Thursday, January 23

Candy Shoppe Cards

Welcome to our first Encore Week, one of the new additions to the blog this year.
At the end of each month, we'll be sharing new ideas and techniques using older images from our collection. We hope to inspire you to do the same with items you may have in your stash. To get us started, we're revisiting one of my old favourites - Candy Shoppe.

Judy VanZandt has created three fabulous pocket cards, decorated with hand-coloured images from the Candy Shoppe set, and finished with embellished tags. These little creations are perfect for holding money, vouchers or gift cards and will fit nicely in an envelope for posting.

Judy has coloured each of the images from the Candy Shoppe set, fussy cut around them with a pair of small, sharp scissors, and then popped them up with some foam tape for a bit of extra dimension. Using this technique creates actual shadows between the image and the background, which helps to ground the picture on the project.

Judy has kindly shared a colouring guide for those who wish to recreate her project.


Tuesday, January 21


You might remember this little lady from a couple of days ago when I was stash diving for Flower Soft. I added her to the front of a card with a couple of pieces of patterned paper and a sentiment flag, then completed the look with some hand drawn borders.

Sunday, January 19

Stash Diving

I'm not going to name names, but I happen to know a good many folks who have a huge stash of mediums (not to mention all the other paper craft goodies) that are gathering dust in craft rooms and studio corners all around the globe. It seems we're all guilty of the same thing! I thought it was about time to dive into my own stash of products to rediscover some old favourites, and today it's Flower Soft!

I started by colouring the bonus image from the Little Donkey set with alcohol markers. Since I wanted to make an entire scene, I also added some lush grass and a beautiful blue sky.

Once the colouring was complete, I thought about where I wanted to add my Flower Soft. If I were ever called upon to decorate a donkey, which seems highly unlikely, I would add wreaths of flowers around her head and each of her feet. Therefore, that's where I concentrated my Flower Soft efforts.

Add lots of good glue in the area you want to decorate and then cover it with lots of Flower Soft. I used my finger to press as much of the medium as I could into the glue then let it sit to dry for an hour or so.

I tipped the excess Flower Soft back into the pot for reuse and gave the image a brush over to remove any loose fibres. The result is a fabulous, decorated donkey ready to add to a card!


Friday, January 17

Carla's Cherry Blossoms

We're back in Carla's studio today to look at the beautiful cards she created using the new Cherry Blossom set, coloured with pencils. Check out the wonderful texture in each of the petals she coloured. This look is achieved by flicking the pencil tip, which gives a variation in the pressure placed on the pencil and therefore the amount of pigment that is laid down on the paper. It takes practise, but as you can see, it's worth the effort.

For her next card, Carla has added some pretty blue papers and embellishments to help bring out the blue background added around the image. Coordinating colours in this way helps to keep the design cohesive.

This final card has a kraft base, which means Carla needed to add more lighter pigments than you would if the background paper were white. Softer pencils, usually artist grade, will lay down a lot more colour with less pressure because they have oils and waxes mixed with the pigment.

Wednesday, January 15

Everything Papercraft - Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is a guideline many visual artists consider when composing designs for paintings and drawings or when framing a photograph or other visual art piece. It provides a basic framework for the placement of focal points to help increase drama or interest. Think of a tic-tac-toe board centered over your artwork so that it splits the piece in three horizontally and vertically. The best location for your focal image, according to the rule of thirds, is any of the four points where the lines intersect.

Another good rule of thumb is to keep the horizon of a photo or painting at either the one third or two thirds position rather than in the centre of your work. Similarly, large vertical objects can be placed at the one or two thirds point for a more visually appealing effect.

As card artists, we can also make use of the rule of thirds in our card and paper craft designs. Think of how and where to place focal images, embellishments and different patterned papers. But always keep in mind that rules are meant to be broken, and ultimately, the best location is the one that pleases the artist.

Tuesday, January 14

Hot Tip Tuesday

Looking for a neat, professional looking finish to your image panels?
Here's a quick tip to save you time and effort...

Use a cutting die as a stencil for adding great looking edges around your square and rectangular panels. Lay your panel right side down along the cutting edge of the die, keeping the edge of the card stock flush inside the corner of the die. Use a stylus to press the card stock into the groove created by the cutting die against your desk surface. Turn the card stock and repeat for each corner.

Sunday, January 12

White Embossing

You don't always need to spend lots of time colouring stamped images to get a great looking card.  There are many different techniques we can use with our stamps that don't involve lots of tricky blending, colour selection, shading and highlighting and today I want to share one of my favourites with you. This technique uses heat embossing and a white pencil for a lovely soft look that resembles vellum. For that extra wow factor, I've used a base of shimmery green card that glimmers when the light hits it at certain angles.

I began by heat embossing onto the green card stock with white embossing powder. Don't forget to use an anti-static bag on your card stock before you begin. This will help prevent stray embossing powder from clinging in places you don't want it to be.

Next, I used a white pencil to highlight the different areas of the image. To get the look I wanted, I applied more pressure in the higher areas, such as the tips of the petals, and then gently and consistently released the pressure until the pencil faded away to nothing. You can see the transition on the petal below.

For extra interest, I heat embossed some of the individual flowers and a sentiment from the set onto a piece of vellum-like plastic that I have in my stash. You could do the same with a sheet of vellum, but just take care not to bring the heat gun too close or hold it in one spot for too long.

I used the coordinating dies to cut around the sentiment and individual flowers.

I wanted to add a little more depth to the design so I decided to adhere the additional flowers with foam tape. As the plastic is transparent, I took care to add little pieces of foam tape behind areas that had a lot of embossing, mostly the centres of each flower. The embossing camouflages the foam tape so it's not too noticeable from the front. 

The sentiment was adhered with both foam tape, in the very centre, and glue on either end to give it a kind of banner look. As the sentiment is heavy on embossing, there was no problem disguising the piece of foam tape.

Stamps and Dies

Friday, January 10

Tutorial - Fold Over Box Card

If you've got a special occasion coming up - perhaps a significant birthday, a big party, or you want to express a hearty thank you - then this card might be the perfect project for you. It has an awesome built in gift box that is relatively easy to make and can be decorated to suit any number of different occasions. I've created my card with a see-through top, but you can leave yours solid to hide whatever goodies you want to place inside.

1. You will need one piece of card stock measuring 10" x 10", two pieces of card stock measuring 6" x 9" and an assortment of coordinating patterned papers and embellishments for decorating.

2. Place one of the 6" x 9" pieces of card stock horizontally on your score board and score at 3". Repeat with the second piece of 6" x 9" card stock. Fold along each score line.

3. Overlap the two 3" x 6" sections of card stock and glue in place to form the card base. It doesn't really matter which side you place on top as you'll be covering the outside with patterned paper.

4. I'm making a window in the front of my card, but if you'd prefer to leave it solid then you will now need to decorate the front with a piece of patterned paper and whatever embellishments you desire.

I have created a button closure for my card, but if you want a ribbon tie closure you will need to secure the two ends of ribbon between the card base and the patterned paper, both front and back.

5. I have coloured and cut out the three goldfish from the Fantail Goldfish set and enclosed them in a laminated panel (see my post from a couple of days ago). I'm going to use this as a "window" in the front of my card.

6. To create the window, I've cut away a 4" x 4" panel from the centre front of my card. I've also cut a 41/4" x 41/4" panel from the front of my patterned paper to create a pretty frame.

7. The laminated goldfish are sandwiched between the patterned paper and the card base and secured in place with double sided tape and glue.

8. Add patterned paper to the inside of the card, leaving a small border if desired.

9. Add patterned paper to the outside spine of the card. (If you're adding a ribbon closure, you'll have a piece of ribbon secured on the back of the card sandwiched between the card base and another piece of patterned paper.)

10. I have added two eyelets to either side of my card base for the button and twine closure. Again, if you prefer to have a ribbon closure you will need to secure a length of ribbon to either side of the card base.

11. To attach the button, thread a length of twine through both eyelets and then through the button. Tie knots in the twine to secure it in place, then trim the excess. Your button should hang about 11/2" from the card front. Set your card base aside.

12. To make the box, place the 10" x 10" piece of card stock on your score board and score at 3" on all four sides. Fold along the score lines.

13. With a craft knife and ruler, form tabs in each of the four corners by cutting along the fold lines until you reach the intersecting fold. See the photos below.

14. Trim narrow triangles from the inside of each tab as shown in the photos below. Trim about 1" from the length of each tab to help reduce bulk and make the box sides sit nicely. You don't need to be too precise with this step as you'll be covering the box with patterned paper.

15. Secure the tabs to the inside of the box using strong glue or double sided tape. Allow to dry, then decorate the inside and outside of the box with pieces of patterned paper. Remember that the base of the box will measure 4" x 4", while the sides will measure 4" long x 3" high.

16. Time to attach the box to the card. Apply glue to the bottom of the box and centre it over the inside of your card. While the glue is wet, ensure that the box is sitting in the middle and make any adjustments as required. Allow the glue to dry completely.

17. To finish the button closure, cut another length of twine and thread it through the two eyelets on the bottom of the card as shown in the picture below.

18. Bring the two ends of the twine together and tie them in a knot. The idea is to create a "button hole" with the twine, so as you tighten the knot be sure that it sits below the level of the button.

19. Tie a second knot above the first, this time adjusting the knot to sit above the level of the button, forming a loop that will act as a "button hole". Trim all the excess twine.

20. Push the button through the loop to secure the box. Add any additional embellishments you desire and your Fold Over Box card is complete!

Photographs and written instructions are copyright Beccy Muir.
All rights reserved.

Fantail Goldfish digital stamps