Archive for the ‘Art Journal’ Category

Welcome Back 

The theme for The Virtual Crafting Challenge this month, is ‘D’. For those of you looking to get started in Distressing techniques with paper, this series is all about my favorite tools for creating Distressed looks. In today’s post; 

Acrylic Dabbers

Acrylic Dabbers are made by a company called Ranger, the colour pallet matches their Adirondack set of colours. I love these Dabbers, they are little bottles of Acrylic paint in a bottle with a special dabber in the top. The top looks a lot like the fluffy side of velcro and it has a valve inside, to regulate how much paint comes through. 

Acrylic Dabbers

Ranger Acylic Dabbers.


The dabbers can be a little tempremental at times. If you have left the paint to dry on the dabber top, you will need to dampen the sponge top, to get the paint flowing again. I tend to spray a little water onto a craft sheet and then swish the dabber top in that. After a bit of a press, the paint flows again. Personally, I quite like the hit n miss effect, that comes when there is some dried on paint in the dabber’s top. 

These paints work great on card and paper and also on metal and plastic too. Try them on Grungebord/paper as well. I love the versatility that these paints give. You can paint without getting extra equipment out, they also give a wonderful texture to projects as well. 

Here is a project that was coloured with Acrylic Dabbers. 

Distressed Box

Although this looks like an ancient metal box, it is in fact made from cardboard.




Ranger Manufacturers of Acrylic Dabbers 

Acrylic Dabbers Link to a color chart of Dabbers from Ranger. 

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon 

Billie 🙂


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Welcome Back   

Earlier this week, I introduced you to the humble sanding block. In today’s post I will share a few tips for how to get the best results from using one, when you want to distress card and paper.   

Sanding Block

Techniques with a Sanding Block

Choosing the Right Cardstock

Sanding blocks, are best used with cardstock which has a white core. That way, when you scratch into the coloured surface of the card, a different colour will show through.

Examples of white core card are;

  • Cor Dinations  
  • DCWV (Die Cuts With A View) Match Maker card, which also has a white core.  I have had great success using this, and this is what was used in these samples.

To determine if you card has a white core, look at the very edge of the card. Even card in a stack, will show white on its cut edges. If you tear coloured card and see white in the middle, that is, the white core. It simply means, that the card only has colour on the top surface, rather than all the way through it.  

Distressing card 

  • Take a sheet of textured cardstock, that has a white core. 
  • Holding the sanding block flat and level with the card, sand over the surface.

This will remove some of the colour from the surface of the card. Especially effective, if the cardstock has a linen or textured finish, as that will give highs and lows, where the sanding block hits the high points and missed lower areas of the pattern.   

Flat cardstock, distressed using a Sanding Block. Before & After.


  • Another way to sand, is to run your card through a die cutting machine with a textured folder.
  • Then, sand over the raised area of the resulting embossed (or raised) pattern.
  • Tap off any access dust, resulting from the sanding to reveal the white card.
  • You could ink or paint with dabbers in another colour, over the newly exposed white card.

Get clever with it, by selecting a single direction and sanding only in that direction. This gives the appearance of a light source. An alternative to highlighting with a white pen 😉   

Embossed cardstock which has been sanded

Embossed cardstock, which has been distressed using a Sanding Block. The sanding reveals the white core of the card.


You can also simply use the sanding block to expose a white edge to coloured card. To do this;

  • Hold the sanding block at an angle to the card stock.
  • Swipe the sanding block along the edge of the card, as if you were filling your nails.

This gives a more controled effect. It gives more depth and dimension to a project. Useful if you want to give the appearance of matting and layering, without adding bulk to a project.   

Sanding the edge of cardstock

Sand the edge of cardstock, to create the look of a faux mat. It frames your image and also adds dimension to your projects.

In the example below, I have used all of the above techniques combined in a card.  This card was created from a single sheet of 12 x 12″ scrapbook card. Sometimes less is more, you don’t have to have piles and piles of stash to create intricate designs. Just a few bits n bobs from the cupboard, and a little ingenuity.   

Sanded project. Embossed card with sanded base and main image.

A finished card, featuring the techniques described in the tutorial.

Have a play, it’s a lot of fun and it’s the best way to discover what your tools can do. Don’t always strive for a finished project, just play and see what turns up 🙂   


DCWV Die Cuts With A View, manufacturers of Match Makers cardstock and many others.  

Coredinations; Manufacturers of cardstock with white core, and also different core colours to the surface. Excellent for use with sanding blocks 🙂  

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon   

Billie 🙂

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Welcome Back 

This month the Virtual Crafting Challenge is ‘D’. For anyone looking to give Paper Distressing a go, I thought now would be a good time to introduce you to a few of my Favorite Tools for Distressing Paper. 

First up, is 

Tim Holtz Paper Distresser

This is a great little gadget for distressing the edge of paper and card. The effect you get is similar to a deckle edge, apply ink or embossing powder for an even more dimensional finish. A quick cheat for matting and layering, is to cut a shape using Spellbinders Nestabilities, and then go around the edge with this tool. The Paper Distresser retails at around £5, its worth it as its much easier to use than the edge of a pair of scissors, especially if you have bad dexterity, like me. 

More tools will be coming during the month, watch this space to see my favorites and the effects you can get with them. 

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon 

Billie 🙂

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Welcome Back

The Virtual Crafting Challenge theme for April 2010 is:


Great I hear you say, but now what? Well for those of you who would like a few ideas to get you started, here are some  colours, products and techniques to help you choose, where you could go with this month’s theme. Feel free to use your own ideas for the letter D.


  • Denim
  • Dune ie sandy tones


  • Die Cuts
  • Dye Ink
  • Distressing Ink


  • Distressing Surfaces
  • De-coupage
  • De-bossing
  • Dos a Dos (bookbinding)
  • Decorate – ie alter an already existing item.


The most important thing about this challenge is that you have fun and explore. Don’t feel pressured to have a finished item at the end of the month. Explore different styles and techniques either in person, if you have the supplies, or through research, looking online.

You learn so much more when you take away the rules and just PLAY. Adapt this challenge to a creative style that interests you. Enjoy 🙂

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie 🙂

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Welcome Back

In today’s post, a video tutorial featuring; Tiger Paper. Tiger paper is my name for the background papers I produce using particular distressed inking techniques.

You Will Need

  • Ranger Color Wash inks, in three colours. I use Stream, Denim and Eggplant in the video
  • A larger spray bottle of water
  • Gloves, this is a messy technique 😉
  • A plastic box to spray into
  • Blank newsprint or copier paper
  • Cardstock
  • Mini Mister bottles (optional)
  • Sponge
  • Plastic mat or similar to protect surrounding areas

***It is important that you protect the area, around your spray box. These inks do tend to spread and any unprotected surface may be inked if you do not protect it 😉 ***


Use a variety of different card stocks, each kind will give a different effect. Suggestions for cardstock to try:

  • Water Color Paper with a texture
  • Mat Board
  • Coated card (laser printer paper could work)
  • Glossy Card. Works very well.


To find stockists of the products used in the film, here are links to their manufacturers.

The finished projects featuring Tiger Paper, used stamps from;

More details on the Finished Projects, featured in the film

  • ATC
  • Clip Board

Tiger Paper is great fun to make. I hope you give it a try, do show me the results if you do. If it isn’t working for you, try different cardstock. This is one of those techniques where results vary, depending on the card you use.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie 🙂

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Welcome Back 

In today’s post I will be reviewing 

Mini Misters by Ranger

Mini Misters

Item; Mini Misters 

Manufacturer: Ranger 

Item Number: 

Price: Set of 3, around £5. Individual bottles around £1.75 

My Reason for Buying them

My reason for buying these misters, was to create my own backgrounds by spraying inks and also to create my own mica sprays, by adding in Perfect Pearls Mica powders. 

Value For Money

Excellent. I have bought alternative spray bottles but they are overly large and do not have as fine or reliable spray as these misters. Alternatives were around £3 each for less efficient sprays. 


  • Easy storage, you can get loads of them into a small box.
  • A good price
  • Easily available
  • Reliable


  • The small base is a bit of a disadvantage, in that they do fall over if you stand them on their ends. Easily solved by putting the bottles in a small jam jar next to you as you work 😉
  • I did find that putting mica powders into them, did sometimes make them fail. The dried powder gummed up the mechanism. To resolve this, empty them before storage and run clear water through the mechanism till it runs clear.

Would I buy them Again?

Yes, and I have done, just recently bought 30 more 🙂 

Recommended For

  • Fine Misting
  • Add inks used for re-inking dye pads, water down to create your own colour sprays
  • For spritzing water over inked backgrounds for textured effects.
  • Great for travel to classes/crops etc


Mini Misters are available from all good stamping stores. To locate a store near you, visit the manufacturers site. 


Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon. 

Billie 🙂

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Welcome Back 

Today, I would like to share a picture of the piece I made for this month’s, Virtual Crafting Challenge. For March 2010 the theme is ‘C’. I’ve maxed out on the C’s used in this project! 

  • Crafty Individuals Stamps
  • Cuttlebug die cut letters
  • Chip board (well matt board)
  • The final piece is a Clip Board

So I recon this one counts 🙂 

Clip board, featuring Crafty Individual Stamps.


Stamps Used: Crafty Individuals; CI-116, CI-017, CI-173 

Cuttlebug Alphabet; Olivia 

Inks; Colour Wash Spray, in Denim. Distress Reinker, in mini mister; Pine Needles. Adirondack, dye based ink; Denim & Bottle 

Paints Used; Acrylic Dabbers, Silver, Bottle & Denim 

Alcohol inks; Bottle & Denim 

This was my first crafty session in a while and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It just goes to show, it really does pay to buy the same colour pallet across a selection of ink/paint mediums. It gives you complete freedom to create, what ever the surface. You know that the colours will match and tone together 🙂 I love Ranger products 🙂 

The background was created using Colour Wash inks, this is my own technique that I call Tiger paper. 

Tiger Paper, my own technique.


I have got hold of some mini misters, to decant my colour wash ink into a smaller mister. The original spray bottles the Colour Wash comes in, are fantastic BUT they are keen and do require large areas to be covered with plastic to prevent them being covered in ink. Not a starter for filming!  I plan to film a tutorial with the technique, so fingers crossed the mini misters will be safe with my camera. 

Close up of stamping on the clip board


This is a close up of the stamping before the dimensional distressed letters were added. Distressed letters may be coming up as a tutorial soon too 😉 Watch this space 🙂 

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon 

Billie 🙂

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