Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Nicecrane Designs Sponsor Spotlight No.2

Hello everyone, it's Alison (butterfly) here with the second Sponsor Spotlight of the month, and we're turning that light on to Nicecrane Designs.

If you've never explored the huge range of printable images and collections available at Nicecrane Designs, it's high time you did!  If you're not a scrapbooker or card-maker, you may have thought printables weren't really up your street.  I hope to show you today that they can play a role in mixed media crafting too.  Here's just some of what I've been creating...  It may be time to grab a cup of coffee!

I was playing with the Vintage French Postcards - enchanting black and white designs with a delicious Parisian feel.

I started very simply.  Once I'd downloaded the individual files, I put them all into a Word document and re-sized them to approximately ATC size, so that all six were on one page - almost exactly as the preview picture above shows them.  Then, rather than printing onto plain paper, I chose an A4 sheet from the Prima Cartographer pad and printed them directly onto that.

A bit of simple cutting and inking and I now have six great little cards/tags to insert into a scrapbooking layout or to include in a layered vintage-style card.  (The four on the right are inked already; the two on the left are still in a nice pristine state.)  Homemade ephemera in an instant!

Next, I picked my favourite of the images and copied and resized it on the second page of my document.  I wanted to try printing onto tissue paper so that I'd be able to use the image more flexibly in mixed media situations.  You can't put the tissue paper through by itself, so you have to attach it to a "carrier sheet" of stronger paper.  There are many tutorials for this on the internet, including several on youtube.  Some use spray glue, some use glue sticks.  I ended up using this method with double-sided tape - partly because I didn't have any temporary spray glue, but mainly because I could see she had the same printer as I have, so that encouraged me to hope I wouldn't kill the printer by doing it!  And it all went smoothly, I'm happy to say...

Once printed and trimmed free of the taped edges, I tore around the images.  If you have a torn edge rather than a sharp cut it's much more likely to "disappear" once you've glued/painted/spritzed around it.  My plan for the larger of the two images was to make a shabby chic style wooden hanging. I started by coating a wooden plaque with DecoArt Chalk Paint, mixing Rustic (basically brown) and Relic (a dark grey) directly onto the wood.

The next layer was a coat of the American Decor Crackle Medium - specially formulated by DecoArt for their chalk paints - and then a topcoat of Everlasting (a.k.a. white!).  Once it had dried and crackled to my heart's content, I used Vintage Photo Distress Ink to warm-up the edges and give it that shabby age-stained look.

I applied multi-medium to the reverse of my tissue paper image (not to the plaque as the moisture would make the Distress Ink run) and smoothed it down onto the wood.  Once I'd made sure there were no wrinkles, I applied the multi-medium over the top too to seal it.

I love that you can clearly see the crackles through the image, giving the impression that the whole thing has weathered together over the years.

I did a little bit of extra inking over the top of the tissue...

... and added simple rustic twine to hang the plaque up by.

Next, a tag (of course!) which uses one of my patterned paper ephemera pieces as well as the tissue paper printing, this time over a different crackle medium.

For this one I started by applying DecoArt Crackle Paste to a large tag with a palette knife, and leaving it to crackle.

Well, I say leaving it...  It got going with the crackling as it dried, but time started to press, and I decided to see if I could help things along with the heat gun in the places where I'd applied the paste more thickly.  Lots of crackle mediums don't like being hurried, and sure enough the crackle was a bit reluctant to play ball under the added heat.  However I did get this fabulous bubble effect instead - just as much fun!

Patience is a virtue, but impatience leads to happy accidents.

I gave the whole tag a wash of white paint, and then applied multi-medium to my medium-sized tissue paper bird in order to stick him over the crackly top half of the tag.

The much subtler texture where the paste was fairly thin gives a lovely porcelain crackle effect to the image.

Once it was all dry, I applied Vintage Photo Distress Ink with a blending tool to highlight all the different textures.

I selected the Parisian chair tag from my homemade ephemera...

... and a photo of Gloria Swanson downloaded from the internet and printed onto glossy photo paper...

... and set to work to do her justice with the embellishments.  I altered some paper roses using sprays made up from Luminarte Primary Elements powders in Hopeful Honeysuckle and Hot Cinnamon, as well as a spritz or two of Tattered Rose Distress Stain Spray.

I broke up the Prima wooden chequerboard embellishment and spritzed it with the same sprays to create a base for the flowers.  

And I used Ginger and Rust alcohol inks to tint the Word Band before smoothing on Antique Linen Distress Paint and wiping it back to leave the paint just in the lettering.

The Idea-ology Plaquette has had a drop or two of the same alcohol inks rubbed in to mute the bright white tone.

The Trellis Framework bits from another project have been sitting around for ages waiting to be used up.  They toned in perfectly with the palette here, and I added some flourish stamping around the edges to draw the eye inward towards that fabulous bubble texture!

And the seam binding at the top was gathered up from the tiny packages included when you order from The Funkie Junkie Boutique (last month's sponsor here).  They were all a very delicate pink, so I spritzed a couple of them with the Hot Cinnamon and Hopeful Honeysuckle, while leaving the others pale and pretty in between.

And I still have five more pieces of ephemera ready to use on future projects...

So there you have it - printables used in pretty much their simplest form, as well as with crackle mediums, paints and inks.

I hope you'll check out the other Sponsor Spotlights here this month, and do visit Nicecrane Designs to see what they could add to your crafting.

And if you enter this month's Our Creative Corner challenge, It's Magic, you might be lucky enough to go shopping there with your prize draw winnings!  Check out all the details and come and play along here.

For now, thank you so much for stopping by, and happy creating all!

Alison xx


  1. Great work Alison! Never used digi images but this is inspiring. Nikki xx

  2. A very beautiful tag with wonderful ideas and textures

    Love Chrissie x

  3. Very clever ways to use those fab designs Alison!

  4. Super gorgeous projects, Alison, wonderful use of those printed images

  5. You have really shown what can be done with the printables, Alison. This is glorious, so totally up my street!

    Lucy x

  6. Lovely plaque and tag. Thanks for instilling the confidence to print on PP directly and also on tissue. Nice techniques.

  7. "Patience is a virtue, but impatience leads to happy accidents." I love your created 'quote'. Sadly it doesn't always prove true!

    That's not pink as I understand it. It's a lovely colour....

  8. Wonderful step by step, some digi images are better than others, love you printed them onto patterened paper really makes a difference!

    Beautiful Tag and some fab epherema, good to have you back.

    Thank you for dropping by and leaving some lovely comments, much appreciated Alison:-) xxx

  9. I love love love all of these! But I prefer this fabulous plaque! Pure and perfect!

  10. love love love these projects Alison! I have to make a bunch, thanks for such awesome inspiration!~kim

  11. STUNNING, Alison, -that background on number 2 is amazing,- beautifu, beautiful art pieces both!!

  12. Fabulous creations and tutorial Alison, I love what you have done with these wonderful images indeed, a big thank you for the great details too!!! Hugs, Coco xx

  13. What a great idea to print the images onto Designer Paper, Alison. I love the crackle techniques too! If there's one thing that makes life worth living, it's Crackle! xxx

  14. wow, who knew!! I can't use digi images as I don't have a working printer (still!!) but love the effects you've achieved.

  15. Beautiful results, love the black and white images over the crackle. what lovely digi images! love all the results! Ruth x

  16. What a lovely vintage creations Alison...you did so well with these nice images!
    Greetings, Alie :-)

  17. What a difference it makes printing onto patterned paper! Love the honeysuckle colours you used for the embellishments too. Beautiful creations, Alison.

  18. Such great ideas with digi images, thinking differently now about them. TFS, Julie x

  19. Welcome Back to crafting Alison. Thanks for sharing the techniques that you used to create these gorgeous tags. Love each one of them.
    Hugs, Cathy-Lynn

  20. Fabulous projects Alison and a great tutorial on the techniques.

  21. Awesome the tag and the hanging. Amazing use of those digital images and great idea, very inspired xxx

  22. stunning!! love how you printed onto designer paper,and all that crackle absolutely lush!!
    Amanda x

  23. Beautiful creations - the tag is my favorite.

    xx Sabrina

  24. These are just gorgeous. I have never tried this as I am so technically challenged but I think I am going to give it a go.....

  25. Gorgeous, Alison!! These lovely goodies are definitely ready for their close-up!! Thanks for sharing!! I've never used digi-images before and you've got me saying...Hmmmmm.... :) XOXO-Shari

  26. This is wonderful! Love where the impatience took you :-)

  27. Brilliant, love the crackle and must say love the bubbled effect having made the same 'mistake" myself - I do it deliberately now!!! I do need to look at these digi images! Chris


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