Wednesday, 25 May 2011


Over the weekend, I was storing up treasures. Not actual treasures, but some little things to add to my Lost Treasures journal cover. I originally made a couple of coins from two layers of fabric, joined with fusible web and edges with satin stitch. They looked vaguely coin-like, in the sense that flat round things with a firm edge might be called that! They were not really as luscious and rich and desirable as I wanted.

So I decided to try making some treasures with my hot glue gun. I laid baking paper over a wooden board (my silicon sheet would have been better for this) and started melting hot glue onto the paper. One word of caution: when people say "well-ventilated area", they clearly mean right outside in the open air. Using my glue gun in my workroom, with windows open and venting fan going, is clearly not well-ventilated enough! I truly felt not quite the thing after doing a really small amount of glue melting. I know I'm a canary-down-the-mine kind of person, but be warned.

My aim was to make various shapes, coins, jewels, chains and free-form objects, that I could later paint as treasures to add to my journal cover. The chains were a series of c-shapes added to an initial circle, rather than individual links, since I just wanted the general effect. The jewels were variations of a basic blob, since there's no way I'm going to get anything faceted from a glue gun. The glue coins were circles of glue with some inner fill, leaving lots of gaps and holes. The others were just little bits of pattern.
Most things I read suggested that hot glue gun elements can be painted with acrylic or Lumiere paints, once they're cool. While mine would take both Setacolor and Lumiere, I wasn't really happy with the way the paints went on, and I felt they might easily rub off with handling, such as on a journal cover. So I coloured the treasures in with Sharpie pens, which will write on pretty much anything. That gave me a good base to paint on. I could have tried Gesso, but the pens were handy. Alcohol inks would probably work too, since they seem to go on anything.

Here are my treasures, once they were coloured in with Sharpie. The gold one has been over painted with Setacolor Shimmer Gold (because it was handy and it's a nice gold colour). Some treasures are hard to see because they are the clear material of the glue.
The white on the fabric coins is Setacolor Expandable Paint medium. I decided to add some of that, paint it and then heat it, to give the coins some heft. However, the bottle I grabbed was the old one that has gone a little cheesy over time. I kept it because it gives really interesting lumpy, serious-case-of-mumps effects. You can see this in the next photo. All the shapes have been painted with a couple of coats of either Setacolor Shimmer Gold or Lumiere Pink-Gold.
I felt the shapes, especially the gold ones, were too plastic and extruded-looking, to look like something that is cast. So I added some of the new bottle of Expandable Paint medium, with a paintbrush. Using a bristle brush gave me patterns and texture in the way the medium went on, which gave the coins a sort worn texture, the kind that old coins have. I wanted that worn die-cast effect so I was happy about that!

I decided to make some more coins, and since the fabric ones hadn't been heavy enough, I cut circles from a medium weight card. For those pedantic enough to want details, it's actually the card that comes inside boxes of tea-bags, holding the rows in place. I love these little cards! Perfect for throw-away scrapers for glue and other media, sometimes big enough to be the basis of a bookmark, and easy to cut for little projects like this, that need a little bit of robust card. I painted the circles with the Expandable Paint medium, and marked ridges around the edges with an ice-cream stick. I had to do this to both sides of the card and fabric coins, to prevent curling when the medium expanded. Once they were thoroughly dry, I painted them all with Setacolor or Lumiere paint. A short zap with the heat gun, and I had some significantly thicker coins and jewels. The white medium showed through a little once it expanded, so I added a little more paint in places and gave them all a rub with Treasure Gold. And here they are:
The three coins on the left are the cardboard ones, the large ones in the right hand row are the fabric ones, and the little ones are made just from the glue gun, with Expandable Paint medium used to fill in the gaps. The chains looks surprisingly chain-like. I don't think I'll use the flower on this project; it was just me trying to get my hand loose to make the chains. When I laid them all out on the journal cover like a pile of treasure, it looks very much as I imagined. I plan to dangle the two fabric ones from the gold D-ring clasp with a couple of gold jump rings.

One thing I was going to try, if the coins still looked too flat, was stamping with the Expandable Paint medium. A few weeks ago, I had a stamp-carving frenzy. I love handmade stamps and I always keep some materials to make stamps on hand. At present, I'm mostly using those large erasers that you find in Dollar stores and the many Chinese shops near where I live. At 5in x 2 1/2in, they are a good size for most stamps, and the medium cuts easily and doesn't tend to crumble. These are the stamps I made recently:
I stamped them into my journal, so you can see what they look like. As you can see there are quite a few round ones, because I knew I would need coins and jewels for the journal cover. I also like to do positive-negative stamps, because they are so useful. I carved the top left hand one especially with these coins in mind. It has a tiny skull and crossbones. That's what I say it is, even though two different people have complimented me on doing such a good cow's head! I can only suggest that they obviously haven't looked closely at a cow lately.

A friend told me that, if you use the unmounted rubber stamps, you can actually stamp into the hot glue shapes before they cool down. That might require an extra pair of hands, though I suppose you could reheat a cooled one with the stamp at the ready. She says they must be unmounted, because they have to be flexible to come off the glue blob, once the glue is dry. But I notice that The Craft Curmudgeon on this forum recommends using any rubber stamp and putting the blob and stamp in the fridge or freezer to set. Some people also seem to recommend inking the stamp first, which they suggest makes it less likely to stick permanently to the glue; other say to brush it lightly with vegetable oil first. This suggests you should experiment with your least-loved stamps!

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

You could always use foil-wrapped chocolate coins......*grin*