Saturday, December 6, 2008

Julie's Acrylic Album Class #1

(Please do not copy our photos or text and paste into another site or print them out. Instead, please pass on a link to our site to anyone who may find this online class useful. Thank you!)

For this class, I'm sharing the steps I went through to create my first acrylic album. I know that many of you are curious about these albums and are looking for ideas to help you create your own. During my creative process, I looked through scrapbooking magazines, idea books and websites. I gathered my favorite ideas and techniques to create an original acrylic album as a 40th Birthday gift for my friend Teresa. Teresa's 40th Birthday Party was a Barndance with a Western theme, so I used that theme to begin my search through Whimzee's Scrapbook Studio for the supplies to create the album.

In this class, I explain the techniques I used to create each page of the album. Please feel free to use this class as a rough guideline in the creation of your own acrylic album. It is not my intention that your album be an exact copy of mine. I think that it's important to find your own theme and supplies that suite your theme. If you need help developing a plan for your album, I'd love to hear your questions in the comment sections in this blog. Also, we'd love to help you choose your supplies at the store, just ask one of the Whimzee's Girls for help on your next visit.

Most of all, don't be afraid to embark on your own acrylic album adventure. The final product will be a beautiful, one-of-a-kind collection of memories of your special event. I'd love to see photos of your creations! Good Luck & see you in the store!

Julie's Acrylic Album Class #2

After deciding to make an acrylic album, my first step was to choose the size, I choose 6”x6”. The album I chose came with 3 silver hinged rings and is packaged in a shimmery gold bag, perfect for gift giving. We have some great new acrylic albums in the store from Clear Scraps & Bo Bunny.

My next step was to head for the Western & Farm section in the store. I was looking for a selection of papers that would include red, blue and some neutrals. A red bandana pattern by Creative Imaginations, was the first to catch my eye. Next, I found a blue bandana pattern with horses in its pattern by Karen Foster. Then, I remembered a floral on a red background that reminded me of calico, it’s a fun paper named Organic Poppy by Bo Bunny. It isn’t Western but I thought I could work it in with my theme. I headed back to the Western section and found a paper with a pile of rope on it named Lasso by Karen Foster. I added a brown & white lined “notebook” paper by Creative Café. Next, I came a cross a denim print, Blue Jean by Paper Adventures. My other choices came out of our clearance bins. We had a couple papers with white washed or distressed wood on them and one covered with old yardsticks. I thought the yardsticks (Folded Wood Tape Measures by K & Company) would be a fun addition. I wanted use the 40’s on the rulers somewhere in my album and the color & textures of the rulers fit in with a Western theme.

Once I had a good selection of paper, I started thinking about embellishments. I looked through my Grungeboard alphabet and took out the sheet of “T”s. I was sad that my set didn’t include numbers. I decided that I would cut a big 40 for the front cover on the Cricut diecut machine. As I was looking all through the store, I came across a large set of letters and numbers in a cupboard that Twila had used for one of her projects. I was excited to find a large 4 & 0 in a font that fit nicely with my theme. But if you can’t find something appropriate for your cover, do consider cutting your letters or numbers on the Cricut. In the store, we have the large Cricut that cuts shapes up to 12” . I chose some rubons with birthday, celebration and friend themes by KaiserCraft and Creative Café. For the back page, both inside and outside, I picked two square frames by Wild Asparagus.

To add a special flair to my album, I chose a transparency by Artistic Expressions called Celebrate. My last addition to my collection was paint. I wanted to use brown paint for the edges of some of my papers and as a background on my inside pages. As usual, I couldn’t find the exact color I wanted, so I chose a brown that was the closest I could find. Then I grabbed a black, a red and a metallic gold. I find that mixing metallic colors with any of my paints gives them an extra depth. You don’t need much, in fact, my gold paint was almost empty, I had to use a toothpick to reach in & get enough out for mixing.

I grabbed some last minute embellishments that I thought fit into my theme, unsure exactly where I would use them: Creative Café’s red felt pocket with a scalloped edge, Creative Café buttons in light blue, red & brown, thin twine in red, blue and ivory, Creative Café brown felt flower trim, 3 bronze hinged rings and a few pieces of coordinating ribbon.

For my adhesives, I chose hermafix squares, spray adhesive and Diamond Glaze. I wasn’t sure at first which adhesive to use, so I wanted to have a choice once I got started on my project.

When I got home, I laid out all my supplies on my table. I wanted to look at everything together and see if anything stuck out too much. I like to see everything together, so I can tell if it combines together in a cohesive way with my theme. I was happy with everything, but I did wonder if the Creative Café rubons would match my color scheme & theme. In the end, I only ended up using one from that set.

I had an idea in my head of how I wanted the inside pages to look, so I got to work.

Julie's Acrylic Album Class #3

I chose to cut my papers into a bunch of 2 ½” squares. I chose 2 ½” so that I could put four squares on each page and still have room for a small border around the inside and outside of the squares. After cutting the squares, I laid them out in groups of four, moving them around until I liked the layout of each group. What I decided, was that I would use one red, one blue and two neutrals on each page. I arranged the squares so that red and blue were at a diagonal to each other, with the neutrals in the other spaces.

I thought a lot about where I wanted these pages with this four square layout to appear in my album. I decided that the four square layouts should have the same layout on their back side, so that I didn’t have to worry about what would show on the back, since most of my papers were single-sided. This way, I could lay a square over another square of exactly the same size on the back page and not worry white would be showing through the acrylic.

I did a lot of thinking about the backs of my pages and what would be seen when I looked into each page of my album. I had never worked with acrylic before and was pleasantly surprised to see how nice it turned out. Before starting, I worked on my layout on my table and by drew sketches of my plans. In the end, I didn’t end up with an album that was exactly like my sketches. I changed things as I went along and thought of something different that would work better or when I realized the pieces in my sketch wouldn’t all fit on one page.

Julie's Acrylic Album Class #4

Pages 1 & 2 and 5 & 6

After much thought, I chose to place my four square layout on two complete pages (two acrylic sheets, both back & front) of my album. Behind the cover is the first set of four squares, I placed this layout on both sides of this first acrylic page (So the squares are on Pages 1 and 2 of the album.) My first step, after peeling off the protective page covering, (Be careful! I forgot to peel the covering off the back side of this page and had to remove my squares, peel it off and reattach the squares!), was to mix my paint to create the color I was looking for. I wanted a nice chocolate brown. I mixed brown, a few drops of black and about three times as much metallic gold as black and I was happy with the resulting color. I used a foam brush to apply the paint to about a 5 ½”x5 ½” area on my page. I applied the paint in one direction (vertically), so the grain would all be in the same direction. Next, I looked at my four square layout and rounded the outside corner of each square with my corner rounder. After rounding the corners, I laid each square down in the wet paint, pushing all over the square with my fingers to be sure there were no bubbles hidden underneath. I placed each square into the paint in this manner, leaving about a ¼” margin between the squares.

I liked the look of my four squares and moved on to cover the tab. I used the red bandana print to cover the tab. I liked the look of the paper and it’s also double-sided, which is a nice bonus, I didn’t have to cover the back side of the tab. I traced around the tab and cut out a piece with my scissors. I used Tim Holtz’s Distress Ink in Tea Dye to ink the edges of the paper. I adhered this piece to the tab with Diamond Glaze (using a foam brush to apply the glaze). The Diamond Glaze makes a nice, shiny surface and also acts as an adhesive.

After allowing my paint to dry, I turned the page over. The paint looked nice and was pretty transparent. I could see the backs of my squares on the other side. I used them as a guide to place my next set of squares on this page. I rounded the corners of these squares and inked them with the brown ink pad. I inked these squares because their edges would be visible and not hidden in the paint like the ones on the front side.

I used this same technique on what would become Pages 5 & 6 of my album. I didn’t want all of my pages to have the same layout. I only wanted one side of each double-page spread to have the four square layout. So when you open the album, Page 1, on the right is the four square layout. Turn the page and Page 2, on the left side is the four square layout. Turn Page 3 and then Page 5, on the right has the four square layout. Turn Page 5 and Page 6, on the left has the four square layout.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Julie's Acrylic Album Class #5

Pages 3 & 4

I was looking for a layout that would complement my four square layout when I came up with this layout. I choose two 2 ½ x 3 ½” rectangles mounted so that they overlap a 1 ½ x 5 ½” rectangle. I used my corner rounder on one corner of each rectangle, to coordinate with the four square layout. I inked the edges of the rectangles with brown ink and used extra brown paint from the four square layout to do the edges of the long rectangle. For the tab, I chose the red bandana paper, laying it down over the tag and tracing around the tag and edge of the album. Next, I used my scissors to trim along my line and my cutter to create a 1” band adjoining the tag. I inked this paper with brown ink and adhered it to the acrylic with diamond glaze. The diamond glaze creates a shiny coating on the paper when viewed from the back side of this page. The red bandana paper is double sided, with a stripe pattern on the back, so the tab and adjoining strip are striped on page 4. I used the same two 2 ½ x 3 ½” rectangles and 1 ½ x 5 ½” rectangle design on page 4, using the hermafix squares to adhere all the rectangles to both pages 3 and 4.

Julie's Acrylic Album Class #6

Pages 7 & 8

This page is the page just in front of the pocket page. I designed its elements to fit around the T that I stitched onto the pocket. I wanted to be able to see the T, so I used the Creative Café brown felt flower trim on the top and bottom to add some texture. I used an extra flower on the tab so the tab looks balanced when the album is closed. I cut two rectangles out of my double-sided papers and placed them on either side of the T. I used spray adhesive to adhere both the trim and the paper on this page.

The following photo is the back side of this page. No embellishments or paper were attached to this side of the page. This is an example of how nice the back side of the acrylic pages can look when some thought into their design.

Julie's Acrylic Album Class #7

Page 9

When I first saw these little pockets, I fell in love with them and set about trying to think of a creative way to use them. I knew since this pocket was red, I could find some way to use it in my acrylic album. I also knew that I wanted to somehow include my friend’s cute birthday invitations in her album. The invitation was huge (5 ¾” x 11”), so I wasn’t sure how to include it in a 6”x6” album. Once I started thinking about the pocket, an idea came to me. I would scan the invitation and print it small, so I could put it in the pocket as a tag. After printing the small invitation “tag,” I used a piece of red twine tied onto the corner, so that people would be able to remove the tag from the pocket. Now that I had decided how to use the invitation, I needed some embellishment on the pocket. Since I wasn’t able to find a T that was the perfect size for this album (mine were either too large or too small), I decided to stitch one onto the front of the pocket. I used thin ivory twine to stitch a large T onto the pocket. I have done a lot of counted cross stitch in my life, so I wasn’t intimidated by stitching. I just thought about how big I wanted the letter and got started. I used mostly a back stitch, but some of the stitch is some other stitch entirely, I’m not sure which one, but it turned out fine. I wasn’t looking for perfection, just to have a handmade look. You could use a white pencil to trace your design onto the felt, but I was in a time crunch by the time I got to this step, so I just jumped in & got started. After the T was finished, I thought it looked a little plain, so I added the flowers using blue twine.

I used my Wild Asparagus frames on the front & back of the pages with the pocket. I laid the first frame down and placed the pocket over it so the frame only showed a bit around the edges. I attached both pieces with spray adhesive. I applied some rubon flourishes from my KaiserCraft set around the pocket. On the back side, I plan to mount the second frame directly over the first one. I didn’t attach the second one before giving the album as a gift, so that my friend could place a photo on the page and place the second frame over it. I used a KaiserCraft birthday rubon on the second frame.

Page 10

This photo shows what the back of the album will look like (before a photo is placed in the frame). The pocket edges only show a bit over the top of the frame.

Julie's Acrylic Album Class #8

For the front cover, I chose the largest numbers I could find. I wish I knew the vendor for these numbers. I found them in a box in a cupboard at the store. I used the same paint on the numbers and T, that I had mixed for the background of my four square layout. I painted one side of the chipboard and all the edges. I left them on wax paper to dry and then painted their back sides.

For the numbers, I chose my favorite papers from my project stash to cover them. I like to apply paper to chipboard using spray adhesive. First, I go outside (spray adhesive has a strong odor and the sticky overspray is almost impossible to remove from things like the table, floor or your clothes). Then I hold the chipboard at an angle, so I can see where I’m applying the adhesive, I spray the adhesive onto the chipboard from about 12 inches away so that it is applied in a fine mist all over the project. If you hold the spray adhesive too close to your project, it gets too thick and can run or ooze out the sides of your paper. After the chipboard is coated with a fine mist of adhesive, I take it back into the house and lay the paper down over the adhesive. I smooth the paper down on my chipboard to make sure there are no bubbles and let it dry (about 30 minutes).

After the paper was attached, I used a foam brush to edge the numbers again, making sure the paint covered the edges of my paper. Next, I took a long piece of ivory twine and wrapped it around the bottom of the 0, tying a knot in the twine on the front of the 0 once I thought I had enough. I wanted it to resemble rope tied around the number. I did the same thing with the red twine diagonally across from the ivory twine. This time, after wrapping the twine several times, I put the ends of the twine through two of my Creative Café buttons (first a medium sized light blue button and then a smaller brown button with a carved edge) and tied a knot on top of the buttons. For both the ivory & red twine, I left about an 1 ½” ends after tying the knots.

After everything was dry and I was satisfied with my twine wrapping, I mounted the numbers on the cover of my album using a foam brush to apply diamond glaze to the back sides of each number. I pressed the numbers onto the cover and left them to dry overnight. The next day, I applied a birthday theme rubon on the back of the cover directly on top of the number 0, to give the back of the cover a little attention.

Julie's Acrylic Album Class #9

For my final embellishments, I replaced the silver hinged rings that came with the album with bronze rings. The bronze rings melded with my theme much more than the shiny silver ones. I’ll save those for a future project. After assembling the album pages on the rings, I cut a piece of thick twine. This thick twine is from my gardening supplies and works well to simulate rope in craft projects. I used the piece of thick twine to tie knots around each ring, so that a piece of twine ran between each ring. To this twine I tied a piece of coordinating ribbon and a piece of both red and blue thin twine. I did the same thing with the ribbon & twine between each ring.

I still had the brown painted T and thought it would be fun to use it in an unexpected way. I used a large needle (from my Making Memories tool kit) to poke a hole in the T and loop blue twine through the hole. I used the ends of the blue twine to tie a red button onto the front of the T. I then used the loop to hang the T from my top bronze ring.

When I set up the album and stepped back to admire it. I was very happy that after using so many different techniques learned from so many sources had come together to create what I felt was a cohesive decorative project.

My friend loved her gift and I still can’t wait to help her place her 40th birthday party photos in the album. I plan to help her decided which photos to include and which sizes to print them in. We’ll get together soon to do the last part of this project. I want to print the photos in sepia tone and in various sizes to complement the Western themes and colors I have so carefully created. I’ll take photos of the finished project and share them with you soon!


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