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I love the look of metallics on my cards; and since I can't seem to get the hang of foiling (no joke) I recently turned to gilding flakes. I've seen several videos about them but never gave them much thought until I wanted to have some shiny bits on my cards. So I thought I would give them a whirl.
Today, I'm going to be doing a fairly in depth product review with my experiences using the Nuvo Gilding Flakes by Tonic Studios. You may remember from last week that I did the Nuvo Embellishment Mousse
review, well as it turns out they make way more things. And I gotta say I'm a fan of all that I've tried. So don't be surprised if you see more Nuvo products in the weeks to come.
This is going to be an extensive post, so maybe grab a drink and enjoy!
The gilding flakes come in a pretty big jar: 200ml or 6.8 fluid ounces. I'm thinking they have to measure this by volume because these things are lighter than air and I doubt there is a difference between a full tub and an empty one. The price is quite reasonable (I paid $11.75 CAD at my local scrapbook store in Calgary). They are also widely available online.
Nuvo has released three amazing colours: Silver Bullion, Radiant Gold and Sunkissed Copper, unfortunately they have not released any other colours. I've been looking for a teal and I have had zero luck.
I wanted to include a close up of the flakes. I'm not kidding there is nothing to them. They are the finest, softest, lightest things that I have ever worked with. And that has made this a steep learning curve. Luckily because of how little you need and how many are in a jar I don't really feel all the bad about a few that floated away. Literally.
There are a few other things that you are going to need, depending on what you plan on doing with them. For the purposes of this review I have applied them in a couple different ways and there's a super fun technique that I'm going to touch on at the end. You will need:
- Dry duster cloths. I'm showing the Swiffer brand here, but a box from the dollar store will work just as well. If you cut them in half, they last twice as long.
- A stiff brush - I'm using a stenciling brush that came in a set of Faber-Castell Gelatos. I cut the bristles down by about half so that it would be a bit stiffer.
- VersaMark ink and Sticky embossing powder by Ranger
- Strong two-way tape (not pictured) I used 1/8" Skor tape
- Glue Pen (not pictured) I used a Martha Stewart ballpoint-tip glue pen
- Scrap paper to protect your work surface
So this looks like a hot mess, right? Well, you're right. At this point it is. A messy mess, to be completely honest; but I'll walk you through it.
- For the top portion - I prepped the paper with my powder tool and stamped a pretty intricate snowflake using VersaMark ink. I then heat embossed that with Sticky Embossing Powder from Ranger. The trick here is to remove the heat as soon as the powder melts. You don't want to over-heat it or it won't be sticky any more. I then added the flakes.
- For the middle portion - I added a strip of 1/8" Skor tape across the piece, removed the backing paper and added the flakes
- For the middle portion - I used the glue pen, wrote a word and a little picture. And added the flakes. This one is a bit trickier - it has to be a glue that is permanent when wet but repositionable when dry. And when doing this, curb your enthusiasm because it really does need to dry. You'll see why down below.
Once the foil was covering the sticky stuff for all three sections, I use the stencil brush in an upright position and work in small circles with a light hand to brush away the flakes that are not attached to the glue. As you become more comfortable (which happens fast) you can apply more pressure.
**** Here's where it's messy. If you are one of those people that needs to breathe on a regular basis, do so with care. These flakes are incredibly light and with one sigh, they will go every where. I frequently found myself holding my breath - so maybe work in small batches.****
For each one, I did a different stamped image and drew a different little word. As you can see on the first and second (Copper and Gold) I was too enthusiastic and added flakes before my glue was ready for it. More so with the first but you can see it by the "S" in the second as well.
I chose to do these on black cardstock (65lb by Recollections) so you could really see the detail that you are able to achieve.
It then occurred to me, that I wouldn't just be using the flakes on my cards. I typically add something else to make the card interesting (at least I try). So here, I gilded the snowflake using the Silver Bullion, then I used Distress Ink to colour the background. I was super pleased to see that the flakes completely resisted the colour and more over weren't ruined by the rubbing of the sponge. So YAY!
Finally, as I was playing around I was thinking what other things I could do with them so I could get more out of my supplies. What crafter doesn't like that?
Using my MISTI I stamped this leaf with Memento Tuxedo Black ink on 110lb Copic-friendly cardstock, then coloured it with Copics.
I then put the paper back into the MISTI, prepped it with my powder tool and heat embossed the leaf, in the exact same position with the Sticky embossing powder by Ranger. I then used the Silver Bullion gilding flakes.
This would look absolutely stunning with more leaves in fall colours then gilded with the Sunkissed Copper or even the Radiant Gold. I can't wait to make a fall card like that. (Maybe you'll see one tomorrow.)
A couple of things to note:
- If you have respiratory problems, it may be in your best interest to used one of those dust masks - super inexpensive, you can get them in a dollar store or hardware store. These flakes are tiny and after you use the stencil brush to burnish them away those flakes become dust. Gross as it sounds you'll be blowing gilding flakes out of your nose. Trust me.
- Take your time. You know those sloths in the Zootopia movie, that work at the DMV? That is exactly how I feel when I'm working with these. Every movement seems so exaggerated and deliberate. But what's the alternative? A craft space filled with floating metallic flakes. No thank you.
- Don't feel bad if you can't get them all back in the tub. These seem to puff up a bit when the tub opens, so if you have to toss them. Do it. Otherwise you can always put them in a Ziploc sandwich/freezer bag to use the next time.
Overall, I am in love! Despite my angst over not being able to foil, this fills the gap for me for now. I would love to get more colours but apparently no one wants me to have shiny pretty things unless they are copper, silver or gold. Maybe one day, and on that day I will be the first in line to get new colours. I love love love these.
If you have not tried gilding flakes yet, I highly recommend them and I can say from personal experience that Nuvo makes some excellent ones. There will be cards to come - who doesn't like something shiny on their Christmas card? At such an accessible price point it would be a real shame to pass this up. There are lots of ways to use them. And if you're glue pen is fine enough you can even embellish some things that are already stamped or written out. Maybe even a colouring book page. Just for that something extra.
Thank you for sticking to the end, I hope you enjoyed today's review. If you haven't already please follow me on the right side bar or over on Facebook
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*disclaimer: I am not sent products to review, nor am I paid to review them. I review/compare the products that I use, that I find interesting and that I have purchased with my very own money. I receive no reward or incentive to review a product. All reviews are based on my personal experience while using the product and are my opinion only.