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Ask the Artist

Our Artist in Residence, Dina Kowal, answers your questions

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  • September 10, 2014
    Q: Judy wants to know: "I purchased some acetate for heat embossing and had a problem with the acetate being full of static. I used an Embossing Buddy before adding the embossing powder, but the powder clung to both the Versamark and acetate. Any suggestions on how to de-static the acetate?"

    A: I have had the same problem when making shaker cards. Wiping the plastic with a dryer sheet works for me. Another tip that I found in the forums: wash the acetate first with warm soapy water, then rinse and dry with a paper towel. There are more suggestions here!

    September 3, 2014
    Q: Anita asks: "There are often cards and tags that have a scene that looks like falling snow. How is this created?"

    A: My favorite way is to use a small stylus to dot white acrylic paint over a colored image. I find that technique has the most control and the brightest white, and it's very easy to do. I shake up the bottle of paint and dip my stylus into the paint stuck in the lid, then touch the stylus to the paper, and it makes a perfect dot. Several dots can be made from one dip into the paint - each successive dot will be smaller. Another less controlled way to add snow is to spatter white paint with a brush. For watercoloring, masking fluid can be splattered before painting and then removed after paint is dry to reveal the white paper beneath. If you want a more dimensional look, dot white glue or make dots with a glue pen and sprinkle white glitter or Flower Soft over the background. Randomly sprinkle white embossing powder over the card and heat from the back for another snowy look.

    August 27, 2014
    Q: Dolores wants to know: "After making a beautiful card, how does one preserve it or even clean it should it become necessary?"

    A: A spray fixative or varnish will help preserve cards with lots of layers and dimensional embellishments, and will also deflect dust. Art supply companies stock aerosol sprays that are acid free and non-yellowing; these are available in matte or glossy finishes. For flat colored panels (watercolor, pencil, etc), Microglaze can also be used to seal in color and protect your art - it is a wax-based product that's just rubbed on with a finger or a soft cloth.

    August 20, 2014
    Q: O'Nelda wants to know: "I don't have an embossing machine and would like to know if you can purchase embossed card paper."

    A: There is a line of Coredinations cardstock called Core Impressions (embossed cardstock with a colored core). Other cardstock packs may include embossed sheets in their variety. Before I had an embossing machine I used texture plates and a stylus to emboss cardstock. The texture plates are 2-sided plastic plates with a debossed design that can be traced with a stylus or other embossing tool.

    August 13, 2014
    Q: Melodye asks: "What ink or markers should you use on glossy paper? I have some blank cards that are glossy and nothing seems to stay; everything wipes right off."

    A: Try heat setting the ink to prevent smearing. Water-based or dye-based mediums may tend to bead or smear on glossy paper when wet, but a quick dry with an embossing gun can make a big difference. Alcohol inks and markers work well and dry quickly, and they also have some interesting properties on the glossy surface. Memento ink is compatible with the markers, and also does well on glossy cardstock. For stamped images not colored with alcohol markers, try Stazon, Brilliance, or chalk inks.

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