Do-It-Yourself Craft Mat

Hello, Marilyn here with a cool how-to from Alchemist Misty.  Have you ever need something, but just can’t seem to make yourself part with those hard earned bucks to purchase it?  Never fear!  Today, Misty shares with us how to make one of those much longed-for items, a craft mat.  So without further ado or to-do, here’s Misty……………………………………………………

If you’re like me there are things you should probably have but don’t buy because you would rather spend your money on more paper, inks, mists, etc.  One of the things I really needed was a craft mat, but I really couldn’t see spending $20 on one!  So I kept trying different things to get the same effect and finally stumbled upon a roll of laminate…the kind you can find in hardware stores to protect drawers and shelves.  I has some on hand as I had just laminated a chore chart for my kiddo.  Anyway, I decided to test it out over a piece of cardboard and I was so excited to see that it worked PERFECTLY for my needs!

Homemade Craft Mat

First you find a large piece of cardboard.   I’ve used the Gauche Alchemy “pizza box”.  It’s the perfect size and you already have the shape lined out for you!  Plus, who wouldn’t love to have their own Gauche Alchemy craft mat, right?

Craft Mat Step 1

Then you use the “magic cover”, which is just a roll of clear laminate, and cut two pieces about an inch or so bigger than your cardboard piece.  Take the first piece and slowly remove the backing off small sections at a time while laying it over your cardboard piece….trying to smooth it out and prevent any bubbles or creases.  Then once you cover the first side, repeat with the opposite side.  The second side is a little harder because you want to make sure that you place the laminate on the cardboard without touching the sticky side of the laminate on the opposite side…or you will have troubles detaching them.

Craft Mat Complete

Once you have both sides laminated, cut the excess around the cardboard and your mat is ready!

Nonporous craft mat

Craft Mists

As you can see from the pictures you can use inks and mists and since its a non-porous surface, it has the same effect as the expensive craft mats, and you are paying less than $5 for this one!

Now, I’m not saying that this is just as good as a craft mat in every way.  For instance, the Ranger mat is supposedly heat resistant, and this one will melt under extreme heat!  If your a cheap-o like me though, this is a perfect knock-off so that you can spend your money on better things like more mists, inks, and glitter!

Thank you Misty for once again giving us a great how-to.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but this is the perfect solution to a problem I’ve been having.  See, I LOVE glue, but I get it everywhere & my nice, expensive craft mat is just too big for my work area.  So did I give this a whirl?  Oh, yessiree, yes I did, I sure did, I made a smaller one using Misty’s instructions.  PERFECTION! Now I can glue to my heart’s content and when done, move the mat out of the way.

Until later……………………

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Smashing the Washi

Hey everyone, it’s Gauche Mama, Amy.  Just wanted to share a quick n’ simple, very gratifying project with ya.

I don’t know ’bout you, but I am a total washi tape addict.  I admit, I have about 100 or more rolls of washi tape, including most of what we’ve got listed in our shop.  The addiction started years ago, when Yasu gave me a roll or two… then sent about 12-15 of them in a big care package once she moved back to Japan.  You can thank her for my fixation…

Anyway, one big bonus with washi tape is that it’s easy to cover just about anything in no time flat.  I decided to apply various patterns to a smash book I made a few weeks ago – the illustration board cover just looked so sad and bare.

Being as it is (sigh), my crafting time is limited.  I got a few lines of tape laid down and then realized I had to get to the grocery store before the end of the day lest we all starve to death.  Well, okay that’s a little dramatic.  Lest we have to eat plain tuna fish for three meals daily.  A Mama’s work is never done, what can I say?  So, I gave my big bag o’ tape to my 13-year-old and 5-year-old daughters and told them to have at it.  (And share.  Definitely SHARE!)

When I got home with my 15 bags of groceries, this is what they had done:

washi tape decorated book cover

Well, they ALMOST did all that – I added the brown solid edging, and then my 13-year-old genius suggested adding the organically grown tape that was wrapped around our quart of strawberries.  (And shame on me for not thinking of it, organic foodie that I am!)

washi tape smash book cover

So, what have you been using your washi for these days?  We totally need to know, as the GA team is fired up with washi madness lately.  Share your ideas and projects on our Flickr stream or Facebook fan page (go on and click the bottlecaps below!).


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Swimming With the Gumballs

Hi there! Scraps, here, with a bit of altered art for the home courtesy of Alchemist Misty!


diy bubble gum machine fish bowl

Misty: I found this idea on the Oh! Crafts blog, via Pinterest.

Supplies Needed:

Terre Cotta pot, with base
Wooden dolls and pins
A round bubble bowl

Instead of spray painting my bubble gum machine, I decided to cover it in a collage of papers from Foreign text for mixed media art and collage. Also instead of using the wooden doll for the handle on the lid I used a little wooden knob I found in the Its All Gravy, Baby! Brown Mixed Media Color Kit. Then I added aqua punchinella around the pot with Mod Podge.

Unfortunately, because of the shape of the pot, I couldn’t put the punchinella on very evenly.  In the end, after the Mod Podge had already dried, I decided I didn’t like the way the punchinella looked and tried ripping it off.  Of course, since it was glued on it wouldn’t come off entirely and left a layer of the punchinella behind.  Luckily, I kind of like the way it looked and decided not to cover it.

punchinella top

From there, I misted the lid and base with color.  Then added trim and gems around the pot, both came from the green with envy color kit. From that same kit I also added some black and green metallic looking flowers towards the top of the pot. Then to top it off I added gold beads from the banana hammock yellow kit, around the lid.

My kids absolutely love these and luckily, they are a lot of fun to make. This particular one holds my son’s betta fish!  Unfortunately, he didn’t like having his picture taken so he’s a little hard to see!


That looks like such a fun project!

Unfortunately, we’re received news that the fabulous fish bowl might have finally been too fabulous for the family fish. Guess he just couldn’t take all that sparkle.


~~In Memoriam~~
Blue the Betta Fish


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How to Make a Book from Scrapbook Paper

Hi everyone! Maggi here to share another project from this month’s guest designer, Lenna Young Andrews! She created this awesome book using our Showstoppers Kit and the best part is she gave us a step by step so you can create your own!

Take it away, Lenna!


Here’s a Gauche instant book!

Handmade Book Using Scrapbook Paper

Take a piece of 12×12 double sided cardstock from the Showstoppers Kit. I picked Basic Grey’s Life of the Party: Popcorn Poppin:

Scrapbook Paper Handmade Book

Score the paper at 3”, 6” and 9” in 2 directions so you end up with (16) 3” squares:

Make a Handmade Book

Cut on the middle score line (the 6” one) just 9” up -so the paper is still intact:

Make an Instant Book

Turn the paper 180 degrees and cut 9” up on both the 3” and 9” score lines:

Book Making Tutorial

Start at one corner and fan fold (back and forth) on the scoring lines you made until the paper is all folded up. Watching this video by Tim Holtz may help you to understand how to do it. This is not hard to create, but I think visual instruction will help:

Making a Book from Scrapbook Paper

Before you do any gluing or taping, your instant book will look something like this:

Instant Book

There are 3 pages which can be made into pocket pages because they are open on one end:

Handmade Book Pocket Pages

I used tissue tape to seal the sides and create the pocket pages of this little book:

Tissue Tape Pocket Pages

I also used Tissue tape for the side binding of the book, but any decorative tape will do:

Tissue Tape Book Binding

You can see the 3 pocket pages and how I cut an slight opening to make it easier to see the contents of the pocket:

Handmade Book Paper Pockets

I used the Tim Holtz Ticket stamp from the kit and StazOn permanent ink to decorate the front cover:

Stamped Book Cover

From the kit I also enjoyed using the “Admit One” tickets, “Questions” Trivia Card, Groucho Marx patch, the yellow feather (in a pocket!) . . . and I cut a heart out of the sequin fabric that was in the kit to embellish the pages. I used various rubber stamps to decorate the pages and tucked some of my own photos of my husband & I on a date into one of the pockets. I hand wrote a few notes and slyly gave this to my husband before sharing it here with you!

Handmade Book Pages

Click for larger view!



That is too cool Lenna!!!

Don’t forget to grab your very own Showstoppers Kit in the Gauche Alchemy store! (And throw in some washi tape while you’re at, eh?)

Now go glue something awesome onto some awesome something!

Maggi 😀

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How To Make Your Own Spray Mists

Hi everyone! Maggi here with our newest tutorial, brought to you courtesy of Alchemist Misty. Today Misty is going to teach you how to make your own mists. Misty’s Mists are a great way to get a wide range of colors in your mists collection at a fraction of the cost. Take it away, Misty!  (That paragraph sets the world record for the most use of the word, “Mist”.)


Anyone who knows me, knows that I like to layer on the ink, paints and mists on my projects. Unfortunately, I found myself being very frugal with my misting because it seemed like I could go through half a bottle on one project! At $7-$8 a bottle, it was really tough trying not to break the bank just to satisfy my love for misting. So I was determined to find cheaper ways to make it happen. I tried the paint, pearlex and glue idea, and while it got me through some broke times, it just didn’t come close to being as good as some of the big name mists.

Homemade Mist in Action

Misty used her collection of homemade mists on this art journal cover.

So I kept looking and recently, while searching through the paint department at my local Hobby Lobby, I came across Dr. Ph. Martins bombay india inks. The package said that they would work on most any surface and could be used for stamping, calligraphy and airbrushing…oh, and they were archival safe. I figured why not try to make some mists with it. So, with my 40% off coupon in hand I ended up getting 12-.5 oz bottles of ink for less than $20.

Aside from these inks being fairly inexpensive, I love them for two big reasons. For one, they are a permanent, waterproof ink. I love this, because I am one to layer…and layer…and layer! Unfortunately, when I would use other mists, I would have problems with the colors smearing and running together when adding my layers (even if I let that first layer dry completely).

Here’s a comparison of my homemade mists (on the left) and store bought mists (on the right):

Store Bought vs Homemade Mist Comparison

With the Dr. Ph Martin inks, the ink dries faster and even if I layer while my paper is still wet it usually doesn’t mix together making a mucky mess. So that is my biggest reason for loving them. My second reason is because I can make my mists as light or as dark as I want them to be…and I can alter some of the colors by mixing them together to make my own custom colors. Plus, I had 3 or 4 different colors of perfect pearl pigment laying in my stash that I was rarely using. It is a perfect way to add different colors of shimmer to my mists.

So here’s what you need:

Make Your Own Mists
-Small spray bottle.
-Dr. Ph. Martins Bombay India Ink set
-Rangers perfect pearl pigment (if you want to add shimmer)
-Small paint brush

I used a 2oz spray bottle and filled it up only about a 1/3 of the way full with water. I feel that if I do it in small amounts its easier to control the vibrancy of the color and I can always add water if its darker than I would like. Plus, I think it helps me to keep tabs on how low my ink is getting so I will know when to restock.

Once I’ve added the water, I choose my ink and start adding it to the water with a dropper (one comes in the package of inks). I like rich, vibrant color so I usually add about 3 ink droppers full to get the color that I desire. Sometimes if I’m just wanting a small tint of difference, I might add another color but usually not more than half of the dropper full at a time, because it can drastically change the color! I personally have just used the ink like this and loved it but sometimes I just like to have some shimmer, so that’s where the perfect pearls come in.

If you like a project, to glisten you can easily add it with perfect pearls pigment. Just scoop up some pigment onto the end of a small paintbrush and drop it into your mist, then shake it from side to side and its ready to be tested. If you try it and decide you want more shimmer, just add another scoop. See! It’s so easy!

Homemade Mists

Another awesome usage of homemade mists!


Now go glue something awesome onto some awesome something!

Maggi 😀

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Cheryl’s metal breakdown video

Hello Gauche fans!

Michelle here with a great faux metal D.I.Y technique video from Cheryl! I love the look of aluminum foil and corrugated board together!

Check it out:

Fun, fast and totally unique! This is definitely something to try for a masculine themed card or for any project where you want the look of metal without the physical weight.

Thanks Cheryl!

Come chat with us on the social nets!

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Chrissy’s Cabochon DIY


Michelle here!

Imagine my deeply felt chagrin when Christina revealed that she had made her own beautiful cabochons for half the price! What’s more? The ones she made were better!

Luckily Chrissy will now share how she did it with us- WIN!


Here’s the down and dir-tay on my latest addiction, making my very own cabochons with silicone molds.  I’ve seen cabochons in shops and I loooooove ’em.  But the truth is, I can’t afford to buy them all up!

Thanks to my crafty friend Jess, I was introduced to these silicon molds sold through MoldMuse on Etsy.  The molds are ridiculously easy to use and the best part, besides their reasonable price tag, is that you don’t need a releasing agent once the cabochon is finished baking!  Talk about awesome for babe on a budget!


Christina used Sculpey clay to make her DYI cabochons.

Never fear because this Mama is here to show you lovely femme fatales how to use them!  Grab a mimosa, adjust your thigh highs, sit back and soak it aaaaall in!

The very first thing you wanna do is grab your supplies.  All you need is a preheated oven (275 degrees F), any bake-able polymer clay (I used Sculpey), and the mold of your choosing.  I used Big Open Rose, Lolita, and a Frame.

You may need to work the clay a bit to soften it up.  Once it’s softened, roll it into a ball.

Next, mash it down in there.  And I mean MAAAAASH it down.  Don’t worry.  Your buffed up arms from those gym workouts or wine glass curls aren’t going to damage the molds any.  It is absolutely important to make sure you get that clay down into the crevices.  You don’t want any airbubbles in there because then your cabochon will either break or come out looking less than stellar.

Once your clay is worked down in there, you may need to add a little bit more to fill the mold up to the edge of the cutout.  Add it using the same method as before.  Roll it into balls then mash your balls ::snort:: into the mold.  You don’t want any excess over the edge of the mold because you’ll end up with a lip on the finished product that you’ll have to file off.

Once your mold is filled, set it aside.

If that’s all you plan on doing, then go on ahead and pop that bad boy in the oven.  Heat it according to the directions on the Sculpey clay packaging.  I baked mine for about 16-17 minutes depending on how thick the cabochon is.

You can also carefully take the molded clay out of the mold and set it on a foil covered cookie sheet and make more cabochons then bake them as a batch.

Now, if you decided to get the Big Open Rose mold, here’s how to do a 2-toned cabochon.

Fill your mold just as you would a “regular” mold.  The only difference is that you don’t fill it completely with one color.

Leave the area with the leaf imprints blank.

Next, fill the empty section where the leaves are, fill it with the second color you want to use.  Fill it in sections, one leaf at a time, using small balls ::snicker:: of clay.

If you are baking the clay in the molds, then just pop them all in the oven as is.

Once they are all done baking, let them cool in their molds completely.

Once they have cooled, pop those li’l baddies out and admire!


LOVE these colors!

Molds used:

Big Open Rose:

Lolita Cameo:  (

Cabochon Setting Frame:

So what do you think? I think we’re up to the challenge! If you decide to take the plunge and try this out for yourself be sure to drop by and leave a link to your blog here so we can admire you handi work!

Chells out!

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