Monday, August 8, 2011

Cut Your Own Rubber Stamps

Welcome to the next act in my gift tag saga. I decided to cut some new rubber stamps for my recently dyed tags. Many of the designs on the gift tags I showed in my paper dying entry were hand-cut in this way. I am currently using Soft-Kut Printing Blocks from Dick Blick because they are soft and inexpensive. Curls were not easy because the material is so rubbery and pliable, so the first design you see here took me longer than I had hoped. A firmer block would have been better for this design, I think.

I started by cutting with scissors some shapes from a larger block that fit the two main sizes of tags that I am using. I made a rough sketch with a sharpie directly on the block, then started cutting away the negative space with Speedball Linoleum Cutters. I like these because they are inexpensive and if you make a mistake when sharpening your blades, you can buy inexpensive replacement tips. You can also use an exacto knife for straight edges in tricky places.

When I finished cutting my design, I rinsed it with sudsy water to remove any rubber debris. After it dried I tested it with an inexpensive black water-based ink pad. Inking these up is much easier if you keep the block on your table and dab it with your ink pad. Keep dabbing with your pad, moving it all around the block and angling it in different directions. Do not slide the pad across your block. It will take a while for the block to build up enough ink for your first proof, but after a few prints the surface of your block will get more sticky and hold more ink.

To print, place your block face down on your paper and press the back with a flat object a little larger that the pad. A block of wood works great.

After you have successfully made some proofs, you may decide to cut more of your block away. I have left some texture in the negative space around the tree that I will probably cut away at a later date.

My second block (the leaf) was much easier because my design had no curls. This time I cut away all of the background that printed in my proofs so I would have a clean design. It’s best to cut away more the closer you get to the edge of your block, so the edge is thinner than the area next to the image. Make sure you wash the ink off your block with soapy water after your are done printing or between colors. When storing your blocks make sure that nothing is touching the printing side that will leave an indentation and damage your image. These block are fragile. I use a layer of thick cardstock to protect mine.

You can used water-based ink pads with these blocks, or roll ink on with a brayer. I will post a blog at a later date showing how to use a brayer with water-based relief inks. This is a great way to control your color and get an opaque, crisp and consistent print.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Golden Healers - Yellow Quartz Crystal (NOT Tangerine Quartz): Healing Properties And The Difference Between Both Stones

Golden Healer With Actinolite Pendant SOLD at DoodlepunkArt

Golden Healers are very rare quartz crystals stained internally with yellow iron oxide. Many of them also have actinolite needles trapped inside,  Their colors range from pale yellow to gold or orange and they have a Mohs hardness of 7, like rock quartz, amethyst and citrine.

Golden Healer Pendant available at
Golden Healer Pendant Available at DoodlepunkArt
This rare stone is also known as “golden healer” because of its incredible healing powers. The yellow iron stain adds whole body healing change to the purifying and amplifying powers of quartz crystal.

Golden Healer Crystal with Actinolite

This crystal is used for spiritual healing, cleansing the organs, stimulating the immune system, clearing blockages from qi (chi,) aligning the chakras and balancing yin-yang energies. Yellow quartz can be used with any of the chakras, but is especially powerful with the sacral, solar plexus and crown chakras. Using this stone on the 3rd Chakra (Solar Plexus) helps one align themselves with the Divine will.

Two Golden Healers

Golden healers help create a sense of confidence, zeal, happiness and adventure. Paler yellow hues are most helpful when cheerfulness and enthusiasm is needed. The deeper the shade of gold, the stronger its powers of manifestation for self-assurance and success in leadership roles.

Golden Healer Pendant Available at
Golden Healer Pendant Available in DoodlepunkArt
Yellow quartz vibrates at the highest level (ૐ - Om) to help one gain access to “Christ consciousness,” “divine consciousness” and “the Golden Ray.” Yellow quartz is linked with the Sun and all zodiac signs.

Rare Golden Healer Crystal Cluster SOLD at
Rare Golden Healer Crystal Cluster - SOLD
Tangerine quartz (below) has a similar color range, but its color is a coating on the outside of the crystal instead of on the inside.

Tourmalinated Tangerine Quartz Pendant
All of the crystals in the photo below are golden healers except the one in the upper left corner.

All of these specimens came from China. I have never seen golden healer specimens quite like these before, especially the deep yellow intensity of the four darker ones. Many of these taper toward the termination like a diamantine laser wand and have the horizontal stripes of a Lemurian seed crystals. This shape is called "Tessin Habit" and the striations are called " macromosaic structure." Two of these specimens have the multiple terminations of a split growth formation.

The photo above shows a close up of golden healers and tangerine quartz. Again, the one in the upper left corner is tangerine quartz because it is stained with iron on the outside only.

Tangerine Quartz Pendant SOLD
Tourmalinated Tangerine Quartz Pendant (SOLD)
Golden Healer Pendant (SOLD)
The darker specimen below is included with yellow actinolite, like many of my specimens. This was my favorite stone, sold to my good friend, Ros-Mari.  Actonlite needles in quartz focus energy and create a powerful conduit for The Universal Life Force.

©Jennifer Shipley
The content of this article is the intellectual property of Jennifer Shipley.  Please do not copy without my written consent.

Golden Healer With Actinolite Needles Pendant from
Golden Healer With Actinolite Needles (SOLD)
Golden Healer With Actinolite Needles Pendant from
Golden Healer With Actinolite Needles Pendant (Sold)
Golden Healer With Actinolite Needles from
Golden Healer With Actinolite Needles
Golden Healer With Actinolite Needles Pendant from
Golden Healer With Actinolite Needles
Golden Healer With Actinolite Needles Pendant from
Golden Healer With Actinolite Needles
Golden Healer Pendant by DoodlepunkArt (SOLD) from
Golden Healer Pendant by DoodlepunkArt (SOLD)
Golden Healer From DoodlepunkArt (SOLD) from
Golden Healer From DoodlepunkArt (SOLD)
Golden Healer Pendant by DoodlepunkArt from
Golden Healer Pendant by DoodlepunkArt (Coming soon!)
Golden Healer From DoodlepunkArt (SOLD) from
Golden Healer From DoodlepunkArt (SOLD)
For more information on golden healers and tangerine quartz go to these websites:

Scroll down to "Golden Healer Quartz" on

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Natural Hand-Dyed Paper

Dying paper at home is an easy and inexpensive project you can complete in one work session. Your hand-dyed paper can be used for card-making, gift tags, bookmarks, soap and gift packaging, scrapbooking, paper maché, collages, magnets…anything you can think of. I have been using my hand-dyed paper to make gift tags, which I give out with each pendant purchase in my etsy store.

The finished gift tags/bookmarks you see here I made using paper that I dyed with coffee, tea, turmeric and cinnamon. Simmering the natural ingredients found in my kitchen gave my tags not only a rich, earthy yellow ochre hue, but also a nearly edible aroma.

For my most recent batches, I used the water left over from boiling beets that we ate for dinner and a combination of hand-torn watercolor paper and die-cut manila tags from the office supply store.

First I used the beet juice alone to die a few batches as I slowly reheated the liquid in a sauce pan on the stove. I dipped both sides of my paper in the beet juice, then soaked them until they sank (about 5 minutes.) You can dye multiple pieces at once.

After spreading crumpled aluminum foil on a cookie sheet, I set my papers out to dry in the oven on about 185 °f. You do not need the aluminum foil. I used it to create a splotchy texture.  It helps to have two cookie sheets going at one time so you can stagger your work – while one pan is drying, fill the other pan with your next batch of paper.

After I dyed all the paper that I wanted to have pink, I kept the beet water just under boil and added powdered turmeric and a black tea bag. This time I did smaller batches because I wanted my paper to have darker red splotches on one side.

To get these splotches I soaked the papers on low heat just long enough for the ones floating on top to dry partially. If they soak too long they will sink to the bottom and the splotches will be lost. You can use a fork to pull the papers out of the pan, or the string (or wire) that comes attached to your tags. 

Drying the papers on the crumpled aluminum foil leaves a very interesting random texture and drying them directly on the oven rack or a cookie cooling rack leaves interesting stripes.

For a smoother color, try drying them directly on a cookie sheet, but I recommend testing a sample of each paper type first to assure that your batches won’t stick to the cookie sheet after they are dry.

After paper has dried, press them under heavy, hard-cover books to flatten them out. A thick layer of scratch paper or a felt pad placed below the books on top of equal sized small dyed paper stacks will help you press more paper at one time.

For the artwork on my tags, I used a combination of store bought and hand-carved rubber stamps, with various inks, including water-based pigment pads, solvent-based dye pads and Dick Blick relief printing inks rolled out with a brayer directly onto the stamps.

Next, I decorated my tags with cut paper and hand-dyed sand. For my final touches, I stamped or brushed color around the edges and looped ribbon through the holes.

Combine any medium you want to create your artwork, but keep in mind that these vegetable dyes are not completely colorfast, so consider that when using wet media.