Collage a Postcard

Postcards are so versatile–they make great ways of letting people know you are thinking of them, can be hand-delivered or left on a desk, used as a bookmark, or as a confidence boost. And when you make them yourself, the theme has no limits. I travel a lot, and like to thank people who were kind or interesting. Sometimes I ask for their business card and send them a postcard. In fact, I carry stamped postcards with me, so I can be impulsive.

POstcard7In this case, a friend was debating taking a long trip to someplace she’d never been. She was understandably nervous, because the trip was a trial to see if she wanted to start a new job in a foreign country. Reminding her that she would find herself all over again through the experience, I made this card for her using both Yasutomo products and Altered Pages digital collage backgrounds.

Here’s what you’ll need to make this card:

Post1Digital downloads are new to me, so I experimented re-sizing and printing  the map page, finally settling on printing it as a full page on a cut down manila folder. (I cut it to a standard American piece of office paper–8.5 inches x 11 inches) and printed it landscape.

Post3Next, to get it to postcard size, trim two adjacent images. I used the bottom two. Check the allowable postcard sizes in your country. Here, postcards can be oversized; they will then need a letter stamp. My printer is an inkjet, and those colors often run when wet. To keep the colors stable, I put the cut maps between two sheets of parchment paper and ironed them on a cotton setting. I then let the printed page dry completely for a few days. The colors didn’t run at all.

90287bTo make the background less distinct, I covered it with paint. You can also do it digitally, but I prefer using art materials. I mixed white, yellow, green and a bit of black together till I had the neutral I wanted. Use very little of the colors and a lot of white. To make sure the background shows through, use enough water to thin the paint. I also wiped some of it off with paper towels.

Post2To create the card, I used Altered Pages sepia Alphabet Squares (shown on the left) printed on heavy white paper. You can use any color paper or cardstock, but I wanted a crisp result. I then carefully trimmed the letters to use in the message: Find your heart.

Using a few pieces from my own stash, I added transparencies of postage stamps, a small image of a postcard and the letters. Using a hot iron and parchment paper (to protect the iron), I distorted some of the stamp images, which were printed on plastic.

Using Nori paste (which is archival and reversible), I glued the cut out letters to the postcard. When the postcard was dry, I mixed water with the sumi-e gold paint and, using a #6 watercolor brush, painted a line around the letters a, r and t in the word heart.

POstcard7My friend is an artist, and I was letting her know that trying out a new country for her job would also inspire her art. The sumi-e gold color is vibrant and metallic and always adds an elegant touch. I added a message and an address on the back and off it went through the mail to its new owner!

This is my last post as a Niji design team member, although I’ll be coming back from time to time with a special project! I’ve had a lot of fun playing with Yasutomo art supplies, and am delighted that my order from a few weeks back arrived!

–Quinn McDonald is a Niji design team member, a collage artist, and the author of The Inner Hero Creative Art Journal, published by North Light Books.

Valentine’s Day Card

HeartNo matter your age or who your sweetie is, Valentine’s Day is a day to send beautiful, hand-made, cards with a sweet, sentimental message.

Niji and AlteredPages got together and allowed us to download five of Altered Pages fabulous digital collage backgrounds. It was fun choosing from the many different styles they have. I chose ones that worked with Valentine’s Day–“Love Words,” and “Script.”

Today, I chose to make an old-fashioned woven heart–invented by story-teller and poet Hans Christian Andersen in 1860, updated with trendy materials from these two arty companies!

The heart is cut from two different, folded pieces of paper, and then woven together. Because the paper is folded, it also opens into a secret pocket, useful for tucking a loving message into. These are easy enough to help your children make for school projects, too. And even if they are more than a century and a half old, the design is still fresh and lovely.

Here are the materials you’ll need:

Start by painting  a piece of mixed-media paper (about 6 inches x 10 inches)  with a mix of Yasutomo reds in the watercolor paints.

Heart1When it is dry, paint the other side a slightly different red color. I added sumi-e gold for a different look. On the front, use a brush to add gold.

heart2On the other side, sponge some gold for a rich, textural look.

ScriptThe other piece of paper should be a completely different look. I used the Altered Pages “Script” sheet, shown reduced on the left.

Fold each piece of paper in half, creating a piece 5 inches wide and 6 inches long. On the side opposite the fold, cut a rounded top. Repeat with the other piece of paper. You can cut the rounded top, which will be the tops of the heart, with a decorative scissors for a designed edge. I decided to keep mine simple.

Place the paper so the rounded (open) edge is on top and the folded (straight cut) side is on the bottom.

heart3Cut from bottom to top to divide each piece into four pieces. You will need three cuts to do this: The first one will divide the piece in two, the second will divide one half in two, cut three will divide the other half in two. Do not cut further than the point where the curve starts.

HeartPlace the two pieces so you can “weave” the strips together. Weaving is done by gently opening the strips, and pushing the opposing strip through it. Here’s a video that shows the steps and may be useful.

When the heart is complete, you will discover you can open it like a pocket. It’s perfect for a secret message. I cut out the words “I love you” from the Altered Pages “Love Words” and wrote a private message on the back before tucking it into the heart.

Have a wonderful Valentine!

-Quinn McDonald is a member of the Niji Design Team and the author of The Inner Hero Creative Art Journal published by North Light books.

Gold Paint Magic

Quinn here from QuinnCreative and today I’m going to show you several uses of one of my favorite Niji products– 1544950_581670025241554_1539589980_ntheir dish of pale gold sumi-e watercolor paint. Rich with gold and possibility, I’ve found several ways to make the most of it. I can’t help it, I love the 2-3/4-inch ceramic dish it comes in. And my new favorite way to apply it is with a brayer–the roller you use to apply ink to printing plates. For today, we are using the soft rubber insert–the pale one.

Here’s what you’ll need for all the projects today:

  • Gold sumi-e water color paint
  • A dish of water
  • A stiff brush, like a fat glue brush
  • Several different kinds of paper, including discarded acrylic paintings or colored card stock
  • Black paper of a good quality. Strathmore ArtAgain or Arches cover
  • A brayer, about 2-3/4 inches wide, with a pale, soft-rubber insert
  • Shipping tags

Gold1First, we’ll make a card using black paper and gold paint. Use a sturdy black paper like Strathmore ArtAgain or Arches cover. Using a fat, fairly stiff brush (I use a glue brush), mix some water into the dish. Load the brush and then paint a stripe across the paper.

Gold3Immediately, roll the brayer up over the stripe of paint. Some of the paint will push in front of the brayer, some will stick. Lift the brayer, put it over the top edge of the ink and drag it down.

GoldXUse a firm pressure and a quick movement. Pick up some more paint, and shake the brush so it drips onto the paper. Move the brush left to right and back again to develop a cross-grain with the color.

Gold7Create a landscape look. Using a piece of paper from a discarded acrylic work you did (or a piece of colored cardstock), run the brayer over the acrylic. Cut a circle out of the acrylic paper and create a science-fiction-theme card by gluing the circle so part of it extends beyond the edge. Trim.

Gold6If fantasy cards aren’t your thing, you can use the gold sumi-e paint to color shipping tags, too. I had already painted several of them with acrylics and dried them. I splashed some gold ink on them and rolled the brayer across to add bold patterns.

Last week, I went to the Craft and Hobby Association convention in Anaheim, California. Yasutomo had a booth, and I went to demo Splash Inks. Karen Elaine, the woman who developed Splash Inks showed me a new kind of paper Yasutomo was introducing. It’s made of  . . . minerals. Called Mineral White in the origami paper and All Media paper for artists, it is amazing to work with. Yes, it is made from very fine calcium carbonate in a soft binder. It feels like paper, but it has a huge benefit for watercolor artists–the paper doesn’t curl when wet. It stays flat no matter what you do with it. No buckling at all.

Gold4Here is a sheet of Mineral White with gold sumi-e watercolor brayered across it. It looks like a landscape of mountains. It’s great for art journaling or origami. You can also use it for origami or collage.

Gold5This is the Mineral White with a blue and green Splash Ink wash and a spritz of water to create the look of rain. The paper takes longer than watercolor to dry, and can be manipulated more than watercolor paper, too.

Gold9Then I brayered gold watercolor across it for another whole dimension of color and glitz.

Just because it’s watercolor doesn’t mean you have to use a brush to paint it on! Have fun with this new technique.

(I’m giving away a dish of the ceramic watercolor on my blog today.)

Quinn McDonald is the author of the newly-released Inner Hero Creative Art Journal. She is an art journaler, writer, and certified creativity coach.

Splash Inks on Yupo

Welcome to the Niji blog. It’s Quinn McDonald from QuinnCreative, and I’m an experimenter. I’ve always learned more from “I wonder what will happen if. . . .” than from, “let’s do the same thing again and again.” Yupo is a fascinating surface to work on. It’s polypropolene, a plastic that is smooth and non-porous, so working on it creates interesting patterns. Unlike paper, it doesn’t absorb water, so the water you put on the surface has to be absorbed into the air before the piece is dry. Yupo is fun to work with, and Splash Inks are the perfect medium because they blend on the paper as well as on the palette.

Let’s make a abstract tree. In fact, let’s make a whole series of trees. Niji1You’ll need a container of water, two straws (one coffee-stirrer size, one regular straw),  a set of Splash Inks, a palette to mix the inks, a fat paintbrush and a fine paint brush, a dropper and a few sheets of Yupo substrate, which I’ll call “paper” from now on. Cut the sheet of paper  into four pieces, each about 5 x 7 inches. Not shown in this image are the Niji fine writers in size 05. These dry very fast and are waterproof.

Niji3Mix the Splash Inks into a sky blue by adding one drop of magenta to three of blue. Mix green by adding equal amounts of blue and yellow. Mix orange by adding half as much magenta as yellow. In the center of your palette, add black.

Niji2Start by wetting the top 2/3rds of the paper. You can see that the sheet is wet by the reflection. If you look closely, you’ll see that the bottom third of the page is still dry.

niji4Using a fat brush with stiff bristles, like a glue brush, dip it into the blue and then pounce it on the top part of the sheet. Do not add more water.

niji5Blot the blue with a paper towel to pick up some of the ink and to add texture.

Niji6Using the same fat brush, rinse it well, then apply the orange to the bottom of the sheet. There will be some blending. That’s fine. Blot some of the orange with a paper towel. Allow to dry completely. I used a hair dryer to help, but this can take hours. It took so long, that the piece below is a previous background I created and allowed to dry.

niji7Use the dropper or pipette to put two drops of black, one above the other, about two inches from the bottom of the paper. This will become the tree trunk.

niji8Using a straw aimed at the bottom of the drop blow air through the straw in short bursts, pushing the ink up the page.To create small branches, use the smaller-bore straw. Turn the page and blow in a cross-direction to the ink line for fine branches.

niji9You might have to add a bit more ink as you go along. You can also use the small brush to add just a bit of water where you want to create fine-line branches. Allow the water to mix with the ink, or mix it with the brush. Do not make a puddle or the tree will look lumpy. Work the roots of the tree the same way as you did the trunk, but use the large straw. There are fewer fine lines here.

tree3Create the orange leaves of the tree with the fat brush and orange Splash Inks. It may take several layers of drying and adding leaves to get a rich effect. Take your time. This is not a fast job.

To complete the abstract tree, use the fine-liner to outline the trunk and roots to unify the look.

tree2When your autumn tree is done, finish the series by doing one for each season. This one is an early Spring tree, with sunlight shining through the new leaves.

tree1And here is a tree in full summer, when the leaves are an almost blue green. You can pick up some of the paint with a wet cotton swap if you want to expose the white Yupo, or blur some of the effects. Experiment!

Quinn McDonald, one of the Niji Design Team, is a creativity coach and writer, whose new book, The Inner Hero Art Creative Journal is now available from amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, North Light Books, and your local bookstore.

Upcycled Treasure Box, Using Acrylic Skins

Upcycling is taking something you might throw out and turning into something wonderful, practical, or just plain pretty. I’m a container freak–I love containers for storage, for decorating, and most of all, for gift-giving. A pretty container that holds a surprise is always welcome.

box1Today we are going to take a small cardboard box and dress it up using poured acrylics. Instead of acrylic paints, we are going to use Splash Inks from Yasutomo. Here’s the finished project, so you know where we are going.

I’ve already painted the box a creamy off-white and black, because it’s a sophisticated color combination. I’m planning on filling this drawer-shaped, upcycled, 3-inch x 3-inch box and filling it with mini journal pages. The pages are done with ink-techniques, but today we are working on the acrylic skins covering the box.

Niji1You’ll need the full set of Splash Inks–all four bottles–you can see mine get a lot of use. Also, gather:

  • teflon craft sheet
  • dropper
  • dish palette for mixing Splash Ink colors
  • stirrer (you can use the back of a paint brush, but this one came in my cappuccino from Starbucks
  • Clear Tar Gel–it’s not clear till it dries.

You’ll also need a container of water for rinsing the dropper and stirrer, and some Niji gold sumi-e watercolor.

Mix your favorite colors using the color-mix instructions on the card that comes with the inks, or free-mix your own favorites. I mixed a variety–teal, orange, midnight blue, red, and yellow-orange. In a separate compartment, add a concentrated mix of the sumi-e gold watercolor.

drip1

Pour three or four puddles of tar gel directly onto the teflon craft sheet. About two tablespoons of tar gel makes a good size finished piece. I’ve tried glue and acrylic gloss medium for this project, but I find that clear-drying tar gel gives the best results.

drip2Using the dropper, put three or four drops of different colors in each puddle of tar gel. Rinse the dropper well between each color to prevent further blending. It’s fine to overlap some of the colors. The tar gel will slowly spread out until the puddle is the same depth throughout. That’s what “self-leveling” means.

drip4Using the stirrer, blend the colors by dragging the stirrer through the tar medium and colors. I start at one edge and draw the stirrer through to the other side, then circle and cross through the colors like you would if you were incorporating beaten egg whites into a batter–always cutting through the middle.

You don’t want to mix the colors so thoroughly that they blend, but you do want to get swirls of color.

drip3Don’t be afraid to add a drop into the swirls and let it settle and develop on its own.

drip5

The gold adds a dramatic effect, but add it last. Because it contains a lot of pigment, it likes to settle to the bottom.

Now comes the hardest part of this project. You have to wait for the puddles to dry completely. It will take at least 24 hours. You can use a hair dryer, but be careful. You don’t want to push the shape around. Do not put this project in the stove or microwave to dry it. Patience produces the best results. If you live in a damp climate, it may take three days to dry.  Here in Phoenix, it takes 24 hours.

You’ll know the pieces are dry when:

  1. The pieces are no longer white, but clear where there is no paint
  2. Touching the top, center feels dry and firm, not sticky, and
  3. You can run your fingernail around the edge and then peel it back without any sticking

Niji5The pieces will want to stick to each other, so separate them with parchment if you are storing them in a box.

Find a piece that is attractive and matches what you plan to place into the box. paint the back with clear-drying glue. Do not use tar gel as glue.

box1It’s nice to have one edge wrap over the edge of the box. Place carefully. Don’t slide the gel skin because the glue will leave a mark on the box. Because the tar gel dries perfectly clear, the skin allows the color of the painted box to show through.

box2Here, I used a large one on the front of the box, and a smaller one on the back of the box. The upcycled box is now a handsome gift box, ready to hold the small journal sheets or other surprise!

–Quinn McDonald is a Niji Design Team member, a collage artist, blogger,and the author of Inner Hero Creative Art Journal, released this week from North Light books.

Origami Paper Collage

This is Quinn from QuinnCreative encouraging you to try collage with origami paper. I also used Splash Inks, Yasutomo’s gel pens, and a touch of the gold sumi-e watercolor paint.

fleur1Yasutomo’s Fold ‘Ems origami paper is double sided. One side is a print, the other a pattern. This was the star pattern, which worked well to give parts of the collage texture.

Start by choosing a sturdy watercolor paper–300gsm is good. I used cold press because it works well for the background. Spray the paper with water, both sides. You want the paper to be covered with a mist of paper, but not slick with a wash of water. The size of this piece is 6 inches by 9 inches. You can make it smaller to make it a postcard, or this size to create a journal page of a piece for framing.

Free-mix Splash Inks in a palette to make green, teal, and purple. If you want to mix specific colors, use the blending palette instructions that come with the inks.

fleur2Dilute the colors with water, then drop the colors onto the wet paper using a fat watercolor brush. As the colors spread, blend with a light hand, allowing the colors to run and mix. Keep the background light to contrast values across the finished piece.

fleur3Allow to dry completely. Select some coordinating colors from the origami paper. I like abstracts and a rustic look, so free-hand drawing loose flowers appeals to me. Cut the majority of the flower from the solid paper, then add touches of the patterned side for contrast, depth, and visual interest. Try several shapes rather than just one. It makes the completed piece look more natural.

Decide on the orientation of the paper–I used vertical (portrait). I placed the cut pieces of paper flowers in an arrangement that looked pleasing, then drew pencil lines for stems. Using Nori glue, I glued the pieces down, including leaves I had cut from the same origami paper.

fleur4Cut double portions of leaves, so you have a mix of dark and light. It makes them more interesting. As a finishing touch, I added a bit of gold watercolor shine to a few of the leaves and darkened the stems with a green gel pen. You can use the purple pen to add depth and give the flower petals some definition. Your work is now ready for signing and framing!

Origami paper makes a great collage element, too!

Quinn McDonald is on the Niji Design Team; she is a creativity coach and collage artist.

Suminagashi and Color

Yesterday, you saw the technique of marbling paper using sumi ink. I decided to build on Swarup’s  project and take it in a different direction–suminagashi, a Japanese technique of floating ink on water with a brush, creating a pattern, then printing it on paper.

Creativity is a wonderful experience–it is elastic and unique to each of us. That’s the beauty of experimentation and creativity–there is always more to discover, more to explore.

Here is the finished project–a quote written on a suminagashi journal page.

sumicolor

The quote is from Harvey MacKay: “Take risks–you are a lot better off being scared than being bored.”

Here is a variation in gold:

sumiongold

And here is how you can do it, too.

sumistart

You’ll need the following items from Yasutomo:

sumipan

Start by filling the pan with tap water, about an inch and a half deep. If you have hard water like we do in Phoenix, that’s fine. Don’t use distilled water, you won’t get good results.

Using two bamboo brushes, dip one in vegetable oil and blot it so it won’t drip oil. It should be wet with oil, but blotted, not dripping.  Load the other brush with sumi ink. It should be full, but not dripping.

sumicircle

Touch the sumi ink brush to the surface, and it will spread in a circle on the water. Then touch the oiled brush into the center of the circle, and the oil will push away the ink. Alternate ink and oil. The red in the bottom is some watercolor I added to show depth–that the sumi ink is floating on the surface.

sumigold

Meanwhile, wet the gold ink/paint, load a clean brush and paint it across a piece of paper. Don’t worry about being too even, the unevenness is perfect. Allow to dry completely.

sumifat

You need the oil to push the ink back. Without the oil, you still get great patterns, but they are not as intricate. The pattern above was made without oil. You can see the gold paint that I floated very carefully on the surface. It likes to sink.

sumipaper

When you have enough concentric circles in the pan, blow across the surface to shift the ink into patterns and then place a sheet of paper on the surface, rolling it onto the surface evenly to avoid blank spaces. The best paper to use is watercolor paper or mixed media paper. Hard surfaces, like Bristol Board, won’t accept the ink as easily.

Allow the papers to dry. Iron them on the back to keep them flat and even.

Mix and dilute Splash Inks to create several transparent colors. I used a lot of water and then applied them with a water brush for a very transparent look.

sumidetail

When the inks are dry, choose a quote and write over the completed piece. Above is a detail so you can see the color on the suminagashi. You can use any stage–plain, colored, colored with writing for journal pages or for cards. Just trim out the piece that you like.

sumiongold

When the gold ink is completely dry, suminagashi over the gold. This is an easy project with great results!

Quinn McDonald  loves experimenting with almost any medium. She is a collage artist and certified creativity coach and the principal of QuinnCreative.

Moon Rising in Forest

One of the joys of being an artist is seeing accidental art develop in front of your eyes. You are working on one idea and another one runs across your desk and steals your attention. Which one do you follow? I chose the one that surprised and delighted me–the way sumi ink spreads on paper. Pure creative joy! The ink moves quickly, without control. Watch my video of the technique.

Niji9

I’m Quinn McDonald, and for years, I’ve been working with an ink technique that uses the differing surface tension of water and ink. It’s in my new book, The Inner Hero Art Journal (out in December from North Light).  A few days ago, I created the journal page (above), that was both fresh and easy to create.  It does not require you to be an illustrator. You lose control (I know, that’s really hard) and let the ink go. Here’s how to do it.

Niji1

Materials

Here’s how you make the journal page

1. Pour 1/4 teaspoon black sumi ink into a  small container.

2. Spray a very fine mist of water on the front of the watercolor paper. It will curl slightly, with the middle higher than the edges (convex).

niji2

3. Wet the larger watercolor brush, blot, and load with ink. Very carefully, touch the tip of the brush to the drops of water. The ink will jump across the water droplets, forming interesting spidery shapes. These are pine branches.

Niji3

4. Work slowly and carefully up and down the page, creating these patterns. It takes a little practice–use less water than you think. The droplets should be separate to avoid a black wash of ink.

5. Allow the paper to dry. When it is cool to touch (not quite dry), Use the loaded bush to draw a heavier line along the edge. If your paper is too wet, this line (the tree trunk) will spread into the branches. This work counts on detail.

6. Repeat the process on the same side of the page, on the other edge. Allow to dry. Rinse your brush.

Niji5

7. When the paper is dry, but still cool to the touch, dip your small brush into the rinse water, and test to see if you can draw a pale gray line. If the color is too dark, add more water. Use the thin brush to draw a horizon line at the bottom third  of the page, between the trees.

Niji6

8. On the right side of the clearing, use the sparkling watercolor in orange to draw a partial circle for the rising moon.It will be pale. Allow to dry

9. Using the dark orange neon oil pastel, cover the circle, going beyond the edges. Smooth the color with a tortillon (a paper stump) or a cotton swab. Blend in a dark pink and a lighter yellow.

Niji7

10. Make sure all the ink is washed out of the bigger brush. Load it with gold watercolor and create a wash around the moon. Don’t be afraid to use a lot of water, the dried sumi ink will not run.

11. Fill in some of the white areas with a very pale gray wash to indicate clouds and the ground. Using the fine brush and watered-down ink, add branches. Add detail with the Permawriter.

You have a journal page of contrast and visual interest. You can add hand-lettering if you’d like.

Niji8

You can create a number of pages, and each will be different, depending on the ink and the detail you add.

Splash Ink Postcards

Postcards are versatile and fun to make. You can deliver them personally, use them as gift enclosures, or use them as the ultimate mail art. I belong to Postcrossing, an international postcard exchange in which I’ve sent (and received) over 300 cards!  Today, I’ll show you how to make both of these postcards.

Niji_2cards

My name is Quinn McDonald and I’m a transplant from Washington, D.C. to Phoenix. Being chosen for the Niji-Yasutomo design team was wonderful because I’ve been using the products for years and love to experiment with art supplies. I’m a writer, creativity coach, and collage artist.

Splash Inks are portable fun in a bottle. Today, we are going to marble paper with Splash Inks, then use the paper to make the postcards. Let’s take a look at what you’ll need to make this project.

Niji1_parts

Splash Inks, a flat deep, non-reactive pan about 10 inches long and at least 2 inches deep (25 x 5 centimeters).  Shown  (above) is an enameled meat tray you can buy as a palette in most art supply stores.

Niji1A_StarchThe medium to float the inks is Sta-Flo liquid laundry starch. It comes in a blue half-gallon bottle.  A spray bottle with a fine, misting spray and a roll of paper towels come in handy.

You’ll also need several pieces of Mixed Media paper (I like Strathmore and Canson). You can also use Arches Velin, or 90-pound watercolor paper by Bee. Add an eye dropper, a big-tooth comb, a shower squeegee and a group of small containers to mix your favorite color inks and you are ready. Start by protecting your worktable with newspaper and wearing gloves if you want to keep your hands ink-free.

Shake the bottle of starch to blend the ingredients. Pour the starch into the dish so you have at least an inch of fluid in the dish. Stir gently with the comb or a gloved finger to remove the bubbles.

Niji3_smalldotsUsing an ink dropper, add several drops of ink to the surface of the starch. The first time you do this, the drops will be small and sink. Expect one or two test sheets till the starch is tempered.

Niji_Inkmix

You can use colors right out of the bottle, or you can mix inks into small containers. A color blending chart is included along with the four bottles of Splash Ink.

Niji4_stonemarb

After several test sheets (save them for collage work), the ink drops will get larger and float well enough so you can put drops within drops. You can marble with this pattern (called ‘stone’) or you can use the comb and gently drag the teeth through the liquid.

Niji5_comb

Drag the wide teeth of the comb left to right.

Niji5_comb2

Drag the narrower teeth up and down. The more you comb the finer the pattern. Colors will blend with a lot of stirring.

Niji7_paper

Place a sheet of paper onto the surface. Place one end onto the surface then “roll” the paper and drop the other end. That keeps air from getting trapped under the paper and leaving a big white spot. Above, you can see that the bottom, left hand corner of the paper is picking up from the surface. That’s a sign to pick up the paper, the marbling is done. It takes about 10-15 seconds for the color to transfer.

Niji6_papermarb

Carefully pick up the paper and put it on the newspaper. To get the starch to run off, tilt the paper slightly by putting it on a piece of crumpled newspaper. After about one minute, spray the paper with a mister to rinse off extra starch.  If you like a very crisp look with distinct lines, wipe the excess starch off the paper with the shower squeegee. It will take off some color with it.

Niji8_sink

To make pastel shades of paper, drop the sheet on the surface, let it absorb color, then use a palette knife (or the comb) to push the paper under water. The back will become marbled in a pastel swirl of color.

Niji9_papers

Make many sheets at once to have choices. To clean the surface of the starch, float a paper towel on it to absorb the ink, then add more ink. Above, you can see several sheets–upper left is a sheet made with the four colors in the bottles; upper center, a pastel effect by sinking the paper; bottom left is a piece scraped with the shower squeegee.

The papers may curl while they are wet. To get them flat, put them between two sheets of parchment paper and iron them on a medium setting till they are flat.

Niji10_postcrdstuff

To make postcards, you’ll need watercolor postcards or Strathmore Ready-Cut (5-inch by 7 inch), a small palette to mix the Splash Inks, a brush (watercolor or acrylic is fine), a paper punch to cut out designs, Nori glue and a piece of scrap paper to test ink colors. First, mix colors for a postcard background. It should coordinate with the marbled paper you will use. Because you want the background to be pale, use a lot of water in the ink blend. This will give you the transparent effect of watercolors.

Spray the front (image side) of the postcard with water. Load the brush with diluted ink and create a color wash over the postcard.

Niji11_cutUsing the paper punch, cut out several teardrop shaped pieces from the marbled paper. You’ll need two big pieces and two small pieces for every butterfly, and five pieces (either large or small) for the flower.

Niji_card2When the watercolor wash on the postcard  is dry, use Nori glue to create the butterflies on the postcard. Nori glue dries slowly, so it is re-positionable, a big plus if you live in a dry climate. The butterflies will look very different, depending on the angle of the four pieces. Play with placing them before you glue them down.

Niji_card1For the flowers, you can turn the pointed end of the cut-out pointing toward the center our out toward the edge. Having a part of a flower extend over the edge and trimming it off gives the piece a more natural look. Add glitter glue centers and dots to unify the flower image.

Niji12_Finish

Trace around the petals and butterflies with a Niji Gel Extreme pens for a finished look. You can see more postcards I made using using marbled paper on Pinterest.

And you can see more art supplies at

www.yasutomo.com