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JLynn has been in the Art, Craft & Jewelry industry for over 30 years ~ promoting creativity through Education and Media. As a published designer, JLynn is known for her detailed, colorful Jewelry, unique Altered ART Wood Tiles, and Artwork. Online since 2004, a former eBay Power Seller, and currently on Artfire and Etsy. Family, Art, Nature and Kaleidoscopes are her biggest inspirations

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Craft Closet Secrets!

It's been a busy 5 days since I last posted!
Between checking in orders, shipping out orders, decorating for fall (finally...) and my daughter's homecoming (pictured - the bracelet she wore - Sterling Silver, Ametrine gemstones & Swarovski Crystals)
...Things have been a tad busy and I'm ready for a mini-vacation :)

So...you're wondering what the Craft Closet Secrets are?
Well - I'm in the process of working on a few new projects (I'll reveal that in a week or so...) but  wanted to share and hopefully shed light on the mystery of paints, inks and mediums.  I've been known as the "Jackie" of all trades because I've professionally taught & demonstrated a variety of arts and crafts for a number of years - and the simple fact that I don't think there's a technique I haven't tried LOL.  Storage wise - I have a couple different areas where I store my "things"...a Linen Closet in my Bedroom has Scrapbooking, Rubber Stamping and Needleart supplies and a Hall closet downstairs houses a lot of jewelry supplies...but this week my focus has been on what I have designated as my "Fine Arts" craft closet. 

So - here's some of my Craft Closet Secrets...the below picture is of my Fine Arts closet in the Laundry Room (it has a huge utility sink which comes in handy).  This basically has my supplies for Drawing/Sketching, Watercolors, Acrylics (craft & art), Pastels, Embossing, Inks and lots more.  I use a variety of bags, refurbished every day items (like my paint brush holder on the lower right...it was an old plastic big drink holder that I covered with art material), cosmetic cases, wooden planters, clay pots, plastic bins and yes - the ever wonderful Ziploc bags!

Here's a photo of just some of the items from my closet...

If you're into crafts...chances are you have used Plaid/Delta "Acrylic" paints - these are water soluble, thin paints and easy to work with - a favorite among crafters.  The 3 tubes you see in the front are the "Artist Grade" version of acrylic paints - Liquitex (who was acquired by ColArt in 2000) is an old favorite of mine.  These paints are a nice upgrade from your regular craft paints...they are "high viscosity" (meaning they have a heavy body which is thicker, richer and covers effortlessly).  Like regular craft paints - they can also be thinned down with water or mediums (depending on what you are painting on). 

The colorful plastic small jars on the right are powdered pigments from LuminArte - you mix a little bit with medium solutions depending on whether you want to paint on glass, leather, fabric, paper, plastic or walls.   The benefit to these is that they are ground pure color with mica powder for added sparkle.  If you don't like mixing or are an impatient painter...know that you will be mixing a lot, and that the paint can take up to 72 hours to fully dry (despite this...these paints are gorgeous when dry).

Now the tiny small bottles (back left) are 3 of my favorites...Lumiere Acrylic, Pinata & Ranger Adirondack (permanent inks).  The Lumiere can be used on virtually any surface and applied with brush, air brush, stamp or sponge.  Lumiere I've used straight and heavily thinned down on my Watercolors - and I've also used them on my Brass metal blanks.  Pinata and Ranger Inks can be used on any surface...(Pinata I've used to paint on Porcelain beads) they are indelible in water and permanent (they are also acid-free making them a favorite for scrapbooking too).  Both inks can be diluted (so that the vibrant tones are lightened or can be mixed with other colors) with Alcohol Blending Solution - which I LOVE.  I've used a variety of things to apply the inks...from the inexpensive Q-tips and make-up foam wedges, and brushes - to professional ink pens, bottle sprayers, and removeable ink pads and dabbers.  I'm having such a fun time experimenting with these inks.  I've invested in these a little bit at a time (if you shop at Jo-Ann's, Hobby Lobby, Michaels or AC Moores use their 40% off coupons) and purchase the 3 packs of Ranger Inks (usually in the rubber stamping section)...and your blending items will be located in the Craft Paint section and some will be found in the Fine Arts Section.

The best advice I can give...make sure your painting surface is clean and use the correct medium!  If you're painting on fabric - a Fabric Medium is a must if you want to utilize your Acrylic paints and have your painted surface flexible and washable (it is cost effective to simply purchase a bottle of medium versus 8 bottles of fabric paint - which is acrylic paint with your fabric medium pre-mixed).  Next time you are in the craft store - check out all the mediums available - they are not scary or difficult to use.  

So...Two mediums that I can't do without?  Color Float AND Blending Solution.  Color Floats makes painting easier because when mixed with your paint - it makes shading and highlighting effects so much easier, it increases the time you have to blend your paint, and eliminates frequent brush reloading.   The last favorite is Tim Holtz (Ranger Inks) Alcohol Blending Solution.  These are used to lighten the inks, blend colors - or simply reworking or removing ink (from your project, tool or hands).  It's a good idea to wear old clothing...and invest in some latex free gloves so your fingers don't become an ink kaleidoscope of colors LOL. 

Here's a photo of some Vintaj Natural Brass blanks that I embossed with the Cuttlebug machine a month or so ago.  These were highlighted with Ranger Inks and a few with Lumiere Acrylic paint (mixed with a blender).  I then took a very fine sandpaper and did a little relief to let some of that brass show through.  
These blanks look great as is...but you can give them an additional finishing touch...use a varnish (matte, satin or gloss) for an additional protective layer - or you can do a Crackle finish on them - I do a layer of clear varnish and let dry...then I apply a coat of crackle finish and let it dry until "tacky"...then add the finishing touch with another clear layer of clear varnish (the crackle starts crackling almost immediately.  If you want an even more vintage look...when your last coate is dry - you can apply an antiqued stain. 

If you're interested in creating something that looks a little more glass like in appearance - try another favorite of mine...Ice Resin (this is a crystal clear resin that you need to mix)...but if you're not comfortable with mixing - try the Diamond Glaze (a water based dimensional adhesive which creates that lacquer like finish and is mixable with inks).  Here's a photo of the upper left blank with Diamond Glaze applied to it.
Tip...Diamond Glaze can be used right from it's container...it's an adhesive for beads, glass, plastic, paper...but is also a Finish.  Remember when applying to not shake the bottle (keep it steady and not bouncing up and down to avoid air bubbles).  When it first comes out it will give the appearance of a violet opal color - but as it dries it shrinks a bit and turns clear. If you're after a shiny, glossy, slightly thick surface (a higher gloss than a simple varnish would give you)...one coat is usually good.  If you'd like a really thick raised surface, simply do multiple layers.  Just make sure that you allow it to dry in between coats.  If by chance you get air bubbles (very likely your first time) you can move them off your surface with the tip of the glaze bottle by gently pushing it off the edge or area you are working on - or use a hatpin or needle to pop or move the bubble.  Usually it's best to keep the tip of the bottle slightly ABOVE your surface (as opposed to sliding the tip directly on the surface) - this helps you keep a smooth, even application. 

Happy Creating :) - if you have questions, feel free to email me!

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