In early August 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio, I’ll be teaching four classes at Stampaway – one of the best stamp shows in the country. One class, Retro Deco Revival Art Tags, features five tags with five techniques using a variety of materials. This Mermaid Tag is the basis for one of the tags in that class.
From the minute I saw Judikins Mermaid stamp (2814 I, catalog page 130) I fell in love with it. Her long curvy body and wispy hair is gorgeous. I knew her hair and tail would look amazing painted with USArtQuest MicaColors watercolors. They would give her just the right amount of shimmer.
To begin this project, stamp the mermaid on watercolor paper with embossing ink and heat emboss with fine black embossing powder. Carefully color her skin and bathing suit top with Copic markers (Skin E00 & Chinese Orange YR09). Then paint her hair and tail with MicaColor watercolors (Metallic Misty Lavender and Brilliant Gold). Fussy cut out the mermaid. I used a Zing electronic cutting machine which cuts so fine it was able to cut out the spaces between the strands of her hair!
Cut out a tag shape from heavy white cardstock or illustration board. Using Perfect Paper Adhesive (PPA), collage napkins on to the tag to create an underwater scene. You can use glossy or matte. Unlike other adhesives, PPA isn’t sticky, so it’s easy to work with delicate papers, like a single ply of napkin. When you’re finished collaging, cover the entire tag with PPA and then lightly sprinkle some Crystal Effectz over it, to give the scene extra sparkle. Use the PPA to adhere fibers to the tag to create seaweed.
Once the collage is dry, you’re ready to create a sandy ocean floor. Take a small amount of Artist’s Cement 101 Heavy and mix it with some Perfect Pigment Pure Liquid Acrylic (Burnt Umber). By doing this, any cement that isn’t covered by sand will be the color of the acrylic rather than white.
There are two types of Artist’s Cement; Light and Heavy. Both dry to an opaque matte finish. 101 Heavy dries to a very hard finish, while 101 Light is more flexible when dry. I think it’s probably called cement because of how well it bonds things together, rather than it’s texture when wet. When I first opened the jar, it immediately reminded me of Pond’s Cold Creme my mother used 40 years ago. It’s silky smooth, creamy and very soft. You can form soft peaks with it and create great textures that can later be painted, sanded, carved, etc.
Use a small palette knife, popsicle stick or coffee stir stick to mix the Cement with the acrylic paint and apply it to the bottom of the tag, creating a textured ocean floor, just a bit thinner than 1/4″. Pour some sand over the Cement , shaking off the excess. Press some small shells in to the Cement and let it dry overnight.
Happy Crafting! Joe