Thursday, 22 November 2007

Mini album

A couple of weeks ago I made a mini-album for Roger, my boyfriend's, birthday. I posted pictures of it on the Next Generation Stampers yahoo group site. Lots of people wanted the instructions how to make it, but as Roger occasionally checks my blog I needed to wait until after his birthday to post them. I decided to make another album so I could photograph it as I went along.

1. Take a piece of 12" x 12" scrapbook paper. Selecting paper that has a variety of patterns means the pages of the album will be different. However avoid obviously texted paper as some of the text will be the wrong way up!

2. Fold the paper in half lengthways.

3. Open and fold the edges up to the central fold line.

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3, folding the other direction so that the paper is divided onto 16 squares.

5. Cut the paper on the folds; 3 squares up, 3 squares down and 3 squares up (follow the black lines on the diagram).

6. Concertina the paper, folding up then down. Make sure the first fold has the blank/wrong side of the paper on top/outwards. Keep going until the whole sheet is folded up.

7. Glue the wrong sides of the paper together to make the pages of the album secure. Already this is like a mini book!

8. Glue a piece of ribbon or fibre across the front of the book, around the spine and across the back.

9. To make the front and back cover, cut 2 squares of chipboard 3" x 3"

10. Cut 2 pieces of paper about 4" x 4" and stick one onto each chipboard square, leaving a border all around the edge.

11. Trim a triangle off each corner of paper, making sure it is not right up to the chipcoard corner.

12. Stick the paper around the chipboard.

13. Stick the covers onto the front and back of the book. Then decorate front cover and pages!

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Gideon's zentangle

Gideon, my 8 year old nephew, saw my zentangles last night and was desperate to have a go himself. I found him some card and although I had to draw him the initial string, he had great fun fulling in the sections. He even wanted to come around today and make some more!

Friday, 2 November 2007

More zentangles

Zentangles are so addictive! I decided to try one on an ATC so that I could trade it, or send it to one of my ATC swaps. This one makes me think of a lady dancing with a very large bottom! I then wanted to do another with a smaller nibbed pen so I could get more detail. As I only had a blue pen I used this. I enjoyed drawing the extra detail, although, it took a lot longer to complete.

Thursday, 1 November 2007


I can't believe how long it's been since I last posted. I set up my blog and had every intention of regularly posting about all the great things I'd been making. However, as with most good intentions they rarely work out!
I have recently joined a new Yahoo group (Next-Generation-Stampers) and discovered Zentangles! Here is my first Zentangle and I'm looking forward to creating more in the near future, as soon as I get all the other urgent projects finished...
Visit to find out more.

Sunday, 21 January 2007

Altered Journal

I've had great fun recently altering journals. This one was first covered with torn pages from a 1950s school edition of Macbeth. It even has pencil notes written by a previous student! I added Distressing ink to age it further. I also used Distressing ink to colour the tape and stamped a strip of paper with pen images. I used an art mold to make the key embellishment and coloured it with Brilliance ink. I also added stamped images to the inside covers.

Thursday, 18 January 2007

Intaglio Printing

I've been looking for things to add to my Etsy site. I decided to list some of the prints I made a couple of years ago which has got me thinking about the whole printing process, how I got my press etc.

My sister and I attended some Creative Arts days several years ago where we used an etching press for the first time to make mono-prints. We both loved it and wanted to learn more. So we both did some courses at The Works in Beccles, including collographs, intaglio and screen printing. My favourites were the intaglio and screen printing. Although I initially enjoyed mono-printing the results were very unpredictable. With the intaglio technique I had much more control of the outcome. We both wanted to do more but didn't have a press to use at home. Unfortunately neither of us had spare money for one! So Nan came to the rescue...

My Grandfather was a prisoner of war in Japan during the Second World War. A few years ago compensation was given, and as he was no longer alive it went to my Nan. She was always so generous that she wanted my sister and I to have some it. An etching press was a perfect choice as it was something we both wanted yet couldn't afford. We were even able to get some oil-based printing inks and paper.

Intaglio printing:

Intaglio printing uses a plate that has an incised image on it. Ink is rubbed into the grooves, excess removed and then printed. There are several materials that can be used to make the plates and different ways to incise the image. I use mount board.

To make the printing plate -

  1. Draw the design onto mount board (I use the standard sort used for picture framing).

  2. Use a sharp craft knife or scalpel to carefully cut through the top layer of the board, following the lines of the design. Double lines must be cut so that a section can be peeled away to leave a recess for the ink.

  3. Seal the board with button polish/shellac on both sides. It's very important to do this as smoothly as possible as any imperfections will show on the final print.

Example of a finished plate

To prepare the paper -

  1. Take a piece of specialist printing paper at least 1" larger on each side than the plate.
  2. Soak paper in cold water for at least an hour - can be left in all day!
  3. Take the paper out of the water and lay between blotting paper with a weight on top - an old piece of wooden board works great.
  4. The paper needs to be left at least 20 mins - or the time it takes to ink the plate - its not crucial as long as the paper hasn't dried out completely, it needs to be damp but not wet.

To ink the plate -

  1. Mix linseed oil relief printing ink with copper plate oil to give the ink a smooth consistency.
  2. Use a small piece of credit card to smooth the ink into the grooves on the plate.
  3. Use a cloth to wipe away excess ink (I like to use old t-shirts). This is the hardest part as the quality of the final print relies on the amount of ink left on the plate. Too much and it looks messy, not enough and the print has holes or feint sections.
  4. Make sure the edges of the plate are wiped clean.

To print the plate -

  1. Put a piece of newsprint onto the etching press and place the inked plate on top, ink side up.
  2. Lay the damp printing paper on top of the plate and place another piece of newsprint on top.
  3. Roll through the etching press.
  4. Remove the printing paper and wrap in tissue paper - this protects the print while the ink dries.
  5. Clean the plate or make another print.

Notes -

Oil based inks are very messy and can get everywhere! Wear old clothes and surgical gloves.

Wednesday, 17 January 2007


I have finally taken the plunge and started a blog!

Well actually this is the second attempt as I originally typed my email incorrectly and therefore couldn't access my blog after I'd created it. It's taken a while to sort out - the guys at Blogger Support are very helpful - and at last I'm back in.

My life is very hectic with teaching and crafting so we'll see how often I get to add to my bog. However, I'm hoping to be able to share projects I'm working on, tips and tricks, finished items (hopefully not too many disasters - or should I say 'learning experiences') and have some fun along the way.

So I'm off to do some crafting!

Wishful thinking, unfortunately, as I'm off work with Bronchitis! I will therefore now crawl back to bed and dream about all the wonderful projects I could be working on if I had the energy.