Let's face it: we probably all have big junky bins of product in our workshops. We bought it on a lark, never took time to learn how to use it, and every time we look at it, it just makes us mad that we wasted our money on it, for whatever reason.
YET: there ARE things in those to-do bins that are worth your time. If you have paints, inks, patinas and other colorants, and you use metal (especially brass stampings) I would have to say it's time to plot a course and get busy. Those colorants can be creative life-changers.
Let's just make this short and sweet. I do use brass stampings alot, and I like to give them my own personal look. Best way to do that is to finish them myself. SO:
I am going to name for you the products *I* will not be without in my workshop:
1. A creme brulee style mini torch for putting fast patina on brass. Here is a video to tell you all about that:
2. A variety of simple acrylic paints. For me, black and several shades of brown are NUMBER one, colors after that.
3. GILDER'S PASTE: You can buy a whole truckload full of Gilder's Paste colors, but I have found that most people use the ones I have on our website the most: http://www.bsueboutiques.com/gilders_paste.shtml
For me, I don't even need all of THOSE. Gimme white, patina, black, African Bronze and German Silver, and I am satisfied.
4. SWELLEGANT: I like EVERYTHING in this line and NOTHING in it is expensive. Here is a tutorial to help you get started:
For me, the essentials in this line are:
Metal Coatings: bronze, brass, copper
Patinas: Tiffany Green and Darkening Solution (with this Darkening Solution, you don't need LOS anymore. Get rid of the LOS stank factor, this stuff is fast on copper AND brass (silver too)
Dye Oxides are really good for adding a little color on polymer clay and also for dyeing chain. They are rather matte. Pick the colors you like best!
Clean up with the metal coatings is simple. Keep them well sealed. Use gloves with the Patina, saves skin irritation. Low odor, smells kind of like vinegar. DYE OXIDES: believe it, they **are** dyes. They stain. Protect your surface and wear gloves.
4. Lumiere Halo and Metallic Paints by Jacquard
Originally these were paints for FABRIC but experimenting, I found they were great for a wash of color on metal. I love to use them with a sponge. They are really inexpensive. We carry the Exciter package, which gives you nine colors for a pittance. They are water based and clean up is SIMPLE.
I would get BOTH sets....but if you can only get one at first, get the METALLICS:
4. Alcohol Inks Alcohol Inks render vibrant color on metal, and yet allow the details in the design of a stamping to show through. I think those two things are their strongest selling points. I heat-set mine, but am told they will dry naturally overnight, as well. I am a BIG fan of the SPECTRUM NOIR paint pens:
Ranger Alcohol Inks are also excellent. I just love the control you get with the pens, however, which you will find here:
We carry the 24 piece BRIGHTS and the 24 piece DARKS set. We also carry the 6 piece ESSENTIALS (neutrals like white, grey, black, interference colors). These are the ones I want in both of my workshops. There is a Pastel set, sorry, it is too wimpy for me. You can also get them in sets of reds, purples, pinks, blues, greens, yatta yatta. I don't think you need every nuance of every color in the world, so for me, invest in the two sets, learn to blend color and be happy. Although I would probably use the greens and browns sets. Hmmm.
5. Vintaj Inks by Ranger. These are a Ranger-made product with the Vintaj logo and brand. They are GREAT on metal, but rather opaque. They dry fast, you can heat-set or not. They look almost like enamel. You can do small bits with a brush, large bits with a sponge. They may also be distressed, which is really cool.
http://www.bsueboutiques.com/inks_utee_accessories.shtml You will find them in this section.
Honestly, I hardly ever use any but the Weathered Copper set, the Rusted Hardware set, and the metallics. So if your budget is limited, start there and then add as time goes one.
Sealants? Most everything is good with Krylon matte spray lacquer. Don't use Renaissance Wax on Gilder's Paste; it IS good over Swellegant and natural patinas like the torch. Swellegant Clear Cote is an EXCELLENT matte coat that is practically invisible. RESIN works nicely if you want gloss....of course, my resin of choice is always:
So there you go. This blog post doesn't cover everything there is to know or will be known on these products, but to my mind they are the ESSENTIALS.
Sometimes you can feel a bit overwhelmed with so many products and you can't spend for everything. DON'T! You DON'T need the whole line. Buy a few of the basics and PLAY. Everything here is easy as pie to use; the only thing with any learning curve is Swellegant and cheeze, you can learn *that* in a half an hour.
Here's a video on how you can use them over resin flowers, too!
I hope this list of essentials helps!