witticisms by Jess Witty

February 01, 2010

Be My Valentine

It's true confession time, folks. {No, not my folks. You folks. I am not confessing anything more to my folks. I plead the 5th on all past indiscretions.} And my confession is... ... I am a wee bit phobic about the long loved, ever popular, embraced by artists everywhere... Copic marker. Am I alone? Does the Copic craze not scare anyone else? I mean, seriously, people. You know me. I am a quick and easy crafting kind of girl. Generally, my m.o. goes something like... Stamp card. Tie ribbon around card. Done. And that is the way I like it. But nooooooo. All you Copic people are out there. {And you know who you are... Debbie... Sharon... etc.} Making beautiful projects. And posting them everywhere. So that I cannot escape seeing them. And so, I gave up. But I determined that I would do it my way. And so I did. So, let it first be said by me that I am by no means a Copic expert. {Let's all repeat that together now, okey dokey?} In fact, the thought of that is practically laughable. {And, my mom did, indeed, laugh when I told her about this whole Copic plan.} I only know what I know, and at this point, I only know what I've done, so I really only know about what I've done. Make sense? So, here's what I did... in the words of my 2 year old... TADA! And here's what you'll need.

Premo polymer clay by Sculpey. Or any other kind of polymer clay. I'm not picky. This will set ya back about $2.

I bought white, because the whole point of this project is to get over my Copic issues, so white it is. Plus, white goes with everything. Therefore, it is cost effective.

I actually already had this little pasta machine. It's straight from your local craft store... nothing fancy or expensive. You can totally roll your clay with an inexpensive roller - not a problem. (Sidenote... don't use the rolling pin from your kitchen and just think you can wash it afterwards, because that is a no no.)

I already had the Future Floor Finish, too. If you've been a stamper for a while and went through the Pearl Ex phase along with the rest of us, then you probably have it as well. It will set you back about $3 (any grocery store, etc.) and will last much longer than you will be around to need it.

Just for kick, I also busted out a jar of said Pearl Ex (micro pearl, if you're interested). The Pearl Ex is just a bonus - you can totally do this project without it.

You'll also need your VersaMark pad, a soft brush, a foam brush, and your favorite Papertrey Ink stamps. {I used the little outline heart from Simple Valentine for this project.}

Last thing... Copics. For this project, I only used the colors from this chart by Papertrey. I used the 2 of each of the colors for Raspberry Fizz, Aqua Mist, Plum Pudding, Ocean Tides, New Leaf, Pure Poppy, & Summer Sunshine.

  • First up, condition your clay.

That just a fancy way of saying, warm up your clay. I basically cut off about 1/4 of my block, squished it till it would fit into the pasta machine, and rolled it through on the highest setting. When it comes out, fold it over, and repeat. Again and again. Folding it once and putting the fold into the machine first will help avoid air bubbles in the clay. I tried to get mine to roll out into a rough squarish type figure. Also, turning the setting back a few notches lower will give you a thinner sheet and therefore make your clay last for a bit more projects.

  • Next up, take the squarish sheet, lay it on some cardstock, then trim 2 sides of it so they make a nice square corner. You can use fancy tools such as a plastic knife or even the edge of your ruler (like I did). See?

  • On to the fun part. Ink up your stamp with some Versamark, then stamp it down on your clay. Press down firmly, but not so firmly that you squish the block in the clay. {To be perfectly honest, I have no idea if the Versamark is necessary. I just used it to prevent the stamp from sticking to the clay and it seemed to work.} Keep stamping the hearts until you have a block of 9, then trim the other two sides of the clay.
  • Once you've trimmed the sides, just place your cardstock directly on a cookie sheet and bake the whole thing for 30 minutes at 275. {Your cardstock will not burn at this temp, I swear. And there is a possibility that my timer might have been re-set by another member of my family and that I might have left my project in the oven much longer than 30 minutes. And it was still fine.}
  • If you end up with any rough edges, just file them down with a fine grit nail file.
  • Seal the piece with the Future finish and a foam brush. {I just squirted a bit into a tiny plastic cup... it will take you just a tiny bit to seal the entire piece.} If you want, you can add a bit of the Pearl Ex into the Future for a pearly finish. You can give this part 10-15 minutes to dry... maybe less.

  • Next up... the Copics. I'll warn ya, I don't have pics of this part. Because it's super hard to color and hold a camera at the same time. But, it is easy, so just listen up.
  • Take 2 colors - we'll use Raspberry Fizz as an example. So take the darker color (RV17) and carefully color one entire heart. I found it easiest to do the edges first, then the inside. That will only take you a few seconds.
  • Take your lighter color (RV04) and color over what you just colored. Coloring over with the lighter color will push some of the darker color underneath in the direction you're working. I generally tried to color just inside the outside edges, and I went from the right side of the heart toward the left side so that all the hearts looked consistent. My goal was to leave the right side a bit lighter than the left, so that's why I started there.

Now, obviously, my Copic skills are, ahem, rudimentary. But, what I do know is that working on a glazed surface is different than working on an absorbant surface (i.e. cardstock).

The ink you're laying down is not going to absorb into the clay whatsoever... it will stay wet on the clay for a bit of time and can be pushed around on the surface pretty well. I went with the less is more theory... one layer of the darker color, one time of going over it with the lighter color and some finessing of where I wanted the lightest parts to be, and that's it. The whole thing will dry to the touch in a few minutes.

And, I feel I should say, for the record... do not make your simple, yet beautiful, stamped and sealed clay piece and then try to color in your simple, yet beautiful stamped and sealed clay piece with regular dye based markers... no no no. You will cry a river of tears when your pretty colored hearts never ever dry. You need the real deal {i.e. Copics} here, kids. {And no, this did not happen to me, but it does seem like something that would happen to me, so I felt I should note it.}

This is not a project in perfection, friends... keep that in mind.

This is what I ended up with...

And, can I just say, for someone who has been totally trepidatious about the whole Copic thing... I really like it. I especially love the combo of the Copics on the clay.

I totally love the bright, bright colors on the shimmery white clay. I know they're not perfect, but I am completely happy with the almost watercolor effect of the markers on the glazed surface. I love the effect of the stamped hearts in the clay... the dimension and depth the clay gives and how the piece appears almost pillowy and soft. I am totally digging the bright colors and shimmery white against the Smokey Shadow cardstock... it gives the background the semi-stark, modern background I was hoping for.

I made a little pattern with the larger heart outline stamp by overlapping them in Frost White along the card. To prevent it from looking too consistent, I offset the hearts in each row. This is totally easy to do because you just line the bottom hearts up at the bottom of the card, then line the next row up at the point where the hearts in the first row overlap. Seriously, it will turn out just about perfect, I swear.

I pretty much based this entire card on the sentiment... I have used it endlessly since it was released in the Tiny Treats: Valentine set in December. It just makes me want to pair it with rainbows of every kind.

I added just a bit of baker's twine in a fun pink/red twist to contrast with the Aqua Mist ribbon.

And I couldn't forget the inside...

the little sentiments are also from the Simple Valentine set.

Now, to tell the truth... the rainbow piece above was actually my practice piece. No kidding. My original vision was for all of the hearts to be white except for one.

So I made one that way, too.

Aqua Mist + New Leaf makes me happy. Oh, so happy.

I colored the heart with the Raspberry Fizz Copics, then added that over a tiny side tag made with a Vintage Labels stamp and, of course, my favorite sentiment. That all went over a panel of New Leaf cardstock stamped with text from the Background Basics: Text Style set (Versamark ink) then over stamped with the large outline heart in Vintage Cream ink. A little Hibiscus Burst ribbon ruffle there to tie the pinks together.

So, let's review what we've learned.

I am not an expert on using Copics. And that means that if I can do this project, so can you. Seriously.

Try it with the Copics you have on hand. Or get a set of 3 from Papertrey... they're all picked out for you to coordinate with all of the PTI colors we know and love. Or, if not on clay, how about cardstock? I can totally see this project with the hearts stamped in black (or embossed in white on white!), then colored in.

I'd love to do some little stamped clay accents cut out with some tiny circle cutters and colored in Summer Sun, or Orange Zest... I could go on and on. The possibilities go on and on.

If you give this idea a try, come back and let me know! I'd love to see what you come up with.

And... since this project officially closes out my time as Papertrey Ink's Distinguished Guest Designer... let me say a huge thanks to Nichole and the Papertrey Team for inviting me along these last few months. Seriously, I'm as big of a PTI fan as all of you, so this has been just a sweet, sweet time for me. Thanks to all of you who have encouraged me and left comments during this time... I have read every one with amazement that you would take the time to share a bit of yourself with me.

Thanks, friends!


Joan B said...

Wow with a capital W! I'm speechless. Clever and gorgeous.

Nadine said...

Jess, I have no copics and meant to keep it that way for a long, long time. But NOW Im rethinking it. Thanks (I think).

BTW - that clay piece is just gorgeous! The colors are wonderful. And I love that you explained each step. Im glad I was able to get to know you thru PTI, I will continue to visit your blog for all your great inspiration!

debb said...

Love it!!!!

Sandy in Epping said...

Sooo cool.
No copics here YET, but have had a multipak of colored clays for eons-- so NOW here is something I can really do with it since I do have the roller.
Great tips, and beautiful work.

Lindsay said...

Loved your post! I am a paper and glue type and the thought of copics scare me! I hate to say it but it is nice to see a true papercrafting pro say that copics aren't their thing! So, thanks for making me feel a little better about my "backwards" ways :0) I think I will visit PTI now and get some copics to practice your awesome technique on! Thanks!

MissyC said...

This is a beautiful project. Your sense of humor will have me smiling all morning. Thanks for sharing!

BethieJ said...

FABULOUS!!!! I adore this.. and YEAH for other ways to use copics! Now I cant let me DD see this.. she LOVES clay.. has the pasta machine.. and will want moms copics.. but that said.. while she is at school mom may have to BORROW her supplies! ;)
Thanks for sharing such a FUN idea!!
have a GREAT day!

Diane Jaquay said...

Your creations are wonderful!! I too have a great fear of Copics, which is why I haven't bought a single one yet, but one of these days I will work up the nerve lol!

Mel said...

Beautiful job, Jess. (Melissa O.)

Kari D said...

I love having you as a PTI Special Guest Designer. You have a wonderful sense of design, a great sense of humor, and amazing whimsy (key, I think, to being a great stamper). Thanks so much for you wonderful art and inspiration. You are on my list of "go to" blogs!
Kari D

Nancy L. said...

what a creative project! love the idea and both cards are amazing!!

KanataNewf said...

I just had to chuckle as I read this - I am Copic-phobic as well. For the simple fact that I know that if I try them and like them I will have to have them all. That's just how it is. I use Prismacolor pencils to colour and had to buy the biggest set I could get right off the bat. Loved your projects - I feel my resolve to stay away from Copics slipping....

Melanie said...

Girl - this is awesome. I have to confess - i don't own one copic. Not a "fear" - but just a careful consideration of the financial investment. Do I really "need" them? I'll all over art supplies - but I have to justify the expense. I'm not quite ready but maybe one step closer after reading this. ;)

Courtney Baker said...

Such a fun project Jessica and no you're not the only one afraid. I have them I just well... I don't use them. I think they don't really fit in my go-to style, but I love what other people do with them!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful cards! Love it!


Dawn said...

SUPER SNAZZY! I love how you colored with copics and clay:)

Geny said...

Love these projects Jessica! So much, what a wonderful fun technique! I have two Copics that my mom gave me for Christmas and I haven't even used them yet, I am just not ready to make the investment and perhaps fail:)!!

DustyPenny (Joy Ott) said...

Very cool. I might have to break out my clay again and give this a try!

Steph said...

Amazing cards...so creative. Sometimes I see projects and think "I could do that!" Um, not here. I wouldn't even attempt to and I am happy just to admire your fine work!

Jenn said...

This is the most creative thing that I've seen in quite some time, Jess! Thanks for sharing it - I just adore it (and you!).

Emma and Jackson's Mom said...

Hey Jess, Kevin and I LOVE the black card! Amazing! You did a fantastic job! I like the other card but feel like it has a big white hole in it. Like it's missing something. Keep using the copics, you're doing great!

InkyFingers said...

OMGosh! Now I have a reason to buy Copics! I started playing with clay and stamps a month or so ago and just hadn't gotten around to using it on cards, but wanted to.