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Ask the Artist


Our Artist in Residence, Dina Kowal, answers your questions


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  • June 16, 2021
    Q: Joanne asks: "I just read about using hanging folders to separate colored card stock in filing cabinets. Every time I do that the card stock bends. What am I doing wrong?"

    A: It sounds like the problem might be too much weight in the folder. I store my cardstock this way, and the most I have is about an inch of thickness in each folder - if you have more than that, just divide the paper into more folders. You can also stabilize the folders with a sheet of medium-weight chipboard if needed.


    June 9, 2021
    Q: Katie asks: "Do you repurpose the cellophane envelopes that hold stamps and other craft materials?"

    A: I have reused packaging for shaker windows, and I've used the envelopes to keep pieces of a project together. Most often I use the plastic as a palette for paint or ink. I use another material for this, but you could also use the envelopes for test prints in your stamp positioner. Check THIS THREAD for more ideas!



    June 2, 2021
    Q: bzzzeee asks: "There's a hardware store supply that's used as faux metal when embossed with an embossing folder, not embossing powder. What is it called?"

    A: Sounds like aluminum tape - you might also find it as foil tape or HVAC tape. It has a strong, permanent adhesive on one side and a brown paper backing which makes it really nice for any kind of die cutting or embossing. Here are a few tutorials that can be done using foil tape:
    Faux Tin Tiles
    Impressions of Tarnished Foil
    Faux Metal Figures


    May 26, 2021
    Q: Carol wants to know: "I have been given several pigment ink pads. I know pigment ink is great for embossing, but what else can I use it for?"

    A: I didn't use pigment ink for the longest time because I am terrible at heat embossing. Turns out it can be heat set with an iron, which was a complete game changer for me. Pigment inks are water soluble, so you can use them for watercoloring as well as any wet background technique (like "smooshing".). They dry slowly so they're great for blended backgrounds - the inks sit on top of the paper rather than soaking in, so they remain vibrant. They are great for monoprinting - HERE is a tutorial using them on an acrylic block and a gel press. They can also be permanently heat set on fabric. Our team did a product review of some Colorbox pigment inks a few years ago - there are more great ideas in the reviews and the sample gallery!


    May 19, 2021
    Q: Louisa May asks: "Do you use reinkers as watercolors? Do the colors stay true?"

    A: I have! It's one of those things you'll need to try, so you get to know the properties of the inks that you have. Distress reinkers are formulated to hold their color when blended out with water. Some dye inks will break down into their component colors. You may find that you prefer the breakdown - I have an Adirondack Denim reinker that splits out into beautiful blues and purples (HERE is a sample). If you're unsure how a reinker might react and you have the ink pad already, tap the corner of the pad on an acrylic block to make a mini palette. Most dye inks aren't lightfast, so be aware of that if you decide to paint something that might be displayed for some time.


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