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11  Chunky Halloween House: Le Chat Noir in Completed Projects by microjivvy on: October 20, 2012 02:27:20 AM

When someone mentions black cats (as Sonjaboo, my partner in the Halloween Chunky House swap, did), it brings to mind two iconic images. My inspiration for this project comes from second of those two icons. More on the first later, but for this project, The Black Cat Poster or, Thophile Steinlens 1896 advertisement for the cabaret, Le Chat Noir:

The Cabaret on the right was located at 68 Boulevard de Clichy, Paris-Montmartre. What a great building for this project. Heres my Halloween-influenced interpretation of Le Chat Noir:

The windows are isinglass (thin sheets of mica). All of the trim is wood.

One of my favorite bits:

And the Le Chat Noir Moon sign:

I loved working on this project, because everywhere I turned, I was reminded of the first iconic black cat image for me, my buddy-boy, Spike (1982-1991):

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12  Re: 09/07/12 - You can now upload images directly into your post! in Latest News by microjivvy on: October 17, 2012 12:46:06 PM
Okay, I don't know if you changed anything (and I haven't upgraded opera), but this upload brought to you by Opera!

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13  Tutorial: Duct Tape Image Transfers (InkJet) in Other Image Reproduction Techniques: Completed Projects by microjivvy on: October 17, 2012 02:43:29 AM

If you’re sitting around puzzling about the basic premise behind image transfers using a InkrJet printer (and, wow, who isn’t), let me put your mind to rest: it’s all about “floating” ink on a non-porous/semi-porous surface and then using some sort of burnisher to transfer that floating ink to a porous surface where it will sink in and dry, effectively “staining” the porous surface.

If you've read my blog, you know I’ve had my issues with image transfers, so when I was working on yet another project requiring a transfer, I decided that until I found a quick and easy transfer method, I would not rest.

Which is, of course, when I realized that the answer to my puzzling was the familiar and comfortable answer to so many of my puzzlings: duct tape.

This realization led me to experiment with a wide variety of tapes (two types of duct tape, clear packing tape, tan packing tape, blue painter’s tape, white artist’s tape), and, frankly, all of them work to a certain degree.

Any of them would do in a pinch. Okay, not the white artist’s tape, but all of the others.

After way too much experimentation, there were three tapes closely ranked as the top performers: 1) Standard Silver Duct Tape (I happened to use 3M brand), 2) Nashua brand Transparent Duct Tape, and 3) Blue Painter’s Tape. These three tapes had the least amount of problem with the ink “beading up” and causing blotches in the transferred image.

The #1 limitation to image transfer by tape is the width of the tape. If you butt strips of the tape together, you end up with tiny strips of no ink (at the butting). If you overlap the tape, too much (and even a little might be too much — this is highly dependent on the image), you end up with hills and valleys of ink making an extra dark or light strip.

Which may be why the blue painter’s tape did not win in this experiment — it works extremely well, but I only had a very narrow roll and quickly became irritated by the inability to print even a small image without attempting to compensate for the “hills and valleys”.

Besides, duct tape is inherently cooler than painter’s tape.


- InkJet Printer
 - Ordinary Printer Paper
 - Image to be transferred
 - Duct Tape
 - Burnisher (for the most part, I used a wooden tool designed for sculpting clay, but a wooden clothes pin, a credit card, and an acrylic roller also worked)

STEP 1: Print the image(s) you wish to transfer. This gives you a guide for placing the tape and will help with lining up the image when you wish to transfer it to a new surface.

STEP 2: Cover the image with duct tape.

STEP 3: Print the image(s) again, this time on the duct tape covered paper. At this point, I’m compelled to offer two bits of advice and a caution: 1) always leave a border of plain paper (no duct tape) on all edges (particularly the lead edge that feeds into the printer; 2) before placing the duct tape covered sheet of paper in the printer, remove all other paper from the loading bay — this prevents the duct tape (even the non-sticky side) from “grabbing” the paper below it; and 3) Odds are that all InkJet printer manufacturers recommend against running duct tape through your printer… do so at your own risk.

STEP 4: Place the printout, duct tape side down, on the surface you wish to transfer to — in this case, orange and white checked cotton fabric. Hold the paper down with one hand and rub the back of the image with a burnisher of some fashion.

That’s all there is to it. Here are some examples of duct tape image transfers:

Overall, I was extremely satisfied with the duct tape as a quick and easy way to get digital images onto fabric as a pattern for embroidery, needle felting, fabric paints, etc. Sometimes, as with the pumpkin images on the wool blend felt, image adjustments are needed for a solid transfer (in this case, thicker lines).

While both the silver and Nashua transparent duct tape worked well, the transparent tape repeatedly edged out the silver for transferring small details in photographs.

I’m pretty happy with this quick and easy transfer method — after all, who isn’t happy when using duct tape?

All right, one last transfer image:

Now if I could just suss out a way to use WD-40 for image transfers…
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14  Re: Chunky Houses Halloween Edition Rnd 3 - Gallery in The Swap Gallery by microjivvy on: October 16, 2012 04:15:29 PM
I received a funtastic shakey-shakey chunky house from Sonjaboo!

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15  Re: Covert Art Abandoners Swap Gallery in The Swap Gallery by microjivvy on: October 13, 2012 03:52:24 AM
I love that you took the risk of the delicate construction, even with mailing

Thank you... but honestly, it was more a matter of not thinking ahead and not realizing the potential shipping hazards until it was much too late to turn back.  Cheesy

Here is an absolutely terrible picture of the lovely box that LesliesHappyHeart made especially for me... truly, the photo does not do it justice, but it was the best I could do in the badly lit room that is my office.

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16  Re: Covert Art Abandoners Swap Gallery in The Swap Gallery by microjivvy on: October 10, 2012 06:08:23 AM
I received from the spectacular angel, LesliesHappyHeart!

And knowing my penchant for a darker palette, Leslie also made a special matchbox just for me, but it's already hanging on my wall, so I'll have to wait until later (when there's more light in this room) to take pics.

Can't wait to take these out for abandonment...
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17  DIY Silicone Clay in Completed Projects by microjivvy on: September 28, 2012 02:28:41 PM
In one of Michael DeMengs online classes, he mentions Sugru an amazing air-cured silicone-based clay. Its perfect for making items that need a little bounce like octopus tentacles.

Unfortunately, I dont currently have a need to make octopus tentacles, so I couldnt justify the cost of a packet of Sugru to play with but Michael also mentions DIY silicone clay. I started googling and ended up at this Instructables page that uses a combination of 100% silicone caulk and cornstarch to make an inexpensive Sugru substitute.

Working from that tutorial, I started playing with silicone and cornstarch (not expensive at all) and found that to make a suitable/moldable clay, the best mix ratio is approximately 1:1 (e.g., 1 tablespoon of silicone and 1 tablespoon of corn starch), heavy on the corn starch.

 100% Silicone Caulk (there are mixed reports on whether the GE Silicone Brand works with this method)
 Corn Starch
 Food Coloring (optional)
 Popsicle Stick for Mixing
 Container for Mixing
 Rubber gloves to protect skin

 1. Place equal amounts of silicone and corn starch in container.
 2. Add 1-2 drops of food coloring.
 3. Use popsicle stick to mix thoroughly. Add cornstarch to reduce stickiness, silicone to increase stickiness.
 4. Mold into shape as desired.

It really is that easy.

One difference between the 1:1 clay and Sugru? It doesnt stick to anything, not even itself. So if you want/need to avoid using an additional adhesive to attach your clay object to something else, youll either have to pony up the bucks for the real Sugru or increase the amount of silicone and decrease the amount of corn starch which makes it sticky and much harder to work with.

The clay sets up much too quickly for me to have much success with sculpting elaborate details. Additionally, since the 1:1 mix doesnt want to stick to itself, I found I had to add a bit more silicone (to increase stickiness) any time I wanted to add more clay to the working piece. Not particularly convenient.

The original Instructables page uses linseed-based oil paints to color the silicone I used the food coloring because I happened to have it on hand and it worked great.

Oh, and keep in mind silicone does not like acrylic paints (they flake/rub off). I knew this and still gave it a shot with a couple of different brands of acrylic paints guess what? They flake off.

The following video demonstrates the sproing-factor of the cured clay.

So now Ive played. I still dont have any use for silicone clay at the moment, but at least Im prepared for the moment I do.

Thats a relief.
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18  Flowerchild Paint Brush Man and a Bird in Completed Projects by microjivvy on: September 25, 2012 03:07:41 PM
Sometimes I have no idea the source of my inspiration not so this time.

In the way of the web (meaning I dont remember how I got there), I ended up at artist Michael Demengs site, Assemblog. As I looked for more of Mr. Demengs work, I discovered an old listing for a workshop (by Demeng) on altered paint brushes. I was inspired.

Another thing that inspired me? Mr. Demeng uses a lot of motion in his pieces crank and pulley fun. I had to give it a shot.

The face and the hummingbird are both sculpted from polymer clay. For an idea on scale, the push-rod ends (the thingies that hold the wooden thingie (with the hummingbird on it) to the metal crank thingie) are the hands of a watch. The tattoo design is a combination of glass microbeads and screws from old watches.

For a better idea of scale, you can watch the video of the movement. It may seem simple, but Im actually quite proud of the movement. I went through a lot to get there, lol. http://youtu.be/u33ePcNzmqE

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19  Pumpkin Head in Polymer Clay: Completed Projects by microjivvy on: September 13, 2012 03:49:34 PM

My original plan was to use this fellow in another project, but I knew fairly early on he was going to be way too heavy (even though he has a tinfoil ball for a brain) for that project, so now he's just a little Halloween decorative piece. I'm giving him away (on my blog) in the hope that someone will have the perfect little spot for him.

Because I don't use poly clay a lot, I thought it was a good idea to buy a "sample pack" of Sculpey III to use when I need some clay for some odd project or another... omg, whether it's my hot hands or my lack of familiarity with poly clay, I swear working with this stuff is like sculpting pudding.

And now I have a whole pack of it.  Shocked I like the final results, but I'm not sure I have the patience to do too many Sculpey III projects.

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20  Baby Zilla Altered Tin in Completed Projects by microjivvy on: September 08, 2012 03:47:17 PM

It was totally unintentional (and a bit of a struggle), but I recently embraced my inner cutie.

And it happened during the Wicked Children swap, of all things. For this wicked swap challenge, the goal was to take your partners favorite villain and imagine them as a child. After getting my partner (Nooooo) and seeing Godzilla on her list, I knew, almost immediately what I was going to do. But I didnt know it was going evolve from dark and dingy and wicked to


I knew that Noooo was a big fan of Lilo & Stitch (as am I) and so I knew that I had to recreate the scene where Stitch builds a city out of toys and books and then stomps through it. Just like Godzilla. I mean, how perfect is that?

But I thought I could do it wickedly dark colors, drippy vines maybe some slime somewhere. And then, well then, I decided I wanted pictures of monsters to hang on the walls of Baby Godzillas nursery.

And then, well then, I remembered who my partner was someone who just happens to draw fabulous monsters.

Fabulous and cute. I was happily on the cute train, no turning back.

Even the childs artwork in the lower left corner is from Kira a piece she did when she was a child how perfect is that? (Yes, unbeknownst to Kira, I snatched a bunch of images off of her web site. Of course, once she received her tin, my thievery became undeniably knownst.)

The abc blocks are individually folded paper cubes an idea that was much easier in theory than in execution.

Now I know youre probably wondering how high and low I had to search to find that absolutely perfect monster foot pedestal, but, tut-tut, no searching at all, it was in my stash.

The serendipity of which has dealt a serious blow to any de-cluttering efforts I may have been considering.

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