12 tags of 2014 – september…


i believe art allows our creativity to escape understanding…

for me, that means sometimes encouraging myself to try new things, be open to different styles and techniques.  i also believe the only way to grow our creative thinking is to give ourselves that freedom to explore.  the 12 tags is my opportunity every month to challenge my normal day to day creative process so this month i decided to get out my alcohol inks and see what happened.  i absolutely love these inks and their versatility on so many different surfaces that result in amazing effects.  i just wanted to play by mixing various colors, metallic mixatives, and manipulating the inks with blending solution.  it’s times like these when we allow our creative thinking to embrace imperfection and often discover new techniques or different ways to use products, this was one of those times…

for those of you who have taken my creative chemistry classes (and i honestly encourage everyone who hasn’t to please do) you learn the importance of the properties of the products and how they can interact with one another.  in creative chemistry 102 as well as my recent compendium of curiosities vol.3 book, i share a technique called “faded layers” that combines alcohols inks, blending solution, and layering stencils to achieve a cool ghosted background on glossy cardstock.  well today, i’ve learned a completely new way to achieve this effect and i can’t wait to share it with you.  so you see, my creativity isn’t always about brown and grunge, sometimes we all need to dream in color…t!m

supplies: craft sheet, alcohol inks/assorted colors, metallic mixative/gold, blending solution, ink applicator tool, felt, mini ink blending tool, blending foam, archival ink/jet black, glossy accents, heat tool, #8 black tag, remnant rubs/botanical, crinkle ribbon, stamps/cms179/cms104, layering stencil/THS011, grid-blocks, decorative strip die/butterfly frenzy, vagabond machine


step 1: begin with a piece of alcohol ink cardstock (or glossy cardstock), a layering stencil, blending solution, mini ink blending tool, blending foam. *note: glossy cardstock and alcohol ink cardstock from ranger are the same thing, however it is completely different than gloss photo paper.  gloss photo paper will not work well with alcohol inks since it’s emulsion-based and will become very sticky when inked.


step 2: apply a puddle of blending solution to the craft sheet.


step 3: tap mini blending tool into the blending solution to distribute the solution into the foam.


step 4: place a layering stencil over the glossy cardstock and tap the blending tool through the stencil to apply the blending solution.  *note: you need to work quickly as blending solution dries fast – if it’s too dry, apply more to the craft sheet.


step 5: reposition the stencil and repeat previous steps making sure you have wet blending solution on the foam when you’re tapping over the stencil.


step 6: once you’re finished, clean the stencil with soap and water. *note: you don’t really see anything at this point since the blending solution dries clear.


step 7: apply a light color of alcohol ink to the craft sheet.  it’s important to use a “light” color since we don’t want to add any blending solution to the craft sheet to dilute the inks.  if the color is too dark or  too diluted with blending solution, it won’t be as effective for this technique.  (i used lake mist)


step 8: quickly and lightly drag paper through the ink glossy side down and repeat until covered with a few layers of ink.


step 9: turn paper over to reveal the ghosted background – cool huh?  by applying blending solution to the paper first, it keeps those stenciled areas lighter than the rest of the background. *note: when trying any new technique remember it may not always be perfect the first time so embrace the process.  after all, it’s just ink and paper at this point so practice makes perfect.


step 10: trim paper to the size for the tag, and stamp image with jet black archival ink – dry with a heat tool.


step 11: adhere background to a tag with your favorite adhesive.


step 12: apply remnant rubs to your background for contrast.


step 13: cut two strips of alcohol ink cardstock and gather various colors of alcohol inks, ink applicator tool, and extra felts.


step 14: apply two tones of inks to the felt on the ink tool.  add a drop of metallic mixative and blending solution then tap the tool on to a section of the glossy cardstock.


step 15: change felt, and repeat with various colors in different sections of the cardstock until completely covered with ink.


step 16: place inked cardstock face-down on butterfly frenzy die and run through vagabond machine or big shot.


step 17: check out all of those butterflies!  looking good so far, but don’t pop out all of the butterflies just yet.


step 18: ink a text stamp with jet black archival ink and stamp random over butterflies.


step 19: now pop all of the butterflies out of the die.


step 20: to create a faded stamped layer, apply lake mist alcohol ink and blending solution to ink tool and tap over all butterflies.


step 21: this will create a faded effect on the butterflies and somewhat smear your stamped images since the blending solution reacts with the archival ink.  since i wanted this effect to be random i prefer to do this after the butterflies are removed from the cardstock sheet.


step 22: begin folding the butterflies in half and adhere to the background using a small amount of glossy accents.


step 23: continue adhering all butterflies until desired look is achieved – love all the different shapes and sizes from this die.


the details: the contrast of the remnant rubs on the background is a great way to add text to slick surfaces.


the details: the subtle faded layer from the stencil gives the background added depth.


the details: this colorful cluster of inked and stamped butterflies is a the perfect embellishment.

congrats to the winners from the august 12 tags of 2014.  if you see your name (and it links to your tag), please email mario@timholtz.com to claim your prize…
1. victorian studio
2. Ann R
3. diana
4. Winnie
5. Jane
6. Bella\’s Scrappin\’ Space
7. FlutterbyGandC
8. Irene McBeatle
9. papercrafter45
10. Judy Biggerstaff
11. Ruth
12. Brandy

*be sure to check your local stores for these supplies or you can
click the links below to purchase online…
(SSS=simon says stamp / IE=inspiration emporium)

GREAT NEWS! both of these online stores are offering a discount of 10% off your purchase – use the following codes with your order:
(SSS code: TH10SEPT / IE code: timtime)

click here (IE|SSS)


CMS104 Curiosities (IE|sss)


Schoolhouse Layering Stencil THS011 (SSS|IE)


Butterfly Frenzy (IE|SSS)


#8 Black Tags (IE|SSS)


Glossy Paper (SSS|IE)


Alcohol Ink Cardstock (SSS|IE)


Botanical Remnant Rubs (SSS|IE)


Crinkle Ribbon (IE|SSS)


Poppyfield Alcohol Ink (SSS|IE)


Red Pepper Alcohol Ink (IE|SSS)


Sunset Orange Alcohol Ink (SSS|IE)


Rust Alcohol Ink (SSS|IE)


Sunshine Yellow Alcohol Ink (SSS|IE)


Honeycomb Alcohol Ink (IE|SSS)


Lettuce Alcohol Ink (IE|SSS)


Meadow Alcohol Ink (IE|SSS)


Botanical Alcohol Ink (IE|SSS)


Mermaid Alcohol Ink (IE|SSS)


Pool Alcohol Ink (IE|SSS)


Cloudy Blue Alcohol Ink (SSS|IE)


Eggplant Alcohol Ink (IE|SSS)


Wild Plum Alcohol Ink (SSS|IE)


Purple Twilight Alcohol Ink (SSS|IE)


Pebble Alcohol Ink (IE|SSS)


Mushroom Alcohol Ink (IE|SSS)


Alcohol Ink Mixative – Gold (IE|SSS)


Jet Black Archival Pad (SSS|IE)


Glossy Accents (SSS|IE)


Alcohol Blending Solution (IE|SSS)


Ink Applicator Tool (SSS|IE)


Mini Ink Blending Tool (IE|SSS)


Grid Blocks (IE|SSS)


Craft Sheet (SSS|IE)


Heat Tool (SSS|IE)


Decorative Strip Cutting Pads (SSS|IE)


Vagabond (IE|SSS)


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137 Comments to “12 tags of 2014 – september…”

  1. Mary Werner says:

    QUESTION When you stamp the blending solution over the layering stencil, it is ok for it to dry on the paper? When you said work fast, you meant the solution on the pallet will dry quickly but it didn’t matter if the card dried? I just wondered how you were able to do everything on the card before it dried but think you meant the puddle you were using. Is that correct? This is great technique and I can see it used on a flower stem!

  2. jenni farnes says:

    omigosh. you never cease to amaze me. i am so grateful for all your tutorials. one day i may actually get brave enough to try these things. thank you for always inspiring me..

  3. Linda Storey says:

    I love it! I love the faded look on the butterflies. How is it that you can get picked to win something from the great t!m holtz? You are such a talent & thanks for sharing your work so you can inspire & teach the rest of us. Say hey to Mario for me.

  4. Jen Shipley says:

    What a gorgeous tag. I am loving that butterfly frenzy die! Thank you for sharing Tim.

  5. Linda E says:

    Awesome techniques and gorgeous tag, Tim !! You truly have a creative vision. Thanks so much for sharing!!!

  6. Frankie says:

    I really love the butterflies — that’s a great technique that I look forward to trying. This really turned into a beautiful tag.

  7. Yvonne Boucher says:

    first, congratulations to the creative winners…love the tags.
    Love the techniques used in the first of the Sept. 12 Tags! Thank you for the creative inspiration!

  8. Mariana says:

    This is one of the most beautiful tags Ive ever seen. Thank you for the inspiration Tim !

  9. Beth Noble says:

    What a gorgeous tag, Tim! I love the colors – AND the butterflies! I can never get enough butterflies! 🙂 Thank you for the new technique and inspiration!

  10. bette says:

    I love this tag, Tim! I was in a quandary about a card to make for my chemo’d best friend. No hair, you know the drill but she’s still so beautiful to me. I’m going to borrow the butterflies out of her head for her in this week’s card. Thanks…. for the idea of beauty!

  11. Mrs B says:

    Hi Tim. Love the tag, and the great technique. Take care.

  12. Patricia Howarth says:

    A stunning tag, absolutely fabulous !!

  13. Thea says:

    The tag looks wonderful! I love all the really colourful butterflies with the more subtle colour of the background. Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  14. Cathy Osborne says:

    AMAZING…I love the bright beautiful butterflies on this tag. I love the grunge and distressing, but nothing is more uplifting than some gorgeous color.

  15. Jan in Tucson says:

    ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS Tim! Love this technique of boasting with blending solution. Super!

  16. Sara j says:

    Absolutely fabulous….all the luscious color is just wonderful. I’ve been playing more with alcohol inks lately, so it will be fun to try the blending solution and stencils….this tag speaks to my heart and makes me smile….thank you Tim.

  17. Love the Sep tag Tim! CONGRATULATIONS to all the winners, some familiar names…..we’ll done! Karen.x

  18. Wow, Tim, this IS way outside your unusual ‘usual’ style. I love it. It it is such an emotional boost when you have been going along having a great time with a style with which you have been comfortable and then break out to go off in a different direction. You can always come back to your groove if you wish, but it is not so easy to break out in a new direction. Once the gates are open…. no telling where you will go.

  19. durandconnie says:

    Awesome! thank you for this tutorial. I really appreciate all the knowlege that you share.

  20. Carol P says:

    Very cool project. I love working with gradations…this tag/technique is right up my alley. Thanks for sharing!

  21. Can’t wait to try the background technique. One of my favorite stamps and the remnant rubs look awesome on it.

  22. Helen Cooke says:

    What a fabulous way to use all these products. Thanks Tim!!

  23. Bonnie says:

    That ghosting method with the blending solution is an awesome tip… I love the tag and can’t wait to try my hand at it – thanks for the constant inspiration!

  24. Theresa G. says:

    Way cool!!!

  25. Shirley Lum says:

    Love the techniques, you’re so inspiring!

  26. Awesome!!! Definitely out of the box for you, Tim…and I LOVE it!!

  27. Margaret says:

    Beautiful! Can’t wait to try the stencil with blending solution.

  28. Rosetta Jenkins says:

    0MG! How absolutely stunning. The use of alcohol inks in this way to create knock out color takes my breath away. I have to take out my glossy paper and play. Thank you Tim for a Labor Day delight!

  29. marileew says:

    Great tag, just love the background technique. Thanks for sharing.

  30. cool tag tim i love the colors you used for the butterflies. very inspiring art work

  31. Kathy Eddy says:

    Very cool tag and love the technique!

  32. Sue W. says:

    Gorgeous tag! Love the process.

  33. Am … totally … in … shock … !!!! THANKS SO MUCH!! Heartfelt CONGRATULATIONS to all the winners! 🙂

  34. Barb Topping says:

    Love, love, love the look. Too cool!! I need to revisit my alcohol ink collection again. It has been awhile since I played with them.

  35. Lisa H says:

    Cool! can’t wait to try this new faded layers technique!

  36. cheryl c says:

    I love playing with alcohol inks and this looks fun and great. Thanks.

  37. this is artfully gorgeous!!!!
    one of my absolute favs of all time tim:)

  38. Sue McRae says:

    Such a cool and colorful tag!

  39. marchelle says:

    This is fabulous…. Are we going to see a Creative Chemistry 3 by the way?

  40. Susanne says:

    NICE tag, love the colours!

  41. What a great technique again. I have to admit i have to make juli and august also, but i will asap.love the butterfly’s

  42. Sheri K says:

    This is so cool–so glad that you are now “thinking” in colored butterflies instead of just browns and grunge–good to expand your horizons Professor Tim!

  43. Becky Wall says:

    At first glance I thought the hair was fall leaves….until I scrolled down….very nice tag! Love this!

  44. Rosann says:

    Congrats to all the winners… some awesome work !
    This tags is AWESOME … love the butterflies … so cool … can’t wait to do it … checking my stash now !! 🙂

  45. Angele says:

    Love this tag with the bright colors, just perfect for September since over here it looks like summer is back for a while before the leaves will start to fall!

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