Friday, January 30, 2015

Mixed Media Bulk Valentines Day Cards

Hello Everyone! This is my 1000th post! I almost missed it. LOL

Since it's a milestone I thought I'd share a tutorial for bulk Valentines Day cards. This way if you're inspired you'll have plenty of time to make and send them. 

I made mine with a hand-carved stamp, but any heart-shaped stamp will do. This works for any shape really, but V-Day is all about the hearts. 

Indulge me as I show you the whole process, just ignore the bits that don't apply or roll your eyes a bunch and say, "duh!"

This is my drawing transferred onto a piece of Speedy-Carve. To transfer to rubber all you do is lay the front (pencil side) of your drawing onto the rubber and burnish with a spoon, pen lid, your finger... until it transfers. Which is pretty much immediately.

This symbol has been haunting my dreams lately. Don't know why but I'm following the trail to see where it leads. 

Carve your stamp.

As soon as I finish a hand-carved stamp, I usually stamp it a few times in my art journals. It serves as a nice record of what I made as I frequently give stamps away. You can see I made a stencil too (orange, mid- left)

But let's get to the Valentines, shall we.

Supplies (loose suggestions, this is mixed-media after all)

  1.  Watercolor - mine are liquid as I use them to make spray ink, but pans work just the same.
  2.  Stamp, Staz-on ink
  3.  Heat tool
  4.  Paper towel
  5.  Water, brushes
  6.  Watercolor paper, cut or torn to desired size.
  7.  Map or book paper (I used both)
  8.  Adhesive (Mod Podge)
  9.  Gold Paint

Step One: Create your watercolor backgrounds.
1. Add water with a brush where you want your paint to spread. It will only move around the wet area. This is a wonderful quality that allows you to blend colors or keep them separate.
2. Dab paint into the wet area
3. Paint spreads (or you help it a bit with your brush)
4. Repeat with new color (orange) having some parts mingle and some not.
5. To soften the color roll over card with paper towel
6. Keep adding colors until satisfied.

Note: At any point you can use your heat tool to dry an area so the paint won't spread into it. 

Once you've painted your background, take a clean brush and flick water all over it. Wait a few seconds and then roll over the card with your paper towel. It will lift off the paint and leave pretty lightened areas. 
Another option is to get one card covered in paint and place a second dry card on top to transfer the paint.

left is the top (dry) card, right is the painted card. 
 It's more smooshy and diffused - a nice effect.

Or, if you're me, you'll be all, "That's dusty rose and brown. EW!"
All you need to do is add a pop of a bright color and the whole piece perks up.
You'll also note that I intentionally avoided water spattering the fuchsia bit so it has more weight in the background.

Make a lot of backgrounds because A. You've already hauled your stuff out, and B. it makes you less attached to the success of any one piece. 
For example:

I love the tulippy one with all the white space (right) but think the left one looks like someone sneezed paint all over  the place. *shudder* But who cares... I made about 20. No one card is a deal breaker. And that messy one - punched, torn into strips, or with some stamping will probably be pretty great too. 

So these soft ones are for Valentines, there is enough color range to suit all my friends different personalities.

And these wild, bold ones with lots of luscious white space and distinct edges are for art journalling and future projects. FWIW, I've never used my black watercolor before. Oh, my! It's my new favorite thing.

Now that we've made a big pile of painted cards, let's finish them off. 
Once they're dry, of course. Too soon and it'll be a big mess.

Stamp your image on the card.

(don't mind the bit of acrylic on this one. Years ago I'd stamped off some bubble wrap into my watercolor pad and decided to not worry about it)

Stamp again on your map or book paper. Since I'm only filling in the heart I only stamped the top half. 
Cut out the heart. 

Glue the heart into your image.

Be careful as your watercolor will react to the glue. I put the Mod Podge on once, with a brush, not going back and forth over the area. Just one quick pass. Then you smooth down the map paper and carefully remove any seeping glue with your finger. No need to go over the top of the map paper like you would with a collage. This is just a card and you'll risk mixing up the paint.

Gild the edges with gold paint. I could only find my gold fabric paint (which worked fine). The edging really creates a beautiful frame, adds a little glamour and accentuates any torn edges.

And there you go! This set of nine cards took very little time.
They are different enough to keep me engaged but I didn't have to worry about design choices at every step.

If you click on the picture to see it full-sized you'll notice that there are a few with french dictionary pages instead of maps. Again, the variety keeps me interested and if the colors of the map and the card were too close I needed more contrast. 

I'll add a sentiment or a note on the back, and  leave the fronts plain so they can be enjoyed year round. 

Sending a little piece of art in the mail is sure to bring smiles to your loved ones. 
If you try this please let me know.



Penny said...

Ooooh, love your new stamp! Very cool design! And what gorgeous cards you created with it and all the fab color! Love them! :^)
Hugs, Penny
Hope you are having a wonderful weekend!

Gill said...

These are fabulous Nicole!
Thanks for such a comprehensive tutorial!!