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Old 05-09-2012, 02:55 PM   #1
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Default Sponging and Distress Ink Blending - what's the diff?

Been reading a lot of posts about sponging and looking at some beautiful cards recently using the technique.

What makes sponging different from using Distress Inks with a blender tool?

Just the use of the sponge? Or are they basically the same-ish thing -- the use of something to apply ink to paper in order to color it, whether in bands or swaths or all-over or gradations or patterns or whatever (as opposed to using a stamp to create an image).

I work with Distress Inks already (if you want you can read my rant about the ridiculous cost of the blender tool in the Tools section), so wondering if sponging is something else, in which case I ought to try it.

Forgive me. I'm really still a newbie. You have to explain everything to me.

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Old 05-09-2012, 04:37 PM   #2
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The blending is started off the paper and "blended" on to it. Sponging to me is more dabbing the ink on an image or sections of the paper. Many YouTube videos show the techniques.
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Old 05-09-2012, 05:02 PM   #3
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I use sponges to do what Tim does with a blending tool. I start on the craft mat and in a circlular motion add my ink colour to the cardstock. I use the stampin up sponge, cut into wedges, and each wedge gives me five sides to work with. I won't have the patience to match single applicator to an ink colour, or colour group for that matter. I have a container of stained, but washed, sponge wedges on the desk beside me ready to go.

The fifth photo in this blog post shows the results I get from blending with sponges. To my eye it looks the same as what you can get with blending tool. I've ordered an blending tool to see if there is a difference, but I think I'll still be using my sponges the most. Time will tell.
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Old 05-09-2012, 06:00 PM   #4
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It depends on your desired effect. Do you want to distress the edges of panels with sponged color? Or do you want to sponge in color in a stamped image? Do you want to get your fingers stained with ink, or do you want to use the blending tool and avoid this?
I have used both. I have some teeny sponges on wood dowels I use to sponge in colors of stamped images. I have even used a Q-tip to sponge in colors of stamped images. My favorite method though of sponging colors is around edges of panels of various card stock panels or on the entire surface of a card. I loved the distressed edge look of sponging around the edges. For that I use the TH blending tool. When I first starting stamping, I cut up a large very porous sea sponge into small pieces, and I keep the sponge colors in zip lock baggies. If I need a sky blue color, I use that pale blue sponge. If I need a lake blue green color, then I use that color sponge. I did buy a few packages of the different sized sponge dobbers and I keep those in zip locks by color. I love TH style altered art, cards, and tags, so I follow his tutorials for sponging color onto paper.
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Old 05-09-2012, 06:52 PM   #5
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You can "dab" a sponge and get a more speckled effect or you can thoroughly blend with a sponge -- and probably 18 degrees in between .

If I use a sponge or the Inksseentials blending tool (which is essentially a type of sponge on an applicator), then I'll call it sponging. The finished effect should make it obvious that a specific technique was used with the sponge -- if the ink is blended, then it's blended; if it's stippled then it's tapped or dabbed on.
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:00 AM   #6
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All of which says to me that it's all sponging - with different techniques and tools (different sponges, blenders, etc.) each creating a different effect.

Theresa I like your approach with the cut up sponges. You will have to let us know what you think of the blending tool. I'm going to get a sponge and cut it up and play with it since all I've ever used is the blending tool. (Some people wash the pads from those as well, so they only need a few of them. I don't. I just assign a color to each one.)

And I went and looked at your blog post and was fascinated. I didn't know you could do a self-guided video series with TH. I took a look at the website and it looks like it might be worth the money at some point.
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:44 AM   #7
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Yep, all the same!

I remember the first time I sponged on a card, I had a very stippled effect and loved it. But I've started doing so much blended sponging that I forget to go back to it. I've been using the Inkssentials blending tool almost exclusively lately and do have quite a few of the pads.... but not exact color matches to inks because I'll use them with my Distress Inks and my A Muse Studio inks. I choose one that's close, and usually if there's any ink on it, I can use a piece of scrap to pretty much clean it off and sometimes I'll wash them out. I check the used sponges on scrap just to make sure I'm not going to contaminate my color.

Here's something you might like to try if you really like the blended look:

By the Seashore_as_nlb by Phantom - Cards and Paper Crafts at Splitcoaststampers

After sponging the background for the landscape (with A Muse inks), I used a couple of dry paintbrushes, picking up ink directly from the pad, to add details to the grass and sand detail. It's pretty subtle in the photo but creates a nice layered effect.

The only thing I don't care for with the blending tool is that the Velcro piece that's attached to the wood handle always comes off. I have three handles -- one just the block with the handle part actually missing! -- and always have to reattach that Velcro piece so the sponges can stick :^/ .
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:56 AM   #8
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Yes, that's a problem with the blender tool. The black sticky thing that is supposed to hold the velcro on does not work very well. People seem to have to either put a couple of staples in to hold it on, or hot glue it to the tool.

I just tried some sponging with some cosmetic sponges I had lying around. First I tried it with my SU classic inks and I didn't like it at all. Then I switched to distress inks and that was better. I think the problem is that the cosmetic sponge doesn't stipple, it is to dense. I need to get a different sponge.

You have to be very persistent to get new techniques under your belt. And keep your equanimity in the process. So I find. A challenge for me. I make everything into a big deal.
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Old 05-10-2012, 11:50 AM   #9
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You're not alone.

You might want to try some natural sponges like they sell in a paint/hardware store or the paint section for techniques on walls (cut small). I've used them before to create a marble look and they're fun. I think the first ones I did a stipple type effect were the SU sponges (cut up of course). Daubers give a nice stipple look but you have to be so careful to not get the shape of the sponge in there. Starting off the paper and overlapping well seem to help.

And I think Distress and A Muse inks work well simply because they don't dry too fast. You could also try Versamagic.

have fun!
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Old 05-10-2012, 01:24 PM   #10
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A big ol' carwash sponge from the dollar store works really well. I cut mine up into many smaller pieces; didn't really worry about keeping them a uniform size or shape and I think the irregular edges actually help with getting the ink to blend. And I got so many little sponges out of my dollar, that I don't worry about saving them or washing them out.
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Old 05-10-2012, 01:29 PM   #11
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Distressing/sponging... all the same thing. I personally love the Ranger ink applicators EXCEPT for the fact that the glue wasn't sticky enough to hold the velcro. Easy fix though: adhere it with glossy accents!!

I don't like natural sponges because they're too stipply, (it's a word!! In my brain!!!) and I don't like sponge daubers because they're too small and therefore, take a long time to do a large area and you have to keep going back to the inkpad to re-ink it..
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Old 05-10-2012, 02:04 PM   #12
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Cheryl - good to know! Have not tried those.

And jazzytobi - glossy accents, the one thing I haven't tried
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Old 05-10-2012, 04:12 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachelrose View Post
All of which says to me that it's all sponging - with different techniques and tools (different sponges, blenders, etc.) each creating a different effect.

Theresa I like your approach with the cut up sponges. You will have to let us know what you think of the blending tool. I'm going to get a sponge and cut it up and play with it since all I've ever used is the blending tool. (Some people wash the pads from those as well, so they only need a few of them. I don't. I just assign a color to each one.)

And I went and looked at your blog post and was fascinated. I didn't know you could do a self-guided video series with TH. I took a look at the website and it looks like it might be worth the money at some point.
I hope to have the blending tool and pads by next week, so I'll report back after I give them a go.

The info I got from the course was very useful, and grassroots stuff about getting to know and understand the supples we have in our stash. He uses his own branded items but he encourages you to use what you already have. I really wanted to compare my two brands of ink that I use, so I did side by side samples with most techniques. He also had some great tips with how to use some of our most used tools.
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Old 05-10-2012, 05:39 PM   #14
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Jazzytobi - Glossy accents hold your velcro on your blender tool? Seriously? Most people are stapling it on or hot gluing. Someone on the Tools forum said she tried several glues and they didn't work well. She ended up stapling.

Did you have to remove the black sticky thing and use it right on the wood? If so how did you remove it?
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Old 05-10-2012, 06:19 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachelrose View Post
Jazzytobi - Glossy accents hold your velcro on your blender tool? Seriously? Most people are stapling it on or hot gluing. Someone on the Tools forum said she tried several glues and they didn't work well. She ended up stapling.

Did you have to remove the black sticky thing and use it right on the wood? If so how did you remove it?
I left the black thingy on and applied the glossy accents to it.. I figured that stuff will hold anything so I gave it a whirl and it worked!!!
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Old 05-11-2012, 05:14 PM   #16
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I like to use sponge daubers over the Tim Holtz blending tool. But to each is own when it comes to what you are comfortable with I prefer to sponge with SU inks over the Distress Inks because I like my inks to dry in between layers so that they stay crisp

Here is a card that I just posted this morning that is done with SU inks and sponge daubers
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Old 05-11-2012, 05:53 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blondie090277 View Post
I like to use sponge daubers over the Tim Holtz blending tool. But to each is own when it comes to what you are comfortable with I prefer to sponge with SU inks over the Distress Inks because I like my inks to dry in between layers so that they stay crisp

Here is a card that I just posted this morning that is done with SU inks and sponge daubers
Yah, but you forgot to tell them that you use hand-made BIG daubers (she's quite the smarty-pants for thinking it up...) and the area of the dauber is quite large... If I had something like that I wouldn't mind it, I just don't like the little on-the-end-of-the-finger ones.

I forgot that you use SU! inks.. your sponging is always gorgeous!
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Old 05-11-2012, 07:22 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blondie090277 View Post
I like to use sponge daubers over the Tim Holtz blending tool. But to each is own when it comes to what you are comfortable with I prefer to sponge with SU inks over the Distress Inks because I like my inks to dry in between layers so that they stay crisp

Here is a card that I just posted this morning that is done with SU inks and sponge daubers
Kim, your sponging is so beautiful! I've only recently started playing with more of this technique. I like the Tsukineko large daubers, but I'm curious about what you use. Is there more info about your materials and techniques on your blog (I didn't see a search feature)? I'd love to learn more!
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Old 05-12-2012, 03:30 AM   #19
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I would, too. I have not had much luck using SU dye inks for sponging. I'm sure part of the problem is that I don't have the right sponges, but I also have not ever actually seen or read anything on the technique, only looked at examples of it and experimented on my own. There is a tutorial I looked at on this site, but it was about sponging as a sort of distressing technique.

Your sponging really is beautiful.
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Old 05-12-2012, 01:35 PM   #20
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Thanks ladies I do make my own sponge daubers because it's cost effective, therefore I can have as many as I want and in as many different sizes that I want. This is not my original idea and I can't remember whose idea it was that I copied but I did find this link for you that and this is exactly how I make mine. I used the medium and large tips and use the bright and colourful household sponges rather than make up sponges

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Old 05-16-2012, 03:27 AM   #21
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Although I have sponge wedges with colored paper attached, I usually grab the paper towel laying nearby. I scrunch up a bit of it and apply the ink to the edges of my card or paper, starting off the paper and swirling the ink over the edge.
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Old 05-16-2012, 04:25 AM   #22
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Quote:
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Thanks ladies I do make my own sponge daubers because it's cost effective, therefore I can have as many as I want and in as many different sizes that I want. This is not my original idea and I can't remember whose idea it was that I copied but I did find this link for you that and this is exactly how I make mine. I used the medium and large tips and use the bright and colourful household sponges rather than make up sponges

I’m so smart…lol « DoodleLicious.com
Kim, thank you so much for this info and the link!

Let us know if you ever do a tutorial – I'm sure I'm not the only one who would love the opportunity to learn more about this from you!
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Old 05-16-2012, 04:58 AM   #23
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Are the SU sponges similar in texture, etc. to household sponges or car wash sponges? Or different from both? I'm not asking about the daubers. I mean the yellow sponges that I believe come in packs of three and you cut them up.
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Old 05-16-2012, 06:07 AM   #24
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Oh Kim and Nancy your card are so beautiful!!!

Kim, thank you so much for that link!!! I had seen it once before and I have a ton of them now...I had been trying to find it again and was not able to.

I have a few questions.

I purchased the sized that you suggested however with the larger ones...I shove the whole sponge in there with a puffy balloon top...and it does not stay...It is like the sponge is too small. I have the same measurements.

Also, mine crumble to bits almost from the get go. I know you said that you use the dollar store ones...do you find a difference?

Thanks Kim!

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Old 05-16-2012, 06:49 AM   #25
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Hi!
I would love to have a handled ink applicator for each Tim Holtz, Stampin' Up, and Chalk ink pad I own, but I have neither the money nor the space for this.

Yesterday, I bought a piece of wood molding that is 1/2" thick, I will be having it cut into pieces just big enough for the foam pads (I bought them on coupon) and will mount them to the blocks. I am just going I will either glue or staple or velcro, which ever works. Then I will have blending pads for the colors. I will write the names of the ink pad on the block with a sharpie. I'm not going to seal the wood either, it's a tool not a decoration.

I like the idea of sponge daubers and will give that a try too.

Thanks for the great ideas.



As for the blending versus sponging, I don't know that the subtle differences are that noticeable to non-crafters. I do know that the backgrounds from sponging/blending make amazing cards and pages.
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Old 05-16-2012, 08:00 AM   #26
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I'm quite new to sponging / blending and I've tried various tools like the Tim Holtz blending tool, finger tip daubers, etc. But my preference is my dollar store bag of make-up sponges (the sort of triangular shaped ones). I get a really smooth effect with them, they're cheap, I throw them away when they get too messy. And I feel like I have more control with them.

So yes, I'm sponging because I am using a sponge, but I'm also blending because I often blend more than one ink colour.
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Old 05-16-2012, 08:18 AM   #27
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Over the course of about 2 years I have managed to acquire about 10 of the blending tools. But I have ALL the colors including the 3 sets of the seasonal colors. So that is over 42 colors. I can not get 42 blending tools. Changing out the foam applicator pads really ruins the pads. The felt backing just rips off and it its just a mess. I too, had to staple the velcro on to the wood handle.

I did read somewhere where someone made their own with wooden baby blocks...

I though that was a good idea. So I thought about it and I had unmounted all my wood stamps quite some time ago. I just happened to have saved all those wooden blocks. So I went through my WHOLE wooden block stash and managed to find exactly 32 of the exact same size that is the closed to the size of the TH blending tool. I purchased SELF ADHESIVE VELCRO by the yard at Joanns and I stuck them straight to the blocks and I also stapled them. I now have a "TOOL" for every color.

Because the homemade version does not have a handle I was able to store all these blocks in an ARTBIN divided container. I have each block in its own section! I also got my label maker and printed out the color names and attached to each block.

I am very happy with the results.

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Old 05-16-2012, 09:34 AM   #28
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Default blending troubles

I keep trying to use the blending tools, but I can't seem to be patient enough or something, because I just get blobs of color instead of soft, gradual shading; and by the time I get an inch into the card, I am out of color.

any suggestions?
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Old 05-16-2012, 12:59 PM   #29
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I keep trying to use the blending tools, but I can't seem to be patient enough or something, because I just get blobs of color instead of soft, gradual shading; and by the time I get an inch into the card, I am out of color.

any suggestions?
The paper you use can make a BIG difference. You might want to try papers that feel really smooth to the touch, if you want to make blending easier.

I like Paris Paper for Pens (bleedproof paper) from Borden & Riley. It's kind of coated and so the Distress Ink (or other inks) stay on the surface and give you more time to blend. I thought I hated my Distress Inks until I found that paper (plus it lets you heat emboss digital images out of the printer, if you want to).
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Old 05-16-2012, 01:07 PM   #30
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Valerie, in my opinion, you are a GENIUS!

Just sayin'.....thanks for sharing. I have two boxes full of wooden stamp blocks, and although i've wondered many times why am i hoarding these, now i can say, to do this! lolol winkwink xoxo
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Old 05-16-2012, 01:29 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eyestitch View Post
I keep trying to use the blending tools, but I can't seem to be patient enough or something, because I just get blobs of color instead of soft, gradual shading; and by the time I get an inch into the card, I am out of color.

any suggestions?
also... are you using a Ranger craft mat? If you are distressing on top of a scrap piece of paper then the paper is soaking up your ink AND your cardstock is soaking it up. a craft mat doesn't absorb the ink and will allow you to start your circular motion on the craft mat and creep onto your cardstock without going dry...
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Old 05-16-2012, 01:38 PM   #32
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Thanks. I do use a craft mat, but I am thinking my paper is too absorbent. I just bought some Hammermill paper and it seems REALLY slick, so I will try that.
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Old 05-16-2012, 02:42 PM   #33
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I use sponges that I cut up into pieces but I also use Cut 'N' Dry ..similar to the foam used on the TH tools. I don't use a tool with this, just cut into pieces and away I go. Much cheaper than buying the TH tools.
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Old 05-16-2012, 03:27 PM   #34
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What is Cut 'N' Dry and where do you get it?
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Old 05-16-2012, 06:24 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by 123scrap View Post
Valerie, in my opinion, you are a GENIUS!

Just sayin'.....thanks for sharing. I have two boxes full of wooden stamp blocks, and although i've wondered many times why am i hoarding these, now i can say, to do this! lolol winkwink xoxo
Thanks!!! Now I just made all three of my girls just read your statement and I said, "SEE! I told you I an a genius!"

Now if you would just believe that!

Blessings,
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Old 05-16-2012, 06:25 PM   #36
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oops I mean I AM a genius!
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Old 05-17-2012, 10:40 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Misstreez View Post
I use sponges to do what Tim does with a blending tool. I start on the craft mat and in a circlular motion add my ink colour to the cardstock. I use the stampin up sponge, cut into wedges, and each wedge gives me five sides to work with. I won't have the patience to match single applicator to an ink colour, or colour group for that matter. I have a container of stained, but washed, sponge wedges on the desk beside me ready to go.

The fifth photo in this blog post shows the results I get from blending with sponges. To my eye it looks the same as what you can get with blending tool. I've ordered an blending tool to see if there is a difference, but I think I'll still be using my sponges the most. Time will tell.
I'm with you. While I have the blending tool, I most often grab for my sponges (except when doing the polished stone technique) because I feel I have better control. I just don't have the knack yet for the blending tool for that. Must say that recently I used my stipple brush and loved the soft, all-over color that resulted when covering the entire panel for a resist. Love options!
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Old 05-17-2012, 10:47 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by blondie090277 View Post
I like to use sponge daubers over the Tim Holtz blending tool. But to each is own when it comes to what you are comfortable with I prefer to sponge with SU inks over the Distress Inks because I like my inks to dry in between layers so that they stay crisp

Here is a card that I just posted this morning that is done with SU inks and sponge daubers
Amazing card. You have to be the sponge dauber queen!!!
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Old 05-18-2012, 05:44 AM   #39
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Just ordered some sponges from SU and will cut them up and play around with them. Both on their own and in concert with my blenders.

Application of ink to cardstock other than with a stamp (to create an image) is a whole world unto itself! The posts on this thread have really opened up my eyes to it!
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Old 05-18-2012, 06:31 AM   #40
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Way too smart! Lol. Off to the hardware store I go!!



Quote:
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Thanks ladies I do make my own sponge daubers because it's cost effective, therefore I can have as many as I want and in as many different sizes that I want. This is not my original idea and I can't remember whose idea it was that I copied but I did find this link for you that and this is exactly how I make mine. I used the medium and large tips and use the bright and colourful household sponges rather than make up sponges

I’m so smart…lol « DoodleLicious.com
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