Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ranger Ink - Tim Holtz Distress Paint DIY Scratch Art

Remember those scratch art bookmarks you used to get as a kid?  I do!  And I remember LOVING them!  Halle brought one home the other day and I thought, "How can I do that?"  At Valentines day the girls took homemade LOTTO scratcher tickets we made using silver paint mixed with dish soap.  But, we had to protect the bottom layer with the messages with clear duct tape.  That wasn't going to work for me.  I wanted my scratch art to be easier.  I did a quick google which showed people using that dish soap/paint mixture but their scratch art undercoat were oil pastels and crayons. Meh.  Not bright enough for my liking and then I would have to take the time to color every inch of the paper I was working on.

Light bulb.

Ranger Ink Distress Paints by Tim Holtz are permanent.  That means, I can use them for my bottom layer and once completely dry, I can layer over my black "scratch" layer and it won't affect the paint underneath.  Haven't used or heard of Distress Paints yet?  Head over to Craft Test Dummies to check out my full review of them! 

So let's gather up some supplies.  A crafty, mise en place, if you will.  (Top Chef was on today)

Paint brush, Ranger glossy cardstock, Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Paints, dish soap (not dishwasher detergent), shish kabob stick (Toothpicks are too small for my giant man-hands).

I cut my glossy cardstock down to ATC size for manageability. It was my instinct to use the glossy cardstock for this project; I honestly don't know how well it would turn out on a regular cardstock or copy paper.

Go ahead and paint your glossy cardstock with BRIGHT distress paints. You want these colors to POP.  Let them dry COMPLETELY before the next step.  You can go ahead and get your heat gun out to speeden up the process.  (You can also use Ranger alcohol inks for this bottom layer.)

Now, lots of people out there have different paint-dish soap ratios out there, but I'm just going to tell you what worked for me.  (It's not buffalo wing science. hehehe.)  I used about one tablespoon (or less) of dish soap and just a few drops of black soot distress paint.  Since distress paint is so fluid, a little really goes a long way. Try gently to, "fold," the paint and soap together; you don't want to create a lot of bubbles. I used a disposable souffle cup (my BESTEST friends in the kitchen & craft room) with a lid to save my leftover paint for later.  If you leave your soap/paint exposed to air you'll get one of those jelly membranous layers that will make for a big gloppy mess later.

Apply the paint mixture in even lines across your cardstock.  DO NOT go back over the brush strokes you already made; this will pick the black paint right back up and then you will be in a never ending story of brush on, brush off.

Have I told you how fabulously OPAQUE distress paint is?  You could get away with doing only one coat, but I did two on mine.  I do not recommend using a heat gun to dry your paint/soap layer.  It works but you will start burning/boiling parts of the soap and it creates a weird texture on your paper.  Just be a patient little grasshopper while they dry. I also want to note, your craft space at this point will smell like you've  been doing dishes for fifty-seven years straight with no break.  You'll feel like a genie in a bottle of palmolive.  Oh, and if you're working on a Ranger craft mat, which I highly suggest, wipe up the black paint while it's still wet.  It's a much bigger mess if you wait until it dries.  Learn from my mistakes, my little swans.

Voila!  Now you've got your own scratch art!  Share it with the kids!  Hoard it all for yourself!  You can grab masks and stencils to create shapes or just doodle away!  You'll want to have a paper towel, craft rag or dirty thigh around to wipe off your scratching stick as you scratch.  If for some reason your black paint doesn't scratch off, you didn't have enough dish soap in your mixture. Try again.  No big deal.  (I totally messed up my first batch.)  If you dig the chalkboard trend, skip the first step of paint and just make black and white scratch art.

Wait, I see a hand in the back of the room.  Do you have a question?  Yes?  What's that?  Speak up.  Oh, you're wondering if this technique will work with the new metallic distress paints???   WHY YES IT WILL!  I know Tim is off on a Tuscan adventure soon and I would always have my dad get me a Venetian mask when he was in Italy so I was feeling inspired...

I cut a mask image out on my Silhouette and repeated the above process using the metallic distress paints.  I have to say, this was FUN to make!  When your done scratching with your shish kabob stick, snip off the stabby end, paint it using a metallic color and glue it to your mask.  You are now ready for a masquerade, my friends!

Well, thanks for sticking around crafters!  Let me know if you try making your own scratch art using Distress Paints!

I will be at CHA in Las Vegas next week and you know I will be all OVER that Ranger booth reporting for Craft Test Dummies.  Head on over there, check out my crafty twitter @SaraJaneCrafts for updates.  I ordered myself a fancy monopod and adapter for my iPhone so I won't have as shaky videos!  Yay for new toys! 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Keith Haring inspired Art Journal Page

Hello crafters!  Things have been crazy around here!  I am finally moving into my new craft room and purging as I go.  I'll show you guys some photos soon!  Before the big move I had been working in my Dylusions art journal constantly!  The girls had their ballet recital and I did a lot of backstage volunteering which made for some great journal time!

I was playing with some distress paints and created a background using a glazing medium, closing the pages and brayering it together.  I opened the pages before they dried and got a fun bright, ink blot effect.  This isn't the same page as the final journal page, but one using the same technique.

The bright colors and fluid movement of the distress paints for some reason reminded me of Keith Haring paintings.  Keith Haring was a pop and graffiti artist and activist in the 1980's.  His easily identifiable works and paintings formed an art language of sorts to help raise awareness about AIDS, apartheid and nuclear threats.  

With that said, here's my Haring inspired page!

I initially stressed about making my little men, which I eventually started calling my, "Haringlings."  But then I decided to relax.  As Dyan Reaveley said at Ranger U, "Life is hard enough; your art shouldn't be."  I sketched them in pencil first then painted them in with gesso.  Each one kind of developed its own little personality: 

 Stayin' Alive Haringling

 Walk like an Egyption Haringling.

 Snoopy Dance Haringling.

YMCA Haringling

    Hip Hop Haringling

Well, that's about it, crafters!  Let me know what you think in the comments!  Stop back by for some craft room updates and art journaling!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Art Journal Page: Smiling Face

I have a confession; For those that know me, I'm a die-hard dork and I love me some good sci-fi/paranormal  shows.  A trekkie, I am not, but anything else from Stargate to Warehouse 13 makes Sara a happy girl.  Last month I dived down the rabbit hole and started watching, "The Vampire Diaries."  It's like, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," but with more teenage angsty stuff, if that's possible.  I can't tear myself away from it.  Who will Elena choose this week?  Stephen or Damon???  Must. Watch. More. Episodes. 

But I will say I've been busy in my Dylusions Art Journal while I've been watching episodes!  I LOVE this journal!  I did a video of it over at Craft Test Dummies YouTube Channel you can check it out!  Today I'm just going to share a fun page I completed.  I am trying to take Dyan's approach to journaling and not feel obligated to go in order. 


This page has a lot on it.  I started with a mixed distress paint background, added some distress ink, dylusions sprays & masks and stamps.  I cut the girls face out of a  magazine and unfortunately glued it in poorly.  She got super wrinkled but she was also super stuck down.  I decided to just go with it and let her wrinkly self be.  I kept adding more and more layers and doodles until it was ready for the quote.  I think I've decided this art journal will be dedicated to some of my favorite quotes I've been collecting over the years in another journal I've had since high school. 

Well that's it for today, crafters!  Stay tuned to some more fun projects and art journal pages!           

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Ranger U Experience

Hello crafters!  I hope everyone enjoyed their Mother's Day yesterday; I know I did!  Today I'm going to share my experience at Ranger U with you all!  Oh my!  It was such an exciting, action-packed weekend it's hard to imagine even where to begin?  I still had that pesky water that didn't want to drain from my ear so I was on massive decongestants on a regular loop so I didn't have a raging earache and migraine the whole time.  Nothing was going to get in the way of me having a good time!  I stayed in a hotel that was directly next door to Ranger which was super convenient.  Every morning it was a quick, two minute walk in glorious weather to our classroom where we were greeted by hot coffee, drinks and donuts! The fabulous Tim Holtz started us out each morning before getting us started on our daily creative journey.  I can't stress to you all how amazing it is to have a class taught by Tim.  Not only are we learning amazing techniques, but Tim's personality and enthusiasm for Ranger products is so engaging.  He gives every ounce of himself in his classes and he's excited to do it so it just ends up being contagious for everyone around him.

Each day we were learning with Tim and we also had some fun classes with Claudine Hellmuth, Dyan Reaveley and Mackie Mullane.  Day one was extra special because we got to wear some super sexy goggles and tour the Ranger Factory aka The Wonka Factory.  Unfortunately there was ZERO photography allowed inside the factory because Ranger has some pretty spiffy machines hiding back there.  It is absolutely amazing to hear and see every step that a distress stain, paint bottle and ink pad goes through, start to finish.  Many things are done by hand because it's just what's best for the product.  So don't get frustrated if your distress ink pad is a little wibbly wobbly when you get it out of its packaging.  Just contact Ranger and they'll send you a new one.

When we got back to the classroom everyone was so excited to start creating.  Tim warned us to pace ourselves because at the end of the last day our brains would be jelly.  We all kind of laughed at him in disbelief, but he was serious!  It's a good thing I took some notes throughout the class because now that I've been home it's hard to remember some details.  Everything we learned was a technique tag other than when we learned melt art and vintaj jewelry.  We came home with SEVENTY tags, not including melt art or jewelry.  SEVENTY.  Each day was divided into sessions and each session was geared towards a certain product in the Ranger family.  We focused on Perfect Pearls, Claudine Hellmuth's studio line, Vintaj Jewelry, Melt Art, Adirondack paints, archival inks and alcohol inks, Dyan Reaveley Dylusions and that was just the first two days!  The final day, the one I was looking forward to most, was all about the Distress!  Distress paints, stains, stickles, embossing powders, markers and of course, ink!  My head was swimming!  The final day after we bitter sweetly finished our last tag, we all received our diplomas and took a large class photo.

You could tell everyone was tired but no one really wanted to say goodbye.  Some of us went out for dinner and drinks afterwards but it was really sad to say goodbye to some of the new people I met.  I can honestly say this was a very special and talented group of people.  Sometimes at trade shows you're faced with, well, some cranky attitudes.  Not so at Ranger U.  Each person was so excited and pumped to be there that there was always a smile coming from every direction.  I really enjoyed meeting Meredith from Beadalon, the ridiculously talented Susan WeckesserJim the Gentleman Crafter and Kathie Shepard of the Occasional Artist here in Glendale, Arizona.  (Where I will soon be teaching! WooHoo!)  But again, everyone was so kind!  Can you believe ten out of the twenty four students at Ranger U were from outside the United States?  We had everyone from Canada to Korea; such a fun mix of accents in that class room, let me tell you!

And last, but certainly not least, a HUGE thank you to the team at Ranger. From my experience, Ranger U runs like a very well oiled machine and it is because of all of the time and effort from the people at Ranger.  The factory workers were kind and patient with us as we walked around and most likely got in their way.  Patti and Jackie were right there if we wanted to try making an extra tag or needed a single thing and always with a smile.   I also got sit with them at lunch one day and they both are so sweet and FUNNY!  Charlene did an amazing job at all of the behind the scenes work taking photos, videos and tweeting.  Have you checked out this Ranger blog post she did?  After we were all done with class on the first day she went to the Home Depot afterwards and created an amazing aerial rig for her camera!  SO COOL!  (You can see my hands using the Heat It tool on a pink tag!)   A BIG shout-out to the AMAZING Mario.  Oh Mario, what would I do without him?  If you follow my twitter, you know Mario always makes me feel better at trade shows and it was no different with Ranger U!  He's the kindest person you could ever meet and just has this calming, zen effect.  I think Jesus sent him just for me sometimes!  But alas, Mario wasn't just sent for me...  While our heads were filled with creative goodness, Mario filled our bellies with delicious yumminess!  He made sure we were all well-fed, hydrated and snackified.  And oh my... Square pizza day is something you'll ocasionally hear people talk about in accordance with Ranger U, but I had no idea how good it was.  DELICIOUS.  I'd go back just for the pizza.  (Joking, I'd go back for ANY reason!)  A big thanks to Mackie, Claudine and Dyan for teaching us!  I've never really played with vintaj so it was nice to learn a bit more about it.  Claudine is always just a sweetheart and we learned a TON of amazing image transfer techniques.  Dyan Reavely is so inspiring and makes you feel relaxed about your creating.  I truly enjoyed hearing her personal story and how she came to be a designer for Ranger.  And of course there's Tim.  As I said in the beginning, Tim's willingness to share his creative passion and ideas is refreshing and delightful.  You can truly tell he loves the products he uses so much by the way he explains how he originally thought of them, the process behind it and then the delivery of what comes out of that amazing brain of his.  If you ever have the opportunity, take a class with him. Seriously. SWERIOUSLY. ("Sweriously," {swee-ree-uss-lee} is my way of saying super-serious. Say it out loud and you'll be hooked. Sweriously.)  Sign up early and fast, because in my experience, classes fill up like lightning.  Why?  Because Tim IS a big deal.  Trust me.  You won't regret it.

All in all, it was an amazing experience; One I will never forget and would highly recommend to any other crafter out there.  I will be showing some of the techniques we learned throughout the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned!  The first one I'll be sharing was probably one of my favorite tags we made using Perfect Pearls.  Until then, here are some more photos to show of our weekend!  Enjoy!

Inky Fingers After Dylusions

Jim, The Gentleman Crafter Getting Inked

Kim's Nail Art - WOWZERS!

Distress Marker Tag

Perfect Pearls

Coloring with Distress Markers
Square Pizza and Painty Fingers

Claudine Hellmuth Studio Mediums

Tim Teaching

Tim Holtz & Dyan Reaveley

Vintaj Tools & Set-up

Brayer Distress Technique

Claudine Hellmuth Teaching

Coronarita's after class!

Tim, Claudine & Dyan

Coloring with Dylusions Technique

Ranger U - Class of 2013


Monday, May 6, 2013

"Fashionably Fast" by May Flaum

 Do you sit and stew over a scrapbook page?  Does it sit on your desk for days, maybe even weeks?  You can't find the right patterned paper?  Maybe your embellishments just aren't working out?  Or you just HAVE to run to the scrapbook store to get that one thing that would make it right?  Ugh.  I've been there.  I've done that.  So when the fabulous May Flaum asked if I wanted to do a review of her book I was SUPER excited!  Let me tell you... this book is packed with invaluable knowledge for the beginner to the seasoned scrapbooker.  Check out my full review over at Craft Test Dummies!

I was fortunate enough to run into May on twitter a few years ago.  I had always been a big fan of her work over the years so I was super surprised when I even got a follow back from her.  Once we started chatting about our favorite, "Sex and the City," episodes and I instantly knew she was just as kind and hilarious as she was talented and creative.

I wanted to do one more layout in addition to the two I made for craft test dummies and decided to combine and re-use some of the tips May gave in her book.  Mostly, I scraplifted myself; I copied my Dalek layout and used it for a corresponding TARDIS layout from our trip to the Renaissance Festival.

I used Dylusions spray inks in London Blue to get that true TARDIS color and then some Ranger stickles in True Blue for the dotty border around the photos.  Everything else is Color Magic by Heidi Swapp!

Enjoy crafters! Please go check out May's book, "Fashionable Fast," with Big Picture Classes!  You won't be disappointed!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

New York City: Prequel to Ranger U

Greetings Bloggers!!!  I am back from Ranger U and still trying to get my game face back on!  It was a busy week packed with so many techniques and even more fun and amazing people!  The first leg of my trip as I mentioned before was spent in the Brooklyn with my good Craft Test Dummies buddy, Haley from The Zen of Making.  I had texted Haley a quick and fairly simple list of all the sights I wanted to hit during my short time there.  I admit most of things involved food; Bagels and cream cheese, pizza and black and white cookies.  I arrived Wednesday in the late afternoon and as I got off the subway at Penn Station I promptly fell UP the stairs of the subway station.  Given, I was carrying a pretty heavy suitcase and I made it all the way to the last step before I biffed it on the top landing.  Oh well...

Haley met me at the station and we went back to her super cute apartment in Brooklyn.  We then promptly went out for pizza and a pitcher of Blue Moon in the city which was absolutely amazing and yummy.  We walked around Time Square and I got my middle-of-the-city fix and was able to see all of the rush and bustle of the city that I had missed so much.  At that point I was pretty tired and we went back to her place for a full night of sleep.  In the morning we stopped for scrumptious bagels and cream cheese then walked around Canal Street and some other fun little shops.  I was able to pick up some fun trinkets for my kiddo's before going on my way up to New Jersey to prepare for Ranger U!

Tomorrow I will be doing a little bloggy-blog about the FABULOUS May Flaum's eBook "Fashionably Fast."  And don't you all worry... there will be MUCH more Ranger U goodness coming your way VERY soon!!!