An Ode to Foam Stamps

Hello! This is Jackie, and I’m here to confess my love of foam stamps, and to sing their praises.

Foam stamps are one of my favorite craft supplies/tools to work with when doing mixed media projects. Of course, their lines can’t be as delicate as rubber or photo-polymer stamps, but the bold lines of foam stamps are still quite appealing to me.

You can buy foam stamps in stores (Hobby Lobby), or online (Joggles, Art Foamies, and Clearsnap Magic). I have at least one from each place, and I love using them, but I also like to make them.

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An envelope I gel printed using a gorgeous foam stamp I found at Hobby Lobby on sale for $0.88. Yes, $0.88.

And you too can make your own stamps. All you need is craft foam. Craft foam sheets and shapes (plain or self-adhesive) can be found at just about any craft store, or a store with a decent craft section, like Walmart.

(All the pictures henceforth are of stamps I’ve made.)

Craft foam can be mounted on a variety of surfaces: A wooden block, matte board, cardboard, paper roll, thick foam, etc. Through trial and error, I’ve found that Glossy Accents and Aleena’s Tack-It Over and Over work best as adhesives, so far.

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The foam shapes are mounted to 6 mm foam by Darice.

 

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The foam is adhered to the blocks of unmounted rubber stamps. The oval shape you see on the paper is on the other side of the smaller of the two stamps. Just flip, stamp, and repeat!

And it can be cut using various cutting tools like: scissors, cutting machine (Silhouette, Cricut), and die cut machine (Cuttlebug, Big Shot, etc.)

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The foam in this picture was cut using the die in the top right corner.

 

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I drew on the foam with a sharpie, cut out the shape with scissors and a craft knife, then adhered it to a paper roll. (3 mm foam)

 

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The one on the left is the result of foam being cut in the previous picture. The one on the right was also hand cut… Each. Piece. (>_<) It took what seemed like forever.

 

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The sharpie on foam project was a little messy, so this time I drew on a piece of paper with a sharpie and then scanned and cut it with the Silhouette Cameo. (2 mm foam)

 

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This one is a design from the Silhouette Design Store, also cut using the Silhouette Cameo.

 

You can also make impressions in foam using a heating tool and objects around your craft room like: embossing folders, beads, stencils and stamps.

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Heat the foam first, then quickly place the punchinella over it, and then place an acrylic block on top of both. Apply pressure for 15 seconds, and voila!

 

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The impressions on the Clearsnap Magic stamps were made using embossing folders, a rubber stamp (the punched circle with the letters), a stencil (the stamp 2nd from the left), and a string of beads (stamp 3rd from the left).

Here are a few pictures of foam stamps I’ve made, and some of the ways I’ve used them in mixed media projects.

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I was in the middle of this journal spread and decided I wanted a specific pattern I didn’t already have, so I made this stamp in a matter of minutes.

 

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The impression on the stamp was made with an embossing folder.

 

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There are six foam stamps used in this journal spread. Can you find them? 1) The arrows in teal along the top, 2) The double oval shape in black going under the wording, 3) the overlapping rectangles in the background in fuchsia and white covering the whole page, 4) The flower stamped in black on the right edge, 5) The teal lotus flower stamped on white paper and glued, 6) The lavender tribal pattern stamped on black paper and glued. Did you find all of them?

Well, I hope I’ve successfully passed on my addiction to foam stamps, and I can’t wait to see how you incorporate them into your projects. Don’t forget to tags us on IG (Gauche Alchemy and  Creationsbyjsheri), and post on Gauche Alchemy Studio FB page when you do.

Until next time, be creative!

Jackie

Plant pokes from palm tree bark

Hi, Vesna here!

How do you get from ‘words and art’ to ‘plant pokes from palm tree bark’?  Hahahhha.

Well, the challenge this month was really a challenge for me: words and art!  When I think of words in artwork I think that they should suggest some kind of idea, some kind of meaning, something deep, something to make you re-evaluate your thinking, your ideas.  And this works very well for some artists, but not for me.

I think of my work as playful.  If there is any deeper meaning in it, it is to relax, to play, to escape from the every day duties and roles we play in our lives.  These are the very reasons I create.  I want to step away from the real world, from the obligations, from following a schedule, meeting a deadline.  I want to let my inner child be free to do whatever she wishes.  No judgement, no critiques, no deadlines.  Play time!!

What’s important to me in my work is to use materials that are affordable or even better free.  I like free!!  I also like earth-friendly.  I like giving a second chance to items that were going to be trash.

So the other day I was driving around and I noticed palm tree bark all over the neighborhood, in the streets, in people’s yards.  Here in the Arizona desert this is very common.  In the summer we get dust storms with winds strong enough to knock down a tree.  So palm tree bark gets carried by the winds and you can find it all over the place.  And I decided that words, art and palm tree bark will need to work together to help me with this challenge.

I first walked to a neighbor’s yard and picked up some palm tree bark.

Pam tree bark

Then I gathered additonal supplies:

Paint brushes

Paint

Mixed media papers (courtesy of Gauche Alchemy)

Gel medium

Triple thick glaze

Ink

Alphabet stamps

Shish kabob skewers

Metal cutting shears

Plant pokes from palm tree bark

I tried cutting the bark with regular scissors.  This did not work.  I didn’t know that the bark is soooo hard.  It’s very light, but very hard.  So I used metal cutting shears to cut the palm tree bark in circle/oval shapes.  And I cut down the mixed media papers to the same shape but slightly smaller than the palm tree circles.

Plant pokes from Palm tree bark

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I used gel medium to adhere the paper onto the bark.

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I stamped words on blank paper (printing paper is fine).  I thought nature themed words were suitable.  They are usually positive and perhaps relaxing.

Earth friendly crafts

Use gel medium again to glue them in the center.

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I used paint, including puffy paint to further decorate them.

Earth friendly crafts

When the paint is dry, you can use triple thick glaze to coat the bark.  It will make it shiny and more durable.

Plant pokes form palm tree bakr

Then use E6000 to glue the skewers on to the back.

Earth friendly crafts

Once the skewers are glued and the glue is dry you are ready to add a little whimsy to your household plants.  Stick your plant pokes in the different plants around your home.  I hope they add a little smile every time you see them.

Earth friendly crafts

Earth friendly crafts

Earth friendly crafts

TriFace Ornament

Greetings and Salutations! Scraps, here, with my take on this month’s wintry blue challenge in the form of something I’m calling a triface ornament.

Blue Christmas ornament by Scraps Vanderbeek

Mostly because it has three sides or faces and reminds me a bit of the shaping of a tricorner hat. Feel free to suggest a better name in the comments!

Triface ornament by Scraps Vanderbeek

I started with some Victorian clip-art placed into a template I created in Photoshop, then adjusted with the cyanotype filter to give them a blue hue. Basically you need three 3″x2.5″ squares strung together plus a tab on one end to join it all together. The gray lines on my printout will either be trimmed away or covered in glitter, so don’t worry about that.

DIY ornament by Scraps Vanderbeek

After trimming out my design and scoring along each fold, I used Helmar Craft Glue and some fine glitter to add some sparkle to my images.

DIY ornament by Scraps Vanderbeek

Once I’d glittered them up enough it was time to work on how to hang this guy.

Triface ornament by Scraps Vanderbeek

Equal lengths of blue ribbon were the answer, attached just to one side of the score lines on the back of the card stock strip.

DIY ornament by Scraps Vanderbeek

Once the ribbons are in place you can “close up” the card by gluing the inner 1/2 inch or so of each corner together along with the tab. Binder clips or clothespins come in real handy here!

ribbon tassel by Scraps Vanderbeek

While all that’s drying, make a tassel of the same ribbon however long suits your purposes. You could also use a pre-made tassel from the store, yarn, whatever you’ve got around. Leave enough of a tail to join it up with the hanging lines attached to the ornament.

ornament hanger by Scraps Vanderbeek

Which it’s now time to knot together. The three hangers and the tassel get tied together to serve as the hook to hang on the tree. You could attach a ring or a hook, but this allows for quite a bit of leeway on its own.

DIY ornament by Scraps Vanderbeek

The finishing touches include glittering the spines of ornament as well as the top and bottoms of the pinched-in corners. Beads were threaded onto some of the tassel strands and other tips were dipped in glue and glitter.

Pretty much the sky’s the limit with this basic formula of three panels and a tassel. The color palette of the December challenge fit right in with my preferred decorating scheme for the holidays and I had a lot of fun with this project.

Wishing you creative days!
~Scraps~

The Moon Has 5 Faces

Greetings and Salutations! Scraps, here, with a new set of decorations for our home Halloween display courtesy of this month’s inspiration board!

Halloween is our absolute favorite holiday between my husband and I and we enjoy decorating the yard and front rooms for it. When I saw this month’s challenge I immediately knew I was homing in on those great old moon faces in that late 19th/early 20th century style.

moon phases home decor by Scraps Vanderbeek

To make my moons I first used a bit of ‘work smarter, not harder’ ingenuity and picked up a 6-pack of 16″ cake circles. Sure, having just recently moved, we have oodles of cardboard boxes around that I could have cut up, but cutting smooth circles can send a perfectionist flying over the cuckoo’s nest, so I opted for convenience.

cake circles turned moon phases by Scraps Vanderbeek

The second thing to note about these moons is that while I was going for the old black and white look, to have simply used black and white paint would have looked more stark and modern than aged. Instead, I used antique white (painted on the uncoated side of the cake circles) as my base, and then built up the shadows and lines with gradually more burnt sienna mixed into my antique white (with a little ivy green mixed into the final batch for the night sky bits).

painted moon shadows by Scraps Vanderbeek

painted moon faces by Scraps Vanderbeek

moon phases home decor by Scraps Vanderbeek

Deciding that the sky portions of the half and crescent moons were too plain as-is, I added twinkling stars to those areas in a somewhat random scattering. I stuck to paint but sequins or crystals would have also worked a treat.

painted moons home decor by Scraps Vanderbeek

Now, you might wonder why I opted for 5 moon phase faces and the simple reason is that we have 5 windows along the front of our house and I wanted one to hang in each of the upstairs windows. And, to better facilitate the spookiness of these gazers, I painted over the main features and the stars with glow-in-the-dark paint. It goes on more-or-less clear so no one will see anything “off” in the daylight, but at night the faces should peer eerily from behind our wavy-glass panes.

glow in the dark painted moons by Scraps Vanderbeek

Finally, I added hangers of olive green grosgrain ribbon to the back of the moons with T’s of packing tape and hung the moons in the windows with the help of suction cupped hooks. (The “candles” on the sill are made of pvc pipe, check out this instructable for the how to.)

moon phases home decor by Scraps Vanderbeek

Remember, you’ve still got a couple of weeks to get your own luna-tic projects in for a chance at the prize!

Halloween home decor by Scraps Vanderbeek

~~Wishing you creative days and spooky nights~~
Scraps

Milk Glass: Faux and Fabulous!

Happy Friday! Scraps, here, with a great home-decor diy from Mama Amy!

Milk glass has been around for centuries and has become very popular with the vintage-retro collectors out there. The good stuff can fetch a pretty penny at tag sales and autions, even though it’s still being produced by some companies. Lower-end pieces can be found in thrift stores on a regular basis.

Still, we know how much fun it is to do-it-ourselves, and tutorials abound for making your own milk glass out of paint and the vessel of your choice.

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Amy: I saw a tutorial for making milk glass without spray paint. In a nutshell, you take the glass container and pour plain old latex house paint into it, turning it to coat the sides (you can add water to thin it, but I didn’t). Then you turn it upside down on some paper, and check on it every few minutes. Wipe the lip and turn over again. Once the paint has mostly dripped out, you can leave it to dry. I left mine to dry upside down on a piece of ouchless cardboard – the corrugated side lets air circulate.

This is what it looks like inside when it’s all dry:

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The best thing about this is that you don’t have to make it milk glass per se – you can use any color you like. I got some sample jars of paint at the hardware store for about $3 each.

Scraps adds: Though milk glass is usually thought of as white, vintage milk glass can also be blue, pink, yellow, brown, or black.

When you’re done, you have some cool paper to cut up and use in your collages! (You can also “stamp” with the jar opening on some pieces of paper for use in your art journaling or whatever.)

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I used a tiny jar that once had some kind of food in it… pesto? Capers? I used the rub-ons from the Money Shot kit to finish it up

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fauxmilkglassjar
fauxmilkglassupcycledjar

I finished the jar with a bit of fiber/ribbon wrapped around the top to disguise the lid threads. Now I have a new container to hold my paintbrushes.

fauxmilkglassrecycledjar

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I think the addition of the rub-ons and fiber are what take Amy’s version of the usual milk glass diy to a whole new level–a gauche level!

So the next time you empty out a jar of sauce, ask yourself: recycle or upcycle?

Happy Crafting!

~Scraps