Today we’re making a non-traditional holiday card with an artsy feel, non-denominational and colorful.
We’ll start by using the Tim Holtz “Typeset” alphabet die to cut out the letters for the words “Holiday Cheer” from Neenah 80-pound white cardstock–& black, to use as shadow–using the Big Shot. I had to run parts through more than once to get all the letters needed for my sentiment. I also run through the Big Shot with cardstock using the Mama Elephant Confetti die, giving me some options to use as embellishments later. When the pieces are cut, placing them onto some Post-It notes makes them manageable–and keeps me from losing them!
I’ve chosen a group of colorful inks–these are Shadow Inks by Hero Arts in Red Royal, Cornflower, Orange Soda, Bubblegum, Soft Lilac, and Tide Pool–with which to ink up the letters using finger daubers. You could also use cosmetic sponges, if that’s what you have handy. I want to keep track of which ink I’ve used on which letter, because I have this fun stamp set, Abstract Art from My Favorite Things, that I want to use to make ink appear to be spreading from each letter of the greeting. I think that my crafty friends will appreciate the pun of “Spreading Holiday Cheer,” with the visual of spreading ink–even though they’ll probably groan (grin).
The card’s front panel will be a black, standard A2 size, or 4-1/4″ by 5-1/2″ onto which I’ll create a white panel that’s 1/8″ smaller on each side, leaving a border. I generally prefer to make a front panel and attach it to a base, rather than make a single-layer card, as it gives me more creative flexibility, and it hasn’t yet wound up costing me more in postage. I take a piece of Post It tape and put it across a card the same width as my card front, then fold it over and adhere it together with my ATG, making sure that a small piece of the tape is visible over the top edge of the cardstock. This will provide me with a panel to use to test my spacing for those small, die-cut letters.
Since the black letters that I’ve cut out will be the shadow, or background letters, I’ll use them to test the spacing. This also gives me an opportunity to clean up any less-than-perfect areas, or “fuzzies,” on the die cuts. I’ll use a QuickStik to place the letters partially onto the tape, so that I can remove them, all lined up, later.
For the moment, I’ll set those aside and prepare another strip of Post It tape on a piece of scrap. By, the way, I’m only using orange paper for the scrap because it’s easy to see on camera, and I’m trying to use it up from my stash. On this strip, we’ll be using the Hero Arts Shadow inks we selected earlier to color the white versions of our die-cut letters, using finger daubers to avoid fraying the edges of the paper. If you’re a hands-on sort of crafter, you could just pick up each letter and push it into the ink pad, then place it onto scrap paper to dry, but I’ve really been wanting to use these daubers. I love new toys–I mean, tools.
Looks like gibberish, doesn’t it? Or, am I wishing you a happy “Hyoclhie, dear”? There’s a method to it, though; I’ve got 6 colors of ink and 12 letters, so, alternating them, I’ve placed the 2 letters that will have the same color of ink next to each other to save some time. We’ll turn it back into English after they dry, when we arrange them on the card.
Time to apply the inked letters onto their black paper shadows. Scotch Quick-Dry Adhesive, along with a good pair of tweezers, help make this close work come together. Since these are tiny items, use only the smallest dots of glue on the letters.
Our layered letters have had time to dry. I move the letters to sight-line for reference, then choose a paint-smear style stamp from the MFT Abstract Art set and use the MISTI to stamp it in the same color order as the letters. Because I want a straight line on which my letters will sit, and the smear is longer than I want, I cut the stamp with my Tim Holtz scissors. No need to worry; it will piece together perfectly for future uses. And, look at this stamp–wouldn’t it work beautifully as a candle, too?
Well, darn; even using the MISTI, I’ve managed to stamp imperfectly. Time to break out my secret weapon duo–Copic Opaque White and an Eyelash Applicator brush. Nobody will be the wiser.
I’ve also spread some of the star and sequin shapes cut from the white cardstock onto some of the Post It tape so that we can ink them with our chosen colors when we continue our stamping.
Now I’ll work on the rest of the sentiment, the word “spreading,” which I’ll form using Lawn Fawn’s Milo’s ABCs stamp set. There are 2 ways to potentially approach this–continue the pun by “spreading” the word “spreading” itself across the width of the sentiment that will be below it, or minimize it, and let the colors and the artistic stamp set take center stage. At first, I don’t think I can decide without seeing how each will look; then, I realize that having the word elongated across that amount of space will likely render it illegible. That kind of design decision is easy! Versafine Tuxedo Black ink will echo the black paper behind the die-cut letters, while giving a crisp image for such detailed stamps.
Some people can stamp sentiments nicely one letter at a time. I can’t, even if I draw a line. The best way I’ve found to stamp with tiny letters like these is to use a lined clear block that has etched lines on it and a repositionable adhesive such as you’d use with your un-mounted stamps (I use Aleen’s Tack It Over & Over), and work from the opposite direction from the hand with which you write. Otherwise, you’ll be likely to keep bumping the stamps you’ve just lined up, and you’ll be frustrated before you’re half finished. As you apply any letter that has a “wrong way,” turn over your block and make sure that the letters read correctly. It’s easy to place a “D” facing the wrong direction, for example, especially if you’re crafting late at night or in a hurry. And, please, when you’re finished, wipe off the ink over your desk–those small stamps can go missing in the swipe of a wipe! And, of course, it will be one of those imperative vowels, won’t it?
Let’s place our die-cut letters over our ink streaks. Again, we’ll use Scotch Quick-Dry and some tweezers, and place each letter over its corresponding location. You might notice that I keep the lid of my Quick-Dry upside down on my work surface. That allows me to place the glue right into the lid, capping it while I work, without having to stop and use 2 hands, and also serves to hold it in conveniently nearby. As with layering the letters, tiny dabs of glue and tweezers are key. To pick up the tiny dot over the letter “i” I switch from tweezers to a craft knife. The one I like is the Fiskars fingertip model–I’ve only recently tried it, and I’m absolutely a convert! The design worked to provide me a level surface on which to place my die-cut sentiment, as I’d hoped, yay!
I’m thinking this card is going to need some glitz, but I don’t want to go with glitter; there’ll be plenty of that on future cards, and I have a gentleman in mind to receive this one. So, mirror gold cardstock for the flash seems a better choice. I cut a slice to use as an embellishment strip, and one to use as a banner behind the word “spreading.” I choose glue dots as the adhesive for the gold, since any liquid glue that got on it would leave a visible smudge. And, this desktop glue dots dispenser is so much easier than unrolling them from the box!
Here’s how I make banner ends; I turn the paper over and mark where I want the tails to end and how deep I want them to be. Then, I use a ruler to mark a line down the middle and down, indicating where to cut. Many people just eyeball this, but when I try it, it’s like trying to freehand cut a circle–it just gets smaller, and smaller, and smaller! After cutting the first one, I take the cut piece and use it as a template for the other end, thereby ensuring that they are exactly equal. A little over-the-top, maybe. But seeing one side off just a teensy bit would bother me more than a teensy bit!
Placing the panel over the black cardstock panel, it still seems to need something. I enlist the confetti die cuts we inked earlier, along with some flat gold star sequins from Pretty Pink Posh. Scattering them randomly around the edge where they’ll peak out beneath the white panel gives just the touch of festivity I wanted. I deliberately leave some hanging off the edge, to be trimmed later, to give a feeling of expansiveness and continuity. Once I have an arrangement that I like–and yes, I used every one of those confetti pieces–I’ll coat them with Glossy Accents. This will give them shine and keep me from having to disturb the arrangement I’ve already made.
Once the Glossy Accents have dried, I flip the panel to trim off any over-hanging pieces, adhere the two panels together, then adhere them to a card base, and that finishes the card for today. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you had fun.