Just a quick post today to show you a ‘thank you’ card I made a couple of weeks ago.
Just a quick post today to show you a ‘thank you’ card I made a couple of weeks ago.
I bought some very cheap alphabet stamps £1 each from Every Crafts a Pound here. Things don’t stay on there for long, but I’ve seen them at The Range too I think. I love alphabet stamps! I have quite a few now. I find sentiments are a bit pointless unless you are doing a production line of cards (I’m lucky if I have time to make one).
Last time I was at IKEA I bought a paper pack for £5 you can see it here.The paper isn’t thin, it’s somewhere between paper and card. You get A3 and A4 off white, A4 bolds and A4 pastels.
Today I got this sketch pad and foam tape/squares from Poundland for £1 each. The sketch pad paper has a nice feel to it. Nice and thick. Doesn’t feel scratchy.
I tried out the pad and the stamps when I was practising. This is what it looks like. I am really happy with them. The only downside with the stamps is you have to cut out all the letters, they are all joined together! I used a small pair of nail scissors.
I still have more cheap craft ideas…..stay tuned.
I’ve been messing around with brush lettering. It’s trickier than it looks.
I’m trying not to worry about being perfect! As with the previous post, I used one of my new cheap tag dies, together with my vintage sheet music. I used my Tombow Dual tip pen for the lettering and I stamped with a new stamp from this set: Covermason Stamps. I used distress inks to add a zing of colour.
I have so many tags now, I ought to work out what to do with them all! What do you do with yours?
So I made this tag using the tag dies I showed in this post. I used one of the new stamp sets I got from Amazon for the words. I used a page from a book of vintage sheet music I bought for 50p from a charity shop for the base of the tag. I did have to make the hole slightly bigger to get the ribbon through. I love the faux stitching round the outside.
I thought I might do a few more ‘useful’ posts that other crafters might be interested in.
I’ve found a few craft things recently that have been surprisingly cheap. So…I thought….are they any good?
Now, I’m not an expert in dies. But they are EXPENSIVE! I can’t afford to be spending £15 on a set of dies I might only use occasionally. So I did a bit of hunting around. I found a couple of places where you can get them MUCH cheaper. I don’t want to spend more than £6 on a die set.
These are the ones I found.
‘The Works‘ (a shop in the UK) have brought in a load of new die sets. I bought NEARLY ALL of them. You can sign up to the email newsletter and get 10-20% off online. Individually the sets are all £6 or less. The bundle set (link below) is out of stock at the moment, hopefully they will all come back in. I am very glad I bought them when I did. To find the M & C ones you have to search for ‘metal dies’. If not, a lot of them seem to also be on ebay.
I’ve also bought dies from Amazon (UK). I wondered if they would be naff as they were so cheap, but so far they have worked fine. They seem to have the same die under all sorts of different Company names. I’ve checked the US Amazon and they do seem to have a lot of the same ones available.
So I also bought some stamps while I was doing my Amazon order.
The only stamp set I wasn’t so keen on was the Alice in Wonderland stamps. Only because they were much smaller than I expected and it’s hard to make out the design on most of them. There are still one or two I’d use, and they are so cheap I’m not too worried.
Click here to see the first tag I made with some of the stamps and dies I bought.
In the next Crafting Cheaply post I’m going to share some research I’ve done about different websites to buy branded craft products from to get a good price without paying a fortune for delivery.
You can also view my post on a cheaper alternative to Chameleon pens (if you already have alcohol markers in your stash) here.
I attempted to make my own DIY gelli plate, which I blogged about, but I gave up and bought a real one! Sometimes you have to spend the money on a tool which will last you a long time.
This is my attempt at DLP week three, using book pages (or in my case patterned tissue paper and gesso. I used handmade stamps to put coloured shapes in the background and covered over with gesso (actually it was white emulsion). Apologies that the centre is unclear, it didn’t scan too well where all the strings are! I stamped in black archival on all the individually painted mini tags. I’m quite pleased with it. Not every thing is perfect, but it has a neatness to it that I don’t normally have in my art.
Okay, so someone asked me if I’d done any tutorials on how I carve my stamps. I haven’t, and I kinda want to start doing some posts with more substance to them, so I thought….why not try one? 🙂 I am useless with videos and setting the camera at the right angle etc, so I thought I would use a few photos and describe the different steps. A lot of stamp carving, like all kinda of arty/crafty processes is down to trying things out and seeing how they work, but I thought maybe I could share a few things I’ve learnt to save you some of the hassle!
I have used a standard student carving tool which comes with 5 different blades. I know some people are worried about cutting themselves, but they aren’t generally that sharp and I have never cut myself and I am pretty clumsy (I burnt myself quite badly heating up some friendly plastic!) An example of the sort of tool can be found here. The carving material I got from a charity shop I volunteer at for a really good price. I had no idea whether it would cut well or print well, but it works much better than the stuff I was using before. Before I used this soft cut print block , because it is cheap, but I found it hard to get a good print from. I suspect the Adigraf might be similar to speed ball speedy carve, but I’m not sure. You can get Adigraf here, so I definitely recommend it! It’s soft and easy to carve and prints well!
So STEP 2 is coming up with the design.
I knew I wanted to do an owl stamp, so I googled owl clipart images and did some sketches of ones I liked. Next I played around with my own versions and when I was happy, I sketched the design larger, ready for tracing.
STEP 3 is tracing the image.
I just use standard grease-proof paper and an HB pencil. Remember that if you just trace it on the one side and then turn it over and scribble on the back onto your stamp material, once carved you will get the image the original way round.
STEP 4 is outlining the image.
Once you have the traced image in pencil, I go over it with a marker pen (I use a n overhead projector pen). You can see the lines are quite thick. You could just leave the lines in pencil, but is smudges all over the place! I also think that because really thin lines are hard to carve, the marker gives you a good view of the area you should be leaving to print. You can see I have cut the image away from the rest of the block. This avoids the pencil smudging over the rest of the block, and allows you to turn the stamp as you carve. If you are doing a very small stamp, I would carve it while it is still attached as it gives you more control. So now you are ready to begin carving!
STEP 5 is carving.
The hardest thing with carving is not slipping and cutting an area you didn’t mean to cut. I have found a few things help with this. As you can see here, I start with a no.1 blade (actually it’s all I use, although I should use a wider one for the wider areas, I never bother) and work away from any corners so if you do slip you are less likely to cut through the outline. After this photo I turned the stamp round and worked away from where the bird’s wing meets the head, so my two cut lines meet up. The other thing you can do which helps is to rotate the stamp as you are cutting the curves. Sometimes you have to use your nails and pull the carved pieces off the stamp. I have found it usually comes off quite cleanly and rarely rips, so don’t be afraid to pull quite hard. It’s also a good idea to air on the side of caution as you can always go in and cut more away. You can’t put stuff back if you cut it, although I have recently found out that if you slip, sometimes if the area where you have slipped stays attached, it can still print as if it’s not there (I’ll explain what I mean more later).
You can see here that I have decided that one wing is too big and have redrawn it with the pen. Sometimes seeing the image in reverse shows you that something doesn’t look right and needs alteration.
Here is the stamp half carved. I tend to go round the outlines first because if the image smudges lots, sometimes it’s hard to see all the lines, so if you get them all cut first you can see where you need to go. The other thing you need to consider is whether you want any of the strokes to show. Here I have carved the eyelids, the wings and the body in a certain way and once I do the first print I will decide what I think and whether to leave any of the cut marks showing (for texture).
Sometimes if you make a little mistake you can subtly alter the design to allow for it.
STEP 6 is the first test print.
I then use memento ink and cheap copy paper to do a test print, to see which areas need neatening up.
Here you can see it’s still pretty messy. I decided I liked the wings, but they needed neatening, and I would get rid of the cut marks on the rest of the body. I have circled in red where I accidentally slipped and cut into the outline. Because I didn’t cut all the way through I left the cut piece attached and on the print you can’ tell it’s there. I remember totally recarving a stamp after doing this before I realised that the first stamp was actually fine to use! Doh!
STEP 7 is more carving and test printing.
I have numbered the test prints and you can see that from 1. to 4. the image gets neater and neater. I hindsight, I wish I’d left he stronger line of the cut marks where the wings meet the body, but hey-ho!
STEP 8 is final printing.
So here is an example of how you can use your new stamp. You can see a mark on the owls chest in this one. That’s because a bit of the waste material was stuck in the ink. I will probably try and neaten that up somehow before I use this stamped image as it’s too nice to waste. I have lots of other ideas for this little man, so I’ll post a few more things when I have tried them out.
Let me know what you think of my first tutorial. Do you think it’s too long or too short? Have you got any questions? 🙂
I hope you have a go yourself and share what you come up with. Please try your own designs, rather than mine, so we all have something unique and different 🙂