Sunday, February 07, 2010

Paper Toasting

This month’s ATC theme was “Winter”.  Almost immediately I knew I wanted to use a doily somehow on my design, as doilies most perfectly simulate snowflakes (except for the fact that unlike snowflakes, all 12 doilies in a package ARE exactly the same—remember Arnold Horshack’s poem in “Welcome Back Kotter?”)  With Valentine’s Day approaching soon, there was no problem finding doilies in the craft store.  I love the crisp white filigreed edges!  How perfect they are!  But, as we typically work in Vintage style, I wanted to make my doilies look more aged.  They were just TOO crisp and white!  I didn’t want to tea-dye them because I didn’t want them to be entirely mulled cider color.  I wanted just the edges to be aged looking.  But, that was another problem. 

For those of you familiar with scrapbooking and crafting, there’s a technique known as “antiquing” paper.  It’s also sometimes referred to as “aging”, “inking”, “edging”, and even “distressing”.  The general idea is that you take a sepia or other neutral colored ink pad to the edges of your desired image.  This makes the image look older and more “worn”.    This is the look I was aiming for with my doilies, but NO WAY was I gonna be able to get ink to all the intricate edges of my doily.  So, I referred back to a technique I developed a few months ago that I call “toasting” (you know, like toasting a marshmallow over a campfire.)

It’s very simple.  Basically all you need is a HOT heat gun.  I say this because I imagine a low-wattage heat source won’t work the same.  The one I use is a 2-temperature one by The Paper Studio I bought at Hobby Lobby with my 40% off coupon.  I use the “high” setting. 
Doily Toasting 4
All you have to do is “blow-dry” the edges of the doily and then also kind of straight down from above (to get the inner filigreed cutout edges.)  As you move your heat gun around, you will get varying colors of “aging” effects.  Toast as little or as much as you like.  It’s just like toasting a marshmallow.  Initially it takes a little patience, but once you see the golden brown goodness, you’ll be hooked!

See the difference between the “before and after” doilies?Doily Toasting 1BEFORE (unaltered)
Doily Toasting 2 AFTER (lightly toasted)
Doily Toasting 3 Isn’t the “aged” look from toasting just wonderful?!

So, with this technique in mind, I created my winter-themed ATC by implementing an antiqued doily to represent winter’s snowflakes.  The inspiration for my winter ATC was my favorite song of all-time, “The Rose”, sung by Bette Midler.   I’ve discovered that several of my ATCs reflect music lyrics.  I guess most people who know me know that I love music.  Music speaks to me more powerfully than any other medium.  It’s no wonder that when I think of my art designs, I think in the language of music (and words—my second great love).  

As someone who has always been overweight, I didn’t have but a handful of dates in high school.  Even though in college I had more guys ask me out, I still felt like it was going to take FOREVER to find my “Mr. Right”.   Many lonely Saturday nights I felt so like that barren seed buried beneath the winter’s bitter snow, awaiting the arrival of my springtime blossoming.  God was my Sun and I knew with His precious care, one day I would become the rose.  I feel so thankful that when I was 30, my Prince Charming found me and we fell deeply in love and were married. 

It’s been over 5 years now and I still remember that cold bitter winter of my life vividly.  But, those memories make me even more grateful for the Sun’s gentle love and the opportunity to finally blossom. 
Doily Toasting 7
Note:  if adding glitter, such as I did here, be sure to add it after you’ve toasted.  Otherwise, the extreme heat melts it.
ATC Envelope 1
My finished ATC rests inside this hand-crafted envelope. 


  1. Brilliant, my friend! I'd be sitting there for hours with my ink pad in hand, grumbling the whole time.

  2. nice work, it's so pretty here...your blog is gorgeous...

    i'll keep poking around here for a bit...
    come see me sometime too...

    ciao now

  3. btw...i'm ;your newest follower...

    i look forward to meeting you over at my site....have yourself a cheerful monday!


  4. Hi back..thanks for coming to visit me...and I agree with all that you said...

    it'll be fun to look back in on you and see what you are creating!

  5. Darling you have a lovely blog and a new follower.