When I do workshops and classes there are several recurring comments I hear and one of them is that people struggle with wheels. They often will say they don't get even coverage or have trouble getting a good background effect (their images aren't spaced correctly or overlap). Wheels are actually very fun and simple once you learn a couple important things.
Let's start at the beginning...
the basic components: a regular sized wheel, cartridge and wheel and a Jumbo set of the same. You only need one handle (of each size) as the wheels are interchangeable. The best way to ink your wheels is with an ink cartridge (see note below). For projects no more than about 5" you can use your ink pad to ink your wheel. The pro here is you may have more ink pads than cartridges thus more color options. The con is that you can only get one revolution from your wheel before your image fades and you constantly have to re-ink it. Remember to pick up the wheel when inking it on a pad rather that just rolling it back and forth since you will not get complete coverage this way.
A word on the cartridges: You can purchase the ink cartridges in various SU colors. Since not every color is available you can purchase an uninked cartridge and make your own with a bottle of ink. I suggest that when you buy a cartridge, you also buy the bottle of matching ink as well if you don't already own it. Ink cartridges need to be re-inked more frequently than pads and at $2.75 a bottle, it is a wise investment. Not to mention the ink can be used for tons of other techniques and ideas. I also suggest you store your cartridges in a plastic zip lock bag to keep the ink from drying out too fast.
There are many wonderful choices of wheels as well of many different ways to use them. One of the most popular things to do with a wheel is to create a background or pattern paper. Pay close attention to the pattern of the wheel. Some are more forgiving than others, they have a more random pattern that is easily matched up and not so noticeable if you slightly overlap/gap them. Some wheels have a definite line to them and require more attention to get straight. I usually prefer the more random patterns, especially for things like gift bags, backgrounds or wrapping paper.
For today's card, I wanted to create a background of snow so I used the regular sized wheel called Jolly. I want to point out 4 things at this point.
1-see how I am holding the wheel? Choking up on the barrel gives you better control and even pressure
2-to ensure you get complete coverage, start off your paper and go off your paper on the other end. If you start with the wheel on your paper you will get blank edges and it will not look right! Use a piece of scrap paper under your work (Grid Paper is my favorite!).
3-if you are working with a random pattern, wheel on a diagonal. If your spacing happens to be off somewhat it will be far less noticeable than if you wheel horizontally/vertically.
4-wheel from the bottom up. This is a big thing that people miss and it makes a BIG difference. By starting in the bottom corner and working your way up, you can see your work and this will allow you to space it correctly. If you start at the top, your hand is covering up your work and you are in essence wheeling blindly.
Here is my finished card
I used the bear form the Under the Stars set to make a spinner card. The bear rolls from side to side, doing cartwheels in the snow. He is having fun and makes me smile. If you have never done a spinner card, I will direct you over to the resource section at SCS. Here you will find a wonderful tutorial on spinner cards. The sentiment he is holding is from one of those $1 clear sets, the clear stamp is slightly mold able so I curved the sentiment onto the block before stamping it.
Tomorrow I will be back with a part 2 on wheels.