Steampunk Fancy Fold Cards!

Hi friends, today we are going to make 3 fun fold cards, a z-fold, easel and twisted easel!

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Lets get started!

This tutorial is sponsored by Top Flight Stamps! SAVE 10% off your next order with coupon code: thefrugalcrafter10 *USA orders of $50+ ship free!

Supplies:

Remember, you can use what you have and make these types of cards too! You can also use any size card you want. Here’s how!

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For the Z card cut and fold a card as normal and then score between the center fold and edge of the card and fold it back. Then cut a 1.5″ strip the length of the open card and score at the same interval but adhere it so the folds are opposite as shown in the video. Embellish as desired.

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For the easel card you will again score and fold between the center score and front edge. Decorate as desired.

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For the twisted easel score and fold diagonally from the edge of the card at the crease to the opposite front corner. Decorate as desired.

Try these fun folds on your next card! Til next time happy crafting!

 

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What is the difference between grades of paint?

Hi friends!  Today I have a video about the differences between grades of artist paint. I will be referring to watercolor because subtle differences are more apparent in watercolor (and I am the most knowledgeable about that kind of paint) but it will apply to acrylic, oils and other paints/pencils/crayons/pastels too! Have a watch (or listen, you can totally let this play while you paint or cook dinner or whatever else you need to do:)


Below is an overview of what I discussed in the video along with some recommendations that would be easy to find. There are other wonderful paints out there and I have lots of watercolor reviews on my blog and YouTube channel if you need more information. Watercolor comes in several different grades. You will find pans, tubes and liquid watercolor in all of the grades of paint.

Children’s grade watercolor paint: These are non toxic watercolors that schoolchildren are given to use. The are what a lot of people think of when they hear “watercolor.” Everyone has used these in some point of their childhood. Quality varies greatly in children’s watercolor sets from $1 versions of weak chalky paint to $3-$5 for an 8 color set of Crayola, Rose Art or Prang. I prefer Prang watercolors as they are the most saturated and you can purchase refill pans of colors in strips or individually.

Budget grade watercolor: This segment of the market has grown immensely over the past few years with decent budget brands manufactured in China and Korea showing up all over Amazon for crazy low prices. I also consider craft watercolors like Prima, American Crafts/Jane Davenport and Amy Tangerine in this category. This category offers paints that are “cheap and cheerful” and encourage play and experimentation as they are not too expensive to worry about wasting. The downside is that usually the budget lines of watercolor do not offer lightfastness of pigment information and if they do it can be hard to trust the information from a new company. Also these pant usually can’t be purchased open stock (but the Prima and Jane Davenport paints have replacement pans.) These paints will have lots of fillers and extenders and cheap dye colorants (usually) to make the quantity of paint for the price. My favorite budget watercolor pan set is this one called “Pretty Excellent” ($17 for 36 pans)  Other good tube sets are JoiArt ($10 for 24 tubes) and Royal & Langnickle. Royal & Langnickle makes awesome brushes and this $24 set has a large assortment of paints and Aqualon brushes. A new to the scene company Arteza has watercolor tubes with lightfast info (but their pan sets do not.) I have been using them a lot lately because I feel I was a bit harsh in my review and I must admit I am enjoying them more!

Student Grade watercolors: These are the introductory paint from companies who also make professional/artist grade watercolors. These paint offer reliable pigment and light-fast information. To reduce the costs they may use alternatives to pricey pigments like cadmium and cobalt they have additional fillers and extenders to bulk them out. The benefit to student grade colors is that you can start with an assortment set and them replace the colors as you use them up with paints from that companies artist grade line so you only end up buying what you will actually use and saving money in the long run. You can also buy student grade colors individually so you can choose exactly the colors you want and not be stuck with ones you wont use. Most big box art and craft stores will have displays to buy them open stock and all big online art suppliers sell them for about $3 a tube. Usually in student grade paints all colors will cost the same. Buying is sets cost less per color so compare before buying. My picks from this category are:
Cotman by Windsor & Newton
La PetiteAquarelle by Sennelier
Grumbacher Academy
And Van Gogh by Royal Talens

Artist grade (aka Professional) watercolors *Note there are no laws to keep any company from calling their paint artist quality, in fact you see that a lot with the budget brands so do your research before buying. Artists watercolors contain high quality pigments and just enough binder, humectant (A moisturizer agent typically honey or glycerin) and extenders to optimize the pigment and make it optimal for painting. Paints are available in tubes or pans and you will find a greater variety of colors in a companies artist range. Prices vary between color depending on how expensive the pigments used are, earth tones tend to be cheaper and cobalt and cadmium are more expensive. Typically there will be 5 price levels or series of colors. Paints can also be purchased in sets with pan sets being the most popular and my preference because you get the paints and a palette that you can refill. Artist quality watercolors do cost more per tube BUT in all reality you are paying for the pigment and you get a lot more pigment in tubes of artist quality paint where as student paint is more dilute. If you like to glaze many layers artist quality paint is best because it is the most pigmented and transparent. I recommend the same companies I do for student grade as they are easy to obtain worldwide but there are other nice paints out here.
Windsor & Newton Professional
Sennelier
Rembrandt by Royal Talens
Grumbacher finest

***And my favorite watercolor M Graham but I hasten to mention it because they do not carry a student line and I do not know if you can get them outside of the USA. I also like DaVinci and Daniel Smith (but also have no student range and I am not sure if you can get DaVinci outside of the US)…really, there are so many excellent ones!

I also wanted to mention my favorite watercolor brushes, Creative Mark Mimik faux squirrel brushes, this set is a fabulous value and I am considering buying a second set so I can have one upstairs at my paint table and down in my studio  LOL!

I hope this post was helpful and til next time happy crafting!

Fun with Water Mixable Oils (Sketchbook Sunday)

Hi friends! I had a hankering to paint with oils today. Often oils seem like “a big ordeal” because I have to open tubes, squeeze out paint and then clean up afterward. If you have been on an art journey with me for any length of time you know how lazy I am and I just like to open a palette and go hence watercolor and gouache are my go to paints (and I did think quite hard about painting this is gouache which would be totally suitable) but in the end I wanted the smooth buttery consistency of oil under my brush and you just gotta do what feel right!

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I used an 11″x14″ cotton canvas painting panel but you can use a stretched canvas, hard board panel of whatever you like. I chose a panel because they are thin to store and easy to frame if I want to later. I really don’t have much of  a preference between non paper surfaces, I just choose one that has the tooth I want for a particular subject. Watch the video to see the process. The painting took just under an hour. It was a  ton of fun to paint! Let me know if you would like any real-time oil painting tutorials. I have plans to paint more in oils but I am not sure if I will record them, I will if there is interest tho.

Supplies available at sponsor Jerry’s Artarama! Use coupon code: frugal20FS49 for 20% off $49 + Free Shipping (Excludes: Sale, Super Sale, Egift Cards, Buy It Try It’s and Vendor restricted items. Look for the green coupon eligible icon on the product listing.

Keep in mind you can use traditional oils, there really is no difference in the working aspects of the paint or the drying time. For that matter you can use acrylics with a slow drying medium if you prefer. The big advantage of the watermixable oils in the clean up as you don’t need solvents. Honestly I don’t mind using traditional oils and solvents but with my wintertime painting area being right off my kitchen I really don’t want the fumes. And to be honest I get a bit panicky about solvent soaked paper towels. My old studio that I used to rent downtown used to be a bank and so I would store solvents and cans of oily rags in the old bank vault until trash day in case they combusted LOL! Since I taught two oil painting classes a week there were always solvent soaked paper towels about. I think it’s a good idea to be cautious when you use these products at home and I am glad that watermixible oils exist and now rival the traditional ones.  That’s all for today, thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

DIY Wax Seals! Let’s Get Fancy!

Hi friends! Today we are going to get wicked fancy in our crafting my making beautiful wax envelope seals!

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Keep in mind these are best for hand delivered cards or if you are sending it in the mail use a padded mailer.

This video is sponsored by Rubber Stamp Tapestry  Use coupon code: LINDSAY and receive 15% off your retail order of $10 or more of peg stamps, peg stamp sets, and unmounted stamps! Coupon expires a week from this video publication. Continue to receive great deals by becoming a PegStamp VIP here. As a PegStamp VIP you’ll get a weekly deal via email plus links to fabulous tutorials by me, Lindsay the Frugal Crafter and other designers

Supplies:

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Directions:
*Before beginning generously coat your peg stamp with clear embossing ink (Versamark.) If you wish to add any inclusions like string or pressed flowers place them on your envelope before beginning. Kids should have help for a parent with this craft. I had several people ask me if the heat will damage a red rubber stamps and no it will not, the process of making rubber stamps is much hotter. Clear or vinyl stamps may be damaged so use caution with those but rubber is fine.

Sealing wax or crayon method:
Use a lighter to melt sealing wax or a crayon color of your choice over your envelope where you wish to have your seal. While the wax it hot press the peg stamp in the wax and let cool with the peg stamp in place. Remove.

Hot glue method:
Squeeze a blob of hot glue on your project and press in the stamp and let cool as before. Remove stamp when cool.

Embossing powder method:
There is a few ways you can do this. If you have a melting pot you can pour melted embossing powder on the envelope and stamp into it. You can also smear some embossing in on your envelope and melt layers of embossing powder to create a molten area of embossing powder to stamp in. The most reliable way I have found is to mix the embossing powder into a dab of hot glue and then reheat it with my heat tool and then stamp as we did with the hot glue method. This is also a great way to color plain hot glue!

Clay method:
Condition clay and roll into a ball. Flatten into a disk on your work surface and press a pigment inked stamp into it. Let the clay dry or bake it according to clay directions if using polymer clay. Glue seal to card.

I hope these ideas spark some creativity in you! Remember to hand deliver these gems or mail in a padded envelop to prevent them from getting damaged or harming postal machinery. Til next time happy crafting!

Easy Goldfinch and Cosmos in Watercolor Tutorial

Hi friends, here is a bright and cheerful painting you can paint!

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Clearly I am ready for spring and I love watching these sweet birds on the thistle feeder out my back window. To tide us (in the North) over until warm weather returns you can paint this sweet painting. Watch the video to see how!

Supplies (Affiliate links used)

If you liked this tutorial and want more in-depth instructions for painting birds you may enjoy my class Technique Toolbox: Feather’s and Foul. That class explores painting birds and feathers in detail should you want more:) Thanks for painting with me today and til next time happy crafting!

How to create a rainbow blend with inexpensive markers (water based or alcohol!)

Hi friends! Today I have a video that is part review and part tutorial. I have a couple of sets of markers to review but I also wanted to make the video a useful tutorial on blending. Also I was curious about what kind or marker was quicker to color with. I also wanted to try to achieve the same look with different kids of markers to see how they did.  If you are ready for all of that high-speed marker action buckle up and let’s go!

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There is lots of info in this post, let’s start off with the video:

Supplies: (Affiliate links used. Products provided for review)

Review of the Arrtx Alcohol Markers

pros:

  • Price: 80 color for under $34
  • Color selection
  • Blends well
  • Dual tip (chisel & Bullet)
  • Beautiful & sturdy carring case
  • Colors are very juicy, no dry ones.
  • Easy to tell the chisel and bullet ends because they have square and round color chips respectively. Color chips are pretty accurate but I still recommend swatching.
  • Attractive matte white square barrel (non-roll)

Cons:

  • No brush tip
  • No colorless blender in set
  • caps may be difficult to remove if you have arthritis
  • Caps do not post (you can’t stick the cap on the end of the marker to hold it when coloring)
  • As with most low-priced markers there is no open stock option (although they use the same numbering system as Concept at Jerry’s Artarma so you could get a replacement color if you needed too, it would look different tho)
  • Non refillable
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Card made with the butterfly colored with the Arrtx Alcohol markers. Time spent colring the butterfly: 11 minutes, 30 seconds

These markers are beautiful to look at and color nicely. They remind me of the quality of Ohuhu and they even use the same color number system. Many of the lower priced markers available now are using the same numbering system, I reckon it is because all of the inks are being made in the same factory in China. I have not seen this marker barrel style anywhere before and honestly I really like have the two distinct ends because I can quickly uncap the nib I need whereas with Copics and other markers I often get the wrong end even with the gray band they have for identifying. This saves me time and I like that. Below you will find my color chart for the set of 80 Arrtx alcohol markers.

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Here are the colors I used (in order of appearance) to blend the alcohol marker butterfly: 13, 14, 16, 18, 22, 23, 33, 35, 37, 48, 49, 59, 58, 68, 67, 147, 76  *If you have other markers that use the same color number system great! Use what you have OR use the swatch chart to figure out what colors to use from your stash. If you want to order this set you can here.

Review of Arrtx Watercolor Real Brush Pens 48 color set

Pros:

  • Great color selection
  • Low price (even among other budget priced watercolor marker pens)
  • Caps post (you can stick the marker cap on the end while coloring so you don’t lose it)
  • All colors have a number on the end for identification
  • Includes a reusable plastic carring case

Cons:

  • Non refillable and no open stock options
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Card made with the butterfly colored with the Arrtx real brush pen water based markers. Time spent coloring the butterfly: 6 minutes, 50 seconds

These markers performed well as I would expect. I did have an issue with the plastic color coming off one of the pens but I was able to reassemble it and stick it back into place and I could feel some of the innards of the brush pens moving around so it doesn’t feel as good quality as the Zig Real Brush pens but they are less than half the price. The ink flowed smoothly, like other real brush pens I have used. These are on-par with the Arteza real brush pens but about $10 cheaper. If you already have those, or any other real brush pens, I don’t think these will be very different but if you are looking to try some they are a nice value. Below you will find my swatch of this set:

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These are the markers I used on the watercolor butterfly in order of appearance: 18, 5, 4, 3, 27, 226, 28, 25, 125, 36, 238, 7. Feel free to use the swatch as a reference for matching the colors to what you have or if you want to buy this set you can here.

Review of TouchNew Skintone marker set of 24

Pros:

  • Great selection of earth/skin/hair tones which are often lacking in marker sets.
  • Price (under $17 for 24 markers)
  • Dual tipped
  • Cloth carry bag included
  • Comes with a colorless blender

Cons:

  • No brush nib
  • Bullet tips were dry on a couple of my markers
  • Caps do not post
  • No open stock or refills (but you can order Concept markers from Jerry’s to replace a color)

These markers use the same numbering system as the Arrtx alcohol markers as well as other budget brands. The marker style is the same as the original Ohuhu markers who recently changed to an oval barrel that seems to keep the marker fresher as I had a few of the old style Ohuhu pens go dry prematurely.) I recommend storing them on their sides so the bullet tip doesn’t dry out and having denatured alcohol (or Copic blending solution) on hand in case you need to refresh them.  If you need a set of skintone markers to fill in your set these are a good value but I’d check the color numbers to make sure they are not all duplicates to what you have if you already own markers with the same numbering system. Also because one of the marker is a colorless blender you are really only getting 23 colors. I wish these had brush tips though it is so much easier to blend with a brush tip and you want to be able to get really smooth skin and tones. To be honest tho, if you already had a set of 80 or higher of the Arrtx or Ohuhu alcohol markers I think I would pass on these are there are duplicates and consider investing in a couple of Copic brush tip skin tone markers as you need them because in this instance I think it would be more enjoyable and cheaper long-term to get a refillable marker that performs better. If you have a smaller set of assorted markers this 24 set would go a long way to fill in gaps. It really boils down to what you already have for markers and how much you intend to use them.

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I hope you found this helpful and if you have markers I hope you try creating a rainbow blend. It is a great technique for learning to blend and it’s fun too! Or practice blending colors in general and write down your successful recipes so you can duplicate them later. The truth of truths with markers (especial alcohol markers) is that is takes practice and there is a learning curve to them so don’t jump from brand to brand thinking that one is going to make you a superstar. In fact it could harm your progress as you get used to one kind and then when you try another it’s like relearning because it is a bit juicier or the nib is harder or softer. You have to put in the time. Speaking of time wasn’t it interesting how much quicker the water based markers were to color with? I really wanted to do the comparison because I was curious but also to share that if you are not into spending lots of time coloring you might prefer a waterbased marker. Well, this post is long enough, have a great night and til next time happy crafting!

Got Cabin Fever? No Creative Mojo? Try Frictionless Crafting!

Hi friends! As I write this it’s snowing and already we have about 6 new inches of snow atop what we already had. It’s pretty, I’ll give it that but come March I am pretty stick of cold weather and being stuck inside. Short day and cold temps can have you feeling tired and unmotivated. In today’s video I’ll try to help you overcome it!

It occurred to me that many times when I was lazing on the couch watching TV that I would much rather be creating. Instead I might scroll through my phone hoping to be inspired or start the next episode of a show I am watching. Why am I spending my doing these passive activities when I really want to go make something. The reason is simple. These actions are frictionless.

To start a new project I need to leave the room, think of an idea of what to make, gather supplies, clear a space to work, make the thing and then clean up afterward. It can seem much more appealing to stay put and keep scrolling but you can engineer your crafty time to be more frictionless. Companies like Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and yes, even YouTube have engineered their platforms to be easy to use and consume more and more. The good news is that you can apply this trick to your crafting!

Overcoming our own blahs…

Complaint: I’m too tired to get off the couch and start a project.

Solution: Keep a portable project kit next to the couch. It can be a knit/crochet project, stamped images and coloring tools, a small set of watercolors or watercolor pencils and a waterbrush and sketchbook or even a subscription box if you have any. That what you can create and not miss an episode of Friends!

Complaint: I don’t know what to make!

Solution: The next time you are scrolling Instagram and a project looks fun stop and go to your supply closet and see if you have the stuff to make it, pull those supplies and save the inspiration photo for reference. Then your workspace will be set up when you have the time to create.
Tip: A great time to pull materials is when you have a 15 minute gap of time like you are preheating an oven or waiting to put laundry in the dryer. Use those “too small to do anything” scraps of time.

Complaint: I hate looking at the white canvas, I don’t know where to start.

Solution: Find a photo of something you want to paint and draw (or trace) it on your canvas. It will be more fun when you return to it if the drawing is done and your materials are laid out.

Basically you are removing as much friction between you and starting that project. You can do it! Think about how easy it is to go on amazon and order craft supplies. It’s frictionless. *Tip, I remove my payment info from my account so if I want to order I have to go find my credit card, see it works both ways LOL! I hope this video inspires you to create today and til next time happy crafting!

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