Aug 30, 2010

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Scrapbooking Chalk

Scrapbooking Chalk

Chalk is a flexible tool that is very easy to use. Because of chalk’s many advantages, lots of people prefer using chalk to markers, pencils and inks. Chalk can be used to embellish pictures by adding shadows, depth, texture, touches of color and aging. You can also add color to embossed images and chalk a stencil onto your background – the options are endless.

Chalk can be used to spice up an otherwise boring die. Often, die cuts seem flat and lifeless, but with a little bit of chalk you can add character and depth as well as colors to enhance them.

Acid Free Chalk

For scrapbooking it’s best to use Decorative Chalk or an alternative chalk that is guaranteed acid free (important!). Note that it isn’t recommended that you use the standard artists pastels unless they are labeled acid free.  The reason for this is that while the chalk itself is usually acid free, the pigment/oils that are used to color the chalk may not be and they can damage your work and photos over time.

Usually, you won’t need to use a fixative when chalking in your scrapbook because the pigments in the chalk become embedded in the paper as you apply and blend the colors, and after a few hours they will become permanent. Additionally, the protective sleeve around the page will prevent the chalk from being rubbed off. If, however, you use a lot of chalk to achieve a desired effect, you can use a fixative, such as Blair’s No-Order Fixative (an artists fixative spray). When spraying an item, don’t point the nozzle directly at it, but instead spray across it from around 12″ above and let the fixative “fall” on to the paper like a mist. Spraying directly at the item can often cause a speckling effect on textured or dark papers. Don’t spray this on photos!

Scrapbooking Chalk Colors

There are many colors available in a standard palette and new palettes coming arriving all the time to expand the color options. If you can’t find the right one you can always blend your own.

Just remember the simple rule: don’t wrestle with the color of the die cut. If you want a pink shaded die cut, don’t start with green! Pick the foundation color of the die cut or paper that comes closest to the color you need. You can always tone down a red, or brighten a yellow, but turning orange to green doesn’t always achieve the desired effect.

Applying Chalk To Your Scrapbook

As well as applying the chalk directly to the page, you can also use a simple applicator to layer the colors on the paper as well as to blend colors to get some dazzling effects. Chalking applicators you can use are simple cotton tip and foam tip swabs. The foam tip ones from craft stores are best, though they can be a bit pricey. Don’t use make-up versions found in drug stores unless they are high quality and the foam is very soft, because the pores in the craft store swabs are smaller and allow for a more even application of the chalk. Foam tip applicators are good for deep, rich color on the paper or die cut.

Many scrapbookers use cotton-tip applicators called Eye-Deal Tips that are actually make-up applicators with a dual cotton tip. Conveniently, they are available in flat and pointed tip styles for broad and detailed applications. The tips are wound tightly and give you a lot of control for blending and application. They also have a plastic shaft with a flat end under the cotton tip so they don’t bend as easily as the paper sticks nor to do they leave a line embedded in the paper like the blunt end of cotton swabs can if you press too hard. The flat side is ideal for applying color and blending and the pointy end is good for adding shading to small or specific areas. They’re quite cheap and can be found in most drug stores.

Regular Q-tips or cotton swabs can also be used but they have a tendency to “fuzz” faster when stray bits of cotton work loose from the bulb. Before using regular Q-tips in the chalk, it’s a good idea to twist the cotton with your fingers so that the cotton is wrapped more tightly around the stick. This will prevent it from “fuzzing” so fast. As well as the “fuzz factor, the stick has a tendency to rub against the paper leaving indentations or lines where the chalk’s color will catch. This can also damage the paper or die cut so try not to press too hard and take care as the cotton begins to loosen from the stick.

Preparing To Chalk

You should always wash your hands before starting to chalk. The oils on your hands will attract the chalk if it gets on the item you are chalking, so wash first and often to reduce the oils and the potential for transferring unwanted chalk from your hands to other items. A good tip is to have a damp (not too wet) paper towel on hand when you chalk so that you can wipe chalk covered fingertips.

Random Tip: if you do get a little oily smudge on your paper and it isn’t too bad, apply a little bit of white chalk that is just enough to cover the stain and blend it in. Let it sit for a few minutes and then erase. The idea is that the white chalk absorbs just enough oil so that you can chalk over the area and no one will notice.

Now that we’ve covered the chalking basics, let’s have a look at some chaling tips.

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