When I first heard of Inchies, those wonderfully thick, sturdy and versatile 1" art squares, I was fascinated--I mean, what a clever and fun way to present a mini masterpiece! Nowadays, Inchies are also available in larger sizes, from Twinchies (a.k.a. 2" squares) to 3" squares, as well as ATC size! They also come in a variety of neutral tones, including white, ivory, dark cream, wheat, light grey, dark grey and black!
These art squares can accept all kinds of mediums: Colored pencils, watercolors, Copic markers, etc. and if you are already familiar with Inchies, you have probably used one or all of these mediums to color your art squares.
In this month's article, I wanted to share an *uber* cool technique I recently learned about from Lisa Lee, the creator of Inchie Arts, that features the use of low profile dies, pigment ink and clear embossing powder!
Basic supplies include (project specific supplies are listed down at the bottom of the article):
- Inchie Art Squares (2, 3" or larger size)
- Masking Paper
- Low Profile Die (bolder typically works better)
- Pigment Ink in desired colors
- Ink Blending Tool/Sponge Daubers
- Versamark Ink
- Clear Embossing Powder
- Heat Tool
Here's the HOW-TO:
- Cover an art square with either Eclipse or Inkadinkado Masking Paper and trim to the edges
- Place a low-profile die where desired, directly on top of the masked square
- Run it through your die cutting machine (you may or may not need to adjust the shims, depending on how tightly calibrated your machine is)
- The die will cut through the masking paper but not through the art square itself; the cutting blade will leave a clean, deep impression in the square
- Carefully remove the portion of the mask you want to apply ink to; this may be the positive or the negative of the die image. Leave the rest of the mask in place
- Apply pigment ink to the exposed areas as desired
- When finished inking, you may or may not want to heat set (I prefer to heat set)
- Remove the remainder of the mask to reveal a beautifully white image
- Apply Versamark ink over the entire surface of the square by pressing the pad against the square
- Coat square with clear embossing powder, tap off excess and heat emboss and allow to cool
- If desired, repeat steps 9-10 for a thicker glazed finished
I've also created a quick video tutorial that highlights the basic steps:
Here are a few more tips that I hope you'll find helpful with this particular technique:
- I had the greatest success using the larger sized inchies, like the Twinchies and the 3" squares simply because they were easier to work with by virtue of being larger
- Pass the die + art square only once through your machine; repeated passes may cause the masking paper to bond so tightly to the surface of the square that it tears the surface when you try to remove it. Ask me how I know... ;)
- Pigment ink performed best with this technique; dye based inks have a lot more moisture and had a tendency to "soak" and bleed into the masking paper when being applied.
- I also found that if I heat set, the pigment ink did not reactivate and contaminate my Versamark pad when I pressed it over the top of the square
- Use clear embossing powder that has not been contaminated with glitter or flecks of other colored embossing powder, etc. for the "cleanest" and most pristine glazed effect
- I used ultra-fine clear embossing powder on my samples, so I repeated the clear embossing process twice to get my finished look
I thought this second example also turned out lovely--because of the die design, I was able to apply one ink color to the outside areas, then remove the masks from just the petals and apply more colors, and then remove the mask to reveal the detail lines of the flower.
As an after-thought, I decided to nest the finished square onto my card front within a simple inset frame I made by using a slightly larger square die--I love how the patterned paper peeks out all around the edges with this type of frame!
I hope you'll consider giving this technique that combines dies with heat embossing a try the next time you play with your Inchies! The results can be pretty spectacular and they really do look like glazed ceramic tiles!
SUPPLIES USED IN FEATURED PROJECTS:
Stamps: Handwritten Notes by Avery Elle
Other: Hero Arts Clear Ultra Fine Embossing Powder; Embossing Tool/Heat Gun; Inchie Art Squares in Two and Three inch formats (white); Eclipse Masking Sheets / Inkadinkado Masking Paper; Ink Blending Tool; Sponge Daubers