art, creativity, life hacks, Planning and journaling, stain removal, stationery, stationery supplies

Stationery mishaps – pen stain removal

A very small selection of my pens 🙂

Hi guys. Hope you’re all well. This may seem like a bit of a random post from me but the idea for it came to me yesterday after I had a bit of a stationery mishap. Basically, I attended my first class of beginner’s ceramics which I recently signed up for and after finishing the vast amount of paperwork required for the course funding, I accidentally drew a great big line of black ballpoint pen across the left boob area of my light mint green top! I let out a shriek of horror as I know that this kind of pen has a tendency to stain.

When I returned home, I got to work Googling stain removal solutions and I’m excited to report that the pen is now gone and my top is saved. So, I thought, why not do a blog post for the rest of you stationery addicts out there who may, in the future, need a little support with getting pen out of your best clothes.

Please note however, that these are ideas collected from the internet and that I can’t accept responsibility if they don’t work or if they cause further damage to your garments. My aim here is to share what’s worked for others in the hope that you might be able to rescue your much loved items in a similar way.

Ballpoint pen

Stains made with this popular and usually cheap pen can be very difficult to remove. That’s why it’s best to tackle the offending mark as soon as possible. Start by determining the pen type as not all of those which have a ball contain the same type of ink. Traditional ballpoints like Bic and Papermate Flexgrip, use a fast drying oil-based ink which needs to be removed using some kind of solvent. Water-based inks, such as a Pentel roller ball, are fairly easy to remove. Whereas, gel pens are highly pigmented and, again tend to be pretty hard to get out of clothes and furnishings.

The most fabric friendly way to remove oil based ink, is using an alcohol based product. You can often find many of these in your home such as aerosol hairspray, rubbing alcohol, hand sanitiser or wipes. I used a little bottle of Body Shop hand gel which I keep in my handbag. Place the garment over an absorbent material such as a clean cloth, a number of paper towels or white napkins. Thoroughly saturate the area with the pen stain, wait around 5 minutes (probably panic about your precious garment if you’re anything like me) and then use a clean, dry cloth to blot out the stain (I used more paper towels here as this was all I had available to me). Repeat with more solvent and further areas of cloth if necessary. Wash the area with detergent or if you can see the stain has completely gone already, you can just launder as normal.

For water-based pens, if you tackle the mark straightaway, you can simply use soap and warm water to get the stain out with a gentle rub. If, however, the stain has been on the item for longer, and has set. You can use an old toothbrush to add a little friction to rub the stain out. I think this one would be useful on more hardwearing fabrics such as denim jeans.

Gel ink, according to manufacturers, if almost impossible to remove, but the best way to have a go at getting it out, is using normal detergent, stain removing gel (e.g. Vanish) or liquid hand soap. Add a small amount and rub the stain directly, rinsing with running water. Then try to blot out the rest of the ink between two piles of paper towels, white napkins or several clean clothes.

Felt tips and markers

Like the ballpoint pens, it’s important to establish what kind of ink you’re working with. If they’re washable, then the stain should come out with a standard wash but more highly pigmented and marker pens might benefit from the same alcohol based treatment which can be used for ballpoints. If the pen states that it contains permanent ink, the stain will be very difficult to get out but, according to a leading detergent specialist, it’s not completely impossible.

The trick is to treat permanent marker stains with products that can break down the oils and alcohols in the ink, exposing the colourants, and allowing you to treat the discolouration in much the same way you would any other stain – through washing! Alcohol is a solvent and is very effective and efficient at breaking down oils and other alcohols found in marker pens.

Persil.com/uk (for further info and a step by step click here)

Highlighter pens

According to my perusal of the Internet, you can try one of three methods. The first two involve using alcohol such as hand sanitiser or hairspray and the third involves using cows milk. As I’m aspiring to be vegan one day, I’ve transitioned to plant based milk and so I have no idea if this works and don’t have such stuff in my fridge but I’ve seen a variety of sites which recommend it. Apparently, you dip the stain in a bowl of the stuff and rub gently with your fingers, then rinse with plain water. Repeat if you still see a stain and then wash as normal. If anyone knows why milk works and if plant based does the job too I would love to hear from you in the comments as I’m a regular user or highlighters such as mildliners and often get covered in them with being a leftie!

Well, I think I’ve covered the main types of pen here but feel free to make further suggestions in the comments of other tricky pens or methods you’ve tried which have worked (or sob about the ones which didn’t!). Hope this post helps you and if not I’m really sorry! Remember, I can’t take responsibility if your favourite garment is wrecked I’m afraid.

Bye for now, Laura (a self confessed stationery addict) xx

art, creativity, watercolour painting, wellbeing, wellness

Creative time – using my new watercolours!

In my last blog post, I talked about my new Daler Rowley watercolours. Yesterday, I put them to good use on a simple painting project which I found in a magazine. The magazine, pictured below, is a creative special from the makers of Project Calm which includes ‘a carefully curated collection of wonderful creative projects for you to try at home using easy to find art supplies. Following a quick flick through the pages, I decided it looked like the perfect mag to provide inspiration and some easy projects to get me started with my watercolours and also some cheap Gouache paints that I picked up in TKMaxx a few weeks ago.

The magazine, which retails at £12.99 and can be purchased from Sainsburys and probably a host of other retailers, includes artists stories, information about useful art tools and supplies, a range of projects, plus a 64 page sketchbook and paintable postcards.

I decided to start with one of the postcards. The idea is you choose seasonal paint colours to fill a floral, paint by numbers, image. I decided to choose the summer one and therefore selected bright and intense colours for my design. On the reverse of the postcard, you add samples of your chosen colours and this becomes your palette.

My chosen colour palette

To be honest, this seemed like a good idea in theory, but in reality, you were unable to see the samples whilst painting on the front and you needed to carefully select the colours you chose for the paint by numbers system if you wanted a good looking image where the stems of the flowers were a green colour! I remedied the samples situation by taking a quick shot on my phone to refer to as I painted.

Although the results aren’t perfect, mainly because I could have done with a much tinier brush to keep within the lines, I did enjoy the process and found it very therapeutic. We all need some ‘me time’ and for me personally, nothing beats a little relaxing creative project.

I hope you enjoyed this quick post and it has inspired you to indulge in some creative me time or spend a few minutes doing something you find relaxing. On that note, I would love to hear about your favourite way to spend your ‘me time’ and why? Let me know in the comments.

Until next time…

Much love, Laura xx

art, creativity, watercolour painting

My new Daler Rowney Travel watercolour set

My lovely new watercolours 😀

In a previous post, I shared some pages I’d done in one of my TN inserts using Tiger watercolour paints. They were really cheap, and had quite a chalky finish on the paper I used but at the time, I just wanted to give watercolour painting a go as I used to enjoy doing it at school and found it really relaxing.

Now that I’m more experienced, although still very much a beginner, I decided to buy a small set of higher quality paints. This travel set looked ideal as it contains quarter sized pans and 24 gorgeous colours so only basic mixing is required. Plus it was discounted at The Range so I grabbed it (along with lots of other bits and pieces that I couldn’t resist!).

Before I start using them for projects, I decided to make a swatch of the colours to tape into the lid so I could see what each paint pan looked like on watercolour paper. I cut down an A4 sheet from a pad and then rounded the corners so it would fit nicely.

I’m really pleased with the colours and look forward to using them creatively. You can use lots of water to get a washy colour or build up the colour to create something more opaque.

The only issue I had with them was that the images on the plastic which had the colour names and numbers on came off onto some of the pans. This didn’t cause too much of a problem but it obviously a bit of a fault in the design.

Overall, it’s a cute little package and you get plenty of colours in a neat tin. There’s a handle on the back for easy holding if you didn’t want to place them down on a surface but obviously I haven’t tried this out yet as I was working at my dining table!

If you have any questions which you would like answering about the set that I haven’t covered here, drop me a comment and I’ll do my best to respond and provide a suitable answer. Also, if anyone has watercolour tips either as part of their blog or as a YouTube video, leave me the link and I’ll check them out.

I hope you find this post useful and I look forward to hearing from you in the comments.

Until next time…

Laura x