This rainbow fish is my pride and joy. I’m sure you’ve seen him on the blog before.
This is a technique I could do all day. It’s so much fun, and the results are gorgeous. I won’t say it’s easy, and I won’t say you’ll get perfect results on your first try. But with a little practice and patience you’ll look back after a few tries and wonder how you ever thought it was difficult.
Let’s start at the very beginning: Supplies
I’m using Glitter Ritz, Be Creative Tape, and Peel-Off Stickers (Koi – 2514B), all available from Elizabeth Craft Designs. You’ll also need Copic markers and plain white cardstock. The quality of the cardstock doesn’t matter here, so go with the cheap stuff from staples. The quality of the markers DOES matter, so stick with Copics.
Be Creative tape comes in sheets or rolls. Whichever you use, apply one side to your plain white cardstock, and then trim it down to a size that will fit your sticker. The piece you end up with should be completely covered by the tape, leaving any areas unsticky just invites mistakes.
Now you want to place your sticker onto your Be Creative Tape. This part can be trickier than it seems. You want to touch the Be Creative Tape as little as possible so it won’t lose it’s stick. Peel-Offs can be difficult to handle because once you peel them off the sheet all those lines want to move around and stick together. The larger the sticker is, the more difficult it is to work with. But never fear, there’s a trick that makes this much easier.
First peel the backing paper off of the cardstock that you covered with tape. DON’T DISCARD THAT BACKING. Instead, place it face-down (words down) in front of you.
Using fine point tweezers (mine are from my Pazzles tool kit. They are THE BEST, and I highly recommend them even if you don’t have a Pazzles.), carefully peel the outline sticker away from the sheet and place it STICKY SIDE UP onto that backing paper. Move it around until it’s positioned exactly where you want it to be on the tape. This part tends to make people insane. The sticker wants to your fingers, the tweezers, and itself. Just be patient. They’re made of vinyl, so they’re strong enough to take a little abuse. You can dampen your fingers slightly to keep it from sticking to you.
Once you’ve got the sticker where you want it, take the cardstock/Be Creative Tape and carefully place it sticky side down onto the sticker. Then flip it over and, with the backing paper still down, press firmly all over the sticker to make sure it’s down really well. In the picture above you can see the sticker through the layer of backing paper. Continue to use this backing to handle the cardstock/Be Creative Tape. The fewer finger prints the better.
Now get your glitter ready.
I keep mine in sandwich-sized plastic containers. They’re large enough to put what I’m glittering right inside, so the mess stays contained. A plastic spoon and cosmetic brush also help a lot with this step. You want to make sure you coat the entire sheet with glitter, but you also want to brush away all the excess. There should be no glitter falling off the paper, ever. At all. Once you’re satisfied that there’s just enough glitter on there, move it to a flat surface and use your fingers to rub the glitter into the tape. This is called burnishing, and it shines the glitter, and helps to make sure it sticks to the tape really well. I’ve seen instructions that say to use a bone folder for this, but I really think the oils in your skin help with the shining part.
And now, we’re ready to color!
If you’ve colored with Copics before, this is nothing like that. So forget all those rules (for now). You only need 1, maaaaaybe 2 shades of each color you use, so just pick the colors you like and don’t worry about shadows and highlights and midtones. My color choices are above.
Now, this is the Important Part. Read it twice, or three times if you have to: You need to color by dabbing the marker tip very lightly onto the glitter. If you color the way you usually would, by brushing the marker tip back and forth over your coloring surface, you will make a big mess. The alcohol in the ink will deactivate the sticky properties of the tape, and the glitter will start to move all over the place. Not only is that ugly, but it’s harmful to the tips of your markers. So don’t do it. Got it? Never brush; dab.
The other thing to remember is that you need very little ink to color on glitter. You can see above that I did not completlely color the scales. I literally touched the tip of my marker to the glitter 3-4 times for each scale. I like to apply my color right against the edge of the sticker so that it shades nicely when I blend, which is what we’re going to do next.
With your Colorless Blender (“0”), dab over the ink you just put down. You need a nice wet blender for this, so make sure it’s been filled recently. Here again, DON’T drag the marker tip. Dabs only. I start with a couple of dabs directly on top of then I continue dabbing toward the other side of the space I’m coloring. For these tiny scales, it doesn’t take much. 3-4 dabs of the blender will do. If you do too much the ink will start to bleed into other sections.
And now we’ve reached another Very Important Part. You have to clean your colorless blender. Just one or two dabs will have it looking like this.
It’s not a big deal, as long as you clean it. Keep a sheet of scrap paper or cardstock on hand, and every few dabs, really scribble off that excess ink. I’m not talking about lightly touching pen to paper each time you change colors. I mean EVERY FEW dabs, REALLY scribble off ALL that excess ink.
The more ink that gets onto the blender tip, the more difficult it is to get it off, so you really want to stay on top of it. If there’s any ink left when you put the marker away it will wick back into the marker and you no longer have a colorless blender. Basically you want to scribble in little circles or zig-zags until the ink runs clear. The tip may stay a tiny bit discolored, but as long as there’s no color coming off when you scribble you’re fine. If you find yourself at a spot where you can’t get all the ink off, remove the tip before you put the marker away. You can buy a pack of 3 replacement nibs for the cost of a new marker. Or you can clean as you go and avoid this problem altogether.
Now back to the fun stuff.
For larger areas, like the fish’s face and fins, you might find that you do want to use more than one shade of color.
In this case, apply your darker shade first, then use your lighter shade the same way you would use the colorless blender to bring the color out a little farther. (Also remember to clean your lighter marker the same way you clean your blender.)
Finish with your blender pen the same way you did before.
And that’s it. You’re done!
I hope you found this tutorial useful. If you like it, please do me a favor and pin it.