Archive | April, 2011

May’s Guide to Liquid Mediums

I remember when I walked into my very first scrapbooking store. The year was 2001, and even though choices were far more limited then, it was still utterly overwhelming. There were so many choices, so many decisions to make. How would I know what was right for me?

Today, I’m noticing many people have a similar problem. Now the source of confusion is wet mediums. Some come straight from the art aisle, others are marketed directly towards paper crafters. There are a veritable cornucopia of options. In my research to assemble an article to help those who aren’t sure what is right for them, I first tried putting a wide variety of mediums through several tests such as adhering buttons and heavier objects, adhering paper down, etc. In many of my tests, I found switching adhesive really didn’t matter – whatever I have on hand will work fine. However, that does not mean that all things are created equally in the liquid medium world. There are differences. Several key questions will help you determine which medium (or mediums) are right for your needs.

What are you doing?

The answer to that question will matter in your choice of medium, and may determine if you can get away with just one product, or if several more specialized products are the way to go. If you are needing a liquid medium to primarily hold heavier embellishments down, you do not have the same reqiurements as someone who is wanting to create collage art with tissue paper. Knowledge is power – and it will help you make better choices.

Does longevity matter?

This is an important question! I remember the many craft projects I did as a child with rubber cement, projects that have now fallen to pieces or become horribly discolored. Check your labels, because while most mediums are non-toxic, few boast acid-free or archival quality among their specifications. For example: I know that Mod-Podge is a popular product choice for many papercrafters. However, be sure to purchase the ‘paper’ version if you need an acid-free product. If you are making something that isn’t meant to last, then this isn’t a problem. However, if you are making something you’d like to see still look good in ten, twenty, or even fifty years, then take care with the materials you choose.

How do you work?

Is a small applicator tip best? Or do you like to dip a paint brush into a large jar? Do you need to be doing a lot of lines or detailed and small applications? Or will you be doing large all-over work? Knowing not only what you’re doing, but how you work is helpful – and can reduce frustration and keep you from slowing yourself down by choosing a product that can’t be used in that way.

What does it offer?

You will not find any straight “adhesives” in this article. Yes, there are some excellent liquid scrapbook adhesives out there, but most cannot multi-task, and therefore I have not made room for them in my stash. I prefer items that can do a multitude of things for me – and do them all well.

Now that the critical determining questions have been asked, here are my answers. I am sharing with you the mediums I use here in my own studio, and why I recommend and use each one.

The new kid on the block – just released this year – is Ranger’s Glue n’ Seal. It’s a nice multi-purpose glue. The built-in brush was a major plus for me. When I find myself wanting to adhere papers, throw a button on, or otherwise just needing to brush on some glue I reach for this, and am happy with the results. It passed all of my tests on paper, and I’d recommend it – especially to someone wanting the ease of a built-in brush!

I was introduced to PPA by US Art Quest years ago, and it’s been my best friend and most recommended product ever since. It not only works as an adhesive on any item I might want to add to my paper craft project, but it is also useful as a sealant, top coat, or to mix with acrylic paints, washes, or mists. It is archival, acid-free, non-tacky, and UV protective. In short, it’s the best all-around product that I’ve found on the market. The matte finish truly dries without a trace, and the gloss finish is nice for showing a bit of shine. This is a very thin liquid medium, so it will definitely not work in place of molding paste or with stencils to form a design.

If you are looking for a medium with more body, that will hold shape as well as smoothly go on with a brush to adhere or seal, then I’d recommend Claudine Hellmuth’s multi-medium. It should be noted that once applied, the gloss finish becomes resistant to taking on color. I use this frequently for canvas projects. It will hold buttons and other embellishments, and I really like that I can apply this over a plastic stencil and it will hold the shape, creating a textured resist on your project. You can see this in use below creating a diamond pattern stencil on a kraft paper tag-

This is fast becoming one of my favorite techniques, actually, and this product is the best way to do it!

Ranger’s Glossy Accents is another favorite medium of mine. Thanks to the super fine applicator tip you can draw with it, apply it over any design, and generally just add shine and a hint of dimension to any project you can create. Once dry it is slick and totally clear – and I can not count the number of bottles I’ve gone through over the years! I have also found this to work very well as a general liquid adhesive, and it is fantastic for use with glitters.

Finally, there is the medium of molding paste such as Golden Gel Medium.While it is not a medium that you would typically use as an adhesive, and it is not clear, it’s an excellent tool in the mixed media artist’s toolbox. Molding paste has a firm consistency, and so it will hold its shape. It can be used with color (washes, paints, etc), or color can be applied after the paste has dried.

At the end of the day, your liquid mediums should do what you’d like them to. Glossy or matte, thick or thin – the options are all there in the scrapbook stores and in art stores and in various sections of craft stores as well. Most of the items I’ve featured in this article are available at Michael’s and other craft store chains.

I hope this introduction to liquid mediums has been helpful. With so much available, and so many brands to choose from, I believe it’s important to read those labels, and figure out what you’re getting – and more importantly, if it’s the best option for you.


Layout | Absolutely The Sweetest

These photos just screamed to be scrapbooked as soon as I took them! It’s rare for me to scrapbook photos this fast, but then again I have motivation now to scrapbook stuff fast to send it to my husband in its scrapbooked form.

Once again, this project is digital. And…drumroll please…this is the first digital layout that I have made that wasn’t created from a template! This was created entirely from scratch on a blank canvas, the same way I create my paper layouts! I felt like this was a big step in my digital skills, that I felt confident enough to try that (although I’ll admit I was only pushed to try it because I had a look in mind for these photos that didn’t match the templates in my library).

This layout is also another first for me. I’d never done a horizontal-oriented 8.5 x 11 sized layout before. In fact, I’ve never been particularly found of the landscape orientation for layouts. But with these photos it seemed to work so much better so in desperation I tried it after struggling for quite awhile with a portrait version of the layout, and was really pleased with the results.

I was going for a grandma’s garden & kitchen kind of look. That look is probably typically busier than my usual style, but I am happy with the suggestion of it that I was able to make here with my simpler style with a few carefully chosen elements. The torn paper blocks are layered templates that any patterned paper can be inserted in. I think I tried 4 different papers in the journaling block before I was happy with the look I got. This layout is a fabulous case for organizing your supplies with tags by color, etc. (which I don’t currently do) because no two of the elements in this layout are from the same kit, except the two torn paper blocks!

Also, don’t ask me how long it took me to draw the circle around the number 19 with my finger on the trackpad and get a result that I was happy with. Thank goodness for the Undo button!

Supply List (all from Designer Digitals):

Patterned Paper: Jesse Edwards – Apache Solids, Katie Pertiet – Vintage Book Paper Pack No. 2, Lynn Grieveson – Beth Paper Pack
Title: Lynn Grieveson – Strawberry Patch Mini Kit
Frames: Katie Pertiet – Filed Photo Frames No. 4
Embellishments: Katie Pertiet – Harmony Grove Elements, Katie Pertiet – Digital Date Stamps Vol. 20, Lynn Grieveson – Ripped & Stitched Do It Yourself 2


Review: We R Memory Keepers Crop-A-Dile Big Bite

It was a cold winter’s day, and my hands had taken a real beating when I walked into the craft store. I was there for some more canvas and cardstock, but I had to pause at a display of We R Memory Keepers Crop-a-dile products. Covered in craft knife slices and jabs from paper piercing tools, and with every single finger either protected with a band-aid or bearing a wound farther along in healing, I had a moment of total madness – or utter clarity, depending on how you look at it.

Without a second thought, I grabbed the Crop-a-Dile Big Bite that was on sale and threw it in my cart.

It took a pre-CHA crazy week of intense creative deadlines, but I finally caved into one of these very popular cutting tools.

So there it sits on my desk, as it has since the day I brought it home. Today I can honestly say that I wonder what I ever did without this tool. It’s one heck of a hole punch, essentially. Sure, it has eyelet setting tools, but I haven’t used an eyelet since 2004, so that part has gone wholly untested. What really works for me about it is that because of its design (it has a 6″ reach), I can punch a small (1/16″) or a large (3/16″) hole anywhere on almost any scrapbook project I make. Also, because it is so heavy duty, I can punch through almost anything. From fabric to chipboard, canvas to thick paper and even acrylic,  I’ve chomped right through many materials to make holes for ribbons, brads, or any other reason I might have.

The key to actually using it is that it is right on my desk. I don’t have to dig it out from some hidden space. – when I need holes punched I just run my project through it! Since purchasing this tool, my need for band-aids and Neosporin due to craft knife and paper piercing tool injuries from putting holes into projects has become all but non-existent. In short, I’m loving this tool!

On the flip side, despite my passion for my Big Bite, I still don’t have any interest in the original Crop-A-Dile (pictured above). Not only is it very limited in depth as to where it can punch or set eyelets, but because of the design the punched circles of material can potentially fly out of the tool – potentially causing injury. Scrapbook Update’s own Betsy Burnett experienced this first-hand when a piece of laminant she was punching flew out and got embedded in her eye. I’m sure this isn’t common – but if you’re like me and putting all kinds of materials through your tool, it would be better to just get the Big Bite – where any debris goes down through the hole (and onto your work surface) – and it would be nearly impossible to injure yourself with debris.

So that’s my story of impulse purchase turned craft staple! Since I put brads through many of my layouts (and often in the center and through multiple layers) what previously required bravery and a kraft knife now just is a push of an orange handle. In short: the Crop-A-Dile Big Bite is fabulous. I have not used a regular hole punch even once since this tool came into my studio, and I’m so glad that my deadline madness led me to discover this great tool!

The Crop-A-Dile Big Bite II is a product of We R Memory Keepers. currently has the Big Bite II for $24.99, and is featuring an informative demonstration video of the tool as well.


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Paperclipping Roundtable #64: Long Projects Chronicled

Elise Blaha and Stacy Julian sat in on the panel this week to talk about long-term scrapbooking projects. (That’s projects that are intentionally long term, not projects that are long term because they are just unfinished like so many of mine!)


To listen to this episode, you can use the player embedded above, right-click on this link to download the file to your computer, visit the Paperclipping Roundtable web page or to make things easy, you can use this link:

Subscribe for free to Paperclipping Roundtable on iTunes

That link will open in iTunes and take you to the subscribe page, and then you can click on the “subscribe” button.

Subscribing in iTunes is one of the best ways to support Paperclipping Roundtable. Using iTunes is free, and subscribing is free. (If you don’t know how to use iTunes to subscribe, you can watch a video here that shows you how.)

The Panel


Art Journaling 103 from Check out “Composition and Color for Art Journalers” from Dina Wakley and hurry because coupon code APR2011PRT is only available to the first 50 people who use it in April. (The coupon code is good for any class from GetItScrapped, not just the one we talked about.)

Big Picture Classes! Big Picture Scrapbooking has a new name! Click here for a promo code for Paperclipping Roundtable listeners to use to save 10% on any one class at Big Picture Classes! (Don’t forget that you can still use the link to support Roundtable even if you’ve already used the one-time discount code.)

Picks of the Week

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Northridge Publishing Announces Creative Retailer Magazine

Northridge Publishing announced last week that it will soon be launching Creative Retailer Magazine, a trade magazine aimed at crafts industry retailers and manufacturers.

Creative Retailer will be helmed by Kevin Nelson and Torrie Nelson, the former publisher and editor respectively of Scrapbook Business magazine. The pair recently left Scrapbook Business after selling their share of ownership in Scrapbook Premier, the magazine’s publisher, to their partner. Kevin Nelson will be Director of Trade Media at Northridge, and Torrie Nelson is taking on the title of Editor of Creative Retailer magazine. Creative Retailer will target the entire crafts industry, not just the papercrafts segment like the Nelsons’ previous publication.

Full details have yet to be released about the publication’s distribution and publication schedule, but representatives for Northridge have told Scrapbook Update that the company is aiming to launch the debut issue of the publication at CHA Summer 2011.

Northridge Publishing is the publisher of Scrapbook Trends, Cards, Bead Trends, Simply Handmade, and Cricut Magazine. The company is based in Provo, Utah and has 70 full-time employees.

[Disclaimer: This author was a regular contributor to Scrapbook Business magazine under the Nelsons’ ownership.]

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Remix Your Tools: Using the Papertrey Ink Banner Builder Die Set

Trends in scrapbooking are like that awesome new song that you hear on a Top 40 radio station. You instantly fall in love with it, buy it on iTunes, and then proceed play it on continuous repeat for the next several weeks. You hear it day and night – on the radio in your car, in your headphones at work, and (in extreme cases) even in your sleep. But then, one day, it happens. You’re suddenly sick of the lyrics and can’t stand to hear even a single note of it without the urge to throw the offending audio device out the window.

Fast forward several months, though, and a slightly different version of the song is released. Someone comes out with a remix, a cover, an acoustic version, or even a club mix. The tired, old song suddenly becomes fresh and fun to listen to again!

So it goes with scrapbooking. One day everyone is using brown ink on the edges of everything in sight, or they’re doodling on all their pages, or it seems as if the “one or more owls per layout” rule is being enforced by every scrapbooking magazine on the newsstands. And then, suddenly, everyone becomes sick of the new trend and moves on. Trends move and things change, and that in and of itself is not the issue. The problem is that there are a lot of specialized tools – dies, punches, and stamps, for example – that are produced and sold in response to a trend. How is a scrapbooker to keep these expensive items from collecting dust in their stash – to continue using these tools “After the Thrill Is Gone” (The Eagles, 1975), so to speak?

The answer is to remix them! Just as tired old hit songs can be made new again with just a little ingenuity, your scrapbooking tools can have a new life if you learn to think outside the box. Let’s take a look at one such trend, mini pennant banners, and just one of the many tools being produced in response to the trend, Papertrey Ink’s Banner Builder Die Set.

This die set is designed to simplify creating those cute little banners in a variety of shapes and sizes. It’s very good at its original function, but what can we do with it once the current banner craze has passed? I have several ideas to help keep this (and similar tool sets) fresh for years to come.

“All the Small Things” (Blink-182, 2000)

When you break it down, the Banner Builder die set contains many small pieces that can be assembled to make banners. But what else can you build with this set besides banners? You can make lots of things, if you take the individual shapes away from the whole!

For instance, see those cute little rounded pennants? If you turn them upside down, they look an awful lot like tombstones. Add some “grass” cut from green paper using the decorative edge die that comes with the set, and you’ve got the makings of your own little graveyard.


Cardstock: Bazzill Basics Paper (Stonehenge, Raven)
Patterned Paper: Basic Grey “Sultry” (Citron)
Pen: Signo Uniball (white), Zig Millenium (black)
Letter Stickers: Cosmo Cricket Tiny Type Collection (black)
Spray Mist: Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist (Haunted ShadowsJack O’ Lantern)

A row of those same rounded pennants peeking out from under the edge of another piece of paper would also make a great scalloped border!

The triangles are perfect for creating a “quilted” look with papers. I punched them out of several different colors of patterned paper and arranged them to create the background for this card.


Cardstock: The Paper Studio (JoAnn)
Patterned Paper: K&Company “Sweet Nectar“, Making Memories “Noteworthy: Hillary Collection”, October Afternoon “Fly a Kite” (Dandelions), Crate Paper “Snow Day” (Blizzard)
Stamps: K&Company “Lotus” by Amy Butler (sentiment), Papertrey Ink (Label Basics)
Die: Papertrey Ink (Angled Labels and Banner Builder)

You can also use a single row of the same quilted look to create a unique border strip.


Patterned Paper: Making Memories “Vintage Hip: Paisley Collection”, K&Company “Handmade

Any of the pennant styles would also be perfect for arranging in a circle to create your own flower accents, or use your imagination to come up with more unique arrangements!

“I Fall To Pieces” (Patsy Cline, 1961)

We’ve already looked at what we can do with this set by combining several individual elements together in a unique way, but what if we want to use just a single piece on its own?

The tiny little decorative edges look great when punched from coordinating patterned paper or cardstock and used in embellishment clusters.


Patterned Paper: GCD Studios “Ava” (Bloom)
Buttons: Scarlet Lime Kit Club
Rhinestones: Basic Grey (Bling-It “Sky”)
Rub-Ons: Pink Paislee “Fetching”

A single flag makes an adorable accent on a cupcake themed card!


Cardstock: Bazzill Basics Paper (White, Bitter Chocolate), The Paper Studio (kraft)
Patterned Paper: K&Company “Sweet Nectar
Pearl: K&Company “Serendipity” Adhesive Gems
Letter Stickers: My Little Shoebox Mini Alphabet (Limeade)

There are so many more options for using just a single piece of this set. How about using a single triangle as an arrow? Or a single flag to underline an important letter in a layout title? The possibilities are endless!

“Inside Out” (Eve 6, 1998)

Of course, I don’t mean to literally turn the dies inside out. What I’m talking about is using the negative or empty space in a die or punch (as opposed to the piece that’s actually punched out), or even using the punch-outs to create negative space.

Papertrey’s Banner Builder set doesn’t leave a very usable negative of its cutouts (by design, since it cuts the pieces as close together as possible to save paper), but the cutouts themselves make great misting masks. I used the tiny flag pieces for just that purpose on this layout to create a subtle banner with negative space instead of a row of patterned paper pieces.


Cardstock: The Paper Studio (JoAnn)
Patterned Paper: Little Yellow Bicycle “Lucky Me” (Denim Clover and Lucky)
Letter Stickers: American Crafts “Poolside” (green), October Afternoon “Seaside” Mini Market (blue)
Journaling Spot: Anna Griffin “Darcy” Collection
Punch: Martha Stewart Crafts
Rhinestones: Kaisercraft
Spray Mist: Tattered Angels (Slate)
Date Stamp: Office Supply

All of these ideas, while specific to the Papertrey Banner Builder die set, are also general approaches you can use when remixing items from your own stash. Even if you don’t own this particular die set, try applying the concepts presented here before bidding “Bye, Bye, Bye” (‘N Sync, 2000) to your valuable scrapbooking tools!

Note: The author apologizes for any musical trauma that may have been inflicted during this article, but is not responsible for injuries related to having any particular song stuck in your head. Especially that last one.

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