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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Technique Tutorial: Cracked-Glass Effect

Greetings NetPeeps! (My teen daughter just cringed as I wrote that.) Today I have a little tutorial for you on how to achieve a cracked-glass effect on small pieces of art like this ATC I have featured over at the Lost Coast Portal to Creativity, where they are currently running a contest--submit any art of yours that uses rubber stamps and be entered to win a gift certificate to buy MOAR STAMPS. What have you got to lose? Nuthin'. But to gain? Shopping spree! So take a picture of your stampy art and go over and enter! Rules here. Deadline September 25. GO!

So...cracked glass! Here's my ATC (entitled "Progress") so you know what we're talking about.

See all those crackledy lines and cracks? This looks pretty cool in person...cooler than on the screen (photos have SUCH a flattening effect, don't they)...and you will definitely want to try this technique.

Here's how I did. First, I will tell you about the background and composition of this card, although the cracked-glass technique will work on top of just about anything you want to do.

So. I took a mini ink-blending tool and swirled some Distress ink in three or four colors onto the card.

To add interest and a bit of surrealism to the background, next I took some Nuance pigment powders by Magenta and sprinkled some onto the card. I used yellow, orange, and magenta pigments. TIP: A tiny bit of powder goes a long way--once you wet it with water, the pigment blossoms and balloons out pretty bigly, depending on how much water you add.

Before I spritzed the powder with water, the card looked like this. Tiny quantities of powder, yes?

(Sorry for the color difference between the first and second photos--I think I used flash on the second one so the powders would show up better.)

While the card was drying after the powder spritzing, I got my stampin' stuff out. I used two cool images from Lost Coast Designs--this awesomely bizarre sort of monk-bug from the Isle of Aud Creatures set (for which I have nothing but profound respect--every one of the images in the set is SO great):

...and this Large Perspective Background that I just love. It's like a surreal Italian Renaissance piazza.

I stamped the monk-bug in waterproof ink (TIP: you want the ink to be waterproof so that the next steps don't smear your images) and then masked him off to stamp the background. So that part was easy-peasy. The composition was done.

NOW comes the cracked glass part. [drumroll....]

I took the ATC and pressed a clear embossing ink pad all over it. I then covered the card in several coats of clear ultra-thick embossing enamel. This stuff is just embossing powder that has very large grains--horrible for detailed images, but great for melting over your entire pieces. It kind of looks like table sugar--here's how my card looked with the unmelted first coat adhered and ready for the heat gun:

One melted coat of the ultra-thick embossing enamel will probably yield a pebbly appearance, which can be a cool look. But for this technique, you want to apply several coats, MELTING each coat before you apply the next. Three coats will probably be enough. (See my post Step-By-Step: A Glasslike ATC for more details on this process.)

Once you have three or so coats of the melted powder on, your art will appear as though it is encased in glass with rounded edges. I tried hard to capture the look for you here:

See the shine in the lower right-hand corner of the above pic? See how the card looks thick and glossy there?

How about here? It's an effect that is just durned hard to photograph.

But just trust me. It will look pretty cool at this point...so cool that you might be tempted to stop here. And I would be sympathetic to you. HOWEVER, if you wanna crack that "glass," here's what you do next...

Put that sucker in the freezer for an hour.

When the resin is thoroughly chilled/frozen, take the ATC out and gently bend it back and forth in several places until the resin cracks. It's fun. You don't want to bend the card so hard that you are creasing it--just stress the cold resin so it has to sprick. (<--Hmm...that may be a Swenglish [Swedish-English] word...but it's just so perfect for the sound and feel that your card will have as you flex the resin in various spots.)

When you're done, your cracked glass surface will look like this:

Cool, ja? (Swedish again.) Talk to me below and let me know if you've ever tried this technique and how your results were...or let me know if you're planning to very soon. Make some art today and feel better!


  1. Simple ideas are the best, the freezer hmmm... DH goes there, what's he going to say when he finds I've taken over that as well!

  2. I've cracked it by mistake but not tried it intentionally. Great tutorial! πŸ˜€

  3. I've cracked it by mistake but not tried it intentionally. Great tutorial! πŸ˜€

    1. Interesting that it's cracked on you by mistake, Orneryswife...do you have an idea why that might have happened? I found I had to leave mine in the freezer a goodly amount of time in order to get it to crack at all...!

  4. I've never done the cracked glass like that...so COOL! I've only stamped in the hot UTEE with a wet cracked image stamp, but I love the larger cracks you got. I must try this. LOVE the images too. So stinking fun!

    1. Oh, when you do try it, DEFINITELY link me up to your results! I love your work!