Tuesday, June 12, 2012

lawn fawn | gift bag with may arts ribbon

The Lawn Fawn team paired up with May Arts last week to create projects showcasing a fabulous combination of stamps and ribbon. I thought I was going to be alone in my choice of making an altered gift bag (yes, me, making another off-the-page project!!), but when the projects were all revealed, there so many gorgeous gift-wrap projects! I guess we all had the same idea, and the May Arts ribbon was really a perfect accent on all those pretty packages.

My project started life as a shopping bag from Anthropologie (I may...ahem...have just a few of these sitting in my craft room closet...), and after I had a little watercolor fun with Lawn Fawn's Lunar Lights stamp set and a lot of pretty ribbon (and a little bit of May Arts' baker's twine), I ended up with this gift bag!

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When I first dreamed up this project, I had planned on decorating in a large strip across the top of the bag, but when I pulled this one out of my closet the writing that needed to be hidden was across the bottom instead, so I just went with it.

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The ruffled ribbon was super easy to make with just ATG tape and Glue Dots, though in hindsight I'd probably stitch it down instead (it's a really heavy ribbon and the Glue Dots are struggling to hold the pleats down).

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To pleat ribbon, start with a strip of paper narrower than the ribbon's width and run adhesive all over one side. Then line one end of the ribbon up with one end of the paper and start making folds. I built my pleats with the paper strip laying right on top of a ruler so I could make them at least somewhat even.

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A mini Glue Dot under each pleat held it down well at first, but as I said earlier you might want to just stitch through the whole strip instead.

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When it came time to watercolor the stamped Lunar Lights images, I turned to dye inks as my color medium...but perhaps not in the way you'd expect. You see, I have this love/hate relationship with dye inks. I love the colors that they come in, and some of my favorite ink lines (Jenni Bowlin's and Nick Bantock's come to mind) are only available in dye ink form. But dye inks are water based and tend to bead up on stamps with large surfaces, meaning that if your stamp's image has a large colored area, the impression can come out looking a little mottled. Or a lot mottled. And for a perfectionist like me who wants crisp, clean stamped images, that's just a no-go (and also the reason I love and adore pigment inks).

To keep my lovely dye inks from sitting unused in my ink drawer, I'm trying to find new ways to use them, and my current favorite is watercoloring. Since dye inks are water based, they're perfect for this application! And it's so easy, too. Just pat the ink pad down onto a slick surface like the Ranger Craft Sheet or even right on an acrylic stamping block- just make sure it's something that's easily cleanable, doesn't absorb ink, and that you don't mind getting stained.

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The ink won't look like much on the sheet (or block), even if you give the pad a good mash, but that's all good because you really don't need much ink for this technique to work! Just load up a paintbrush with a little bit of water and swirl it around in that pitifully unsaturated-looking bit of ink, and you'll find that there's more than enough color to go around!

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And then just have some fun coloring in your images! You might want to make sure you use a waterproof ink to stamp the outline of the image. I used Tsukineko's Memento ink in Tuxedo Black here, but I found that the ink smudged ever so slightly when I watercolored over it (again, perfectionist!). I've ordered a pad of Ranger's Archival Ink in black to try out next since it's supposed to be waterproof.

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I know the lanterns and doily look like they're placed a bit wonky in the top photo- no idea why that is, because the bag looks just fine in person! Isn't it odd how some things show up in photos that you never notice when you're just looking at the object itself?


Supplies (click on images for product links):