21 May Using tissue paper transfers with Relics & Artifacts
I am very inspired by the creative and versatile Relics & Artifacts resin blanks created by Sandra Evertson. These matte blanks come in all manner of beautiful shapes and designs and can take a wide variety of finishes – paint, transfer, adhere, distress, grungify…the creative possibilities are endless.
I was thrilled to win the inaugural Relics & Artifacts Instagram ‘Heartless Challenge’ with my Visages Bracelet entry.
Now I am trying a new technique where I use tissue paper stamped with my very own Empire Line Stamps designs to decoupage the Relics & Artifacts blanks. I want to share these steps with you as I am thrilled with the result. It was all quite experimental, and I thank Heather Tracy from Thicketworks who provided inspiration for this technique.
Firstly: the elements in this design.
- Resin heart blank – choose any of the heart kits from Relics & Artifacts. Available here.
- Tissue paper – I used white tissue paper and one sheet only. I bought mine at a $2 store – pretty easy to find in your local area.
- Ink pad – I was advised to use permanent ink but I found that water based ink worked fine. I stamped the ‘shiny’ side of the tissue paper and it did not run. For the piece illustrated here I used Versafine Onyx Black and Vintage Sepia inks.
- Stamps – I decorated both the front and back with stamped tissue paper. For this illustration I used:
- French 18th Century Handwriting – available here.
- French 18th Century King’s Declaration – available here.
- Antique Sheet Music – available here.
- 17th Century Astronomical Tables – available here.
- Hand stamp – I used this one but there are other hand designs offered here with stock being replenished soon.
- Small lover’s eye – available here.
- Elephant Necklace – available here.
- Crowned Fleur de Lys – available here.
- Satin varnish and brush. I used Jo Sonja’s satin varnish and it seemed to work well. You might have your own brand that you prefer, so experiment.
- Rough sanding block.
Step 1: Stamp your paper
I stamped up my tissue paper and made a few impressions of each design, in case I made a mistake and needed to use a 2nd or 3rd copy.
The inks and some of the stamps I used for this project are shown below.
Don’t worry about mistakes!
I found that if I made a mistake applying the stamped tissue paper to the resin blank, all I had to do was peel it off. If it had dried too far, I sanded it back or soaked it and removed the paper. Once the blank dried it was ready to go again. A hairdryer helped speed up any drying that needed to be done.
Step 2: Lay out your design
Next step is to trim your stamped images and lay them out to check the placement. You can lay them out flat first to see what goes with what, and also place them over your blank to make sure the size of your stamped images are suitable for your blank. Make sure they sit where you want them to and all the details you want to capture on the piece will show.
Step 3: Set images onto blank
If you are using a few layers of images, apply the main one first. To do this I painted a light layer of satin varnish all over one side of the blank. I then carefully placed the stamped tissue paper on top. Using my brush I very gently pressed/patted on the tissue to affix it to the blank. Press the tissue right to the edges of the blank and leave them to ‘hang’ for now.
Tip: keep your hands clean and dry right throughout this process. Sticky, varnishy fingers will pull on the tissue and cause it to distort.
CAUTION: Pressing too hard or dragging the brush might tear your paper. If this happens you can either accept the effect (might be nice and ‘aged’ looking) or peel it off and start again. I found that if I worked quickly here, I was able to press the tissue onto the blank before it got too wet. Once wet the tissue becomes very fragile, very fast. Just get it on enough to stick down then you can dry it off and it will be more stable for further handling.
Add your other layers of images by placing them right on top of the first layer, so you can utilise the existing tackiness of the varnish to hold them on. Once they are in place brush on some more of the satin varnish, very gently, just like with the first layer.
Step 4: Dry the blank
I used a hairdryer on medium setting to dry off the blank so that the tissues set. This initial drying will help to secure your images so that they are less likely to rip. You can then add more layers of sealant, or apply additional effects such as inks, texture paints etc.
Step 5: Trim edges
I like to use a rough sanding block to trim the edges of my piece. This ensures a fine edge without having to pull on the image. Gently but firmly scrape the sanding block along the edge of your blank with a downward movement to ‘cut’ the excess tissue paper from the blank. If you prefer, you can use a thin blade to trim the edges, but this works best when the paper is super dry.
Step 6: Repeat on other side
Once the first side is dry, repeat the image application process with a different image combination on the other side. My recommended images are only one option. Empire Line Stamps offers a wide range of unusual and inspiring stamp designs, or you may also have some in your own collection that you wish to use.
Step 7: Finishing & effects
Once the piece is safely dry you can then add more layers of varnish for added protection. Although I personally prefer a simpler style of adornment, you might want to ramp up your finished piece using textures and embellishments. Some nice smudges of inks for ageing and shading, a sprinkle of metallic paint, some texture from rust paint or some Dresden to cap off the piece will all work well.
- A contrast of ink colours is effective for this technique. I like to keep my colours fairly neutral, with browns and blacks, however you could experiment with metallic inks or your own favourite colours.
- Minimalism works well with intricate detailed images, such as I have used here. One or two images is fine – if you overload your blank with too many images you will lose the impact of this effect.
- When the blank has wet tissue on it, minimise the handling of the piece as the tissue paper can break and peel quite easily.
- If you are not sure how your ink will react with your papers and varnishes, do a few practice runs by applying the stamped tissue paper to a plain sheet of paper or card, and watch for running or other mishaps.
Thanks for reading. I hope you are inspired to try your own unique style with this technique. If you have any questions or comments please use the comment field below. All comments are regulated so once I have checked them I will post them and respond if required.