Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Something a bit fishy about this one...

I don't know why, but ever since I saw this Koi fish stamp by Hero Arts I've wanted to use it. And I don't even like fish that much - unless they're fried with chips!

This is one of those clever multi layered stamps where you build the picture up by using different layers of colour and although they say you can layer the stamps by eye, I needed to use the Misti Stamping Tool to achieve it. Several firms are bringing out cheaper versions of this tool now and I do recommend buying one if you can afford it as they are very simple to use, they eradicate most of the problems you get stamping and just make life so much easier.

Now this card was quite an ambitious project for me because I tend to make simple cards and this one had not only multi layered stamping but multi layers of card too.

I wanted to do a card where the fish appeared to be under water, so I knew I would need to use acetate and foam layers to achieve this. I started with no real design in mind; it just evolved as I went along.

I started off by stamping the koi carp using the Misti and some Hero Arts layering inks, except I substituted Pumpkin Patch from SU for the orange colour as the neon shade provided was extremely bright, and I wanted a softer look.

Strangely, this proved to be one of the easiest stages because of the Misti. I could ensure the next stamp layer was positioned correctly before printing it. Marvellous!

I also stamped a few waterlily leaves and flowers - not with the Misti - and I think you can see the difference. They were rather hit and miss but I actually quite like the look of slightly adrift stamping sometimes! It reminds me of water colouring.

I should add that I used a couple of pink colours for the water lilies but stamped them off about 3 times to get the soft muted look I was after.

I cut all these elements out with the coordinating dies.

So far so good.

To make the watery background beneath my fishy, I used a piece of SU shimmer white card which has a lovely pearly sheen to it and is good with watercolour. I taped it to a board with artists' masking tape to prevent it warping, and then roughly brushed across it with very well-watered down Pool Party ink from SU, leaving wavy lines.  I speeded up the drying process by using my heat tool and removed it from the board.

It didn't look "watery" enough for me, so I decided to emboss it with the wavelike embossing folder from SU called Seaside.  I actually had to flatten this out a little as it gives quite a deeply embossed finish.

This was where the problems set in and I messed around for a day trying different ways of making a 'watery pool' in the card. In the end, it turned out to be relatively straightforward, as I think I was over complicating things.

I cut a large circle of the ready painted background for the fish to swim in, and cut the same size circle from a sheet of acetate.

I wanted my fish to be lifted from the bottom so he looked like he was swimming, so I cut small double-sided pieces of foam and fixed them to his underside and stuck him down. This created a nice shadow beneath him.

Now, I wanted the water lilies to be above little fishy, so that he appeared to be swimming underneath them (hope you can follow this), so I needed to raise the level of the acetate to accomplish this.

For the uppermost surface of the card, I decided after a lot of trial and error, to use Mint Macaron card from SU and to run it through the same wavy line Seaside embossing folder. This colour toned with the watercolour layer. I cut this mat slightly smaller than the white card base I was using and I lined it up on the card and decided where the 'pool' would go, and correspondingly cut a circle one size smaller than the pool. I cut the circle before I embossed it as I wanted the texture to be crisp this time. If you emboss first and cut afterwards, it slightly flattens the embossing.

I then cut two pieces of fun foam a little smaller than the top mat and glued them together with double-sided tape. I needed extra depth, that's why I doubled it up. Then I very carefully marked where to cut the corresponding size circle to match the top mat.

The next step was to attach the acetate to the back of the top Mint Macaron mat to cover the cut out circle.

I used ordinary Tombow glue to attach the foam, sandwiching the acetate, but being careful not get any on the acetate..

I worked out where the fish pool needed to go on the base card and glued it down.

I had originally thought to make this a shaker card, and I am sure I will make a version like that, but this time I decided to just selectively place a few sequins round the fish, like bubbles in the water. I also thought the fish would look much nicer with a liberal amount of Wink of Stella over him! This really transformed him, making him look silvery and glistening.

Once I was happy with the sequins, I glued the sponge layer down, trapping my little fish in his watery pool.

It only remained to arrange the leaves and flowers and I played around with them for a long time to get this right. I placed one flower over the fish's tail so that it looked as if he was swimming beneath the surface of the water. 

And that was that. I tried to add a sentiment but just felt it spoiled the effect, so I used a couple on the inside of the card.

I'm pretty pleased with the finished card and I plan to make a few more with him. I think he is ideal for masculine cards and makes a nice change from flowers and butterflies.

Hope you like this too and thanks for dropping by.


Non SU products used

Hero Arts Koi Carp Stamp Set with coordinating dies and mini inks
Fun Foam sheets from Hobbycraft
Sequins from various suppliers

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