Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Quirky Technique Yields Pretty, Shimmery Results

Some techniques are just too complicated and/or messy for me. Stamping acrylic blocks to create backgrounds, however, is relatively easy and makes only a limited mess. Vicki Dutcher's blog post here inspired me to give it a try, although I didn't follow her directions exactly.

Call me a rebel.

Acrylic Block Stamping Tutorial for Twinkling H2Os

In concept, this basic technique is easy. Ink up your acrylic block using some coloring medium (Vicki suggests watercolor crayons, which certainly yielded lovely results on her card), spritz with water, and stamp. But it's also unpredictable, and you might waste some paper getting the effect you want. Repeat the mantra "it's only paper" as needed. My tutorial focuses on shimmery results with Twinkling H2Os.

1. Paint your acrylic block with Twinkling H2Os. I imagine each medium has its own persnickety quirks, but a wet medium like Twinkling H2Os will bead up on the block and look nothing like what it will look like on paper. The idea is to make sure you have enough liquid on the block that the paint pigment will spread around attractively under the pressure of the block.

2. After spreading a bunch of paint on the block with a brush, spritz the block with water and stamp it onto heavy cardstock or watercolor paper. 

3. Keep the block resting on the paper for a few seconds so the paper absorbs the pigment. If you lift the block too early, the pigment will pool into veins...think about what happens when kids fingerpaint and lift their hands off the paper. Of course, the veining might be a very cool look, depending on what you're doing. 

Troubleshooting and Suggestions

1. Experiment first, and keep an open mind. This is a technique for which an attitude of play is essential. Loosen up and enjoy the process because you might get something amazing when you least expect it. Also, you might punch shapes or images out of backgrounds that don't quite work as backgrounds.

2. Too little water on the block, and the pigment will look spotty and dark and, well, diseased. At least, that's the look I got. Too much water, and it'll look more like my card above. The color I used on this was actually a fairly deep goldish red, and because of the amount of water, I got shimmery, watery mauve, which led me to use the dream sentiment. The best "artistic" results, I think, come from a little less water, which I'll show you on tomorrow's card.

3. One variation to consider might be using regular watercolor or acrylic paint, ink or reinkers and spritzing with Glimmer Mist to add shimmer. Smooch would be another source of shimmer: just pour a bit onto a plastic plate, thin a bit with a wet brush, apply to the block, and stamp. Clean the block quickly, though, as the Smooch might stain. Stains on blocks come of (usually) with a little rubbing alcohol.

4. Paper matters here. Depending on how much water you use, you might need watercolor paper. I used heavy cardstock (PTI's vintage cream), and it buckled a bit.

Now, go forth and have fun! 

stamps: Papertrey Happy Trails
ink: Versacolor
paper: PTI vintage cream
accessories: Twinkling H2Os, brush, acrylic block


  1. This is exciting! I've been having fun making acrylic block backgrounds with distress inks, but now I can try my Twinkling H2Os! (All two colours that I own...) I like the idea of trying regular watercolours with some Smooch spritz, too. Thanks for the ideas and the beautiful example.

  2. Beautiful! I've tried something similar before too - and I LOVE the results. Thanks so much for sharing!--Audrie

  3. Well how COOL is that - my idol uses MY blog on her posting -- yep! Pretty darn awesome!! LOL I bet the twinkling h20 looks good IRL - just can't see the effect with a photo :( - Great directions/ possible results from the different mediums~ Love your card!! Thanks for the shout out my friend~

  4. Great tutorial, Susan! Can't wait to try it. Thanks for including all the tips and pitfalls. I love the card you made using it.

  5. Very pretty! I will have to give this a try; it will be good to make use of those twinkling h20's! Thanks for sharing!

  6. I've read about this technique before but have never tried it so it looks like I need to get on the ball. Thanks for the nudge to try it. Your card is beautiful and I know I'd like it even more if I could see the shimmer effect of Twinkling H2Os.

  7. Beautiful card, Susan. The technique looks awesome and great choice of colors.

  8. That is a great idea and I think I might actually try it, when time permits! I like the look on your card. Thanks so much for sharing.

  9. GORGEOUS! I CASE'd you. Had to try this technique. You can see mine here - http://slanzalotto.blogspot.com/2011/08/peaceful-wishes.html Thanks so much for the inspiration!

  10. Hi Susan, Great card, love that effect and have promised myself I WILL try it:0) Hope the holidays go well and you're having fun, Gay xxx

  11. Oh, Susan, this is really so dreamy and pretty, love the pink!

  12. Beautiful Susan! Love the pinky red/salmon colour you've used here!

  13. awesome card! love that technique!

  14. awesome card! love that technique!


Thank you so much for taking time to comment!