Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Starry Night Card

Now that Christmas has come and gone and I no longer feel compelled to devote all of my free time to making gifts, I can finally tackle some of the projects on my "to do" list. One of those projects is encaustic art.

 I recently bought some wax and an encaustic iron from Amazon along with the Encaustic Studio book by Daniella Woolf.  As someone new to encaustic art, I found this book to be very useful.  Not only does Ms. Woolf explain the basics (tools and materials) but she also explains mixed media techniques like image transfers, collage, stenciling and masking and then concludes the book with a section of step by step projects. I like the fact that she explains each section of the book on DVD (included with the book) to illustrate the techniques that she is using.  So far it's been too cold to work on any encaustic projects. Working with encaustic materials requires good ventilation- an open window and a fan.

A few months ago, I bought a Versa tool at Michaels with a 50% off coupon.  Everyone from Scrapbookers to Mixed Media Artists is raving about this tool. It has an adjustable temperature dial and can be used on a variety of materials (everything from paper to wood).  I used the hot knife tip to cut stencils, the iron tip  to smooth plain bees wax over a stamped image and the round disk for image transfer. The tool really is versatile and works as stated by the manufacturer. There are a couple of things that I didn't like about the tool. The stand is flimsy and moves across the work surface when the tool is resting on it, making it unstable and causing the hot tool to fall. This is a safety issue because the Versa tool gets very hot and could potentially cause second degree burns if it touches the skin. I did not like the placement of the temperature control on the cord. It was awkward when trying to use the tool for precision work like cutting stencils because the control kept getting in the way. The iron shaped tip is good for small projects like melting a small amount of bees wax directly on paper but is tool small for a larger scale project. For larger projects you may want to invest in a craft or encaustic iron.

Paper template and cut stencil.

The stencil in the picture above was cut with the Versa tool hot knife out of plastic stencil blanks. The template for the stencil was cut at 6 inches (out of card stock) on the Cricut Expression using the Ornamental Iron cartridge and Gate 10c.  The template was taped right side up under a piece of glass (from an old discarded picture frame) and the stencil plastic was taped on top of the glass over the template (using blue painters' tape).  When cutting stencils I found the tool easier to work with when tracing the image if I approached it like tracing a drawing. Try to keep movements slow and fluid. If the tool sits in one place too long it will melt holes in the plastic and give rough edges. Cutting stencils produces a lot of fumes so work near an open window and use a fan to vent fumes to the outside.

Next I tried using the Versa tool for image transfers. I really like the final results but it took a long time to transfer the image.  I started with the manufacturer's suggested temperature setting for image transfer but found that the setting got too hot and had to lower the temperature. When doing an image transfer you need to start with a toner based print and print a mirror image of the picture or the picture transfer will not have the same orientation as the original. If you look closely at Starry Night you will see that the image is reversed ( I intentionally chose this effect ).  To transfer an image with the Versa tool tape a piece of card stock to a piece of glass and lay the toner based image face down on the card stock. Continually run the Versa tool over the image until the print has been transferred to the card stock. After the paper was heated, I could feel the ink releasing from the paper. For safety, I layered a Mod Podge heat resistant silicone mat under the glass (this held the glass  in place without shifting while I cut the stencil) and taped the stand for the Versa Tool securely to a ceramic tile.

 Craft Tips:
  • Save the pieces of card stock that are left on the Cricut mat after removing the die cut.  These make great embellishments.
  • Save the foam piece that remains after all of the foam dots have been removed. This can be used just like the dots and can be cut to fit odd shaped pieces or used as is to attach an image to a card. I used the left over piece to attach the blue mat to the front of the Starry Night card.

Versa tool with stand taped to a ceramic tile for safety.

Starry Night and transferred print. Note the image reversal.
Finished card. The swirls on the blue background are cut outs from the stencil template.

Directions for Starry Night Card:

Cream, white, blue dotted,  black and a scrap of olive green card stock
Starry Night toner based print, Starry Night print was from the Van Gogh Gallery on line.
Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist- Dazzling Diamonds
Ranger Stickles- diamond dust
Martha Stewart Leaf Paper Punch
Tan sheer ribbon
Foam dots
3 Left over pieces from Gate 10c- these are the left over pieces on the mat once the die cut is removed.
Small self adhesive crystals
Glue gun
Petaloo Flora Doodles-dark blue small beaded Peonies
Piece of glass- mine was salvaged from an 8 1/2 x 11 inch picture frame that had been thrown away.
Versa Tool
Small Ceramic tile
Painter's tape
Mod Podge silicon mat to protect the work surface

1.  Fold the cream card stock in half horizontally.

2.  Print Starry Night on a piece of multipurpose paper using a laser printer. I used an HP printer and chose the 3x5 picture option.  Cut the excess white paper from the image, leaving a small border so the image can be taped to the card stock.  Take into account that your image will be reversed when transferred to the card stock.  To prevent this print a mirror image of the design.

3.  Place the Mod Podge silicon mat on your work surface to keep the glass from slipping during the transfer process.  Tape a piece of card stock slightly larger than the print on the glass.  Place the print face down, centering it on the card stock and tape the edges so the print doesn't shift during the transfer process.

4.  Attach the round disk tip to the Versa tool, heat the tool to the transfer setting.  Once the tool has heated to the set temperature, begin burnishing the image with a circular motion. This takes a while. Periodically lift the edges of the paper to see if the image has transferred.  Keep burnishing the area until all the surface ink has transferred to the card stock. Slowly peel the paper away from the transferred area and continue working. I worked from the bottom to the top, peeling the paper away as I went along.

5.  Let the print cool. Cut it to 3 1/4 x 4 inches, leaving only the transferred image.  Spray the image with Glimmer Mist Diamond Dust and let it dry.

6.  Cut a piece of black card stock 1/8 inch larger (on all sides) than the print. Glue the print to the black card stock.  Cut a piece of blue dotted card stock 1/4 inch larger (on all sides) than the black matted print. Use foam dots to attach the print to the blue card stock.  Cut another piece of black card stock 1/4 larger than the blue dotted card stock. Use foam dots to attach the blue matted print to the black card stock.

7.  Cut a piece of blue dotted card stock approximately 5 1/4 inches high by 7 1/4 inches long and glue to the card leaving approximately 1/2 inch on each side and 1/4 on the top and bottom.  Cut a piece of tan sheer ribbon 1/2 inch longer than the width of the card, tucking 1/4 inch under the sides of the card and glue in place, centering it over the blue dotted card stock. Tie a small bow from the ribbon and glue to the right side of the card over the ribbon.

8.  Center the matted print on the front of the card, using foam dots to attach the print to the card.  Glue 3 of the cut outs left over from the stencil to the upper left, and lower and upper right edges of the blue card stock.

9.  Punch 3 leaves (using the leaf paper punch) from the scrap of olive green card stock.  Glue the blue Peony to the lower left edge of the card and glue the leaves under the petals.

10.  Attach a medium crystal to each corner of the blue dotted mat and then attach small crystals randomly around the sky.  Lightly apply the Stickles diamond dust to the swirled cut outs and randomly around the sky (follow the motions of the painting).