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Ask the Artist

Our Artist in Residence, Dina Kowal, answers your questions

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  • January 18, 2017
    Q: Margaret asks: "Do you have any tips for using a glue gun? I recently completed a Christmas craft project that required using a glue gun. What a mess! Not only does it dry too fast I had strings of glue all over the place. Can you help?"

    A: A friend of mine recommends using silicone finger guards - they'll protect your fingers and also allow you to press into the glue without sticking to it... I think they would also help with controlling the stringy nature of the glue. I've also read that a quick blast with a hair dryer or heat gun will shrink up those pesky strings.

    January 11, 2017
    Q: Louise wants to know: "I have been storing my rubber and clear stamps on stamp storage panels in binders. I have around 300 stamps. Is this okay?"

    A: I used this system for years and never had any problems - it's space saving and very practical. Something I learned early was to store the binders horizontally... if they're upright, the weight of the stamps can cause the panels to sag and curve slightly at the bottoms, which can affect the stamps lower down on the panels.

    January 4, 2017
    Q: Sue asks: "What do you use to "shade" the background of an image you just colored with Prismacolor and Gamsol?"

    A: If I'm not going to incorporate the image into a little scene, I'll use a coordinating pencil color around the image. If the image is more vintage, I might use yellowy browns to shade... if it's a more contemporary or happy image, I tend toward lighter blues or a color in the image that I want to highlight. Fill in around the image and blend out using the Gamsol to soften the edges. Be sure to give the image a base shadow to ground it if it's something that has weight... otherwise it will appear to be floating. I usually use a dark brown or grey for the shadow, in an elongated oval shape. Chalks are great for backgrounds too, but require a fixative so they don't smudge.

    December 21, 2016
    Q: Taheerah wants to know: "Has anyone invented a decent ink for stamping on acetate that ISN'T Stazon?"

    A: The advantage of Stazon is that it dries very quickly, without heat setting. After testing the inks I have, these are the ones that gave a clear impression (I did heat set my samples to speed the drying process, but I'm fairly certain that these will all air dry, if you have the time and want to avoid warping): ColorBox Fluid Chalk stamped with a crisp impression that was dark and transparent, Memento Luxe ink has a longer drying time but also gave a clear impression that did not smear after heat setting, Brilliance ink dried quickly with a dark impression - this ink is the most opaque of the ones I sampled. Memories Dye Ink also passed the test, with a quick drying impression. ColorBox Archival Dye ink also dried permanently on the acetate, but gave a lighter impression.

    December 14, 2016
    Q: Susan is curious: "I am using an embossing folder of birch trees and would like to know how to do the trees in white so they stand out."

    A: That technique is done by inking the inside of the embossing folder before printing. Open up the folder, and ink up the side of the folder where the trees are debossed. Lay the cardstock over the inked part of the folder, close it, and then run it through your die cutting machine as usual. We have a wonderful photo tutorial HERE.

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