label paper masks peeled off

We both added a second coat of Rusty Paper and introduced the Rusty Patina. The Patina adds a difference of both color texture, including some sparkle: so pretty! The technique is to work wet on wet, so we sponged and brushed on additional Rusty Paper and picked up differing amounts of Rusty Patina, wiping it into the Rusty Paper and swirling and mottling (see below). We used the Oxid color of the Patina so it would blend into the Rust Orange tones.

Second coat of Rusty Paper, mixed with Rusty Patina

Once the second coat was dry, we cut, sewed and embellished our pumpkins. Julie raided Judy’s button stash for eyes and nose, and cut the mouth out of Osnaburg 100% cotton. This has a loose weave and is wonderful for stitching; because Julie sewed closed to the edge, it caused some fraying, which further added to the vintage feel she was going for!

Sewing on the pumpkin's facial features

We cut out our pumpkin shapes, leaving a raw-edged border of the black fabric. We then machine stitched with contrasting thread around the shape twice, leaving an opening at the top for stuffing and the stem. Although Julie didn’t have any trouble hand-sewing through the Rusty Paper, we didn’t want to run a sewing machine needle through it because of the gritty texture. (It may be possible to do so with no problem; experiment yourself if you wish).

Below, our finished pumpkins:

Mixed Media pumpkin created by Julie Middleton

Julie used a length of tree branch for her stem, and accented it with orange skeleton leaves.

Mixed Media pumpkin created by Sharon McDonagh

Sharon added book text (treated with a light coat of Rusty Paper and Rusty Patina) for cheeks and used peeled corrugated cardboard for her stem. She texturized green velvet with a rubber stamp, cut it into leaf shapes and glued them on, using a ribbon scrap for a tendril.

Lessons Learned

So, what did we learn about Rusty Paper on fabric? Sharon applied both coats rather thickly, wanting an opaque look. Peeling away the label masks she used, a small chip flaked off the edge of one of the pumpkin teeth, but the product otherwise adhered very well. Stuffing both of the sewn pumpkins with the fiberfill meant a lot of handling, yet there was no rub-off or cracking.

When most people ask about using a product on fabric, they usually mean they are wondering about permanence and washability. Rusty Paper and Rusty Patina are permanent products, and are even advertised to be used on decorative items that will be outdoors, so they have been formulated to stand up to the elements.

Below is a photo of textiles (Roc-lon Multi-Purpose Cloth and 100% cotton) that were stenciled with Rusty Paper during the How Do I Use This? session on October 8th.

Fabrics stenciled with Rusty Paper

We took the cotton swatch (far right in the above photo) and hand-washed it in a basin (so we could monitor the water for color loss). We used warm water and hand soap, agitating it with medium pressure and lightly scrubbing. We rinsed the swatch, and poured the wash water through layers of white paper towels, again so we could see if the color ran.

Rusty Paper fabric swatch after hand washing

We did not see much loss of color (if any). But one of the hallmarks of this product is that it gives you a rust-like appearance, not just in color but in texture. Our pumpkins are rough and gritty feeling, much like a rusty piece of metal would feel. The left side of the above photo shows the residue left on the paper towel after draining: these are tiny, gritty flecks of color and product that gave the fabric its rusty texture.

Our recommendation? Feel free to use this product on any fabric, canvas or fiber product used to create a decorative object that won’t need regular laundering. That’s in addition to the surfaces recommended by the product manufacturers: paper, wood, metal, plastic, and more. This is a versatile product that gives you great effects!

Embellishing Vintage Glass with Shells, Relics & Artifacts

First, a big thank you to all the folks who braved the near-hurricane and the flooding to make it to the Virginia Beach edition of Art & Soul and shopped with me! We always talk up the beach-front location, so the weather certainly wasn’t ideal, but the great teachers, students and beautiful art were enough to sustain us!

I have been having fun with the Relics & Artifacts designed by Sandra Evertson since they first arrived in the shop. I have been following Sandra on her Facebook page and fell in love the work she posted earlier this year using her archival casts and sea shells:

Shell Art designed by Sandra Evertson using her Relics & Artifacts cast resin pieces

Stunning, right? Of course with these as inspiration, my imagination ran really large! But I reined in that first impulse and instead began small. I found a vintage clear glass spoon holder in my studio and decided to use that to apply some selected Relics & Artifacts and shells from my own collection.

First I decided that I wanted to add a bit of color to my pieces.

Adding color to the Relics & Artifacts pieces

I used the following: Silks Acrylic Glaze in Oyster (top left in above photo; also already applied to the large circle cameo (the as yet uncoated angel is from the Archangels set). I also used Inka Gold products: a bit of Silver (middle left) and and then the pretty Hydrangea shade to complement and pull out the the pink color naturally present in the sea shells. The Inka Gold products were applied and buffed in and off until I got the effect I wanted.

Painted Relics & Artifacts piece as the shell glass display piece created by Judy Gula is started

To adhere the Relics & Artifacts and the shells onton my vintage glass, I used small bits of Apoxie® Sculpt. This is a two-part adhesive putty that is easy to mix: simply measure equal pieces of Part A and Part B and knead them together thoroughly for a couple of minutes. I mixed up small batches, because it’s quick to do so, but because you have a working time of 2-3 hours before it begins to cure and thoroughly harden, you could mix up one batch for most projects.

Using Apoxie Sculpt to adhere Relics & Artifacts pieces and sea shells to vintage glass

I could have used the Apoxie Sculpt to completely cover the outside of the glass (mixed it has a consistency much like clay), but instead opted for small pieces (which you can see in the above photo shot from the inside of the glass) to illustrate that just a little bit holds like cement!

Painted Relics & Artifacts and sea shell glass display piece by Judy Gula in progress

Apoxie Sculpt is much better than a glue, even including the old reliable E6000. It stays in place when working on a non-flat surface, and the item doesn’t slide out of position. And it can be used on a wide variety of surfaces: in addition to the glass I have here, you can use it on plastic,wood, metal, ceramic, glass, polymers, foam, fiberglass, etc. Artist Leslie Brier, who often teaches for us (next up: Collage Treasure Necklace on October 13), introduced us to Apoxie Sculpt, as she uses it on all of her mixed media sculptures/asseblages, such as her recycled robots.

Painted Relics & Artifacts and sea shell glass display piece by Judy Gula in progress

Above is what I have accomplished so far with this display piece. My plan is to completely cover the remaining spaces on the outside with shells, and paint the inside (to hide the Apoxie Sculpt). Once the interior is painted and dried, I will likely add even more shells inside.

More Art Journaling: Altering Cut-outs, Using Pan Pastels

My studio at the moment continues to have journaling supplies and papers front and center on the table. I’ve enjoyed experimenting with creating a variety of art journal pages.

This session I played with Pan Pastels. I consider this product a “fine art medium,” so that means it is intimidating to me! My comfort zone is in creating backgrounds, so that’s where I began. I ended up experimenting with two types of backgrounds that used Inkssentials Watermark Resist Ink and Golden Brand Gesso for effects.

I would recommend working with the Pan Pastels on watercolor paper, because it has a nice “tooth” to it. Since I didn’t have any at handy at home, I used pages from a Strathmore 400 Series Mixed Media Paper with fine results.

Inkessentials Watermark Resist Ink with TCW Mask

I took a TCW Mask (TCW2023 Petri Dish) designed by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer and stamped over the mask using the resist ink pad (holding the pad right side down and pouncing). Then I used one of the Sofft tools packaged with all Pan Pastels to add color and gently moved it in circular motions over the stamped image…the result is magic! The resist ink stamping intensifies the Pan Pastels color and coverage and gives you a crisp design line.

Resist ink stamping intensifies the Pan Pastels color and coverage and gives you a crisp design line

My next layer was created using that same watermark stamp and the Cover-a-Card French Text Stamp, then a brown shade of Pan Pastel.

Watermark stamp using the Cover-a-Card French Text Stamp, then a brown shade of Pan Pastel

I experimented with using a purple color of Gelatos through the mask. I wanted to see if there was any resist when the Pan Pastels was gently rubbed around it. The answer was, not so much. But the Gelatos did add a more intense color of purple to the Pan Pastels, so I was happy with that.

Here’s my full page…I love the texture and imagery. This will make a great base to add additional art to, or could even be cut up to Artist Trading Card (ATC) size.

Watermark resist ink pad, Pan Pastels, stamps and masks

For the following pages, I used various cutouts of models from fashion ads. Because magazines are usually printed on slick paper, they need to be primed in some way to accept other medium, so I used gesso on selected areas. This gave me a base to add my own color with my Pan Pastels and Gelatos. It can also mask out an area I don’t like as much.

Gesso on selected areas of magazine page

I selected all of the magazine cut outs and adhered them to my page using Golden Soft Gel Medium. Then I selected additional colors from Pan Pastel, applied with the Sofft tools.

Art journal page by Judy Gula in progress

Like her new red/orange shirt? Next up, altering her hair…

Gesso is a great medium to use with Derwent Inktense Blocks or pencils, Pan Pastels, and Gelatos. Water the gesso down a bit, and mix it with the colors using a paint brush. When my color mix turned out too light, I applied a bit more of Gelato over top.

Art Journal page by Judy Gula in progress

I only had white gesso handy as I was creating these —what would happen if you tried using clear gesso?

Finished art journal page by Judy Gula

Finished art journal page by Judy Gula

Above, the finished page. Below, another page with the same techniques. I mentioned the magazine pages are slick, so there are some light/camera flash reflections…but I think you get the idea.

Art journal page by Judy Gula

One of the members of our JAMs Round Robin Art Journal Exchange has selected Outrageous Inspiration as her theme — I think these two qualify as outrageous! What do you think?

Page painted with two coats of Chalky Vintage-Look by Viva Decor in Aqua

In another experiment, I took a page (above) I had previously painted with two coats of Chalky Vintage-Look by Viva Decor (in Aqua), which gave my page more tooth.

Pan Pastels over Chalky Vintage-Look paint

I added additional color with my Pan Pastels using the Sofft tools. Then I added another fashion photograph cut out. This page (below) is now ready for me to continue playing the next time I’m in my studio!

Pan Pastels over Chalky Vintage-Look paint, magazine cut-out

Using Rusty Paper and Rust Patina

Items painted with Rusty Paper and Rust Patina are weather resistant

Rusty Paper by Viva Decor is a paint product that will give a realistic rust appearance, complete with a rough surface, to paper, cardboard, wood, metal, plastic and more. Use Rusty Paper in conjunction with your choice of Rusty Patina to achieve even more interesting color effects. The finish is even weather durable!

I was excited to begin stocking the Rusty Paper, as it is the first one-step (and non-corrosive) product I’m aware of that can be used on paper and with rubber stamps and/or stencils. The vintage tag created by Viva Decor (click photo below for larger view) is an example of some exciting possibilities with these new products! I think they’d be perfect used on the Relic & Artifacts by Sandra Evertson. We will be experimenting with this new product during our October session of How Do I Use This?…join us!

Rusty Paper Tag Tutorial

The following tutorials are courtesy of Viva Decor. Rust effects can be achieved by wiping or pouncing product on, or applying with a palette knife. You may also choose to use any product that can give you three dimensional texture prior to using the Rusty Paper, to give an authentic, disintegrating look.

Vintage look tag collage by Viva Decor

Materials used here are Rusty Paper, available in original (dark rust) or Rust Orange and Rusty Patina (available in Copper and Oxyd), torn watercolor paper, cling rubber stamp on acrylic block, vintage book text and a vintage photo (both accented with stitching), burlap, decorative ribbon, twine, clothespin, scissors, palette knife and sponge pouncers.

Materials to create Rusty Paper tag

Stir your jar of Rusty Paper thoroughly before applying. Here the product is being applied to the paper (torn into a tag shape) with a sponge applicator, swirling it in. If necessary for coverage, apply a second coat after the first has dried.

Applying Rusty Paper to tag

Add desired amount of Rusty Patina (below, in Copper; Rusty Patina is also available in an orange Oxyd shade) to the still wet tag. Working wet on wet gives you the more organic look. You can mix both colors of Rusty Paper, the Rusty Paper with the Rusty Patina, both Patinas…whatever you like to achieve a wide variety of rust effects.

Adding Rust Patina to painted tag

Below, apply additional Rusty Paper over areas of the Patina with a palette knife.

Applying additional Rusty Paper with palette knife

Apply additional Rusty Paper and Rusty Patina as desired to achieve an organic, layered look of distress.

Adding additional Rusty Paper product

Below, pounce Rusty Paper onto a clear polymer stamp with a sponge applicator. As with any paint or ink, you want full coverage on the stamp area, but not an excessive amount of product that would ruin your imprint. (Wouldn’t the new Finnabair stamps, from this week’s enewsletter, be amazing stamped in rust?)

Applying Rusty Paper to clear polymer stamp

Stamp onto a smaller tag or paper torn to size. Cut and fray burlap to size, and begin arranging your trimmed materials onto your rusted tag as you please. Use additional Rusty Paper or Rusty Patina, or your favorite inks and paints, to distress edges and add additional color, if desired.

Arranging all tag materials

Completed tag using Rusty Paper and Rust Patina by Viva Decor

Once you have an arrangement you like, affix all materials into place with glue or stitching.

More on Applying Rusty Paper and Rust Patina

Tray and flower pots, before and after Rusty Paper and Rust Patina

From Viva Decor, here is the step by step process to create a decorative plate using Rusty Paper and Rusty Patina.

Rolling on first coat of Rusty Paper

Coat your surface with Rusty for Paper thoroughly, and let dry. If you can’t achieve full coverage with one coat, apply another after the first dries. Immediately clean any application tool with cold water after use. The cured product is not water-soluble.

Painting on Rusty Paper

Rust effects can be achieved by brushing, wiping or dabbing product on, even applying with a palette knife. Use both colors of Rusty for Paper, or mix with Rusty Patina for even more dynamic and realistic rust appearance.

Sponging on and blending both Rusty Paper and Rust Patina

Puddle some Rusty for Paper and your choice of Rusty Patina on a separate plate, and use a sponge for these additional applications.

Adding Rust Patina

Apply Rusty Paper to select areas. While the Rusty Paper is still wet, pick up some Rusty Patina and wipe it into the Rusty, swirling and mottling. For this plate, the designer is working in a circular pattern to mimic how rust could actually form.

Adding Rust Patina and Rusty Paper together, wet on wet

One after another, wipe Rusty and Rusty Patina, wet on wet, into each other until the desired thickness of color has been achieved. Let dry.

Finished display plate

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