Posts Tagged ‘tutorials’

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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DIY: 3 Ways to Add Gold to Your Envelopes

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This post is sponsored by Tiny Prints. They provide excellent quality printing and amazing printing options to make your holiday cards stand out this year.

Gold is such a classic element to add to holiday greetings, but how? What materials do you use? I’ve got a little bit of experience with that and I know just the things to help you make your holiday cards a hit this year.

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Oh, and I should mention, these tips require no calligraphy experience whatsoever. Neat handwriting helps, and here’s a post to help you with that. Want to learn calligraphy? I do that, too. Sign up for my class right here. Just gonna toot my own horn a bit about the class: it’s hands-on with personal feedback from me and my co-calligrapher (Erika! She’s the raddest!).  Get supplies mailed to your door, personal attention and loads of lifetime content for less than it costs for most in-person modern workshops. Aw, yeah.

This post may contain affiliate links. These are products I’m using constantly. I get a little bit of a kick-back from any  purchases made through these links. Affiliate sales help feed my crafting addiction and supplies used for blog posts. So thank you for your support.

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Gold Striping

It looks like Finetec Gold is a favorite of mine. It’s looking like it’s out of stock at Paper & Ink arts – you might have luck at John Neal Bookseller or a local art supply store. I love this palette because you can add gold and shimmer to just about anything.

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Get a large hard-bound book or a block of wood that’s longer than your envelope. Place it an inch below the desired line.

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Instead of using a ruler and getting the underside all gunky from running ink, rest the bottom of your hand along the edge of the book or block and pull your arm towards you (see above). You’ll get a nice straight line without even trying hard.

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Wait for the gold to dry, then letter the address with the recipient’s name above the line and the address below. I like using the lettermate when doing print addresses. It keeps my lines straight and my leading even. If you choose to use a lettermate or something similar, you’ll want to put the gold line inside one of the lines so that the spacing is even. If you put it between two lines, the top two address lines will look inconsistently spaced. I’ll use a white gelly roll or a gold shadow gelly roll. If you’re using a white envelope, you may want to opt for the black gold or the pink gold. Here I used the lavender gold.

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Foil Gems

I’ve got a little secret in my  arsenal and I’m about to share it with you. EEP!! I’m loving this thing. I’ve had it for about a year, and it’s the perfect way to add gold sparkle to something without waiting for glitter glue to dry. I bought this cheap hot foil pen on New Egg some time ago, so it looks like it’s no longer available. The closest thing in price is the WRM keepers one. At $15 it’s totally an impulse purchase. I’ve seen them around on other sites. Just make sure that when you’re looking for yours you look for “hot foil pen”. That’s pretty much it. Scrapbooking suppliers are going to be your best bet.

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First, you’ll letter your address. I like to switch up styles with print and script.

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When you’re done, you’ll heat up the foil pen and do little dots in the negative spaces. You can do single dots or groupings of 3. If you’re doing groupings of 3, you can add little green leaves for holly! Or keep them plain. I opted to go plain.

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Justified Glitter

  • Glitter
  • Sticky thumb or double-stick tape
  • White gelly roll

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Mark up your paper with sticky thumb. You can use a glue stick for a more organic line.

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Sprinkle glitter (mix colors for a fun effect) over the envelope. This is a great activity to do in big batches in a bath tub or large casserole dish.

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With your finger, rub in the glitter so it sticks. You’ll see that glitter will settle and stop coming off. Shake off excess.

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Write out the address. If you’re doing the lettermate and a script style of penmanship, you may want to write out everything without the descending strokes (like the ‘y’, ‘g’, ‘f’, ‘z’ etc) and fill those in afterward. Add postage and you’re done!

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I’m slowly knocking out my list this week and next. So my cards will be more like New Year’s cards, but late is always better than never in my opinion!

 

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Be sure to check out my Instagram for details on how to win a $200 gift card to Tiny Prints and a bunch of goodies to help you address your envelopes this year (including a custom-calligraphed return address designed by yours truly!).

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TUTORIAL: DIY Ink/Paint Holder

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I made this and shot pictures like 2-3 years ago. I just discovered it while cleaning up images on my desktop (which is a hot mess) and figured I would share. I’m sure it’s been done various other places, but I need to cross this off my list so here we go.

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I found myself wanting small jars for mixing custom ink colors in gouache (for calligraphy, but works for any aqueous media) and then tipping them over. Constantly. We replaced the flooring in my studio not long ago because of how horribly stained it got. Also, I hate carpet.

So I made this little ink tray. You may want to, too.

SUPPLIES

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Cut down your block to 12″ wide. Sand the edges so they’re smooth to the touch.

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Mark out every inch along the board with a pencil. Optional: create an indent with the tip of the screw so your bit won’t slip around as you start the process.

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Measure how deep you want the drill to go and tape it off. This will allow you to have consistent heights when you put your jars in the board.

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Drill away! Go slowly and make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area with protective glasses.

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Admire your handywork!

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Use the sticky tack to apply to the bottoms of your jars so they don’t move around. it also helps tilt the jars when the ink gets low.

This tutorial or freebie is free for personal use and should not be distributed/republished without the express consent of Melissa Esplin. I love getting shout outs from around the web, but please, link with love. You may publish 1 photo along with credit back to the original post. If you would like to use this tutorial or freebie for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!

3 Fun Things To Do With Bleach: Tissue Paper

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3 fun things to do with bleach. The perfect last-minute craft you can do with your kids in-time for Mother’s day. Wouldn’t an artistic tee or apron be the perfect gift for grandma? Click here to see all the posts in this series.

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Jazz up some plain tissue paper with spritzes of bleach!

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Grab an old toothbrush, dip in bleach and spray onto the ends of the tissue paper. It works best on dark colored papers. I love black tissue paper. It works well for EVERY occasion.

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Allow paper to dry (2-3 minutes) before stuffing in a gift bag. Be sure to spray bleach in a well ventilated area!! If you’re DIYing with kids, make sure at least one adult is supervising at all times!

3 Fun Things to do With Bleach: Gift Tags

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3 fun things to do with bleach. The perfect last-minute craft you can do with your kids in-time for Mother’s day. Wouldn’t an artistic tee or apron be the perfect gift for grandma? Click here to see all the posts in this series.

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The great thing about these posts is that you likely have everything you need for this project! It’s super fun to do and it’s exciting to see the message unfold like a polaroid picture. You just might be tempted to shake the tag as you wait for the design to dry.

  • Bleach
  • Round Brush
  • Scrapbooking Paper

You may need to have an assortment of papers to test to see if they’ll react to the bleach. My Mind’s Eye Heavyweight Cardstock did very well.

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It’s easier to just show you how it works in a quick GIF. Dip the brush in bleach (straight bleach works well*) and write! You’ll see the paper change as it dries. Be sure to rinse the brush in water after you’re done.

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Create a bunch of reasons why you love your mom with a bunch of tags! I love how the color varied with each stroke.

Be sure to create this DIY in a well-ventilated area!! If you’re DIYing with kids, make sure at least one adult is supervising at all times!

*I experimented with different consistencies of bleach. I made the mistake of adding gum arabic to the bleach and created some chlorine gas! I noticed the solution in the jar started to foam at the surface and get warm. I quickly took it outside and watched the mixture boil. After a call to poison control, I realized what I had done. I didn’t make nearly enough to cause damage to my lungs (thank heavens), but I wouldn’t advise doing anything like that. I’ve read tutorials on thickening bleach with corn starch, but that’s still mixing an acid with a base. You may want to try toilet bowl cleaner with water until you reach your desired consistency (an idea I got from my aunt). STILL, use extreme caution and care around bleach.

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