Tutorial

Cyanotype & Stencils – Play Date

This was such an interesting and exciting play date with Kim – so excited to share it with you today! I have wanted to try cyanotype (aka Sun Printing) for a long time and we finally did. Now this did require some prep ahead of time, and it definitely is an active process, but the results are very cool.

I purchased a cyanotype kit on amazon (link below) that was a 2 part mixture. You can find the chemicals a lot of places, just be sure to follow the directions on the packaging. My kit required some prep 24 hours before we did the actual “printing”. As for supplies, we used the cyanotype kit, large paddle brushes, gunked up stencils (YES – this is one argument for not cleaning them lol), and a surface to print on. We chose wood frames, some fabric, and watercolor paper. Following the directions of our kit, we painted the surface with the mixture in a dimly lit room and let them dry. Ours worked best when we allowed them to fully dry.

Then it is time to head outside on a nice sunny day. We first did the frames. Here you can see 2 frames covered with an array of stencils. If it is windy you will need to weigh the stencils down.

Here is my Santiago stencil on the frame, catching the sunlight. Our mixture was a greenish yellow when it went on and slowly turned to a bronze color when it had been exposed to enough light.

And here is my Toledo stencil on a frame.

When they have exposed enough, you race them inside and rinse them until the water turns clear. The covered areas will wash away to reveal the wood color and the areas exposed to sunlight will begin to turn a beautiful blue.

Over the next few hours they will cure to full color and look just gorgeous!

Stencils with thicker lines worked a bit better and we learned that it is safer to weigh the stencil down in case wind picks up.

I just love the variety you can get and it all just works together because of that wonderful blue.

We also tried fabric with stencils (Hamilton and Star Struck here) and leaves. Weigh everything down and try to find flat leaves so you get defined edges. The fabric and paper exposure was really quick – so have a plan and all your stencils and objects ready to immediately put down on the fabric when you bring it outside.

Here is some paper with leaves and grass – all of these blew in the wind very easily so we did not get a good print here. I would put rocks on them next time. The top paper had some stencils and rocks. Setting up multiple papers at once was a bit hectic as they started changing very fast. Make a plan, have plenty of extra material (stencils, leaves, rocks, etc) and expect to just roll with it.

The paper process was the same – rinse immediately after bringing inside. Here you see a print I made with my Buenos Aires and Versailles stencils getting a rinse.

We let them dry in the sun and you can see some interesting results.

Definitely something to play around with here.

After a bit, the blue really came out.

My Valley Road, Park Blvd, and Broadway stencils came out very crisp.

We rinsed and dried the fabric as well. Here you see some leaves, vines, and a peek of my Exchange Place stencil in the corner.

These were pretty unplanned compositions. It is worth getting familiar with the process and just playing at first. Kim and I are planning a second play date now that we know how it works and then we can better prepare for what we make in the end.

Regardless, it was really awesome to see the potential and beauty of cyanotype printing.

We are imagining all sorts of fabric and clothing projects :)

Another variation we did: stamping with my new rubber stamp sets and black stazon ink onto transparency film.

I stamped the film with my Fantastic Large stamps and then put it on top of a treated pillowcase… It blew off several times in the breeze hence the “double vision” look to the print.

But still a really cool idea for future cyano projects!

So as you can see there is so much potential to using this medium with your stamps and stencils. We are just getting started and will definitely share future adventures with you as well. Don’t be intimidated by the process – it isn’t that hard and the results can be sooooooo nice and surprising some times. I hope you give it a try!

Here are some of the supplies that we used:

Comments (1)

  • Rae Lynn

    |

    These turned out so cool! I love the blue!

    Reply

Leave a comment

Foam Stamped Pillow Play Date

A couple weeks ago Kim and I got together for a little home decor play date – stamped pillows. We used my newest foam stamps, some fabric ink pads, and white cotton pillow cases (we already had inserts). This was a pretty quick and easy way to refresh the living room.

Take the time to iron your pillow cases first. The stamping will look better if you’re working on a smooth fabric.

Slip something sturdy and smooth into the case before you stamp to prevent the ink from bleeding through to the other side. We used some styrofoam pieces I had laying around.

I made my own stencil out of transparency sheets for a sponged background. It’s hard to see in this photo, but it is a shape that is sort of classic mid century.

I filled in the shape with yellow ink, slowly building up the density of the color on the pillow case.

Then I went back in with gray ink and my Jazzed foam stamp. If you don’t want the edges of the foam stamp to print, press more lightly on the stamp. I like the added visual texture here and the authentic block print look.

I also stamped with my Groovy foam stamp – it connects really well with the Jazzed one to make a longer, continuous design.

I filled in some of the other areas with additional yellow shapes.

Kim stamped a subtle background pattern using a pale green ink and my Signals foam stamp.

Here’s the complete background.

Then she came back and stamped my Jazzed stamp over it using gray ink.

I began a second case using blue ink and the same hand made stencil.

I sponged in the abstract shapes.

And then I added the Far Out, Jazzed and Groovy stamps over the shapes.

Kim’s second case began with a background using my Mid Century Squared stamp.

She finished her second pillow with my Gnarly stamp again in gray. After the cases dry, follow your ink manufacturer’s instructions for setting the ink, end enjoy your new home decor!

Stamped pillow cases are a very quick way to spruce up your sofa.

My cases look great on our teal sofa.

I love how the yellow one compliments some of the books in the background.

And the blue one is definitely my favorite – I might make a second one in this color.

I planned it so they also work with some of my existing pillows.

I hope you try this project – just another way to use foam stamps and fabric inks. Here are the supplies we used:

Comments (2)

  • Sue Clarke

    |

    Love these! Nice way to add a new look for sure with just a fine new pillow with a groovy pattern.

    Reply

  • susan

    |

    oh, Nat, these are adorable! (i have used your elephant stamps to do pillows for a friend.) i love the block print look you got from the foam stamp mounts. now i know my next project!

    Reply

Leave a comment

Back to School: Suminagashi

A couple weeks ago Kim and I went to a lecture about Marbling Paper at Kremer Pigments in NYC. It was a great lecture by Sarah Oppenheimer and I learned a ton.

While I love the Western style of paper marbling I was totally taken by Suminagashi – which is the Japanese paper marbling technique where you basically float sumi ink on top of water.

We couldn’t try the technique ourself since it was a lecture and demo but I knew I had to try this at home.

The pictures you see – starting with the one above are all from my second try. The first try was a total disaster and I didn’t take photos because basically I just used “bad words” and tried to figure out what was going on. My ink would mostly blob to the bottom of the container , the ink would just run off my paper …water everywhere- ink everywhere – you get the picture.

But ..of course I wouldn’t give up – after some digging for information of what possibly could have gone wrong and some research and reading I was ready for the second try and that was wayyyyy better.

For this second trial I used Sumi Ink – which is the black ink you see in the pictures as well as some Shellac Inks by Kremer Pigments. You also need a surfactant (which can be watercolor medium, dishwash soap, a marbling surfactant, soap nut ….and it is a trial and error to see how well they work) and two or more Sumi brushes. The problems of my first trial were a mixture of wrong surfactant and also dipping the brushes way too far into the water.

Basically you start with for example two or three brushes- here in the picture above you see a sample where I worked with three brushes . One will be dipped into the surfactant and the other ones in ink. Then you patiently dip just the very tip of the brush onto the water surface and alternate between the brushes – meaning between the colors and the surfactant.

At some point you will have tons of rings on your water surface and you can then either manipulate the “design” with some “wind” – meaning carefully blowing the surface or using a hair of your scalp to go through it. Then you lay paper -preferably washi paper on top of the surface and slowly pull it off.

Does that sound stressful to you? LOL- not at all- all good. The washi paper as the one above was my favorite result but also the most complicated to handle. Taking it off of the water and not ripping it – not folding it and just handle it in any normal way was sooo tough – little bit of stress here …but I think next time and with more practice that will work well. Having some non-washi paper on hand definitely helped.

Look at the gorgeous pattern and the texture of the washi paper- I cannot wait to use this as collage paper but that will take a bit hahahah- I need to pet it a bit more before i can let go ;)

The one above was after I blew onto the surface before adding the paper on top – I love how the rings just went nuts and zig-zaggy . BTW this was done with red and black ink. The colors will always be very very washed out and muted, which is the charm of this. For me this creates so many opportunities to incorporate the paper into my artwork without being overpowering.

For this one above I used a hair of mine and swirled it through. Apparently the oil on your hair makes sure that the rings won’t get interrupted as it would if you would use something else like a comb – but don’t quote me on this- I haven’t tried a ton yet because I first wanted to get a feel of how things work …without having the ink coming off the paper or just sitting in the bottom of the tray.

It was so much fun and I love the couple papers I made with my first sitting. I could have done way more papers but the problem was basically space – next time I def. have to set myself a bit better up – close to the sink and also with some better space for the paper to dry.

I would also love to try some other colors and actually also different inks- for example also acrylic inks. I am not sure if it will work but hey – that doesn’t stop me ;)

The blue came out quite nice

And then this one – I pulled the blue ones on the top and then instead of cleaning and skimming the water right away I added some black ink with surfactant and then printed again – I love the result.

The one on top is a layered print – first I printed black and white and then blue and white on top . I love it- but have to practice this also a bit more to get some better prints.

And there you go – a pile of paper that I love. I cannot wait to do this again. If you want to try it yourself find different videos about Suminagashi – and start maybe with a small container and dishwasher soap and see if it works – It seems to be quite a trial and error if you do not want to dive right away in the “traditional right way” but I have to say – I enjoy that journey because that gives me the possibility to adjust to my own needs and to what I have.

I cannot wait to show you some art journal spreads I used them for.

Do you like those prints and how could you see yourself using them?

Comments (6)

  • Christine Mack

    |

    Nat, I loved your papers.. I have done suminigashi before and here are some suggestions: PAPER-Masa and Canson’s Mi Tientes work well. You can get both at Dick Blick. To dry your paper try blotting your print (don’t rub, blot) with paper towels with no pattern on it like Viva or blotter paper. Your print will dry in about 15 minutes if you blot it first. INK-acrylic inks will not work with plain water. You must use a thickened water like for regular marbling and you must put a mordant on the paper to make it stick. You can use printer’s ink or India ink but you will need to thin it with a dispersant. A good source for Sumi ink in colors is a small kit you can get either at Dick Blick or Amazon. Search for Suminagashi and the kit should appear. Blick also has a nice tutorial on their web site. Hope these tips help and have fun with suminagashi.

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

      |

      Christine, thank you so much for your tips! that is super helpful !

      Reply

  • Nancy G.

    |

    I’ve seen videos on this process, but never tried it. Thanks for sharing your experiments. You make me want to try.

    Reply

  • Jean Goza

    |

    Nat these are so amazing! I would have to hang them on the wall awhile to enjoy the “flow” of lines before I could cut into them. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

      |

      Thank you Jean- yeah it is really tough to cut into them LOL- but the good thing is I can always make more – cannot wait for my bigger studio.

      Reply

Leave a comment

Rubber Stamped Easter Bunny Cards – DIY Play Date

Hippity Hoppity :) Kim and I got together for a Play Date with some of my new Rubber Stamps for the upcoming Easter holiday. We had a nice morning stamping some Easter Bunny Cards for friends and family.

For supplies we had my new Floral Tile Large and Floral Tile Small stamp sets, blank cards, colorful ink pads, some bunny images we printed off the internet, a craft knife, and repositionable tape.

First we carefully cut out some rabbit shapes, leaving both the outside and inside intact. These became our stencils and masks.

We used Scrapbook Adhesives E-Z Dots to temporarily stick our stencil to the front of the card. I love this tape – it’s easy to apply, sticks well, and comes off easily too!

We stamped into our bunny “stencil” with stamps from my Floral Tile Small set – the scale is just perfect for tiling into small areas. Here I am using one of the Hamilton designs.

Kim began with one of the Van Vorst designs from the Floral Tile Small set.

I used both the Positive and Negative Hamilton stamps from the small set and filled in the entire bunny.

And here is the big bunny reveal! Now to fill in the rest…

Put a bit of repositionable tape onto the bunny mask and place on top of your stamped image.

Begin filling the area around the bunny. Here I decided to use the Hamilton stamps from the Floral Tile Large set.

It becomes quick work with the large size stamps.

Kim worked with the Van Vorst stamps from the Floral Tile Large set to fill in the area surrounding her masked off bunny.

Looks pretty awesome when it is all done!

I experimented with outlining the bunny too – there are a lot of ways you can take these cards to another level.

Another card beginning with the outside, using the Versailles Positive and Negative stamps from the Floral Tile Large set.

And another using the Versailles Positive and Negative stamps from the Floral Tile Small set.

A very sweet bunny in blue using the Van Vorst Positive and Negative stamps from the small set. This dense pattern worked really well to define the bunny shape.

Kim getting into it – so fun with a lot of different stamp pad colors to choose from!

In the end we made quite a few cards – some that are really wonderful!

I just love this one I made with 2 bunnies!

Kim made a sweet orange one…

So fun to play with different iterations!

And then I realized that the stamped bunny masks should not go to waste – they looked great on the cards too!

Last one :)

We hope you try some of these techniques with my new stamps. Try mixing up different colors, playing with the positive and negative designs, and work with both sizes. We had a blast and can’t wait to spread a little Easter cheer with our cards.

You can find my rubber stamps in my online shop. Here are some of the supplies that we used in this play date:


Don’t forget! Now is a great time to shop in my Online Store and use the coupon code SWEEPSALE to get 20%off all physical products. Hurry! The sale ends April 15th at 11:59pm EST.

Leave a comment

Indexing Stamps in 7 Steps

You might have noticed that the new RubberMoon packaging includes a clear sheet with the images included in the stamp sets and the reason for that is, that you can then can index your stamps.

Especially with my new stamp sets which often have positive and negative images that can be stamped on top of each other that is really helpful. Check out what I do when I receive a new set of stamps:

I store my stamps in my old letter press drawers and I love to keep them on the sheets. I also love to see first hand what the stamps look like when they are stamped. So I leave the stamps attached to the indexing sheet, ink them up with an archival ink and then

place the white packaging insert on top and press it down so that I get the imagery of the index sheet on there. It is like an initiation of your stamps if you will ;)

Next I cut out the images and put them on the backs of their appropriate stamps. Now for this sample I chose the Small Fan-Tastic Stamps and they are symetric on both sides- but some of my stamps have slight variations …so make sure you put the index sheet the right way on your stamp. The cling is fresh and new and will indeed cling to your plastic.

I do this with all of my stamps- and yes, the experienced stamper will rightfully ask “yeah but then those stamps do not cling to an acrylic block anymore” and I will say ” yes, you are right, BUT…” you have to decide if you rather want to see the image on the back and be able to line your stamps up more precise or if you rather want to use the acrylic block directly with your stamps- which …I admittedly do not really use that often anyway. In order for the stamp to hold on to an acrylic block if I need it, I use repositionable tape on the block – works like a charm and I can just rub it off when I am done.

I personally also like to include the names of each stamp and the set name onto the sheet – Just because …I forget the names of my own stuff sometimes…crazy isn’t it LOL …well I am def. not getting younger ;)

And then I can place my little stamps right on top and store them.

Is this the best way? Maybe not …but it works for me and maybe for some of you out there as well. If you have a different way of using the index sheets -let me know, I am happy to hear.

Leave a comment

Stamped Paper Wreath for Spring – DIY Play Date

Last week Kim and I decided to do a little Spring Play Date with my rubber stamps. We saw some cool pictures of paper wreaths online and thought we would try our own. We had just an hour or so and had fun making ours and dreaming of beautiful spring weather :)

You will need rubber stamps (we used my Stroll Through the Hood 1 and 2 stamp sets including the Powerhouse, Main Station, Brownstone, Warehouse, Lady Liberty, Mailbox, Hydrant, US Flag, Art Tag, and Love Tag stamps), ink pads, colorful paper, scissors, glue gun, and a cardboard ring. We cut our cardboard rings from old boxes, using plates to trace a circle and then cutting out the center.

  

Choose paper (and maybe even inks if you have a lot of colored ink pads) in an analogous color scheme – colors that are next to each other on the color wheel.

Then start stamping! Fill up the entire page with stamped images. It doesn’t matter how they line up – the point is to have some design and pattern all over the paper. Here is my Warehouse stamp in action.

Here is Lady Liberty and Brownstone filling a page.

We recommend stamping 3-4 sheets of paper.

Then cut out leaf shapes. 2-3″ works for a smaller wreath and 3-4″ works for a larger wreath.

Try to get as many out of a sheet as you can. It’s ok to cut through your stamped images at odd places.

In the end you will have a pile of leaves.

Try arranging the leaves on the cardboard ring to see how they fit.

You can experiment with color patterns too.

Use a glue gun to adhere the leaves in place. I finally bought a glue gun – yes can you believe this is my first ever glue gun? lol

Three leaves across seemed to cover the cardboard.

In the end you will have a charming little spring decoration.

Look at all the stamp images peeking through.

The big one is just right for hanging on a door.

Two paper wreathes, ready for spring.

One on the inside of Kim’s front door.

Looks nice on a smaller door here.

You can even layer them up for more impact.

This was a great way to use up some colored paper we had on hand and to have some fun stamping. I love how the stamps give it some more visual interest, and you could really play with ink colors and different papers if you wanted to. I hope you try it!

You can find my rubber stamps in my online shop. Here are some of the supplies that we used in this play date:


 

Comments (1)

  • stephanie

    |

    your art play date projects are always an inspiration! thanks Nat

    Reply

Leave a comment

Stenciled Valentine’s Garland – DIY Play Date

For the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday Kim and I had a little play date to get in the spirit. This was super easy – done in an hour – and a fun way to use some stencils!

We got some heart stickers (2″ across), baker’s twine, my stencils, and acrylic paint in pinks, reds, and violet.

Then we started stenciling onto the hearts. Here I’m using my Broadway stencil and different pinks.

Choose a stencil with a pattern that isn’t too big, but the main point is to get some cool designs onto the hearts.

Kim used the Kassel stencil and lined up a bunch of heart stickers underneath.

This was a good way to do a lot of hearts at the same time and works nicely with a 9×12 stencil.

You can also work heart by heart and line up the stencil better. Here I am using my Valley Road stencil.

Here are some with my Manhattan stencil.

Look at all these fun designs! They are (top to bottom) Santa Fe, Valley Road, Broadway, Mesa Verde, and Beacon.

And more from Kim – Manhattan, Kassel, and Flower Maze.

Cut a length of the baker’s twine – however long you want your garland. Then put a heart sticker down and stick the twine to it. Stick the twine close to the top so the heart hangs the right way.

Then stick another heart on top to sandwich the twine. We spaced the hearts out with about 3-4″ in between each one.

Looks nice above a fireplace…

And on the bookshelf!

You could hang it on a chandelier or in a doorway or even on a little indoor tree.

We hope you try this one – it was great to play with color and pattern and the results are very cute :) Enjoy!

You can find my stencils in my Online Shop. Here are some of the supplies that we used:


Leave a comment

Foam Stamp and Shrink Film Earrings – DIY Play Date

Earlier this week my friend Kim and I got together for a little play date with my new Foam Stamps. This time we made some really nifty shrink film earrings and brooches that I’m excited to wear!

Here are the supplies – we used my new ArtFoamies designs, Moonlight Duo ink pads, shrink film, jewelry adhesive, scissors, a heat tool, and earring and pin backs.

Here Kim stamped on shrink film my Far Out foam stamp in green and just a bit of my Mid Century Squared stamp in yellow.

I stamped Groovy in peach, Gnarly in blue, and a bit of the Mid Century Squared in pink.

It’s a good idea to gently wipe off your stamps with a baby wipe so you don’t contaminate the ink colors.

We stamped lots of different pairs onto the shrink film.

Time to cut out. Here Kim stamped just one end of my Gnarly stamp and cut it into a rectangle.

You can also fussy cut them out. Here is my Far Out stamp.

Time to shrink the shrink film :) Work on a clean craft mat over a surface that can get hot. Gently move the heat tool around, evenly heating the film. I started with my Mid Century Squared stamp in pink.

It will start to buckle and curl and can get pretty gnarled up. Move the heat tool around, hitting every side and surface to shrink it evenly. Be careful! It can get hot!

By moving the heat tool around and flipping over the shrink film and heating it evenly, it will start to calm down and flatten.

A clean palette knife is useful in flipping the piece over, and gently flattening it out.

We tried a more powerful heat tool and actually melted and ruined the piece – it was too hard to heat it gently and evenly and it curled up and melted before we could flatten it out. This was the Jazzed design.

We used the lower power heating tool on the second Jazzed piece – so cute!

Kim did a pair with just a section of my Signals stamp in black ink.

In the end we used the jewelry adhesive and glued them onto the earring post backs and the brooch pin backs.

Here is the Jazzed design in green.

Kim wearing some purple Neato earrings :)

These are part of the Funky stamp – love these in dark blue/green.

Kim’s little black earrings with part of the Signals stamp.

And one of my favorites – part of the Mid Century Squared stamp in yellow.  So in the end we made some pretty cool looking earrings and brooches for us and our friends!

Give it a try! It’s a fun project for a morning or afternoon and you can definitely play around with how you use the patterns.

In addition to my Foam Stamps from my Online Shop, here are some of the supplies that we used:


Leave a comment

Foam Stamped Memory Game Tutorial

For our monthly playdate in October, Kim and I got together to make our own Memory Games. Remember those? Haha

We gathered some acrylic paint, a brayer, and enough foam stamps to do 18 different patterns (our memory set included 18 pairs of cards). The Mini Foam Stamps are perfect for this because the patterns are small enough for the little cards. You don’t necessarily need 18 different foam stamps to do this either – you could use different color paint with the same pattern foam stamp to get your sets. That might even add a level of challenge to the game!

What did we use for cards? Well…

We found some really cheap sets online (you can see the one we used in the links below) and just repurposed them into our own awesome sets :)

We just painted over the two sides with a solid color. It could take a couple coats of paint or a coat of gesso first and then a coat of paint.

Then it was time to start making pairs… Here are some that use stamps from my Mini Hex Set.

Here I’m using my Mini Versailles foam stamp and some bright red paint with a brayer.

Then I placed the painted card onto the center of the stamp.

Pressing down evenly and firmly…

And Tada! One card of the matching set done. Repeat the process on the other to make the pair – we tried to line the pattern up in the same spot on the matching card – sometimes more successfully than others ;)

Kim worked on a bright green background and stamped out different matching pairs.

Some came out a bit grungy but this is your own unique set so it definitely doesn’t need to look perfect.

In the end I used lots of different patterns and colors.

Definitely a fun and probably more challenging version of the original memory game!

Here is Kim’s set on the green.

Who is ready to play? Just find the matching pairs :)

You can find all my foam stamps in my online shop. Here are some of the other supplies that we used for this playdate:


Comments (2)

  • Sue Clarke

    |

    Definitely more of challenge and quite clever but you did cover up dogs from that cute Paw Patrol show.

    Reply

Leave a comment