Architecturally Speaking

I’ve long been fascinated with geometric shapes. I suppose that fact–along with my love of numbers–is what led to my pursuing degrees in mathematics and economics. Beyond the intrinsic beauty of patterns and shapes that exist because of numbers, the use of those shapes and patterns in architecture, art and nature completely bowl me over. I love observing and studying the intricacy of architectural elements like columns, scrollwork, arches, porte-cochères, et al. I also have a great fondness for mosaics and tessellations.

The reason I share all of this is that the card project I’m sharing today was inspired by architecture and one geometric design in particular–the quatrefoil. The term quatrefoil literally means “four leaves”. In architecture and Christian symbolism, a quatrefoil is a symmetrical shape created by four overlapping circles of the same diameter. In more common terms, a quatrefoil is often referred to as a flower with four petals or a “four-leaf clover”. The shape was most prominent architecturally during the Gothic Revival and Renaissance. But, you can find examples in churches and cathedrals around the world today.

A while back, Stampin’ Up! introduced a stamp set, button set, and a corresponding set of three mini-punches called “Itty Bitty Shapes” (The punch set is item #118309 and sells for $16.95) . It so happened that one of the shapes (and a coordinating punch) were of the quatrefoil shape. Needless to say, I became obsessed with this punch and have explored numerous ways of creating with it. This may be the craziest in terms of sheer scope and the time involved–but I had to try it. My goal was to create a mosaic background pattern based on the quatrefoil shape. There are over 200 individual punched shapes used to create this card mat–and each one was applied and adhered by hand–one at a time. The papers used to punch out the quatrefoils were bits of scraps from Graphic 45. I didn’t want the pattern to be obvious, yet I hoped when finished it would convey a feeling of a field of flowers viewed from afar. I’m not sure I was completely successful–yet, I do love the results. I only wish you could see and feel this in person, as the photographs are truly a poor substitute.

The card mat was created by using a Zig Two-Way glue pen to mount the punched out shapes on a piece of 4″ x 5″ cardstock from Papertrey Ink in Simply Chartreuse. The mat is the obvious showpiece, so I tried to keep the embellishment to a minimum. An appropriate sentiment, sequin flower, piece of ribbon and hangtag complete the mood. I hope you like it…












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Mosaic Tile Postcard

This project is modern take on the traditional postcard. It is done with a chipboard base, stamped images and distressing techniques. Your finished project will look something like this:


front side

reverse side

To do this project, you will need the following tools and supplies:

–a piece of chipboard measuring 4.5″ x 6.5″ (I chose to use a piece from the DCWV Chipboard Mat Stack Brights (wine), as it is already finished on both sides. If you use bare chipboard, you can choose to cover it with decorative papers that will match your stamped image or solid cardstock)

–a piece of white textured cardstock measuring 4″ x 5″ (I chose Bazzill corduroy textured cardstock in Snow)

–a rubber or acrylic stamp of your choosing (I chose an Inkadinkado stamp from “Affair of the Heart” Collection)

–ink pad matching your base chipboard color (I chose Cat’s Eye Queue in Ruby)

–a Tim Holtz Distress Ink pad (I chose the color walnut stain)

–several pieces of Kleenex or tissue

–adhesive of your choice (I used the Xyron 510 and Zig pen)

–glitter (I used Doodlebug Sugar Coating)

–a sheet of coordinating solid color paper

The key technique for this postcard is a trick using your favorite scoring device. I love my Scor-Pal. The use of textured cardstock also adds a lot of character to the distressing of this piece.

You want to take a piece of white textured cardstock and trim it to 4″ x 5″. Using your Scor-Pal (or other device), you want to score your cardstock at 1″, 2″ and 3″ on the shorter side. Turn your cardstock 90 degrees and then score the 5″ side at the following intervals: 1″, 2″, 3″, 4″. What you will end up with is a grid pattern of one inch blocks which will create the illusion of mosaic tiles in your finished piece.

Before stamping your chosen image, make sure that you stamp the side on which your scored your textured cardstock. It creates a deeper furrow on your scores and breaks up your stamped image for the desired effect. I chose to stamp the image multiple times to fill the cardstock.

Allow your stamped images to dry completely. Then you want to take your Tim Holtz Distress Ink pad. The secret tool you want to use for application is two pieces of Kleenex (or other tissue) balled up for hand application. You want to dab your tissue on the ink pad and then hand apply with strokes going in the same direction on each application.

The amount of distressing you want to apply to your stamped images is a matter of personal preference. You obviously don’t want to use so much stain that it totally obscures your stamped images. However, the more ink you use the clearer your scored channels will be accentuated creating the desired mosaic effect.

Once you’re happy with the distressing and all of the inks have dried, you can now adhere your cardstock to the chipboard base. I found it easy to run the cardstock through my Xyron 510. I then used a white rub-on (the word “LOVE”) to accent the corner. Any further embellishment is up to your heart’s desire. But, rememeber, you want your mosaic to be the centerpiece of the postcard and draw the most eye-attention.

On the reverse side, I simply glued a piece of solid pink paper and added another Inkadinkado stamped image to the corner. This leaves you the bulk of the space to do your writing.

Keep experimenting with this mosaic stamping technique. You’ll be surprised what a versatile (and easy) technique it is. But, it will look like you spent a long time to achieve the effect. Afterall, who doesn’t love immediate gratification more than crafters?

Keep Crafting!