Friday, 8 December 2017

Dreaming of a Wight Christmas...

Hi Everyone

Efco Pappart can be decorated in a variety of ways, whether it be with paints, decoupage papers and mediums or pastes.

It's been simply ages since I got my Jo Sonja paints and brushes out so I couldn't resist having a play with this little fellow to see if I could remember what I learnt about dry brushing all those years ago...

Materials used:

Efco Pappart Figurine Christmas Wight

Jo Sonja Acrylics: 
Galaxy Blue Background Colour
Carbon Black
Nimbus Grey
Warm White
Skin Tone Base
Pine Green
Yellow Green
Napthol Crimson
Napthol Red Light
Jo Sonja All Purpose Sealer

Jo Sonja Brushes:
½ Sure Touch 1315 Possibilities Brush
¼ Sure Touch 1315 Possibilities Brush
2 Sure Touch 2010 Oval Dry Brush

Flat brush for basecoating
Mixing Palette (I use old individual coffee filter lids)
Palette Paper sheet (or you could use deli paper)

1. Mix All Purpose Sealer with Galaxy Blue Background Colour 1:1.

2. Paint the Pappart Christmas Wight figurine with the mix, making sure no Pappart brown shows through. Leave to dry.

3. Mix a touch of the Galaxy Blue Background Colour in with some Carbon Black on the palette paper.

4. Use the ¼ brush to dry brush the boots. 

5. Mix a little more of the Background Colour in and dry brush the boots again, this time painting a smaller area and not covering the whole boot. Focus on the areas you want to highlight such as the tops of the boots and the heels.

6. Mix a touch of the Background Colour in with some Napthol Crimson.

7. Use the ½ brush to dry brush the body of the Wight with the mix, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies.

8. Add some Napthol Red Light to the mix and use the ¼ brush to dry brush over the red, focusing on the areas you want to highlight to give more depth.

9. Mix some Nimbus Grey with a touch of Carbon Black and Background Colour. Use this to dry brush the Wight's beard with the ¼ brush. Then add some Warm White to the mix and dry brush the highlights of the beard.

10. Mix a touch of Background Colour and a touch of Naphol Red Light in with some Skin Tone Base and use the oval dry brush to colour the nose. Add a touch more Skin Tone Base and add a little highlight on the end of the nose across the top.

11. Mix a touch of Background Colour in with some Pine Green. Dry brush the Christmas tree with the ¼ brush. Use the oval dry brush if needed to get into all the nooks and crannies. Add some Yellow Green to the mix and dry brush highlights on the top and edges of the tree tiers with the oval dry brush.

12. Add a touch more Warm White to the beard highlight mix and use the ¼ brush to stipple a furry edge around the bottom of the trousers and sleeve cuffs.

13. Add a touch of Background Colour to some Napthol Crimson and use it to dry brush the hat. Add some Napthol Red Light to the mix and dry brush highlights where you think the light would catch the hat i.e. on the tip of the hat, across the top of the bumps and around the bottom edge.

14. Use more of the mix from Step 12 to stipple a furry edge to the hat.

15. Use the same mix to add a hint of a shine to the tips of the boots with the oval dry brush. Leave to dry.

If you want you can apply a couple of coats of Matt Varnish to protect your Wight or leave him 'au naturel'!

For a downloadable version of this project go to

Happy Christmas to one and all!

Monday, 27 November 2017

Efcolor Enamelling for Beginners

Hi Everyone

I thought I had done a post on enamelling for beginners all about the basics and the 'dos and don'ts' but I've just realised that I never did, so here goes...

The most common mistake crafters make when first starting to enamel is to not put enough Efcolor powder on their blanks.

This is not a problem as all you need to do is cover your blank with another layer of Efcolor and reheat it.

You want to cover your blank with a thick layer of Efcolor (approx 1mm thick and as smoothly as possible). 
Top tip: You shouldn't be able to see any of the copper showing through. To make sure of it you need to look at your blank from different angles as your room lighting can make you miss a gap.

If you don't hold your Efcolor tube high enough and so have a bumpy layer of powder you will get a bumpy enamelled surface when the powder melts.

This is not a problem as you can leave it on the stove a little longer to level out or add another layer of powder and reheat it. Ideally you need to hold your Efcolor tube 10cm or more above your blank - that way you'll find it easier to get a smooth layer. (You do need to work in a draft free environment as otherwise you might find your powder ends up anywhere but on your blank!)

If you cover your blank with an even thick layer of Efcolor you should end up with a super smooth glossy finish...

To heat your blanks you can use the Efcolor Tealight Stove which I think is by far the best way to fire the enamel. With just three tea lights the top of the stove reaches 150ºC, the perfect temperature for firing Efcolor powders. By using the stove you have more control in as far as you can see your blank more easily (and so know when it's time to remove it from the heat) and you can also work on your blank whilst it is still being heated e.g. swirling the enamel. 

Alternatively, you can use a conventional kitchen oven (not fan as you don't want to enamel the inside of your oven!). When using an oven, if possible, it is best to set the heat to come from below as Efcolor prefers that. If it gets too hot, especially too much heat from above, the enamel can pull or roll back from the edges of your blank or end up looking like the surface of the moon.

This can be a great effect but might not necessary be what you were aiming for or intended.

When new to enamelling it's wise to place your blanks on a U-strip on the firing plate as you will find it easier placing your powdered blanks on the stove and lifting your hot enamelled blanks off again.

If you want to enamel both sides of your blank I would always advise that you enamel the back first. This is because when you enamel the second side you must place your blank on a stand. 

If you don't use a stand, when the blank heats up, the first side re-melts and becomes tacky, sticking to whatever it touches. 

The reason for enamelling the back first is so that, if you don't position your blank perfectly on the stand, it doesn't matter if one or more of the edges gets a teeny tiny nick in it - it's on the back so no-one will notice!

Don't forget to leave your blanks on the stand to cool too or else they will stick to your spatula. If you're doing more than one layer on the front e.g. adding more colours, stencilling or rubber stamping a design, you must remember to re-place the blank on the stand to re-heat it...

...and leave it there to cool.

I think that just about covers the basics. For more Efcolor inspiration check out the enamelling section on the website. If anyone has any questions on enamelling with Efcolor please do leave a comment below or contact me either through the Projects 4 Crafters website or the Facebook page.

Happy Crafting everyone!

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Red Glitter Enamelled Heart

Hi Everyone,

I've been having fun playing with Efcolor enamelling again...

Materials needed:
Copper Heart Pendant 27 x 27 mm (9919461)
Efcolor Stove (9371706)
Dark Red Efcolor Powder (9370029)
White Efcolor Powder (9370001)
Silver Glitter Efcolor Powder (9370391)
Transparent Red Efcolor Powder (9370128)
Silver-lined Dark Red Indian Beads ø2.2mm (1025429)
Flat Nosed Pliers (1802407)
Wire Cutters (1802405)
Copper Tiger Tail Beading Wire
Copper Jump Ring
Copper Clasp
(Efco Product Codes in brackets)

1. Lightly sand the copper heart and then cover it with a layer of dark red Efcolor powder. Place the blank on the stove until the powder has melted creating a smooth glossy enamelled surface.

2. When cool, cover the top edges with white Efcolor, fading out as you move down the heart.

3. Before reheating the blank, cover the white Efcolor with a little silver glitter Efcolor, again focusing most across the top of the heart allowing it to thin out towards the bottom.

4. Place the blank back on the tealight stove until the powder has melted leaving you with a concentration of silver glitter at the top with hints of white fading out towards dark red at the bottom.

5. When cool, cover the blank with a thin layer of transparent red Efcolor and replace on the stove to melt the powder.

6. Take two lengths of beading wire and thread them with the dark red Indian beads. Attach the clasp at the ends and use a jump ring to attach the pendant when cool.

I've also been playing with combining embossing crystals and powders with Efcolor too...

This heart has been enamelled with dark red Efcolor, then silver glitter Efcolor, then transparent red Efcolor. Finally a little Goldstone Wonder Embossing Crystals were added across the top of the heart.

I enamelled this donut with olive green Efcolor before adding some Red Aventurine Wonder Embossing Crystals around the inner edge.


I basecoated this pendant with ivory Efcolor before adding a some Arctic Lake Cosmic Shimmer Ultra Thick Embossing Powder with a little Lapis Pearl Lustre Cosmic Shimmer Embossing Powder around the edges.

Last but not least this pendant was enamelled with black Efcolor first before adding some Tropic Moss Blaze Cosmic Shimmer across the bottom, fading out to a few sprinkles higher up. It also has a light sprinkle of WOW! Metallic Gold Rich Ultra High Embossing Powder.

So as you can see you can combine various Efcolor powders and also Embossing powders to create some wonderful effects! :)

Happy Crafting Everyone!

Friday, 13 October 2017

Pyrography Purse

OMG! I can't believe I've not blogged since July!!! Where does the time fly?!? Blink and you miss it!

Sorry for the radio silence, one overseas family drama and a smashed knee cap later and I'm back... :)

This time I have a rather sweet pyrographed leather purse. Everyone knows that you can pyrograph wood but did you know you can pyrograph other surfaces too such as tooling leather...

Please note you need to make sure that the leather you use is suitable for pyrography i.e. tooling leather available from leather work specialists. (Other kinds of leather can release the chemicals used in the tanning process which, when burnt, can be carcinogenic if inhaled.)

It's rather fun pyrographing leather though and can be much quicker than working on wood. You don't need a lot to get started with pyrography. In fact, all you need is a heat resistant surface to work on and a pyrography tool. I use Efco's basic Pyrography Pen Tool which comes with 6 burning tips and retails at about £15. The only other thing you need is some wood or tooling leather etc to work on. I tend to use stencils for my designs but you can create your own designs for free!

Here's what you'll need if you want to make the little purse pictured above (instructions below)... 

Pyrography Tool (1840001)
Offcut of tooling leather
Ornaments Stencil (9320907)
Black Permanent Marker or Pencil
Waxed Cotton Cord, 1mm Olive (2002567)
Large Needle
Leaf Button (1174785)
Transparent Thread, 0.45mm (1005245)
Awl (1827109)
Screw Hole Punch (1801821)
Knife (1802533), Ruler & Mat
PVA glue
Heat resistant surface to work on

(Efco Product Codes in Brackets)

Step 1. Cut a piece of leather approx. 8 x 20 cm.

Step 2. Position the bottom edge of the stencil just over 7 cm from one short side with the motif (pictured above) in the centre (approx. 2cm space either side). Carefully trace around the motif with a black permanent marker. You can use a pencil instead if you'd prefer but the marker will make it easier to create a strong, dark outline very quickly.

Step 3. Gently trace around the marked out design with the pyrography tool, burning the design into the leather.

Step 4. Fill in the design by lightly running the tip of the pyrography tool over the leather.

Step 5. Build up depth and shading by continuing to go over the design in some areas with the pyrography tool. (nb. at no point should you need to press hard with the pyrography tool - when working with leather a light touch is all that is needed.) 

Don't worry if the leather warps or buckles a little. That is perfectly natural when working with thinner supple leather and the pyrography tool. Once it is all laced up it won't register at all.

Step 6. Turn the leather over and fold the bottom 7cm up. Use the awl to mark where you want to punch holes. Use the smallest hole tip of the screw punch to punch holes in the front and back of both sides. I punched 9 holes down each side - one near the top, one near the bottom, then one in the middle, then one in the middle top and bottom and so on.

Top Tip: If you look at the top left hole you will see it looks a little bigger and darker around the edge - that is because it was the first hole I punched and I created it by punching through both layers from the front. To avoid that (as per all the other holes) you need to, having marked all the holes with the awl, open up the leather and punch each hole individually from the inside out. That way you'll get a much neater finish.

Step 7. Cut two pieces of waxed cotton cord approximately 50cm long. Take one piece and thread either end through the bottom hole (front & back) in opposite directions. Cross over and thread them through the next hole. Continue in the same fashion up both sides.

Step 8. When you've laced about four holes up either side, fold the top flap down so you can work out where to position your button. Sew it in position using transparent thread. Tie a knot in the ends (on the inside), trim the excess and add a dab of glue for extra security. Then continue to lace up both sides to the top.

Step 9. At the top finish the lacing on each side with both ends on the inside of the purse (i.e. instead of passing the threads all the way through both the front and back, thread one through to the inside. Thread the other all the way through and back round again to the inside only.) Tie a knot as tight as possible to the lacing and trim the ends. Tuck the knots down inside the purse. (For extra security you can add a dab of glue if you want to.)

Step 10. To finish your closure use the awl to make two holes 1 cm apart (i.e. 3.5 cm in from either side) and 1 cm up from the edge on the flap. Make another hole 5mm from the edge in the centre. Thread the end of a piece cord (approx. 16 cm long) through the top two holes and tie a knot underneath (trim any excess from the short end). Thread the other end up through the remaining hole and tie a knot at the end of the cord.

Alternatively you could use a magnetic closure (9742310) and fix the button to the flap to hide the metal tabs of the closure fixing. 

You can leave the purse here and consider it finished alternatively you can add more decoration on the flap so that the cord fixing is not as obvious...

I think they make great presents as you could personalise them with designs or words to fit the recipients. They don't have to be used to hold money - they could used for niknaks, jewellery or any small items. I use my purse to store my in-ear headphones in so they don't get tangled up or broken in my handbag!

Happy crafting everyone!

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

It's in the Bag!

Hi Everyone

It was great being up at the Hochanda studios again and to catch up with everyone there - they are such a lovely bunch! The DoodleArt stamps, Versafine Inkpad set and mini carrier bags seemed to be the most popular items so I thought I'd share the instructions for the Orient Elephant Stamped Bag I demonstrated on the first show. (If you missed the show but would like to catch up you can do that here.)

Materials needed:
Orient DoodleArt Stamp (45 110 83)
Mini Blue Versafine Inkpad (45 113 15)
Cotton Canvas Mini Bag (12 149 03)
Stamping Mat (45 109 99)
Acrylic Block (45 109 04)
Textile Markers (19 903 12)
Painters Masking Tape (local DIY Store)
Scrap paper
Stamp cleaner or Babywipes
Heat Embossing Tool and Iron for Heat Setting

(Efco product codes in brackets)

Step 1. Use a piece of masking tape to mark where you want the bottom edge of your design to be on your bag. Then place the stamping mat on your work surface with a piece of scrap paper on top and then your masked bag on top of that.

Step 2. Position the orient stamp on your acrylic block and ink it up with blue Versafine ink.

Step 3. Position the stamp face down at the left edge of your bag just above the masking tape, making sure the design reaches the just over the edge without losing any of the elephant. Apply pressure to the back of the acrylic block making sure you pay particular attention to the seam edge of the bag.

Step 4. Slide the bag by pulling on the sheet of paper so that the bag seam is off the stamping mat. Make sure the bag seam butts up tightly with the edge of the stamping mat without actually being on top of it. Then press hard on the whole of the stamp to transfer the ink to the bag.

Step 5. Remove the stamp and you should find the entire image has transferred to the bag.

Step 6. Re-ink the stamp without worrying about cleaning it. Carefully stamp it down lining it up with the edge of the first image and the top of the masking tape. Being clear you should be able to see the first image through the block and stamp as you get close to the bag. 

Step 7. Re-ink the stamp one last time and stamp it next to the second image, again following the top edge of the masking tape. Apply pressure to the stamp paying particular attention to the seam edge of the bag.

Step 8. Once again use the paper to slide the bag off the edge of the stamping mat so that the seam butts up against it. Then apply pressure all over the stamp to transfer the ink.

Step 9. Remove the masking tape and clean your stamp. Heat set the ink with your heat embossing tool before colouring it in with textile markers. 

Step 10. When you have coloured in as much or as little as you want heat set the design with a cool iron for 5 minutes. (nb. Cover with an old cloth with ironing.)

Once heat set, the bag can be washed occasionally. If you want to be able to wash it regularly then you will need to use a fabric ink pad which is deliberately designed to be washable rather than the Versafine one used here. Versafine ink pads are oil based inks which have been designed to get the best images when using detailed stamps. They are also good for your stamps unlike alcohol based ones. The Efco textile markers are permanent and can be washed at 40º once they have been heat set as per the manufacturer's instructions.

Happy Crafting!