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Tag Archives | Heather Strenzwilk

Black Ink Comparison

Reported by Heather Strenzwilk

In the past few years we have seen Copic, Big Brush and Memento markers become popular for coloring stamped images. Do certain markers work better with certain inks? Which inks are the darkest and blackest? And most importantly: Is there an ink which is really black that doesn’t smear when colored with markers?

In 2008 Craft Critique’s Technical Editor, Dana Vitek, did a very detailed comparison of black inks called, “The MOTHER of all black ink tests…“. As a follow-up to Dana’s well-researched comparison, I have created a similar but simpler test to compare some of the newer black inks. All of the inks (except one) used in the test are part of my stash of art supplies. The exception was the Jet Black StazOn ink (and cleaner) which belonged to a friend.

Methodology:
I printed the testing matrix on Georgia Pacific white cardstock and Stampin’ Up Whisper White cardstock. I stamped each type of ink four times on each sheet of cardstock (three for testing and one as a control). I started with the StazOn ink and afterward cleaned the stamp with StazOn cleaner. For the remainder of the testing, I used Ultra Clean Stamp Cleaner before changing ink sources. All of the ink air dried for approximately 14 hours before I tried coloring over the image with markers (I didn’t plan to wait 14 hours but life happened). After coloring each image with marker, I scribbled it on scrap paper to remove any black ink transferred to the marker tip.

Cardstock:
Stampin’ Up Whisper White
Georgia Pacific White

Markers:
Copic Y11 Pale Yellow
Faber Castell Big Brush Light Yellow Glaze 104
Tsukineko MementoPear Tart PM-703

Inks:


Below are my results (click on the photos to make them larger).


It is important to note that Copic markers which are meant to be blended, so by design Copic over Copic will blend (aka smear). However, Memento over Memento and Big Brush over Big Brush did not smear.

Biggest Surprise- The Nick Bantock ink did not smear with Copic or Memento markers but there was some smearing with Big Brush markers. This ink was also very easy to clean off the stamp and did not stain. Secondly, the Stazon did not smear but the stamped images feathered and the black didn’t seem as dark as some of the other inks.

Overall- Stazon, Memento and Big Brush did not have any issues with smearing. Memento images were slightly crisper than Big Brush. I’m not sure if I had been comparing a black Memento marker to Big Brush if the results would stay the same.

Bottom Line- If I had to pick one ink that stamped crisply, had a rich black color and didn’t smear when colored with markers, I would choose Memento based on my results.

What brand of black ink do you use with markers? Please share your thoughts with our readers.

Vendor Spotlight: Silicone Release Paper by C&T Publishing

Reported by Heather Strenzwilk


Silicone Release Paper from C & T Publishing was inspired by fusible applique artist Laura Wasilowski. The double-sided, coated paper comes in a package of ten- 8.5″ x 11″ inch sheets plus two- 17″ x 22″ inch sheets for larger projects. This versatile paper can be used for transfers, appliques and as a non-stick work surface for craft projects.

Pouch with heart appliques

Because I am not a very accomplished sewer (I still refer to the instruction book to thread my sewing machine properly) I decided to make a very simple applique pouch. I began by ironing some Steam-A-Seam2 double-stick fusible webbing onto the back of the fabric and then removing the backing to expose the adhesive. I used a black Sharpie marker to trace the heart shape onto the silicone release paper. Then I put the design (Sharpie side down) onto the fusible web and I ironed the silicone release paper to transfer the Sharpie ink to the fabric.

The Sharpie marker ink transfers to the fabric when ironed

I could tell when the transfer had occurred because the silicone release paper is nearly transparent. After removing the silicone release paper I was able to cut out my applique and adhere it to the pouch using my iron. This was a pretty easy process and it worked for me the first time. Although some of the Sharpie ink remained on the silicone release sheet, I think you could re-use it if you were careful.

Silicone release paper is perfect for creating hot glue or school glue embellishments

After the success with my pouch, I decided to test some other craft media. I used my hot glue gun to create some embellishments. When the glue cooled, they easily popped off the silicone release paper. The paper could definitely be re-used, which was a plus. Later I wrote the word “Elmer” with some white school glue. Because school glue is very wet, the paper warped and curled badly as it dried but the letters popped right off the release paper.

The more liquid the acrylic paint, the more warping as the paint dries

Next, I decided to make some acrylic paint skins, which I had never heard of before researching this article. For one set, I used Anita’s acrylic paint which is very liquidy. The paper warped as it dried but the dried acrylic pieces (which are very flexible) came off the page easily. For the second batch, I used some old Lumiere paint which had definitely thickened with age, with a touch of blue Anita acrylic paint. This batch had more body and didn’t warp the paper as badly, but the paper is definitely “single use” for this type of project.

Notice the warping after the acrylic paint skin is peeled

Finally, I decided to make some encaustic art with Crayola Crayons. I sprinkled fine crayon shavings on a piece of cardboard sandwiched between two pieces of silicone release paper. After briefly ironing to melt the crayon, I pulled off the top paper. The wax didn’t stick to the release paper but it did sort of bead up and leave a waxy residue. I put the sheet, residue side down on some white matte cardstock to try to remove the residue but some of it remained. I could use the sheet again but I would be concerned about muddying the next batch of wax.


My impression of the product is that it is a thinner, disposable version of a non-stick craft mat, a product I use constantly in my craft room. The texture of the paper reminds me of a cross between parchment paper and the release paper used to iron Perler Beads. Silicone release paper would be good to take to a crop or for kids to use because there is no messy clean up. I was a little disappointed by how much the silicone release paper warped when it got wet, but it is more of a one-time use product. The larger 17″ x 22″ inch size sheets are great for larger projects or for enlarging patterns. Since the sheets are nearly transparent, it is easy to trace and there is no need to reverse your letters because you’ll flip the sheet to do the transfer onto the fabric.

Mini book featuring an encaustic tree

Pros:

  • Package has ten regular size plus two 17″ x 22″ sheets for large projects
  • Nothing sticks to it
  • Versatile- can be used with multiple media

Cons:

  • Silicone release paper warps if it gets very wet
  • Not as durable as a standard, reusable non-stick craft mat

Have you tried Silicone Release Paper? What products do you use to create appliques? Please share your thoughts with our readers.

Vendor Spotlight: Ultimate 3-in-1 Color Tool by C&T Publishing

Reported by Heather Strenzwilk


The Ultimate 3-in-1 Color Tool, Updated 3rd edition is a color selection deck created by Joen Wolfrom for C&T Publishing. The tool includes 24 color cards (816 colors), instructions, value finders and five color plans for each color. The cards are laminated and bound on the lower right corner and can be stored in its convenient clear vinyl pouch.

Triadic color scheme: purple/ orange yellow/ aqua green (stamped image: Papertrey Ink)

Nearly two years ago I had the opportunity to review the previous edition of the 3-in-1 Color Tool. Although I tried very hard to show how helpful the tool could be, I completely missed the point. So I jumped at the chance to review the updated 3rd edition.

The first thing I noticed about the new edition is that it is larger- the previous edition was 8″ x 2 5/8″ versus the new edition which is 8″ x 3 1/4″. The new edition has more color samples and most of them are larger. The directions have been re-written and I found them much clearer and easier to understand. This edition also includes various color formulas which make the colors easier to replicate (if desired).

The instructions use a five step process to pick, match, choose, find and select colors for your project. the author also provides strategies if you are uncertain your colors match (are on that color card). She also provides a brief introduction to the Ives 24 color wheel (one card for each color). This edition has a new section which explains the difference between pure colors, tints, shades and tones and gives examples of each (pink is a tint, navy is a shade and mauve is a tone). Also provided is a brief explanation of basic color plans such as monochromatic, complementary, analogous, split-complementary and triadic.

The HUGE lesson I learned with this edition, is that I don’t have to try to find an exact match for colors (I spent a lot of time doing that with the old tool.) The tool can be used to identify the color family. When you put a color up to a color card you can tell if it is part of that family. If it is slightly off, most likely your color family is on a neighboring card. This was huge for me and I went from dragging on color selection, to finding the right family card.

Old color card on the left, newest edition on the right

Speaking of the color cards, they had a makeover for this edition as well. The front of the card now sports the pure color and a sampling of tints, shades and tones. Also included examples of how the color is used in the color plan options. In the prior edition, the color plans were on the back of the card.

Complementary color scheme: spring green/ fuchsia (Digital Image: In a Scrap Creations)

In the current edition, the back of each color card has 32-34 additional color samples. Each samples is labeled with CMYK (cyan magenta yellow black) and RGB (red green blue) color formulas. Additionally, samples has a HEX code which is used for website design.

The value finder is the last component of the tool. The value finders are pieces of green and red translucent plastic. When you look through either the red or the green value finder, colors disappear but values can be seen. If there are some dark and some light areas, contrast is present. When I tried this step, I was amazed where I noticed a lack of contrast in my artwork.

Analogous color scheme: golden yellow/ yellow/ chartreuse/ yellow-green/ spring green/ green
(Digital Image: In a Scrap Creations)

Sometimes, new and improved isn’t always a good thing. Fortunately, for the updated 3rd edition of the Ultimate 3-in-1 Color Tool, the changes are all good, from the increased color selection, larger color swatches, color codes and improved instructions. The tool is portable and very helpful for crafting and shopping (be confident that antique or yard sale find will match your sofa). This is a very handy and useful tool and one that I’ll use frequently.

Pros:

  • Lightweight, portable and comes with a protective vinyl pouch
  • Colors are easier to replicate with CMYK and RGB formulas and Hex numbers for web sites
  • Instructions were revised making them much easier to follow in this 3rd edition

Cons:

  • Double sided cards make it difficult to compare colors on opposite sides of the card
  • Deck is permanently bound. It would be nice to be able to remove individual cards.

Disclosure

Do you use any tools such as a color wheel or the 3-in-1 Color Tool to assist you with color selection? How would you use the 3-in-1 Color Tool?