Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Paper Crafts on a Budget - PART ONE

On a tight budget but still feel the urge to scrap book or make cards? Read on and discover my tried-and-true tips to create fabulous paper crafts without the expense.

Where can I find paper and embellishments that won’t cost an arm and a leg?
Always think outside the box when it comes to embellishments and paper. Recycle old wrapping paper, this can be used for photo mats or to make embellishments such as flowers, or to make interesting shapes with punches. Use old birthday/Christmas cards, business cards, tags from clothing, packaging from various items that catch your eye and junk mail to create various types of embellishments, such as those mentioned. Your local fabric store’s bargain bin can be excellent for ribbon scraps, buttons, fabric remnants and the like. Your local second hand shops are also ideal sources for embellishments, but you can also find old patterns for clothes (which are excellent for fashion layouts) and clothes that might have an interesting material, buttons or trims, also magazines, old books and picture books are another source of inspiration that could have you crafting for many hours on the cheap. If your embellishments don’t match your page, many can be altered to match with the use of inks and paint. Embellishments can also be found in everyday things such as:
  • old post cards or photos (materials that fit in the category of ephemera are excellent), keys, old coins, sand, sand paper, shells, pieces from old games or jigsaws, stitching by hand or machine etc.

Stamps, inks, heat guns, daubers, sponges…. A lot of it is expensive; do I require all of it to start with?
Large department stores such as K-Mart, Big W and Target and many $2 stores have scrapbooking areas that sell clear un-mounted stamps (meaning you need to purchase an acrylic block, which can also be purchased at the above mentioned stores for approximately $4-8) and basic ink pads. Please note that most clear stamps have a film on them, and when you attempt to ink it up the ink will not transfer properly, resulting in an uneven image. To rectify this, simply take a white eraser and rub it over the stamp several times, testing it with ink every so often to ensure that you have removed all of the film. You can also create stamps from things you have at home, such as toilet paper rolls, celery bottoms can create a rose, apples and potatoes with shapes cut out of them or bubble wrap .

Many inks can also be created at home, stay tuned for future updates on how to make your own inks.
Use make up brushes, paint brushes, cotton wool balls and cotton ear buds, make up wedges, even the common household sponge can all create interesting effects. Using a sponge that doubles as a scourer can also create excellent distressed effects.
If you would love to emboss but find the idea of buying a heat gun a bit expensive, or are confused as to what type of embossing equipment to get, then I recommend purchasing the following:
·        Emboss-able Inks
Some inks will not allow you to emboss so it can be worthwhile to purchase a few Distress Inks by Tim Holtz in a couple of your favourite colours to allow you to try out this technique. Some inks by Versa Colour will allow embossing and this brand can be found at cheaper prices than the Distress Ink, but research carefully before purchasing to ensure it is the right type.
·        Embossing powder in Clear
This can be used over any colour ink and saves you having to buy multiple embossing powders to begin with.
·        Toaster or hair straightener (most homes have one or the other)
Either of these can be used to heat up the embossing powder which is what creates the embossing effects.
·        Dryer sheet or an anti-static pad. An anti-static pad can be purchased or home-made, by making a small bag (a couple of inches or 5cm square is fine) of a thick cotton, filling it with cornstarch or baby powder and sewing it shut)
To emboss, firstly set up your work area. You need the piece of card to stamp on, emboss-able ink, a stamp, a folded piece of paper, an anti-static pad, a paint brush and the powder (I recommend having the powder open but away from you so you don’t accidentally knock it). To start with, wipe the card with the antistatic pad to remove static, and then simply stamp an image using an emboss-able ink. Quickly place a thick layer of emboss-able powder over the image (you have about 20-30 seconds to do this step before the ink dries). Lifting the card carefully, tip the excess powder onto the folded piece of paper (this makes it easier to put the powder back into the container). If there are specks of embossing powder on the card where you don’t want them, carefully remove with the paint brush.
Turn on the heating appliance of your choice and hold your card carefully over it with tweezers – ensure it is a couple of inches above so you don’t scorch the card and watch the powder carefully. As it starts to change, gently and slowly move the card over the heat source so all the powder changes into a glossy look. Once completed, remove from heat source and allow to cool - And you’re all done!

As I come across new techniques and tips for paper crafting cheaply, I will continue my series Paper Craft on a Budget. Please feel free to comment if there are any tutorials or ideas mentioned that you would like to have expanded on.
Stay tuned for Paper crafts on a Budget PART TWO appearing on Saturday 19/11/11. Thanks for reading and see you next time!!!

Happy Crafting,

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