Friday, January 23, 2009

"Burned Batik" - Not Exactly What it Sounds Like!

One of the challenges at the Crush mini VSN last weekend involved a technique called "Burned Batik". You can see a terrific tutorial written by SCS's Beate Johns here.

This technique involves using a resist or embossing pad to stamp a design which is then clear embossed to form a background design that will not accept ink and will appear white or translucent when ink or paint is applied as a second step.

In the burned batik technique, color is not simply sponged on; instead, the paper is misted and ink is sponged onto damp paper and the effect is the wicking and blending effect one sees in fabric batik. The technique itself is very easy as long as you avoid a few basic pitfalls.

While it's possible to do this technique on good quality card stock, I found that unless you mist sparingly and work quickly, you run the risk of having the top layer of the paper shred while you're sponging on the color and this is almost a sure thing with a lesser grade of card stock. I had the best results and a lovely effect using watercolor paper.

The other place where you can run into difficulty is with the embossing. It's important to over emboss - hence the term "burned" batik. But you don't really want to "burn" or scorch the paper in this technique, which is also easy to do.

So here in a nutshell is the technique:

Using a Versamark or other embossing or resist pad, stamp your image randomly all over your paper. If you look at the paper from an angle under a light, you should easily be able to see where you've stamped and if there are any glaring spaces. But if you miss a spot, don't worry. Once you've embossed, it's very easy to see where you've been, and you can fill in the spaces by inking and embossing a second time.

After you stamp the pattern, cover with clear embossing powder the usual way. I sprinkle it on liberally and then shake and tap it off onto a folded (and open) sheet of paper. Then heat emboss.

When you heat emboss, you want to overdo it a bit. You want to melt the powder as you ordinarily would, but then you want to heat it enough (without singing the paper, of course) to make it bubble and glaze a little bit. (Heck, for me, that's almost normal LOL... I tend to overdo at times....)

You'll know you've probably embossed it enough if the embossing powder gets absorbed a bit into the paper and the image shows through the back of your card stock (sort of like the way grease is absorbed into paper). This happens with card stock but it will not happen with good quality watercolor paper. This is a picture of the back side of the card stock after heat embossing and "burning" the embossing on the front.

Next, spritz the embossed sheet with water. Although any kind of spritzer will do, a mini mister or small mist bottle is easiest to manage. You want a light spray of water to coat the paper, but you don't want to saturate it too much. The paper, especially card stock, will curl and the surface will warp. This is normal and after it's dry, it'll flatten out on its own and if it's still not as flat as you'd like, you can iron it. You will see this to a much less degree (if at all) with heavy watercolor paper.

The next step is to sponge on your color. You can use one or several that work well together. Colors that work well together are those that are close together on the color wheel and would naturally blend together, like blue, green, and lavender, or rose, yellow, and orange. I tried purple and green together, and well, you didn't see a card made with that combination for a reason!

This is where I ran into a problem using what was actually a good quality card stock. I was a little too liberal with the spritzer and my paper was saturated. When I tried to sponge on the color, even gently, the top coat of the paper literally shredded.

This was going to be my attempt at green and purple. As you can see, it was a disaster. I switched to a palette of rose (and rose LOL) and used watercolor paper, and the final result is the beautiful card you see at the top of the page. I embellished the card with a few flowers I had left from another project, and used a fabulous ribbon to finish it off.

I didn't want to detract from the beauty of the technique so I didn't add a busy, hand painted image. What I did was make a small panel with the sentiment using the same technique, mounted both on beautifully coordinating card stock, and used a ribbon to enhance it all. Hope you like my card, and hope you'll try the technique.

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