Thursday, August 18, 2011

Top 25 Cardmaking Supplies Day 4

Continuing on with the week's theme...We're on 15-20 of the top 25 cardmaking supplies!  This day's post is about unique techniques.  These supplies are just some more tools to step up your card making (or scrapbooking).

1. Marvy Uchida Heat Tool - This is a heat tool that I personally use primarily for two things.  Embossing, and getting ink to dry quicker.  Some people think you can cheap out and use a hair dryer, and I say that this is a much better tool for the job for three reasons: 1) The heat tool gets much hotter 2) The nozzle is smaller for a smaller concentrated area of heat 3) The tool itself is much lighter and more comfortable to hold. 

I like to use Zing Embossing Powder when I emboss, and this style is also referred to as 'wet embossing'. 

Wet embossing is done by stamping an image with embossing ink (I usually use Ranger Embossing Ink or Versamark), and then you pour your embossing powder on top and then remove the excess.  Your image will only be barely visable with the embossing ink, but when you have your powder on you will see a powdery dusty image.  Then turn on your heat tool, and move it in circles about 3 inches or so away from your project.  Make sure you keep it moving, because it will otherwise burn your paper.  You will see your image go from powder to a magically raised smooth finish within 30 seconds.  As soon as all the powder has "converted", turn your heat tool off because again it will burn.  I like Zing because it comes in three finishes - regular, metallic, and glitter.
2. Sizzix Texture Boutique - If there's a 'wet embossing' there must surely be a 'dry embossing', right?  Yes there is!  This is one of my favorite tools in the craft room because this little machine can quickly take a plain sheet of paper or card and turn it into an embossed design!  The reason I picked the Sizzix Texture Boutique out of several similar machines out there (Cricut's Cuttlebug being it's primary competition) is becuase it's ridiculously cheap!  It's $29.99 in most craft stores, but use a 40% off coupon (which Cricut just about never allows) and that takes it to $17.99 - a steal! 

How it works:  Take an embossing folder (sold separately) and insert your paper inside.  Sandwich it between the two black plates that come with the Sizzix, then insert it into the machine's slot.  Hand crank it through, and the pressure of the machine will press (emboss) whatever embossing folder's design on to your paper, and it will roll out the other side.  This machine is cheap, small, fun, and easy!  Another bit of good news is that you are not limited to Sizzix's embossing folders.  Tim Holtz also makes his own line for Sizzix, and the Cuttlebug's folders can be used as well.  A great bang for the buck!

3. Quilling Tools - Quilling is a wonderfully simple technique that is experiencing a comeback.  It is taking long strips of paper that are very thin, and rolling them into shapes, then using multiple shapes to create a larger shape.  It is very easy to do, although somewhat monotonous.  Take your slotted quilling tool, insert the end of your paper strip, and roll until the strip is in a small coil.  Take the coil off the tool, then choose to either keep it tight, let it expand, or press it into another shape.  Glue the end down, and you are on your way to a simple yet beautiful masterpiece!


4. McGill Flower Paper Punch - These punches will add a whole new dimension (literally!) to your papercrafting.  McGill has a complete line of flower punches and stylus tools to create beautiful, realistic paper flowers.  Examples of what flowers can be made are: roses, peonies, lilies, geraniums, pansies, sunflowers, hydrangeas, and so much more.  The steps are pretty simple once you decide what flower you want to make, and line up the appropriate punches.  Some flowers only need one type of punch (like a poinsetta) while some need up to six types of punches (like a peony). 

First punch out the number of each type of punch you need.  Then you will place the individual petals you punched and place them on your mat (honestly, thick foam or a mousepad will work).  Then take your stylus tool, and press the petal in a circular motion.  This will cause the paper to curl, giving it a more realistic look.  Glue the pieces together in the appropriate pattern (click on the link for more specific instructions to the flower you are creating).  Before you curl your flowers, you may want to add some ink to the edges using Distress Inks and the Inkssentials foam tool to make them even more realistic.  I love adding these to my cards, and once you invest in the punches, you won't ever have to spend money on pre-made flowers again!

5. Ranger Inkssentials Mini Mister - This is a fun little tool to break out of the box a little bit.  Basically it's just a water sprayer in the tiniest format I've ever seen.  There are a couple of reasons why you would want to purchase this and not cheap out again and use a water sprayer you already have.  1) This tool is much smaller than a regular water sprayer, and produces a very fine mist. 2) It can be used to make your own mixes of mists, by dropping in Distress Ink refillers inside and mixing to create whatever color you want. 3) I think it's great for travel, I take my wrinkly clothes from my luggage, spray them using the Mini Mister, hang them in the bathroom while taking a hot shower, and my clothes are wrinkle free!

The regular use of this tool, for my purposes anyway, is to give a watercolor effect using Distress Inks (yet another way Distress is so versatile!).  Using the Ranger mat that I mentioned earlier this week, place some ink colors directly on the mat, and spray with the Mini Mister.  Then press a tag or piece of paper into it, and it looks like a watercolored creation!

Thanks for joining me again with some of my favorite papercrafting tools.  Check back tomorrow to wrap up the last 20-25 of my favorite supplies!


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