Step 1 - Squeeze Various Ink "into", as opposed to "onto" the felt applicator. Don't drip the ink on because you are likely to add more ink than you need. Press the tip of the refill to the felt and squeeze for a few seconds. I have added three colors to my applicator in a triangle pattern. Why a triangle? Why three? In short, odd numbers are more pleasing to the eye and the triangle pattern will give you the most even, yet randomized pattern.
Step 2 - Something I have discovered is that pressing the applicator to your Non-Stick Craft sheet one time before moving to your paper will help to even out the ink and give you the best possible first impression.
Step 3 - Pounce the applicator onto the glossy card stock with enough force that you are pounding it with some force. After teaching dozens of students how to use alcohol inks I have discovered that most are too timid at first. Get your frustrations out! Hit that paper hard! As you go, turn the tool with almost every application to the paper. This will help to keep the pattern random.
Step 4 - Move over the entire area of the cardstock. If you were to stop at this stage, you coverage will be fairly even with no small pools of ink. This is the most bold coverage, but also the least blended as you will see in a few steps.
Step 5 - Once the ink has dried, which will just take a few seconds, you can move over the surface again to create small circles or pools of ink. This step will also help to blend the colors together. The more you repeat the application, the more texture that will be build up. You can stop at this step if you are happy with the result.
Step 6 - Next we are going to introduce Colorless Blender to the technique. CB will soften the colors and of course blend and even the the pattern even further. Add several drops of CB to the same felt that you had the original colors on.
Step 7 - Repeat the pouncing application over the surface the same way you applied the colored ink. In the picture below, I have added Colorless Blender to the left half on the cardstock only so you can see the difference.
Step 8 - I have added applied Colorless Blender to the entire surface below.
You may not know that all of the beautiful ink left on your craft sheet need not go to waste! The following technique will allow you to create backgrounds and really stretch your pennies.
Step 1 - Fill a Mini Mister will Colorless Blender.
Step 2 - Spritz blender over the dried alcohol ink.
Step 3 - Press your cardstock glossy side down to the wet ink.
Step 4 - Here is the result of just one application.
Step 5 - Repeat pressing the paper to the ink until you have created the background you like. Try pressing it into different parts of the ink and turn the cardstock as well. If the ink dries again, just add more blender from the mister.
Step 5 - Here is my first piece from this printing process.
Step 6 - Here is the second generation piece, when there was less ink left on the mat. Much more soft and subtle.
Clean Up - cleaning up the left over ink on you mat is a snap. Apply a small amount of Colorless Blender from the bottle to you craft sheet and wipe clean with a dry paper towel.
I like to keep my designs simple when working with a busier background like this one. There is so much going on with the texture and color that competition needs to be kept to a minimum for my eye. I have stamped the Chrysanthemum and Beautiful Day Sentiment (A Muse) with Jet Black Archival Ink and added Glossy Accents over the petals of the flower for dimension. The focal is mounted on Grass Cardstock (Hero Arts). I will talk about the plethora of products that work over Alcohol Inks in the coming posts and some of the ones that don't. I will also cover what types of images are most suited as well as my favorite color combinations.
So, where to buy Various Ink Refills and the supplies for these technniques? For online customers, the only business I would recommend is Ellen Hutson, LLC. Her commitment to education and customer service are second to none in this industry.
For those lucky enough to be able to vist Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, I recommend Be Creative Rubber Stamps. Haroldine, the owner, is very committed to the Copic product line and carries ALL Various Ink Refills.