As many of you know, everything I do is a labour of love and my greeting cards are no different! Each one is designed with so much love and attention to detail, ensuring that the colours on the card are as true to the original piece as possible (not always an easy feat). Colour is everything after all!
I recently wrote a Behind the Scenes blog post on my process of creating a card which you can find here.
My most recent collection of greeting cards is my most colourful to date. The colours simply pop off the page and everyone comments on how vibrant they are! Photos do not do them justice.
There’s 14 designs to choose from and they can either be bought individually, or 4 for £12 from my Etsy shop.
There’s ones with butterflies….
And there’s ones with rainbows…
And there’s ones for birthdays…
And many more!
All my greeting cards are blank inside for your own personal message.
Can’t see what you’re looking for? I am open to suggestions! I’m always looking to expand my range and am currently in the process of designing a brand new range of cards. If there’s a message you’d like on the front of your greeting card, let me know and I’ll add it to my list of my possibilities!
Click here to see my full range of cards or click here for the 4 for £12 offer.
Behind the creation of my greeting cards is a whole of hard work, perseverance and love. My intention to create gorgeous, vibrant, colourful and memorable cards is not something I do lightly. The process is long and laborious (always taking way longer than I think it will!) but in the end, after producing a whole new range of glorious, rainbow greeting cards, I believe it’s totally worth it!
It begins with creating the artwork with alcohol inks, either on Yupo paper or ceramic tile. For this particular range of cards, I wanted to create a rippling rainbow border with a plain white centre, onto which I could write a variety of phrases. This in itself was a labour of love, as creating ripples with alcohol inks is not as easy as it looks. Like anything, it has been a massive learning curve and has required much persistence and trial and error, and then some more trial error!
This particular piece was created with my favourite rainbow palette of alcohol inks: Pinata Magenta, Ranger Sunshine Yellow, Citrus and Mermaid, with the help of my trusty hairdryer!
Once the artwork is complete, I scan it into my computer at high resolution (600dpi) with my beloved Canon scanner. It’s then ready to play with in Photoshop!
Any smudges are cleaned up and all micro-hairs and specs of dust are removed. This is again another lengthy process and involves zooming into the image and utilising the ‘clone stamp’ tool in Photoshop. I actually love this process, despite it taking ages, as for me it’s like magic! One minute the inks are full of microscopic fluff and blemishes, the next minute they’re gone, with a simple click of the mouse!
Once that’s all done it’s time to add the text. For this, I use free downloadable fonts from a variety of websites. I make sure any fonts I use are allowed for commercial use.
For half this range, I also included some multi-coloured butterflies from a really old vintage butterfly book I bought for 30p. Again with the magic of Photoshop, I colour-matched each butterfly with the inks and created a mixed-media collage.
Once the designs are all complete, I align each one with my back cover design, convert the colours from RGB to CMYK (which always breaks my heart a little, as the colours dull ever so slightly!) and then they’re ready for printing.
All my cards are professionally printed on high quality, glossy, laminated card and can be purchased individually or 3 for 2. ❤
A few months ago I started using alcohol inks on ceramic tiles with the intention of creating coasters. Each tile is individually painted using alcohol inks and is completely unique – a tiny square of original art on which to sit your favourite drink.?☕ Inking the tiles was the easy (‘ish!) part; the sealing process on the other hand, has been a seemingly never-ending learning curve!
I have researched and researched and researched and experimented with several types of protective spray. The alcohol inks sit on the surface of the non-porous ceramic tiles so sealing them is essential. Without sealing them, they are at risk of scratching off and discolouring. In the US all alcohol ink artists seem to use Kamar Varnish, Kamar Clear Glaze and Kamar UV-Resistant Clear Varnish. These three sprays however, are painfully expensive when sourced online (as currently nowhere in the UK seems to stock them!) so finding a cheaper alternative was a necessity.
After considerable trial and error and asking for suggestions in Facebook community groups for alcohol ink artists I found the answer!! Each of my coasters is now sprayed three times with Plastikote Clear Sealer, followed by three coats of Kamar UV-Resistant varnish. With this combination, the inks are sealed in and the colours remain gloriously vibrant! (Previous attempts with Rustoleum and Ghiant sprays DID NOT work for me. There was serious discolouration, especially with the pinks, and the deep magenta turned into an ugly shade of grey salmon.) After several distraught months and feeling hopeless, I found a solution and I was ecstatic!
Preventing the inks from fading however, isn’t sufficient for them to be used as coasters. They need to be sealed with epoxy resin too!! This in itself has been, and continues to be, a massive challenge for me. Every day’s a school day, so they say!
Resin is a viscous liquid which can be poured onto artwork to preserve it, as it hardens permanently to create a protective coating. It’s an extremely fiddly, messy and complicated process as so many factors can affect it. It needs to be mixed in the correct proportions (50% hardener 50% resin), stirred slowly so as not to incorporate air into it (thus creating bubbles – bubbles are the ENEMY!) and all done in a room of 23-25°C. It’s sticky, toxic and gloves are essential, but I still manage to get it everywhere! Resin is also really expensive, so mistakes are super costly. Like I said, I’m still learning!
What I’ve learned:
Elevate the tiles, so the resin can drip off and not congeal underneath
Tape the under side of the coasters with frog tape, as resin hardens and once it’s hardened it’s a nightmare to get off!
Room temperature is EVERYTHING! The inks and alcohol isopropyl don’t work properly when they are too cold and the tiles are too cold – the coverage is dull, lumpy and lack lustre instead of beautifully vibrant and opaque. The alcohol also evaporates the ink in ugly patches, instead of blending the colours together.
Use a blow torch to burst the little bubbles in the resin, but again, temperature is everything. If it’s too cold, microbubbles form in the resin and there’s no getting those out!
On one hand, this has been one of the most frustrating things I’ve ever done. At each stage there has been what felt like an insurmountable hurdle and I have often felt like giving up. Despondency used to be my default and I frequently have to fight those old thought patterns. Somehow though I’ve kept on keeping on and never lost sight of the end goal. I’m so utterly delighted with how these coasters look and can’t wait to start retailing them!