Saturday, October 17, 2015

Let's Bokeh

This week I got my first paid "gig" thanks to one of my sisters-in-law.  It's been a great learning experience for me as I figured out what I could and could not do easily when making cards on request for someone else.  One of the most important things I learned is that the one-of-a-kind cards should stay one-of-a-kind.  But I did learn a few things while trying to replicate a look for someone. Bokeh was at the top of this list and I wanted to share the technique I used.    

Many of you know that I was not a card maker until this year, but bokeh was one of the first things that I tried to do because I saw it on Pinterest and loved the look as much as I did back when I was taking portraits.

Bokeh is a photography term that refers to the quality of the blur on the out of focus objects in an image and how a lens renders those points of light.  Think of those movies or photos that you've seen with tiny Christmas lights in the background that are absolutely magical as in the image above and the two images below.  

This is the look I was trying to mimic today for a background on a card.  I had previously made one so someone was asking me to replicate it.  I had water colored a soft background first and then added the bokeh look on top of that.  I wasn't creating for a specific card; I was only playing to see what I could do. The original had allowed plenty of drying time between layers and eventually I made a card.  But this week I didn't have that much time to let the ink dry.  So here's what I did; first I created a background panel using two different colors of pink applied with a Ranger Mini Ink Blending Tool. I used the lighter shade in the center of the panel and the more vibrant color all around the outside.  I used Dye Inks for this so drying time was next to nothing.  I guess I wasn't sure the ink blending would yield the result I wanted so I did that on a piece of watercolor card stock think I might need to watercolor it, but I didn't need to.  Smooth white card stock would have worked just fine.  I was actually so happy with the ink blending that I created another one in the same way on regular white card stock.

Way back in early spring I had gotten this stamp set from L2E called Bokeh Builder.  If you follow the link you can see there are a variety of sizes in both the solid circular images and the outline images.  I haven't used the outline images yet, but I have them if I need them.  I work from largest to smallest circle size using 3-4 different ones from this set.  I stamp completely at random with no intentional pattern sometimes stamping a smaller circle on top of a larger one.  I always have only a few of the largest circles in comparison to the smaller circles. I use the medium sized circles the most as I think this mimics a lens the best but you need the smaller circles for the proper look and balance.  

Next I needed to speed up the drying time of the white pigment ink so I tried several things.  First I tried plain white embossing powder.  That was too opaque although I tried to use a very light touch.  If you've ever done heat embossing, you know that there is little you can do to control the intensity of the color.  After that I tried some Ranger Antiquities Embossing Powder in Frosted Crystal but I still found this too opaque for my taste.  Finally, I tried using my trusted standby, Simon Says Stamp Clear Embossing Powder.  This was, at last, the look I wanted.  By using embossing powder, I eliminated the drying time normally associated with Pigment Inks.  I have nearly every color of ink that Stampin' Up! offers and I used the Craft White ink for this.  You could use Hero Arts Unicorn White or any other white pigment inks that you might have.   I used what I already had on hand.  I do wish there was an option for a matte finish embossing powder, but I'm okay with this shiny finish for now.    

Dye inks dry so fast that you don't have time to get much embossing powder on them.  While I do use a lot of Versamark Ink, it would not really be suitable for this look.  I actually didn't expect that this technique would work quite as well as it did and I love happy accidents.  

I hope you enjoyed reading about this technique and I'm super happy that I figured out a way to accomplish it within a shorter time frame.  Please feel free to leave me a question or comment.  Thanks for stopping by!  

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you so much for making my day by leaving an encouraging comment! It means the world to me when you do. Hugs!