Thank You Team!

I want to take a moment here to thank all of the talented designers of the Niji Design Team for their beautiful and inspirational posts this past year. It has been an incredible experience seeing the wonderful things being created by this group using Yasutomo products!  All of you have made a lasting impact for our brand and your projects will continue to inspire many.  You will find all of these talented designers projects right here on this blog.

Starting this month we are featuring a guest designer every month so please look out for a new projects and ideas that will inspire you to create!

Yours in Creativity,

Karen Elaine
Yasutomo’s Creative Maven

Create a Great Day!


Gelli Prints made with Splash Ink

Did you know that Splash Inks are compatible with the Gelli Printing Plate?  Splash Ink is acrylic based and does not harm the Gelli Plate printing surface.
With Splash Ink, you can create any color directly onto the Gelli printing surface or it can be mixed with any brand heavy bodied acrylic paint or medium to create colors and tints without losing color saturation or brilliance. Splash Ink is perfect for creating unique printing effects which call for different paint thicknesses.

Gelli Printing with Splash Ink

Gelli Arts Printing plate in any size
Splash Ink Acrylic Mixing Colors
Cheap acrylic paints
Acrylic Retarding Medium
Small rubber brayer
Rubber Combs, stencils and plastic bubble wrap
Non stick craft sheet
Paper or card stock


Read the instructions on your Gelli Arts Printing plate and lay the printing plate on a non-stick craft sheet.

Squeeze some Splash Ink and a little retarding medium directly onto the plate and roll the colors out with a rubber brayer. The colors will be transparent so you can mix directly on the plate. Add opaque or metallic acrylic paints if desired.

Make impressions with a stencil, bubble wrap or rubber combs. Draw on the wet surface of the plate. Be playful!

Lay the right side of the paper down on the plate and gently rub the back of the paper.

Carefully lift the paper and pull your print!

It’s easy and fun and each print will be unique.

Your prints can be used to create beautiful backgrounds and collage elements.


Glass marbles with Gelli print backgrounds

Create a great day!

Last Minute Gift Idea

One of my favorite handmade gifts to make are decorative candles. Here is a super easy last minute gift idea.


Clear glass religious candle. This one is 5″ tall.
1 sheet decorative paper cut 4 3/4″ x 7 1/2″
Yasutomo Nori Paste
Ribbon or paper cord, charm and beads


Brush on an even coat of Nori Paste using a bristle brush or spread with fingers. Nori paste is wonderful for this technique because it is re positionable and doesn’t leave a sticky residue after drying. I used Yuzen paper which has a lot of fiber content and it’s very strong but you can use almost any thin paper. I like papers that are translucent so the light comes through.


Lay the candle on the pasted surface and roll it onto the glass.


Smooth out any bubbles with your fingers and position it evenly on the glass. Let it dry completely.


Add ribbon to the top of the candle and finish with beads and a charm. Viola!


I hope everyone enjoys a Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year!

Karen Elaine

Splash Ink Giveaway!

We are having our first giveaway and it’s super easy to enter!
Just “Like” our FB page
and leave a comment on this giveaway post
for a chance to win a set of Splash Ink!


If you already “like” us you will still be entered to win when you comment on this post. The giveaway opens midnight Sunday/Monday December 1st/2nd. The winner will be chosen with Random Generator and announced on Monday December 9th!

Giveaway Rules:
Participants must be at least 18 years of age and must reside in the United States.
Participant releases and holds harmless Facebook from and against any and all liability, claims, or actions of any kind whatsoever for damages or losses associated with Entry, or otherwise participating or attempting to participate in any aspect of the Giveaway.
This Giveaway promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

Message of Hope

Nine years ago I was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer. I am blessed to be living a productive and healthy life since treatment and I am grateful for every moment I have on this earth. I created this tag card in honor of my cancer warrior friends who have fought the battle and have inspired hope for many of us along the way.

Large shipping tag 3 1/8″ x 6 1/4″ or card stock cut to size.
Watercolor paper 2″ x 2 1/2″
Scrapbook paper  2 3/8″ x 3 1/4″ and 2 7/8″ x 5 1/4″
Flower stamp by Hero Arts CL495
Splash Ink Acrylic Mixing Colors
Black and white bakers twine
Glitter Factory black small and large glass beads
White glue
Inspirational stamps or quotes
Black stamp pad
Pigment pad
Embossing powder, pink
Makeup sponge


Stamp the flower onto the watercolor paper and let dry.
Paint the background first with Splash Ink. Use several drops of Blue and a drop or two of Magenta to make a deep blue. To make a deeper blue, paint one layer and let it dry, then paint another layer. This is called “glazing.”
Paint the flower with Splash Ink. First, dampen the entire flower with a wet brush and drop magenta at the center and watch the color spread outwards.
Mix a drop of Yellow with several drops of Magenta to make a soft pink and paint areas of the petals for contrast. Make sure you leave some areas white.
Paint the inside of the flower with a mixture of Black, Magenta and Yellow. Paint several layers to make the color even deeper.
Once the flower is dry, add the beads by applying white glue in the center of the flower and sprinkle the black beads. Fill in areas with dark glitter. I stamped the word “hope” with a pigment pad and sprinkled pink embossing powder then cured it with a heat gun.
Fold the larger piece of scrapbook paper and stamp or write a sentiment on the inside. Use a dry makeup sponge and dip it into a little Magenta Splash Ink and dab off most of the color then apply it to the outer edges of the white paper. You may want to practice this first on some scrap paper. It should look very soft and subtle like it was applied with an airbrush.
Color the bakers twine pink by brushing on a mixture of Magenta and Yellow Splash Ink. Set aside and let it dry or use a blow dryer to speed drying time.

Assemble the tag book and attach the string to the reinforced hole, then tie with a loose knot.

Hope is believing in a brighter tomorrow.

Karen Elaine

Art Life Card

artlifesplash1_webI am thrilled to post the first project on the Niji Creative Collective as the Design Team Leader! In the next couple of weeks  you will meet our talented team of designers and they will post projects and ideas using Splash Ink as well as other Yasutomo products. We hope that this blog will inspire you to create!

Art Life Card by Karen Elaine Thomas

This card has several elements created with Splash Ink Acrylic Mixing Colors.
In this project I used background papers that have been marbled and Gelli printed using Splash and I painted a beautiful flower using a watercolor technique on a specially prepared tag. This card can be made for any occasion depending on the colors you choose and with Splash Ink the color choices are endless!


  • Splash Ink Acrylic Mixing Colors
  • Strathmore mixed media blank greeting card
  • Manila tag
  • Golden Acrylic Glazing Medium
  • Daniel Smith Watercolor Ground
  • White card stock
  • assorted rubber combs and tools
  • Rubber stamp letters
  • Rubber stamp flowers
  • small eyelets

artlifestep1_web Prepare the Tag

Stamp an image that has plenty of lines to color with black ink onto a manila tag. The stamp I used was manufactured by Hero Arts. This tag is 2.5″ x 5″ with a reinforced hole which is perfectly sized for the finished card.

artlifestep2_webApply the watercolor ground evenly across the tag using a flat bristle brush over the stamped image. This will prime the tag to accept watercolor and acrylics and it minimizes the lines so your painting will stand out. You can prime any paper surface with this watercolor ground to make Splash Ink colors more brilliant.


Paint the Tag

Paint the tag using Splash Ink starting with the lighter colors going to to dark. I started by painting a light wash of yellow on the flowers and while it was still wet, I dropped some magenta at the center of the flower. Notice the colors interact with each other as they blend together! Mix some various shades of yellow and orange and paint them on the petals.

Remember, that water is a very important ingredient to the success of watercolor painting with Splash. Use water generously…

Mix a blend of black and magenta to fill in the center of the flowers using a dry brush. Let dry.

Paint the background using blue and a little magenta with a wet brush.

Add a ribbon to the top of the tag.

artlifestep5_webCreate Background Papers with Splash Ink

In this background, I marbled the paper first, then stamped the words Art/Life on the card. You can see our paper marbling tutorial here.

You can create great backgrounds with  Splash Ink and the Gelli Plate! When printing with the Gelli plate, I always add a little acrylic glazing liquid or retarder to the Splash Inks. The glazing liquid slows the drying time of the inks so you can create textures and patterns with stencils and other objects. Please visit for gelli printing information.

In the pink and black example in the photo, I mixed Splash Magenta with interference red and zinc white acrylic paint with a little Nori paste to thicken. I painted it onto black paper and created the pattern with a rubber comb.

Cut the Background Elements and Finish the Edges

Cut the large background to 4.5″ x 6.5″ and the smaller background to 1.25″ x 4″

Finish the edges by running a stamp pad along the sides in any coordinating color.

artlifeprojectstep6_web Punch holes large enough for small eyelets and make sure there is enough room for the tag to fit snugly.

artlifestep7_webInsert eyelets  through both background layers, then mount to the greeting card.

artlifestep8_webInsert the tag into the small background paper and you are completely finished!

For information on how to purchase Yasutomo products please visit

Karen Elaine Thomas is an employee of Yasutomo and Company

Announcing the Design Team

Hello everyone, thank you for being so patient and waiting for the selection process to be completed.

We would like to thank the artists and designers who took the time to submit an application for our first Design Team Call. It was real exciting as well as a challenging process selecting our very first team. The designers we selected possess an array of talent and skills and we are confident that you will be inspired by each and every member of the team! Here are the names of the Yasutomo Niji design team for 2013:

Lea Cioci

Jenny Cochran Lee

Tuko Fujisaki

Diana Gonzalez

Daniella Hayes

Marie Z. Johansen

Quinn Mc Donald

Tessa McSorley

Swarup Murthy

Rebecca Price

Terri Sproul

Starting next month our designers will be contributing projects here using Yasutomo products so be sure to check back often for creative ideas and projects!

Design Team Selected

First of all, we want to thank all of the talented people who applied for the Niji Design team. It was a long process deciding who to choose and it was difficult narrowing the selection down to under twelve people. If you weren’t selected this time, please consider applying for a term in the future.

In the next few days we will be announcing the names of the immensely diverse and talented designers who will be part of our creative team for the remainder of the year, so stay tuned!

Deadline for Design Team Applications is today!

Applications have been rolling in and it’s almost time to select the first Niji Design Team! I will be going through each and every qualified application over the next 24 hours and will choose only 10 from the pool of talented applicants. This is going to be very hard to choose and if I had my way, I would have everyone who applied on the team!

Stay tuned!



Design Team Call

dtstuffYasutomo is seeking creative people to showcase Splash Ink and other Niji brand products. We’re looking for talented artists and designers who have the ability to inspire others to create. For those that seek opportunities to have their work prominently featured and to have access to a variety of innovative products and creative ideas, the Niji Design Team is a great fit!

*The Niji Design Team is a six month commitment.
* Create a minimum of two projects per month featuring Yasutomo products and post them on your personal blog or website.
* Work with the Design Team Leader for project submission guidelines and project ideas.
Publish projects on the Yasutomo blog and link to your Facebook page as well as other social media sites. (Yasutomo will publish selected projects on the home page with designer credits)
Participation on Facebook and other social media sites is a must.

The Niji Design Team will receive:
* Yasutomo products in one large shipment, including a schedule of ideas and themes for each month.
Your bio will be featured on the Yasutomo website, blog and Facebook page.
Opportunities to submit articles for payment when using Yasutomo products in approved publications.

What’s expected of a Niji Design Team Member?
* The ability to create compelling projects and instructions that showcase Yasutomo products.
* Experience in taking good photos or scans of projects.
* Active interaction with social media sites such as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and others.

What are the responsibilities of a Niji Design Team Member?
* The Niji Design Team is a 6 month commitment, from September 15, 2013 to February 15th 2014.
Create a minimum of 2 projects featuring one or more Yasutomo products per month.
Post projects on the Yasutomo Design Team blog as well as your own.
* Participate on Yasutomo Fine Arts and Crafts Facebook page and Niji Design Team Blog.
Promote the Yasutomo brand by posting or linking projects created during your six-month term to online galleries, blogs and social media sites. Include working links to products used on the Yasutomo websit

What are the rewards of a Niji Design Team member?
* Recognition for your creative contribution to the Yasutomo Website, blog and Facebook page.
Promotion of your work and projects to Yasutomo Fine Arts and Crafts Facebook page, blog and website.
Opportunities to submit articles for payment when using Yasutomo products in approved publications.
Ability to purchase Yasutomo products at a 50% discount during the term of the Design Team contract.
* Free product!
Example of products included in shipment: Niji Splash Ink, Niji Watercolors, Niji Pearlescent watercolors, Chinese watercolors and inks, origami paper, fine art papers, Niji Waterbrushes, Niji oil pastels & new product releases.

Apply to become a member of the Niji Design Team today! Here’s how:

1. Email your bio, blog address and social media information by August 1st, 2013 to with “Niji DT Application” in the subject line.  Design Team Applicants must reside in the U.S.
2. Provide links to recent projects on your blog or site. Work submitted must be recent.

What to include with your emailed submission:

1. Your bio.
2. Please describe your design experience and the medium you primarily work in such as rubber stamping, mixed media, fabric, fine art, altered art, vintage, scrap booking etc.
3. Include the links to your active blog or website and list other social media sites you are active on.
4. Give an example of a project or technique you would like to share with
others. If it is one you have done previously please link to it.
Please provide any information so we can get to know you better!

Design Team members will be announced on August 9th, 2013.
Good Luck!

If you have any questions, please fill out the form below and we will get back to you.