Friday, April 27, 2012


  I have been working diligently this week on the mixed media book for possible submission for the open art call from Seth Apter (The Altered Page).  My work table is covered in clutter once again and somehow I feel I have very little to show for it.  Six of the seven main page elements are on the cusp of being done, each one needing just a little finishing touch or two.   Maybe I will stop at six and focus on the backgrounds and assembly but I so do like odd numbers with something like this.
 (Shimmering Sun)
I got hung up in the process yesterday sensing there was something wrong and I think I have figured out what is and what I need to change.  This moving in a different direction often happens to me.  I start out with a concept or idea that may or may not work as the piece is actually being created.  In this case I wanted to use, and if I can get it to look right I still might, some hand dyed fabric as the page bases but it is looking too dark right now, too gray/black and detracts from the page elements and is a little visually distracting.  
 (Brooding Moon)
I also set out to try and create a more gritty piece, well that ain't gonna happen either!  Maybe slightly girly grunge?  Or maybe not!  I am what I am, I am who I am, I create how I create...more of a Naturalist Melange Rustic Romantic or Hillbilly Chic in style...and it is kicking and screaming its way out of this piece.  I think it is braver to be me at this point than to force something that is just not working.
 (Emerging Life)
 I tend to be extremely detail/technique oriented and that has slowed this process way down due to so much drying time.  Within the six small elements I have managed to throw in everything but the kitchen sink and that might be in there too before this little book is done.  Let's see there is wire work, beading, hand dying fabrics and other textiles, stitch, resin casting/paper, collage, burning, embossing, wax work, enamel work, metal work, paper making, plaster, paint, ink/stamping, book binding, and I am not even through yet!  Whew!  This is fun!
 (Tree of Life)
 Want to join on the fun?  How about learning a new (to me) technique?  I have never worked with Embossing Enamel but after reading a snippet of an article that mentioned it I decided to do a little research on the product and its uses.  This product has been around for a while.  It is a great dimensional medium for paper, fiber, and decorative arts, smart scrapbookers probably already know all about it.  
(Web of Deceit)
 Unlike most embossing powders that are super fine, the Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel by Ranger has larger particles that produces a resin like finish without the sticky mixing/pouring/drying time. It comes in clear and in colors.  This product would be great for jewelry or embellishment making, plus you can melt it and pour it into molds to create 3-D artifacts.  Another plus is that you can do some cool effects with this that you can't do with resin, like crack it for a cool aged effect or stamp into the surface while it is still warm for a texture effect.  I even tried this over an image printed transparency backed with card stock and it worked great!  
(Flight of Fancy)

Good grief, so sorry, I sound like an infomercial!
Just trying to tell you about a cool product.

*UTEE Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel (Clear) by Ranger
(Can find at Hobby Lobby or Michael's in the section with all the ink pads and rubber stamps or online, this product can run anywhere from $5.00 up to $20.00 depending on the size, so don't forget to use those coupons from your favorite craft supplier!)

*Metal Art Craft Sheet or any other protective non-stick surface
(I lined a small old baking pan with aluminum foil - the sides helped to keep the enamel bits from being blown everywhere in the heating process)

*Embossing Heat Tool

*Embossing Pad, Glue Pad, or other Clear Adhesive
(I used Liquitex Matte Gel Medium and it worked just fine)

*Image printed on card stock 
NOTE: If you are using a paper printed or original piece of ephemera that is thin paper, glue it to a piece of card stock and trim out before embossing.  It is best to do this technique on a heavy papered image for best results.


*Emery Board or Fine Grit Sandpaper or Scissor, if needed

Alcohol Ink and blending tool or cosmetic wedge
(I used Tim Holtz Adirondack Alcohol Ink in Caramel by Ranger, also found at Hobby Lobby, Micheal's or online)


*With a glue pad, embossing pad, or other clear adhesive coat the front of your image. Place image on non-stick surface of your choice.
*Using a plastic spoon, sprinkle the surface with Embossing Enamel particles, making sure to avoid as much excess as you can, this will save so much finishing of the edges at end.
*Hold image in place on non-stick surface with tweezers and heat embossing enamel with heat tool
CAUTION:  This stuff is very, very, very HOT!  DO NOT TOUCH while hot or will cause a burn!
This first application will bubble up and be very bumpy looking.
*While the melted enamel is still hot, apply another coat of embossing particles and heat again until product is shiny and smooth. Repeat until you have 4 to 5 coats, allow to completely cool if you want a slick smooth shiny surface 
OR keep going and take it a step further...

To Crackle Your Embellishment:
*As soon as last melt is done, while the image is still warm not hot, remove it from the non-stick surface, (a designated spatula works well but don't use with food afterwards), place in the freezer for about 3 minutes.

*Remove from freezer and gently bend the enameled image and it will crack like glass, if you bend it too much you might crack all the way through to the image, if this happens no big deal!  Just reheat the surface with your embossing tool and the cracks will smooth right out, repeat the freezing process and try again.
Use as is or take it one step further to antique the image...

To Age Your Cracked Embellishment:
*Apply Alcohol Ink to the cracks, you can work it in with a makeup wedge or blending tool for a light antique effect
OR, for a deep aged effect, gently bent open the cracked places and apply the ink directly to them letting it really seep into the cracks then wiped it off the excess.
*If the enamel leaves a rough or uneven edge to your image use and emery board or fine grit sandpaper to sand smooth or trim away with a scissor.
You can see on my sample where I bent it too much and the ink application kind of ran on the image behind the embossing but since this vintage tag already had natural age stains it was fine with me.  It takes a little practice to get the cracks just right.
*Be aware that this product has fine particles and when you apply your heat gun some of them WILL fly away, so work in an appropriate area.

*If you are worried about inhalation of the fly away particles wear a dust mask, a really good idea for those with allergies.

*Safety eye wear will keep the fly away particles from harming your eyes.

*This product is very hot, be careful not to touch it during the process and children should not be allowed to participate in the use.
 I can see some cool shipping tags or ATC's done using this technique, maybe when I am done with the book I can play with this a little more.


Have a great weekend!
P.S.  I will have the promised give away sign up posted on Monday!


Tina said...

Those little elements for the book look wonderful Sandy. Love the 'emerging life' element - so beautiful.
I have never seen the enamel embossing before. How cool is that. Great texture.
Blessings T

Createology said...

Hi Sandy: I am wishing you the very best on your mixed media book for possible submission for the open art call from Seth Apter (The Altered Page. Your work is stunning and the incredible detail you put into each and every element is truly what puts you above the barre. Your art is wonderful. Blissful creating...
P.S. Great tute on the embossing enamel...thank you for sharing.

Unknown said...

Wow, such beautiful projects. I love how the ink ran behind your cracks, I think it gives it a great look!

Dorthe said...

Dear Sandy, those round pages for your book, are stunning, I love the sun it is so beautiful-made the photo big to see your details, and WOW- and thankyou dear,for the tutorial , the enamel embossing looks fantastic.

Unknown said...

Wow, again, youve made everything just right! I love what you created here and thank you for the sweet tutorial! :)


Decor To Adore said...

Flight of fancy has captured my heart!

Thank you for your kind comments. You are such a blessing to me.

I will be having a Mother's Day giveaway this next Friday with glimpses of whats up for grabs all this week. :)

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