Studio 490 Tags

I’ve been playing with Wendy Vecchi’s Studio 490 stamps again.


I was tempted to take part in a swap, but I know from past experience that I  have to make the swap items before I sign up as if I sign up first, the looming deadline just kills the creativity stone dead.  So I thought I would have a go at making some tags and if they turned out ok, then maybe I would enter them in the swap that I read about on the EverythingWendyVecchi group.


However, I didn’t read the guidelines thoroughly – the swap is for her new stamps and I was busy making tags with the older ones.  The new ones have actually arrived in the shop, though I don’t think they’re up on the website yet.


The backgrounds on all these tags are done in the same way, by rubbing Ranger’s Adirondack pigment inks into the card.  They blend so beautifully, all I have done is pat the inkpad onto the card, then polish them with a bit of kitchen roll to blend the colours.  I’ve gone around the edges with a darker colour.  The overstamping has been done with a mixture of inks, then there’s different stuff on each one.

The butterfly is stamped onto grungepaper which was painted white then inked up with dye inks.  The sentiment is stamped onto a scrap of glimmer misted card which is why the flash has bounced off it and you can’t really read it.  The black and white rub-ons are some we had in the shop a while ago, can’t remember who they’re by, but I love the black and white mix.

The tree has been accented with Ranger’s white inkssential pen and again, the black and white rub-ons went with it so well.

The flower on the bottom card is stamped onto Hambly vellum and one petal glued to another to pull the design into a circle.  That was glued to a button using glossy accents, then a small paper rose was glued into the hole in the middle.  The sentiment is stamped onto a page from an old dictionary which has been given a coat of gesso.  A 7 Gypsies rub on has been applied in one corner, then it was framed with a little chipboard scalloped frame from Maya Road.  The frame has been triple embossed with a glitter embossing powder at the base.

So, I’m not sure I’ll get round to doing six more tags with the new stamps, but you never know, they’re so gorgeous I’ve already started on them.  Actually I used a couple of them to make a pocket in my special journal today.  Lynn gave me the special journal as a birthday present.  It is a beautifully made, hand stitched, leather bound book with creamy watercolour paper pages, but what really makes it special are all the journal prompts that Lynn hand wrote for me on huge playing cards.

It was in danger of falling into that terrible zone – too precious to use!  So I got it out today and looked at the first journal prompt that I came to – “I love the sound of …”  It was early this morning, I was the only one up and it was so peaceful that I wrote about the quiet.  I would love to say I drew that freehand, but I traced around some Maya Road chipboard letters, then coloured them in with very pale green and grey watercolour using the watercolour pencils from the Derwent watercolour collection tin.

journal page

Well thanks to the bank holiday, I have one more day of quiet before the madness that ensues just before an demo day event – don’t forget it’s next Friday and Saturday – 4th and 5th September and it’s going to be a good one!  Not to mention the chaos that’s about to erupt at home – it’s wall knocking down time next week, ready for the new boiler in two weeks.  Oh joy.  Hope the Dyson can cope with all the dust  coming its way…


Painted UTEE Reindeer – the cheap version

Well Mr Amazon has delivered the lead for the video, but having just bored myself silly listening to myself waffling on about how I made this, I think I’ll just explain it for you to read instead.  It wasn’t a video of me actually doing it, just me talking about it and did get a bit tedious.


I used bright lime green UTEE (ultra thick embossing enamel) which I heated in the Melt Pot, that fabulous gadget by the Queen of all things melty, Suze Weinberg.  You can pour out the molten UTEE onto a non-stick craft mat, then stamp into it, or you can pour it directly onto your stamp – as long as it is rubber.  Please don’t try this on a clear stamp, it might not cope too well.

I actually poured it straight onto the stamp, then when cool, I turned it over and rocked it gently to release it from the stamp.  I had painted a piece of chipboard with a layer of gesso and I wanted to melt my piece onto it.  I heated the chipboard with my heat tool for ages, then laid my UTEE piece onto it.  It stuck in places, but not evenly all over.  I gave the edges a bit of heat from the heat tool, but didn’t want to overdo it as that would just make it all melt flat again.

That’s where the Aga comes in.  I went and put the card straight onto the warming plate and kept an eye on it until the heat from underneath started to melt the UTEE enough to create the bond with the chipboard that I was looking for.

With a smaller piece, you would be able to put it back into a clean melt pot pan to do the same trick.  However a much simpler idea would be to pour your molten UTEE straight onto a piece of card in the first place, then stamp into it.  I didn’t do that because I find that sometimes you get pockets of air trapped and it doesn’t always give the best impression.  Working onto the stamp or non stick mat means that if it all goes wrong, you just pop the piece back in the melt pot and melt it down to try again.

Obviously there are lots of alternatives to an Aga, though I would urge caution – don’t get carried away with enthusiasm and burn yourself.  Molten UTEE is extremely hot and if you start messing about with upturned irons, well I just don’t want to know about it, ok!

To be honest, I think it’s the finishing touches that generated so much interest at the event last week. The ridges around the edge and the blobby bits came from the heat tool – carefully directed at a shallow angle so I wasn’t flattening the main image.

I then did something slightly unusual to the UTEE – I painted a layer of white paint right over the top.  I think I actually used white acrylic paint now I come to think about it, not gesso as I originally told people.  I wiped the raised areas pretty much straight away though so that the paint went onto the background layer, but the raised areas were still lime green from the UTEE.

When the paint was dry, I carefully dusted a selection of Perfect Pearls and our own Pearly Powders onto the background – blue in the background and gold and pearl on the reindeer and foreground.  The photo is angled so you can see the pearly sheen – the green is actually brighter in real life.

I used an ink blending tool to add some Peeled Paint Distress ink to the background and StazOn Olive green around the edge.  I think I will punch a couple of holes in the top and hang it on a little ribbon.

Be aware though that the UTEE can curl pretty dramatically.  The morning after I made this, I nearly threw it in the bin as it had curled up like a banana.  I actually put it in the book press and forgot about it – other things have been in and out of the press and I came across it about three weeks after I put it in – beautifully flat.  So do build in a couple of days to leave it under a stack of books if you want to have a go at something like this.

Anyway, here’s a more traditional use of the same stamp.


This uses Ranger pigment inks (Lettuce and a bit of Bottle around the edge) which have then been embossed with my trusty sparkly embossing powder.  It’s probably Kaleidascope, could be something else though as it’s been a faithful friend for so long that it’s been moved from tub to tub and has lost it’s original label long ago.  The background paper is from Decadent Brocade and the sentiment from the Damask Reindeer plate has got to be one of my all time favourite Christmas sentiments!

DSC_0051 I have so much to share with you this week – including new Cuthbert stamps and a competition to name a sweet little friend of his.  I’m heading over to the Elusive Images blog to see if anyone has won last week’s competition over there, and tomorrow, Carrie and I will be going through all the new products that just came in to see what we can get up onto the website this week.

So stay tuned, there’s lots going on!