Super simple printing method + GIVEAWAY

In this weeks post I've got a little update, instructions for a super simple + addicting printing method, and a book giveaway for you.

This past Monday (5/25) was day fifty of The 100 Day Project. I've got to say I am totally in love with my project (#100DaysOfDayBreakPlay) and plan on keeping some version of it on the other side of the project's completion. I have done less hand lettering than I expected. Instead it's been perfect for working on mini-projects like building a lego Sydney Opera House and making my Strike Away Show submission.

When I got an early release copy of Playing with Surface Design by Courtney Cerruti I knew it would play into my morning routine. You may remember me sharing the book Playing with Image Transfers last year, also by Courtney. Like the former, Playing with Surface Design is full of technique and project ideas. In the book she covers; gelatin printing, paste papers, mark making, and briefly touches on marbling. 

Because gelatin printing has been on my craft to-do list for awhile I jumped to try out that project first.

  One of my first prints using cuttings from my parents garden.

One of my first prints using cuttings from my parents garden.

  Leaves and lavender stems

Leaves and lavender stems

  Paper cut outs

Paper cut outs

  The second printing of paper cut outs and string after they've been removed from the gelatin plate.

The second printing of paper cut outs and string after they've been removed from the gelatin plate.

  Bubble wrap 

Bubble wrap 

  Strawberry baskets printed on blue paper

Strawberry baskets printed on blue paper

I can't stress enough how easy this printing process is. If you've been wanting to try any form of printing, try this first! It will make you feel like an instant success and is a good building block for understanding other printing methods. And if you have experience with any other kind of printing you will likely find yourself equally enamored with the jello print process.

As a printing method the cost of investment is very low, as little as $40. You probably already have some of the supplies needed.

Supplies
— Plain unsweetened Gelatin (not Jello, though it is fun to say Jello Prints!)
— A cookie sheet (you probably own that), or a disposable baking pan has more depth.
— At least two colors of water soluble printing ink
Rubber brayer
— Acetate or a smooth tile from the hardware store
— Paper (try starting out with card stock or bristol).
— Space in your fridge
— Two hours of time (1 hour for your gelatin to set-up and 1 hour to print. Though when you start printing you might not be able to stop)
— And of course, as a helpful resource the book, Playing with Surface Design

Basic Steps (more info in the book)
1. Make gelatin to fill a low wide dish. (This will be your printing plate)
2. Use your brayer to roll out ink color on hard surface.
3. Roll ink onto gelatin plate 
4. Place flat objects onto your inked plate. (leaves, string, paper shapes, or anything else you think of)
5. Lay a sheet of paper down on top, pressing firmly
6. Lift to see the magic.
7. Keep repeating the process to your hearts content. Add more depth to your prints with multiple layers of color.

One recommendation I have is to do your printing inside with moderate temperature. My first try at printing was outside in weather over 75 degrees which was a little too warm for a long print run.

GIVEAWAY
To enter for a chance to win a copy of Playing with Surface Design:
1. Head over to my Instagram and make sure you're following me.
2. Also be following @ccerruti
3. Tag a friend who you think would like the book in the comment section of the photo with the book cover. (Which will be posted the evening of Wednesday 5/27)
4. The winner will be chosen Sunday 5/31/2015. Winner must be in the Continental U.S. to win. As a bonus I'll also be sending the winner some gelatin prints to play with.

Full disclosure. I was given a pre-release copy of the book to promote. All recommendations are my own.

Gift wrapping with image transfers

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Have you ever heard of an image transfer? I had almost forgotten what they were until I recently got this book, Playing with Image Transfers, by Courtney Cerruti. I remember making one as part of a letterforms project in college. Google was barely a thing so I went off the verbal instructions from an art grad. Boy do I wish I had this book then. I remember having fun with my project but this book would have alleviated a lot of frustration.

Yeah, so what's an image transfer? There are many techniques but the basics are using an intermediary to transfer an image from paper (generally a magazine or photo copy) to your surface. In the case of the packages below I used the packing tape method. The packing tape is the medium that lifts the image allowing you to transfer to other surfaces.

Courtney covers many transfer methods in her book. I've had a chance to try most of them and will experiment more in the future. The one I was most immediately drawn to play with was the packing tape method because I could see its uses as an alternative to tape when wrapping gifts. Well, not exactly a tape alternative. After all it is still tape. But it's a way to add another layer of texture to the wraps.

Basics of the packing tape method

— Cut a piece of packing tape (thicker is better) and adhere to a magazine image.
— Cut loosely around the tape.
— Pop the tape into a warm bucket of water.
— After a few minutes dip your hands in the water and rub the paper off the back of the tape.
— Whala! You have just transfered an image to a piece of tape. Now stick it wherever you want.

Courtney has many more tips and project ideas for this method in her book.

  Wrapping with image transfers can allow for some extra personalization with gift giving. The gift above was for a doctor friend so I incorporated some medical type imagery along with one of her favorite colors purple.

Wrapping with image transfers can allow for some extra personalization with gift giving. The gift above was for a doctor friend so I incorporated some medical type imagery along with one of her favorite colors purple.

  These transfer journal pages show a couple other techniques. In the mix along with the packing tape method are some solvent transfers, some zentangle drawing (of course), and washi tape.

These transfer journal pages show a couple other techniques. In the mix along with the packing tape method are some solvent transfers, some zentangle drawing (of course), and washi tape.

Besides the Playing with Image Transfers book as a resource I've had the opportunity to take an in person class from Courtney. She's a great teacher full of tips and ideas.

If you live in the Bay Area you can take her upcoming class at Kala Art Institute and she often teaches at San Francisco Center for the Book. Alternatively she also has an online class available at Creative Bug!

 

Crafty book recommendation: Just Us Girls

This months book recommendation is a crafting book for moms and daughters. Just Us Girls: 48 Creative Art and Craft Projects for Mothers and Daughters to Do Together, By Cindy Ann Ganadan. Flipping through this book brings me back to my childhood and all the fun projects my mom would come up with. We always had a project going. Sometimes it was making contraptions for blowing giant bubbles or you could find us blending up newspaper and fabric bits to make our own paper.

Cindy's book unfolds a magical world I think many little girls would love to craft in. The projects in the book have a focus on using found or recycled materials. To connect even more with the outdoors the projects have been organized into the four seasons.

Growing up I also spent a lot of time foraging in our yard for things to add to craft projects just like this book demonstrates. I have a funny memory of a childhood friend and I spending the afternoon in her family's walnut orchard making mud pies and picking rose petals to make our own rose water. We really didn't know what we were doing so I think our sweet smelling perfume turned into a moldy science experiment not long after. Thankfully, Cindy has instructions for making rose water, the right way, in this book.

One of the projects in the book is to recycle a spool of thread for creating a scrolled gift tag. I made my own version as tag and topper for the above birthday gift.

  My medallion with a little Zentangle embellishment.

My medallion with a little Zentangle embellishment.

I had the opportunity to make the medallion project at a book event a couple months ago. To aid with the crafting fun there are templates and tear outs of some of Cindy's whimsical illustrations in the back of the book including many options for badge faces.

  Cindy Ann Ganadan and samples of her medallions.

Cindy Ann Ganadan and samples of her medallions.

If you live in the Bay Area you're in luck. Cindy and her daughter will be at The Makers Faire this weekend May 17th and 18th with books and the fun medallion craft project. Alternatively pick up her book online.

Do you have any crafty childhood memories?

Pin cushion upholstery with Spruce

Spruce Cover

Last week I attended a book tour event for Spruce; A Step-by-Step Guide to Upholstery and Design by Amanda Brown. At the event we made pin cushions which were the perfect micro project for using some tools of upholstery. 

The event was hosted at Creative Bug who has created several upholstery tutorial videos with Amanda. I hear there are more to come. Check them out here.

  Amanda and I in front a fabulously painted ikat patterned wall. Photo and wall by Courtney Cerruti.

Amanda and I in front a fabulously painted ikat patterned wall. Photo and wall by Courtney Cerruti.

It became very addicting to make these little pin cushions. A lot was learned from making the first one who's lessons were immediately implemented on the next. 

  First attempt to last attempt pictured left to right.

First attempt to last attempt pictured left to right.

While making the pin cushions I realized what we were making were tuffets. Little miss muffet sat on her tuffet... So too humor myself, below are little miss muffet stand ins sitting on tuffets.

I've had some experience with upholstery projects and one of the more challenging elements has been working with the staple gun. My parents have helped me with the projects and have always been the muscle behind my non-electric, non-air-powered staple gun. At the upholstery event Amanda had pneumatic staple guns for us to play with. My mind was blown and now I want one badly. Armed with the right tools and this book I know my future projects will have skies the limit results.

The first upholstery project my parents and I tackled was an upholstered headboard (shown below). After reading through the Spruce book there is so much information that could have made that project go more smoothly. I have fond memories building this with my parents but with the right tools and knowledge for implementation it probably wouldn't have taken all three of us to tuft the buttons.

I'll admit a decorating secret (the shameful kind). The bench above I made without any assistance and I finished off the underside with straight pins. It will be the first thing I staple whenever I get my hands on a pneumatic staple gun.

Amanda states in her opening she learned about upholstery through trial and error and the desire to have a unique home that didn't come from a box store. If you share that desire get this book. If upholstery sounds challenging this book will make it feel do-able. And of course start out with a simple project. Perhaps not a headboard like myself. I have a big project brewing in the back of my mind so I don't think this is the last I'll be sharing about upholstery.

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A note of full disclosure. I received a reviewers copy of this book. Words and opinions are my own.

From my crafting bookshelf: Paper to Petal

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Paper to Petal is a gorgeous book. I can easily lose time looking at all the details in each spread. More than being beautiful it is a recipe book for crafting paper flowers. Rebecca Thuss and Patrick Farrell have meticulously laid out instructions complete with every last material needed for each flower they've shown in the book. This is why I say it's a recipe book. With all cook books that come into my life I look at the recipes for inspiration and then use the ingredients I have on hand. Using this book was no different.

The magenta flowers are based off the books Five-Petal Sweeties and the bigger blooms were my own exploration based on techniques from the book.

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Paper flowers are of course a perfect thing to adorn gifts like the one below. That special wrapping was for a baby shower gift. The flowers used techniques from the Rainbow Ruffle book instructions, just with a bit less ruffle. 

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PaperToPetal_1481.jpg
  I used watercolor pencils to accent some of the crepe paper before making the flowers. The leaves are made from tissue most likely saved from a shoe box .

I used watercolor pencils to accent some of the crepe paper before making the flowers. The leaves are made from tissue most likely saved from a shoe box .

There are some other pertinent details about the book. It is Martha approved complete with a lovely forward by Stewart. The back of the book contains petal templates that you can trace or photo copy as well as an extensive list of resources. It is a book I know I'll use for many years.