Friday, October 31, 2014

Blue Twig Studio Design Team: Review of Products and first Projects

I have been asked to be a member of Deb Prewitt's Design Team for her shop, Blue Twig Studio.  I feel very honored that Deb chose me. I pray I live up to her expectations! I appreciate any and all comments, as your input is valuable to me.

For the month of November, I tested a few products and used them in two projects (a postcard and tealight holders) that will be displayed at Blue Twig Studio.  I started with quick, easy projects, so these could be done for the upcoming holidays - a handmade postcard you could send someone special or tealight holders for gifts or to decorate your home.

The products I'm specifically testing and reviewing this month are:
  1. Tim Holtz's Distress Paint in brushed pewter  and victorian velvet (pink). (photos 1, 2). These are acrylic paints dabbers for multiple surfaces.
  2. Viva Croco Crackling Color in blackberry (purple color) (photo 3) 
  3. a Mini Navaho, 6x6 Stencil by The Crafters, Designs by Jaime (photo 4)
Photo 1.  Tim Holtz's Distress Paint. 
Photo 2.  Sponge dabbers to
apply the acrylic paint.
Photo 3. Viva Croco Crackling Colour

Photo 4. Mini Navaho 6x6 stencil by The Crafter's Workshop, Designs by Jaime
  A couple other products I used to help create the projects were:
  1. Dylusions Ink Spray in bubblegum pink (photo 5)
  2. Martha Stewart Crafts: Fine Glitter Translucent Glass Paint in antique silver (gold color) (photo 5).
Photo 5. Dylusions Ink Spray and Martha Stewart Crafts: Fine Glitter Translucent Glass Paint.

First Project: Postcard
Photo 6. Postcard with pewter paint.
   The postcard is Strathmore 140 lb 4" x 6" acid-free, cold-pressed watercolor paper. I coated the postcard with the brushed pewter distress paint, leaving a shiny gray surface (photo 6). I added the victorian velvet (pink) paint through the stencil (photo 7), but it didn't work very well. The paint bled under the stencil, leaving a fuzzy pattern. I ended up smearing the paint over the entire postcard, so the postcard has a mottled background of pewter and pink.(photo 8). I decided to try the glittery translucent paint that I have in antique silver with the stencil (photo 9.) Some of the stencil pattern isn't well-defined, but I like the texture and color it adds to the matte effect of the distress paints. I like bright colors, so I sprayed Dylusions Ink Spray in bubblegum pink through the stencil over one corner of the postcard. (photo 10). To see how the cracking colour works on paper,  I added it to just a few of the stenciled areas for more interest, texture, and value (photo 11).  After the crackling colour dried for 24 hours, I zentangled the word JOY using black Sakura micron pens in sizes 0.01, 0.03, and 0.05 (photo 12). For further embellishment, I added a large opalescent sequin and a pink fabric flower over it the "O" (photo 13).

Photo 7. Adding pink paint through the stencil.
Photo 8. Mottled background layer of pewter and pink paint.

Photo 10. Sprayed Dylusions Ink Spray through stencil.
Photo 9. Glittery translucent paint stenciled.

Photo 12. "JOY" zentangled with micron pens across postcard

Photo 11. Crackling colour added selectively.
Photo 13. Finished postcard front. 

    The back of the postcard looked naked being bare of any paint or designs. I painted the back of the postcard with the distress paint dabbers, again creating a mottled pewter and victorian velvet (pink) background.   I added these quotes about JOY to the back once the paint was dry.(photo 14).

  • "Choose JOY" - Sara Frankl
  • "JOY, being happy, is a choice that you make every day." - Dawn Camp
  • "I will take Joy in the God of my salvation." - Habakkuk 3:18

I addressed it to myself for Deb to mail to me when she is done with the sample.

Photo 14. Back of postcard showing the "letter" side.

Second Project: Tealight Holders
     I also made tealight holders with the crackling colour. I started with a pair of 2" square glass holders (photo 15). Initially I painted them with the Martha Stewart Translucent Glittery Glass Paint in antique silver, which actually was more gold in color (photo 16). After that dried, I painted them with the blackberry crackling colour (photo 17). It needed to cure for 24 hours (photo 18), although the crackling started to appear after only a couple of hours. The tealight holders would look fine this way, but I decided to embellish them with a ribbon, a couple of leaf-shaped sequins, and a circular gold crystal, which I hot-glued to the tealight holders. They look beautiful with the tealights glowing through the crackling colour (photo 19).

Photo 15: Two-inch glass tealight holders.
Photo 16. Coated with antique silver glittery glass paint.
Photo 18. After curing crackling colour for 24 hours.

Photo 17. Adding the blackberry crackling colour.

Photo 19. Golden glow of tealights through the crackling. Holders embellished with ribbon, sequins and crystal.

These tealight holders will make nice, inexpensive gifts for the upcoming holidays or can be used to decorate your home. I love the soft, golden glow showing the crackling effect.

Notes about the products:
    Tim Holtz's sponge dabbers were easy to use the first time I opened them. The paint rolled smoothly over the surface of a watercolor paper postcard.  However, there were a couple days between using the Tim Holtz's Distress Paint dabbers on the front of the postcard and the back of the postcard. I had no problems with the victorian velvet color, but the brushed pewter dabber would not allow paint to flow onto the dabber sponge. I found the ball for mixing the metallic paint was stuck in the opening where the paint flows. However, even after removing it, I still could not get paint to flow onto the dabber sponge. I ended up using removing the dabber sponge cap and dipping a paint brush into the bottle of paint and knocking it over in the process. Thankfully, I was able to save most of the paint. The bottles do say to store them upside-down, which I did. I would advise if the dabber will not work, to pour a couple drops of paint into a palette and close the bottle.  (Do NOT work with an open bottle of paint! lol!)
    The directions for the crackling colour say to use a thicker layer to get the best crackling effect, with 1-4 mm being the optimum range of thickness.  The crackling on the postcard and the glass tealight holders came out best where I layered the colour closer to 1mm than the 4mm of thickness. The thicker layers on the glass did not crackle as well (as can be seen in photo 19). On the other hand, too thin a layer does not crackle at all  - this happened on one place on the postcard, where I got the layer too thin (photo 13).

Other thoughts:
     I had never used the Viva Croco Crackling Colour before, although I have used Tim Holtz's Distress Paint previously. The victorian velvet and brushing pewter created a challenge, as these are not colors I normally use. But I had fun creating the postcard. I plan to create more postcards to send to family for the upcoming holidays. I love the tealight holders, but  I enjoy lighting candles especially when we have guests. I will be making more sets of these to give to my daughter and daughters-in-law for Christmas.

     I hope you enjoyed the review and projects. Try these products, if you haven't already. Experiment and have fun!

Keep creating!!