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……………………

Image Map

Stuck Sticks to Get You Creating

Hi there, folks! Scraps, here, with a necessity-is-the-crafter-of-inspiration project from Alchemist Jo!


Jo: I keep myself busy with quite a few art challenges which is great for inspiration but every so often I want to create something just for me, just because I can, just because.  So there I am, I’ve set aside some time, I’m sitting in my crafting area and, oh dear,  wondering what I can do.

**Tumbleweed Moment**

I’ll twitch a few pencils, stroke my favourite cardstock but will be stuck for inspiration.  Sound familiar to anyone?!  A-ha!  I now have a solution to this problem!

STUCK STICKS!  You’re stuck?  Pick a stick!


The pot is a food can (baked beans in this case) covered with washi tape. Have you checked out the Gauche Alchemy WASHI TAPE yet?!  My secret mission is to end up with one of each set!  It’s so easy to use and looks wonderful (especially if I don’t drool over it!).

The sticks are coffee shop wooden stirrers (ok ok, I drink too much coffee) which I color-tinted with Distress Inks and Distress Stains.


I rubber stamped with Staz-on ideas for creative things to do–sometimes very specific like ‘ATC’, ‘alter something’ or ‘watch a gauche video and have a go at the technique’, other ones giving broader inspiration such as ‘quote’, ‘choose a decade’ or ‘open a technique book and have a go at one’.  One of my most effective inspiration un-stucker stickers is to tidy up my crafting area – it’s amazing what gets found and I’m instantly inspired to create :o)

This was a quick and fun little project.  It would be great to team up with a like minded friend and make a set for each other – then you wouldn’t have a clue what idea you were going to pick out, what fun!


Oh how fun! Not only did she dress up a lot of things that would have otherwise been tossed into the trash, but she made them into an awesome creativity tool for herself! And I love the idea of a stuck stick swap, anyone game?


PS: As Sunday is Mother’s Day, I just wanted to take a moment to wish a very happy Mother’s Day to our Gauche Mamas, Mom-Alchemists and all our Mom-readers, too! Wishing you much crafty time to indulge your passions!

Image Map

Plastic, hot glue and you. Some do’s (more don’ts)

Hello, Michelle here.

My idea of a good time is: cut paper up, glue it onto more paper. But I must admit adding paint, 3D items and mixed media techniques to the mix is very exciting. Today I’m sharing 2 projects along with a few DOs and DON’Ts I learned while on the make.

First up:


A page I made for the True Xoxo Girls challenge blog using one of my favorite color combos. That little pink monkey came with the Pink Parts kit- LOVE HIM!

DO: Use the Scarlet Fever and Pink Parts mixed media color kits together. The color clash is AWESOME! Throw in some Gauche punchinella for texture why don’t cha? And feel free to cluster brads. They multiply in their packets if left unsupervised for too long.

DO: Reuse plastic bubble packaging to make “shaker” embellishments. To make this photo backed shaker, I glued the plastic cover over an Instax print. Inside went heart punches as well as glitter, sequins and beads from the mixed media kits. I used Zip Dry glue. Which leads me to:

DON’T: Use Zip Dry glue for this project- especially in an enclosed windowless space. After I came to (ha ha!) I realized hot glue is easier. Zip Dry dries FAST (No.way!) so the top edge was rock hard by the time I got around to the other end. Hot glue gets cold quickly but remains pliable so you can move the photo around after you attach it to the loaded bubble. Oh and:

DO: Glue the edges of your PHOTO and attach it to the loaded bubble… not the other way around. I learned this the hard way. I blame the fumes.


My husband's idea of a proper outfit consists of a too small summer shirt and striped pants that match nothing so I was very pleased with this. WTG, hun!

DO: mist the color red. If you STILL think (as I do) that it looks a bit… RED RUM!, tone it down with pink and cream colored mist. Or put a loud distracting piece of paper over the mess- that works too.

DO: Use a mascara brush and flick it energetically over the paper for an extremely fine spray (with “no clumps”). You can use a paint brush but that uses a lot of product. I get chintzy when using 5 dollars per ounce of anything.

DON’T: Ready, Aim, FIRE straight down onto the page- unless large unpredictable blobs of color are intended. Straight down is great for stencils or layering but if you just want some color on the page it’s better to use a brush or the tube end of the misting sprayer.

Here’s a quick card with scraps left over from other projects:


October Afternoon Rocket Age paper, American Crafts Amy Tangerine fabric paper for the pleats, and alphas from My Little Shoebox. Sequins from Scarlet Fever mixed media color kit.

DO: make photos part of the shaking fun. Buuuut….

DON’T: Add pinked edges and red mesh to the photos without an outside smooth edged layer to prevent everything sticking together when shaken. I had to futz around with this for a while to get all three photos to show. It was quite… vexing.


Getting the red and white twine to STAY STILL over the pleats led to major scrap dramz- hot glue to the rescue. Finger prints? Who needs those?

DO: use an anti-static cloth (the kind you may have for your camera lens) to keep small punches from sticking to the plastic cover. The glitter needed a spray of Static Guard anti-static spray to lay still.

How about you? Do you have a favorite technique you’d like to share? Link your project up to our Flickr page and we may just feature it here on the blog!

Have fun creating!

Image Map