Thursday 14 September 2017

Journalling tag: faux lapis lazuli technique

Ok, so I have a caveat for this technique - I didn't have enough of the right colours of India ink, so my tag is a little more of a petrol blue than the bright ultramarine of lapis lazuli. I've given you the instructions for both how to get my look and how to get a more genuine one so then either way, you're happy, right?

I really enjoyed my faux malachite tag that I made earlier this week and I've had a lot of lovely feedback and emails about it. Several people did comment that they don't like handling StāzOn, which I used in that technique, so I made this tag firstly as an experiment to see if a different product worked (and it did!). A lot of folk get headaches or sore eyes when using StāzOn - I'm not one of them - and whilst I'm not 100% sure of the solvent used in it, I think it's either a petroleum ether or an alkane - both of which will cause headaches etc but are largely benign if you work in a well-ventilated area. The product I've selected to use here is a water-based one and has a much more vibrant gold colour than the copper ink I was using in the malachite method. Even though it's made with elementary copper rather than pigment-coated mica like StāzOn, it's more of a bright gold than a warm copper - and that's perfect as lapis lazuli is quite different to malachite in look and composition.

Lapis lazuli isn't a mineral but a very beautiful rock, composed a mixture of different minerals. I wear pendants and bracelets hewn from it frequently and, of course, as the painters will already know, it was used to make the pigment Ultramarine until the synthetic alternative French Ultramarine came along. You can still buy genuine lapis lazuli watercolours if you shop around. It's an interesting rock to look at closely - it's about 2/5ths lazurite (a deep blue, vivid coloured silicate mineral) and the rest is composed of calcite (calcium carbonate, the white veins), sodalite (a slightly duller blue, with a lot of white veining, another silicate mineral) and veins of pyrite (ferrous sulfide, fool's gold), which give it depth and sparkle. It's a beautiful stone - if you've not seen it in the flesh, do! 


Ranger Dylusions Size 12 Journalling Tag [BUY NOW]

Ranger Non-Stick Craft Sheet or other slick surface [BUY NOW]

Ranger Mini Ink Blending Tool Replacement Foam - you don't need the actual blending tool for this project, just the foam pad. [BUY NOW]

Ranger Archival Inks in:
   Forget-Me-Not (Wendy Vecchi's line) [BUY NOW]
   Cobalt [BUY NOW]
   Manganese Blue [BUY NOW]

Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Spray Stain in:
   Picket Fence [BUY NOW]
   Tarnished Brass [BUY NOW]

Winsor and Newton Drawing Ink in:
   Gold [BUY NOW]

Dr Ph. Martin's Bombay India Ink in:
   Aqua [BUY NOW]
   Violet [BUY NOW]
The above India ink colours will give you the kind of petrol blue I have, if you want a more authentic lapis lazuli colour, switch the Aqua for Blue [BUY NOW] and use 3 parts Blue to 1 part Violet.

Rubbing alcohol (I am using 90% iso-propyl alcohol - but if you're unsure, read my guide to rubbing alcohols - this one does really need iso-propyl alcohol but 70% won't work, nor will 99% - so if you buy the latter, mix 9 parts of it with 1 part water before use and mix really well).

Palette knife

Pipette (optional but it makes it a lot easier!)


STEP 1: You really should begin by reading my malachite tag method and my trying of Wendy Vecchi's spattered plaster technique, as those tutorials will give you the details of the application that I am going to kind of skip over a bit here! Begin by cleaning your craft sheet with a little rubbing alcohol and, leaving it dry to look at, smoosh the 3 Archival Ink pads onto it - I used about three times more Manganese Blue than the other two, as you can see above.

STEP 2: I added a few mL of rubbing alcohol into each patch of ink and smooshed them with my palette knife and gently co-mingled them before adding equal parts of the two India ink colours, roughly dropping the inks all over the area. I immediately followed this with 3 squirts of Picket Fence Distress Spray Stain.

STEP 3: I planted the tag into the mess and dragged it around until it was totally covered. Take care not to smear it around or the background becomes too uniform. 

STEP 4: I then cleaned the craft sheet and repeated the process (without drying the tag at all), thus time just using Manganese Blue Archival Ink and the spray stain, without any India Ink. I did this 3 more times until there were no gaps on the tag.

STEP 5: I then repeated the process (again, the tag was still wet), using Manganese Blue, and this time I added a couple of small drops of the gold Winsor and Newton Drawing Ink. This time, when I put the tag into the puddle, I dragged it along the craft sheet, flat against it, so that I could mimic the veins/streaks of pyrite.

STEP 6: I sprayed some Tarnished Brass Distress Spray Stain onto my craft mat and picked it up with the blending foam and used it to edge the tag. I then left it to dry overnight.

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