Monday, June 2, 2008

Metal Tape Explorations

After carting around my new bottles of India Ink for a week, I finally had a chance to try them out and see what kind of results I'd get. I prepped some 6" x 6" pieces of matte board and added punched out shapes. One thing I figured out is it sometimes helps to sand the metal tape before using it to attach chipboard embellishments.

That was definitely the case with the above piece. I used a piece of KI Memories "paper." It comes in 12" x 12" lace like sheets. I bought one in a star pattern too, which I plan to use for some birthday themed ATC's. I was born on Flag Day...

There was no way I could sand the surface and get into the nooks and crannies without sanding through the tape on the edges of the paper and chipboard pieces. I sanded a couple of inches of metal tape strips and then trimmed them to smaller sizes as I attached the embellishments.
Here I used the punched out shapes and used the leftover scrap as well. The piece to the right has a layers of black and magenta ink.
Left-strips of matte board. Right-leftovers from bingo game "markers." Gotta use this crap somewhere!
An actual piece in the making. 7 gypsies, (borders) and Creative Imaginations, (crown, flourish), chipboard embellishments on matte board.
Let's talk INK. I found a variety of inks and didn't know what would work best so I bought a couple of different brands of India inks in primary colors to try out.

First-every bottle I bought said "water proof" on the label. That said, they probably didn't have metal tape in mind when labeling. The "Yellow" above is Dr. Ph. Martin's Metal Craft Ink. Below is the same but in "Blue Slate." I applied all the inks with a bristle brush. It was a lot easier and quicker to dip my brush in the bottle than pour it out and use a sponge brush. I'll try a sponge brush next time to see if I can avoid the brush marks.

The bottles are photographed next to their samples. 'Thought it might help on your next field trip to the art supply store.
This ink adhered to the tape well but was a pain to sand with steel wool. Using medium grit sandpaper didn't work much either. I stopped short of using my electric sander. If I felt like developing my arm muscles, I might have given it another shot but wasn't worth the effort. NEXT!
Higgins waterproof India Ink- The color was gorgeous! Then it bled like crazy even after drying for an hour or two. I was looking "smurfish" until I took a shower last night. It bled again today when I tried to coat it with gel medium and and again with Krylon Matte Spray fixative. NEXT!
Dr. Ph. Martin's Bombay India Ink, "Magenta." Much better results with this one. I applied ink, let it dry, sanded and applied ink and sanded a second time. Still had some bleeding when I spritzed with water and bled like crazy while brushing with gel medium but did fine with sprayed fixative. I'll continue to use this ink.
Dr. Ph. Martin's Bombay India Ink, "Red." One layer of ink. NEXT!
In progress-7 gypsies chipboard embellishments on a wood piece. Higgins waterproof India Ink. This ink has been in my stash for many, I mean many, years which was why I was so excited when I learned we could use India ink on the metal tape. Unfortunately, my stash of ink is still water soluable on the metal tape. It wiped off with water and bled when I brushed gel medium on but stayed put with spray fixative. There might be hope for my supply of inherited black ink.
After all that effort I wondered if I wasn't better off sticking to my tried and true inks.
Top left-Adirondik alcohol ink, "Denim"
Top right-Adirondik alcohol ink, "Cranberry"
Bottom left- Staz-on, "Black"
Bottom right-Adirondik alcohol ink, "Pitch Black"

Every time I attempt to use "Pitch Black" I put it back. Perhaps I'm not using it right but it comes out looking purple-ish. When I go for black, I want black. I decided to use spray fixative on these and the "Pitch Black" went greenish and brownish. The "Denim" turned greenish but went back to blue as it dried.
"Cranberry" went orangish and Staz-on "black" changed as well but not as distinctly as the alcohol inks. I'll have to wait until work tomorrow to see how they turned out. I left them in the classroom to dry.
I hope you can benefit from my "excursion" into inks. It was quite a day in the studio. The Chicklet was under the weather and it was hot outside. Hope I can get this much done consistantly over summer break.



  1. Maybe the inks that bleed, like Higgins, could be mixed with gel medium or wax medium and then applied.

  2. Just wanted to let you know what you are calling plumbers tape is actually called HVAC tape. It is not plumbers tape. Plumbers tape is one of either two things: a flimsy Teflon tape used on the "male" end of a pipe when screwing joints together or metal strapping that has holes in it and is used with screws to support and hold plumbing pipes against cross beams and such. HVAC tape is never used on any kind of plumbing pipes, but rather for sealing metal ductwork in heating and cooling systems. It's easy enough to get confused when you don't normally work with this stuff. Just thought you'd like to use the "right" name so others don't get confused.

    Great write-up by the way on using India Ink on the HVAC tape. I wonder if you use a different sealant if you'll still get the color changes - might be some sort of chemical reaction. Have you tried a clear spray acrylic sealer from the paint department, or believe it or not, Kiwi Clear Shoe Polish? Works like a charm protecting my bare metal sculptures.

  3. Are any of these shapes under the metal tape?

  4. All the shapes are under the tape. The shapes vary in thickness from chipboard to cereal box chipboard to the card stock weight lace paper.
    I first lay down one layer of tape, add the shapes then add another layer of tape.
    I used to put the shapes under the first layer of tape but sometimes the shapes would shift or the tape would tear when burnishing.