Card Spotlight: Boo!

There’s something in the air. Fall, thankfully, approaches…and so do the ghosts and goblins. This weekend, I was inspired by pumpkins.

This quick and fun card is made from a 4 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ piece of DCWV textured chipboard in a yellow-orange color. (If you haven’t tried working with DCWV versatile chipboard stacks, I highly recommend them.) The jack-o’-lantern is cut from a piece of Bazzill corduroy texture white cardstock. The die-cut is a Cricut cut from the “Stretch Your Imagination” cartridge cut at 4″ on my Expression. The backing paper for the reverse side of the card is from the DCWV Old World paper stack.

I used Gamsol and Prismacolor pencils to handcolor the jack-o’-lantern. I used a black Sharpie pen to outline the image after coloring. The “Boo” greeting is done with black Making Memories alphabet rub-ons.

On the reverse side, I used a 4 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ piece of DCWV decorative paper adhered with my ATG 714. The decorative journaling sheet is by K & Co.


Artist Trading Cards (ATCs)

I’m by no means an expert on the whole phenomenon of Artist Trading Cards or ATCs, as they are often referred to in shorthand. However, it is a form of paper crafting that does appeal immensely to me. I think the intriguing thing about ATCs is tied to the size of the final project. The only die-hard rule of ATCs is that finished size of your project must be 2.5″ x 3.5″ (64mm x 89mm). Other than that, the design and materials to be used are as endless as your imagination. While, it is obviously a temptation to go crazy with the dimensionality, the key to a good ATC design is that it be “portable art”, that is a trading card that is easy to store or take with you.

You can explore stamping, textures, paints, inks, sketching, stitching, papers, found objects, and so many other techniques with ATCs. ATCs can be modern or vintage, bold or subtle, themed or free-form. I’ve used my own sketched images, pieced collages, Cricut die-cuts, and various objets d’ art in my own ATC collection. Of course, much of the fun in ATCs is trading with other budding artists and sharing your inspirations/works.

I recently joined a “Your Choice” ATC Swap through the Cricut Message Boards. The three (3) themes I selected to participate in were: “Love”, “Asian”, and “Black & White”. Here is a peek at the designs I came up with.

For the Love theme, my design is called “Without End”. It combines a Marah Johnson image stamped with Tsukineko Brilliance Rocket Red Glare and an accent paper from DCWV Rock Star paper stack. The edges are inked with StazOn Jet Black ink and the cards are accented with Sakura Gelly Roll Metallic pens.

The Asian theme is called “Asian Lamp”. The base paper is from DCWV Far East collection. The card edges were inked with a crimson pigment. I used some kanji characters and a layered die-cuts of an oriental paper lantern as focal points. Kanji are originally Chinese characters that are used in the modern Japanese logographic writing system. Each card in the set, showcases a different lamp and kanji character combination.

The final set was an interesting challenge. Black and white is a restraint in that it means there is a lack of color. I decided the images should be stark and visually interesting. The card design is called “Life”. The wording is done with a ransom styled alphabet stamped with StazOn Jet Black ink. The fingerprint (which is my own thumbprint) is also inked with StazOn. I used Sakura Glaze Pen in Black for the accents. The “messy” smudges were intentional–as Life is never without its messes. The thumbprint represents the “touch” of someone in your life.

I urge you to try your hand at ATCs. All you need is a stiff cardstock or chipboard base, your imagination and whatever embellishments strike your fancy. You can spend minutes–or hours on your designs. The finished projects look wonderful in frames, in cards, stored on a rolodex turnstile or cataloged in baseball card trading sleeves. Consider them mini-art projects for the soul.

Create–and keep crafting!

Card Spotlight: Stamping

For this card project, I wanted to use a couple of new stamp sets I recently acquired. It’s a simple card with a bit of bling.

I used an A2 sized piece of smooth white DCWV cardstock. The images and sentiment are stamped using Tsukineko VersaMagic Chalk Pigment Ink in Jumbo Java. The crown stamp is from an Autumn Leaves clear acrylic set called “Gypsy Style” by artist Rhonna Farrar. The “Live With Intention” sentiment is from a limited edition Hampton Arts clear acrylic set entitled “Intention” by artist Marah Johnson. The border stamp I used is from Sassafras Lass and it was stamped with Tsukineko Brilliance Ink in Coffee Bean.

For a bit of bling and visual interest, I used a Sakura Quickie Glue Pen and some Doodlebug Sugar Coating in bronze to highlight a portion of the swirl below the crown. I also used a Sakura Gelly Roll Glitter Pen in Clear to highlight the crown.

As a final touch, I used the same border stamp to stamp the inside of the card.

This was a quick and easy card project that took on a bit more sophistication with the addition of the glitter touches and double border stamping. Don’t forget to use your stamps on the insides of your cards–as well as the outsides.

Create–and keep crafting!

Card Spotlight: Bear Hug

I wanted to use a gatefold design for a card–but I wanted to do something “different”. My difference turned out to be adding an embroidered applique to the gatefold design.

For this project, the materials list is:

–Bazzill textured cardstock (one 12″ x 12″ sheet in Burnt Orange)
–embroidered applique
–decorative paper
–white cardstock
–Tsukineko Dew Drop Ink in Pearlescent Orchid
–Tsukineko VersaMagic Chalk Ink in Jumbo Java
–Colorbox Queue Ink in Black

For the gatefold card, I trimmed a piece of 12″ x 12″ Bazzill cardstock down to a 6″ x 8″ piece.

Using my Scor-Pal, I scored the cardstock at 2″ and 6″ to create the two flaps that will make up the gatefold card.

I made the teddy bear embroidery applique using my Brother E-100 Applique Station. After the bear was complete, I used an iron-on adhesive backing so that the threads would not unravel.

As the bear is going to be the focal point of the card–as well as serving as the opening/closing tab, I decided to use a piece of the same colored cardstock to make a backing mat for the applique. This serves two purposes: (1) It keeps any of the unsightly backing threads and stitches from being exposed; and (2) It adds another layer of stiffness and durability to the card closure. I simply traced around the embroidered applique shape with a pencil to create a mat backing. Then that outline is cut out with a pair of scissors. I then ran the applique through my Xyron 510 to apply a layer of adhesive to the back and adhered it to cardstock mat.

I used a set of alphabet stamps called “Ransom” to stamp the greeting on the front of my cardface. I used an overstamping technique. First, taking a Tsukineko Dew Drop ink in Pearlescent Orchid and stamping the greeting with the gatefolds held closed. Then I went back in with a slight off-set on the same stamp block and used some Colorbox black ink to re-stamp my greeting. I used my ATG714 to apply adhesive to half of the back of the embroidered applique cardstock backing and adhered it to the left side of the gatefold centering the bear at the center line of where the two gatefolds meet.

To complete the inner card, I used a piece of decorative paper from the DCWV Once Upon A Time Mat Stack, trimmed slightly smaller than the 4″ x 6″ card middle. I inked the edges of the paper with some Tsukineko VersaMagic Chalk Ink in Jumbo Java. Then I took a piece of smooth white cardstock and inked the edges with the same chalk ink. I used my ATG714 to adhere both papers to my card base.

I really like the combination of an embroidered element with cardmaking. It adds visual and textural interest. Don’t be afraid to explore adding other craft elements (e.g., embroidery, needlepoint, tatting, mosaics, woodcrafts, etc.) to your cards.

Create–and keep crafting!

Card Spotlight: Vintage Surfboard Inspiration

For this card project, I was inspired by a design pattern from a vintage surfboard. It combines the techniques of masking (which we explored in an earlier project) and the Gamsol colored pencil technique. Again, we play with color and texture to create visual and tactile appeal.

This project uses the following materials:

–white cardstock
–Nick Bantock Vermillion Lacquer
–Sakura Glaze Pen in Black
–Heidi Swapp hibiscus flower mask
–Prismacolor pencils
–Wooden stick cotton swab applicators

For the base of this card, I chose a piece of smooth Bazzill white cardstock cut to an A2 size. I used a piece of a Heidi Swapp mask in the shape of a hibiscus flower and leaves. I chose to use a vermillion lacquer from the Nick Bantock Collection by Ranger. For those unfamiliar with this line, the Nick Bantock lacquers are brilliant dye based, acid-free, fade resistant and embossable ink. This was my first time experimenting with them and I was impressed with strong color hues.

After you’ve picked your masking shape, figure out your placement on the card front.

Once your mask is firmly engaged, make sure your work surface is covered with a sheet of scrap paper to prevent ink seepage. Then begin the process of dabbing your ink pad against the card front and go for maximum saturation. The coverage doesn’t have to be complete because some bleed-through from the white surface adds an element of visual interest. To make sure that your color gets into the nooks and crannies of your mask, you can dab a Kleenex (or other tissue/applicator) on your ink pad and rub-on color into those cut-out areas. You can use the same Kleenex to rub down the back of your card to give it a lighter depth of color than the card front.

Allow your ink to set for a couple of minutes before removing your mask and exposing the white surface we will use the Gamsol technique on.

Prior to beginning the coloring of the image, I used a Sakura Glaze pen in black to outline the image to be colored. Not only does this define your coloring area, it creates a tactile border around your image (which is not affected by the Gamsol).

For coloring the hibiscus flower, I chose to use a layer of two colors. Closest to the black edging of the Glaze pen I used a thin layer of Prismacolor PC928 Blush Pink. Inside of the pink, I used a thicker layer of PC1002 Yellowed Orange.

Using the Gamsol and a 6″ wooden stick cotton swab applicator, I blended the two pencil colors to provide a differential shading on the petals of the hibiscus flower. The stamen of the hibiscus were colored in using the black Sakura Glaze pen. I freehanded a few more smaller stamen and pistles to flesh out the outgrowth. For the leaves and stalk of the flower, I used a combination of PC909 Grass Green and PC910 True Green Prismacolor pencils.

For a final touch–and to emphasize the vintage look I was going for–I used two file boards from my Basic Grey tool set to distress some of the card surface and color. I had a bit of the vermillion lacquer smear into part of the leaves and one of the petals during the distressing. It was not intentional, but I think it adds to the vintage feel I was striving for.

Here are a couple of closer looks at the finished design:

Look for inspiration for your card and layout designs from the everyday world around you. You don’t have to choose a large element to be inspired by–a small piece of a design can be interpolated into a beautiful layout. Don’t be afraid to experiment with color. There is a time and place for muted colors. But, don’t shy away from exploring with bright, vivid, loud color. The world needs more color!

Create–and keep crafting!