Tim Holtz Fragments

Last week, I highlighted a card (‘Where You Are…’) that featured a new technique I’ve been playing around with. For the sentiment on that card, I used a solid Tim Holtz Fragment (basically an oval piece of clear acrylic plastic) to create a stamped plaque for the card. The basic process was stamping a greeting on a piece of decorative paper with StazOn Jet Black ink and then adhering the stamped paper to the Fragment with the use of Ranger Glossy Accents medium.

Since I made that card, I’ve been working on making some jewelry pieces–pendants and the like–with Tim Holtz Fragment charms. These acrylic charms come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They’re easy to adapt into necklaces, earrings, brooches–virtually anything your mind can think up. The mediums you can use are just as wide-ranging. You can use photographs, decorative papers, personal mementos and other memorabilia to create personal miniature works of art.

For the three pendants I created, I used the following materials:

  • PAPER: Tim Holtz “Lost And Found” Idea-ology paper stack;

  • TOOLS: Tim Holtz Fragments charms, Ranger Glossy Accents medium, decorative clear packing tape, Tim Holtz jump rings, Tim Holtz bead and ball chain, scissors, paper piercer, brayer or rub-on tool;

  • The basic process involves choosing your charm shape and size. Then you want to use a piece of square decorative paper larger than the charm size you chose. You apply the Ranger Glossy Accents directly to the backside of your Tim Holtz Fragment. Use the applicator tip of the bottle to make small even circular motions all over the charm back. Then you carefully set the Fragment on top of the area you want to appear on your charm. Press firmly to disperse the Glossy Accents medium across your piece. Then you want to turn your piece over and use a generous piece of decorative packing tape (or just a plain clear tape that you’ve stamped a design on) across the back of your charm. This protects the paper backing as well as helps to contain the Glossy Accents properly. Now that your “sandwich” is created, you can go back and use a brayer or rub-on tool to press the top and bottom of your charm together. If some of the Glossy Accents runs out the sides, don’t worry about it. After the piece is completely dry, you want to use scissors to cut around the excess paper and tape–as close to the sides of the Fragment as you can. Use a paper piercer to open the hole on your fragment to add a jump ring or other attachment. I went back over the edges of the charm with a Basic Grey precision file to make sure all the edges were even and any excess paper or medium was removed. Now, you’re ready to make your finished jewelry piece. I will warn you that these become very addictive to make–and are terrific gift items. (I should also note that all the directions can be found in Tim Holtz’s ‘Compendium of Curiosities’ book as well.)







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    A Compendium Of Curiosities

    Yesterday was all about Mr. Tim Holtz for me (and my pocketbook). First, I received my copy of Mr. Holtz’s new book, “A Compendium Of Curiosities”–which I’ll get to in a moment. Secondly, I ordered nearly $200 of his new Alterations line. I am in awe of the versatility of some of the new Sizzix Bigz dies and edge dies he’s come up with. If you haven’t visited Tim Holtz’s blog as of late, I highly recommend you take a look at the set of new videos he posted describing his intentions and examples of the new Alterations line of products. Needless to say, I’m hooked (line and sinker). I’ve always been a fan of Mr. Holtz’s tools and products (a fact my craft stash would attest to in a court of law). I suppose his aesthetic may not appeal to all crafters, but I have to say I love the grunge look of his style and his methods of repurposing objects and trinkets. It’s also one of the few craft lines that is very male and teen friendly (in my opinion). Among the dies I am eagerly awaiting: Caged Bird, Fanciful Flight, Gadget Gears, Tattered Florals, Hanging Sign, Ornamental, Keyholes, Styled Labels, Three Hole Punch, and File Tabs. (The sad part is there are still a few more I want–but they weren’t in stock at the moment. So, I’m sure I’ll be placing another order on down the road.)

    But enough about my shopping habits…and on to the book. Can I just say right up front that this book belongs in every crafter’s library. Whether you are a Tim Holtz fan like me or just interested in new methods, techniques, and ideas, this book is for you. The hardcover book (with interior spiral binding) measures approximately 8 3/4″ x 8 3/4″ and has 77 pages. But don’t be fooled by that number. The book is bursting with information and wonderfully rendered color photographs presented with Mr. Holtz’s usual panache and flair.

    Beginning with a brief introduction to the man and his studio–as well as a list of products he has developed or helped to develop and their intended uses–the book wastes no time getting to its essential core. It’s broken down into three major sections: Ideas, Techniques, and a Gallery.

    In the Ideas section, Holtz explores different elements and embellishments and how they can affect your projects–whether they be layouts, cards, mini-books, etc. Among the topics he discusses and shows examples of:

  • ornate plates
  • foilage
  • corner
  • tags, tokens, & sticks
  • type charms
  • gears, sprockets, & timepieces
  • numerals
  • keys & keyholes
  • adornments & vintage buttons
  • curio knobs & foundations
  • film strip & ruler ribbon
  • fasteners & washers
  • mini clips & pins
  • trinket & memo pins
  • hitch fasteners
  • hinge clips & D-rings
  • swivel clasps
  • ball, bead & link chains
  • tickets & stickers
  • paper stacks
  • grungeboard & grungepaper
  • fragments

    My favorite section has to be the Technique section. In it, Mr. Holtz teaches us to use some of his famous techniques, tips and tricks. What’s clever is that most of them are done is six simple steps with accompanying full-color photographs. Among the techniques highlighted are:

  • wrinkle free distress
  • scribble stain distress
  • water stamping
  • blended batik
  • dabber resist
  • perfect distress
  • inking grunge
  • double distress
  • rusted enamel
  • distress crackle
  • distress powder
  • chipped enamel
  • rusted grunge
  • distress stickles
  • rock candy distress stickles
  • altered metal with paint
  • shabby chic
  • weathered wood grunge
  • alcohol ink monoprint
  • alcohol ink splatter
  • alcohol ink agate on grunge
  • industrial grunge
  • tinted vision fragments
  • altered metal alcohol inks
  • colorful layered fragments
  • masks basics
  • inking and stamping masks
  • distress misting masks
  • extreme masking
  • fragments basics
  • dimensional collage fragments
  • fragment charms
  • grungepaper flowers
  • multi-medium collage
  • design details

    The final section is a wonderful gallery of projects done by Mr. Holtz that incorporate many of the techniques, tools, and examples used throughout the book. What really surprised me was that even someone like myself who has used a lot of Holtz products can still find new information on how to use products that you hadn’t thought of or didn’t realize you could do. I was really excited by the fragments projects (and will be working on some of those in the near future.

    “A Compendium Of Curiosities” retails for $24.99 and, in my opinion, is worth every single penny. I highly recommend this book to anyone with even a faint interest in papercrafting.

  • Made With LOVE

    Today’s card project is rather simple in construction and execution. And yet, it manages to be a statement maker and an eyecatcher. Sometimes, a simple idea executed well can give you unexpected results. I’m not sure if this is going to carry off well in photographs, but this card is quite elegant in person.

    My main objective when starting this project was to use a piece of printed transparency on a card design. The piece I used comes from a 12″ x 12″ transparency sheet from Creative Imaginations. The design is from the fabulous Marah Johnson, whose work I adore. If you love hip, tattoo-inspired artwork, I highly recommend you check out Marah Johnson’s work. The piece of transparency I used was 4″ x 5 1/4″ and comes from Ms. Johnson’s “Lovestruck” collection.

    The main challenge when working with transparencies–and clear elements, in general–is figuring out a way to adhere the piece to your project. Being a transparent material, unfortunately, many adhesive solutions will show through the piece and create a less-than-desirable look to a finished project. Most of the time, it then becomes a challenge to hide the adhesive with embellishments (without trying to be too obvious that is exactly what you are doing. I think many people shy away from transparency film for this very reason. In the past, I’ve tried “hiding” adhesive and never been happy with the results on the whole. One day, I tried to use eyelets to adhere the transparency to a project–and it does work better. However, the problem with eyelets is that you have to be extremely careful when setting them at just the correct separations so that the transparency film does not buckle or pull creating unsightly bumps and wrinkles on your overlay piece. I quickly realized that instead of trying to use eyelets in all corners of a transparency–less is generally more. If you can use two opposite corners in your design planning, you are able to properly attach the overlay to your project and still allow the transparency some movement and air to breath.

    In the past, I’ve stamped images on plain transparency film you can buy at Office Depot or other office supply stores. Your best bet as far as inks go has to be StazOn–as it tends to smear less and dry very quickly. Occasionally, I’ll find a piece of pre-printed transparency that I’ll fall in love with and “have” to buy. The problem with most preprinted transparencies is that they can be quite expensive. So, don’t be afraid to attempt to make your own with some of your favorite stamps and colors. There may be some trial and error involved, but the results are really worth the effort in the looks you can achieve.

    Instead of working with eyelets, I decided to try my hand with some We R Memory Keepers designer gromlets. I pulled out my Crop-A-Dile (which I really don’t use that often) and found a pair of gromlets from my stash that reminded me of jeweled cufflinks. (Unfortunately, as you will find out, there was a mishap with one of them.)

    I decided to mount my transparency to a piece of Stardream Fuse Mica cardstock in a color called Quartz. It has a nice icy sheen to it. (TIP: Several readers have asked about where I buy my Stardream Fuse Mica cardstock from. While there are several sources you can find on the Internet, I shop with California Paper Goods. They have the best selection and offer a wide array of sizes, quantities, and styles (not too mention great pricing). Their packaging is impeccable and they are very quick in turnaround.) My cardstock base is the same size as the transparency, 4″ x 5 1/4″.

    I quickly realized that I did not want to just attach the transparency directly to the cardstock (even though it looked perfectly fine). I rooted around in my stamps and found a sentiment stamp from Papertrey Ink’s “Mega Mixed Messages” collection and used some Jet Black StazOn ink to stamp the word “love” haphazardly (well, it supposed to look haphazard but takes some work) on the Quartz cardstock.


    A few seconds to dry and I was ready for my gromlets (but, I think they were not ready for me). Aligning the transparency with the cardstock, I used the Crop-A-Dile to punch a hole through the layers to insert the gromlet through. The first one was a snap. The second one was more like crackle. Apparently, I applied to much pressure when setting the gromlet and the crystal stone in the center of the gromlet shattered. It stayed together, but I really could get past the cracked look of the crystal and had to abandon that gromlet for another. While they certainly don’t match, I think they work well enough together on this particular card.


    I then took another piece of the Stardream Fuse cardstock in the same color (5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″, scored at 4 1/4″) to create the card base to attach my “gromletted” piece to. A piece of Stampin’ Up! 5/8″ satin ribbon in Whisper White made a lovely finishing touch.




    Well, I hope wherever today takes you or finds you, you’ll be surrounded by love. There’s too much hate in the World. So do something kind for a perfect stranger. It’ll do both of you good. Feed your soul….and as always, keep crafting!

    Tag In A Bag–Masking

    For this particular project, I have chosen to use a tag in a bag from the Sara’s Surfaces line by Hot Off The Press (which you can buy at Paper Wishes) .

    However, it is the stamping technique that I wish to highlight here. So you can use this process on regular greeting cards, altering projects and scrapbook pages. The result is a project that looks much more complicated than it really is.

    My supplies for this project include:

    –Sara’s Surfaces Tag In A Bag
    –Colorbox Cat’s Eye Queue Pigment Ink (Rain Forest, Rich Rustics)
    –an acrylic or rubber stamp of your choice
    –plastic sheets or transparency sheets
    –ribbon

    The technique highlighted in this project is called masking. You can think of masking as the reverse of stenciling. Heidi Swapp has introduced a line of mini and large masks that work very well. However, the only thing that really limits your options for masking is your own imagination.

    You can create you own masks by using a sheet of plastic and tracing/drawing your desired design on it with a marker. Then cut around your mask. All that’s needed to make your mask stick to your project surface is a little repositionable adhesive. My Xyron 510 comes in handy for this step. I’ve found you can also use clear transparency sheets as well. As for the images, you can draw something from your mind or trace an image from coloring book or clip art image.

    For easier visuals, I have used a piece of black plastic cut out in simple leaf and branch shapes. They were run through the Xyron to put adhesive on the reverse side. Once you have prepared your masking elements we are ready to position them on your work surface. Make sure the edges of your mask are securely adhered to your project surface.

    Once you have the masking elements in place, it is simply a matter of choosing the color of ink that you wish to use on the negative space of your surface. I chose to use the Colorbox Cat’s Eye Queue Pigment stack in Rain Forest and chose Fresh Green as my color. Then you simply dab your inkpad all across your surface, avoiding stamping in an obvious pattern. You will want to leave some areas lighter and darker for visual interest.

    Continue dabbing with your inkpad until your entire masked surface has been well covered will ink.

    At this point, you will want to remove your mask material. I find you achieve better results if you remove them prior to the ink drying. You can either discard your masks or clean them and save them for another application.

    After your masks are removed, you do want to let the ink completely dry before proceding to your final embellishments. I chose a sentiment stamp from Studio G and used the black ink pad from my Colorbox Cat’s Eye Queue Rich Rustics stack. Be creative in your positioning of your sentiment.

    Once my sentiment stamp is dry, I decided to use a piece of color coordinating ribbon to loop through the tag hole. This will allow it to be used as a card pull and allow for easier access once the tag card is in its paper bag.

    After thinking about it a bit more, I decided I needed to add a little “something” to the bag envelope. I found another spool of ribbon (I love paisleys!) and cut a piece to go around the width of the bag. I used another piece to further embellish my card.

    Now, my project is completed and ready for giving.

    Have fun exploring with the masking technique and let your imagination run wild!

    Keep Crafting!