Tuesday, March 24, 2009

UTEE Cracked Glass Technique

Today I wanted to share one of the most requested techniques...Cracked Glass. This is such a fun and easy technique once you know a few secrets.

You will need the following:

  • Image - stamped, a collage image, photo, etc. I am using Tuscan Rose collage images.

  • UTEE - Ranger Industries

  • Clear Embossing Ink - Ranger Industries

  • Embossing Gun - Ranger Industries

  • Non-Stick Craft Sheet - Ranger Industries

  • Distress Inks & Ink Blending Tool - Ranger Industries

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Just a few things before we begin...now, I know many people claim that you "have" to heat the UTEE from the bottom or underside of your project to keep it from blowing away. I am not one of those people. While heating from the underside may help with fly-away bits of UTEE it is one of the two reasons people shy away from this technique. The other most common reason people don't give cracked glass a try is they think it's messy. I am here to tell you that it is NOT necessary to heat from the bottom and it's only as messy as you make it! You'll see what I mean below so let's get going.

1. Apply clear embossing ink to the entire image. By applying the embossing ink you eliminate the need to heat from the bottom. The UTEE will stick to your image no problem at all!

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2. Cover the embossing ink with clear UTEE.

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3. Heat the image and melt the UTEE.

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You will notice that after you have melted the first layer of UTEE it will resemble an orange peel.

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4. This is where the mess begins for most people. Now, you can place your image into a box lid to help corral the stray fly-away grains of UTEE. I personally don't do this because I have found a simple solution to prevent most of the mess. By following these simple steps you will be able to get through this step with minimal mess:

  • Heat one area of the image until the UTEE is molten. (working in small sections helps)

  • Turn your embossing gun away from the image - immediately sprinkle UTEE crystals onto the molten area. You will notice that some of the crystals start to melt on contact!

  • Turn the heat gun back towards the area you are working on holding it 6-8" off the surface of the image. Slowly lower the heat gun until all of the UTEE has melted.

  • Repeat the above steps until you have an even layer of UTEE over the whole image.

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You can see where I have added the second coat of UTEE to the center of the image. It begins to take on the appearance of a sheet of glass.

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5. Repeat step #4 until the image looks like a smooth sheet of glass about the thickness of an epoxy sticker (approx 1/16" thick).

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6. Let the image cool for about 1 minute. NEVER try to pick up any project when the UTEE is molten or just heated. IT WILL BURN YOU!!!!! Trust me on this ~ I have had burnt fingers more than once due to my impatient. ;)

Once cooled, peel the image off of the Non-Stick Craft Sheet. If you have UTEE that extends beyond the image, trim it off while the UTEE is still warm.

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7. Place the image in the freezer to cool. I usually place it in there for a minute or more depending on what else I'm doing.

8. Remove the cooled UTEE covered image from the freezer. Bend the cold UTEE where cracks are desired.

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Now, just a word about cracking the UTEE...this is not an exact science. Once you bend it there's no going back...you can't control where or how the cracks travel in the UTEE. They have a mind of their own so just go with the flow :)

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9. Continue cracking the UTEE until you have achieved the desired effect.

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10. After you're satisfied with the cracking, apply Distress Ink (color of your choosing) to the surface of the cracked UTEE. Some people use the IBT but I normally just rub the ink pad directly onto the UTEE - it's quicker IMO. Work the ink into the cracks using the IBT.

11. (optional) I like to pick pieces of the UTEE off the image (carefully) to expose the image below and give it a bit more distressed look...like some of the "glass" has fallen away after years of neglect. You can see this on her chin and on the bottom of the image.

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Another example:

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Now, you will probably end up with some melted UTEE on your Non-Stick Craft Sheet as seen below....

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No worries...after it has cooled, it can easily be scraped away with the edge of an acrylic block, side of a Distress Ink Pad or other straight edge!

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And that's all there is to it! I told you it was easy and if you follow some of the tips I have suggested it's not nearly as messy as what it could be.

Tomorrow I'm going to try to have a video showing the whole process...If I can figure out where to put my camera (note to self...I really need to get a tri-pod!!!) as well as a few more examples.

Till then ~ have a great one!!!


  1. Brilliant! I love this technique...gonna have to try this one immediately. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Great details! And a few more twist in the technique to try.
    Thanks Roni!

  3. Love this technique, Roni. Thanks for sharing with us. Tried using UTEE at the weekend in a craft class and loved it!! x

  4. OMG got to try this. thanks for the detailed instructions. I also learned what i was doing wrong suing just utee... yippee

  5. well I am sure glad I read this b4 I tried it! TYVM! now...what do I wanna UTEE! cher

  6. Oh my this is brilliant! I simply love it! I have a ton of copies of old family photos I want to scan and do this with... Now I just have to go out and purchase some UTEE.... darn!

  7. Another great demo. I have done thing technique many times and LOVE the look. Can't wait for the video!

  8. I did not know you could melt UTEE from above and add layers! I am addicted to my melting pot and i have "dipped" images using my tongs but the results are not allways umm... well sometimes stuff melts. Thanks for the new solution!

  9. Thanks for sharing.
    I love UTEE

  10. Oh my gosh thank you for sharing this with us. I have been wanting to try this technique for a very long time. Thank you so much!!

  11. Oh my gosh thank you for sharing this with us. I have been wanting to try this technique for a very long time. Thank you so much!!


Thanks for your thoughts and comments!