Friday, August 28, 2009

Using Wood Veneer

At some point in the last year I met a delightfully exuberant man on line thru' Rubber Stamp Chat named Pat Dowlen. This hard working family man sells a wonderful crafting product known as wood veneer. It's the perfect material for stamp projects featuring masculine & nature themes! Stamping on veneer is different than stamping on paper, but the extra steps are so worth the effort. Yes, Stampin' Up! now carries paper backed White Birch veneer (Texture Cuts Wood Sheets) & while I usually encourage the use of everything SU! offers, I have to say for the record that Pat's veneers are not only better quality, they're a better value as well as available in several wood types in different colors to provide us with more crafting options. The list below was compiled by me at Pat's request.

Tips for using wood veneer:

  1. This is actual wood cut from logs in one long continuous piece and then cut to the desired size. Sometimes it is glued to heavy craft paper or poster board for stability. It has not been sealed and is not acid or or lignin free! It needs to be sealed with a good quality matte clear acrylic spray. (i.e. Krylon or other brand) You can also use an archival neutralizer such as Archival Mist prior to sealing to lessen the impact the veneer may have in your scrapbooks.
  2. The paper thin, unbacked veneers can be cut very easily using punches and both the backed & unbacked versions can be used in any die cut machine.
  3. Liquid adhesives used on the unbacked veneer can cause the wood to buckle & should not be used! This includes glue sticks & paste glue as well as any glue from a bottle or tube such as Elmer's or Eileen's Tacky line. If you plan to punch or die cut your veneer, pre-backing it with sheet tape or Xyron will stabilize it & lessen the chance of cracking as well as making adhering the cut pieces to your project very easy.
  4. The poster board (white) backed materials makes for beautiful postcards, bookmarks & business cards! If you have a flat feed ink jet printer (the paper doesn't get rolled over during the printing) you can print directly on the veneer. You must seal the veneer before printing on it.
  5. After sealing the surface, veneer is wonderful for all kinds of coloring mediums! You can use, but are not limited to: markers, pencils, water color paints (including Twinkling H2Os), watercolor pencils & crayons, and rubber stamping inks. You'll want to use a permanent ink (i.e. StazOn, Archival ink, SU! Basic Black, Brown & Gray or other solvent based ink) when using any of the water based colorants, including the markers, to prevent the outline of your stamped images from bleeding into your colors. Also, you'll want to use opaque mediums when coloring on the darker woods or the colors won't show very well. Pencils, Twinks & crayon all show on the darker colors as long as you don't dilute the pigments with too much water. When in doubt as to how a certain medium will look, try it first on a small piece of the veneer. You may also wish to seal the surface after coloring if the medium is prone to bleeding when exposed to humidity or other sources of moisture.
  6. You can heat emboss on the Maple veneer! The other woods are likely to crack & blister (rise up from the backing material) when subjected to the high heat of a standard heat tool, so don't use them for this technique. To emboss the Maple wood, lightly dust the surface of the veneer with an anti-static powder than stamp your image(s) using pigment ink & cover the wet ink with embossing powder. Tap off the excess powder & heat. Hold the heat tool about 3 inches away from the surface to avoid cracking the wood by drying it out too fast. It will take a smidge longer to melt the powder than it does when embossing on paper, but the raised contrast is worth the extra effort! You can then leave the image to stand as is or add color.
  7. You can also dry emboss on the veneer! Lightly mist the unbacked veneer with water to soften it, then use any dry embossing templates, including Sizzix & Cuttlebug, to impress a patterned design into the wood. Allow the wood to dry completely before adhering it to a backing material.
  8. Use your veneer to make boxes, envelopes & cards! Cut out the desired shape from a pattern or template, mist the fold lines to soften the wood & fold into the desired shape. Allow the wood to dry before adhering the pieces together. You can do any stamping &/or coloring before or after folding, but you'll want to seal any coloring before misting to avoid color bleed.
  9. Craft inks work wonderfully on veneer! It's a tad bit thicker than regular pigment ink & designed to be used on multiple crafting surfaces (i.e. WOOD & fabric) as well on any type of paper. This opaque ink can be used to heat embossed on Maple veneer. The general directions for this type of ink state that using a heat tool to dry & set the ink makes it water resistant & fade resistant. DO NOT DO THIS WHEN STAMPING ON VENEER!!! The amount of heat required to dry the ink will make the veneer shrink and possibly crack & bubble. Let the ink air dry.
  10. Wood tends to warp &/or curl when exposed to humidity. You want to store your veneer flat in an air tight box. To flatten out your pieces prior to sealing & stamping, you'll want to mist them ever so lightly with water to relax the wood, layer them with paper towels then set one or more phone books or dictionaries on top of them for several days. Check them at least once a day & change out the damp paper towels for dry ones so you don't get mildew spots.

    The heat will cause the wood to shrink & possibly crack. If its paper backed veneer, it will not only shrink, it may bubble up from the backing as the adhesive liquefies & evaporates. This bubbling stretches the wood & makes it nigh impossible to re-attach the veneer to the backing in a way that looks good.


This information was compiled by Jenna Roby at the request of Dowlen Wood & Paper Crafts of Sweeny, TX & was last updated on 8/28/09.

If you'd like to know more about this wonderful product & order some for yourself, please contact me.

Happy Stamping!

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