Friday, April 6, 2018

Distress Oxide Glaze Technique: Christmas

At the Creativation show this past January, Tim Holtz introduced a really cool technique you can do with Distress Oxides. He was playing around with different substrates for Distress Oxide, and tried the inks on glossy paper, specifically the Ranger Alcohol Ink Cardstock. It seems like Tim Holtz will try anything with his products, including licking the paper (not recommended). He found that the oxidation of the inks was especially pronounced on the glossy cardstock, (that's when he licked it) and then he tried a product that's been around awhile, Distress Glaze. Distress Glaze is a pretty cool product that will seal a surface and make it permanent (such as sealing Distress inks to protect them from being activated again). It's an almost waxy substance that can be applied with a blending tool, or even with your finger.

I've had a lot of fun playing with this technique, and have made a lot of backgrounds using it. For the purposes of this post, I made two Christmas cards. Since I'm trying to make all of my Christmas cards and tags by October, these are my March cards (still late). I made two versions and couldn't decide which I liked best, so I'm doing half of one and half of the other.

While I was making the backgrounds for these cards, I took a lot of pictures to try and show you how this is done. It's pretty easy and it's fun. Since I wanted blue backgrounds for these cards, I got out all of my blues and a purple in my Oxide inks.

I also used Ranger Alcohol Ink Cardstock, although in the past I have done this technique using other glossy cardstock (including Kromecoat) and it seems to work just as well.

I worked with 3 colors at a time, putting them on my mat, spritzing with water, and also running a brush through them so they wouldn't be such square shapes when I swipe my cardstock through.

Here's the first swipe. I just laid the cardstock onto the colors and I may or may not have moved it around before picking it up.

This is what it looked like after one swipe. After placing it in the colors, then I dried it with a heat tool. I prefer to use the Ranger one for drying because it doesn't distort my cardstock as much.

I ended up using 3 pieces of glossy cardstock for this session. I didn't want to waste the color on the mat, and three seemed to use up most of what I put down each time. It doesn't really soak in to the glossy cardstock much.

I put down 3 more blues and kept swiping the panels into the ink. 

The panels continued to evolve. I dried them after each application of color.

I also spritzed them several times and splattered them with ink that I picked up with my brush.

I kept spritzing, blotting, splatting and drying in between

I also picked up a little ink and touched my brush to the paper in places, and that made nice bubbles.

It was at this point that I thought I wanted it to be a little darker blue. One of the blues I used (Blueprint Sketch?) turned a kind of purple. This is not the Wilted Violet color, as I had not used it yet at this point. I used very little of the Wilted Violet and Cracked Pistachio. The glaze will also darken these colors more.

I added some more Faded Jeans color. It's important to realize that there is no right or wrong here, and that the more layers you add the better it will look in the end. Also, the panels will look very cloudy or chalky when dry. This is how they are supposed to look at this point, but they won't end up that way!

Before adding the glaze, I usually will buff the panel a little with a paper towel. My friend Marj Marion came up with this idea, because when you apply the glaze with your blending tool, quite a bit of color comes off on your sponge. Buffing with the paper towel will take off some of that color in advance.

After buffing with the paper towel, your pieces will already look brighter and start to show some of the layers underneath.

This is what the jar of Distress Glaze looks like. Tim Holtz (being Tim Holtz) designed it so that the round blending tool fits right in. I actually store the sponge applicator that I use right inside the jar. It will eventually get very gunky and you can throw it out and replace with a clean one.

I'm just starting in on a corner here. This is when the magic really starts to happen. One tip is, be sure you like what you have on your panel before you glaze it. Once the glaze is applied, the panel is sealed and permanent.

After you apply glaze to the whole panel (it doesn't take a lot), then you can buff it again with your paper towel. 

Here are the panels before the glaze

And after

They turn so much brighter and more beautiful. It's almost like you can see every layer. (I swear that the Peacock Feathers turns almost green on these). These will turn out differently every time you make them.

Here's my second card.

For the first card, I took a panel of white Core'dinations linen textured cardstock and cut it to 5.25" x 4".  Using my mini MISTI, I lined up a Merry Christmas sentiment from the Papertrey Ink set "Keep it Simple: Christmas" and stamped with Versamark ink. I embossed it with Candy Store Chrome embossing powder.

I then positioned the Memory Box die 99765 Pinpoint Double Frame in the upper center of the panel and cut it out. I then cut the Memory Box die 99503 Fresh Pine Curved Border out of some Neenah Solar White 80# cardstock, and positioned part of the border behind the opening of the frame.

I cut a piece from the Distress Oxide glazed panels I made and positioned it behind the trees. The panel was then adhered to a piece of Malmero Pearl Blue cardstock and mounted to a base card of Neenah Solar White 110# cardstock.

My second card was made in a similar way, except instead of the Memory Box Pinpoint Double Frame die, I used the Die-namics MFT-847 Inside/Outside Stitched Rectangle (3rd from Largest) for the opening, and the Die-namics MFT-463 Blueprints 13 Stitched Rectangle for the panel itself. The stamp is Peace Border F3605 from Hero Arts.

I was having a hard time figuring out which card I liked better. The Peace one shows more of the beautiful background behind, but I think I'm leaning toward the Merry Christmas one. What do you think?

To see a great video of the Distress Oxide Glaze technique by Jennifer McGuire, click here. You can see my post about Distress Oxides in general here, or search my blog for Distress Oxide.

Products Used:

Both Cards:
Distress Oxide inks: Faded Jeans, Salty Ocean, Blueprint Sketch,
Broken China, Mermaid Lagoon Peacock Feathers,
Cracked Pistachio, Wilted Violet
Ranger Alcohol Ink cardstock
Distress Glaze
Memory Box die 99503 Fresh Pine Curved Border
Core'dinations White linen textured cardstock
Neenah Solar White 80# & 110# cardstock
Malmero Pearl Blue cardstock
Versamark ink
Candy Store Chrome embossing powder

Card #1:
Memory Box die 99765 Pinpoint Double Frame
Papertrey Ink Keep it Simple: Christmas stamp set

Card #2
Die-Namics MFT-847 Inside/Outside Stitched Rectangles
Die-Namics MFT-463 Blueprints 13 die set
Hero Arts Peace Border F3605 



  1. Found your glazed cards on Pinterest and was curious.
    I just read your whole story, thanks for explaining this technique.
    Your cards are stunning and what a difference in color after the glazing!!
    I sure will give it a try.
    Groetjes Gery

    1. Thanks so much! I hope you love making these as much as I do!

  2. I just found this on Pinterest as well. Your cards are GORGEOUS! Thank you for such an easy to follow tutorial!

  3. I’m probably the only person who’s not crazy for the Oxide inks. Lol. When I saw Tim do this technique, I definitely sat up and took notice! I’ve tried it, and love the results! Your colors are great, and your cards are awesome!

    1. Thanks Stephanie! If you haven't already, check out my post on Oxide Ink overview here.
      After that I have a number of posts using the panels I made. Maybe you will be a convert and come to love Oxides like I do!

  4. I too found your card on Pinterest and can't wait to try this fabulous technique

    Great tutorial


  5. what if you used glossy photo paper? have you tried that yet

    1. I have not tried photo paper - mostly because Tim Holtz said it does not work the same. Maybe I'll try it, just to see.

  6. Thank i have to buy alcohol inks !! LOL Your cards are inspiring/beautiful yes I now need to try this technique

  7. Wow awesome technique beautiful result ....Thanks for sharing Dianne !!

  8. I also found your card on Pintrest & love your cards! I'm still learning & playing around with all the Oxide Inks, which I love. I'm definitely going to try the glaze & alcohol paper. Thank you!

  9. The glaze makes a huge difference! Off to the store to buy some of that! Thanks for sharing!

  10. What a great tutorial. Especially the tip about buffing first with a paper towel. I am definitely going to do this. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thanks so much! I hope you like the technique as much as I do!

  11. This is so awesome!! Can't wait to try this technique!! TFS Great tutorial....

  12. What a fab tip about buffing the surface. It's something I've not tried but will do soon x

  13. Quite honestly I love both cards! Thanks for a really comprehensive tut. Will definitely give it a try❤

  14. Loved the tutorials, photos and in depth explanations! Your cards are stunning!

  15. WOW...I didn't know what the glaze was for, but I do now. Thank you so much for sharing. You work is simple, yet stunning. BTW- I liked the Peace one better...

  16. I love your backgrounds and your tutorials are soooo helpful. I’m new at the alcohol ink ... so have bought some along with heavy weight paper from Tim . It is some glossy, and loved the look OG dipping and drying, but when I’m done and tried to buff off as you suggested most all the ink and Variations came off.... some was still there but not much! What am I doing wrong? It didn’t come off the heavy duty card stock that was a matte finish

    1. Hi Christy! Thanks so much, and I'm glad you like the tutorials. So if I'm understanding what you used on the glossy paper, it was alcohol ink. that is a very pretty look also. But for this technique above, I was using Distress Oxide ink. The Distress Oxide soaks into the paper, so it mostly won't rub off when you buff. It's completely different than alcohol ink (which is also fun to use). You can see some information on alcohol ink here You can see some general information about Distress Oxides here The post here that you commented on is about using the glaze over Distress Oxides, which does give a look a little bit like alcohol ink. I hope that helps!

  17. Hi Dianne, Your cards are beautiful! Thanks for explaining the whole technique. I'm wondering if there is still a "clear" distress glaze now that Tim has come out with some of the coloured ones. I'll have to check this out as I love the beautiful, bold backgrounds!

    1. Thanks Kerri! Yes, the Distress Glaze is still being made. It's the only thing that you can use over dye inks to make them permanent. The newer Tim Holtz embossing glazes are an embossing powder, and also amazing, but a completely different product.

  18. Hello, you do not have to use distress glaze. I just used a baby wipe to scrub over my glossy card stock and I got the same result:a Glossy background. Try it out, it's mutch cheaper

    1. Hi Gina! Thanks so much for your comment. Yes, I have also done this with a baby wipe and a paper towel as well. It will brighten it somewhat, but not a much as the glaze. The other thing the glaze does is that it seals your work. If you don't have the glaze though, this is definitely worth trying.

  19. Found this site this morning and read and re-read the directions. You make it look so easy. Cant wait to try it. Can you use the paper you get for printing pictures - it has a high gloss.


Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! Please visit me again soon.