- make a bunch of cards at once
- and welcome serendipitous and unique results
- and don’t mind just a wee bit extra in the way of set-up and clean-up...
Gilding flakes are trendy again, and I’m going to walk you through how to get gorgeous results with those lighter-than-air shiny bits and your Power Poppy clear stamps. You're already off to a good start, as Marcella's illustrations hit that sweet-spot of enough detail to showcase the different shades and qualities of these fine flakes, without being so spindly (or broad, for that matter) that detail gets lost.
You’ll see Botanical Tree featured in the steps below, and I’ve also used Wreaths Plain and Fancy. Maybe it’s a *little* early to be thinking about those winter holidays—however, I find that these stamps lend themselves to a bit of glitz and glow, and it’s a time when you may need to make a quantity of cards, but don’t necessarily want them to look totally identical.
So what are gilding flakes? They are small, light, and delicate pieces of material that will create a metallic effect on whatever they stick to. They are similar to the gilding sheets you find on decorative trays or antique frames, but judging by the price, they do not contain precious metals.
You’ll find gilding flakes in tubs or packets, and they come as single shades, like gold, silver and copper by Tonic (on the right), or in a blend of metallic colors: I’ve got “Persian Dawn” by Cosmic Shimmer on the left. That jar has shades of gold, bronze, silver, as well as some spots of red and green among the flakes.
But, before we get to applying the flakes we’ll first need a way of adhering the flakes to paper. For the Power Poppy clear stamps, I've found that the best way to do this is to use a glue that stays sticky, even when it is dry. Sometimes this glue is blue when wet, and clear when dry (but still sticky), and called "2-way glue." You can find this glue as a pen, a chisel-tip marker, and as a thicker felt-tipped marker. There’s also liquid products like Flake & Glitter Glue (a Cosmic Shimmer product), which need a spongy applicator to apply to stamps. And there are also “glue pads,” which replace the ink in typical stamp pads with glue.
In my experiments, the easiest method for applying glue to stamps was to use the thick felt-tipped applicator/marker. For this post, I am using the Nuvo glue pen in the Large size. Zig makes one of these as well. (NB-I did not try out the glue pad, but did try the liquid glue on a sponge, and it did work, but required more clean up.)
Now, before I start applying glue anywhere, I’ll get a dish of lukewarm water ready and next to my stamping area. As soon as I’m finished stamping with the glue pen, I’ll peel off that stamp and place it into the water—the clean-up will go much better! Also, I’ll need some card stock. I find it easier to work with smooth-finish card stock that's been cut to card-front size (A2, 4x6", etc.). Darker colors will show off the shine of the gilding to best effect, but I find that even rich, bright colors make great backgrounds.
I usually stamp onto multiple pieces of card stock in one session, and I find that the first imprint is usually not so good. You can practice on scraps of card stock, but it doesn’t take long to get the stamp working well. I didn’t need a lot of pressure for the glue to stick to the paper, so I just use an acrylic block vs a stamp positioner.
The freshly stamped image will look cloudy, because it needs to dry for the gilding flakes to stick properly. Remember, there’s no rush to get all of the designs stamped, because the glue will still be sticky when it’s dry. I’ve found that the glue will wait for me to finish lots of stamping, even when working with multiple stamps. In fact, I’ve left some glue-stamped stuff out overnight and… still sticky! Don’t forget that used stamps need to go into that bowl of water before moving on to the next step.
While we’re waiting for the adhesive to dry, let's set up a little “containment station” for working with the gilding flakes. I’ll decant some of the flakes into a smaller container, and grab a shallow box. I’ll line this box with some scrap paper, and then it’ll be easy to funnel excess flakes back into the container. I also like to have some burnishing tools nearby—something with a scrubby texture for removing excess gilding. I grabbed a cheap stenciling brush, a piece of Rubit Scrubit, and a bit of magic-eraser-type foam. They all work well, but my favorite is the Rubit Scrubit. One package will last forever, and it is inexpensive. A microfiber cloth or a dry-dusting cloth will clean up any tiny particles.
When the glue is very clear, dry, and sticky: shut the windows, turn off the fan (seriously, this stuff is lighter than feathers!), and bring that stamped and sticky card stock over to the box. I use my fingers to gently place and pat those gilding flakes onto the sticky image. Once everything is covered, I gently swirl my fingertips over the design to start removing the excess gilding flakes. In the following photos, I’m using a mix of the three Nuvo metallic flakes: silver, gold and copper.
Next, I’m using scrubby/brushy things to gently coax the rest of the gilding flakes off of the design, and I'll use the dusting cloth to get the last bits of dust off of the card stock.
Don’t forget to put the extra flakes back into the container! Even the tiny/dusty stuff is precious. And, don’t forget to clean up the stamps with warm water, a little gentle soap and a soft scrub brush.
Check out those Botanical Trees! Aren’t they something? And when you use a mix of flakes, you can get such different looks: It’s all random and very interesting!
- heat-emboss sentiments with metallic powder.
- add stripes/borders of double-sided tape, then gild onto that sticky surface
- add gilded edges by running the glue marker along the sides of the card, allowing to dry and applying flakes
- add very thin lines, or freehand details with a fine-tip glue pen, let dry and gild
- add other metallic accents with pens, drops, dots, and stickers
- apply double-sided adhesive/xyron to card stock, die cut a frame, and gild
Here’s a more intense example of the last suggestion. I used a Spellbinders die to frame these Paphiopedilum from the Orchids Rock stamp set. Same stamp, same die, same card base, but different looks because of the gilding mix! That's "Persian Dawn" from Cosmic Shimmer, by the way.
To wrap it up: Yes, this is a more intense process than heat embossing, or even foiling. But, at the end of your crafting session, you’ll have a collection of one-of-a-kind shimmering card-fronts: lovely and personal and definitely handmade!
And what luck, the Abundance Collection was just released, and they are all clear stamps! I think that Dahlia XL and Tree of Life are just begging to go on a "gilt trip!" (Yes, I have been waiting and waiting to use that joke). What do you think?
Have an awesome week!
Power Poppy stamps: Botanical Tree, Wreaths Plain and Fancy, Poinsettia (sentiment), Orchids Rock
Gilding flakes: Persian Dawn by Cosmic Shimmer/Creative Expressions, silver/gold/copper Nuvo Gilding Flakes by Tonic Inc.
Glue pens: Nuvo Glue Pen (large), Sakura Quickie Glue Pen
Burnishing tools: stencil brush, Rubit Scrubit pad, magic-eraser-type foam