Hi there! Elizabeth Zaffarano here with another edition of Inspire Me Monday!
Today, I’m going to share techniques and tips for creating your own chiyogami-inspired designs with digital stamps, Copic markers and foiling!
Chiyogami paper (sometimes called Yuzen paper) is that brightly-colored and sometimes busily-patterned-and-gilded paper from Japan. The “good stuff” is laboriously silk-screened over and over again with all of the various colors to create a very delicate and detailed look.
|Examples of chiyogami from my own collection|
While I haven't needed to set up my own print shop (yet), creating these designs took several steps, some specialized equipment, and a lot of Copic ink and coloring! But it can be fun to experiment and make your own custom designs.
Because this project involves several techniques, I created headings to separate each part of the project. This way, you can skip to the section(s) that most interest you.
Creating the Digital Image and Printing
To create the cherry blossom pattern, I opened my word-processing program (Pages) and overlapped different sizes of the cherry-blossom branch across the page. I also isolated a few blossoms and petals from the design. There's a wonderful tutorial on how to do those things HERE. I've found that word-processing programs have come a long way in terms of what image-editing tools are provided right in the software. You can crop, remove the background, mirror and flip, as well as resize. So you might be able to do everything you want in Word or Pages.
|Blossoming Cherry in Pages|
|Miraculous Mushrooms in Pages|
Coloring the Design
Yes, you can color a laser printed image with Copic markers and then foil right over your coloring. And you don’t have to worry about staying in the lines, as the toner is apparently unaffected by the alcohol ink in the markers. It’s a technique I use all the time, and is a great way to get shiny effects from digital stamps.
|coloring the background first|
|coloring the main images first|
While some chiyogami papers have very light backgrounds, many designs use darker colors. If you have a collection of neglected deep hues, now's the time to use them.
Adding Background Patterns with Blending Solution
Are you wondering how I got the subtle(-ish) patterning in the gray and blue backgrounds I colored? I used a technique that might be a little controversial, because I stamped with Copic Blending solution, which is 77% ethyl alcohol.
So I’ve read that alcohol is considered detrimental to the material that stamps (red rubber and clear varieties) are made of. I’ve also viewed posts and videos with folks using alcohol on their stamps to no ill effect. Perhaps it takes time to see any changes?
That said, I do not recommend you try this technique with your most treasured/irreplaceable stamps! I’ve personally not seen any changes to the red rubber stamps that I’ve been using with blending solution for the past 6 months. I have not tried this technique with clear stamps and would not recommend it.
To ink up my stamp with the Copic blending solution, I used a foam blending tool, and squirted a bit of the blending solution onto the foam. Then I quickly dabbed it onto my background stamp. I pressed the stamp onto my colored background and held the stamp on there for several seconds, then lifted up. When you lift the stamp, a very faint “bleached” impression of the stamp design will appear. Wait another minute, and the design will continue to lighten and appear more distinct.
As soon as I finished stamping, I washed my stamp off with soap and water.
This is a technique that you’ll definitely want to practice first. I just colored some scrap card stock with at least 2 layers of ink and then compared pressing the stamp for 5 seconds, 10 seconds etc., until I got the desired look. Tip: If you don't want to have to mask-off any already-colored areas, color the background first, then apply this technique, and then color the rest of the image. I did not do that for the cherry blossoms, and I ended up having to recolor a few areas!
Do you want that pretty background look but don’t want to worry about alcohol on your stamps? You may achieve a similar effect using a stencil, and applying the blending solution with a foam blender through the openings.
Once the designs are completely colored, it's time to foil, using the heat-transfer technique. This part requires heat-transfer foil and a laminator or a Minc machine. For the cherry blossoms design, I foiled the entire sheet at one time, using silver foil. For the mushrooms, I cut my 8.5x11" sheet into shapes and then foiled them separately. I needed smaller shapes because I wanted to try out a more matte/satin finish gold foil that came in a 6x6" package.
I followed my usual process of using a parchment paper carrier sheet, with a layer of card stock in between to provide stiffness, and set my Minc machine to heat setting 2. The foil sets right over the Copic ink!
I haven't decided what to do with the mushrooms yet, but I made the cherry blossoms into at least one completed card.
|These scraps can be foiled later|