Saturday, October 13, 2012

Square 1 Tutorial: Amazingly Effective Masking Product -- Who KNEW!?!

Those who saw my post earlier today may remember that I entered a Copic coloring contest, where I used my Copic (alcohol-based) markers to color an adorable Halloween image.  Well, the contest allows each person to submit up to five entries, so I took hubby's criticism to heart. (He thought I used too much orange in yesterday's entry.)  

I decided to try something mystical -- like a pink/purple cat, shown here:

How do you like that background on the cat?  I used an amazing new product to mask the finished cat. Yeah, this was completely crazy of me because I already spent a considerable time coloring the cat. What if the product didn't work as I hoped?  I would have totally wrecked all that time.  

BUT it worked, and since I think no one else has discovered this great use for this product, I'm turning this post into a tutorial of sorts, and a review.

The product is called Square 1, a printable, repositionable, removable adhesive fabric!  This product, shown here, is sold in packages of 8.5"x11" white sheets that can be printed on your computer's inkjet printer. It lists for $19.95 for 10 sheets.  (Square 1 also sells sheets in colors -- currently there are 13 beautiful, saturated colors available, in 12"x18"sheets which list for $2.29 each. These would be perfect for your home decor projects as a very nice matte alternative to shiny vinyl!)

So here's how I used a half-sheet of Square 1 as a mask for my precious cat project:

1. My image is a digital image that I printed in the middle of my blender paper. To conserve Square 1, I flipped and moved the image so it would print on just a half-page of the Square 1.

2. I loaded the Square 1 into my inkjet paper so that the fabric side would be printed upon. In my case, that's face down. Hit print, and I'm ready to go. (No jams! No tough feeds!)

3.  After I printed the image onto the Square 1, I cut the media in half (8.5"x5.5"), using a regular paper cutter -- no rips, no tears, no struggle.  I want to save and use every scrap of this wonderful stuff!  

 4. I marked the image with a Copic multi-liner (permanent) with the file name so I know I can find and re-use the file in this size later.  The marker was easy to use on it -- no drag, no bleed.  Then, I fussy cut the image with regular paper scissors. EASY and no tough thickness to chop through.

 5. I thought this would be where I would struggle -- peeling off the backing. As you can see, I bite my nails. But OMG, I was super-surprised how easily the backing peeled off the cut image, without any problem finding a starter edge and a clean removal of the image from the backing, no tearing or jaggedy edges. 

  6. Now for the next place I thought would be a problem: cleaning laying down the image, making sure there are no bubbles or exposed edges -- and what if I needed to lift it??  Double-OMG!!  First of all, the product held its shape and didn't stretch out and over-cover the image. It was perfect!!  Where I wanted to bring the Square 1 over a little, it picked up cleanly and I could lay it back down without pulling up the ink or paper, and without losing any integrity in the STICK.  It was like the best of all Post-It notes, only better!!

 7. OK, so now for the test. I'm just learning my Copic Air Brush System (ABS) so I laid on my ink heavily. I mean, 2 shades of grey, purple and ultimately black. I saturated that paper, and the Square 1 covering it. Ick. I didn't like how I did it, but it had nothing to do with the quality of the Square 1 -- just proves I need more practice with the Copic ABS.  NOW what to do?

 8. I decided to "solve" my air brush disaster by coloring in a black "moon" behind the cat. I whipped out my Copic wide black marker and colored away with reckless abandon. And then I thought: OH NO! These markers are notorious for bleeding through the heaviest paper, and this Square 1 is not thick at all!  EEEEK, I was SURE I just totally wrecked my entire project!! I didn't even wait 'til the ink was dry and I lifted the mask ...

.... it came off easily. Cleanly. In one piece. And didn't even wrinkle or fold up onto itself. 

 9. Can you see it?!  Every fine line that I colored over was perfectly masked!  To the right of the picture, you'll see what a mess I made of the mask -- but it's still fully re-usable ...

10. ... in fact, this is the flip side (adhesive) of the Square 1. It didn't bleed through at all, even though I soaked it with alcohol ink with not only the Copic ABS, but also with a new, wide juicy Copic marker!  And look -- the detail around the whiskers is still fully intact.  Can you say, "THRILLED?!"

11. Then I placed my used mask of Square 1 media onto a spare transparent sheet that I had hanging around, even though I'm sure it could be stored on a regular piece of paper just as well, and still be re-useable. That's one reason this media is considered "environmentally friendly" -- you can reuse it over and over!

12. My choice was to cut away all of the air brushed mess, and cut the black background out in the shape of a "moon". To more clearly delineate around the cat and the black, again, my choice, I used a white gel pen to highlight the edges around the cat, and to draw the whiskers in white too. I did a little faux stitching around the "moon" because I can never get enough of that faux stitching stuff ... and I must say, I just love how this turned out.

Better yet, I TOTALLY love how SQUARE 1 works as a mask for over my Copic coloring. Now that I've tried this technique with this unique product, ideas are swirling for other projects.  

By the way, alcohol markers like Copics are considered permanent when the alcohol evaporates. Can you see that this would make for some amazing canvasses for your craft room -- colored with Copics on Square 1, and removable to move around your home?!

OH, and one more "by the way", Square 1 is fully compatible with your electronic cutter (Cricut, Silhouette Cameo, etc.), with no need for any advance prep like fusible web. OMG, I wonder how this stuff cuts into flowers for an outdoor wreath?!  

You'll be seeing more projects coming out of the PaperJungle using Square 1, that's for sure!
More info:  I want to say that I did not receive any compensation or free product for this ringing endorsement and high praise -- nor do I expect any. I paid full price (+ shipping) for the product I used.  However, I have now signed up to be an "affiliate" of Square 1 which means that if you buy your Square 1 by clicking the link on my sidebar, I get a small commission. I'm also going to submit an application to be on Square One's Design Team.  Yes, I feel that strongly that this stuff is going places!!  

WIN IT!  But don't believe me, give it a try!  If you are a CardMonkey follower who leaves a comment on this post, I will put your name in a hat and pick one commenter randomly, to whom I will send two sheets of my pack of Square 1 media. This will give you enough to try out and enjoy.  I'd love to know what you did with it, and what you think of it.

Try it, you'll LOVE it!

DeFiaNtLy DiFfeReNt & CreAtiVeLy Yours,


Jennifer McLean said...

wow, totally great tutorial, sweetie, can;t even wait to see what you do in the digi stuff, cause this was so good. Thanks for being a mench (isn't that the word??) and moving to a slightly later date, Lissa wanted to keep mine back to back for some reason, no idea why, but I went with it. :0)

Much love my friend,

(email coming soon!!)

D- said...

Love your tutorial. I'm so glad your cat turned out. You did a wonderful job coloring it. Would love to give Square 1 a try. Fingers and toes crossed for luck. lol.
dmcardmaker (at AOL)
(email follower)

Anonymous said...

Awesome post! Love it! I love you because you are my very first youtube subscriber too! You ROCK!

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Janet said...

I have just started to hearing about this product and really looking at how others are using it and would love to play with some too!!!

God bless!

Caryn S said...

I gotta say, this looks pretty darn amazing! I have only masked a couple of times using post-its and while I can say I like them and they've worked for me, I also have to admit that I have had them slip on me one or two time, a potential disaster! This looks like it ain't goin' nowhere! LOL

Dena said...

This is awesome, Ellen! I haven't heard of this before, and I'd love to try it! Thanks for the tutorial and the opportunity to win. :)

Dena Jones (FB)

lorby said...

Totally impressed and would love to see you working with this in person. BTW, I think your pumpkins are the perfect orange. : )

Lizzie Laine said...

Great tutorial Ellen!
Love the purple cat, such a great card!