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Thank you for taking the time to come and look at my blog, I really do appreciate it. Please leave me a comment, even if it’s just to say Hi. It means I can come visit you!

All my designs are original, so copyrighted to me. If I have been inspired by someone elses work, I have named them in the post, and where able, I have provided a link.

Please feel free to use my designs for inspiration, I just ask you to credit me, and provide a link back to my blog.

Thanks, Shaz XX

Monday, 18 November 2013

Glitter cats & embossing paste

Wow, two posts in two days! I've had Embossing paste for a while, and more Brass embossing stencils than I know what to do with. Which didn't stop me buying another, back last year. Its a Sweet Poppy stencil of a cat sat on a wall, which they had a nice sample of on display, with the cat & wall done in glitter, using Embossing paste. I've been meaning to try this out for a while, so yesterday I finally got round to it. This is a work in progress, as I have the glittered cats done, now I need to do a background on them, and mount them onto cards. I've used the 'True Snow' type embossing paste before, and recall it being an unholy mess- so I was hoping a bit of practice might perfect the technique. I'll share what I learned about it as I go, pitfalls and hopefully, helpful bits too.
 Anyway, for starters you will need:

 Embossing paste, which comes in array of colours, I've got Black & White here. A stencil, stencil tape, spreader(s), glitter and of course a piece of cardstock. I used Clarity Theuva card to do these on, and found it worked beautifully. I also discovered that because the card has a shiny surface, if you wait until the paste is dry, you can scrape off any overspill with a scalpel.
 The spreader tools I've got here were bought from The Works, a set for working with oil paints, but they are perfect for this technique, as you get a set of various sized blades. You will find it best to work with the largest spatula on a stencil this size-you get less problems with covering the image that way.

 Placing your stencil onto the card, add some stencil tape to all four sides- I actually used tape the length of the sides at first, to stop me getting any paste onto the card where I didn't want it. Once you get a bit more practiced at it, you could use less.
 Scoop out a dollop of paste, and drop it onto the stencil. Its better to put it on part of the stencil that isn't part of the design, rather than onto the design. You will find that trying to spread it  from the open areas will result in pushing it under the edges of the design, giving you a blurred image.

Spread the paste- a bit like buttering a piece of bread. Couple of tips here; I found it easier to work from the top down trying to keep the sweeps smooth. Use a light touch- don't press down. Use the edge of the spatula- a bit like you'd use an edge of a blending tool. Don't overwork it! Thats when it will all go horribly wrong. A little bit of texture won't hurt, don't keep trying to smooth it out, you'll end up with the paste being pushed under the stencil. Scrape any excess off the metal part of the stencil and return to the pot.

 To remove the stencil, peel off three sides of the tape, leaving a fourth as a 'hinge'. I found for me the easiest one to leave was the bottom one, choose whichever suits you best- top, bottom or one side. Carefully lift up one edge of the stencil and tilt it towards the hinge, then peel away the whole thing. If you leave a hinge, it prevents the stencil slipping or sliding.

Now- getting your stencil clean. I have seen a lot of people recommend you have a dish of water handy to drop your stencil into- I found that messy, time consuming, and hard to be certain you have the stencil flat while cleaning.
 What I found works perfectly is to have a baby wipe lay on your desk, and to place the stencil onto it as soon as you peel it off. Then fold the baby wipe over it, to stop the paste starting to dry on the stencil.

Now you can leave your stencil while you do the glitter bit.

 I started off doing black cats, so tipped a pile of black glitter onto the paste.
 Tip the glitter off, and hey presto! one glittered black cat. Put aside to dry, and I left mine overnight to be sure.
 Now, back to the icky bit, cleaning the stencil. By the way, as soon as I'd returned the excess paste to the jar, I wiped my spatulas clean too on a baby wipe.And keep checking your fingers- this stuff gets everywhere! One of the dangers of cleaning stencils is bending them accidentally while scrubbing- and this cat stencil also has a little piece that sticks up that separate his front legs from his body- very easy to bend out of shape.  By opening out the baby wipe again, because its lay flat on your table, you can rub over it with another wipe, and it stays flat. Just make sure to wipe away from any awkward bits, so you don't catch them with the wipe.

After I'd wiped off the goo, I lay it flat again on a piece of kitchen roll, and just rubbed my had over it to dry it off.

I found this to be the easiest way to clean them, and the least likely to cause a bend in your stencil. If you do get a bent stencil, I have heard it recommended to run them through a die cutting machine to re-flatten, but I haven't tried it personally, although it ought to do the job.

All clean and ready for use again.
 What I liked about this stencil too, is that I can flip it and have the cat facing the other way!

Now I decided I'd try some other colour combos- so I switched to white embossing paste, and brought out some Crystal glitter and a few shades of orange and brown. It worked better than I expected, to be honest, and I have some nice black & white cats, some tortoiseshell and whites, and a rather fetching Ginger tom!He came out much better than I anticipated. If you are using a mixture of glitter colours, always tip the excess away from your image, and if you want patches in the middle of the image, turn it upside down quickly, so the glitter doesn't spread over onto other areas of paste.I used the tip of one of the thin spatulas to add this glitter.  I tried a mix of browns for the wall on these ones.

 Sweet Poppy Stencil, Stargazing
 Embossing Paste,
White card
 Stencil, or low tack, tape. Mine is Woodware, its very low-tack,bought at the NEC, its about £2 a roll. DO NOT buy this from Amazon- they want a fiver a roll for the same item!


kathi17 said...

Thanks for the tips Shaz. I've been looking for embossing paste for a while now. So far, no one in my area has it, but maybe I will be able to find it when we go out of state for the holidays.

I especially love your multi-colored cats and bricks, they look almost real!

Winnie said...

Wow, Shaz! I love the black cat, but when I saw you even did a calico one, I was so excited. Very clever! I can't wait to find more paste (I only have black so far....) Thanks for sharing how you do these great things.

Krisha said...

Hi Shaz,
Thanks for the great tutorial, now I know what to do with the 50-60 brass stencils I have....LOL really!
Your cats are just cute as can be, love the multi colored ones, but the all black are my favorite.

gardenpinks said...

I love that stencil and love what you have done with it and the paste. I keep forgetting I've jar of that paste lurking in a cupboard!!
Lynn xx

Princess Judy Palmer said...

I had to come see what cats you glittered. Very cool! I had some of that stencil paste, glitter, and grandiose ideas at one point. I think I came to my senses though.

Anonymous said...

Such an odd day! Missed you last week (too busy, too unwell, excuses excuses) and tried to pop round. You must have your old Wordpress blog address stored in your profile somewhere as that is the URL that come up. So I had to go back to the list, but no post. So I had to go back to LAST week's list, Gotcha! Then I had to have a browse - love that indigo blu stamp - I am a sucker for a good swirl LOL! And the kitty wall. Nifty. I think an old gift card would be a good spreader. I've been seeing a lot of Thermofax screens recently and I know they make some sort of screen printing squeegee that might be good too. Easier, perhaps, than the pallette knife with a kink in it :)

Jeez, I do ramble don't I? :)

Happy WOYWW!
Mary Anne (28 THIS week :))

Unknown said...

Absolutely wonderful glittering! I really like the idea of the stencils rather than stamps - I have many and think I may actually try this (I'm not much of a "technique" girl). Thanks for the inspiration - and the detailed instructions!

kathi17 said...

I tried your embossing paste tutorial and posted the results on my blog this morning. (Giving you credit of course). I was really fun, and worked out quite well. Thanks Shaz!