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Ask the Artist

Our Artist in Residence, Dina Kowal, answers your questions

  • Submit your question to Dina
  • April 23, 2014
    Q: Debbie asks: "No matter how much ribbon I buy I never seem to have the right color for the project I'm working on. Have you tried dyeing your own ribbon with ink to match your stamping?"

    A: I use alcohol markers to color ribbon and seam binding. They're great for custom coloring! You can use a single color, create a random mix of colors, or color in strips of color for an ombre effect. A few quick spritzes of rubbing alcohol will help colors blend together. It also stiffens the ribbon just a little, and helps it hold its form.

    April 16, 2014
    Q: Coily asks: "I'm new to card making. Now that I'm creating cards full of embellishments and the like, how do I get them to fit in a regular envelope, or how can I modify a regular envelope to accommodate my embellished card? I can't have all my fancy work all smashed up, especially if I intend to mail them."

    A: Every post office and worker seems to have a different policy. Last week I was told that embellished cards must be sent at large envelope rate, which was 98 cents. If your post office goes that route (oops - pun not intended!), it's best to just use a padded envelope. Here are a few threads in the forum with more tips.
    Do you need extra postage...?
    Mailing bulky cards
    Packaging ideas for bulky cards

    April 9, 2014
    Q: Cathy asks: "I never knew that you could add a bit of water to inks and paint with them. What inks can you do this with?"

    A: Inks are fun to paint with! Any water-based or water-soluble inks will work for painting. My favorites are dye inks, Distress inks, and Versamagic chalk inks. I typically tap the ink pad on a ceramic tile or acrylic block and pick up the ink there with my wet brush, rather than picking it up directly from the inkpad. Some inkpads are designed with a flexible lid that can be pushed down to the surface of the pad and used as a palette when open. I also keep an old watercolor palette full of drops of reinker, and love watercoloring with those. Inks are so intense and vibrant.

    April 2, 2014
    Q: cardmakinggram wants to know: "Is there a way to use an A2 embossing folder on a 5" x 7" card?"

    A: Try turning the folder sideways - if it's a repeating pattern that can be used horizontally, you can run the piece through twice. Line up the top edge with the side of the folder for the first pass. For the second pass, line up the edge of the folder with the edge of the embossing, or if the pattern repeats, overlap the folder with the embossed area slightly. Roll the folder sandwich carefully, just up to the edge, so that you don't flatten your earlier embossing. You may have a slight line at the joint, but you could cover that up with another layer or ribbon if it's very obvious.

    March 26, 2014
    Q: Kelly asks: "I am trying to find large brass or antique gold notebook rings. Is there a way to dye the easy-to-find silver rings?"

    A: Alcohol markers work wonderfully for coloring on metal and other nonporous surfaces. A dark yellowish-brown color works well for antique brass. To add a more antiqued texture, apply black alcohol ink to the corner of an old rag and dab it lightly onto the colored surface. A yellow marker can be used for the look of shiny brass.

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