Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Xyron Laminate - Watercolor Swatch Sheet

I absolutely love watercolors! It is one of my favorite mediums. Over the (many) years I have collected quite a few sets - some in tubes and some in pans. Whenever I make up a palette, whether for travel or for studio use, I like to have a swatch sheet handy to see the actual colors. Xyron laminate protects and keeps my swatches clean (especially important around all that water and paint splashing around). Since it is a cold lamination, you can trim right up to the edges without the laminate peeling off.

This is a sort of precursor to a watercolor series I will be doing (hopefully soon!). I have already filmed quite a lot of footage - I just need the time to edit, do voiceovers, add music and titles, etc. There will be lots of travel/mini palette ideas! Just subscribe to my YouTube channel and/or my blog so you won't miss it.

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Laminating Swatch Sheets

The following video goes through the step-by-step process on how to create a laminated swatch sheet to go with your watercolor palettes. It also includes filling an empty half pan and adding it to a small travel palette - something that will be covered in more depth here in the future.

The travel tin in the video is probably a gift card holder. I tend to pick up tins to use as travel palettes (or to just hold small items) when I find ones I like. I use Strathmore 400 watercolor paper for my swatches. It is a good quality cellulose (wood based) watercolor paper that is reasonably priced.

I used a pink OLEeNu mechanical pencil in the video; it's a fairly pricey mechanical pencil that is supposed to prevent lead breakage - I'm still testing it out. My go-to mechanical pencil is pictured next to it in the photo - it's the Pentel P205, the type that I have used for over 30 years. I have quite a few - for different rooms of my house, as well as several containing different lead hardnesses in my studio - but my original still works well! The eraser I use is a Tombow Mono Zero. It erases really well, doesn't damage paper, and has a small tip. It's also refillable.

The magnet tape and laminator are from Xyron. I love my Xyron Creative Station - it is so useful and so easy to change out cartridges. My husband uses the laminate for board game player aids. The permanent adhesive makes anything thin into a sticker, e.g., you can print something on your printer then make it into a sticker sheet, or add adhesive to scrapbook/card embellishments or patterned paper.

I cut down the watercolor paper and trimmed the laminate using my 12" professional Rotatrim trimmer (not shown in video). This trimmer cuts hair thin and is self-sharpening (i.e. no replacement blades necessary!). It is pricey but I think it is worth it. I have two of the trimmers, different sizes, one is over 20 years old and is still sharp.

Empty half pans can be pretty inexpensive, especially if bought in quantity. So far I haven't had any issues with them. There are some clear plastic versions but I wouldn't recommend them - the white helps you see the paint color, if only on the edges. You can also purchase empty full pans if you want more paint or a larger opening for your brush.

I buy many of my watercolors manufactured outside the US (such as Windsor & Newton Watercolors and Schmincke Watercolors) at Jackson't Art Supply. I believe you get a 10% discount for using my link for the first time (it will show up at checkout, before you pay). They often run sales - and the prices are so much better than purchasing in the US.

My favorite waterproof and alcohol ink proof pens are Copic Multiliners - the SP versions. They are a bit expensive but they are refillable and as such don't end up in a landfill every time the ink is used up (like the plastic ones do). Also, you can change out the nibs if they wear out (although I have yet to have to do this - they last a long time). They come in a variety of nib sizes, from the very finest to a brush tip.

The We R Memory Keepers Corner Chomper is a very handy tool for rounding corners. I am surprised at how often I use it. Not just for swatch sheets, but also for card making, scrapbooking, multimedia art, and more. Note: they make other Corner Chompers so be sure to check that the one you are getting is the correct version, in this case the 1/4 and 1/2 inch corner rounder.

Another super useful tool is the T-Square. It hugs the edge of your paper so you can make straight lines very quickly. Perfect for making grids and charts but also great for helping to address envelopes.

I hope you have enjoyed this little jaunt into my world of watercolor palettes. If you have any questions or watercolor topics you would like me to cover, please let me know in the comments. Have a happy and colorful day!

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