Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Catch the Bug Challenges - Photo tutorial for bokeh technique (Ten easy steps)

Hello sweet friends! I'm super happy that you've stopped by
to visit me today because it's my turn to present the Wednesday 
tutorial for Catch the Bug Challenges!! 
I've selected the bokeh technique to showcase for you.

WARNING - this is very photo intensive as I've not had
much luck at all with videos of late.  
Additional warning - a couple of my photos are blurry
as I was trying to take the pic with my left hand while
still demonstrating the step with my right - LOL.
Boy did I miss my daughter that day for her help!!

Anyhoo..... first let me show you the finished card 
and then I'll start into the steps on how to make it.

Products you need for this project are:
watercolor paper or glossy cardstock 
paint brushes and water & papertowels
masking/stencil/painter's tape
watercolor paints or distress/regular ink refills
ink pads (distress or regular) and white craft (or StazOn) 
circle template, sponges or sponge dauber, 
solid circle stamp in a couple sizes
heat gun (preferable if you don't want to wait for project to dry)

Step One:
Start with a piece of watercolor paper.  You can also use
glossy cardstock but today I'm using watercolor paper.  I'm 
using a panel sized 5 x 5 1/2" which I will trim down when I'm done.
It's really helpful to secure your paper to the surface you're 
working on. I'm using painter's masking tape. The paper will
buckle a bit as you are coloring it so the tape helps to keep it flat
and in place.  You can put a piece of wax paper under your panel 
to help with the watercolor seep-through that might occur 
(if you're kind of messy like I am - LOL).  

Step TWO:
Prepare your watercolor supplies.
I used 3 different shades of orange on my panel - 
Calypso Coral, Pumpkin Pie and a combination of
Dusty Durango and Crushed Curry (to make an orange)
pictured over on the far right of the photo.
The amount of ink you use depends on how deep you
want the color to be on the panel.  I used two different
 depths of the Calypso Coral color by putting 5 drops
of ink in one well and 8 drops in the other.  

Prepare your panel by using just clear water - give it a 
good generous coating all over.

Step FOUR:
Now start adding your base color(s)
I just dropped the colors around the panel by touching 
the soaked paintbrush to the panel.   I used the two different
depths of the Calypso Coral  (although it's hard to see in this 
next photo)  to coat the entire panel.

Step FIVE:
When you are happy with the base colors, dab it off with a
paper towel (see how messy I am :o) ? ).

Step SIX:
Using a solid circle stamp or two (or circle stencil) add 
some darker spots to the panel.  Note:  I save the insides of my 
stamps that have pop out middles for this - works great 
as it's kind of hard to find solid circle stamps. 

I first used a larger circle rubber stamp in a few areas on
the panel.  Because the paper is a bit dry the ink will appear
appear kind of dark so I take that darker "orange" that I made 
and softly blur the circle and shape and edges.  

 Then I randomly stamped the smaller circle around the
panel to fill in the spaces a bit more and add depth to the base.
Then I take the lighter shade of Calypso Coral and 
give it a final wash-over to blur and blend the circles.

Once again dab off with a paper towel and then if you
have a heat gun use it to dry the panel for the next steps.
Note: if you don't have a heat gun you will want to wait 
about an hour before you start the next steps (longer if
you're using glossy cardstock). 

 Step EIGHT:
Now we are going to add the bokeh effect dots 
with white craft ink, a sponge dauber and a circle stencil.
I've made my own circle stencil using various sizes of
circle punches in a random pattern and a clear window
sheet from some product packaging.  You can also use the end
of a pencil eraser, a sponge dauber, or a circle stamp for this step.

Tip: I found it works best if you start at one end (corner or side)
and work away from it as you fill in the circles as craft ink
is pretty sticky and you can accidentally pick up the edges from the 
one before and and mess up your pattern.  

To create the bokeh effect you will fill in the different sizes of 
circles around the panel. The larger circles should have less ink
on them and be a bit blurred as they are the farthest out of focus
and the smallest circles will have the most saturated color 
(because they would be closest in the photo as spots of light).  

Step NINE:
Craft ink is very sticky and takes a long time to dry
(even on watercolor paper) so I use a heat gun again (I'll 
spare you that boring picture - hehe) to set the color again. 
StazOn ink will dry much faster but I like the results I get with the craft ink.  

When you've dried it you can take off your masking.
and you get something that looks like this

Step TEN:
If you've done a really good job of masking (or not been
really messy like me) you can trim the panel to leave a small
white edge around it.  I have taken the pane and trimmed it down 
to 4" x 5 1/4" with my paper cutter to get this

Final Step(s):
Take your bokeh panel and add your images (or sentiments)
and adhere it to a mat and/or your card base to finish your project.
I added a colored Bugaboo image and sentiment to the panel first
and then glued that to a colored cardstock panel and then to the base.

Ta Dah - DONE!!! Easy peasy - right ?

Thanks so much for sticking with me to see my tutorial.
I hope it was clear and easy to follow and that I've inspired you
to go get inky and give it a go.  I'd love to see what you create
so leave me a link in the comments and I'll come visit you!

Til next time...hugs and happy crafting! D


  1. Awesome tutorial, Danielle! Thanks for sharing with Bugaboo:)

  2. I haven't tried this technique yet and I think your photos and comments are really helpful, so I'm sure I'm going to build up enough courage to give it a go too...

  3. This is awesome - thanks so much for sharing! I love the step by step pictures!
    Hugs & Happy Days!


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