Irresistible Inking Techniques

WOW, this is my last class for the Level 1 of the Altenew Educators Certification Program…lovingly known as AECP. 

This last class is an amazing class combining several others into one.   In some ways this was simple yet it involved watercoloring which I have not done a lot with, so it still stretched my limits.  It was the perfect time to use the Altenew Pant-A-Flower Iris stamp.

The white 4” x 5 ½” base of the card was quick and easy, taking Altenew’s Ultraviolet ink cube, I scuffled ink directly to a plain white cardstock – very quickly the background was done setting the stage for the regal flower.

I started the flower by white heat embossing the stamp, but the outline wasn’t clear and the flower looked unfinished when I tried to paint it. Yes, it did contain the watercolor within the boundaries of the heat embossing, but the flower lost a lot of detail.  So, I redid it with Simon Says Stamps Intense Black ink.  Then squished some Altenew crisp dye ink Ultraviolet on my Tim Holtz media mat.  Using a water brush pen, I proceeded to pick up the purple color and paint my Iris.  Doing the same with the ink cube, I used Altenew Forest Glades ink for the leaves and stems.  As I colored both the flowers and the stems I moved around, letting one part dry before I went back adding more ink to get a deeper color. It took several additions to get the desired hues for this gorgeous creature.  All the time I left the center open so that I could use Altenew Maple Yellow in the center of the flower.  This is such a beautiful flower in the garden I wanted this to be special too. 

To help the yellow stand out I cut a bright yellow piece of cardstock to 3 5/8” x 4 7/8” which left just a tiny frame around the white cardstock of 3 ¾” x 4 ¾”…just enough to frame the Iris.

One of the tricks in this class was to edge the ink around the white edge so that it would also have some color framing it.  It was quick and easy to just rub the ink cube along all sides.  It is such a simple trick but one that adds a lot to the finished product, helping to highlight the purple of the flower against the yellow frame.  Once those were glued together, I added some strips of foam tape to the back and mounted onto the purple scuffled base.

The finishing glamor was added by using my Tonic Aqua Shimmer pen to the yellow on the Iris and adding 3 small purple Honey Bee gems to finish it off. 

The “Believe in you“ sentiment from the same stamp set as the flower is for me…and also for every other AECP participant and person reading this.  Thank you to Altenew for letting me experience these classes. 

Now to await my Level 1 Challenge………..

Seasonal Scene Building

When I think of s Seasonal Scene, I think of winter and its peacefulness and serenity in the woods.  I live in the country and sometimes sit on my enclosed porch with outside lights on watching the snow fall.  It’s very soothing.

For this card I started with the night sky, blending Distress Inks of Faded Jeans, Chipped Sapphire, and Wilted Violet on White Gold Shimmer cardstock by Reflections.  I cut the moon from the same cardstock from the newly released Phases of the Moon die set.  I had some tiny iridescent star glitter that I carefully glued randomly in the sky.  Because the distress ink can react with something wet and leave spots, I tried to minimize that by putting some liquid glue on my media mat and dipping the stars into the glue only to get a small amount on them.  Studio Katia’s embellishment wand was very helpful in doing this.  Once done with that I used a fine mist of Hero Arts white shimmer spray to add more glisten and distance “stars”.

I took some of the same white gold shimmer cardstock for snow and snowbanks in the foreground just by cutting curved lines in the paper and adding some foam tape to make the top bank stand out more for dimension.  One trick I learned from Kristina Werner is to take the paper off both sides of the foam tape and it can be formed to fit around a curve as shown in the picture below.

The nice county scene was completed with the cabin from Altenew’s Winter Wishes stamp set.  I stamped it with Simon Says Intense Black ink and colored it with Altenew Artist markers.  I used reds and browns (R437 Cosmic Berry, R335 Grapevine, R318 Ruby Red, R217 Velvet and Y932 Mocha) for the house, yellow (R204 Mago Smoothie) for lights inside, G825 Olive and Y762 Espresso for trees. As this didn’t have a die, I fussy cut it out. I put foam tape on the back of that also to pop it up off the snow – one layer at the base of the cutout and two layers at the top of the house and trees.

The finishing touch was the Believe sentiment cut out from the die of Holiday Script Words Die in a red to compliment the house.   And this completes the AECP lesson on scene building.

Celebration: Stencil Techniques

The more I use stencils the more I like them. You can do soooo many things to your cards whether you watercolor, ink blend, add a texture paste — on a whole card, part of a card, diagonal, etc…The possibilities are endless.

I needed to choose — again I’m going for something I’ve had little experience with. I found a stencil in my stash, Altenew’s Flowing Drops. I wanted to use some paste or gel colored with ink for this project. Stencils work best when they do not gap on your paper no matter what the medium you use. To avoid these gaps, I sprayed the stencil with Pixie Spray (inside a box so it was contained rather than all over my studio) letting it dry for about a minute. This puts a fine low tact on the stencil that helps to hold it on the paper, keeping gel from getting underneath the stencil. Once the stencil was on top of the paper I then taped it and the paper to my Tim Holtz media mat.

I combined some Altenew Tide Blue ink and some Gina K iridescent glitter gel making this gorgeous color. Then I simply spread it on like butter over the stencil until all the spots were filled and it was smooth. The magical reveal was about to happen…I took off the stencil and had these awesome ‘flowing drops’ on my card.

Ok, gel can stick on your stencils really easily be be very hard to clean. So before I could admire it for too long I needed to get my tool and my stencil in warm water. I rinsed it well and took a paper towel to help get the gel off the stencil. I went back to the media mat and cleaned it up also setting aside the newly stenciled cardstock. The gel needed to dry for up to an hour so I just left it overnight to be sure it was completely dry.

In the morning I started planning the rest of the card. I tried different paper backgrounds and sentiment word dies to see what would fit best. I wanted as much as the colored stenciling to show as possible so I played with the size of the card and the cardbase ending up with a 4 7/8″ x 5 3/8″ stenciled piece on a 4.75″ x 5″5″ purple background. No, this isn’t a normal size card but it will fit in a square envelope just fine and in order to show off the beauty of the stenciling I needed an off size.

I chose the Altenew Mid Century Frame die, cut in vellum to go behind the happy birthday. I wanted the whole die to be used, including the inner circle that is normally cut out. Here I just positioned it as if it hadn’t actually been cut. The vellum helps to make the words stand out but also doesn’t totally cover up the stenciling. I cut the Happy Birthday die out three times in purple paper and glued them on top of each other for more dimension. To keep from seeing the glue through the vellum I turned the happy birthday upside down putting liquid glue on only the middle letters, attached the circle, then added glue to outside letters and put the outside ring of the Mid Century die on the letters. Then it was just a matter of again adding glue under the letters to hold it on the card front. I put an acrylic block on top for a bit until the glue was completely dry.

The finishing touches were some Ranger Glossy Accents added to the purple letters making them shine also. Shine, color, dimension of multiple sorts put together to make a magnificent birthday card. When’s your birthday? Would you like me to send this to you?

Let It Shine

“I rise to taste the dawn, and find that love alone will shine today.”

Ken Wilber (

One of the greatest things about the papercrafting industry is the encouragement and love its members give to each other. This lesson was called “Let it Shine” because it used shiny elements in making cards but more than that, homemade cards shine love around the world. This card was made with Altenew’s Sweetest Peas stamp set. The flowers are very delicate –just as love can be.

Continue reading

Easy Ink Blending Techniques

This next lesson deals with ink blending.  As beautiful as it is, there are so many ways to do it and tools to use that I wasn’t sure what direction I was going.  I settled on ink blending and watercoloring with the Altenew inks.  This was a totally new process for me and I thought I would give it up along the way but as many a great crafter has said…just keep working it and it will fall in place.

Continue reading

Easy Die Cutting

This lesson teaches a lot of different ways to use dies other than just cutting the images out for a card…you can dry emboss, deboss, stencil, create dimension, etc. The technique I chose to highlight can be a bit tricky — using the negative images of dies rather than the positive.

I started with the beautiful Altenew Wallpaper Art Stamp and Die set. Three gorgeous flowers and three different leaf arrangements. Since I was going to use the leaves as the background I took my 4 1/4″ x 5 1/2″ piece of white cardstock and laid out where the leaves would go. When I cut them out I needed to be sure I was saving all the negative pieces of this cut to be sure the complete outlines of the leaves would show.

Next I took some textured green paper for the background cutting it to 4 1/4″ x 5 1/2″ to match the card base. Since now both pieces were the same size I trimed 1/4″ off the end and side of the white to make it 4″x 5 1/4″. I mounted my negative die cut with some foam tape, giving some depth to the leaves. This was the tricky part as there were some very small areas to put tape behind. I continued to cut my foam tape into all the little nooks and protrusions that needed some support to make the white card part be secure. This was actually the trickiest and most time consuming part of the card. Once the large white piece was on the green I found the small pieces to complete the outlines and put foam tape on them as well. There are some extremely small pieces of negative that help define the outlines of the leaves. For these tiny pieces I could not add foam tape but rather kept them in the die cut, added just a touch of Gina K Connect glue, then positioned the whole cut in its position and pushed down then tiny pieces with my tweezers to mount them directly on the green paper. When I took the cut out, these then showed the outline of the leaves. Phew, the leaves were done!

Continue reading

For the Guys

Geometric shapes are more masculine than flowers for sure, when making a masculine or a gender neutral card. The Altenew Dot Art stamp set is terrific for creating lots of variety on a card. Recently I had gotten the Altenew Spheres and Spirals stamp and die bundle yet I hadn’t tried it yet. I wanted to see what it looked like so I did some experimenting. It turns out these two sets coordinate with each other very well.

I knew I wanted to do the card in an ivory or a kraft color base but wasn’t sure what would look best. I cut out two dies from the Spheres and Sprials set in ivory paper and then stamped them…the larger one with Altenew Shadow Creek ink and the smaller die with Mountain Pine ink. When cutting the large die, I also had the inside circle. This I stamped with Altenew Starlight ink. Ok, now to work on using and laying out a design.

Continue reading

Clean and Simple Boutique

One of the best things in making cards is seeing ordinary paper become alive! Something that shouts beauty and shares love. In this lesson I reviewed many ideas to put some simple yet elegant cards together and to add some glitz or an extra touch to make a card stand out — like classy boutique stores on Michigan Avenue in Chicago or downtown New York’s Manhattan.

Since I love purple and it can be used for royalty this was just the right color for something special. The Altenew Craft-A-Flower is also a new special item. The latest is a TULIP. Tulips are such a welcome sight in the spring! They come in multiple petal formations and colors but always put a smile on our faces that nice days are coming with warmth and sunshine.

I love the Craft-A- Flower subscription at Altenew and even though I have several tulip stamps, these offer stunning beauty and dimension. So here I go to make my boutique card!

Continue reading