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Stamping With Bleach Technique

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Does the change in seasons seem to perk you up a bit and give you a burst of energy? I always feel a change in my attitude when the sun starts to warm the air more in the spring. With that boost, I also find that I start feeling a bit more creative and want to try something new and different to break out of my current rut. While perusing the Internet I saw a few projects that used bleach for card making, and I was intrigued.

Using bleach on paper for card making results in what you would expect -- a lightening of dark cardstock in the areas in which bleach is applied. Applying the bleach in different ways is how you can be clever about it. Stamping with bleach, using bleach with a stencil and coloring in an embossed image with bleach are all techniques that result in very interesting designs.

Let's start with stamping with bleach. It is just as it sounds: you use bleach in place of a traditional ink pad to create an image or design. Begin by protecting your work surface with a liquid-proof covering and your clothing by wearing an apron. To create a bleach "ink pad," fold a couple of paper towels to fit in the bottom of a shallow container. You will want 8 to 10 layers of paper towel to make a cushion to press your stamp into for good coverage of the bleach "ink." Slowly pour bleach on the paper towels until they are saturated, but not swimming, in the liquid. You will want to make sure you work with fresh bleach. Bleach loses its potency when it comes in contact with air.

Next, prep your stamp by stamping it in VersaMark ink, which is a sticky, clear ink. VersaMark will allow the bleach to coat the stamp better to give a clearer final image as well as to protect your stamp from the bleach. Now you are ready to stamp.

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Test out different stamp images on dark cardstock colors to find the combination that works best. I had to try a few different stamp designs to find the one that worked best to give me the results I wanted. A variety of cardstock colors will also have varying results. Darker colors will allow the bleach to appear lighter, while lighter colors will not have that drastic difference. As the bleach dries, the cardstock will bleach out more. You can speed up the drying time by using a heat gun.

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Next, try applying a stencil over the background of your card design and paint bleach through the holes in the design. The result is a different look than using paint or ink with the same stencil.

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Another technique to try is to color in a heat-embossed image with bleach. Stamp your design with pigment ink or VersaMark, sprinkle embossing powder over it, remove the excess powder and then heat to melt the remaining embossing powder. Use a paintbrush or cotton swab to apply bleach inside the raised, embossed image. The heat embossing will help keep the bleach within the design and prevent it from bleeding outside the edges.

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Once you have tried out these techniques, make sure you rinse off all of your stamps and stencils right away. Bleach can eat away at the rubber and plastics if not removed fairly quickly after use.

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