Many people say that inspiration for art is all around you, you just have to see it…
For me, it came when I was making the bed! I got this new comforter and pillow a couple of months ago from Target. I can not tell you how many times while making the bed I thought about what a great tag background the design would be. I knew that it would be kind of similar to my Live in the Sunshine tag but would also need some texture.
The design has a batik-like effect to it. I like the way it has fluidness to the design and how the grain shows. I knew that an embossing powder resist would be the way to go but I also wanted to find a way to include a fabric like grain. I knew I could stamp the grain, I have several stamps with a fabric grain, but I wanted it to have a real texture. I decided paint was the way to go and it turned out very simple to get a great texture with Distress Paint and a Scratching Tool!
Begin by applying a coat of Picket Fence Distress Paint to a manila tag. Apply the paint using the built-in applicator in straight lines from top to bottom. If you squeeze lightly while applying the paint, it will be nice and juicy on the tag.
Use a Tim Holtz Tonic Scratching Tool to drag through the paint in straight lines from top to bottom to smooth out any lines and to add a fine line design.
Use a heat tool to dry the paint.
Apply a second layer of Picket Fence Distress Paint to the tag, this time applying in straight lines from side to side.
Scratch through the paint from side to side, again smoothing out the paint and adding the thin lines from the tool.
Dry the tag using a heat tool. At this point, the tag has a really nice cross hatch design. You could stop here, or add more layers. For my tag, I added two more layers for a total of four layers of paint, two with vertical scratches and two with horizontal scratches. Be sure to use a heat tool to dry the paint well between each layer.
To accent the grain, use an ink blending tool to brush Distress Ink over the entire surface of the tag. I used Vintage Photo because I wanted the accent subtle. You could use any paint and ink color combination you would like. I think Picket Fence paint with Faded Jeans Distress Ink would be amazing too!
Because of the slick texture of the dried paint, the Distress Ink will only adhere to areas down in the grooves where the paint is thin. To remove the excess ink, mist a dry cloth with water and use it to gently wipe over the surface of the tag.
The tag shouldn’t really be very wet, but use a heat tool to dry the ink and the tag just in case.
Ink a background stamp with clear embossing ink. A design with large solid areas will work best.
Lay the tag face down onto the inked stamp. Rub your hand over the back to transfer the ink.
Sprinkle the tag with clear embossing powder.
(When I was making this tag I thought that the tag looked really cool with the embossing powder on the design. You could get a similar look by using Sticky Embossing Powder or a glue stamp pad and micro glitter.)
Use a heat tool to melt the embossing powder.
Again, I think this tag looks really cool at this stage. I think I may recreate this background again and stop with it at this step.
Apply the desired Distress Paint color of choice over the entire tag (including over the embossing). I used Mustard Seed. I did test to see if Distress Stain would work here, it does NOT. Like the Distress Ink, it won’t adhere significantly enough to the slick surface of the paint. Paint is the best choice.
While the paint is still wet, gently wipe over the tag with a moist towel. The moist towel will remove the paint from on top of the embossing and off of some of the white areas.
The yellow really settles here into the grooves created with the scratching tool. Here is another spot where you could stop with the background, it really looks cool here and has both the texture of the grain and the embossed texture. I wanted my white areas to not be embossed though so that it would more closely look like the fabric of my comforter. To do that, I needed to remove the clear embossing.
You might remember this technique from the Embossing Powder Resist tutorial or the Let Love Lead You tag. To remove the embossing powder, place the tag on a piece of plain newsprint (or packing paper from online orders) on an ironing surface.
Fold the paper over the tag and iron with a clothes iron (no steam). I keep an iron in my craft room exclusively for craft projects to avoid any transfer of art products onto clothes. (Not that we actually iron clothes in our house!!)
The iron will melt the powder and transfer it onto the paper. If the paper cools before you remove it from the tag, it will stick. If that happens, simply iron over the paper and tag again. The paper will peel away while it is warm.
To make sure I have removed all the embossing powder is removed, I usually iron the tag again with clean paper. The embossing powder is completely removed when the paper is clean on top after ironing.
To embellish my tag I die cut a piece of Arc Craft Sticky Barc using the corner of the Baroque 2 Thinlits die. Sticky Barc is a really fun product I found at CHA. They are paper-thin sheets of wood with adhesive on the back. They die cut like a dream, even in a super intricate die like this Thinlits die. I ended up covering a lot of the piece so the effect of the wood ended up being kind of lost. It is still a really cool product for die cutting.
To color the wood die cut, rub over it using an ink blending tool. I wanted the wood piece to mimic some of color in the wood in my room so I used Vintage Photo Distress Ink to color the die cut.
Adhere the die cut to the top of the tag. Trim any edges that extend off of the tag.
If you know me, you know I love an inked edge on my tags. In order to add an inked edge on this tag, you will need to use a sanding tool to sand off the paint finish along the edges. The more you sand, the more paint you will take off exposing the paper. Sand a little or a lot depending how grungy you want the edge to be. I went with a light sanding just on the very edge to keep a fairly clean look.
Hydrangeas are very special to me so I chose some Petaloo Color Me Crazy Hydrangeas and leaves for embellishments. To color the leaves, I applied Peeled Paint and Shabby Shutters Distress Ink using an ink blending tool. Mist the leaves with water to blend the ink colors.
Blot the leaves with a dry cloth. Dry the leaves with a heat tool. Use an ink blending tool to add Vintage Photo Distress Ink to the edges and tips of the leaves.
To color the flowers, color the center and petal tips with a Peeled Paint Distress Marker. Accent the center with a Mustard Seed Distress Ink Marker. Add Tumbled Glass Distress Marker to the petals. Leave plenty of white space for the colors to bleed to create variation.
Mist the flowers with water. Blot the flowers with a dry cloth and dry with a heat tool.
For a second color of flowers, color the flowers using Spun Sugar and Peeled Paint Distress Ink Markers. Mist with water, blot with a dry cloth, and then dry with a heat tool. Once dry, accent the flowers with Vintage Photo Distress Ink using an ink blending tool.
To add a flower vine or stem, fold an 8″ piece of thread wrapped florist wire in half. Curl the raw ends of the wire using pliers.
Wrap the two ends of the wire around something round to create a curly stem.
Adhere the stem to the top of the tag so that the stems hand down.
Add leaves around the stem. Color crinkle ribbon with Distress Inks (you can use inks, stains, and even markers + water). After drying the ribbon, tie a bow and adhere it to the top of the tag.
Add the flowers to the leaves around the bow and stems.
To add a sentiment, I die cut a thin banner using a banner die from the Sizzix Thinlits Hearts, Keys, and Tag dies set. Generally I use letter stamps to add a sentiment to a tag, but in this case what I wanted to say wouldn’t fit on the tag I wanted to use. Instead I decided to handwrite the sentiment.
As the last touch, I added a die cut butterfly from the Sizzix Hero Arts Flowers & Butterflies Stamp and Die set. I stamped the butterfly on vellum using Ranger Jet Black Archival Ink. I colored the butterfly on the back side of the vellum using Distress Ink Markers. I tried to mimic the colors from the butterfly on the pillow from my bedroom.
Place a thin strip of Wonder Tape on the back for the butterfly body. Bend the wings up so that they stick up off of the front of the tag.
I absolutely love the way the texture of this tag turned out. It adds so interest to this tag and was really so easy and quick to create! I love the way the yellow paint settles into it without covering up all the white. I think I was pretty successful in capturing the look and feel of my comforter.
I love the way the hydrangeas turned out too. They look like dried vintage blooms with a bit of faded ribbon weaved between.
Even though I think I have nice handwriting, I rarely include it in my projects. I am really glad I did this time, because it made it feel much more personal. As I was working on this tag inspired by something in our bedroom, I started thinking a lot about my husband. We just celebrated our anniversary. We married in a green house during the annual hydrangea show so hydrangeas have a special significance for us. As I thought about him and our journey together, I thought about how sometimes the fairy tale starts in the middle of the story. That thought made me smile so I included on the tag. I love that through little choices a tag that started out as trying to replicate fabric turned into a sweet little token about my husband and I. I love when art works that way!
Thanks for joining me for this week’s tutorial! I love seeing what you create from my tutorials. If you create something inspired by this one, I hope you will leave me a link in the comments!
PS- Congrats to Paulette from Republic, MO who was my Ranger Ink Melt Art prize winner! Huge thank you’s to all who left a comment and shared my Faux Fused Glass Tutorial! It was shared over 1,000 times on Pinterest. I am beyond blown away by the all of those pins!! And thanks again to Ranger for the fabulous prize!