A how to guide of blending chalks in craft projects

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Blending chalks have become an indispensable tool for stampers, scrappers and card makers! Chalks are great for beginners as it is very forgiving (mistakes are very easily camouflaged) and very flexible in the effects that can be achieved!


The joy of using chalk in your craft projects should be just as great as when you played with chalks on a childhood blackboard - Perhaps, just a bit more sophisticated...depending on the project and your mood!






Blending Chalks are:


Versatile - add dimension to die-cuts, colour stamped images, create customized backgrounds and patterns, tint photo copies or pictures and, as you can imagine, the list goes on....

Error Proof -  this isn't like using  ink, pens or markers  - simply erase/blend away your mistake or maybe make a minor revision to the design

No fixative needed - most blending chalks are self-sealing.


Acid free, colour-themed collections of chalks are readily available -  such as those offered by  Dovecraft Chalks



Here are some basics you should know when blending chalk -


Several kits will include applicators but chalks can be applied in may ways - craft pom-poms, cotton swabs, make up brushes, paint brushes, blender pens, etc...
Different tools produce different results - an embossing tool would work for precise application; cotton balls for covering large areas; blender pens for creating a watercolour effect. Experiment to find the techniques you like best!


BUT REMEMBER - do not apply chalk with your fingers as skin can transfer natural oils and acids to your project! It is best to wash your hands before blending chalks even though you won't be using your fingers!


ALSO - do not try to erase mistakes using the eraser at the end of your pencil - those erasers are gritty and can damage your project - always use a white kneaded vinyl eraser (an artists eraser) BONUS - your eraser  will double as a design tool as you will be able to use it to create effects and patterns in your chalked areas.



'HOW TO'

1. Rub your chosen applicator in a light, smooth, circular motion over your chalk.
TIP: apply lighter colours first!
2. Lightly swirl on a piece of scrap paper to even out the chalk spread on your applicator THEN apply to your project.
3. Apply with a circular motion to cover large areas or achieve a soft effect. Rub back and forth for precise application and darker areas.

4. Vary pressure and direction to achieve different looks - practise makes perfect!

Chalks are inherently designed to produce a 'soft' colour finish but you can achieve a deeper, richer finish by layering up the colour and don't be afraid to try chalks on 'dark' backgrounds as the finish can be stunning!



REMEMBER
- you can create additional chalk colours from those you have by blending them to create new ones!



ALSO if you wish to keep your work area clean cover the surface with a work mat or disposable sheets are great as you just pick up carefully and bin.



Customizing your project can be as easy as a swirl, blend or dab to achieve your desired effect.....here's more -




Burnishing - It is not necessary to spray a fixative on chalk projects, you can just as easily fix by burnishing or setting the chalk with this easy technique
- lay a sheet of tissue paper or scrap paper over the chalked area
- rub lightly with a bone folder or spoon ( any excess chalk is transferred to the paper..)

-  carefully lift the paper away and then let your craft item sit for about half an hour (this should be enough time for the chalk to be absorbed and then you can place in a sheet protector or envelope.)

REMEMBER -
Never blow or wipe off any excess chalk as this can cause smears! Where appropriate use the tissue approach described under burnishing above or gently shake off the residue.




Aged/Burned Paper - This is perfect for vintage and distressed looks - Use torn paper or cardstock for that shabby chic look and then rub brown, ochre or gray chalk on the torn edge to create that time worn or burnt look.




Vellum Variations - chalk on the back of solid or printed vellum to create a beautiful effect or apply a similar technique as for aging paper (above) for a special accent.





Dry Embossing - You can create a very beautiful effect by adding chalk to dry embossed images or embossed paper (stick to papers in solid colours when trying this!)




Chalk Embossing - This technique achieves beautiful backgrounds with a watermark style effect :
1. Using plain cardstock, colour the background in your chosen chalk colour.

2. Using a stamp of your choice, stamp watermark ink randomly over the chalked background and allow ink to dry completely (you can use a heat gun if you wish)
3.  Chalk the stamped images with similar chalk colours to that used on the background and the images will appear to 'pop' out!


Stamping - Chalks are great for colouring ink stamped images but for a special effect try stamping your chosen image in watermark ink, allow to dry, then lightly brush with chalk for that hand drawn effect!

REMEMBER - always do your chalking and/or burnishing before gluing to your layout or each other - applying chalk over glue can sometimes cause a blotchy finish.




Altering Rub-ons - Use your chalks to create shadows, stripes , dots, whatever suits your theme. You may also find that this will also work quite well with some stickers.
* When using chalks for this purpose it is best to fix/seal the chalk!




Chalk Painting -
Chalk colours become instantly vibrant when applied with a wet brush.




Chalk Marbling - With this technique you can create vibrant swirls of colour :
1) Fill a shallow pan with 1/2" of water.
2) Select 2 to 3 chalk colours and lightly scrape some chalk off the surface onto the water.
3) Stir gently just once.
4) Gently lay a sheet of cardstock in the coloured water until covered.
5) Almost immediately, lift out and let dry flat and completely on an appropriate surface.
6) Depending on the thickness of your cardstock the edges may curl but you can easily smoothen out with a warm iron.


The result beautiful paper with your personally created marble effect!




Highlights & Shadows
- Adding highlights and shadows to die-cuts and layered embellishments can add and enhance the dimensional impact of your craft projects.
For the most natural effects, choose chalk colours close to the items to be shadowed; for immediate impact choose contrasting chalk colours.
You can choose to keep the colour to the edges of the die-cuts/layers or cover the entire item keeping the strongest of the shading to the edges.

TIP: Chalks will work best on high texture paper and cardstocks, avoid using with glossy or coated papers and cardstock.




Photo Tinting - This is especially effective with b/w and sepia photos. Simply apply, small amounts of subtle chalk colour in strategic areas. In the example below the sash, collar and socks of each little girl have been coloured pale lemon. This example may not be to your taste but it's just to give an idea of what can be done...






Stencilling - Chalks are a perfect medium for stencilling as several colour scan be combined for special effect or a single colour can be built up for depth and texture. ( TIP if combining colours always start with the lightest first.) For added definition, outline the shape or edges with a marker or pen!






These are just a few of the ways that you can use chalks to bring colour and special effects to your projects - I am sure your creativity will lead you to quite a few more!

Happy Crafting from all of us at EZeePZeeShopping !






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