Category Archives: How To…

An Experiment In Homemade Glimmer Mist

Recently, I’ve seen lots – and I do mean lots – of videos on YouTube featuring a “Glimmer Mist” or a “Shimmer Mist” product being used on many things and in many ways.

Last week, during my trip to my local craft/hobby stores, I asked if “Tattered Angels Glimmer Mists” were available in each of three stores I went to.  Two of the major craft store personnel had never heard of the product and was sure their stores didn’t sell it.  The third store was out of the entire product line and it will be 10 days before they get more.

I follow RoxyCar11 on YouTube and seemed to remember a video she did on “Shimmer Paint” and another one on “Glimmer Mist”.  I did a Google search for anything to do with homemade Glimmer Mist and the results were not as many as I thought there would be.

I did find three blog entries on the subject.  One result is thefrugalcrafter.wordpress.com, another is beestamper.blogspot.com, and the final one is poshscrapbookstore.blogspot.com.  The recipes varied in their content as well as the “recipe” itself.

Well, getting a chance to play with some of my husband’s toys while he was away and wanting to see for myself how easy it is to make this stuff, I decided to just jump in and do it.  Please keep in mind, the “recipe” I used was for a 4 ounce bottle.  If you choose to do this with the “Mini Mister” bottles then the quantities of all products added to the water will be considerably less.  I can’t say how much less, but I would think it would be safe to say the shimmery powder you use will be cut in 1/2 from what I use in this experiment.

First attempt

The Glossy Accents was something I already had on hand.  I purchased the Liquitex Cerulean Blue Hue Ink and Pearl Ex from Hobby Lobby.  Information gathered from my three sources I read that Perfect Pearls has a “binder” in it that does not require any kind of glue agent added to the mix, while Pearl Ex does require a bit of a glue agent.  Just not as much as I used.

DO NOT USE THE AMOUNT OF GLOSSY ACCENTS I SPECIFY IN THE VIDEO.  I plugged up my sprayer something fierce and had to throw the whole thing away.

Well, that is what experimentation is all about anyway – isn’t it?  Finding what works and what is best to be left out.  You will never know until you try it.  While it worked, for a short time, I had some spectacular results.

Second AttemptFor my second try I used Faded Jeans Distress Ink and Perfect Pearls was added to the water I had in the spray bottle.

This worked well.  The bottle didn’t stop up, as it had with the Glossy Accents.  I thought the color would have been more dark since the Faded Jeans is a dye ink while the Liquitex Ink I used in the previous test is an acrylic base ink.

Now keep in mind all of the quantities were exactly the same in each experiment.  The only thing that might have been off just a bit was the amount of water in each bottle.  I tried to keep them all the same amount.

Third Attempt

For this one I used Scattered Straw Distress Ink and a gold colored Perfect Pearls along with the water.

The contents in the bottle, once “twirled” was beautiful.  The gold coloring of the water and the shimmer that was going on with the swirls was very eye catching.

Both of the Distress Inks are dye based and will stain your hands and clothing if you get any on you.  I’m sure that it would be safe to say that the Liquitex Acrylic based ink would also stain if you got any on you.  So take precautions when working with these inks.

Fourth AttemptI had to try this one over again.  This time with hairspray instead of Glossy Accents.

All of the amounts remained the same.  I just substituted the 1/8th teaspoon of hairspray for the dreaded Glossy Accents.  Results came out the same so I was not displeased.

This entire experiment cost me a total of $24.50 for the paper flowers, two bottles of Distress Ink, one bottle of Liquitex Ink, one bottle of Pearl Ex, and three empty bottles.  This comes to over $8 a bottle for the three tested here.  I have three bottles of ink I may never use again and I have a big bottle of Pearl Ex I, also, may never use again.  Was this experiment in DIY cost effective for me?  In my opinion – No.

I can purchase – right now – from another YouTuber named Roxyfur 4 bottles of already prepared and factory measured product in what looks like 6 ounce bottles for $27.  That comes to $6.75 a bottle as opposed to my over $8 a bottle DIY product.  When I purchase this from Roxyfur I don’t have left over product I don’t know what to do with and my color guessing game is solved in the already color coordinated packs she sells.

Okay, now for the comparison of Pearl Ex versus Perfect Pearls as applied to their paper flowers.

Pearl Ex, Liquitex, & Glossy Accents

Perfect Pearls, Faded Jeans Distress Ink

Perfect Pearls Gold, Scattered Straw Distress Ink

Pearl Ex, Liquitex Ink & Hairspray

As far as shimmer goes, the Pearl Ex is by far the most shimmery and I like the looks of the flowers more.

I may be keeping the Pearl Ex, ordering the Glimmer Mist from Roxyfur, and adding just a touch of the Pearl Ex to the spray I get from her.  Not sure what I’m going to be doing with the Distress Ink.  I do have one offer of a home for them in the comments of my video on this experiment, you can see it in Part 2 of this series.


Unmounting Rubber Stamps

I had so much information to share about this subject.  It has turned into a 4 part series.

I’ve read the questions on how to go about getting the rubber image off wood blocks but did not see it done.  Since I’m a visual learner and have to see how things work then reading about it left more questions than answers.

  • How do you get the rubber image off the wooden block?  I’ve read it can be done in the microwave.
  • What do you do with the image once it is off the block?  Good question.
  • Will the tacky surface, once removed from the block, still be tacky?

There are more questions you may have.  I attempted to answer all of these questions in my videos, beginning with the first one.  Using the microwave to get the stamp off the wood.  Check out my series of videos and get your questions answered.

My videos will take you through all the steps.  You will actually see the microwave technique work.  I show you what I’ve done with the rubber stamps once they are removed.  You will see, and hear, about the one problem I find with unmounted stamps.  Plus you will get to see and hear about my foolishness.

I hope this series of videos will help you make the transition from wood block rubber stamps to unmounted an easy task.


How To Make An Envelope

I’ve done this before and it makes me crazy. Look at my calendar and see a birthday in the next week I’ve got to make a card for. After I get the card made and ready to send I find no envelopes. I’ve done this so many times you’d think I’d check my stash of envelopes before I make a card. But noooo. I put it off telling myself I’ll get them with my next Stampin’ Up! order.

Yep, we all know how that goes. Unless we write it down it isn’t going to happen.

So, if you find yourself facing this crazy situation then don’t put that card away until later. Get some paper out and follow the directions I give in this video. It is really easy.

Measure on the diagonal

Measuring your card to make an envelope is done on the diagonal.   See the photo at left.   Add one inch to that measurement then take some paper to the trimmer.  This card measures 7 inches on the diagonal.  I’ll cut my paper at 8 x 8.

Position paper in a diamond shape

Once you have your paper cut lay it out on your work surface in a diamond pattern. Pointy corner up and down, just watch the video and that bit of mud will be clear.

Center your card in the diamond

Firmly hold your card in position

Place your card in the center of the diamond.  If you are off a bit it is alright, just eyeball center.

You will need to hold the card securely down in this centered position because you will be bringing the pointy edges in to the edges of the card and creasing the  papers.

Bottom flap up to bottom of card

Right flap to right edge of card

Left flap to left edge of card

Top flap to top edge of card

One at a time bring the flaps, for lack of a better word, up to the edges of the card.  Make sure to hold the card firmly in place so it doesn’t get moved.  Press these folds well.  You will use your bone folder after you have finished making these folds.  Getting the paper trained in the way you want it to go is the goal right now.

The creases you just made

Use a bone folder now

Get those creases firmly made now with your bone folder.  Make sure you get pressure all along the fold from edge to edge.

You will need to make intersection marks where all the folds come together.  These will look like triangles.

The triangle made at the intersections

Cut the triangles out

When you cut these triangles out, go just a teensy bit out from the fold line.  After you have cut one of the triangles out there should be a bit of fold left on two sides of the triangle and a flat cut edge on the other.

Cutting these triangles out will remove the added bulk when you fold up these flaps and get ready to glue them down.

Any kind of permanent adhesive will work

Put adhesive only one the two outer edges

Any kind of permanent adhesive will work on this.  Glue stick, a bit of liquid glue smeared well, tape runner, sticky strip, whatever you choose to use.

Only put the adhesive on the two outer edges of the flap.  Sorry, you can’t see the blue line of the adhesive I chose to  use in this example.

Press the adhesive edges firmly

Put your card in

Fold in the left and right flaps then press the bottom flap with the adhesive firmly where it overlaps the two side flaps.

Some adhesives have to dry a bit before you can put your card in for mailing.

When you are ready, stick that card in and get it mailed.

This is a really easy thing to do.  Just think of the possibilities.  Matching envelopes for a set of cards you are giving as a gift to someone….


Alternate Ways To Heat Emboss

While doing today’s tutorial I found:

  • VersaMark Embossing Ink is some really great stuff.  Sticky enough to hold the larger grain embossing powder with a minimum of blow off.  That was startling and a really good thing to learn.
  • Whisper White card stock is some really thick stuff.  Combined with the VersaMark Embossing Ink and a candle warmer the embossing ink did not bleed through the paper and get a waxy residue.

I’ve been heat embossing for about eight years now and today’s results were stunning to me.  Just when you think you know something, or have an opinion about something, it all changes.  In this situation for the better.

Learning to heat emboss was a real chore for me.  Since I am not the kind of person to just give up after the first stab at something turns out badly, I have to find an alternate way of getting the results I want.  There is a driving maniac in my head that says “Other people can do this easily, why can’t I do it?”  If my desire to do something is great enough, then I try to find an alternate solution.

This heat embossing tutorial is, in fact, the way I learned how to deal with a really troublesome problem.  After having many, and I do mean many, bad attempts to heat emboss with a heat tool and coarse grain clear embossing powder I got really frustrated.  Instead of just giving up and swearing off heat embossing altogether I thought about the process.

  • The embossing powder has to stick to the surface and be held there during the heating process.
  • During the heating process the embossing powder has to be heated to a temperature high enough for it to melt.
  • Containing the embossing powder seems to be the problem.  Keeping it on the paper and within the desired image is the process – so how to go about getting better results?

I had candle warmers in most of the rooms in our home.  It was new, fairly new, at that time and the chemicals emitting from the carpet and walls was very strong.  I burned my fingers many times in moving the candle jar on the warmer so I knew that thing got hot.

Since I had one in my “studio” I carefully removed the candle jar from the warmer and put the piece I had embossing ink and that dreaded embossing powder on the warmer plate.  I found that where the back of the paper came in contact with the warming plate the embossing powder would melt.  Getting my tweezers and another implement, I don’t remember what it was, I pressed the paper more fully to the warming plate.  Exultant with the results I had, that was the way I did my heat embossing for the next several months.

The back of the paper was another story.  An oily and waxy look and feel was on the back of the paper where the heat embossing took place.  I had to see if there was any candle residue on the warmer plate that was causing the paper back to look so bad.  Bringing in a new candle warmer,  still in the original packaging from the store, I worked with a clean and new warmer plate.  Same results the oily and waxy back of the paper after this type of heat embossing.

This problem lead me to heating the underside of the piece with the heat tool.  Holding the piece above the heating tool and working it from the back side of the paper.  I scorched paper a lot doing this.  The scorch marks were not only on the back of the paper but they appeared around the edges of the front image.  Adjusting the distance of the heat tool from the paper helped but too far of a distance made the results not so good.  Moving the heat tool back and forth quickly beneath the paper resulted in causing thermal waves of air to come up around the top of the piece and blow the embossing powder off.

The first time I used a finer grain embossing powder with the heat tool was when things really began to work.  So my lesson learned in this phase of my learning curve was to make sure I had fine grain embossing powder.  Leave the coarser grain stuff on the shelf.  Avoid it totally.

The outcome of today’s tutorial with the back side of the paper and the candle warmer trick was a very pleasant surprise.  No oily and waxy residue on the back of the paper.  The paper was clean.  And there was no scorching of the paper when I heated it from the back with the heat tool.  That, to me, says a whole lot about the quality of paper from Stampin’ Up!  The papers I had been purchasing at my local craft/hobby store were not of such high quality.

If you are having trouble doing heat embossing I hope today’s tutorial will be of help to you.  If you are in need of any products – heat tool, embossing powder, or paper – then head on over to my Stampin’ Up! website and get your supplies.


Tool Maintenance – Scissors, Paper Trimmers, Punches

In 2002, when I began working with paper, I purchased a Fiskars 12″ Personal Trimmer.  I used it for about three years.

After the first year of use I found the cuts were no longer sharp looking and there were times the blade skipped in certain areas.  I would have to go back over the cut several times before the paper finally separated.  I replaced blades frequently with the same results.  Jagged cuts and some paper tearing.  I got rid of that trimmer because I thought it was faulty.  I bought another one just like it.  Within the year I was experiencing the same problem.  More jagged cuts and paper tearing.

Off to the local craft center for a different type of trimmer this time.  I picked up a rotary trimmer, also from Fiskars.  That purchase was made in 2008.

While in my craft room, during the winter of 2008, I noticed the groove the blade runs in had become impacted with paper fibers.  Taking a closer look at the groove I could see the gunk was mostly at the upper half, from the top end of the groove down to about the 7 inch mark.  Below that the groove was less filled with gunk.  I ran my thumb nail through the groove and noticed that some of the gunk was loosening up and coming out.

With my paper piercing tool, a very sharp implement, I began digging around in the groove to dislodge the accumulated stuff.  By the time I was finished I  had quite an accumulation of some awful looking gunk.  I used some alcohol and a cotton ball to clean up what I had just dug out.  The groove looked to be mostly clear.  There was some stuff way down in the groove, being cautious I decided to just leave it down there.  I did not want to dig further and possibly damage this trimmer.

I found that this made my cuts easier to make and the blade was running better in the groove, not skipping any longer.  Since that time I’ve cleaned the groove out twice more.  I have not replaced the blade since I first purchased the trimmer.

Today’s video on YouTube is about cleaning our scissors, trimmers, and sharpening punches.  I’m sure there are a lot of you that already know how to do this.  My intention was for anyone new to paper crafting to have some knowledge of what to do with these tools since they can be expensive.

We are going to be doing a lot of paper cutting this year so we need the tools to do their job.


Changes Are Coming – January 4, 2010

Filming of the projects for the first full week of January of 2010 are under way.

I am so excited by the new focus of Message In A Fold and what is going to be done, and what is happening already.

Stampin’ Up! will be coming out with clear stamp blocks.  That part I am truly excited about.  Not being much of a rubber stamper myself, using the wood block rubber stamps has kept me from really diving into the craft.  I’ve used the wood block rubber stamps made by other companies and just have not gotten excited about using them.

Stampin’ Up!’s stamps will continue to be the deep impression rubber with the foam attached that has been so successful.  The only difference will be the clear mounting blocks and the system they have of getting the stamp to adhere to the clear block.  Pure Genius.  The best part is the new stamp sets will be packaged in containers that are similar to DVD holders.  With limited storage space this is a big plus for me.

Those of you that absolutely love the wood block rubber stamps of Stampin’ Up! don’t have to worry.  You will still be able to purchase them and keep your beloved stamps.  Win Win for all of us.

Sale-A-Bration will begin soon.  This will be my first time of Sale-A-Bration so I’m trying to figure that one out at this time.  What it seems to be to me is added Hostess Benefits.  For an order of $150 you get to choose from the regular Level 1 Hostess items PLUS you get to order some awesome things from the Sale-A-Bration catalog also.  Such a deal, if I am understanding the process correctly.

For Message In A Fold and the exciting news going on here……well I’ll tell you that there is finally focus and some great things happening.  There will be video tutorials posted to the Message In A Fold website each week.  Not just one a week but 5 a week.

Monday – Scrapbook Monday – Layouts, mini albums, lunch bag albums, squash books, and more will be done on Mondays.

Tuesday – Tool Time Tuesday – We have all bought a trimmer, a punch, or some scissors and have them fail.  Or we’ve purchased a punch and used it one time only and now it sits making us feel guilty.  Tool Time Tuesday will be chock full of maintenance tips on our tools plus we’ll put those tools to use in ways to get them back out and used again.

Wednesday – Wet Wednesday – All things wet.  Glues, reinkers, stamp pads, water, and more will be dealt with.  I’m surprising myself by the many uses of all the “wet” stuff.  This should prove to be fun.

Thursday – Thrifty Thursday – We all have scraps that seem to pile up and don’t go away.  There are so many tips and tricks on the internet on what to do with the scraps from storing them to giving them away.  We will be dealing with those scraps and other paper problems on Thursday.

Friday – Friendship Friday – This will be a card and small gift day.  All of us have people in our lives with birthdays, anniversaries, births, weddings, and graduations (to name a few).  Most of the time we don’t have anything suitable when the event arrives or an idea of what to do so we go to the store and find something – anything – that will do.

Everything you will see in the tutorials will be available at my Stampin’ Up! website 24/7 with so easy online ordering.

So be looking for things to begin popping on Monday, January 4, 2010.  I look forward to hearing from you and seeing what you will be posting when you finish a project you’ve been trying to work on for a long time.


Wait…Don’t Throw That Away! – Personalized Journal

Wait...Don't Throw That Out!

So many people are into recycling.  Some of the items I would just chuck in the trash (or recycling bin) are getting a second look now.  “Would this be useful to me in my tutorials and gifts?”  If it is, I keep it.  If it is not, I DON’T keep it.  I am not an advocate for hoarding.  Clutter can be disastrous to most people.  Me included.

I have a difficult time getting rid of the paper supplies and embellishments I had accumulated  before I even heard about Stampin’ Up!.  So I have quite a bit of STUFF that I’ve held on to over the years thinking I would use it someday.  NONE of the products used in this tutorial are Stampin’ Up! products.  Well….that is not true.  The black ribbon I use as a bookmark is 1/4 inch Black Grosgrain from Stampin’ Up!

Journal From Recycled "Trash"

This journal is 5″ x 7″ with a depth of 1″.  You can make your journal any size you would like.  The math part can be a bit of a challenge, but it is not terribly complicated.  If you want to make an 8-1/2″ x 11″ journal with a 1″ spine and 1/8″ spacing in the spine, the math part would be as follows:

8-1/2 x 2 = 17″

+ 1-1/4″ for the spine (this will leave 1/8″ space on each side of the spine plate)

+ 1″ for the cover paper to be brought over onto the front and back flaps.

You will need paper measuring 19-1/4″.  You will not be able to find paper larger than 12″ just anywhere.  It can be found, but not from Stampin’ Up!

To be able to use 12″ card stock the spine piece will need to be in a different paper.  The math part will be a bit different.

For the main cover pages you will need two pieces of card stock measuring 7-1/2″ x 12″.  The spine piece will be 3-1/4″ x 12″.

Your cardboard pieces will be two 8-1/2″ x 11″ for the front and back and one piece 1″ x 12″ for the spine.

Follow the video in constructing your journal covers at my YouTube channel.  There are many ways of adding the pages.  Spiral bound, sewn signatures, glued signatures, something from the store already bound that you can alter to fit your journal.

This journal is for a young man, friend of our family, that has a sports blog on Yahoo! Sports.  He travels in his work, writes his column, and has quite a bit to say on his subject.  So…..for Christmas I thought I’d make him a medium sized journal he could take with him, or use in his work.

I will be posting a video on how to make the journal pages in the next day or two.  So check back for that.

Be watching after the first of the year for weekly projects using Stampin’ Up! products.  There will be a weekly theme making scrapbook pages, embellishments, books, cards, and who knows what else.