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The 12 Days of Christmas - Day 2

Cleaning your (ART) house before Christmas...


Yesterday morning I discovered (much to my initial consternation and rather ugly spoken words not fit to print)  that the drive on my computer that has all the "good stuff" on it (including most of the stuff I was going to show you over the next week or so) has mysteriously disappeared from my computer.   I haven't got a clue as to what has happened to that drive (I am keeping my fingers crossed that it's not serious) as  computers and me haven't been getting along so well this year... this is the second time this has happened!  So I am just going to do the best I can to keep my promise to you here over the next ten days... although I haven't quite figured out how yet! LOL  But here goes...

This past week, after doing some stamping both on paper and clay,  I discovered I was out of stamp cleaner.  Not being able to find the recipe I had printed a couple of years ago, I knew exactly where to go... this blog's archive.  And yep, there is was.

Now some of you who have been loyal followers over the years will recognize a portion of the contents of this post (I have revised it slightly) and I hope it comes as a handy reminder.  For some of you, this will be new and hopefully you find it useful in your art days ahead! 

Here are some tips today to help you save some money on supplies you can make in order to buy supplies that you can't (GRIN)... and I've thrown in a NEW "recipe" for a hand cleaner for good measure.  This "recipe" works like magic to get your hands squeaky clean once you are all done for the day.  It even removes clay "residue" from your hands after playing with clay, especially liquid clay,  for a day!

MAKE YOUR OWN STAMP SCRUBBER
Ever painted the walls in your home? If so, you probably have a paint edger, used to paint the edge of walls at the ceiling or the trim, kicking around in your garage with the paint tools. Snatch it from its lonely, almost forgotten spot and put it to work in your art room!

These paint edgers are made from the same material used in much more expensive “stamp scrubbers” you find in stamping stores. The next time you are in the hardware or paint store, purchase a replacement package for the edger. You can then use it to scrub your stamps after your next stamping session.

MAKE YOUR OWN STAMP CLEANER
The recipe I like best (and I have tried a lot of them) is very simple to make. You can find all of the ingredients in your local pharmacy. It’s a good one if you are sensitive to chemicals or have allergies. This one works well on both rubber or clear stamps.

To one cup (8 oz) of distilled water, add 2 tablespoons of glycerin and 1 tsp. of baby wash. You can add some rose water to this mixture (makes it smell nice) but it is optional. Put the mixture in a household spray bottle, spray your dirty stamp, wipe off the excess with an old rag or “seen better days” towel. This will remove most of the ink. Now using your “new” paint edger scrubber, spray some of the liquid on it and give your stamp a good clean.

A few notes about your stamp cleaning brew…
When making this solution, use ONLY distilled water. The chemicals in tap water can harden the rubber on your stamps (makes you wonder what those chemicals might be doing to our bodies huh?) and bottled water still has some traces of minerals that could potentially ruin your stamp over time. In a pinch you could use filtered water but I personally don’t think it would be a good idea long term. You can find distilled water at your local drug store or pharmacy. It is not expensive. You may have to purchase a larger jug of it but you’ll never have to buy another one for a very long time!

You can find baby wash (a liquid “soap” used to wash a baby’s tender skin) in the baby products aisle. I use Aveeno Baby (no fragrance) made by Johnson and Johnson. It’s the same bottle I purchased when my  granddaughter was a baby (she’s seven now) and came with her mom to visit Gramma and Grampa for the first time. Other brands of creamy baby wash will probably work just as well.

Glycerin is often used commercially in beauty products and better brands of bathing soap. Pharmacies stock it in smaller bottles because the medicinal use is to relieve chapped skin, minor burns or for minor cough and throat irritations. If you don’t find it in the “cough medicine” or “chapped skin” product aisle, ask a clerk. Be prepared to tell them what it is used for… some of them seem to not know what it is!

Why does this recipe use glycerin?
When I first came across this stamp cleaner recipe on the web (I don’t remember now where I first saw it), I was curious as to why glycerin was called for in the recipe. I asked my husband, who, “in his old life” was a chemist and he said “Probably to condition the rubber, keep it from cracking or going hard.” Well we certainly want to prolong the life of our favourite stamps, don’t we? Make the effort to find glycerin.

CLEANING GLUE/ACRYLIC HARDENED BRUSHES
I could just kick myself in the butt every time I forget to clean my glue or acrylic laden paint brush when I am working on a project! I don’t know how many dried on, glue or acrylic paint encrusted brushes I threw out before I discovered this tip: Soak it in GooBeGone overnight. The glue softens right up and you can then get all the “gunk” out of it.

EFFORTLESS BRUSH CLEANING

I keep some HAND liquid soap in a container next to my “brush cleaning sink”. Once I have removed most of the water soluble paint from my brush by swishing it in a container of water, I squirt a little of the liquid soap in the palm of my hand, swish the brush in it, rinse it well under running water and set it aside to dry. With very little effort and mess, my brushes (and hands) are as clean as a whistle when I am done.


HAND CLEANER


4 tbls. Murphy's Oil Soap
1/2 cup Borax
a few drops of essential oil if desired (I like lavender, orange or peppermint)

Put the borax in a tightly lidded jar or container.  Add the oil soap and essential oil and mix together with a fork until it is the consistency of a lovely frosting for a cake!  Keep the lid tightly capped so that it does not dry out.

Well that’s it for today. See you tomorrow. Now go clean your (ART) house… LOL!

Cheers,
Sharon

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