Sunday 11 December 2022

2022 Topic 16 : Splosh {by Riikka Kovasin} with Scrapcosy stamps

Moikka everyone, it's Riikka from Paperiliitin blog with you today and I'm here to share some sploshed cards using new Scrapcosy stamps! I was thinking about the new year and spring when creating these, but I did add a touch to them that could be thought as wintery, too. But let's get started!

You may have noticed by now that I'm not a precise crafter. I hardly ever use a ruler and craft more "on the go" than plan ahead. I also love surprises and work around them. To me not being able to control everything is a joy and a much needed way to loose myself into the project. 

So, the idea behind these cards was to let the wet mediums do what they want to do, but still end up with something nice and presentable. It was also my way of trying to show that you don't always have to color inside the lines.

When thinking about the topic of wet mediums, my thoughts immediately turned to watercolors, but then I realized that I don't need watercolors as I have Infusions! What I gained by using Infusions instead of watercolors, was the tone variations in a single color and also the more permanent nature of the color. Of course you could use more than one watercolor to get that varying look to the splosh of color, but with Infusions you get that on top of purchase, so to say as they are made with the two parts - dye pigment and walnut crystals.

You can see the first stage in the photo below. Doesn't look like much, perhaps, but it's an excellent way to just start crafting, break the blank page! I added a splosh of Infusions to a card sized piece of watercolor paper and then used a drinking straw to blow the color into a fun shape. I also added some additional splashes around the big splosh. 

After letting the color to pool a little while I then used a rag to dry the excess color revealing the vibrant yellow. These sploshes are made using Infusions Lemoncello (CS04).

Even though the above is the first step you can see, I did do something before and that is to look at the stamps I was going to use and study their shape. Like, you can see that all of the sploshes on the picture above are on the top part of the paper and either more to the left or right side of the paper? This is because the flowers I was using curved, so I was trying to get the splosh to underneath the flower part. You can see how well I did in the photo below. As you can see in that, I used two other colors of Infusions, too. The purple ones are made using Blackcurrant (CS09) and pinks with Magenta (CS23)

After letting all the sploshes dry, I then stamped the blooms on top. These are made using one of Scrapcosy's new stamp set (ESC38). I used a stamping tool as I wanted a really nice, vivid black outline and by using the tool I was able to stamp the image a couple of times to the exact same spot. I used an ink suitable for paper but which became permanent after drying. This was crucial as I was planning on adding more wet mediums to the cards and couldn't have the lines bleeding.

I could have done these two first steps the other way around, too. First stamping and then adding the splosh but what's the fun in that? But, if you prefer more control and more color to the right spot, naturally you can start by stamping and then adding the color! But I urge you to have a go with this order first just to try it out! I mean, bear with me and see how the cards turn out even with the color areas outside of the lines as I add one thing to them that might change your mind.

Next I then prepared the blooms for the background. Like I wrote in the beginning, I'm not the most precise crafter. So, while I could have just added the background color avoiding the blooms, going round them and the leaves, I opted for a solution that fit me better. Instead I covered the blooms and the leaves using a masking fluid. This created a barrier on top of the absorbing surface and I could splosh around freely AND then remove the coating afterwards!

The masking fluid pen I used did cause some bleeding in the Infusions, but I didn't mind. If you however want to avoid that, applying masking fluid with a brush might do the trick as it's less abrasive. 

After applying the masking fluid, I let the cards air dry before moving on. I've had bad experiences with trying to speed the drying with a heat tool, but it might be just bad luck. But a word of caution. 

Now that I had the focal points done, it was time to add the background. Even though I used a few different colors for the blooms, I decided to use one color for the backgrounds. My favorite color is blue and I just love the denim tone of this Infusion In the Navy (CS15). Also blue seemed like a nice, contrasting background to the yellow flowers, which were my favorite of the bunch.

I shook some Infusions crystals to a plastic palette, added some water and then painted over the whole design using that color wash. I added more water to places and more color to others, kind of going with a "wet on wet" watercolor technique after the initial layer. 

I didn't need to worry about the flowers getting blue as there was the masking fluid on top. And the burst of color which was outside the lines? Well, I meant for that to have a blue tone on top, to change the tone. Like the flower was a magnifying glass of sorts, showing the true colors while the other where tinted with blue. 

I often try to add something white and something black into my projects, bringing those contrasting ends of spectrum to it. Black gives some nice sturdiness and structure to a project in my mind while even a little speckle of white adds light to it. So, while my intention was to add that little speckle of light, you could see these white and pearly dots also as snow. Remember that winter touch I wrote in the beginning?

I first grabbed the white, started thinking about the snowdrops and then decided to add some metallic splashes as well to add another element but also maybe to heighten the idea of snow. Like the first flowers of spring raising through the snow, brightening the white landscape with speckles of color. 

For the white splashes I used Fresco Finish Heavy Cream (FF203) and for the metallic Fresco Finish Metallic Glaze (FF24). I watered them both down a little bit and then just flicked my brush to add some splashes on top of the blue surface. 

While the splashes were air drying, I made some other elements to be added to the cards. I used the little tag stamp in the Scrapcosy set (ESC38) together with the word stamps also in the set and created little sentiment tags. I first stamped the tag to a piece of watercolor paper, then stamped the text inside and cut the tag loose. I also punched a hole to the end so I could thread these little greetings to a piece of twine. 

Also while waiting, I prepared the card bases. I cut some card bases with the fold on the top out of white cardstock and then mounted a piece of old book paper on top using double sided tape. There's a couple of reasons for this but most of them are summed by saying "because I like it". 

I somehow prefer the card bases with the fold on top to the ones with the fold on the side. Maybe it's got to do with how they stand - these ones seem to stand more straight when displayed. The liking part also answers why I used book paper instead of, let's say, colored cardstock. I love the color of old book paper and also the visual texture it brings because of the words patterning the paper. The thing to keep in mind, though, is to either use text that neither you or the recipient understands or read the lines that stay visible, just in case. I mean I was about to send a wedding invitation back in the day with the word "death" in the front cover. 

After preparing the sentiment tags and the bases, it was again time to turn my attention to the focal points. By now the splashes had dried and I was able to gently rub off the making fluid. I actually used my trusty rag to help me as after a couple of cards my index finger started to feel the grit! 

Funnily enough, in places the masking fluid removed the acrylic dots on top and in others, they stayed put. Again, with my a bit haphazard way of crafting this didn't cause anything else but a fun surprise, but if you want to make sure that no splashes stay on top of the blooms, dry the splashes away from those areas before letting the cards air dry. 

All the elements done, it was then time to put the cards together! I first trimmed the focal bloom bits to a tad smaller. I often work first in a bigger substrate and then trim smaller, somehow that feels easier for me than going for the exact size immediately. There's exceptions, of course, but I often start with a "bulk sized" piece like A4 or A6. 

What I also did, to prepare for the assemblage of the cards, was to ink around the edges. I was first toying with the idea of using Infusions for this, too, but then opted for an easier, known solution of using an ink pad and a blender. But if you feel adventurous and even more sploshy, do make a brown (or any other color) Infusion brew and use a flat brush to add it to the edges of the papers! I've done that with watercolors and the effect is really nice. It is more sharp compared to the inking, which is a bit cloudy in a way. 

While you could leave the blooms just the way they are with the sploshed coloring on the flower part, I did want a hint of color elsewhere. As these blooms are quilt-inspired, I wanted a medium that would highlight that. Instead of using Infusions or watercolors, I chose to use colored pencils and especially in the leaves to use them to mimic stitches. Like showing those lines, not even trying to get an even coat of green. With the flowers, however, as there was the color already present, I highlighted the form, adding colored lines near the stamped lines and matching the color I was using to the color already on the card.

So, like I said in the beginning, it didn't matter if the whole flower was colored or not, by adding those few strokes with a pen added enough color to the white parts to trick the eye. Of course, it's a matter of personal taste, too. I hope I got you convinced to try this way of coloring, though! 

Next I added the little sentiment tags in place. I threaded a thin twine through the punched hole and then wrapped the twine a couple of times around the card before securing the two ends with a knot and cutting the excess twine. In hindsight I maybe should have stamped some of the tags the other way around, with the loop on the right, to have more possibilities, but on the other hand, this way the tags act as a uniforming element. 

As the last step I then added the focal images to the cards with foam tape. At the same time I adhered the sentiment tags in place with the same tape. 

As you may have heard already, I'm quite a fast crafter and don't ponder about the phases too much. But this was a place where I paused for a while to decide if I'd adhere the central piece with foam tape or just double sided tape. I guess there was two reasons why I chose the foam tape. First my love of dimensional projects. As this card was quite flat in terms of height, that tape brought a little extra to it. But also because a raised area kind of mimics the quilt where the padding creates the dimensional look in the center. 

And here you have the sploshed flower cards! The blooms are there to show you to color outside the lines and have fun, and the background is there to pay homage to a traditional watercolor technique. 

I'm happy how the cards turned out! I especially love the yellow and blue combo as the flower is like a little sun! But you could try other color combos, too. Perhaps blue flowers on top of green background? Or orange on brown? Try out your favorite combination!

A word of caution about color choices, though. Or rather, avoid fire engine styled red. If you've done red splashes before, or love splatter movies, you probably know why. Warm red tones tend to look like blood when they are splashed. While the effect is awesome in Halloween cards for example, that might not be the thing you are looking for in a spring like flower card. Cold reds like magenta usually work, though! 

I also tried to make the sploshes another way, by smashing a small sponge to the background but that didn't cause the burst effect I wanted, just a little fleck of color to the paper. But if you happen to own squeeze bottles with a sponge top, you might want to try those as well to get the starting splosh! 

Another detail you may want to try, if you feel really adventurous is to add stitching to the cards. Maybe you could even color the leaves with actual embroidery stitches? But if that's not your cup of tea, just a little haberdashery detail might do the trick like the twine here. Or attaching the rectangular layers together by machine sewing. 

Thank you for stopping by today! Wishing you a wonderful day with bursts of color! 

Xoxo Riikka

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