Sunday, August 14, 2016

AAA Cards Challenge - Ink Blending

Recently I made a card during Papertrey Ink's Stamp-A-Faire 2016 that was inspired by Vincent Van Gogh's "Starry Night".  I've made a couple of night sky cards before but I've mailed both of them which means I don't have any more to send out until I make some.  Night skies are a fantastic way to practice and play with ink blending techniques to find out what you like and what works best for you. It is also a really good way to find out how the inks you are using behave when they come in contact with water. Distress Inks are formulated specifically to react whenever they come in contact with water.  Most inks are designed not to react once you've let them dry or you heat set them.

While I have done a bit of playing previously, I really wanted to sit and play with different types of watercolor paper, different types of ink and lots of water vs. very little water and everything in between.  The challenge this week over at AAA Cards was just the thing I needed to entice me to take extra time out to do this today.  I actually made four of these cards but the two I feature first are my favorites although I'm happy with all of them.

For the background panels I made, I used a combination of Distress Inks, Simon Says Stamp Inks, and Papertrey Inks and for the silhouette of the trees and hills I used Hero Arts Black Ink.  I was realizing today how intense their black ink is but when I went to get a refill, I couldn't find one.  The Hero Hues Black Ink provided superior coverage on my watercolor paper.  I was using the Direct to Paper (DTP) method with a corner of the ink pad for the hills, and I stamped the trees in the same ink with the Altenew Pine Trees Stamp.  I got it specifically to use on this type of card.  I also have the small Winter Cottage Stamp Set which I think was a gift with purchase last year around Christmas & New Year's and I plan to try that on this same type of card in the future.

This first card used Simon Says Stamp Island Blue Ink which is the closest color I've found to SU!'s Pacific Point. I combined it with Ocean Tides, Hibiscus Burst, Seedless Preserves, and Chipped Sapphire around the perimeter. The card base is made from Bazzill Whirlypop Cardstock.

The second card uses Wilted Violet, Seedless Preserves, Ocean Tides, Hibiscus Burst, and Royal Velvet.  I have a friend who is a photographer in North Pole, Alaska and she has hundreds of images of the Northern Lights.  This is so like what she captures that I am going to send this card to her.  All of these cards feature the Inspired: Faith Stamps and Dies from Papertrey Ink.  The card bases are made from Papertrey Ink's Royal Velvet Cardstock.

The last two cards used the same color combinations as the first two with one difference; I used Pine Feather instead of Ocean Tides.

I used Canson Bristol, Fabriano, Arches Hot Pressed and Arches Cold Pressed Watercolor Paper, applying ink with a Mini Round Ink Blending Tool.  I used both circular motions and back and forth "scrubbing" type of motions.  The paper is not as heavy or as thick as the other 3 but also doesn't hold as much water. The Canson Bristol paper would pill much easier than the others but since I knew this going in, I didn't over work it.  And really, since you are going to spray water on the whole thing to let the colors move and blend, it doesn't really matter how smoothly the ink is blended initially.  Especially in the case of Distress Inks, the inks blend effortlessly.  The hard part is waiting for that to dry once you've misted it.

That said, I really liked how much easier it was to get this depth of color on the Canson Bristol which is a 96# paper. In other words, it took less ink to get the same results as the 140# papers. I could spray the 140# papers with more water, but it also took more time to dry. I liked the Hot Pressed and Bristol papers the most but this was not a surprise to me. I most often use the Canson Bristol in the other things I make and if I need a paper to hold more water, my preference is for the Arches Hot Pressed Watercolor Paper.  It is incredibly smooth for watercolor paper. This is totally personal preference.  Don't let any one opinion decide what is the right thing for you.  You really just need to experiment to find what works for you and what you like.

Once I had all of my background panels made, I spritzed the paper with Tsukineko Sheer Sparkle Shimmer Spritz and set it aside to dry one last time before assembling my cards.  I attached the background using my ATG Adhesive.  The "Faith" words were die cut from Stamper's Select White Cardstock and the sentiments were all heat embossed using Versamark Ink and WOW! Opaque Bright White Super Fine Embossing Powder.  I adhered a few Darice Tiny Silver Star Sequins with Multi Medium Matte to finish off my cards.

I'll also be entering the second card at Stampin' Royalty for their "Anything Goes" challenge.

Thank you so much for stopping by to check out my blog.  I really appreciate it when you take the time to leave such nice and encouraging comments.  I hope you'll be inspired to sit and experiment with your own inks and some watercolor paper.


  1. How fab our challenge inspired you to have a play. And these night skies turned out amazing. Thanks for joinig us at AAA

  2. Your card just jumped out at me from the gallery - completely gorgeous night sky! Thanks for playing at AAA Cards.

  3. Amazing cards Vicki! Your background seem to shine from within! I love that tree are right it is perfect for this card design!

  4. Beautiful cards, and yes Faith does make things possible. Thanks for sharing with us at AAA Cards!

  5. Gorgous cards! I really love your night sky.

  6. These cards really are beautiful! Fantastic skies and I love the sentiment.


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