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Ask the Artist

Our Artist in Residence, Dina Kowal, answers your questions

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  • July 1, 2020
    Q: Alexandra asks: "What size are the long cards everyone is making?"

    A: Most slimline cards are about 3.5" x 8.5" when folded - the die sets that are coming out support this size card front. I usually cut my bases to 7" x 8.5"; sometimes I'll cut them to 6.75" x 8.5" so I have a 4.25" square base to work with as well. Slimline cards are sized to fit in a #9 or #10 (business size) envelope. The #9 envelope is 3.875" x 8.875" which could be a snug fit but is fine for flat cards with few layers. A #10 envelope is 4.125" x 9.5", which would allow for a little extra thickness or width, or embellishments that hang over the edge a little.

    June 24, 2020
    Q: Judith asks: "What is the difference between a reactive ink and dye ink?"

    A: I think that most reactive inks have properties of dye inks, but not all dye inks are as reactive as others. The reactive inks I've used are hybrid inks that are formulated to have a longer open time, so they will stay wet for embossing, are more blendable, and will lift, feather, and spot more easily with the application of water. Regular dye inks soak into paper and dry quickly, so while they will react with water, the effect is usually less dramatic. Our product review team did an overview of the Colorbox Dyestress inks a while back (HERE and HERE) - they're no longer available, but the gallery entries and reviews will give you an idea of all the things reactive inks are capable of! Try out reactive inks from Hero Arts (Hero Hues), Ranger (Distress/Distress Oxide inks), Spectrum Noir (Harmony inks), and Ink on 3 (Atelier inks)!

    June 17, 2020
    Q: Mary Ann wants to know: "I made a double folded card and would like to find a sticky glue to hold flap but still be able to open card."

    A: Removable glue dots would be one option for a temporary closure. There are also some glues that are permanent when applied wet but can also be left to dry for a few minutes and they'll remain tacky for a repositionable hold. Zig Two-Way Glue and Tombow Mono Multi Liquid Glue are two brands I have used. If you didn't want to add extra glue to the card, you could use one of those options on a paper strip that wraps around the card.

    June 10, 2020
    Q: MRS JJSz asks: "I've decided to take my roller stamps off the wheel. I have seen many videos about taking them off but nothing clear about how to store them once they are off the wheel. Do you have any suggestions?"

    A: My suggestion would be to mount them on cling foam and store them either on plastic sheets or laminated panels. There are a couple of different style EZ Mount panels which are punched for storage in a binder system. That system would work well to keep the long border stamps together. I use 20 mil weight clear (PVC) report covers for storing my cling-mounted stamps in clear plastic boxes - that system has worked very well for me for the last 4 years.

    June 3, 2020
    Q: Pat asks: "Do you clean your blending brushes?"

    A: I have several different sets of blending brushes, each 'dedicated' to its own color or color family. Really the only time I clean them is when I've used a different type of ink (like an Oxide) or a different medium (pastels or acrylic paint). To clean, I just run them under warm water, work in a tiny drop of dish soap, then rinse them well and shake out the water.

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