Posts Tagged ‘tutorials’

Embossing Hand-Lettering & Calligraphy

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Close To My Heart sent me a sweet care package of embossing goodies to try with calligraphy. I’ve had a blast ever since they showed up on my doorstep! It’s been so fun to make cards and address envelopes with my new gadgets. And now I want every color under the sun to use for embossing! The raised texture is fantastic. And I’ve been able to get reliable results time after time with my pointed pen and my pointed brushes. It’s definitely a worth-while investment. 

Materials used: 
Gillott 404 Nib 
Oblique Holder 
Strathmore Bristol Paper
Size 2 Liner Brush
CTMH Embossing Powder
CTMH Heat Tool
CTMH Watercolors
Glycerine

I found that the Versamark liquid (for refilling stamp pads) was too sticky to use as ink, so I opted for glycerine. I’m glad I was able to find a suitable substitute as the glycerine doesn’t gum up my nibs or brushes. That said, I do like to use my cheaper nibs and brushes for this particular activity. I don’t want to be destroying my sable hair brushes in the process! 

Check out the video or read through the post details to find out how to emboss your own lettering!

 

  1. Dilute 1 part glycerine and 1 part water to make your ink. It helps to use a pipette to dilute with water so you have good control. 
  2. Pen or brush your words/phrase/name on the paper. Use a nice quality paper so the glycerine doesn’t bleed. Before lettering, make sure to scrape or drip off excess “ink” so you’re not laying down too much glycerine. It can affect how the embossing happens. 
  3. Place your paper over a scrap sheet, I like using a thin sheet of paper so that I can easily clean up excess embossing powder. 
  4. Pour a generous amount of embossing powder over your design. Tap excess off the paper onto the scrap sheet. Set project aside and funnel excess powder back into the embossing powder jar. 
  5. Heat your design with a heat tool. Keep the tool 2-4 inches away from  your work and move the tool as the powder melts. 
  6. Optional: Add a watercolor wash over your work. 
  7. For best results, the watercolor wash should happen after. The watercolor resists the embossed work, so no need to do it prior. If you do happen to do it beforehand, you may find the glycerine bleeds over the wash and your lines will get fuzzy. 

Products from Close To My Heart (CTMH) were provided for this video. All thoughts and opinions are my own. The affiliate links used help support this blog and the tools used for making more tutorials, reviews and content. Thanks for your support!

DIY: Raised Lettering With Glue

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I was on local TV show, Studio 5 this week sharing a fun how-to with Elmer’s glue: Raised lettering. It’s really quite addicting and something you can rope your kids into (perfect for a Father’s Day craft). It doesn’t have to be lettering you include on the card, either. Abstract designs really add a lot of depth, too. So any age and skill level could do this craft. But be careful, it could get messy. ;) Here’s the link to the segment if you’d like to take a look!

So here’s what you need: 

Figure out your design. I found the simpler the better. The largest word I was successfully able to write without bleeding and readability issues was “love”. “Hi”, “Hey”, “thx” totally worked. 

Keep your glue bottle about an inch to two inches away. Allowing the steady stream of glue to create smooth curves. Set out in the sun for a couple of hours to dry. I use little porcelain dominoes to keep them from flying away. 

Once the cards are dry, paint overtop! This is super fun because the paint job can be whatever. So include your little ones and do something fun. This is a great way to get them involved in hand-written ‘Thank You’s and perfect for Father’s Day this upcoming weekend. 

Junie got really excited about this project, too. We had a great time disconnecting from screens and making some fun artwork. 

Hope you get around to doing some fun raised cards soon! Feel free to comment below if you did the project. I’d love to see how they turned out. 

This tutorial is free for personal use. Link with love. Thanks! Affiliate links are used.  

Tutorial: Watercolor Poppies Notebook

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You new here? WELCOME!! Pop over to Instagram and give me a follow or check out my online calligraphy class!

Over the last few weeks, I’ve made about a dozen or so of these notebooks. I’ve made them for neighbors, family, friends and even a couple for myself. I’ve really enjoyed the freeform aspect of painting the covers as I go. I’ve gotten a few requests for the step-by-step, so here you go!

The cover material is Canson Watercolor Artboard. I was given a pad of this artboard and truly have enjoyed the thickness of this paper. It’s actually coldpress watercolor paper that’s mounted on museum board. So you can soak the paper with as much soupy water as you want, it won’t buckle. You may get a slight bow to the board, but it all goes back to its original flat shape once the paint has dried. It’s perfect for book covers!

Shall we make a notebook (or 10) together? Let’s get it going! Affiliate links are used to link to actual materials I own and use. Your support feeds my craft addiction, which feeds more tutorials. So thank you!! 

For supplies, you will need: 

If you’d like to just paint poppies, skip to the bottom. If you’d like to bind a notebook, you’ll want to line the underside of the boards with a decorative paper. You can use wrapping paper (I used Rifle Paper Co wrapping paper) or any kind of scrapbooking paper you choose. 

You can get your favorite paper and cut it into fourths (4.25″x5.5″), or you can download my lined filler paper and have it printed at your nearest print shop. for a .75″ coil bind, you’ll want at least 60 sheets of paper (15 copies, cut in fourths). If you don’t have a good cutter at home, your local print shop can do the cutting for you! 

First, we need to cut down the boards down to size. For a notebook that fills quarter sheets (see here for filler paper download), 4.25″x5.5″, you’ll cut your boards down to 4.5″ x 5.75″. 

On a larger sheet of decorative paper, apply glue to the backside of the paper. Spread with a watered brush. Press the paper down, be careful to avoid getting glue on the top of your watercolor board or you will have a terrible time painting it. 

Turn the boards over and with your bone folder, work the bubbles out. 

On a protected surface, cut the boards free of the excess paper with a craft knife. I LOVE this craft knife from Slice. It won’t cut skin! See my review of it here.

Allow to rest so the glue has time to dry. NOW on to the painting!! 

For this portion, I’m using 2 different brushes. I’m using a red sable brush (a soft, natural bristle brush), size 5 round and a synthetic size 0 round for the little details. You can use whatever brushes you have on hand, but I like the flexibility of the sable brush and how it gives me more organic lines. You can get amazing results from just about any brush, but if you’re investing in watercolor, consider purchasing a sable brush. They’re just so fantastic to paint with. 

Start by mixing 2 types of oranges. A true orange and a reddish orange. Make them soupy. You want lots of water in there to work with. 

Start by picking up the lighter orange and fill your brush with that pigment. On the middle to top third of the board, I make organic ‘V’ strokes. Start heavy and thick at the top and release pressure so you have a point towards the bottom. It doesn’t matter where you put them. Make about 3. Allow the watercolor to dry. 

If you want an open poppy, scribble a couple of ‘v’s and a rounded bottom. Drop the darker, reddish orange in the wet middle of the open poppy. 

Once the first set of marks have dried, add another ‘V’ stroke, align the bottom of the ‘v’ in the same spot as the lighter pigment, but offset the tops of the ‘v’. 

The one on the lower left wasn’t quite dry when I added the darker color, so there isn’t as much of a separation of pigment. That’s totally okay! You can see on the right ‘V’, that there’s more a separation of color. Making them slightly different gives each flower a more organic touch. 

While the bottoms are still a little wet, draw in the stems. I like to create a varied, organic, almost awkward stem. Drop some darker bits of green color in there for some variation. When it comes to mixing the green stems for poppies, I go for a mid-toned, warm green. No jewel-toned greens here, otherwise the orange won’t pop. 

You can leave your painting simple without any leaves and just do the stems, but I love how easy these leaves are. With the tip of your brush, draw little scribbles. Little zig-zags that go into each other for the leaves. I also like including pods, the stems tend to arc downwards and have a cupped ‘c’ shape on either side. You can be quite abstract with those shapes. 

Now that the greenery is done, the poppies are dry enough for the middles. The centers of poppies are black with little bits of yellow pollen. I like getting a muddy blue-ish black to paint the middles. On the open flower, you’ll draw a circular-ish (again, don’t be perfect) shape with black stamens coming out of the black. You can add yellow to the tips. That’s where the pollen lies. For the profile flower, have the stamens coming out between the front ‘V’ shape. 

With your #0 brush, grab a yellower orange and make little lines coming out of the ‘V’ shapes. Make them squiggly and imperfect. Then add fuzz in green to the pods. 

Boom! DONE! So easy, right? I like to add little splatters afterwards. Because it’s fun. 

For the back covers, I used complimentary colors and something simple like just leaves or a splatter pattern. Easy, peasy. 

 I used this tutorial from Ink Struck Studio for the butterfly cover and I learned the roses from Natalie Malan.

Now for the binding part. With your binder tool, punch holes in the covers and filler paper separate. But make sure that the holes are centered. Put the filler paper on the coils, then the front cover, then the back cover (facing the front cover). This will allow the coil edge to be unseen on the inside back cover. Crimp down with your binder tool. 

Now they’re ready to gift! Or keep. I like to hoard the things I’m most proud of making. ;)

This tutorial and accompanying printable is free for personal use. 

DIY Gilding Calligraphy with Deco Foil

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This post is in partnership with Therm O Web’s Deco Foil™ line. I’ve been using this stuff for a couple of months now and I figured it was high time I shared with you how I use it! It’s incredibly easy and adds SO MUCH SPARKLE to your work (calligraphy or otherwise).

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In the above image I’ve applied the metallic foil (I don’t dare say gold, because it’s not real gold) in 3 different ways; (from top) laminator, bone folder and die cut machine. My favorite is probably the die cut machine, second is the bone folder because of the application. But I’ll talk about that a little later.

The foils come in a zillion different colors. I’m excited to try the watercolor foils soon because of the subtle color variation from one spot to another. Here I’ve used Pink Melon (top), Rose Gold (middle) and Copper (bottom). I use the copper one the most, it photographs better than the lighter golds do, so I prefer that. Let’s go through the materials needed for this technique and just get going, shall we?

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SUPPLIES:

The supplies list feels kind of long to me; but I bet if you’re anything like me, you’ll have most of these things. For the instructions, click the read more button below!

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My Favorite Waterproof Calligraphy Inks

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Let’s talk ink for a bit. It’s been a while since I’ve done a watercolor or a calligraphy post, or any post for that matter. I’ve recently adopted the “slow blogging” method. I spend most of my time teaching these days. You know I teach calligraphy right? If you’re new, it’s a stellar class that includes personal coaching so you know you’re getting the right instruction for your specific needs (and yes, I totally teach lefties).

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Sometimes I find I want to do some kind of watercolor wash after doing an illustration or a name. But I can’t, because the ink inevitably smears everywhere. I thought I’d test out to see how many of my inks are waterproof. Now, I didn’t test all of my inks, I just tested the ones I have that are easily available and most common. I have some small-batch inks that are a little harder to source. I’ve also only tested black (or black-ish) inks. Pigmented inks are a whole different can of worms because of the unique properties from pigment to pigment. If you’re hoping to use a pigmented ink with watercolor, I would recommend trial and error before working on a finished piece. Well, and really trial and error no matter what you’re using before working on a finished piece.

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Among my inks, I tested:

 

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So what inks do you think performed the best? I personally thought that the Pebeo Encre De Chine and the Ziller Glossy Black would do the only waterproof ink. I was mostly wrong. Continue below to find out which ones did the best!

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