I'm getting ready for Christmas gift and card giving. I always like to give a handmade card and gift tag. And what better example of handmade than using my own handmade papers and castings.
I made the paper for this card and tag using these basic instructions. For the embellishments I used Arnold Grummer's paper casting molds and UTEE (ultra thick embossing enamel). The first mold I used was the Noel mold; the other was the Snowflake mold. By the way, molds are on sale now—15% off holiday molds!!
The first step when using UTEE is to generously coat the mold with a release agent. I brushed on embossing ink.
|Mold coated with release agent|
For the Noel casting I also colored the clear UTEE with alcohol inks to get the beautiful green shading. The best way to color the UTTE is to add alcohol ink, drops at a time, to the dry UTEE.
Next, I heated the colored UTEE in my melt pot. When the UTEE was melted, I added Gold Mica D'Lights for a hint of sparkle. I chose Mica D'Lights instead of glitter because mica won't melt like many glitters. Mica is a rock and rocks don't melt. Most glitter is plastic and plastic melts.
When the UTEE casting was completely cooled, I removed it from the mold and used my Dremel to drill a small hole at the top. I also pierced a hold in the handmade paper. I joined the paper and casting with a jump ring, and added ribbon. I also added a length of fishline for attaching the tag to the gift. Then, when it's done its job as a gift tag, it can be hung as an ornament,
The card features the Snowflake casting. For this casting I used clear UTEE—no additional coloring agent. When the UTEE was melted I stirred in Gold Mica D'Lights. To get this rich amber color, let the UTEE continue to heat in the melt pot until it begins to color. (A bit like carmelizing sugar!)
|Close up of amber snowflake|
Again I drilled a hole for the hanger and ribbon. Then, I layered gold metallic paper and my white handmade paper, and attached the snowflake casting with a glue dot. The snowflake can be removed from the card and hung as an ornament.
Some design notes:
- Rather than drilling a hole, you can melt a hole with a HOT wire. Heat the wire in a flame, then press on the UTEE casting.
- The mold must be coated with a release agent before each pour.
- Adding the dry UTEE to the prepared mold and melting it with a heat gun did NOT work for me. First, the heat gun blew the UTEE out of the mold—probably because I held it too close. Had a little snow storm of UTEE all over my work table. Repeated cycles of small amounts of UTEE/melting/more UTEE/more melting didn't work, either. Even though I'd coated the mold with a release agent, the cooled casting would not come out of the mold. I spent the better part of an hour picking tiny pieces of hardened, brittle UTEE out of the mold. I think what happened was that with the direct and prolonged heating from the heat gun, the mold heated so much that the release agent "cooked" into the mold, making it ineffective. Anyway, don't try this method. I already did, and found out it doesn't work :)
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