Category Archives: Techniques

Tuesday Tip: Paper roses

A big thanks to Stampin’ Up! demo Julie Buhler for her tutorial on these paper roses (or carnations).  I followed her instructions with few variations.  Here’s my take:

  1. Begin by punching or die cutting three scalloped circles.
  2. Run the shapes through the Crimper (I do all three at once) three times, changing direction each time.  This will begin to break down the fibers.
  3. Pull each flower against side of Bone Folder or pan scraper, as if curling a ribbon, several times.  Changing direction each time, repeat until layers of card stock begin to split at the edges.  Take care not to tear the card stock, which will become very soft and pliable.
  4. You are really beating up this card stock!
  5. Carefully pull apart the two layers.  Repeat with other two flowers, creating six layers.
  6. Stack the flower layers.  With the rough side up, pierce the center of the stack and affix a brad or button.
  7. Pull up first layer of flower.  Crinkle and crush card stock.
  8. Repeat with each layer.
  9. Repeat with each layer.

Don’t over-think this technique! There is nothing perfect about the result, so don’t stress about getting it that way. Your flower will be charming, I know!

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Strawberry field

This is the finished card I started with yesterday’s tutorial on the blackboard technique.  It’s for next week’s birthday of my SIL, who grows strawberries and has generously shared with us her excess plants.  We planted them last year, so this year I’m hoping for (planning on!) a good crop.

Stamps: Tart & Tangy, Rough Type*

Ink:  Whisper White Craft, Basic Black

Paper:  Garden Green, Basic Black, Whisper White

Other:  Watercolor Pencils, Signo Gel Pen, Eyelet Border Punch, Metal Edge Tag, Earth Elements Brad (Ruby Red), Stampin’ Dimensionals

*Summer Mini Catalog — and part of the May special!

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Tuesday Tip: Blackboard technique

This technique is sometimes called “black magic.”  I first saw it on a swap card I received at Convention a few years ago.  The effect of the bright colors against the black was stunning!  I have always done this technique using our Stampin’ Pastels, but recently I have been interested in Watercolor Pencils, so that’s what you’ll see here.  It takes only a few supplies:

  1. Begin by stamping your image in Whisper White Craft ink, making sure that you are getting the stamp good and inky.  I was hurrying here and caught the edge of the pad as I was inking the stamp.  See those lines on the top strawberries?  I wondered if they would cause a problem; we’ll see!  Let the ink dry or heat it to dry faster.

  2. Using a lighter color, begin coloring over the white ink.  You’ll need to keep sharpening your pencils to keep them effective.  After seeing that the pencil wasn’t covering my stamping mistakes, I decided to cut this panel smaller.
  3. Continue layering the color, blending with your pencil.  You can’t use a blender pen with this technique, as the pen will start to pick up the ink.  I’ve added additional color to the strawberries on the right half of the image below.

This is a very intense and time consuming technique, especially with this many images, but it’s so dramatic.  Come back tomorrow for the rest of the recipe for the finished card!

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Your choice

In this month’s newsletter I contrast the uses of the Blender Pen and the Aqua Painter.  But words can’t adequately describe how differently they work — only experience can!  But I wanted to show you the differences.  In both examples, the image was stamped with StazOn Jet Black ink on Whisper White card stock.  I squeezed the lid of the closed Classic ink pads to form a “pool” of ink inside the lid.  Ignore the smudge in the the top left of each photo; something on the glass of my scanner!

This was colored with an Aqua Painter.  Although the tip of the Aqua Painter is not as fine as a Blender Pen, the water is easier to use to move color around the image.

This was colored with a Blender Pen.  Note that the ink coverage was splotchier.  and although I thought I had thoroughly cleaned the tip of the Blender Pen (by wiping back and forth on my grid paper), there was just a bit of pink that appeared in my shadow.

What other factors affect the success of your water coloring?

  • Practice!  Everyone gets better, and my stampers who “hated” to color now love it.  (I was one of those!)
  • How much water you use with your Aqua Painter.
  • Whether your Blender Pen is sufficiently “fresh” (I’m not going to tell you how old mine are; they seemed kind of dry to me).
  • The kind of paper you use — Water Color Paper can be fairly saturated with water, Whisper White and Very Vanilla will pill with too much blending using either tool.

Remember to store your Blender Pens horizontally so both tips stay moist.  I store my Aqua Painters tip-down so that the bristles stay moist.

The completed cards:

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How to tie a bow

If you have trouble creating a nice ribbon bow, view this video and see how Kristina Werner does it.  Then, get yourself a length of ribbon and try it along with her!

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Cutting corners

Click to enlarge

It’s not corners, really, it’s the inside angles when you are doing “fussy” cutting, like on this leaf.  I think of these as “armpit cuts.”  Getting your scissors — even our sharp Stampin’ Up! Paper Snips — into those armpits is really challenging.

So here’s a tip:  before you begin any cutting, use a punch similar in size to the armpit and punch right up to the image lines, as below.  Here, I used a 1/8″ circle hand-held punch with the guard thingie removed, so that I can see where I’m punching.

Click to enlarge

Now that you have trimmed the armpit, you can make long cuts into that area — the awkward turn has already been made!

This is another project using the Embossed Re-inker Spread technique.  If you try it, be prepared to let the paper dry completely — perhaps for an hour!

Stamps:  Autumn Splendor

Ink:  VersaMark, re-inkers (Dusty Durango, Crushed Curry, Old Olive)

Paper:  Watercolor Paper, Ruby Red Textured

Other:  Stampin’ Emboss Powder (Gold), Aqua Painter, Elastic Cord (Gold), Stampin’ Dimensionals

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Random stamping

I’ve mentioned before how terrified I was when my Stampin’ Up! demonstrator instructed us to stamp an image randomly on a piece of card stock.  Random is not really my nature — my favorite stamping tool is a ruler!  So trying to stamp in a random pattern (is that an oxymoron?) without being too controlled was a real challenge.  Then one day I was in a stamp class and the instructor taught us the secret of the triangle.  I’ll use these pages from My Digital Studio to teach it to you:

  1. Stamp your first image (here, in Old Olive).
  2. Step 1

  3. Stamp another image (the new image is in Old Olive, the first one is in Ruby Red).
  4. Step 2

  5. Stamp the third image to create the third point of an imaginary triangle (again, the most recent stamped image is Old Olive).
  6. Step 3

  7. Continue making triangles!
  8. Step 4

    Step 5

Practice this technique on some scratch paper.  Ready for a challenge?  Stamp a single image in a random pattern on a sheet of Whisper White or Very Vanilla.

Step 6Then add a second image in a random pattern, spacing images in triangles of a different size than the first image.  Pay no attention to whether they’re in a white space, or directly over the first image — just complete the triangles.

Step 7Do you like the effect?  This is how we create the “master board” for One Sheet Wonder projects.  You can see it in the card below:

Click to enlarge

1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3 — just like waltzing!  And just like learning to dance, it takes practice!

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