Monday, 24 May 2010

Fusing Fabric

I have been fascinated by the concept of fusing fabrics and cutting them with a soldering iron. I bought Margaret Beal's 'Fusing Fabric' book a couple of years ago, and had a little play using a Walnut Hollow hot tool but it was so hot I had no control over where and how fast the organza I was trying to fuse went up in smoke!

I visited Margaret's stand at the NEC in March, and bought her own brand of soldering iron, which has a much longer and finer tip than the hot tool I'd been trying.

So, I took the plunge and had a little play. I laid some acrylic felt on a ceramic tile, laid 3 layers of organza (or two of organza and one of net) on top, then used a metal flower shape to 'cut' around with the soldering tool. It worked beautifully, but I need more practice to work with the layered fabrics to fuse them together without cutting right through!

I sewed my fused flowers onto a bookmark made from pelmet vilene and gauze fabric - both coloured with Adirondack colourwash sprays in Espresso and Butterscotch. I beaded the flower centres with coppery blue 15 delica beads.

I used a slightly different flower shape for the reverse of the bookmark.

This was fun. I am attending a 2 day course with Margaret Beal in Chepstow Castle on 20th & 21st November and look forward to learning more about fusing fabrics and having more control!

Sunday, 23 May 2010

A selection of ATCs

I usually forget to take pictures of ATCs, and share them here, even though I often make them! Here are just a few I have made recently.

The first set were made for a 'metallic embellishments' theme. The backgrounds are deli paper, sprayed with Starburst Stain colourwashes (actually overspray from other projects, I just line my spray box with paper to catch the spare spray, rather than waste it). I stamped the papers with Versamark embossing ink, then used detail gold embossing powder. The photo doesn't show the deep rich range of shimmering colour being set off by the gold, but if you click on the image you might see it in the enlarged version.

The heart and flowers are all made from metal mesh, punched and layered and attached with mini brads. The ATC on the left has a copper strip wrapped around it, with the word 'art' punched into it, and a leaf peel off above. The ATC to the right has a hammered wire embellishment with spirals at each end, and an etched metal charm wired to it.

The ATC below was a mini experiment - the base is thin canvas, painted with acrylic paint, then stencilled with gloss medium mixed with green PearlEx. The letters are die cut form gold cardstock, and the little butterfly is made from moulded polymer clay which had a layer of metal leaf added and rolled out to crackle before placing it in the mould.

This ATC has a light background made by using Starburst Stains on smooth watercolour paper. This was then stamped with a face stamp by Lost Coast, and masked using a sticky note cut to the same shape, before darker ink was sponged all around the central image. Once dry, the central image was masked again, and a numbers stamp from Paperartsy was stamped on top using Brilliance Moonlight White.

I'll try to remember to post my ATCs here more often!

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Altered Element design project - polymer clay and circle frame

There was some Sculpey Studio polymer clay in this month's Altered Element Design team package. I haven't used this clay before, and I must say it is very user friendly. To condition polymer clay, so that it is nice and soft so it's easy to use, you need to know whether the brand of clay conditions through pressure or warmth. I ran this through the Wizard and it didn't make much difference, but putting the package into my bra for a few minutes (nice and warm n there!) helped considerably! Once warm, I kneaded the clay for a few moments before pushing it into a Krafty Lady silicone mould. Which is when I discovered the only pitfall with this clay - it's so soft that it is difficult to unmould. Every time I tried the frame distorted as it came out of the mould.

I know could have baked it in the mould, but I wanted to make several frames, and bake them all together. So, I put the mould and clay into the freezer for 5 minutes. That worked perfectly, the clay frame popped out of the mould without any distortion whatsoever. I baked the frame, and found that this clay has a pretty matte finish, but with slight sparkle.

However, the frame looked a little dull, so I gave it a quick application of 'whitefire' Treasure Gold. It looks lovely now, all I need to do is find a tiny image to put in the middle!

In the April design team pack there was some knitted wire tubing, which I couldn't find a use for. I had a little play with it, and found it stretches and shapes in interesting ways. I cut an inch of the tubing, and stretched it into a circle, which you can see in the picture below, along with the knitted wire in it's original state.

I painted the circle frame (from the design team pack) with white gesso, then stamped and embossed the raised 'frame' area with copper embossing powder.

I inserted the stretched and shaped knitted wire into the frame.

Finally, I added a moulded piece from my stash - it was just the right size and colour!

The other side of the circle frame needed to be different. I painted it with the deep turquoise Crafty Notions Spraypaque.

I stamped a texture stamp onto the raised frame, and embossed with gold. I made a dragonfly moulded disc using the Sculpey Studio antique gold polymer clay and a mould I bought in the US last year (Enchanted Gallery?) and painted the dragonfly body with acrylic paint. I gave the wings a quick coat of iridescent medium, then glued the piece into the frame and gave the disc and inner part of the frame a coat of acrylic wax to protect it.

Well, that's all the items in this month's Altered Element design team pack used in a range of small projects. Roll on next month, I'm looking forward to it already!

Monday, 10 May 2010

Altered Element Design Team project

The Altered Element design team pack this month included a gorgeous deep turquoise colour spray by Crafty Notions. I used it to spray a box, and also some of the square beads form the Upcycle pack - I spray everything in a paper lined plastic box, and use the oversprayed paper for other projects - don't want to waste all that lovely colour!

I trimmed the unmounted Karantha stamp form the DT pack, and used one end of it to stamp onto a piece of copper shim from last month's pack.

I then used Ten Studios tools to go over the design on both sides, 'puffing' the design out. I haven't played with this before, and I am sure I'd get much better with practice - it would also help it if I had a paper stump to work with instead of using the same tool for two purposes. Once I was happy with the design, I filled the back with moulding paste and glued it into the top of the box.

You can see the 'feet' made from square beads and also the little painted beads from the broken necklace in the upcycle pack. It was at this point that I remembered that I should have 'antiqued' the copper panel before gluing it to the box.

So, I did the next bit VERY carefully. I added deep turquoise acrylic paint with a paintbrush, then wiped it off. I did the same again, and left it to dry. This takes some of the high shine off the copper and gives a 'verdigris' style finish. All I need to do now is fill the box with some goodies and it will make a nice little gift for a friend's birthday.

I hope she likes it.

May Altered Element upcycle projects

Lynne from the Altered Element sent me 3 broken necklaces to alter this month. So far I have made two upcycle projects, but there may be more in the pipeline!

I took the top necklace apart, and painted some of the beads and have used them as 'feet' on another project. I took the middle necklace apart and re-assembled some of the components to form the basis of a wall hanging. The bottom necklace is made from small seed beads and rectangular pieces of coloured shell, and I have saved the seed beads for another day but used the shell in the second upcycle project.

I removed most of the beads and some of the fixings, and re-assembled the 3 wooden rings with some of the jump rings and decorative rings.

I painted all the metal and wood with the Crafty Notions copper glaze Lynne sent in the DT pack. I 'marbled' the bead using the same glaze, but it doesn't show that well on the picture (click to enlarge).

I made some background paper by spraying cardstock with the Crafty Notions colour spray, then stamping into it whilst wet - this 'clumps' the mica into the patterns made by the stamp.

I cut circles from the background paper, and circles from photo transparencies, and mounted these inside the 'frames' for the front of the hanging.

For the back of the hanging, I punched some flower shapes from the background paper, and added circles cut from Crafty Individuals transparencies.

For the second project, I decided to make a mosaic. I soon realised that the small frame Lynne sent in the DT pack was just the right size to use with the shell pieces.

I used the Crafty Notions gilding flakes in the DT pack to give the frame some glitz and glamour, then glued the shell pieces into the frame. I added purple microbeads to the gaps between the shell pieces.

I stamped a face onto the shell using Stazon, to finish it off. And then I realised the frame was recessed on both sides, so the other side couldn't be left bare!

For the other side, I used a Crafty Individuals image (which fitted the frame exactly), and coated it with gel medium, brushing vertically and horizontally with a fine bristled brush. This gives the appearance of 'canvas'. I then added the tiniest amount of Treasure Gold (whitefire) to catch the high points to bring out the texture.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Woo Hoo - Altered Element design pack for May

Well, I wonder if Lynne knows it is my birthday tomorrow? The postman just bought a purple parcel from the Altered Element, which has so many lovely goodies inside that it feels like a birthday gift!

My upcycle challenge for May is 'broken jewellery', and there are the remnants of 3 broken necklaces. One idea immediately sprang to mind for some of the middle necklace, and another idea for some painted beads in the top one wasn't far behind. The third necklace is seed beads and shell pieces, I'll have to ponder that for a while.

The design team project materials are in my favourite colours of turquoise and copper - a Crafty Notions creative colour Spraypaque Turquoise and a Crafty Notions copper Rainbow Glaze. Along with the colours, Lynne has sent round and square paper mache frames with hanging eyes, a tube of richly coloured metallic/iridescent Czech glass beads, some Crafty Notions variegated copper gilding flakes, some Sculpey Studio antique gold polymer clay, and a lovely Crafty Notions Karantha Stamp (I love these as they are nice and deep and are great to use with Friendly Plastic and Polymer Clay).

My thinking cap is ON!

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Friendly Plastic supplies

Somebody posted a question on my blog 'Guest Book', asking where I get my Friendly Plastic from.

There are 3 reliable places in the UK who carry a wide range of colours and enough stock not to disappoint:

Altered Element - who also sell all manner of other fabulous goodies -

Liz Welch - who also does FP classes -


The Frame Workshop -

and I have never had a 'snapper' or faulty stick from any of them! Snappers are no good to work with. Always check your FP sticks before using them by bending them so that the ends touch - if they do this without snapping they are fine to use. If they snap, you may as well just put them in the bin, as they won't behave themselves when you're trying to work with them!

The 'snappers' are just born that way - it's not an age thing. Apparently the product was originally developed for a non-craft purpose and was not intended to be melted and re-melted, and if the formula is just a tiny bit different the sticks are crumblier and snap rather than being very flexible.


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