Now that the holiday show season has ended and the last of my special orders have been delivered, I am taking a well-deserved break and playing in the studio. On Monday, I stopped by Ink About It in Westford to do a little artsy-crafty shopping for myself. I bought some Copic markers, a handful of Colorbox chalk ink stamps, and a package of Vintaj Patina inks by Ranger.
I decided to try out the Vintaj Patina inks first. I’d never heard of them before Monday. They were originally created to use on metal. I wondered if they were anything like the alcohol inks I’ve used. Let’s find out.
Before you use the Vintaj Patina inks, a few recommendations:
- Grab a handful of paintbrushes to apply the paint.
- Have a cup of water handy for rinsing your paintbrushes. The inks dry quickly. If you spill any ink, wipe it up immediately.
- Paper towel. You need paper towel to either wipe your brushes, wipe up your spills or dab the inks.
- Gloves. Wear gloves when using the inks. They’re a bit messy. (Really, it’s not just this artist!) You need to shake the bottles to mix the ink. The ink tends to spray into the cap. When you remove the cap, the ink drips from it. Be prepared.
- Odor. I noticed a spray paint-like odor when I opened the first bottle of ink. It seemed to disappear over time and I didn’t notice it with the other bottles. If you’re sensitive to odors, use these inks in a well-ventilated area.
Okay, onto the play and testing the Vintaj inks on polymer clay.
The colors inks I tried out were Ochre, Agate, and Onyx.
I conditioned some Premo black polymer clay and pushed it into a mold from my collection. I decided to test the inks on two samples of raw (unbaked) clay and two samples of cured (baked) clay.
Can you guess what item I used to make the texture in this mold?
Raw Clay and Ink Test
In this first sample, I applied the agate ink, two layers, and hit each layer with the heat gun in between applications.
Then I brushed on a small amount of the ochre ink, dabbed the ink with paper towel, and hit with the heat gun. (NOTE: I used the heat gun to slightly dry the inks between applications. I didn’t run the heat gun long enough to cure the clay. I’ll do that after all the inks are applied.)
The last application was the onyx ink over the previous two colors. I dabbed the ink slightly with a paper towel to remove some of the excess. To keep the confusion to a minimum, this first sample will be known as AOO.
On the second piece of raw clay, I applied the ochre ink first, then the agate ink, and then the onyx. I dabbed all the ink lightly with a paper towel and then hit it with the heat gun. This second sample will be referred to as OAO.
Both pieces of raw clay were cured (baked) in a clay dedicated convection oven for 10 minutes at 275 degrees. After baking, I let the pieces cool completely. Then I lightly sanded both pieces with 800 grit wet/dry sandpaper.
Sanding removed most of the top layer of paint in the OAO sample on the left. It also left some interesting scratch marks on the surface which I kind of like.
If you couldn’t guess it earlier, now can you tell what item I used to make the mold?
Cured Clay and Ink Test
While I worked on the first set of samples, I cured the other two pieces of clay. Those pieces were in the oven for 15 minutes at 275 degrees and cooled completely before applying the inks.
On the first cured sample, I applied the onyx ink first. I mixed the agate & ochre inks together and applied this combination on top of the wet onyx ink. Then I dabbed the wet ink and hit all layers with the heat gun. I repeated the process with a second layer of the agate/ochre mix.
At this point I was so absorbed with what I was doing that I forgot to take a picture of this sample at this stage! Sorry.
With the final sample I was feeling a little more daring, so I started by spraying the cured piece of clay with rubbing alcohol and then applying the ochre colored ink. The Vintaj ink immediately ran off the alcohol soaked clay. So I wiped off most of the mess with paper towel and dried the piece with the heat gun.
These inks do not react like Ranger’s alcohol inks.
On the next attempt I applied thin layers of the ochre ink. I mixed the onyx and agate inks which resulted in a rather ugly battleship grey color. I put the battleship grey color on top of the ochre ink. Dry this mess, I mean mix, with the heat gun.
Okay, now I’m starting to get bored. The resulting color combination is rather “meh.”
Off Come the Gloves
At this point, the gloves came off. (They’re too big for my hands anyways so I really needed to take them off.)
I don’t like how either of these cured samples is turning out. They’re both look dull. They need some bling. Some spark.
I sand off the top layers of ink on both pieces using 2000 grit wet/dry sandpaper and pull out my Lumiere paints. On the first cured sample, I apply a layer of pearl turquoise paint, wipe it off, and dry with a heat gun.
The Lumiere pearl turquoise paint gives the first sample a little more depth.
On the second cured clay sample, I applied Lumiere super copper paint, dried and sanded it. A lot of the paint came off when I wiped the still wet clay. (The clay was wet from the wet/dry sandpaper.) I put on another layer of super copper paint followed by more ochre ink and wiping in between layers.
You know how a teacher will tell you beware of turning your piece into mud? I’m starting to feel that way with this sample.
Finally, I decide to apply a very light brushing, almost a dry brushing, of Lumiere pearl white paint. I wipe off the excess, dry the sample with a heat gun, and then use 0000 steel wool to sand the piece followed by a very light run under the buffing wheel at low speed.
It’s kind of gone from “meh” to “maybe.” Not sure if I “saved” it or not. But this is just an experiment. There was no planned destination.
Well, I can say that the Vintaj patina inks are nothing like Ranger’s alcohol inks. The word “ink” is a little misleading. The Vintaj patina is more like a paint. There is a mixing ball in the bottle to mix the pigments. And there is that slight “spray paint” odor.
On the raw polymer, the paints appeared more vibrant after the curing process. On the cured polymer clay, the patinas were not so vibrant. Now this could be due to my color choice in both the clay and in the patina color combinations. I would definitely try this again on other colors of clay to see what happens.
In general, I think the patinas have potential to be used with polymer. They make an interesting alternative to the standard acrylic paints we often use to antique or stain cured polymer clay. I did like the layering affect that happened with the patinas. It reminded me of the results you get using the mokume gane technique.
Now there is something to consider. Using the Vintaj patinas in the mokume gane technique. I sense another test coming on.
If you’re interested in using the Vintaj patina inks on metal, you’ll find numerous videos on the Vintaj website as well as on YouTube. These two posts on Ink Stained Roni’s blog were also helpful (note-these titles are my synopsis titles, not the original post titles): Samples of the line of Vintaj inks (there are some very pretty colors) and Answers to questions about the inks & that messy ink bottle