Friday, 8 December 2017

2017 #18 Torn, Ripped, Burnt: Invisible Ink Insects with ESN {by Alison Bomber}

2017 Topic 18: Torn, Ripped, Burnt

If being a bit of a secret squirrel is you thing, then you need to read this - lemon juice, smoke and mirrors.....

Hi everyone, Alison here from Words and Pictures.  Like some seventeenth century conspirator, I've been playing with invisible ink.  From the moment of hearing about the Torn, Ripped Burnt theme, I thought of flickering candle flames and old parchment and lemon juice... so - with a couple of detours along the way - that's what I experimented with for my two not-quite-ATCs.

I don't know any longer where my knowledge of lemon juice invisible writing comes from.  I've certainly known about it for a loooong time.  Maybe some Enid Blyton mystery?  Or an article from Look and Learn, the children's magazine?  Or perhaps from Blue Peter?   In any case, it was lemon juice I was most curious to try out with some stamps.  My Invisible Insects are from Eclectica³ {Sara Naumann} 21.

I did try out a couple of other stamping methods first to see what sort of "burnt" look I could get with Distress Oxides.  I thought they might give a nice sooty outline... here's Black Soot Oxide, spritzed with water to let the dye ink spread while the pigment stays put, then overstamped with Jet Black Archival for extra clarity.

Then I applied Vintage Photo Oxide with touches of Spiced Marmalade and Walnut Stain, spritzed with water, then overstamped with Jet Black again.  (I was using the stamp platform so that I could overstamp nice and easily.)  I quite like the look of this one, but it's rusty rather than burned, I'd say... and that's a few weeks too late for the Rust theme!

So I went for the thing I'd really been wanting to do all along - I stamped with lemon juice, let it dry, and then went for it with a candle flame.  Very exciting!  

I applied the lemon juice direct to the stamp, removing any bits of pulp which tried to join in.  I don't have any data on the long-term effect of citric acid on rubber - so be sure to clean your stamps well after stamping.

You can just about see the juice while it's still wet... 

... but it's completely invisible once dry.  I promise these aren't just blank bits of paper!

I also tried out a couple of different paper surfaces - obviously that gives you very different effects... Here's a couple on Smoothy paper.  The coating gives it a really cool smoky look.

But I ended up working with the versions I'd stamped onto watercolour paper.

I had great fun setting light to my torn edges.  The first time it happened accidentally, but then I decided I wanted more (that tiny touch of pyromaniac which maybe lives inside all of us!).

Some torn scraps of tissue tape add extra script detail, and I scruffed up the edges with my fingernail to get even more ripped texture from it before lightly inking with Vintage Photo.

And I added some speckled stamping using the texture stamp from the same ESN21 set, as well as a touch of Vintage Photo Distress Ink splatter.

Some simple twine, a couple of pen nibs and metal button brads finish the pair off.

I had great fun creating these ancient parchment scrap ATCs - the lemon juice stamping pleases me with its randomness and weathered look.  I found it simpler to work with a candle flame than to keep lighting endless matches, though the charring is slightly different with each.  And when you apply the flame to the apparently blank paper, it's definitely like a sort of magic watching the image appear.  Well worth a couple of over-heated fingertips!

I hope that will inspire you to release your inner pyromaniac - there's still just time to join in!

Alison x
Blog - Words and Pictures
Pinterest - butterfly crafter

Well I can honestly say I have never seen this before, and it reminds me of those teen mystery novels I used to read. The ones where kids solved mysterious goings-on in quiet English Villages over the summer months! But the smoke too! Wow!!!

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Craftyfield said...

I have used lemon juice to age paper but never stamped with it! Brilliant makes Alison!

Helen said...

oh this looks such fun! I do have a lemon going manky in the fridge, might have to give this a go! I love your almost atcs!

pearshapedcrafting said...

Oh! What a jolly jape Alison! My friend and I used to do this when we were around 11 and I remember showing my classes how to do it when I was teaching! Happy memories, but nothing looked as lovely as your almost ATCs! Chrisx

Miriam said...

Stunning project Alison....I love how you've used lemon - now to convince myself that I don't need to use all the lemons for gin!!

Lauren Hatwell said...

Takes me back to my youth, but you did it so beautifully. I'm sure our childhood secret messages werent nearly so stylish. Lx

Amanda said...

Look and learn, whatever every happened to that pre google resource? What great makes and I remember the lemon juice secret writing but like you can’t remember from where, it does sound very famous five though. Beautiful results on these makes.
Amanda x

Tracey@Hotchpotchcreations said...

Most fascinating Alison, I remember the lemon juice technique not from any craft demonstration, creative book or blog but from an educational program when I was in junior school, how fabulous to stamp with it!! So creative, amazing end product.. Warm wishes Tracey x

Lys said...

What a fabulous idea, Alison! It reminds me my childhood playing with lemon and little messages... your skills make them beautiful!

craftytrog said...

Brilliant! I love your ATCs Alison!

Jackie PN said...

Absolutely fun and totally cool Alison!
Jackie xo

Dorthe said...

It is gorgeous, dear Alison, love the burning, and all the fun invisible stamping- - and the old document you created .
Dorthe, xx

Lucy Edmondson said...

These experiments have had amazing results, Alison. I am so thrilled to see what you have done as it has brought back some wonderful memories on the school playing fields, and also reminded me of my brothers' love of protechnics!

Lucy x

Corrie Herriman said...

As always your project is fabulous ! Inspirational !
Corrie xx

Dianne said...

I had to fly in and tell you Miss Butterfly, you still are " THE BOMB !!!!! "

Art By Wanda said...

Very Cool!!!!! Hmm... I'm wondering how using an iron on the dried lemon juice would work :-)) Great play and atcs!!!

butterfly said...

I think an iron might well work, Wanda - it's about the heat for the chemical reaction, I think. I didn't think of that... I'm not even sure I own an iron!!
Alison x

Chris said...

Gorgeous project Alison! X

Redanne said...

How fabulous Alison, such a great experiment and a fantastic result, I remember the lemon technique from the dark ages (my childhood !). Anne x

froebelsternchen said...

So cool - you are such a creative person and artist! Love the unvisable ink ATCs !

Astrid Maclean said...

Oh how fun, I love Alchemy and this reminds me of it..... I love the effects you have achieved on all of them, but the lemon juice really is my fav! I vaguely remember the lemon juice effect but had completely forgotten about it, I shall have to give that a try sometime (oh and I love the fact you might not even have an iron lol)......

Nan G said...

Very cool indeed Alison.

Hazel Agnew said...

Fabulous effects Alison. I remember being a private detective a sa child and writing with invisible ink! ( lemon juice). I think that we ironed it to reveal the details!
Love the smoky effect and the embellish additions. Great project, thanks. Xx

SewPaperPaint said...

So incredibly cool Alison, and I bet this was a lot of fun to play in. :) Love your genius, creative mind!!!

Fliss said...

Really great to see this technique again as I remember doing this when I was a child too.
Fabulous effect to revisit and love the stunning end result.
Fliss xx

Julia Aston said...

How fun and creative - we used to do these hidden messages with lemon juice as kids! a wonderful grown up use!

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