Tuesday, June 29, 2010


At this month's Stamp Class, Cheryl had a texture challenge for us - we were to bring something made with an interesting texture (and at least three colors but everything I make has at least three colors so I didn't really pay attention to that part).  After seeing a tutorial by Noell at Paperclipping in which she changed the look of her brightly colored felt by adding Distress Powder , I was really excited to try it.  Although this particular tutorial is only available if you are a member at the website, there is a follow up post with some good pictures here

I have quite a bit of brightly colored felt left after making my teacher gifts, but much of what I make is not in these bubble-gum colors.  I love the idea of adding color variation and interest to these felt ribbons to extend their usefulness.

Distress Powder is a type of embossing powder that has a different look and texture. With all embossing powders, you put ink in an area, sprinkle on the powder, tap off the excess (which goes back into the container) and then heat set it using a heat tool (which is like a hair dryer but with less air flow and higher temperatures).  Regular embossing powder sets to a smooth, glossy finish, whereas Distress Powder sets with a rough, sandy finish.  Then after heat setting, you rub off the "release crystals", which are non-setting particles in the embossing powder. After they are removed (throw them away - don't put them back in the container), you have empty areas where the underlying color will show through. Tim Holtz has a great demonstration here (though don't don't really need the Distress brand inks or the Ranger non-stick craft sheet if you hold your work up to heat it).

This card turned into a series of happy accidents.  I like the end result but I'm interested in the roundabout way it evolved - mostly through mistakes.
  1. The felt didn't get embossed:  When I started working on this, it had been a while since I had seen the felt tutorial.  I didn't remember one key point: you can't get too close to your felt or you'll melt it. I got the powder on the felt just like I wanted it and was so excited about how it was going to look, until I melted it into a distorted little ball.  Ha!  I even burned my fingers trying to flatten it out (how I suffer for my art, and all that).  I didn't know what I was doing wrong, so I decided to use the Distress powder in other areas of my card and just ink the felt.  I really like how the inked felt turned out too, so that leaves me with two fun options for all my bright felt ribbon.  When I inked the edges of the striped paper and the "happy birthday" piece, it brought everything together.
  2. The embossed part of the butterflies is an echo instead of an overlay:  The butterflies were stamped in blue ink, but that ink is too fast-drying to emboss.  I wanted just part of the image embossed anyway, so I cleaned my stamp, inked it in Versamark (a clear ink) and stamped over... but I got it a little off.  Now I'm saying it "goes" with my overall distressed look.
  3. The main panel is set at an angle:  I adhered my black cardstock strips and my strip of felt to my striped paper... crooked.  I thought I was putting them straight but they were too much off to be considered "close enough" and too little off to look intentionally angled.  I decided to just angle the whole striped paper piece on the card to make it look intentional.
  4. The chipboard is embossed green with just some blue showing through:  I originally inked it blue, drew a flourish all over it, then embossed the flourish in green.  It looked really nice.  But when I put in on the card, the difference in my blue ink and my blue felt just turned it sickly looking.  So, I inked up the whole thing, embossed it green and just let the blue show through the release crystals.
I'm always having to tell myself to "just do it" instead of being afraid to do it wrong, so it makes me feel good about the process of creating when it's ok to make mistakes.  I'm glad to have the experience of turning the mistakes into a nice part of the finished product.  Though maybe I'll make another "straight" card with my original ideas!

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