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Ranger Blog: Party Ideas

Distress Illuminated Autumn Place Cards

November 21st, 2011

If you're hosting Thanksgiving dinner or another autumn get-together this year, we've got a great new tip & technique for you to check out on!

Using Distress Inks, Distress Stains, Grungeboard and various items from Tim Holtz's idea-ology collection and Alterations by Sizzix dies, you can create these handsome illuminated place cards for your guests!

Do you have any crafty plans for your Thanksgiving décor?  Let us know in the comments!

Project: Custom Painted Wedding Aisle Runner

August 22nd, 2011

Today's post is written by Ranger's graphic/web designer, Lisa Bihuniak!

I'd like to share an easy project for adding a custom, DIY-touch to your wedding ceremony!  

Perhaps you've fallen in love with the gorgeous personalized aisle runners that grace the ceremonies of many celebrities' weddings and looked into purchasing one for your own wedding, but balked at the $500+ price tag.  I know I certainly did!  

That's when I decided to take matters into my own hands, literally: I hand-painted a 75-foot aisle runner for my own wedding, using a blank non-slip fabric runner from The Original Runner Company (although you could certainly use a paper or plastic runner available at most craft stores or party stores), a 1/8"-wide paintbrush (yes, it's true), and Claudine Hellmuth Studio Acrylic Paint in Charcoal Black!

Now at this point, perhaps you are thinking to yourself, "Painting something 75-feet long with a 1/8" paintbrush is an EASY project?"  Well, ok, maybe not.  Being a graphic designer, I'm a stickler for detail and I found using such a small paintbrush to be the most precise way of rendering my design, but it was definitely time-consuming!  The technique itself is easy, and the implementation can be as simple or as complex as you'd like.

I decided to use the logo I created for our wedding invitation suite as the design on our aisle runner:

To this I planned to add a 1/2"-wide black border to all four sides of the runner, set in 2" from the runner edges.  

The easiest way for me to design the runner was to lay it out in Adobe Illustrator, but you could certainly free-hand it onto the runner or onto a large sheet of paper to be transferred onto the runner later.

My runner was 42" wide, so I scaled my logo to fit into a 42"-wide Illustrator document.  This way, I was able to print the logo at 100% scale to transfer onto my runner.  There are several ways the printing can be accomplished: you can bring the file to a copy shop and have them print it onto a large sheet of paper for you, or you can print the design tiled onto several sheets of normal 8.5" x 11" printer paper, then tape them all together!  (If you are unsure of how to print tiled documents, refer to the Help files in Adobe Illustrator.)

Once you have your design on a large sheet of paper, it's time to transfer it to your runner!  You could tape the design to the underside of the runner and then trace the design in pencil using a light box.  Or, you could try my favorite method for transferring designs:

Use a very soft-leaded pencil and scribble like mad on the underside of your design.  Tape it in place on top of your runner (I wanted my logo centered on the runner so I measured where the halfway point was first), and then use a very sharp, hard-leaded pencil to trace the design, pressing firmly.  When you remove the paper, the design will be transferred to the runner itself!

Once I had the logo in place I used a yardstick to sketch the rest of my 1/2" border all around the runner.  Then came the fun part: time to paint!

I taped a piece of scrap paper to my floor to prevent messes, unrolled some of the blank runner, and then painted as much of the border as I could in one go.  Once the portion I was working on was dry, I would roll the finished portion up, unroll more of the blank runner, and continue.  I used only black paint in my design, but you could use any of Claudine's 15 beautiful paint colors to match your wedding's color scheme!  Adding accents with Stickles or Liquid Pearls would be absolutely stunning, as well.

One technical note to point out: make sure that when you are painting, you start working at the "top" of the runner (ie, the side closest to the altar) and work your way towards the "bottom" (ie, the side at the back of the ceremony site).  That way, when your completed runner is rolled up, the "bottom" will be the first part of the runner to be rolled out, allowing your ushers to walk up the aisle and unroll the runner correctly.  If you don't work from "top" to "bottom," your logo will be upside down when the runner is unrolled during the ceremony!!

Several hours later, I was finished!  The customized runner was the perfect personal touch for our wedding ceremony and made for some truly beautiful photos.  If you'd like, you could even have your guests sign the portion of the runner near the logo as an alternate guest book at the reception, and then cut and frame the logo as a unique keepsake!


How did you personalize your own wedding?  Share your crafty wedding ideas with us!

(Ceremony and invitation photos by Jeff Tisman Photography.)

Project: Color Wash Thanksgiving Table Accessories

November 17th, 2010

As promised, here is another paper crafting project using Adirondack Color Wash-perfect for autumn decorating and gatherings.  Patti Behan created these colorful backgrounds on Inkssentials 12 x 12 Manila Cardstock with Color Wash, masks and stamps…

…and transformed them into gorgeous Thanksgiving table accessories full of rustic country charm.

Tattered Leaves die cut from mask sheets and colored with Adirondack Alcohol Inks add the finishing touch.  Instructions can be found here.

 Would love to hear how you decorate your Thanksgiving table.

Quick Halloween Treat Bags-Giveaway

October 25th, 2010

Okay.  Still pressed for time, but wanted to kick it up a notch, create a little more craft for your partywares, maybe.  Here is a quick way to spruce up a plain brown gift bag. 


Supplies: Ranger:  Inkssentials Ink Blending Tool and Foam, Inkssentials Black Enamel Accents, Inkssentials ½” Wonder Tape. Tim Holtz Distress Ink-Spiced Marmalade, Black Soot; Tim Holtz Idea-ology: Seasonal Salvage Stickers, Lavish Trimmings; Brown Kraft Bag, Black and Orange Cardstock


  1. Crinkle a 12” length of ribbon and rub Spiced Marmalade ink pad over it to colorize. Set aside to dry.
  2. Use black and orange cardstock to make a border around the sticker.  Further embellish the sticker and cardstock by inking the edges with Distress Ink and adding dots, dashes or color in portions of the sticker with Black Enamel Accents. Set aside to dry.  Black-accents-dots Black-accents-dash
  3. Crinkle bag and use Ink Blending tool to apply Spiced Marmalade ink all over.  Repeat with a small amount of Black Soot.  (You can skip this step to save some time.)
  4.  Glue sticker with cardstock to the bag using Wonder Tape.
  5.  Add ribbon to the handle of the bag. Tie a bow, just knot it on, or cut the ribbon in half and knot it for a fuller look.

This would be a great Halloween party favor or a little Halloween gift for the big kid(s) in your life.  How would you fill your Halloween treat bags?  Leave a comment for a chance to win a prize.  Winners announced Wednesday 12:00 EDT.

Easy Halloween Party Favors

October 21st, 2010

Want to add a little bit of  craftiness to your Halloween party favors, but don't have much time?  Patti Behan shares some quick and easy ideas to add some pizazz to your store-bought treat bag tags.


First, start with a preprinted tag found at your local craft or party store and just add Stickles…It's as simple as that…  Look here to see how:

Squeeze a dot of Orange Peel Stickles onto the center of the tag and spread them out with your fingertip.

Or use Stickles to color in portions of the tag.  Here Patti used Yellow Stickles.


For this tag, Inkssentials Black Enamel Accents were added to the eyes, nose and mouth.

Next, add a cellophane bag, some candy and you have a sweet treat to hand out to your friends, trick-or-treaters and classmates.  

Do you have some tips you'd like to share for jazzing up your halloween decorations?  Leave a comment for a chance to win some Ranger goodies.  The more comments we receive, the more prize packages we will give out, so be sure to tell all your friends.  Winner will be announced tomorrow Oct 22 at 4:00 pm EDT.