Friday, July 30, 2010

Printing Photographs Over Text (Faux Photo Transfers!)

You want the look of a transfer without the fuss?  Try this!  We're going to print our images onto the page.  I can hear you protesting...I know we can't run our ABs through our printers, but remember back at the beginning I told you to save the pages you tore from your book?
We'll be using them (or you could actually any page you have that is the same size as your AB, including sheet music, which is what I used).
I'm going to show you two variations.  With the first you'll see the background text very clearly; with the second, the look is much more subtle.  One is not better than the other; both are effective, so just use the one that works better with the images you've chosen.  Or, use them both, as I did.
Here are the two photographs I want to use.  One is of my paternal grandmother, the other is of her with my father when he was a baby.
Both have been scanned into my computer.  Here is what  it looks like when I print one directly onto a sheet of text:
For the more subtle look of text behind a photograph,  apply a VERY light coat of gesso to the page first.  You should still see the text.
Dry the gesso thoroughly.  If the page is a bit wobbly and you're afraid it might jam up your printer, use some painter's tape and attach it to a plain sheet of copy paper (just on the end that enters your printer) like this:
Here is how the other photograph looks printed on this sheet:
I decided to use both on my page, and embellished the page with some machine stitching, some distress inks, and a row of brads.
Glue the page onto an empty page in your AB and no one will ever know it was attached.  The center image, because it was printed right on the page looks like a perfect transfer.
I don't have examples, but there is no reason why you can't try this technique over a page that has been colored with glazes or the water soluble oil pastels I discussed last week, or just about any other coloring medium.  You can even try it on a page that has been lightly collaged....I say lightly, because we wouldn't want to do this on a very bulky page that might jam up your printer.  
The journaling was done with one of my favorite tools, a glaze pen.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Adding Color With Portfolio Pastels

I'd like to thank everyone who has left comments either here or through one of my yahoo groups.  I do enjoy posting these techniques and am happy so many of you are enjoying them as well.
This week my posting is not a specific to altered books technique so much as an enthusiastic endorsement of a favorite you might not be aware of....and one I think you'll love to have.
The full name:  Portfolio Water Soluble Oil Pastels.
I was first introduced to these wonderful colors when I took a collage workshop with Lynne Perrella, and have been devoted to them ever since,  They are widely available (I bought mine at Staples), relatively inexpensive (a set of 24 is about $10), versatile, and very easy to use.
This page (from the post on cutting doors and windows) was done with my Portfolios:
You can create a rich background by applying a thick layer of color directly to the paper:
Then blend it in with a paper towel.  You'll get a different effect if you use a dry towel or a slightly damp towel.  Try both.
You can blend two colors together right on the page.  You can even paint with the Portfolios.  Just rub some color onto your palette or palette paper, and pick it up with a wet paint brush.  There are so many great techniques to try.....and the directions for all are right on the box!
One of my favorites, involves dipping the pastel directly into water.
This produces a very intense color on the page.
You can leave it as is, or soften and blend it in somewhat with your fingers or a paper towel.  You can also add water by spraying it right onto the colored area and then blending.
Before blending you can add texture by scratching some of the color away with a texture tool, wire brush, or any pointy tool.
I know you already have a lot of ways to add color to your pages.....paint, glazes, inks, various sprays, papers, mica you may be wondering, do I really need these?  Well, need is a strong word, so I suppose the answer is no.  But will you love and use them if you have them?  Oh, I think so, and I wouldn't be suggesting you spend some money on something unless I thought it was something you'd really enjoy.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Adding Transfers To Your Pages

A transferred image can add a great deal of interest to a page.  It is  transparent, so the layered effect can be quite striking.  You can use images you find on the internet and print on your home printer, or commercial clip art, printed on laser printers, or photocopies of any image you like.  You can even transfer an image directly from a magazine.

There are A LOT of ways to add transfers to your pages; there are entire books written on the subject.  I should know, I own several of them!  Many of the techniques involve specialized supplies and a good deal of waiting as things dry.  The results can be worth it, and sometimes you have to go this more challenging route if you want to transfer images to fabric or metal or plastic, or certain other materials.

However, we're dealing with paper, and one of the easiest, quickest, and most fool-proof transfer methods is perfect for paper.

All you need  is the image you wish to transfer, packing tape or clear Con-Tact paper, a burnishing tool (a bone folder or the back of a spoon), and water.
I found the Statue of Liberty picture on the internet and printed it on plain copy paper.  Cut the Con-Tact paper large enough to cover it completely.  If you are using packing tape, you will probably have to use more than one strip to cover your image completely.
As you cover the image, smooth the Con-Tact paper down with your fingers.  Then use the bone folder or back of a spoon to burnish it into the image.  Work from the center out, making sure the paper and image are well adhered, and working any bumps or air bubbles out.
If you need to trim the image, do it now.  Then turn it over and using some sandpaper, a sanding block or even an emery board, rough up the back a little.  This opens up the pores of the paper and makes the next step much easier.
Now take it to the sink and holding it under water, begin to remove the white paper by gently rubbing it in a circular motion with your thumbs.
The paper softens and falls away, and the image is left behind on the Con-Tact paper (or packing tape).

When all the paper has been removed, let the transfer dry and then apply it to your page.  It is translucent, so whatever is beneath it on the page will show through.  I really love the look of the color and words behind the image.
There may be enough stickiness left on the transfer to attach it without adding anything, but if there isn't, just spread some gel medium on the back.  It will dry clear.
Here's how the above transfer looks alongside the next page.
And here is another one I did using Con-Tact paper.  This time the image is of the old Yankee Stadium.
The next example is of a photocopied image, and the transfer was done with packing tape.  I needed two strips of tape, and allowed them to overlap slightly.  You can't even see where the pieces overlapped
 I chose to use black and white images, but you can do this technique with color pictures as well.   Just remember that whatever is on your page will show through your transfer.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Tip-In: Adding Tags And Other Inserts

Sometimes you might want to add an element to your AB so you can see both sides. Obviously, you can't glue it in.  And tucking it into a pocket really doesn't make it totally visible.   In that case, you'll want to do what is called a tip-in, a way of adding something, even an entire page, anywhere you'd like in your book.

Tags are a good example.  They might be decorated on both sides, or the back may contain information you don't want covered up.  You'll need two colored pages with as many pages in between them as you have tags to add.
The three pages I'm holding will be used for the tip-ins.

Tear the pages out, but make sure you leave a bit for attaching the tags.  How much you leave depends on how wide your tags are.  You'll want the edge of the tag to line up with the edges of your pages.
I have some tags that contain vintage images of NYC, perfect for my heritage themed book.

I'll attach the first tag to the top cut down page, near the top,  using glue or double sided tape.  Very little of the tag will be covered up.
The second tag will be attached to the next cut down page, lined up so the first tag doesn't cover any part of it.
The third and last tag will go on the last cut down page, at the bottom, again, so none of it is covered up by the second tag.
Here's how they all look together:
And when you turn the pages:
What I like about having the tags lined up with the edges of the rest of the pages, is the opportunity you have to add some ribbon and fiber to the holes in the tags.  They'll dangle off the side of the book and add a great deal of interest
And when the book is closed:
Another element that is perfect for this technique is the postcard.  If it is an actual card that has been sent through the mail, you'll have writing and postage on the back that you'll want to be able to look at.  Even if it is an unused postcard, there might be some information on the back that would be interesting to see.
I have two vintage postcards, one of Ellis Island, where my grandparents stopped on their way to becoming citizens in their new country.  The other is of the original NY Aquarium, which was then located in downtown Manhattan, within viewing distance of Ellis Island.

If the page you want to add has some blank space on the side, you can insert it with a simple stitching technique.
First find an empty page (not a decorated one) and fold it in half vertically.  Glue it shut.
Fold it in half again, and apply more adhesive so it stays closed.
Now, take the paper you wish to add and punch some holes down the side with the blank space.
Lay the paper down where you want to attach it to the folded page and trace through the holes.
Now punch those holes as well.
Sew the paper to the folded page, using your choice of yarn, ribbon, string or fibers, going in and out of the holes you punched, in a running stitch.
You can make sure you use a long length of material for your sewing and add beads to the ends.  Or you can tie off each end with a knot and have just the fibers dangling.  Or trim them after knotting, and have nothing dangling at all.
Time for another look at my book from above.  It's getting that nice full look I love!