I am so incredibly excited about this week’s card! These flowers were so easy to create. I’m not kidding. Stampin’ Up! has had these two-step stamps for a long time. Here’s how it works… you get two stamps for one image. One is a solid silhouette and one adds more detail. You stamp them on top of each other in different colors to get more dimension. I never really paid much attention to them because I thought they looked a little fake because the second stamp has a lot of “dots” in it (the dots are an attempt to create a shade between the light solid and the dark solid).
Anyhoo… when I was going through the new catalog, one of these sets popped out at me (it’s not new – it’s a carryover from last year) – Stippled Blossoms (you can also get them in clear-mount for cheaper). I thought I might be able to blend the colors together to make it look more realistic. I decided to try it out. Wow, I am so surprised at how great these stamps look when blended. And it’s so easy because you don’t have to think about where the shadow areas are!!
I used distress inks on this card because they stay wet longer, allowing me to blend the colors. Spun Sugar for the base and Picked Raspberry for the second stamp.
One thing to keep in mind… when you want to blend ink that has already been laid on the paper, you really need to use watercolor paper. I did a little test to show you the difference. On the left is the flower from my card (I used watercolor paper), rotated and cropped so you can compare it. On the right is the same flower and technique on Neenah paper:
The Neenah version is much more muted in color and kind of blurry in real life. Because of the amount of water used, the paper started pilling a bit and also curled. There are more visible dots from the second stamp because the paper absorbed the ink faster than I could blend it.
As far as the watercolor paper goes, I have been using Stampin’ Up! paper for a long time. A few months ago I purchased some Strathmore 140 lb watercolor paper just to try another brand. It seems like most card-makers on the circuit are using 140 lb watercolor paper, so I went with it. It turns out I didn’t like it as much because it was thicker and just as textured as the Stampin’ Up! watercolor paper. So, I continued using Stampin’ Up!
Last weekend I decided to look for watercolor paper that was lighter and smoother. I really don’t like a lot of texture – it’s more difficult to emboss on. Anyway, I found it! Same brand, Strathmore, but 90 lb instead of 140 lb. Obviously, it’s not quite so thick, but it’s also much smoother. Not completely smooth, but smoother. Oh, and it’s whiter in color than Stampin’ Up!. On the left is the flower from the card again (using the 90 lb Strathmore paper). On the right is the same flower and ink on Stampin’ Up! watercolor paper:
Because the Stampin’ Up! paper is so textured, it doesn’t maintain a crisp image. I found that my colors were bleeding beyond where I wanted them to go on the paper. The coloring looks more rough than smooth. However, it did do a good job of keeping the color vibrant, and it blended out the dots from the image. I tell you, I am so thrilled with this Strathmore 90 lb paper. It doesn’t curl at all, it’s absorbant yet not too heavy, and the texture is minimal. Not to mention it’s very economical – $2.95 for 15 sheets.
Finally, I wanted to see if using Stampin’ Up! inks made a difference. I used two colors that I thought would be closest to the distress inks I used: Pink Pirouette and Melon Mambo. Here are the results:
The colors from the Stampin’ Up! inks are definitely vibrant on both papers. I still prefer the Strathmore paper even with the Stampin’ Up! inks. However, the Stampin’ Up! inks just don’t compare to distress inks when you are blending colors that have already been laid on paper. SU inks dry a lot faster, so you have a lot less time to blend, as you can see from these photos. Now, when it comes to using SU inks for watercoloring, I still think they are great, but they must be applied to the paper with water at the same time. This card, this card, and this card are some good examples.
So there you have it.
If you’re thinking about purchasing some of this paper from Dick Blick, they have a good price on the distress marker set as well as Copics and Inktense Pencils. Notice the coupon code at the top of the page.
Enjoy the video and have a great week!!
- Tim Holtz Distress Ink Pads: Picked Raspberry, Spun Sugar, Shabby Shutters, and Peeled Paint
- Tim Holtz Distress Ink Markers
- Memento Tuxedo Black Ink
- Stampin Up! Basic Black Marker