Today I want to show you a fun technique using the Tim Holtz Adirondack Alcohol inks — making a plaid background paper. There are so many fun colors to choose from in order to create a beautiful plaid. My sample cards are mostly for the upcoming Christmas holiday, but I also did a quick fall plaid. Here are two sample cards —
It is very easy to use the Tim Holtz Adirondack Alcohol Inks to make plaid backgrounds. You only need a few colors that will work well together (I tend to use an odd number such as 3 or 5 because I think that it turns out better that way), the alcohol ink blending solution, a blending tool and some felt applicators. Of course this is one of those projects where the silicone craft sheet is a must (it makes clean-up so much easier than other alternatives).
To begin, I selected five alcohol ink colors that I thought would make a good holiday plaid — red pepper, cranberry, meadow, bottle and pitch black. I lined them up in the order that I thought they would work best, and then removed the tops (my lineup was meadow, cranberry, pitch black, bottle, red pepper). I also removed the lid from my alcohol ink blending solution. I cut one of the felt applicators in half (you don’t need the full surface for this project, so I cut the felt pad in half), and turned it sideways on the blending tool. Starting at one end of the felt pad, place 2-3 drops of each color of ink — lined up side-by-side — the drops can either be touching or be separated by some space. Each will create a different result, and you can experiment with spacing as well as color to find a plaid that is appealing to you. Once all of the colors are in place, I put a thin line of the blending solution above and below the dots of color. This helps the color to flow better on the paper.
The paper you’ll want to use for this project is the Ranger “gloss” paper (8-1/2 x 11) or the alcohol ink cardstock (4″x6″). These are made to work with the alcohol inks, and other glossy papers just don’t work in the same way When you’re getting started and experimenting, any photo or glossy paper should work — and it is often a lot less expensive to practice with. When you’re making a “good” project, though, you’ll want the Ranger gloss paper or the alcohol ink cardstock. Either one will work beautifully.
To begin the plaid paper, you’ll turn your applicator so that the dots of color are lined up on top of one another. Swipe the applicator fr om one side of the cardstock to the other, trying to keep the lines somewhat straight. Overlap slightly, and put a second strip of color across the page. Continue this until you have added horizontal strips of color across the page. At this point you can re-ink the felt pad, or you can continue on. I generally just continue without re-inking. I then put the vertical stripes on the paper — sometimes overlapping the lines of color a little, and sometimes creating some space in between the stripes of color. There are many different ways of approaching a plaid, and you’ll just want to experiment with colors and/or placement until you find a plaid that is appealing to you.
The alcohol ink dries almost instantly, so there isn’t any concern about drying times, etc. Once the plaid pattern is complete, you can stamp on it using Ranger’s Jet Black Archival Ink. This ink has a beautiful glossy black finish, and is perfect for use with the glossy papers. It is also capable of producing the fine detail that is a part of many stamp sets — particularly the Tim Holtz Stampers’ Anonymous stamps that I feature below. You use this ink like any other — my only caution is that the wet ink can be somewhat slippery on the glossy cardstock. Be sure to place your stamp carefully. Try to avoid too much pressure as this may cause the stamp to slide and ruin your image. If you press down lightly on the stamp and then let it rest for a few seconds on the cardstock, the power of gravity will take over and the ink will transfer to the cardstock as it should. That way you get a nice clean, crisp image without any worries of smudges and smears. Please see the short video for additional information on how I created the plaid backgrounds and then stamped them.
Note that the plaid backgrounds can be very different based on a number of factors — colors used, positioning of colors, whether the dots of color are touching one another, etc. Experiment with your technique and try different kinds of plaids. Even the same 3-5 colors are capable of producing multiple plaids. For the plaids below I stayed with the same reds and greens (bottle, meadow, red pepper and cranberry), but changed the order that I used them and also what else I put with them (sometimes pitch black, sometimes slate, sometimes the snow cap mixative and sometimes the gold mixative). It is fun to see how different the plaids turn out, and how different the stamped images look depending on whether the plaid is dark and muted or light and bright. If you’re stamping on one of the darker plaid backgrounds, you may have to bleach out the area to be stamped. Instructions for this are on my video.
Here are the sample holiday cards using the plaid backgrounds with Tim Holtz Stampers’ Anonymous stamps —
Note the technique on the last two cards. I used only one portion of the Little B circles dies to create the frame of little circles around the image or the background — how cool is that! I love the versatility of the Little B die sets!
Of course I couldn’t resist showing you a sample Halloween/Autumn plaid using butterscotch, latte, sunshine yellow, eggplant and sunset orange alcohol inks —
Clean-up is very easy for this project. You can use standard hand sanitizer to clean your craft mat and your hands — easy peasy!
Supplies from Cut @ Home
Alcohol Ink Blending Tool – SKU TIM20745
Extra felt pads – SKU TIM20844
Alcohol Ink Blending Solution – SKU TIM19800
Assortment of Adirondack Alcohol Inks and metallic mixatives — use the link to find various sets available on the Cut @ Home site
Tim Holtz Stampers’ Anonymous stamps Mini Holidays – SKU CMS142 and Mini Holidays #5 – SKU CMS177
Scor-Tape by Scor-Pal – 1/4″ — SKU 202
Little B Circles Cutting Dies — SKU 100381
Sizzix Big Shot — SKU 657900
Supplies from my stash — Ranger craft mat (silicone); hand sanitizer (for clean-up); Ranger gloss paper or Alcohol Ink cardstock; Close to My Heart stamps S1209 Fall Favorites; Tim Holtz Stampers’ Anonymous CMS142 Mini Holidays #2; Ranger Archival Ink Jet Black; May Arts stain cut-outs holly; red rhinestones; assorted ribbon and cardstock; Sizzix Framelits Tickets dies; Sizzix Framelits Egg dies; Scotch Quick-Dry Adhesive
Thanks and Happy Scrappin’!