Masking Unleashed

Well, it’s almost Halloween so of course we want to get out the masks!  For cardmaking you can create some depth and dimension by masking your stamps to show one behind the other.  This AECP lesson showed six different ways to do this masking.  At first, I was struggling with which one I’d do and how to best do it but…I think I got it.

Many of the examples were of flowers and leaves using both negative and positive masks.   A positive mask is one where you cut out the image from another piece of paper or sticky note and put it over your stamped image.  A negative mask is one that you use the part left over after cutting the positive mask.  Both give some really cool effects. I used only positive masks and chose leaves since it is Fall and the leaves in Michigan are turning beautiful colors.

I used a general layout that was in the Inspiration guide that comes with the Altenew Grape Leaves stamp and die set.  First, I decided which would be my top leave, and worked down to the bottom leaf.  I used Distress inks of Ripe Persimmon, Aged Mahogany, and Fired Brick for the main leaves.  Before stamping any on the card front, I stamped them first on Gina K masking magic paper – an adhesive low tack paper just for this technique.  I fussy cut them out so that I could cut inside of the outline.  Because any mask has some thickness to it you want to have your mask slightly smaller than your image or your next stamp will show a gap between it and the original.  Using the mask cutouts also helped me to layout the card and be sure of where I wanted each leaf. 

I chose an ivory card stock as it lent itself more to Fall rather than traditional white.  I stamped the TOP leaf with Ripe Persimmon on the card front then took off the backing of the Gina K masking paper for the coordinating leaf and stuck it on top of that leaf.  Then I stamped the MIDDLE leaf and largest one next with Aged Mahogany.  Part of the masking paper of the first leaf also was stamped.  When the masking paper is taken off it give the impression that the first leaf is on top of the second.  For the third leaf, I first put the masking paper over the second leaf then stamped the BOTTOM leaf with Fired Brick ink.  I applied the coordinating mask to the third leaf keeping all masks on, at this point.  In my Misti stamp positioner I arranged the stamps again to stamp background leaves first in Distress Tea Dye ink then Altenew Forest Glades ink.  I wanted to give even the background leaves the hint of fall with brown in the green.

I debated about gold embossing the veins and outlines of the leaves but was inspired by Virginia Lu to cut out these with gold paper.  Virginia did this on her example card but used the gold as an inlay to the rest of the leaf.  Inlay is usually for cut out leaves so I couldn’t really use that technique here. I glued the cutouts directly over the stamped images.  As with the inks, I also had to layer the outlines to show the top, middle and bottom leaves…this made them all stand out so much more and enhanced the masking. 

Next, I practiced on scrap paper with the Altenew Woven Stencil to see what ink would look good in making a slight background particularly in the upper and right part of the card.  I practiced with several inks and decided on Altenew Crisp Dye Ink in Sand Dune color.  I taped my stencil to the card on the back and with a light hand added some texture to the background. 

To complete the card, I cut the front down to 4”x5”, applied foam tape to the back, and backed it with deep red cardstock cut to 4.25”x5.25”.   Then applied the whole thing to a white card base and trimmed off the ¼” of the base still showing.  Using the same ivory cardstock, I heat embossed the sentiment taken from Altenew’s Heartfelt Sentiments set.  I used the Aged Mahogany ink to lightly edge the sentiment before adding some foam squares and adhering it to the card.  Since I think my husband and I will be sending this to his friend who just had hip surgery, I did not want to add any addition ‘bling’.  We are sending some

Warm wishes for a speedy recovery!

Before using the Distress inks, I also tried Distress Oxide inks in mostly the same colors but stamping the black outline and veins on the leaves.  It didn’t stand out as well.  I also put some Wink of Stella on the leaves but they turned out a bit chalky since the Oxide ink reacted to the wet Wink of Stella.  I’ll use this in the future and finish out a card with it as well.  Once I got the hang of masking it was fun.  It takes a bit more planning but will definitely go faster in the future. 

Impressive Heat Embossing

This is another class in my Level 2 of Altenew Educators Certification Program.  Altenew is known for their beautiful floral layering stamps.  They can have up to six different layers and you get different effects based on if you use them all or only some of the layers.  So, it stands to reason if you heat emboss in layers, you can also create some gorgeous images.

I started with the Altenew Crown Bloom stamp set.  I tried it three ways before I was satisfied by the outcome.  I’ll walk you through this so you can decide if you want to try this and how it might work for you.  I am using embossing ink and powder for layers rather than dye ink.  There are three ways you can do this –1. Emboss the stamp (normal embossing), 2.  Stamp a color then use clear embossing powder over it (in case you don’t have the color of embossing powder you want), and 3. Emboss, heat, then emboss another powder over the first, second, etc. I did all three in this card.  The small floral sprig was done by straight embossing.  I put white cardstock in my Misti Stamp positioner, then used anti-static powder on the paper.  I positioned my stamp then inked it with Altenew embossing ink.  I did this twice just to be sure I had good coverage.  Then I took it out of my Misti and poured Altenew Antique Gold embossing powder on it before heat setting.  Then took the coordinating die and cut it out.

The next stamp was the leaf.  I started first by prepping with the cardstock in the Misti and then adding anti-static powder.  First used the Antique Gold for the outline of the leaf.  The next layer of the leaf was more solid and since I didn’t have green embossing powder, I stamped it with Altenew Firefly ink. Then again used the anti-static powder and stamped it with embossing ink.  I applied clear embossing powder and heated with my Wagner heat tool.  The clear embossing powder nicely allows the green ink to show through but gives it a bit of a shine.  I chose not to use the third layering stamp of the leaf.

In the flower I planned to layer the embossing flowers over each other.  Whenever embossing powder is used it is always best to use anti-static powder all over the cardstock so the powder only sticks to the area you want.  Plus, when doing multiple layers, you need to use anti-static powder between each layer for best results.  I tried this flower three ways before really getting what I liked.  On the first try I embossed the gold outline, then on the next layer stamped pink ink, (I forgot the clear embossing powder layer), the continued to emboss the next layer with the Altenew Rose Gold embossing powder, then Altenew Caribbean Sky (Blue) embossing powder, then gold again for the stamen ends.  Not happy.  It looked sloppy.

Second try, I stamped the second layer first with Altenew Rose Quartz ink.  The following steps were taken beyond this:

  1. Embossed the same stamp as pink layer with clear embossing powder and heated it.
  2. Embossed the third layer of the stamp using Rose Gold powder then heating it.
  3. Embossed the base center stamp with Caribbean Sky Blue powder and heated it
  4. Embossed the Antique Gold outline stamp over all of it which helped to show more detail.

This was better but still not as good as I wanted.  Starting again I

  1. Prepped the cardstock in my Misti with anti-static powder
  2. Positioned the SECOND layer of this stamp and stamped it with the Altenew Rose Quartz ink
  3. Wiped my stamp clean
  4. Inked the same stamp with embossing ink, stamping it once
  5. Added Altenew Translucent Pearl embossing powder and heat set it
  6. The THIRD layer in the set I positioned over the already stamped second layer, matching points on the flower as best as I could.
  7. Used the anti-static powder, then embossing ink to stamp once
  8. Added Rose Gold embossing powder and heat set it
  9. Went to the base center stamp for the flower insides.  I positioned this again, lining up the points with the already stamped images.
  10. Used the anti-static powder on the paper and embossing ink on the stamp to stamp once.
  11. Added the Caribbean Sky Blue powder and heat set it

At this point it was looking better than any before it so I finished by using the anti-static powder on the paper, positioned the FIRST outline layer stamp, matching up inside and outside points the best I could.  Then stamped it once with the embossing ink, added the Antique Gold embossing powder and heat set it.  That layer brought the flower all together with some detail but with multiple layers of color.  Even the translucent pearl embossing shined in the light.  YAY, I could then use the coordinating die to cut it out.

Now I had my three components to add to a card base.  I created an oval cut from a piece of cardstock that matched the lightest pink in the flower.  I cut an oval on size larger out of Reflections Shimmer Gold cardstock…just gives a nice shimmer to the white paper…and glue it to the inside of the card front.  I then positioned my elements with the sprig and leaf glued flat and the flower popped up with some foam tape.  I chose the Altenew peace dye for my sentiment, cutting it from the oval I cut out the pink cardstock.  I decided I wanted it to stand out a bit more so I followed all the embossing steps and heat set the lettering with the Rose Gold powder.  When cool, I glued it in place with liquid glue.

There was one more element that this class taught.  Embossing powder will stick to any wet surface, not just the embossing ink.  So, I splattered some water on the top of the card and sprinkled the Rose Gold embossing powder on it then heat set it.  It came out looking as if there was splattered ink…just enough to add some interest.  To finish the whole card, I added some Studio Katia clear drops.

This was a big lesson.  Lots to take in.  Here are some takeaways:

  1.  Always use anti-static powder between layers
  2. Practice to get the desired results
  3. Don’t be afraid to use only some of the stamps as the embossing powder is thick –it’s hard for fine detail to show
  4. Don’t be afraid to use the layers in a different order than what is on the packaging.
  5. Only one stamping of embossing ink was enough for a fine layer of powder rather than thick with two stampings.

Then most of all:  ENJOY your results!!  May PEACE be with you all today!

In the Mood for Color

This class was great for giving you a “feel” for what your card can portray just by its color palette:  Blue – Calm, Tranquility; Red – Love, Passion, Energy; Green – Soothing, Growth, Natural; Yellow – Energy, Cheer, Optimism; Pink –Sensitive, Caring, Sweet; Orange – Health, Happiness, Courage.  And then the bonus was for Rainbow –Happy, Cheer, Optimism, Courage, Energy, Growth, etc….     It was interesting to see how instructor Stephanie Klauck used each color to help capture the mood of the card.  For my card, I chose PINK.  I needed a sympathy card.  It started as an experiment in no line water coloring which I had never done before.  It turned out to be a good example of never give up on a project until you are satisfied.

One of Altenew’s fortes is its beautiful floral stamps and the Statement Flowers stamp makes a huge statement of beauty.  I wanted to make it great and thought that the no line water coloring would do well, plus I had not yet used my 36-pan tray of Altenew watercolors.  I started by stamping the Statement Flowers stamp on Altenew watercolor paper with a very pale shade of ink just to give me a very slight idea of where the flower outlines were.  I tried both Cotton Candy and Coral Berry as pink colors on some scrap paper and decided to work with Coral Berry.  As I started to paint, I did not wet the paper first.  I started with more concentrated paint near the centers of the flowers and bases of the petals.  I tried to draw out the color toward the end of the petals to make them lighten as they went out farther.  I also put concentrated parts of paint near the edges to create the petal boarders.  It was not easy and I have a long way to go with a lot more practice before I work this medium well.  But there is something about watercolors that is very relaxing and enticing.  I just kept working with the colors as I went along to make it look halfway decent.  I only used Coral Berry on the flowers.  For the petals I used Bamboo and Forest Glades mixing them a bit to get some different shades of green. Again, I tried to vary the shades of green to mimic nature.

When I was done water coloring and letting it dry, in my eye, it was only okay.  I didn’t define the edges well enough to leave it as it was.  So, I went back to some of the lessons and watched again to see what I could do.  When I started, I put the stamp in my Misti Stamp Positioner and stamped lightly…the stamp was still in the Misti from that original stamping.  So, I used Versamark Embossing Ink and stamped the flower again, then applied Altenew Antique Gold embossing powder and heat set it.  The gold then defined the outline.


I created a mask by using the die for this stamp and cutting it from heavy cardstock.  I put the mask on top of the water colored flower and then took my brush and picked up more Coral Berry paint to splatter on the white background to give more interest.  I used the second largest Rounded Rectangle Infinity Die from Hero Arts to cut the colored flower to a 4”x 5.25” piece which I mounted on a 4.25” x 5.5” piece of pink cardstock (cut with the largest of the Hero Arts Rounded Rectangle Infinity Dies).

For the sentiment I went to Altenew’s Heartfelt Sentiments and chose the scripty “with Deepest Sympathy”.  I put some white cardstock into my Misti, used my anti-static bag, Versamark Ink, and again the Altenew Antique Gold embossing powder.  Once it was heat set, I added a strip of matching pink paper to the bottom and cut the left edge at an angle.  To give it a bit of dimension I used foam tape to pop up the sentiment and the card was completed.

I had my sympathy card…using Pink to create sensitivity, caring and sweetness.  I was amazed at the overall effect of the water coloring with the gold embossing…so far, I think this is one of my favorite cards.  Hope you like it too.

With A Twist

Again, AECP instructor Therese Calvird leads us in fun for the class called “With A Twist”.  She quietly tells us to leave our comfort zones and do something different than what we would previously – put unexpected colors together (just after I learned the color wheel 😊), cut your card differently, make background patterns with only part of a die, etc.  I tend to think out of the box anyway so this lesson was right up my alley.

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Color Your Day

In this Level 2 class of the AECP instructor Therese Calvird talks about the color wheel and how to find colors that will coordinate, compliment, and contrast to give your work a pleasing look.  This turned out to be a quick, fun card to make as I actually used papers that I had created months before.  So, I will start by telling you how these were made and then tell you about the card itself. 

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Beautiful Details

I’ve been looking for one of these AECP classes to help me create a flower similar to the Lily in our front yard this summer.  I was a bit scared and intimidated by this class as I watched Marika Rahtu draw in each of the six lessons she taught.  Her finished products were absolutely gorgeous and seemed to show so much dimension in a flat surface.  I had no idea what some colored pencils could do to inks. This was the perfect technique to try and create my lily.

from my front yard
Finished card

I started with the Altenew Build-A- Flower Stargazer stamp set.  This set has actually 6 stamps to build this flower but today I only used the two largest ones for both the flower and the leaves. Instead of stamping the multiple layers I used the pencils to add in the details.  For the flower I started with the whole flower being Distress ink – squeezed lemonade.  Then on the second layer of stamping, I went around the outside with Distress ink -festive berries, candied apple, and fired brick – going from the lightest to the deepest as I moved out on the flower. Each time I took a deeper red I stamped less and less of the lily but building the reds on top of each other.  I then came back in with Distress ink – mustard seed to add a little deeper yellow to the center.  When I laid out all the leaves and the flower on the card, I used liquid glue to place the leaves and some foam tape for the flower.  I also added some shimmer, very lightly, to the flower with my almost dry Tonic Aqua Shimmer pen.  I wanted some sparkle but didn’t want t o cover the details so this almost dry pen was just right.

Following Marika’s example of just letting the flower talk to you and draw in lines as feels right, I started in.  She always starts with the lightest color and works to the darker colors adding more and more detail.  I used Prismacolor Pencils, first the Canary Yellow PC916 to fill in some of the spots the ink didn’t fill with the stamps.  Then I used PC 924 Crimson Red and PC 925 Crimson Lake.  For the stamen of the flowers I used PC 947 Dark Omber.  When I did the leaves I again, only stamped the first two layers (Altenew Frayed Leaves and Forest Glades), then drew in lines with PC911 Olive Green and PC 988 Marine Green.  I was amazed as how much more depth the pencil lines give the flower and the leaves.  The details were definitely coming out. 

Notice the center left leaf has no pencil marks and how flat it looks compared to the others that have penciled details.

When all the leaves and the flower were done, I die cut them with the coordinating dies. Now, onto a layout. I tried several different colors behind the flower – reds, yellow, black, and then found two pieces of cardstock I had blended several months ago.  I had blended Distress ink – squeezed lemonade and festive berries…trying to get something like a peace rose.  This lent a nice soft tone to the background as well as made the flower stand out more.  This, a strip of deep red and DCWV glitter cardstock seemed to make the best combination for the card front.  I also had enough of the blended cardstock to cut out the ‘for you’ sentiment for the front.  I was pleased with the overall outcome and loved the softness the blended paper added to the card. I added some Honeybee gems to give the last finishing touch.

How did I do in recreating Mother Nature’s beauty?  The flowers are so stunning in real life it’s hard to duplicate.

Magical Marker Techniques

I’ve used the Altenew Artist Markers (alcohol markers) with great joy and have been pleased with how they work but I learned a lot about them in this Level 2 AECP class by Sara Naumann.  She is great to listen to and has lots of good FAQs to share and tips (pun intended) to using these markers.  I had so much fun with this I did two cards, two different techniques.

The first card I want to share is the second one I made but was quick and easy to do in one evening.  The hardest part was cutting the papers to the right sizes so they could be laid out appropriately.  The center horizontal white cardstock is 1” wide by 5.5” long…the length of an A2 card.  The wider strip of white cardstock is 3” x 5.5”.  The square in the center is 2.25”.  The square and the 1” band each have black cardstock behind them that gives a 1/16” boarder…just enough to make the white stand out.  For the large 3” wide white cardstock I simply put thin strips of black paper along each edge.  I also cut a 2 1/8” square of vellum.  So, having all my pieces already cut but not glued made the rest go fast.

There are three key parts of this lesson: One to use a brayer and another to use alcohol markers on vellum as well as embellishments.  To use the brayer, simply scribble marker onto your craft mat then spritz with alcohol and rub the brayer over the ink.  Then rub the ink on the brayer over the white cardstock…purposely leaving some white spots.  I used two marker colors on this:  B714 Volcano Lake and R926 Sapphire.  In combining them there were only hints of the Volcano Lake.  The outcome made me think sky.

My next item was to pick out a stamp to stamp on the vellum.  Following along the sky theme I chose a nice dragonfly from the Altenew Wild and Free stamp set to stamp with the Altenew crisp Jet-Black ink.  It was a new stamp so I rubbed my fingers across it several times to be sure I would get the manufacturing finish off, thus giving a cleaner, crisper, stamp.  Since vellum does not absorb ink like cardstock, I had to be sure the stamped image was completely dry before applying any of the colored ink.  I used my Wagner heat tool to dry it plus gave it a little extra time to be sure it was totally dry.  While waiting I put the card layout in my Misti stamping tool and stamped the sentiment from the Altenew Blooming Mandalas set.

Going back to the dragonfly I used the same two colors from braying and ‘pounced’ color into the wings by just making small dots with the markers inside the outlines.  The pouncing gives a different effect than just brushing and filling in color.  I also colored in the body with the black Artist Marker.   I set that aside to dry and began gluing my card together.  I adhered the black strips on the 3” wide cardstock (it was a little to wide to just glue next to so I glued it under the white to give a smaller black line).  Then glued that piece directly to the card front.  Then I carefully glued the 1” strip of white with my sentiment onto the black background and then onto the center of the card base.  I glued the white square on top of the black square and then to the card base.  Now it was time for the vellum.  I didn’t want the glue to show so I carefully put it behind the body only of the dragonfly and adhered it to the top of the square.  The vellum curled up a bit so I added just a tiny drop of liquid glue on the white cardstock…left it to dry about a minute before pushing the vellum onto it.  It was still tacky but did not make an obvious mark of glue on the vellum. The corner was no longer curling up.

To brighten the card a bit and to embellish it I took some chunky glitter crystals I had and spread them out across the card.  Their blue sapphire coloring matched the blue in the wings of the dragonfly.  Another tip from Sara is to use the markers to color embellishments to match when you don’t have them.  I took a creamy pearl and colored it black with the Artist marker as I didn’t have a black one.  This became the head of the dragonfly. And, thus, this was finished!  I loved the way the dragonfly looked as if it was flying across the sky.  And just as its wings sometimes sparkle, so did the finished card.

The second card was even simpler.  Again, scribbling some color onto a craft mat and spritzing it with alcohol, I was able to pick up ink with my Tim Holtz splatter brush and put down some fine splatters in blues (B204 Ocean Waves and B227 Desert night) and orange (Y817 Firebrick).  These were close to the colors of my high school colors so it was a fun remembrance.  My husband had some orange twine or kite string which worked perfectly to wrap around the popped-up center cardstock.  I striped the sides of the card base first before attaching the center piece with foam tape.  I cut the sentiment out of corresponding blue paper using the Bold Thanks Dies set after stamping ‘ever so much’ from the Apothocary Labels stamp set. Then embellished it with some colored gems by Honeybee and adding an orange plaid bow.  Simple but attractive.

I can see using these techniques over and over again with lots of fun variations.

Thanks for visiting today.  Please go to the right and click FOLLOW to continue with me on my journey in the Altenew Educators Certification Program.

Beyond Basic Backgrounds

Yes, I passed Level 1 and now onto Level 2 with a new badge to display!

For my first class here, I chose Beyond Basic Backgrounds.  There were 6 magnificent ways to do something out of the ordinary for the background of your card.  Instructor Lydia Evans showed how they vary and how beautiful each could be.  She made the comment on the sixth version how she doesn’t do this much but ought to do it more…so I took up this challenge.  For these backgrounds you color paper, die cut images, keep the outline, die cut again with white cardstock keeping all the little piece inserts of the background.  Then put them together as a jigsaw puzzle to create a background.

I played with a couple of dies before choosing the Altenew Hanging Garden Die Set.  First, because these were leaves, I colored paper using green shades using my Altenew Artist Markers starting with the lightest and working to the darkest:  Mountain Mist B802, Volcano Lake B714, Lagoon B815 and Emerald B635.  I wanted these to stand out so for the other colors I chose grays: Morning Frost WG01, Evening Gray WG03, Moon Rock WG05, and Lava Rock WG07.  I simply colored them in an Ombre patterns on the white card stock.  The larger die I cut out in the greens, and I cut 2 smaller dies from gray.  That would give me some play in how to arrange the leaves. 

With the colored outlines cut out I arranged them on a piece of 4.25” x 5.5” white cardstock to see how they would fit.  I cut the dies figuring I would then trim the cards when done but I ran into a couple of problems…the background would be too big for a frame of color around them – which was needed.   When I cut out the dies from the white cardstock, I figured I could just glue it on another piece of cardstock and all would be easy to piece together – not so.  First there was too much white space with the larger size and secondly, the white die cut needed shape to be put in place properly.  It was glued down but the leaves were not in the right spots for making the correct layout. 

Glad Press’n Seal to the rescue.  I trimmed another piece white cardstock to 3.75”x 5” to begin with, then cut the dies as I wanted them, being very careful when they were cut to not lose any of the pieces.  I tore off a sheet of Press’n Seal from the roll and placed it on the wrong side of the card. This held almost all the small pieces in place.    I then took the white die cut positive out and leaving only the small negative pieces.  I next could take my colored positives in place before gluing.  Now I knew everything would be lined up appropriately.  I folded over the Press’n Seal to capture the pieces on the front of the card as well, turned it upside down and took off the back.  This would allow me to glue everything in place as it was lined up.  I took another uncut piece of cardstock at 3.75”x5”, added glue and backed the front of the card.  At least 75% of the pieces were in the right spot and had a bit of liquid glue to hold them there.  I turned it over and sought to complete the puzzle, adding any little pieces that didn’t stick and also to be sure they were all glued down.  With my trusty tweezers this was all accomplished.

Filling in the negative spaces isn’t so bad but I also had to be particularly careful that all the edges and corners – and a spot between the two dies – were all lined up properly.  The colored die cuts hung out the edge of the card front which I decided would add dimension.  This showed especially well when I put foam tape behind to pop up the card front on the dark gray background.

To finish out the card I added a sentiment from Altenew Best Sentiments stamps, using Simon Says Stamps Intense Black ink, Versamark ink and Altenew clear embossing powder.  To set it off just a bit more from the card I added a small piece of velum and foam tape to pop up the sentiment.  The Altenew Sea Shore Enamel Dots set match the colors of the inks on the greens, finishing off the final details.

This was a great class.  Kinda picky in putting together but I really liked the final outcome.  Again, it stretches my limits which is always a good thing.  So, when you read this, please remember the sentiment and know that

YOU ARE THE BEST

AECP Challenge Level 1 Part 1

My level 1 challenge is to make 4-6 masculine cards and 4-6 feminine cards, following a theme and using at least 3 of the lessons from Level 1 classes. The lessons I chose were

  • Clean and Simple Boutique for the theme
  • For the Guys – aspects of this class were incorporating nature, whimsical, interactive and geometric shapes
  • Layering – even though the layering class described layering stamps I found that layering the 3D and Craft-A-Flowers used the same principles as when layering stamps.  Finding the match points of each layer is what makes these beautiful flowers striking.

I really like Altenew’s current large background stamps.  Many are geometric in nature which lent themselves to masculine or feminine cards.  For colors, I used purple shades for feminine and, of course, blue shades for masculine.  My general plan was to stamp backgrounds with these stamps, add strips of dark paper and glitter paper, a focal point and a sentiment.  I knew I wanted the layered flowers for the feminine cards but needed inspiration for masculine cards.

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