Thursday, March 8, 2018

Make Today Count

Hi everyone!

I thought I might share an easy project today and some tips on using the foam stamps.  I really love the new Cutout alphabets that were just released but I admit I'm always anxious about getting a good impression with foam stamps.  Of course if I was using them for a mixed media background or art journal I wouldn't be as concerned about a perfect impression.  That kind of project will be saved for another day.

I started with a large Vignette Tray for the surface.  I prepped the edges of the tray with Picket Fence Distress paint and let that dry.
I used Collage Medium to adhere different strips of paper from the Wallflower Paper Stash and the new Worn Wallpaper pack.  These two products go together so well that it will be hard to choose which pattern to use!  Once the paper is secure, add a thin layer of the Collage Medium over the top to seal.

(click on photo to enlarge)

To add the words you can stamp directly on to the surface (which I find a bit scary) or use Plain Collage Paper like I did.  Here is my easy method:
My secret weapon is Dina's Media Black Gesso.  I love how thick and creamy the gesso is!  You could use a brayer to add the gesso but I find that a bit messy so I use an old dabber bottle (you know, the kind that the Distress Paint used to come in).  I cleaned out the paint, added the Black Gesso and put on a new dabber top. The Media Black Gesso comes in a jar as well as a tube.  The tube is much easier to squeeze into the bottle but if you have the jar, just use a palette knife as scoop it in.  Now I'm ready for this project as well as many others.  The gesso will stay soft and usable in the bottle even if it is not used for many months.
ps) when cleaning paint out of the old bottle - do it over the trash can not the kitchen sink, as there is a mixing ball in the bottle and you wouldn't want it to go down the garbage disposal.  Now if you do get a mixing ball down your garbage disposal (not that I would know anything about that) one might use a shop vac to get it out.  just saying...
My Stamp Platform works perfectly for the stamping portion because I can stamp the image as many times as I need to get a good clean image.
The Collage Paper is thin and porous so I always lay a paper towel on my Stamp Platform to absorb an excess gesso/paint.  Add the Plain Collage Paper (both are held in place with the magnets) to secure everything.  You might notice I have 4 magnets...I bought an extra set just so I could secure larger things like this.
I arranged each word I could on the paper.  I could stamp "make" and "count" at the same time because they do not share letters.  I stamped "today" in another round because I needed the o and the a from the first words.  To be honest, this is actually easier than trying to gauge your word placement on the paper rather than on the project.
Bring the top plate down, press and pick up the Foam Stamps.  Now we are ready to stamp.
Now just squeeze and pounce the Black Gesso onto the Foam Stamps.  
As you can see it is just a nice smooth coat of paint.  If you have never done it before, just give yourself a practice run before you commit to the final.
Press down on the top plate to get a good impression.   If it does not give a dark enough image the first time, just add more gesso and stamp again.
 1st press - not too bad but I think I will add gesso to the words one more time.
 2nd press - now that looks great!
 The gesso dries quickly but if you are in a real hurry, you can use a heat tool.
Once you have each of the three words stamped onto the Collage Paper, use a water brush to cut away the excess.  The paper will only rip along the water line (trust me).  This will leave you with a rough, almost furry edge which is exactly what we want.

Add Collage Medium to the Vignette Tray where you expect the words to go.  Press the Collage Paper down into the medium to adhere.  Once all three words have been added, go over the entire surface with a thin layer of the medium.  All the feathered edges (that you got by using the water brush) will fade into the patterned background...just like magic.
Once the Collage Paper was dry, I added Distress Crayon Walnut Stain around all the edges of the Vignette Tray using a wet wipe to mellow it out.  I also flicked Picket Fence Distress Paint over the entire surface.  I used a wet wipe to remove the paint splatters from the black letters.
For the little vignette, I painted a frame from the Vignette Frames pack with Iced Spruce Distress Paint.  Once dry, I rubbed Picket Fence Distress Paint over the raised bumps to highlight the detail.  TIP: There are four Vignette Frames in each pack and each frame matches one of the Vignette Boxes.

The metal in the corner is from the Vignette Accents pack. I used a combination of Picket Fence Distress Paint, Patina Alcohol Ink and Gold Mixative to get this finish.  Yummy right?

The Paper Doll is my favorite part.  I tinted her with a hat a dress with Distress Markers then lightly wiped Collage Medium over the hat, dress and tights. I quickly sprinkled Clear Rock Candy over the surface.  Once dry I added a piece of ruffle from a vintage petticoat.  It was already gathered at the top so I just cut away some of the netting to expose the ruffles and glued it into place.  I have been waiting about 3 years to find a way to use the old ruffle!
I also added a cute Wishbone and Story Stick with Tim Holtz Craft Thread because I thought, who wouldn't want to wear this party dress 365 days of the year?
I hope you will try this easy technique to stamp with foam.  It really helps me to not be so stressed out about not getting the perfect stamp.  I mean really, who wants to make a project and then mess up on the stamping part?  Not me!

now carry on,


  1. i love every detail!!! the shop vac and ruffle are excellent...thank you!!

  2. This is just adorable. I love that ruffle on that paper doll! And the 365.... I need to stock up on those! And creative ways to use a shop vac - who would have thought!

  3. Thanks for another fabulous project - that ruffle is fantastic - I think I just decided that it’s time to cut up my 1987 wedding dress hahaha. I run my foamies under the tap - how do you clean yours, especially when using gesso?

    1. to be very honest, I have never cleaned the foam top of a dapper bottle. The refill 3-pack of dappers is so cheap that after a year I just changed it out and I still have 2 left. (and I too have a 1987 wedding dress that would make a great fabric journal)

  4. This is so ADORABLE, Paula! Great idea on the old paint bottle, thanks for the reminder about the shaker ball..totally something I would do! LOL! ...and let's talk about that ruffle...OMG!!! So very swoon worthy! ❤️❤️❤️❤️ Love it!! ~Stacy ❤️

  5. I love the gesso tip! That ruffle was worth the wait she’s so cute.

  6. So gorgeous! Great tutorial and beautiful project.

  7. Such a beautiful project Paula! The vintage ruffle paired perfectly with the paper doll... and the clear rock candy glitter just took it over the top. I love it!!! I definitely need those foam stamps :)

  8. This is really sweet Paula! I just got some plain collage paper, among other things, in the mail today. Thanks for sharing your crafty ideas!

  9. Beautiful project, Paula!!! That ruffle is just perfect!!!

  10. Lovely project. Great tips. Thanks.

  11. Absolutely, positively one of the FINEST tutorials I have EVER looked at! Ms. Paula, this looks like terrific fun and I cannot wait to give these techniques a try!

  12. Such a fun and adorable project. What is not to like­čÖâ

  13. Paula this is magnificent ❤️ I've got to try this soon ( minus the disposal part of course...) love the wallpaper and collage papers a softer side of Tim things and the trims are perfect - love! And may the girl paper doll be in every pack my absolute fav!

  14. This is so lovely Paula! The little girl with her gorgeous dress is just adorable... and yes, I would want to wear that ruffle dress every day too! The gesso words look fantastic - what ever did we do in the days before the stamping platform.... xx

  15. Oh. My. Goodness! This is so "Paula!" If I were to see it somewhere and not know who made it, you would be the first person to come to mind! Gorgeous make, Miss P!

  16. Beautiful! Thank you for all the tips and how to, especially the garbage disposal one.

  17. Always an inspiring lighthouse in our creativity world: thank you!

  18. Wow, this is stunning and also great tips, thanks Paula! I love the girls dress, gorgeous.

  19. Oh yeah Paula! Everything so amazing! I really like foam stamps. Glad to see how you used them with gesso. Always inspiring! TU for tutorial!

  20. WOW PAula! this project is outstanding! love love your tips and love the dress, really fantastic! Barbara

  21. Always the best step-outs from you (including the part about the shop-vac extrusion). I save all my Stickles bottles and refill them with glues, paints, etc. because the tiny tips offer more control and sometimes you just need a little bit. Daubers and gesso--that's brilliant!

    I've missed seeing your wonderful creations and hope you'll have more studio time in the future--I enjoy your projects so much.