Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Happy 2022 Let's Make a Gel Press Journal!

Happy New Year to you all! It's been a rough couple of years & I hope this year brings you some wonderful new experiences, good health & lots of fun damn it! This month the Eileen Hull Inspiration Team is collaborating with Gel Press. I love Gel Printing & this project is going to be part of a class series I am teaching. I also have a 2 part brand new Gel Press YouTube video for you.

The Full Size Journal is just my absolute favorite. I love, love the size at a fabulous almost 9" tall & 6 1/4 wide makes for a perfect junk journal, art journal, photo album you name it! Also it is the perfect size for a Gel Press Journal. In today's post I am going to give you 3 ways to use your Gel Press & a brief outline of how I made my book. Warning: You do need a "Big Shot Plus" as this is a larger die then the normal size. 

Now a quick intro from Eileen on this collaboration:
Eileen and Teams are collaborating with Gel Press all through January to see what magic can be made when both products are combined. Make sure to check in at the blog at each week to see what comes of our Gel Press journeys. And check out the Gel Press blog too to see what they are doing with my journal bases at It's a match made in heaven ❤

Let's talk about the journal die 1st. I am going to link to 2 other books I have made, these will be at the end of the post. All these books were made slightly differently so good ideas on options. I cut the base of the book using a cereal box. As the covers are larger then the current Sizzix mat board this is a good way to get around that challenge. You will need 2 covers. 

Assemble using Redline Tape.
Here is what the inside will look like when assembled.
Then it was time to pull out the Gel Plate. These plates come in all sorts of shapes & sizes, you can find them here. Getting started I wanted to get some base color on my canvas down. Choosing lighter, brighter colors was a good way to go. If you are new to Gel Printing I would advise playing with lots of paper to get the hang of it, that way you have quite a selection to choose from.

I made a video! Here is Part 1. Part 2 is being edited now, please subscribe to my YouTube channel & get notifications, or follow my blog & a handy dandy email will arrive in your inbox! 

Gel Press Technique 1: Put dabs of acrylic paint down & use a brayer to blend the paint. There is a learning curve of how much paint to put on. Just play & practice to get it. Hot Tip: You know you have it when the paper dries pretty quickly & you can get 2-3 pulls. 
Use another paper to clean the brayer off. Lightly rub a piece of paper on the plate & then pull it. You should be able to get at least 2 pulls. See my video for better explanation.

Gel Press Technique 2: Put stencil down 1st then add paint on top, brayer, pull stencil off & brayer the painted stencil on a paper to get a bonus print. I like to spritz my stencil with water 1st. Then put paper on Gel Press & pull a gel print.  Use different types of paper like deli paper, book paper, kraft card stock or scrapbook paper. When using deli paper leave some parts of it clear. These pieces are great to use for decoupage. 

Gel Press Technique 3: Use technique #2 & add the stencil images to papers that already have background color. You can either simply add the entire image or bits of images, overlapping using totally different colors from the background. You can see the entire chevron was added with blues & greens, then bits are being added. I usually do this in black or white.
Once you have a nice selection of papers it is time to design. One of the things I like to do 1st is scan my favorites so I can print them out again if I need a quick print.

I cut 3 prints to make the cover pieces. Do this however you like, pieces of different prints, patch work type, strips of paper etc. As you see from this photo I cut my 2 cover papers to just fit over the spine. My spine piece will cover these papers by about a 1/4". Hot Tip: This is a good time to add your handle. I always forget & end up having to find away to cover the screw bit that shows on the inside cover. Once the outside is done, pick your favorites & cut to fit the inside covers. The width of the book is over 14" so if you want to use one print you will need larger paper. I copied the outside layout for the inside. The piece I picked for the spine area had too much white space for my liking. 

In my video I talk about staining the white, but don't go into details. The base paint of my gel prints is acrylic so this allows for adding an ink that is water based. I decided to add some Mica Spray. Using my swatch book was a great way to see which color would match. 

I chose Flickering Candle. The ink was sprayed on, then spread with a wet paint brush. Let dry a bit then use a baby wipe to clean the ink off the paint area. 

See how that works? Plus there is some nice shimmer that the camera doesn't pick up. Bonus you can still see the paint nicely. 
Here is the inside after adding pockets. I am trying to use items that I already own & Project Life cards fit the bill. Some washi tape was used at the bottom for interest.I added a few other things which you can see in a photo below.
The holes for the binding need to be re-punched. Hot Tip: Hold your book up to a window & you should be able to draw the holes. Then re-punch with a Crop O Dile. You can chose to string this anyway you want. Elastic is my favorite way. I made one signature so far with a mix of gel prints, tags, ledger paper etc. Not sure what I will use this book for yet stay tuned.

The last element was a tag I had made months ago. It was hanging on my desk right in front of me just waiting for a project to land on. If you want to make an element like this there is a tutorial here. 
I wanted to add a few close up photos for you. Here is what my finished spine looks like. I seriously love this book, it may be my new favorite! The print that you see is created in Part 2 of my Gel Press video. So grungy cool!

Here is the inside cover & pic of my 1st signature. I added some elements from Eileen's Maker Forte stamps. The signature starts with some packaging. Again one of my goals is to use that cool stuff that gets saved forever!

One last close up of the cover. Yes I think I used all the colors! Alright. I will be doing a video flip through on my Instagram in the next few days just FYI. Hopefully I will have added a few more signature. Alrighty as promised next up are a few more examples of the Full Size Journal with links!
This is a canvas journal with paint & decoupage on the cover. Different construction then the one I am making today. Also a peak at the inside pages. 

Journal #2 was full on mixed media with all the layers! It was made of mat board which means sturdy to start with. Lots of inky tips & tricks in this tutorial. Also used Gel Press prints for the inside pages. Nummy. Click here to see all the yum. Thanks so much for joining me today. I hope you get a chance to get inky! 


Monday, December 20, 2021

Visible Image Journal Booklet for Topflight Stamps

 Hello My Stampy Friends! Welcome to my last post for Topflight Stamps. After 2 1/2 years with this awesome team it is time for me to move on. Life has gotten super busy & just does not leave me time to continue. This has been a wonderful experience. The gals on this team are super supportive & friendly. It has been a pleasure to play with so many, wonderful, stamp company products & get inky on my Mixed Media Mondays. A special thanks to Donna Bowman for creating this creative space for us to play in. Lisa Hoel thanks for hanging in with me when things went pear shaped! You are a wonderful DT Lead. 

Now on to my project! This week the team is focusing on the UK company Visible Image. I made a Full Size Journal a while back & decided I wanted to add a signature for some arty play in January. I will show the journal & link to it below. I love how this booklet turned out. It some of my favorite elements. Texture, a metallic shine, cool quotes. Hum I may have to add some metal LOL.

This booklet started with a 12 x 8 1/4 sheet of scrapbook paper from a Tim Holtz paper pad. Pulling out a few stencils, some Grit Paste (bricks) & crackle paste Daisy)  was added. Then the page was set aside to dry.  

Next up: Pulled out my Gel Press to use as a palette. This is a great way to not waste paint & if you want to brayer your background. At the end of your session you can pull a print so the left over paint is used up. 

Here is the brayer painted background, with my main title "Escape From Real Life". I know many of us are feeling this now more then ever, art is such a great escape & good for our mental health. Colors used are London Bus & Truffle. Looking at my Infusions swatch was the next step. This helps to figure out what colors the project options are. 

Once the pastes were good & dry it was time for color. Adding Infusions in Lemoncello & Golden Sands with some water gave my Daisy a dynamic yellow, golden brown look. 

For the brick area powders, In the Navy & Sleigh Blue were used. Lovely & grungy. It is crazy how realistic this brick will look when finished.

I had this idea & wasn't sure if it would work but that is sometimes the best way to discover new techniques. The idea was to have some of the art quotes embedded in the background using clear &/or white embossing. I made a couple of samples to see which I like better. Below is the same technique I used for the left hand side sample. 

Also realized there was more success in seeing the quote if the starting background was light with a darker color on top. This creates more of a contrast making it easier to see the quote. This has a watered down Sleigh Blue underneath, then clear embossing powder & Royal Blue on top.  Once the Infusions are dry, clean off the embossed area well with a baby wipe. If you use a heat gun to dry, the emboss heats up again and you may lose your image. I didn't end up using this & learned this technique works better with a crisp, well defined image like the Art is in my DNA. 


I had to show this luscious piece of mixed media paper that is covered in the various Infusion colors. Just so nummy! 

In the process of that I realized the torn quotes made me happier. Totally different look then I envisioned but really like it. This is the fun part of art, changing your decisions as you go. This quote background is from a piece of the paper in the last photo, above. The quote was stamped in Roasted Coffee ink & embossed with Lime which is a translucent embossing powder.

Do you ever have a product or technique that you can't stop using at the moment? I feel that way about adding Sizzix Luster Wax. It just creates such a rich, dynamic, aspect especially to embossed images. Hit the high points of the stenciled images using the wax & a piece of hard (Phat)  foam. So hard to see how dynamic the metallic shine is in a photo! 

Here is a close up of the bricks. How realistic & random the color is! Keep in mind there is also that silver metallic which make it just so delicious. 

I also wanted to show what the left side of the paper looks like without all those layers. Amazing where this page started from! 

Almost there. To make the cover more sturdy & cover up any ink bleed through, a heavier weight card stock was cut, sewn around & adhered down to the inside cover. 

Time to build the book. Simple to grab random papers, tags, envelopes to make a signature. Keep the pages around 12" long by 8 1/4" tall. I made some smaller just to add interest & of course the tags will do that as well. Fold the pages & insert them into each other. Bam done. 

Last step is to slip the booklet into my already completed Full Size Journal. I love this size & Eileen Hull's diecut makes these books easy to create. You can find the full tutorial to the cover of the Journal here. I am going to change my date to 22, just waiting on the stencil number to arrive. The booklets slide in & out through elastic which makes working in them a breeze.

Here is another more realistic look at the bricks. Hard to see but there is silver in with the white highlights. They turned out so great! Love that Grit Paste. Well that is it for me. I hope you subscribe to my blog, You Tube, Facebook & Instagram. I post different projects on these platforms. Lots more content coming your way, including working in this book. Have a great day & hope you have a chance to get inky! For photos of Topflight Stamp products you can go here.


Monday, December 6, 2021

Playing with Gel Press & Crafty Individuals Stamps

 Hello stamping fans. Here today to start the new Topflight Stamps week with an inky Mixed Media Monday. This week the team is playing with stamps from Crafty Individuals. They have an awesome varied mix of red rubber high quality stamps,  many which are collections of images, like the one I showcase today. *Affiliate- some of these companies have given me product to use, play & experiment with. The ideas are my own but I tend to work with companies whose products I like so enjoy the inspiration.  **some of these links are affiliate, I receive a small percentage from the company at no cost to you. This helps me deliver free content! 

Let's make an art journal page! My focal image is the Counted Toadstools which has a background with cool font words, circles & numbers. There are a lot of lovely layers. December can be hectic so taking time out to art is important.

This page started out with a gel print & layers of paint. The stencil image was done using the whole stencil on the gel press with a white paint. This way you get that sketchy image instead of a crisp clear one. Love that look.

My focal image was stamped using a stamp press with Archival ink. I like to use a press whenever the image is really detailed in order to get a good print. I pulled out my handy dandy ink chart to figure out my colors.

The toadstools were colored using Prism Ink & a water brush. Just smoosh some color on your craft mat & away you go. 

A piece of card stock was spritzed using Glimmer Mist to create the background.

It was stamped with the Toadstool stamp. The cut out images were then adhered just a little to the right of the background to create a bit of a shadow.  

A few more images were auditioned (tried out, not glued down) including the crow. This was stamped in black. The Christmas Postage stamp was was stamped on colored paper & the individual stamp cut out.  I distressed the edges of my images before they were adhered with Roasted Coffee & French Navy Prism Ink.

I then decided to paint the crow with a bit of Glamour Gold Glimmer Mist, to give it that pop of shimmery goodness. Highlights were added with a white paint pen. The page elements were adhered & some shadowing was done with paint pens & distress crayons. 

Including some items from my stash. I am trying to be purposeful about adding that "stuff" that has been collected over the years. Fly was cut from scrapbook paper, now & forever is a chipboard piece from who the heck knows, LOL. 

The wonderful shiny snowflake helped to bring the page into the season of winter. That is it for this Mixed Media Monday, thanks for joining me today. I hope you take some time over the next few weeks to get your inky on!! For photos of the products used & links head over to my Topflight Stamps blog post here. 



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