Have you jumped on the alcohol marker bandwagon yet? I am the first to admit that I didn’t used to appreciate the wonderful therapy that adult coloring has to offer, but then I discovered Stampin Up alcohol markers. These markers are called Stampin Blends, and beautiful blending is what they do. These markers likely work differently than most markers you’ve used, so I want to give you a basic introduction to them and how to use them. We have a lot to cover, so let’s get started!
What Are They?
Alcohol markers are filled with an alcohol-based solution of dye suspended in alcohol. This is in contrast to water-based markers which don’t offer much in the form of blending capabilities. With alcohol markers, the colors can be blended by using other alcohol markers or by adding rubbing alcohol with a swab or brush.
How you use alcohol markers is slightly different from other markers, but the resulting appearance of colored images is dramatically different.
What Are They Used For?
Alcohol markers can be used for coloring art sketches, preprinted designs (aka adult coloring pages), or my personal specialty…papercrafts including card making.
Benefits Vs. Using Traditional Color Methods
Benefits of using Stampin Up alcohol markers include:
- Life-like shading for a three dimensional look
- Saturated, rich colors
- It’s fun and rewarding!
Now, let’s talk about some features of these markers.
We offer Stampin Blends markers in almost 40 different colors. You can start with one or a few of these and build your collection as you desire.
Each color option includes a dark and a light marker. For example, if you purchase the Bermuda Bay marker set, you will receive a Dark Bermuda Bay and Light Bermuda Bay. This is perfect to allow you to start blending right away, even if you only purchase one marker set.
Each marker includes two tips – a larger brush tip and a smaller bullet tip. The brush tip is good for applying color to larger areas in a shorter time. Ink from this tip also blends easier because it is less concentrated. The bullet tip is good for applying a heavier concentration of ink to a particular area, or for coloring detailed areas.
Before You Begin…
You need to know these things!
Paper Selection Is Important
The paper you’ll be using is important. Do not use printer or notebook paper! You need something thicker, which will allow the ink to move and blend. I recently did a comparison of Stampin Up white cardstock, thick white cardstock, and shimmery white cardstock. Some coloring gurus have specific preferences, but I didn’t find that I loved one more than another. I do believe the thick white was my least favorite.
I encourage you to test out different paper options and find one that you love.
Your Image Outline
You also need to consider what image you will be coloring and what was used to create the outline. Keep in mind that some media will blur or bleed when the marker ink touches it, so use caution. For stamping and card making, Memento ink is perfect and will not bleed. If you are an artist and like to do sketch drawings, pencil will not be affected by the ink. Most printer inks will also be unchanged by the markers, so you can even print from your home computer onto high quality paper.
Scrap Paper Is Essential
Hear this my coloring friends! Thou shalt not color with alchol markers without scrap paper underneath. They will bleed through. I promise. When they bleed through, you want it to be onto scrap paper, not your countertop, kitchen table, or school yearbook.
How To Use
There are a lot of theories and preferences on how to use Stampin Up alcohol markers. You can color light to dark, or dark to light. You can use circular, zig zag, or feathering strokes. I discuss this in my video at the bottom of this post, so I definitely encourage you to watch along.
Layer the colors. Then push and swirl them until they blend. Keep in mind the colors will change as they dry.
My best advice is just to start playing. Try different techniques. As you get some experience, you’ll learn what works for you and what doesn’t.
Let me walk you through one example of how to shade a leaf. Begin by coloring the entire image with Dark Daffodil Delight.
Next, add Light Pumpkin Pie to areas of the leaf that should be a little darker. Go back with the Daffodil Delight marker and use circular or feathering motions to blend the dark into the light.
Add Dark Pumpkin Pie where you want the darkest colors to show. Use Light Pumpkin Pie to blend, then come back in with Dark Daffodil Delight to finish the blending.
Here is our finished leaf, with lovely, life-like shading. You can see a few small mistakes, but overall, the effect is gorgeous.
Let’s talk a little more about shading.
How To Darken
You have three options for adding deeper color to an object.
- Apply a darker shade of the same color (Dark Bermuda Bay instead of Light Bermuda Bay)
- Add a different hue (such as blue if you’re working with green or purple if you’re working with red)
- Use browns or grays
After applying the new color, go back with your lighter markers to blend the dark into the light.
How To Lighten
There are three main ways to lighten an object.
- Apply a lighter color of marker
- Layer a brighter color (such as yellow)
- Use the color lifter
Let’s talk about the color lifter.
The Color Lifter
The Color Lifter is a must-have. I suggest ordering it with your first order of markers. It allows you to correct mistakes when you color outside the lines by ‘pushing’ the color back into the image. It also allows you to blend unlike colors and remove color from an image. Watch the video for tips!
Tips And Tricks
Keep these things in mind!
- Use a light hand when coloring. You don’t want to damage the tips!
- Stop coloring just inside the lines, because your color will bleed outwards.
- Don’t oversaturate the paper with color. If the paper is getting saturated but you aren’t finished, you can stop coloring and let it dry for a minute, then continue on.
- Don’t scrub the paper, because it can start to pill up. Again, let it dry some before continuing.
- Keep a wet edge. The colors will only blend properly if they are kept wet. If needed, you can color over the area with a light marker to rewet it.
- If you don’t love your project…change it. Nothing is permanent when it comes to using alcohol markers. And if all else fails, it’s only a piece of paper. Throw it away and start fresh!
- Snap the cap. Make sure your lids are on tightly when done.
- Want a glittery sheen over top? Use a Wink of Stella glitter brush! It won’t move or change any of the colors 🙂
I store my Blends markers in my Storage by Stampin Up trays. This keeps them within reach at all times, plus they’re pretty to look at!
Below you can see my setup. However, my markers are missing down at the bottom because I was preparing for today’s lesson!
Keep in mind that Stampin Up alcohol markers can be used to color other items besides paper. They can also be used on:
- Specialty papers such as designer prints, foils, window sheets, and vellum
- Ribbons and trims
- Embellishments such as rhinestones, pearls, and enamel dots
Think about this for a moment. You can purchase white ribbon and with the use of your markers, make it any color you like. The same for pearls and rhinestones. This is amazing! It can cut back on the supplies you keep in your collection, because now you can customize them!
I cover all of this information and much more in today’s video tutorial, so I hope you’ll watch along!
Some new users love these markers from the moment they try them (me! me!). Others need a little practice. Keep in mind your results will not be perfect right away. My results still aren’t perfect, but I love them anyway! Go into this with the attitude of ‘playing around’ NOT ‘creating a masterpiece.’ As you practice, experiment, and play, you will learn what works and what doesn’t. You will fall in love with this new way to color, and you will begin creating masterpieces.
Thank you for joining in! When you try Stampin Up alcohol markers, you are going to love them. Give it a try…I know you can use some coloring therapy!
Don’t Miss Out!
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Order the products I used and make this project yourself!
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