Monday, November 4, 2013

Dia de Muertos

Zentangle Inspired Art
I went to Mexico City recently to be at our  booth at the Christmas Crafts Annual Show.
Between ZIA classes I  was doing demos with the different tangles and doodles using this ceramic skull I had just bought for that purpose.  It was a big success, specially because we were approaching November 2nd, which represents one of the most colorful and ancient Mexican traditions:  Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).
Dia de Muertos is a very peculiar tradition that has its roots both in the ancient Aztec beliefs  and those brought to Mexico by the Catholic Spanish priests during the colony years ( 1510-1810).
Aztecs used to honor their  God of Death  with diverse celebrations in October and November. November 2nd is the Day of the Saints festivity for Catholics. Mexico's Dia de los Muertos took a bit of both worlds and created a new very particular tradition in which we honor, remember and celebrate our loved ones that have passed away.
Altar de Muerto
The Day of the Dead Altars are the main part of this celebration. All of them are colorful, joyful and include:
 sugar skulls, pictures of our loved ones, candles,  Cempazuchitl (marigold) flowers, papel picado, the favorite  food and drinks of our "muertitos" and certainly the "Catrinas" (elegant skeletons wearing hats, flowers and long dresses). 
Jose Guadalupe Posada created the "Catrina" between 1910-1913

Papel Picado



Saturday, September 21, 2013

Gelli Plate and Stencils

Yes, I know monoprinting doesn't have much to do with metal embossing, but as we now carry a good number of stencils , and they definetely are a perfect match for the Gelli plate, we decided to also carry it  in MercArt.

Once you start playing with the Gelli plate you cannot stop! It's addictive and the results are always a beautiful surprise.  I have used it in all sorts of papers, canvas, fabric, wood, tags.....
Besides stencils, our texture plates and decorative wheels  can create all sorts of textures with your Gelli prints.  And now we  also carry a new  Texture comb!!! for those extra amazing details.
Done on canvas with the new  TCW391 Climbing Vine stencil and some doodling

Done with the Artist Cellar stencil Paris AC001.  It looks like the stained glass medallion in Notre Dame


Assorted manila Tags using stencils, texture comb and texture plates

The top of a wooden box placed directly on the Gelli Plate

Copy paper with Stencil Girl Products S110 Tall Birds stencil and TCW Circle Grid stencil

This was done in fabric using Dreamweaver's Pear stencil LL563 and TCW Zinnia

Texture Comb

Get your Gelli plate and start having fun creating all sorts of unique prints!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Pewter and Stencils: a perfect match

There are many different ways and techniques to do Metal Embossing. One of the easiest ones is using stencils.  The main advantages of using stencils are:
*There are thousands of designs to choose from.
*It is one of the fastest and easiest ways to do metal embossing ; just trace the ouline of the stencil on the metal and you have already done most of the work.! It will look embossed already.
*Stencils don't  have the size limitation of an embossing machine or embossing folders. You can place the stencil anywhere in the metal and mix several designs in one project.  They also give chance to add textures, dimension and volume so your projects don't look "machine" made as embossing folders- projects usually do.
I used the Optic Circle  Stencil and pewter to create this project. The main steps were:
*Place the stencil on the pewter and flip it to its back.
*Rub the  paper stump against the metal until you clearly see the stencil design under the metal.
*Outline every part of the stencil design with the refiner tip of the Teflon D-01 
*Remove the stencil 
*Turn the pewter and place it on a piece of suede. Emboss or push (at the back of the metal, still on the suede) each one of the small circles within the main big circle. Use the appropiate size of Cup and Ball   (I used #4 and #6).
*When each smal circle  has been embossed, place the metal (at the back) on your hand and softly and in round motion, push the metal of the entire big circle using the wooden thumb until you get the desired volume or dimension. This will make the metal really pop out.
*Fill the back of the big embossed circle with the  Filling Paste and let it dry (it may take up to 24 hours if the area is big and deep).
*Apply the Pewter Patina with a brush and polish the metal with any silver polishing paste until you get the desired shine.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Express Metal Embossing

If you want to create a unique  metal embossing project that is both hand made and easy to do, you cannot go wrong using STENCILS.
Metal Embossing with stencils gives you an endless array of designs to choose form.  It's super easy to do as you you don't need to know much about the embossing techniques and  your projects will look amazing!! ( and not machine made as when using embossing folders and machines).
Metal Tag
Supplies used: Navy blue aluminum, Dreamweaver Nautilus stencil LS04 
Background:  Wiggly Squares stencil  27-00130-RSC. Nautilus inner design: i-Stencils Paper Clip stencil BAM2029
Tools:MercArt's Metal embossing Basic kit, Fiber glass tool, sanding block  and paper stump  

Medium Blue aluminum and Dreamweaver stencil Bird LL594
Background stencil: TCW382  Garden Gate.  Bird texture: Modern stencil 27-00093-RSC
Tools: Basic kit, paper stump, sanding block  and Diagonal decorative wheel #01
Backing paste to fill the back of the embossed bird. 

Navy blue aluminum with Dreamweaver Pear stencil LL563
Backgrounds: TCW143 Zinnia stencil and Stone wall  STencil 27-00095-RSC
Pear texture: Morse code stencil BAM2013
Tools:Metal Embossing Basic kit, Decorative diagonal wheel #01, paper stump and  sanding block.
Backing paste to fill the back of the embossed pear.  

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


We are really expanding our line of Stencils!!
Not only  are we adding 7 new designs from our favorite metal stencils supplier, Dreamweaver, but we are adding  6" x 6" plastic stencils from The Crafter's Workshop (TCW), Artist Cellar, Stencil Girl Products and i-Stencils...


These stencils are ideal for Metal Embossing, using either Pewter, Aluminum or Copper.
They are of course also perfect for all kinds of paper crafts and mixed media projects. They can be used on paper, canvas, fabric, wood, metal and certainly with the "Gelli Plate" Monoprinting system.

Create original prints using Stencils and Embossing Plates!
 Use your Gelli plate to print Journals, Tags, Canvas, ATC Cards, etc...

Print using  Dreamweaver's "Teacup" stencil and TCW "Peacock Feathers"

The stencils used in this print were the "Tall Birds" from Stencil Girl Products and the TCW "Circle Grid".  The squares on the birds were done using a fabric stamp.

Artist Cellar stencil "Paris" was used to create the complete Cathedral Stained Glass medallion using the Gelli Plate and several blue and purple acrilyc colors.
See all these new exciting designs and the Gelli plate at

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Technique vs Machines

Usually people think of religious Icons when we talk about the human figure in Metal Embossing. With this portrait in pewter  I wanted to show you one of the many other ways in which you can create most anything on metal, specially if you do it on Pewter which is , as I always say,  the "Rolls Royce of metals for hand embossing". 

Pewter is so soft and malleable that you can create the volume, dimension and textures you desire while working with the only metal that has the richness, color and shine of silver without its price.
Join me in any of our Intensive 2 day workshops and learn the techniques of the traditional Metal Embossing (Repujado).  These techniques will give you a solid foundation to emboss anything you want in any metal you use: pewter, silver, copper or aluminum.
Knowing the techniques allow you to emboss anything, from the simplest card or embellisment using embossing plates, stamps or stencils to the most challenging and museum-like pieces.
Don't limit yourself  and your creativity to just what an embossing folder or machine can do!!!
Only a very soft and fine metal as pewter allows you tho create the high dimension achieved in this Art Nouveau project.
Another example of what can be done knowing the techniques of Metal Embossing; hardly something that can be done running an embossing folder through a machine...

Friday, January 4, 2013

Metal Wax

Let me begin this new year's post by saying that I  hope you have a spectacular 2013!!
 I hope you are healthier, wealthier and happier than ever!

I was in Mexico last month (again)... As you may recall, after my mom passed away almost one year ago, I have been going to Mexico City quite often to work with our team of people in both stores there.

Last December we had a great class using our Metal Wax, a product developed by a sculptor and that turns practically any surface into a "metal looking" piece.

The figure on the left is a plain resin piece that was first  painted in black.  The other two pieces were treated with our "Metal Wax" to create 2 different metal effects

This is a concrete piece that looks like old rusted metal after using the "Metal Wax" product.

There are several patinas to choose from to create different effects

"Metal Wax" can create the metal looking finish because it is actually made of very fine metal particles