Inky Goodness

Welcome! Thanks for stopping by and indulging my random thoughts on crafting and all things inky and messy. Nothing makes me happier than inky fingers and paint under my fingernails at the end of the day. A little glitter never hurts either. ;) Happy crafting!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

From A to Z then Back Again: Kinderstampo Sept Tag Swap

I've been crafting in one way or another for about as long as I can remember but I've never done a swap!  For those of you who might be new to the term, a "swap" is literally that - you create multiple copies of an item defined by the parameters of the event and send them to the even coordinator.  For example, if it's a tag swap, you would create the requested number of tags.  A card swap would be creating cards, etc.  The coordinator than sends you back the same number of items you created only these are from other participants.  It's a great way to share/ "swap" ideas and spark your creative energy by seeing all of the great things other artists are doing.  Even when I was teaching stamp classes I never participated in swaps for some reason.  I think mainly it was because I was too busy teaching and coming up with new classes.

Lately I've really been enjoying the online communities revolving around scrapbooking and mixed media art.  I saw that fellow Artsy Addict (Marion Smith's online group), Jess (AKA Kinderstampo), was hosting a monthly tag swap.  I had wrapped up a few projects and thought I'd go ahead and enter for September.  Now, "why tags" you ask?  Paper crafters often use tags, usually sized in the 3" x 5" ish size range, to create mini art projects because they are small and you can use them on just about anything.  You can put them in a mini book, on a scrapbook page, hang them on a bulletin board, etc.  They're almost like the next evolution of Artist Trading Cards (ATCs).

Every swap usually has a theme and this swap's theme was Destinations using travel inspired elements.  Hmmm travel huh?  I started thinking about it and almost immediately the idea came to mind about an inner journey as opposed to an external destination.  The great thing about art is being able to interpret ideas in different ways.  Forgive me Jess if I took too much liberty with the theme!  Hopefully I won't get banned from participating in future swaps.  :}

I had a choice of making 5 or 10 tags.  I opted for 5 since I know me and I know I would find it tedious to make too many copies.  The swap allowed for repeated copies of the same design or I could have made 5 different tags if I wanted to.  I decided to make 5 tags of the same design. Because I chose this option, I wanted to use materials that I could easily recreate as opposed to store bought embellishments that might be costly to use over and over again.  So out came the stamps!

I spent several years in the stamping industry and haven't stamped much since I started scrapbooking.  It felt like revisiting an old friend and I just loved the experience!!  It never ceases to amaze me how cyclical life is.  I started out sewing, then making jewelry, stamping, painting, then scrapbooking and now with the mixed media influence, it all seems to tie back together and come full circle.  Now I create scrapbook pages and projects with painted backgrounds, beads, stamped elements and even sew on my pages!  Who knew they would all blend together so perfectly?!?!  But I digress...

My first step was to come up with a prototype that I could then modify and copy for my 5 tags.  I've been into bright colors this summer and just picked up some Interference Blue heavy body acrylic paint by Golden so I knew I wanted to try it out. I also knew I wanted to contrast some clear elements with opaque ones so I included an acetate flower and used Clear Glass Bead Gel from Golden on the edges.  I also thought I'd try using the glass flower technique with UTEE so I threw one of those flowers on there as well.  Here was the initial result.

Tag prototype
I was somewhat pleased with how it came out but I decided that I didn't like the ruffle (made from a used dryer sheet), nor did I like the UTEE background flower layer in the lower right hand corner.  I didn't like how the color came out and worried that they would break or crack in shipping.  I also realized the tag was smaller than the requirements.  The tags were supposed to be at least 3".  For some reason I thought that meant in length and later realized it meant in width as well.  This version was just shy of 3" so I had to rethink my design a bit.  I like the final result much better.

Final tag design.  Destination: Inner Journey
Step by step:
  1. I used a deckle edged ruler to tear the tag shape out of watercolor paper.  I love the weight and texture of this paper and thought it would be sturdy and perfect for this project.  I also snipped off the corners this time so it had a more "tag" like appearance.
  2. Then the fun part - painting!  I painted the tag with quinacridone magenta fluid acrylic paint.  Love this color!
  3. After the paint dried I stamped the tag with a text background stamp with black ink.
  4. I then applied some interference blue acrylic paint over the tag with my finger keeping it streaky.  Adding this color helped to dull down the brightness of the magenta and added a cool blue sheen in the light.
  5. Using my finger again (my fav application tool I might add), I rubbed on a fairly thick layer of clear glass bead gel around the edges of each tag and then set them aside to dry.
  6. While the backgrounds were drying, I started working on the embellishments.  I stamped a flower onto clear acetate and colored it with permanent markers. I cut them out and embellished them with some glitter glue and jewels.  Gotta have the bling!
  7. I stamped the title onto watercolor paper and then added color with watercolor pencils.  I thought this was a perfect title for a destination/travel type project.
  8. Tag titles awaiting their destination
  9. The next step was to create the sentiment "Be where you are".  Rather than write it or stamp it, I decided to try printing it out on my printer.  I used watercolor paper as well and man was it a pain!  The paper was a bit thick for my printer and it took a couple of tries but eventually I got it to work.  Once printed I cut out the words and added some color with water color pencils.
  10. I stamped the "remember this" stamp onto some patterned paper and then punched it out with a scallop punch.  I added some ink to the edges with the same permanent markers I used on the acetate flowers.
  11. The bees came next.  They were stamped onto watercolor paper as well, cut out, and then colored in with markers.  I added a thin layer of glitter glue to the wings to make them sparkle.
  12. Then it was time for glimmer mist painting!  I am loving the weight and texture of seam binding right now and I get plain white from the fabric store so I can color it to fit my projects.  I painted the ribbon with Blue Skies glimmer mist.
  13. Seam binding takes the color of mist beautifully!
  14. Finally came the flowers.  I used lots of flower layers and painted each layer with glimmer mist.  White flowers got pink centers, pink flowers got darker pink tips, and blue flowers got teal tips.  The rosebud flowers each got color in their centers.
  15. Painted flower layers waiting to dry
  16. Now came assembly time and the finishing touches!
  17. Assembly in progress
  18. I wanted the tags to have a lot of dimension so elements stuck off the edge as well as were elevated.  I  stamped a bee directly on the tag and then glued the colored bee on top with it's wings up.  The bee below helps to anchor the image on the page. I also adhered the title with dimensional adhesive to help it stand out.
  19. Dimensional goodness
  20. I added some glue to the edges of the largest flower layer and sprinkled it with chunky clear glitter to help it shine and added a jewel to the accent flower on the ribbon. 
  21. I punched out a circle from the same patterned paper as the "remember this" and used it as a reinforcer for my hole for the tag.  I used a flower shaped eyelet for the hole, tied the second piece of ribbon and voila, done!

Final tags ready for their new home
Each tag had slight variations in color since they were each hand painted and they all came out a bit different in size.  I think this is a good representation of me and my style and hopefully the recipients will like them.  I can't wait to see what I get back in return!  I always find it so inspiring to see how other people create and how they express their own artistic vision.  This was such a fun project and I loved getting back to my stamping roots!  I think I'll visit here for a while.

Enjoy your journey!

Supplies Used:
  • Watercolor paper (Strathmore)
  • Quinacridone Magenta fluid acrylic paint (Golden)
  • Interference Blue heavy body acrylic paint (Golden)
  • Clear Glass Bear Gel (Golden)
  • Black permanent ink (StazOn)
  • Bee and flower stamps (Inkadinkadoo)
  • "remember this" and "Enjoy the journey" stamps (Hero Arts)
  • White seam binding (JoAnn's)
  • Blue floral patterned paper (Making Memories)
  • Flower eyelets (Making Memories)
  • Watercolor pencils (Karat Aquarell)
  • Rock Candy Stickles (Ranger)
  • China Blue Distress Stickles (Ranger)
  • Orange and yellow gems (Martha Stewart Crafts)
  • Pink and blue flowers (Making Memories)
  • White craftable flowers (Prima)
  • Yellow, white, green rosebud flowers (Recollections)
  • Riptide, Cherry Limeade, Tuscan Sun, and Blue Skies Glimmer Mist (Tattered Angels)
  • Glittering glue (Martha Stewart Crafts)
  • Glossy Accents (Ranger)
  • 450 Quick Dry glue (Helmar)
  • Diamond Dust glitter (FloraCraft)
  • Permanent markers (Bic)


  1. Wow I always wondered why they did the tag swaps and you answered that for me thank you...LOL they came out really pretty and I will never see a swap the same again. I loved reading your blog it inspired me to make a tag :)

  2. these are beautiful I loved reading all of this it gets me in the mood now to start my tags, I hope I am one of the lucky ones do receive one of your tags. Debbie at

  3. Thanks guys!!! Can't wait to see what everyone comes up with. Cynthia do a vid!!! ;)