This month I decided to take up the Altenew Inspiration Challenge, especially since it involves my favorite color combination of pink, gray, black and white. I have always wanted to try doing some of their layered flowers in all gray or sepia tones and this seemed like the perfect chance. Although, I did add a bit of color to the gray flowers in the end.
I started with the Altenew A Beautiful Day stamp set and their Warm Grays Mini Cube ink set. This set provides you with 4 different inks in increasingly darker shades that coordinate perfectly and are designed to be used with their layered images. I stamped the flowers twice using the 3 lightest ink colors in the Altenew set for the first 3 layers and stamped the final outline layer in Archival Jet Black ink. I used the black ink for the last layer because I wanted a really crisp black to be a part of the image and although the Altenew set has a great dark gray ink, the black made the flowers pop more off the white card stock. I also knew I was going to experiment with Distress Crackle Paint and since Archival ink is waterproof, I knew it wouldn’t run when covered with the Distress Crackle paint.
I stamped the layered leaves twice using the middle 2 Altenew gray ink colors and again used Jet Back Archival for the outline layer (the leaves only have 3 layers instead of 4 like the flowers). Finally, I stamped the rest of the additional floral accent stamps from the set in Jet Black Archival Ink as well. I fussy cut out all of the stamped images except for the flowers. I would get to them but needed to do the fun part first.
The fun part - Using an old round paint brush and the applicator from the jar, I covered the flowers in the Distress Crackle Paint - Clear Rock Candy. When dry, this paint literally cracks creating the look of old cracked paint you sometimes see on antiques. The thicker the coat of Distress Crackle you apply, the bigger the cracks. For the flowers, I did about a medium coat as I wanted biggish cracks but not so large as to overwhelm the stamped image. I used the brush to get the crackle paint into the edges of the stamped image while trying to keep the paint within the outline of the image, although I wasn’t super detailed about it or anything. The Clear Rock Candy dries, you guessed it, clear with cracks so you can still see the image through the paint. I set them aside to thoroughly dry and crackle up. In my arid Colorado climate this took about 2.5 hours as I had some thick parts, especially in the middles of the flowers. If you live in a more humid climate, it may take longer.
Once the flowers were completely dry, I took out my Spun Sugar Distress Ink and Picked Raspberry Distress Stain along with a flat water brush and a medium water brush and some water. For this technique, the brush didn’t have to be a ‘water’ brush as I didn’t fill the reservoirs with water but instead used my container of water. I liked the sizes of the water brushes I had handy, so hence my use of those particular ones. You could use any brush you have. I squished my Spun Sugar ink pad directly on to my craft mat and using my flat brush I diluted it down a bit with some water. With the flowers, I was going for the look of a tinted black and white photo, so I wanted the colors I was adding to be very soft. Watering down the ink lightens the color; I could always add more color but it’s impossible to take away once it’s down, especially under the Crackle Paint. So with the ink loaded flat brush, I dabbed at the dried paint above the inner layer of petals. It worked! The ink went through the cracks in the paint on to the petals below creating the very soft colored effect I was going for. I repeated the same process with a very watered down Distress stain in Picked Raspberry for the outer petals using the thinner medium brush and then finished off the centers with some Picked Raspberry right from the bottle dotted just in the middles of the flowers.
The effect on the flowers is really cool! The Crackle Paint gives the flowers a shimmery glossy finish and the cracks make them look sort of aged. Then the soft added color is just right – not overwhelming the gray but still definitely there adding depth to the flowers. In combination, the effect is stunning (if I do say so myself).
To complete the card, I heat embossed one of the greetings from the Altenew A Beautiful Day stamp set on to a strip of black card stock. I layered the black on top of a wider piece of fuchsia pearlescent card stock and adhered that to the lower third of a white A2 card base folded horizontally (5.5” W x 4.25” H). Then I created a floral arrangement above the strip with the various fussy cut stamped images from the stamp set making the two crackle paint flowers the focal point. I added dimension by using foam tape to adhere the flowers down. For the finishing touch, I broke out some sequins from Pretty Pink Posh’s Sweet Pea mix adhering a few here and there in soft pink, white and iridescent dark pink around the arrangement and adding white Enamel Accents and a bit of Stickles Platinum glitter glue to their centers.
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