Lessons in Stampin’ Up’s Embossing Paste

Well, my first foray into using Stampin’ Up’s Embossing Paste was certainly interesting. It’s been sitting on my desk patiently waiting for me to get to it. I finally got the paint palette and palette knives, and I already had ink refills to tint it with, should the mood strike. This won’t be too hard, right? I thought. Hmm.

Tonight the mood struck, when I was permitting myself a little dabble time before attempting to go to bed at a reasonable hour (since I’m on book deadline again). I had a salt-and-pepper love-themed notecard I wanted to add some hearts to as a border, and I thought the thick embossing paste would show up better rather than ink of the same color on a stamp I was waffling on.

Well. Apparently I have to figure out how not to let it bleed underneath the stencil. That seems to be my main problem. I had washi-taped down the edges of the first stencil (and card), which was created from an edge punch, and even kept my hands on all of it as secondary security, but still I erred. The heart borders weren’t terrible, though I don’t like the smudges at the bottom. I think I went over them three times. And once the paper is smudged with the color, it’s definitely hard to remove it.

I forgot to mention that I had put a little bit (probably too much) with my palette knife into my paint palette and added a drop – and then two drops – of Sweet Sugarplum ink refill (SU, current product, In-Color). I’m going to guess that one drop is enough. I was trying to match the color of the SU heart enamel shapes because I already had one on the card. Two drops definitely made it darker. So then I thought maybe I should add more paste to spread out the color more and make it the lighter shade I was going for. That meant there was a whole lot of embossing paste in my palette tray, more than six hearts would require. And mixing all that with my metal paint palette was difficult and sounded like scratches on a chalkboard. Perhaps a foam board or toothpick next time.

I started looking for other stencils I could use while I had all this goop I didn’t want to waste. I found a DCWV 6×6 stencil (EM-033-00012) that had both “LOVE” and “Be You” on it, and since this is the season for Valentine’s Day cards, I thought they’d go nicely with my current projects. I pulled two heart stencils too. Ambitious, apparently. 😉 And no, my paste didn’t stretch that far. 🙂

But in doing the “Be You” stencils on cardstock and then on DSP, I had a lot more problems with runs beneath the stencil. Granted, things were starting to dry while I searched for more stencils to use up the excess I’d made, but I thought I had time. Maybe I should have added a drop of water to keep it thin? No idea. Will have to research that.

I did find that once the paste was partially dry, I could take a tool and scrape off the excess around the letters…and the piece of black background/polka-dotted paper hid that a little better than the grey cardstock. Still not perfect, though. But manageable. At this point I’m thinking of taking my Cutterbee scissors and fussy-cutting around the gray cardstock example. Seems like it’s drying pretty quickly. I can’t scrape off anything around the hearts anymore. It would let me pat the “Be You” letters back into place by hand when I was trimming those with my Creative Memories sticker placement tool (use whatever you’ve got, right?).

Then I tried to wash off my tools. I think I should have done that immediately. I stood at the sink scraping off the stencil (which had been used twice then) with my fingernail, under running water and even soaking it in the sink. I couldn’t get it all off, and I bent a bit of my stencil as well.

So, I’m looking for tips on just what to do or not do with stencils and embossing paste. I’ve figured out that a little ink goes a long way and the paste dries fairly quickly, and obviously I need to clean the stencil earlier – but how do I get it to stop the bleeding? Thinner, repeated layers? I like height. 😦 I couldn’t see how to washi the close parts down either. If you have advice, I’m all eyes. Thanks in advance. It has to get better than this! It leaves such a cool 3D look when it’s actually all smooth.

I’ve wondered, too, whether the embossing paste (tinted or not) would work in silicone molds like SU’s retired pressed clay molds or the current Mod Podge molds sold in various locations. Any clue?

Pics attached so you can see my mess. 🙂 And thanks for the help! I feel like such a newbie. 🙂

Connie

The Process Begins

Hello again! Sorry it’s been so long. Busy, busy…

So, I don’t know if there are other creative types with my issue (though I suspect there are), but one of the things that happens to me at night is that my brain “winds up” instead of “winds down.”

There may a number of reasons for that, considering all I know about me, but it definitely seems to be something about the peace and quiet of the evening and the diminished stress that frees my mind of the somewhat stifled creativity that happens during the day (when I need to accomplish my before-the-husband-gets-home list). The evening just *feels* different to me. I find myself wanting to wander to the craft room and “play” in the waning hours even when I have editing projects I need to complete. (I’ve mentioned that I’m trying to run two businesses at once, right?)

Once these ideas strike, I’m left with the agonizing decision of whether to be a good girl and go to bed (where I may stare at the ceiling, wondering when sleep will arrive) or give in to that sparking creativity in hopes that I just finish the darn thing quickly so I can go to bed before the sunrise (or, I suppose, a third choice – go do my editing).

Plus, there’s always the niggling worry that I’m going to forget whatever “brilliant” thing I came up with in the first place once I wait on creating it. Because this forgetfulness does indeed happen, I’ve started sketching out what I imagine – sometimes. But more on that in another post.

So this was the scene occurring when I took this picture for my new Instagram account – boom! Idea. Stay up? Go to bed? Editing not optional. Ehh, let’s take a picture first to document the crafty process because I don’t normally do that sort of thing. (Yes, I joined IG even though I haven’t figured out watermarks yet. I’ll get there.)


Now, this may not look like much to you, but to me it looks like possibilities. That solid black piece in the middle is actually a Bigz die of the Eiffel Tower.

I haven’t sketched this card yet either, because I’m going to be following a template found on the site of another awesome Stampin’ Up consultant, Lyssa Zwolanek, who got the idea from one of her crafty friends. (I’m telling you, the craft community is pretty fantastic in how makers encourage and challenge each other. And technically, if I’m following a template, that means I shouldn’t have to sketch it, right?)

Lyssa’s card tutorial can be found here, and I can’t wait to try it. I have pieces and parts of a French-themed card heaped in a (large) pile on my desk that has been waiting for me to get to it to include it in a custom card order. As soon as I saw the layout of Lyssa’s card, I knew my Eiffel Tower would fit perfectly on the front piece. Or at least I think it will. I haven’t actually tried it yet. But I do have more than one Eiffel Tower if the size proves to be confounding.

You may be wondering what I decided to do that night – to stay up or go to bed. Well, I didn’t make the card yet. I ended up cleaning the desk a little, looking at some of the French items and trying to plan a card in my head before I really had to sleep. Turns out I have about five French cards in my head. And as the picture attests, I have enough paper to make at least that many. 😛 (Good thing I have an Etsy shop! 😉 ) I feel pretty confident that I know where I’m going with this one even without sketching. I just have to wait a few more days to get to it, as I’ve been called elsewhere temporarily.

In the midst of that little desk-sorting episode, I ran across my in-progress Texas card, also for the custom card order. And that is really what I ended up focusing on, the night in question but mostly last night, because it finally started coming together, after months of thinking. Yeah. Months. However, that’s for a future blog post, complete with pictures. 😉

The good news is that I’m linked to WordPress on my phone now, so blogging should begin happening faster. I have to do some driving tomorrow, but I hope to post about Texas soon. More to come!

Connie