Tuesday, 4 October 2011



Welcome to the second Tatty Tuesday...and it's another tutorial for you!

TUTORIAL No2 - Embossing Powder & Distress Ink resist stamping technique -

This is one of my favourite ink effects, using layers of colours and stamp images it looks complex but is actually quite simple to achieve as long as you follow the proceedure in the correct order. I use this technique alot for making tags and hangers out of mountboard....the card is heavyduty enough to take numerous applications of inks and heat from the embossing.

  • Main stamp image (for this tutorial I am using 'Pip' Tatty Button stamp product TB8)
  • Flower embellishment stamp (from 'Tatty's Flowers' stamp plate product TB16)
  • TWO large background stamp plates (need to be large enough to cover the whole area of the shape you're stamping onto, and of good contrast in design - I am using Paperartsy script and The Artistic Stamper hearts designs)
  • Heart shape piece of card ( I have used artists mountboard with the shape cut from a Spellbinders Nestability die - Classic Heart (largest size))
  • small scrap of white paper
  • white card
  • sheets of plain copier paper or brown wrapping paper
  • Black ink - Stazon or similar permanent waterproof variety
  • Ranger Distress Inks - Black Soot, Tattered Rose, Fired Brick, Aged Mahogany, Tea Dye and Walnut Stain.
  • Clear embossing ink
  • Clear embossing powder
  • Heat gun
  • Iron (non steam)
  • craft scissors and/or knife
  • Ink applicator pads
  • Heatproof work surface and craft sheet/mat
  • Vintage ribbon/American Seam Binding in ivory
  • fine spritzer/mister filled with clean water
  • 2 silver coloured hat pins (with red bead ends) or similar embellishments (optional)
  • Glues, foam tape
  • Hole punch
  • Black satin cord 

NOTE ABOUT MOUNTBOARD - Picture Frame Mount board is a great material to use for this type of project. It generally has a smooth paper coated side and a slightly more textured other and it takes inks well. It comes in various colours but a light shade is advisable when using pale ink colours. I wanted to use the Spellbinder heart design die but this is obviously not thick enough to completely cut out the shape in the mountboard. Using a combination of plates and shims I ran the m/board and die through my CuttleBug to make an impression which I then followed through with cutting out using a craft knife. The edges were also gently sanded with a fine grade sandpaper to smooth any rough edges. If you have different die and/or die cutting system then please refer to manufacturing instructions.

NOTE ABOUT BACKGROUND STAMPS - The effectiveness of the resist technique depends on the designs of the stamps selected. The first stamp plate used will be with the black ink and it's a good idea to go with a fine detail such as script. The second stamp plate will be used with the clear ink and embossing powder and player the major part in the resist technique....so it needs to be a design with decent large solid plain areas that are not too fussy. Because of the romantic style of this heart hanger, I selected a fine detail romantic script and a nice repeat pattern of small plain hearts. 

NOTE ABOUT EMBOSSING POWDER - The quality of the clear powder used is not that important, as long as it's reasonably fine. It is used purely as a resist or mask and you are going to be actually removing the enamel so the glossy shine isn't required! I use a lot of embossing powders and over time alot of it gets dirty and 'contaminated' with bits and imperfections so I keep this is a separate jar to be used especially for these types of techniques. Do not attempt this technique using a coloured embossing powder...even though you are melting it back off, it is highly probable that some colour will remain visible and can ruin your project.


The first thing you need to do is make a mask of your main stamp image. Using any ink, stamp out the image onto thin plain paper (I use cheap photo copier paper). It isn't necessary to achieve a good or perfect image, just as long as you can see the design. A border is required around this image so you need to work out how deep you wish this to be and roughly mark it out with a pencil.
Tear or cut around the image remembering to leave the border....I prefer to tear as the edges are much softer.
The mask is now all ready to use...but set it aside for now.
The next step is to start colouring up your heart shape using inks. These will be the base colours.
The base colours need to be the lightest shades. The Tattered Rose and Old Paper colours are applied with the Ink applicator pads....the pink shade covers most of the centralised area with the beige tones concentrated around the edges. If you wish to create a more distressed effect you can now splatter the inked up shape with water and then dry to achieve a dappled effect. The mountboard I have used already has a mottled effect so I leave mine at this stage.
The paper mask is now placed in the section where you want the final image to be stamped (in this case to the left and some of the image will hang off the side). This mask will prevent further inks from covering this area and leaves the pale pink base coat free to help highlight the final stamp image.
Ink up your first background stamp plate (script) with black Stazon ink and with the mask in place, stamp up over the whole of the heart shape. In the photo above the mask has been partially removed to show you how this area remains free of the script stamping. Also not that I have not achieved a perfect stamp image and it's slightly patchy and irregular...this is ok as a distressed uneven look is required and when further ink colours etc have been applied it will not be that noticeable anyway.

It is now important in this next stage to get all your preparations ready beforehand. Reposition the mask exactly over the unstamped area. Then gather together your second background stamp plate, clear embossing ink, clear embossing powder and heat gun. Card coloured with distress inks tends to become extra static and you will find the powder sticks to areas you do not want...to prevent this, you can blot and then heat set the ink...then treat it with anti static before you go onto the next stage.
Ink up your second background stamp plate (hearts) with clear embossing ink, then with the mask still in place, stamp the design over the whole of the heart shape. Remove the mask, then working quickly, cover the entire shape with clear embossing powder. Carefully shake off the excess and heat set the remaining powder using a heat gun.
You will now have clear embossed heart shapes overlaying the black inked script stamp section. Allow this to cool before proceeding on with the next step.
Taking your darker shades of distress inks (Fired Brick, Aged Mahogany & Walnut Stain) start applying the colours over the stamped up sections of the heart...avoiding the majority of the area which was masked out (this area needs to be kept as light a colour as possible). The stamped and embossed sections now start playing their part as a resist - the darker shades do not colour these areas, exposing the paler colour underneath.

A closer look at the mask and ink resisted areas.

The next stage involves you removing the embossed ink...the glossy enamel resist is no longer required as it will now hinder further applications of ink colour to these areas. Prepare a flat heatproof work area and set your iron to a medium heat. If you are using a domestic steam iron then the water tank must be empty of water and the steam generator turned off. Using a specialist craft iron is advisable and irons used for this and any other craft technique should not be used for domestic ironing or else there may be contamination, damage and staining of the clothes. I have an old domestic iron I use for my artwork as I can cover larger areas...but I also use a smaller craft iron for small detailed work. Neither of these are used for ironing clothes!
Place the mountboard heart on the flat heatproof worksurface and cover the whole piece with either plain copier/blotting paper or brown paper. Then press the iron over this for a few seconds. The embossed enamel will melt and absorb into the paper. Do not hold the iron over the piece for too long....keep stopping and checking your progress. Recover with a clean piece of paper and re-iron if not all of the enamel has been removed the first time around.
The above photo shows how the enamel has been absorbed into the paper. Usually you can see this happening as a greasy image begins to show through the paper as you iron.
You now Black ink up and stamp your main image (Pip) into the area that was previously masked. Having the border helps you to centralise the image. If you are colouring in the image, you need to consider the type of ink you are stamping with. You can use Stazon if you are using distress inks....but if you are using alcohol based inks or pens (such as Promarkers) you need to use a dye based ink such as Memento.
Using Distress Inks, start shading and highlighting areas...I have re-enhanced the edges of the hearts using the darker shades, including Black Soot which has created dimension and defined the shapes. The edge of the mountboard heart shape has also been inked up.
Close up photo of the added dimension created by using inks to shade areas around the hearts.

The heart shape is now complete of stamping and colouring and the next step is to create and place embellishments onto the hanger.
Ink up the flower stamp image with Black Stazon and make multiple images onto plain white card stock. You will need three flower images.
Cut out the flower shapes using fine detail/decoupage scissors.
Then colour/ink up each one....using Tattered Rose, Fired Brick and Aged Mahogany.
The Flowers will be layered up and the top one will be the lightest colour (T Rose). You can now add more dimension by shading in with darker ink colours and even over-stamping the bottom two flowers with the script stamp.
Distress Ink colour can be applied in small detail by using Cut-n-Dry nibs (Ranger).
White edges of the cut card can also be coloured in with black ink using these nibs as the fine point can get right down into the corners.
The next stage is to custom colour your ribbon so that it co-ordinates with the heart. Vintage/Seam Binding ribbon is excellent for taking on colour via Distress Inks, achieving a distressed worn look. This will be formed into a bow to be attached to the heart....so work out how big you wish this to be and cut a length accordingly.
Using the non stick craft sheet, smudge ink directly from the ink pad onto the surface - start with the lightest shade first (Tattered Rose) then lightly spritz over this with water. Scrunch up the ribbon in your hand then roll it into the diluted ink patch, scrunching and patting until you get the colour coverage and effect you're after. You can dry it quickly with a heat gun or allow it to dry naturally before adding further colour. This technique creates a faded tatty look but if you want a more deeper even colour coverage you will need to apply more ink...or even apply the ink directly from the pad to the fabric.
This is the first base colour. If you wish to stop here, then do so....otherwise repeat the step above using a darker shade of ink.

Distress Ink - Fired Brick and a touch of Black Soot has been used to create a deeper colour with more depth. Form and secure this ribbon into your bow shape.

It's now time to assemble the piece together.
Layer up the Flowers using dimensional foam tape (or gel glue) with the ribbon bow and hat pins (if using)...place to the right of the main stamped image. I have further enhanced the heart theme by punching out a tiny red heart and positioning it into the centre of the flower. Beads, brad or a button could equally do well here. Punch a hole top center of the mountboard heart and thread through the black silk cord.
The completed Pip Heart Hanger using Distress Ink Stamp resist technique.

Here are some examples using the same technique but as Tags, using different stamps images and ink colours.

I hope you've enjoyed todays Tatty Tuesday tutorial....if you decide to give this project a go, please let me know how you get on.