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Ask the Artist


Our Artist in Residence, Dina Kowal, answers your questions


  • Submit your question to Dina
  • April 14, 2021
    Q: Kim asks: "Is there any way to use regular card stock instead of watercolor paper for watercolor projects?"

    A: Cardstock is usually intended for printing applications where ink needs to dry instantly... I've found that water soaks into the surface too quickly to do any extended water blending or wet-into-wet techniques. It can even leave raised spots on the cardstock after it's dry. Watercolor paper usually has at least some cotton content (I prefer 100% cotton paper). It also is prepared with sizing, a coating of gelatin or starch that helps the paper absorb water more slowly. There is a surface prep medium called watercolor ground that can be used to create a watercolor-ready surface on papers, or even fabrics, wood, plaster, metal, plastic, and glass. It's spread or brushed onto the surface of whatever you want to paint.


    April 7, 2021
    Q: Mkamm asks: "Any suggestions on how to glue down those fiilgree intricate die cut designs?"

    A: There are a few ways you can go about it:
    --line the back side of the cardstock with double sided adhesive before die cutting
    --apply a dry adhesive to the die cut after cutting (the product I have is called Artist-Tac)
    --use a matte-drying glue - I actually have Elmer's all-purpose glue in a needle tip bottle, which is almost invisible when dry - it works great and gives you a little wiggle time for placement before it dries.


    March 31, 2021
    Q: Bonnie asks: "What are the dimensions of the smallest card that is mailable via US Post?"

    A: Great question! From the USPS site:
    "To be eligible for mailing at the price for letters, a piece must be:
    Rectangular.
    At least 3-1/2 inches high x 5 inches long x 0.007 inch thick.
    No more than 6-1/8 inches high x 11-1/2 inches long x 1/4 inch thick."
    Any card outside these guidelines would require extra postage as a non-machinable piece.


    March 24, 2021
    Q: Shirley wants to know: "How do you set an odd shaped eyelet, such as a flower, Christmas tree, etc.?"

    A: The shaped eyelets have a circular shaft on the back, just like the round ones. They are set in the same way as round eyelets, using a hammered tool that spreads the shaft out flat.


    March 17, 2021
    Q: Jennifer asks: "I’ve been given the opportunity to make some wedding invitations for a friend's small ceremony. I want to use vellum in my dry embossing folders but the vellum is cracking and tearing. Suggestions?"

    A: Do you have a silicone embossing pad? Lay down the pad (craft foam might work too), then the vellum, and then lay the embossing folder open on top of the paper and run it through the machine. You'll need to shim to get the right pressure. You can also try layering the vellum with cardstock in the folder, or maybe between two pieces of paper. Play around with what you have to see what works.


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