Monday, December 31, 2007

Ugly utee

Annie's mom took Olivia for a sleepover on Friday, so we decided to get our melting pots together for a playdate. Our plan was to try as many utee techniques as possible.

Utee is ultra-thick embossing enamel, a Suze Weinberg staple. It's a large-granule embossing powder that can be used to create a linoleum-like surface with one coat or a glass-like surface with two or more coats. It's a fascinating medium because it can be used like acrylic resin to encase images and objects, and it also can be mixed with other media (embossing powders, mica powders, foil, inks) to create coatings that have the depth of jewels.

I've worked with utee and a heat gun for several years. But Suze has some interesting techniques that involve melting utee in a little tabletop pot (kind of like a teeny electric skillet) and using it in pourable form. I dabbled with it at Kimberly's once and eventually bought my own melting pot, but I hadn't yet dragged out all the paraphernalia for serious experimenting. Annie gave me the push I needed.

We both had silicone ice trays like those Suze uses in her latest You Tube video. We planned to make the little paper-back tiles she demonstrated. And I had a list of other technique possibilities pulled from the web. We started out with great optimism, but we gradually got discouraged. The utee melted much more slowly than expected, the utee flex never dissolved, the mixture wasn't as pourable as it looked on the video. Mostly, we learned what does not work.

It was a fun, creative evening nevertheless. (Are we party girls or what. We get an unexpected girls' night and we spend it in the studio.) The most entertaining discovery: Annie sprinkled utee and other embossing powders on my nonstick craft sheet and ironed it with my mini iron. The result was a thin sheet of marbled utee that could be die-cut with the Sizzix while it was still warm. Coooooooooool.

Saturday, I got a convo from Annie with info she'd located on the web, dealing with many of our utee frustrations. She pointed out that the foibles of utee aren't easy to locate--she had to dig for most of the information. But I think we could try this again and get much more satisfying results.

I may get some time off this week. If so, and if I get through with valentines and have some studio time available, I'll probably play with utee again. I'll post what I come up with.

1 comment:

casserole said...

Thanks so much for the "hot date"! That was honestly one of the best Friday nights I've had in a long time. Craft supplies, mexican food, and a good friend - what could be better?

BTW, I was going to use my little UTEE sizzix heart in a collage, but it broke during the design process. Too much handling. So you do have to be careful with the little Sizzix shapes. I don't guess there's a way to add any Flex to the iron mixture?