When I reframed an old family photo the other day I almost tossed out the ivory mat that had seen better days, but then decided I could put the heavy board to good use.
Rather than tuck it away for the elusive ‘someday’ I got out several pigment inkpads, smudged on some of my favorite colors, and used a favorite Magic Stamp block to stamp over the random background with black pigment ink.
Because pigments ink dry slowly I had plenty of time to sprinkle the entire mat with clear embossing powder and heat set it. Voila! A colorful, textured mat.
But the mat was so overwhelming that I couldn’t imagine what I would put into it, so I cut it into long strips and small pieces, colored the edges of all of the pieces with permanent black ink applied straight from the pad (a broad nib permanent marker would work, too) and started playing, combining and rearranging the layers.
I got out some coordinating fibers, buttons, air-dry clay pieces and a little resin-embedded rosebud that was a fridge magnet in a former life. One thing led to another and soon I had the components for four super sturdy mixed media bookmarks.
Punch the holes for the fibers one layer at a time using a heavy duty punch or drill press. Mat board is too heavy for an ordinary hole punch.
Use strong-hold double-sided adhesive tape to secure the mat board layers.
Use snippets of Tombow Power Adhesive Tabs to secure the embellishments. Cut the Tabs with non-stick scissors. This is my go-to favorite product and NO, I’m not on their payroll…I just love Power Tabs.
These bookmarks are best used for the volumes you keep by an easy chair rather than for books that get tucked into tote bags. (They’re too stiff to stand up to getting knocked around.) Make sure that the layered and embellished portion sticks out beyond the pages for several inches to keep the pages from getting distorted. This also allows you to see and enjoy what you’ve made!
Instead of a photo mat, start with a small sheet of mat board. Reason: Smaller boards are easier to cut into pieces than oversized ones.
Instead of stamping and embossing, alter the mat or mat board with stenciling, collage, or with a mix of whatever techniques you’re currently enjoying.
Skip the embossing powder if you don’t want a shiny surface. Instead, seal with a matte finish medium.
Instead of making bookmarks, cut the mat or mat board into squares and make mixed media mosaics for card fronts, art journals, or other projects.
Use colors that won’t overwhelm a photo or drawing and leave the mat intact!
- Castoff photo mat or piece of mat board
- Pigment inkpads including black or another dark color
- Permanent black inkpad or wide nib marker (for edges of bookmarks)
- Clear embossing powder
- Heat tool
- Magic Stamp block(s)*
- Tombow Power Adhesive Tabs
- Non-stick scissors (to cut Power Tabs)
- Assorted embellishments
- Assorted fibers
- Heavy duty hole punch (or drill press)
- Craft knife, cutting mat, ruler OR guillotine paper cutter sturdy enough to cut mat board
*The Magic Stamp block used for this project was heated per manufacturer’s instructions and pressed against a piece of bead embroidery. To learn more about this remarkable product, please look at the schedule for my upcoming Magic Stamp classes at the Queen’s Ink! They’ll be posted soon.