I was wracking my brain as to what I wanted to share with you today, so I went looking through some of my drawers of crafting supplies and products that I use and a container of UTEE jumped out at me! I thought to myself, “I wonder if everyone knows all the possibilities this product has to offer?” So that’s what I thought I’d share with you… some fun ways to use UTEE in your paper crafting projects!
First off, what is UTEE, you ask? UTEE is an acronym for Ultra-Thick Embossing Enamel. It is a specially formulated, large particle embossing powder. It looks like course sand or sugar and melts when heated with a heat tool or in a melting pot. UTEE can come in clear, coloured or even metallic granules and can be used on cards, scrapbook pages, altered projects, jewelry and much more!
Today I’m going to be working with some clear UTEE, showing you how to create the CRACKED GLASS effect. Remember, this technique can be used on cards, layouts and even jewelry projects. UTEE is such a versatile product!
As you can see, I’m using clear UTEE today. The granules are larger than your traditional embossing powders. Clear UTEE is a bit yellow-ish in colour in its raw state but it does indeed melt and dry clear. Be careful not to overheat this product because it will scorch and discolour.
First began by creating a decorative panel to create the cracked glass effect on. I stamped a simple iris image by Flourishes and coloured it with Copic Markers. I also added any distressing to the shape and back ground at this time. Next I grabbed my Versamark ink and inked up the ENTIRE surface of my die cut image.
Placing your inked image on a piece of scrap copy paper, quickly poured the clear UTEE right over top of my entire die cut. Use tweezers to pick up the die cut and tap it to remove any excess UTEE and returned it to its container using the scrap copy paper to guide it back into the bottle.
See how the ink sticks the granules to the image? Don’t worry if you have small bare patches. This can be easily fixed as you continue this technique.
Hanging on to your shape using tweezers (because this will be EXTREMELY HOT!), use your heat tool to begin melting your granules. See how the UTEE has begun to melt on the right side (bottom of the irises) of the die cut as opposed to the left side? As your UTEE melts, the granules melt and become smooth and runny. Be careful you don’t touch the UTEE as it is EXTREMELY HOT and may burn your skin.
Once your first application of UTEE is melted, I typically apply another layer of Versmark ink to the entire surface again and sprinkle and melt another layer of UTEE. This will fill any holes from your first application.
For your second and any further layers of UTEE, typically there is enough UTEE on the surface to remain warm and sticky enough to sprinkle on the next layer of granules for more layers. If your surface is not warm enough, just apply more heat using your heat tool to heat it up to become sticky enough again to apply another layer.
Once you have applied 4 or more layers of UTEE, your image should be well coated with a smooth, clear layer of UTEE. If you have any holes or low spots on your shape’s surface, heat your surface again and add more granules where you need them.
Let your surface completely cool. This is really important! If you don’t let it cool all the way through, the next step for the cracked glass effect won’t work. A little trick of mine: To cool it faster, throw it in the freezer! Yup… the freezer! Works like a charm!
Once the UTEE surface is cool and hard, bend your shape. The UTEE will then be forced to crack and split. These cracks will appear on the front of your image. Super cool! Remember to bend your image in different directions to get cracks that run different directions across your image. If you don’t like the way your image cracks or a piece of UTEE breaks away from the surface, just grab your heat tool again and heat it up until your surface is smooth again. Re-cool it and try bending it again. This technique is SO forgiving!
Lastly, grab a dark coloured ink and an ink blending tool or sponge and rub the ink all over the surface of your cracks. The cracks should draw some of the dark ink into them and remain there. Buff the surface with a piece of paper towel to remove all the excess ink. If you want your cracks darker, add more ink and buff again!
Voila! See what you have created! A simple, unique, almost ‘piece of jewelry’ for your card, layout or piece of altered art.
I decided to add mine to a card front for a simple Valentine’s Day card…
Supplies: Stamps: Flourishes (Flowers for Jan, Antique Map, Wild Roses); Cardstock: Flourishes Classic White & Kraft, Core’dinations; Die cut shapes: Spellbinders; Inks: Memento, Copic Markers, Ranger Distress Inks; Ribbon: Flourishes; Gold Pen: Sakura; UTEE: Ranger; Adhesive Pearls: Recollections; Brad: Making Memories; Tools: Scor-Pal.
Thanks for joining me today! I hope this inspires you to try out some UTEE in your next paper crafting creation. Don’t forget to try this for making faux buttons, cool wearable paper jewelry pieces and radical embellishments for your next altered art project.