Sunday, 24 February 2008

Tutorial - Stamping with Utee

Today a tutorial which I wrote originally for the Variazione network, but thought others might find useful.

A Quick Course in Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel

First off, I am not an expert with this material and what I'm describing is just my own method of working with it, discovered through trial and error.

Utee is usually sold through shops which carry stamping supplies. It looks like a bigger grain version of embossing powder and is available in various colours and metallics. It does however behave somewhat differently from regular embossing powder and has lots of possibilities.

To begin with you need a fairly firm base on which to work - I usually use mat or illustration board. If you're planning to add images or stamping that's best done first as the embossing will be quite 3-dimensional.

Caution: You will be using heat and the embossing will get very hot so please be careful of your fingers!

Tools:

Utee in your chosen colours
Pigment ink pad or embossing ink pad
Foam stamps
Heatproof work surface
Heat gun
Small paintbrush for removing stray bits of powder
Optional - glitter, tiny beads, metallic waxes etc

1. Print your design with the inked stamp. Foam is a good choice as you don't want too much fine detail for this technique.

2. Sprinkle on a generous amount of Utee over the stamped image and tap off the excess onto a piece of scrap paper. On a heat proof surface give the board a blast with your heat gun. Keep it moving over the surface and about 2-3 inches above it. You will see the powder begin to liquify.

3. When it is completely melted and still hot very quickly sprinkle on more Utee and tap off the excess. Alternatively, make a little mound of the powder on a piece of paper, invert and gently press your image into the powder then tap off the excess. Reheat and melt the new layer of Utee. Continue in this fashion until you have built up the kind of thickness you want. The thicker it becomes the more it will flow so experiment to see what 'look' you like.

In the demo piece here, the stamped image on the right has a couple of layers and is finished with a sprinkle of glitter onto the hot surface.The other part of the board is built up of 4 layers of Utee over the impression from an ink pad, which I then stamped into with the same foam stamp while the Utee was hot and liquid. Leave the stamp in place for a few seconds then carefully remove for an impressed image. When it cooled I finished the surface with two shades of Treasure wax.

A note about stamps: you will probably find that after you've stamped into the hot Utee your stamp block will have bits of embossing powder crusted on it. Wait until it's completely cold and then just pick them off with your fingernails.

4 comments:

  1. It's a great texture! Thanks for reminding us about the process involved with UTEE! You made a really beautiful piece with it!

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  2. That is gorgeous. Looks like an old bronze. What exactly is Utee? excuse ignorance - but I really like that.

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  3. Thanks very much!

    Frances, utee is just a particular type of embossing powder - oft used in collage and card making. It's very thick which is how you can make the 3D effects when it melts. :)

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  4. Very cool. I'm gonna have to try this. I love the texture and I love the metallic look to the powder you chose! I can't wait to try it!

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