Experiments with found materials – train tickets
My approach to arts and crafts is very much experimental. Not all of these experiments work – but I have fun trying, and I’m either practicing techniques, or discovering new ones that might translate to a different project. As you’ll see below, I pretty much make things up as I go along. If you’re the kind of person who always needs a plan, try a different approach. Try giving yourself permission to just play and see what happens. You might discover something wonderful!
This project came about because I had a wallet full of expired train tickets, and I felt there must be something creative I could do with them. I had only the vaguest of plans, something travel related, making use of a small stamp set I had on that theme. As the original colours of the tickets included a rather bright orange, I decided not to compete with it and went for mostly brown, black and white in the colours I added.
Small pieces torn from an old road atlas were the first thing I tried. I love collaging with old map pages, and it obviously went with the travel theme. Only tiny bits were needed.
The first thing I learned was that train tickets don’t take ink very well. They have a shiny surface, and the Espresso Distress Ink I tried did not dry very well. This let to me adding a thin coat of gesso. I could then brush on ink, and also tried some scribbly handwriting with an ink pen. I knew I was mostly going to cover this up; it was just there to add some background interest.
The next thing I learned was that train tickets turn brown when you heat them. I discovered this while looking for ways to get ink to dry on them, but actually the heat effect was great fun in its own right.
“Yes, it’s because they use thermal printing,” my friend said casually when I mentioned this. “Like till receipts”.
(Till receipts? I may have got a bit over-excited at that point and gone through my wallet for old receipts to play with. More on that another time.)
Once I’d collaged, gessoed, inked and scribbled, I added the focus images with stamps from my travel-themed set, using permanent black ink.
Still not sure what to do with them at this stage, I decided in the end to make a little accordion book. I used double-sided tape to stick them back-to-back, catching two short lengths of thin ribbon between them. If I were doing this as part of a journalling project, the finished piece could be tucked into a pocket on a scrapbook page, or attached to the page and held closed with more ribbon.