Reported by Suzy Haghighi
I sometimes think that I make the world’s most expensive cards. I started this hobby to SAVE money – I hate to think about how much goes into each little work of art after I add all the layers and embellishments. Hallmark is pointing and laughing at me right now. I hear you laughing too! While I refuse to give up my costly embellishments, I do have at least one inexpensive weapon in my card making and scrapbooking arsenal: Liquid Pearls by Ranger Ink.
Liquid Pearls by Ranger Ink is a dimensional paint-like medium with a subtle pearlescence that is used to embellish, paint, or glue paper and fabric projects. Imagine pearlized 3D Puff Paint with a super fine applicator tip bottle allows that you to control flow to write, draw, or create even the tiniest of polka dots. The product comes .5 ounce size bottles, and is available in 13 colors.
Talk about cheap thrills: I can create SO many different kinds of embellishments and detail work for my cards, for about $2 a bottle. With the economy the way it is, we are all looking for ways to save, and this definitely fits the budget. The color I use most is White Opal, which is like an off-white pearl, or Platinum, which has just a touch more ivory in it. The names of the colors can be tricky – for example, Gold is really more of a yellow, and Silver is more a light gray. Most of the colors are light or pastel (Ruby Red and Emerald Green being the exceptions); I do wish they would come out with deeper, more metallic colors.
Despite the limited color choices, Liquid Pearls is so versatile. Here are just a few of the things I have done with it:
My most common use for Liquid Pearls is applying it in dots onto my cards in place of faux flatback pearls on my projects. To the left you can see that the applicator tip allows you to do dots of different sizes, even fine detail work (Stampin Up! stamp with Ruby Red Liquid Pearls).
I also love to embellish flowers with Liquid Pearls as you see in the photo above.
You can create rosettes with Liquid Pearls too! Here I swirled Ruby Red Liquid Pearls into a blob of Pastel Rasberry with my paper piercer, then added “leaves” with markers and a bit of Mint Green.
The white flowers are another embellishment I created by shaping paper punched flowers and topping them with rosettes. Note the tiny dots of different sizes; the applicator tip allows you great flow control.
Apply and swirl Liquid Pearls with a toothpick to get a puffy froth or whip cream finish for coffee and cocoa. Swirl in a tiny drop of brown dye based ink or Cinnamon Stickles Glitter Glue (also made by Ranger).
Try “painting” paper flowers or die cuts with it, then sprinkling glitter. Liquid Pearls doubles as a glue that binds the glitter to the flower. You can create your own flourishes or write letters with it too. I die cut letters then paint them with Liquid Pearls for puffy letters. Add glitter, or even a dusting of cinnamon for a scented card.
Working with Liquid Pearls
Always make Liquid Pearls the last step in your projects because of the long drying time (at least 1-2 hours, more if you apply it thickly). I can’t tell you how many projects I have ruined due to impatience.
Liquid Pearls has a tendency to apply to paper in a pointy cone shape when you separate the product from the applicator tip. To prevent the pointy look of the Liquid Pearls when it flows from the nozzle, apply then gently flick the back of the paper until the Liquid Pearls is rounded. Try this on copy paper first as you need the right pressure. Make sure to hold the paper evenly as well; if it is tilted the Liquid Pearls will move in the direction of tilt.
Control the size of the dot/thickness of your line by squeezing the bottle: the more you squeeze the greater the flow. Always start on copy paper – sometimes a thick glob of the Liquid Pearls comes out at first. To avoid my bonehead move that I do ALL THE TIME, throw away that darn copy paper or cover it with another sheet of paper. I always end up ruining the back of my card by placing it on copy paper that has the slow to dry Liquid Pearls on it. @$*&(*% AHHH every time!
A final tip to remember is that the applicator tip can become clogged. This is easily fixed by inserting a pin down the tip carefully and wiggling it around (not too much as you can stretch/tear the tip easily). Usually I can just pull the dried Liquid Pearls straight out of the tip with my fingers – it has an elastic quality that holds together when you pull it out.
- Versatility: draw, dot, outline, color-in or write on paper and fabric
- Inexpensive way to embellish your projects.
- Sticks well to your project: no more faux pearls falling off!
- Fine point applicator tip allows you to write, draw, or make even the tiniest of dots
- Acid-free and non-toxic
- Works on fabric (requires 24 hour drying time and 3 days before you can wash the fabric)
- Limited color selection
- Applicator tip can become clogged
- Separates from the applicator tip in pointy cones
- Long drying time
- Even after it is dry, Liquid Pearls can be ruined by pressure – for example if you touch it with your nails the pressure mark can remain. I have also had thicker applications of Liquid Pearls “smoosh” during mailing.
- Can freeze in very cold weather, or dry out if unused for a long time or left uncapped
In conclusion, I rate Liquid Pearls a 9 out of 10; it is a fun and versatile embellishment tool for the crafter, and is easy on your budget. I use it almost every day in my card-making to give my project an extra dimensional pop; that says a lot for the product as I am quite fickle and tend to move on to other shiny new crafting toys with great speed.
What has your experience been with Liquid Pearls? How do you use it on your projects? Our readers would love to hear YOUR tips and ideas!