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Tag Archives | card making

First Look: Niji Splash Ink by Karen Thomas

If you are not already familiar with this product, then you are going to love the Niji Splash Ink line of paints developed by artist Karen Elaine Thomas for Yasutomo.

Karen Elaine Thomas

Karen Thomas of Splash Inks

Karen has developed a system for mixing vibrant colors that are versatile and permanent. I love painting products that can be used in a variety of ways and this product is so versatile that it actually is a great basic investment for my many crafting needs. Continue Reading →

Review | Ranger Foil Cardstock

Foil-CardstockI love working with Ranger products, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review this product. Ranger Silver Foil Cardstock has a shiny, mirror-like quality, and it’s sturdy enough to run through an embossing machine (such as the Big Shot).  You can use mediums like alcohol inks and acrylic paints to embellish its surface.

I decided  to go ahead and bring out my Big Shot – along with some dies, embossing folders, and some Prima chalk inks – to see how well they worked with the foil cardstock. You can see the results in the photos that follow. Continue Reading →

Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY!: American Crafts Zing! Embossing Powder

Reported by Morgan Novak

While visiting a local small toy store for my allowance-fueled Hello Kitty & Keroppi fix when I was in 5th grade, my mother and I happened upon a demonstration of embossing powder in a part of the store we had never really noticed before: the rubber stamp wall. One of the store’s owners drew us right in with the heat tool and magical powder; my mother and I were both enthralled. We left with stamps, (leaves, if I remember correctly), and some Autumn-colored embossing powders.  We were totally hooked! We didn’t even have a heat gun at first, we would heat the paper over the toaster (I don’t recommend it, haha!).
So, I guess you could say that embossing powder and I have a long relationship. It’s one of those techniques that phases in and out of my crafting repertoire, so you can imagine how the Zing! Embossing Powder line from American Crafts definitely piqued my interest! American Crafts has released 34 Zing! Embossing Powders in Opaque, Glitter and Metallic finishes, in those American Crafts signature colors that we all love like Cricket, Chestnut, Grapefruit, Mustard and even Clear. Sometimes the shades of embossing powders out there can be a little lacking, so I was really excited to get my hands on these awesome American Crafts shades.


American Crafts was nice enough to send me a bunch of fun goodies like papers, embellishments & stamps to use while testing out Zing!, as well as a few of their Pigment Ink Pads. I know that I’m here to review Zing!, but I have to talk a little about their ink pads because I was really impressed. The ink pads are pigment ink, really rich and beautiful when stamped. The design of the ink pads themselves is very smart; American Crafts has designed their ink pad cases so that the case looks like it’s right side up, while the ink pad itself is actually being stored suspended from the top in the upside-down position! Storing the pad upside down keeps the ink at the top of the pad. Simple, silly and brilliant.

Anyway, enough back story, on to the embossing! The first thing that I wanted to test was how well the Zing! works with different types of images and fonts. For these tests I used the Black Zing! Embossing Powder and I found it to be in line with most of the embossing powders that are out there. On smaller, or more detailed images, I did have a little bit of trouble getting a clean image, but I kind of expected that since these are a regular grade embossing powder, rather than a super fine or detail powder. As you can see, the thinner and more detailed images like the lantern and “celebrate sunshine” sentiment are still totally recognizable and usable, it just took a little practice to get the right amount of inking, sprinkling and tapping figured out.

Next up, I wanted to test just how opaque the Opaque Zing! colors are, and the Zing! passed with flying colors. I stamped the lantern on dark colored solid cardstock, both textured and flat, with the Mustard Pigment Ink and then applied the Mustard Opaque Finish Zing!. I have to admit that I was doubting its ability to cover the dark paper at first, but as soon as the ink and Zing! heated through completely, I couldn’t believe how awesome the color looked! The Opaque powders are very rich and the embossed texture is beautifully even.

The next step in familiarizing myself with Zing! was to get a closer look at the different finishes of Zing! and how well they behaved. I started with the Clear Zing! with a clear watermark pad and then sprinkled over an image stamped with color ink. It did an awesome job with both types of inks. Using Clear Zing! with colored Pigment Ink is a really great way to emboss something in a color that isn’t necessarily available in an embossing powder. It will not cover on darker paper the way an opaque embossing powder would, but still works great on a lighter colored base!
The Metallic Zing! has an amazing brushed metallic finish and I was impressed with the sheen!
The Glitter Zing! is true to it’s name and is truly a simple glitter embossing powder. You will not get the same consistent coverage with this as you would with any of the other Zing! finishes, but it still has plenty of uses. Also, if a more consistent coverage is what you are aiming for, try stamping your image in an ink color that matches your glitter color to help bridge the gaps in the glitter.
Last up was the Opaque, which I’ve already gushed about a bunch, but I do want to share a few quick tips for easy embossing with powder.

1.) To cut down on the excess powder clinging to your paper and making speckles in your background try running a dryer sheet lightly over your paper first. It reduces the static cling just like with your clothes!

2.) I like to heat my embossed images from underneath while moving the heat tool slowly back and forth. It allows me to really keep an eye on the image so that I can see when it’s “cooked” and don’t risk singing my paper!

3.) Be sure to let your Zing! “cook” completely through. If you move your heat tool away too quickly you may end up with a spotty, splotchy kind of finish.


While I was testing out the different Zing! finishes I started wondering about how mixing the different colors and finishes would work, so I put on my imaginary mad scientist lab coat and got to concocting! I just mixed the Zing! powders in little dishes so that they would be ready when I started stamping. My first mixture was 2 Opaque colors, Aqua and Cricket. I think this speckled affect turned out pretty cool.

Aqua Opaque and Copper Metallic make a really cool patina finish when mixed, and the Copper easily maintained its metallic finish. This is my favorite result!

Mixing the Black Opaque with the Red Glitter did make a cool distressed sort of finish, but it did lose a lot of it’s glitter. I could totally envision using this combination on hockey game layouts next season. I think it maintained just enough glitter to still be hockey tough!

The next combination didn’t go so well. I combined Clear with Red Glitter, but the color of the glitter just sort of melted and bled into the clear. It’s not what I was expecting it to do, but I still see some possibilities here!

Last up was mixing the Red and Green Glitters together. Just like with a single glitter color, the finished product is spotty, but might be remedied with a colored ink underneath if you are looking for a more solid finish.
Last up, real world testing! I made a few cards using a couple different Zing! types and, of course, those American Crafts Goodies that I’ve been dying to dig into!

For my first card I used a whole bunch of “Campy Trails” Paper, Bits, Stamps and a Just Write Journaling Card.

I used a clear watermark ink pad and the Clear Zing! Embossing Powder on Kraft Paper to create a tag similar to the Bits tags with the sweet little dear to go along with my, “Just A Note To Say I Miss You Dearly” sentiment.

Then I used one of the Journaling Cards from the Campy Trails Just Write set to give the interior of my card a little love.

For my “Celebrate Sunshine” card I clearly had to use the “Hello Sunshine” collection! For this one I decided to try out a different technique. I stamped my flowers in Chestnut Pigment Ink and then embossed them with Clear Zing!, which effectively sealed in the pigment. This allowed me to use my alcohol based markers, namely Copics, with Pigment Ink colors without the color running! (If you use alcohol-based markers with straight Pigment Ink or colored embossing powders, the colors will run.) This method of sealing the pigment ink in is one that I’m sure I’ll be using quite a bit, a happy discovery!

For my last card I used the “Peachy Keen” collection and the Silver Metallic Zing! to combine a retro color palette, saying and image…

… with a little bit of a more modern twist inside the card! I definitely enjoyed the Zing! Embossing Powders and Pigment Inks and had a lot of fun creating with them. As with every product I had a couple little issues, but they were pretty minor. It’s all just a matter of knowing the right product for your project and learning the tricks, right? Zing! has a nice, easy learning curve. I was pleased with them, and will be adding them to my go-to crafting arsenal for sure!
Pros:
  • When you combine pigment ink and the Clear Zing! you can emboss in any color.
  • Full and even coverage with all finishes, other than the Glitter, which I don’t think was intended to have a solid finish.
  • Plays well with others! Have fun creating your own mixes by combining colors.
  • Reasonable price ($4.99 for Opaque & Metallic and $5.99 for Glitter)
  • Lots of choices with a great combination of both trendy and classic colors.
Cons:
  • Glitter Zing! does shed its glitter a little bit.
  • Zing! can be a little blotchy with more detailed images, but it’s not advertised as an ultra fine or detail powder.
Zing! has brought the magic of embossing back into my life in exciting, modern colors! I’m sure I’ll be embossing on cards, layouts and more. I would love to see a clear watermark pad from American Crafts and maybe some matte embossing powders.

edited to add:
GIVEAWAY!
Our friends at American Crafts have provided a prize pack for one of our lucky readers! Just leave a comment on this post answering the following questions to be entered:

What are you adding texture to with Zing! ? What would you love to see American Crafts come out with next?


One comment per person, per American Crafts’ article, please. Drawing will take place on Saturday, August 13, 2011.