Today’s card will give the impression of stained glass.
Our card panel is 4″x 5-1/4″ Neenah Solar White, which will allow me to mount it onto a card base later with an allowance for an edge decoration. I cut two of them for each card. Then, I use my grid mat to help me to center a round circle die with a 2-1/4″ interior diameter about a quarter of an inch below the top of the panel, attach the die to the cardstock with micro-pore tape, attach the two white cardstock panels together with another piece of micro-pore tape, and run it through my Big Shot. Even if your die cutting machine doesn’t go through both pieces of cardstock, you’ll at least have an impression that will give you perfect alignment. This will form the arched portion of our stained glass window, and the second panel that will cover our glue work.
Once this is cut, you’ll use a pencil to lightly mark 4″ from the top of the circle down towards the bottom of the page; this will be the bottom of the rectangular panel of your window. Draw a horizontal line across your paper at that point. Now, cut a vertical slice along each side of the circle from the widest point of the circle down to the drawn line, using either a slide-type paper trimmer or a metal-edged ruler–I really like the well-designed one from Tim Holtz– and a sharp craft knife (I use the Fiskars fingertip model). Finally, cut along the drawn line at the bottom to complete cutting the shape of the window. If you haven’t kept your two panels together, use this cut as a template to copy the cut again on the second piece onto which you’d cut a circle. If you’re making two of these cards, as I am, separate the two panels of each portion and mark one set in pencil so that you know which backing goes with which front. Choose the panel that you like best to be the front of each of the two cards, and set the backing portions aside for now.
The next item to be die cut is the Die-namics Abstract Cover-Up steel die from My Favorite Things. Like all of their “Cover-Up” series dies, it’s the perfect size for a standard A2-size card; however, since it won’t be a stand-alone focal point of this card, we’ll be able to get not one, but actually three cards from this cutting. Don’t you love being able to stretch your supplies and your card-making time? I know that I do! Cut the die from black paper. Carefully place a sheet of Glad Press’N Seal, a slightly sticky wrap that was originally designed for kitchen use, over the front of the die so that you retain all of the pieces in their original positions. Remove the die, then use a stylus to lift the framework piece away from the interior pieces.
I used the interior pieces for a masculine card by using the framework as a template and gluing the pieces onto piece of designer paper from Tim Holtz’s Paper Stash, Lost and Found paper pad using Scotch Quick-Dry. I had precut the designer paper to 4-1/4″x5-1/2″ using the largest of the Large Stitched Rectangle Stackables dies from Lawn Fawn, and inked the edges with Old Paper Distress Ink. When placing these, you want to be sure to lift the framework from time to time as you go to ensure that it isn’t being glued down along with the interior pieces. I then used a gold pen to color a piece of cardstock from which we’ll die-cut a sentiment using the Hero Arts Stamp & Cut “Thanks” die, as well as a few embellishments using the Mama Elephant Confetti die, which I place on a band of black so that they don’t become lost on the card. Apply it to a card base, and our masculine card is ready to use.
The framework piece of the Abstract Cover-Up will act as the solder-work of the stained glass. By turning it to a landscape orientation, while our card panel is portrait, we can get two windows from it, each 4″ tall; so, fold the framework in half in the landscape mode, pinch it to obtain a crease, then cut it into two portions. Fit these onto the back of your window panel. You’ll get a better appearance using tiny drops of a matte adhesive, like Ranger Multi-Medium Matte.
I decided that I’d prefer some of the “stained glass” segments to be smaller, based on the size of the card, so I cut some additional strips of black cardstock to the same width as the divider lines of the die and experiment with their placement. I feel that this is the fun of crafting, and how you get the most from your supplies–by asking yourself, “What else can I do with this? How could I change it?” As an example, you’d get an entirely different look for this card by dabbing bottled alcohol inks onto acrylic, then piecing the panels in. Go a little wild with one idea, and get many vastly different cards from a sitting; you just might amaze yourself!
I join the two pieces to some clean pieces of clear acrylic sheet, also known as crafting plastic, or acetate. Many crafters keep the clear, plastic packing from product purchases to have on hand for project such as this. For now, attach the framework to the acrylic from behind at the top of the circle using micro-pore tape; this will allow you to see the effect of your coloring while still allowing you to remove it and clean it off should you make an error or change your mind.
To color your stained glass, you can use any alcohol-based marker, including Copics, Sharpies, Pro Markers, Spectrum Noirs, or the like. You’ll want to test the colors on a scrap of the acrylic material; I was very surprised by the difference between how a Copic R46, which I had thought would be a perfect Christmas red based on how it colors on paper, appeared when applied to clear acetate. It was quite pink! Lovely, but not at all what I had in mind. If you have limited quantities of acetate, you can test a few colors, note your choices, then clean the sheet off with some alcohol and use it again. My first thought had been that one could test on an acrylic stamping block; however, perhaps because of the thickness, I found the impression given to be less than accurate compared to testing on the actual material to be used, even if placed over white paper. Color will be applied to the back of the acetate.
If you want a vibrant rather than a muted look, you’ll also want to choose more saturated colors–for Copic users, that means markers with the 2nd number at the higher end of the scale. I’ll show one vibrant and one muted version, so that you can see the difference and choose for yourself before you start. Whatever your preference, I’ve found that 2nd number, or saturation level indicator figures, of Copics of three or lower barely show up when used on acrylic, so they aren’t really worth the use of ink for this application. Using the wide tip of the marker will reduce streaking.
As I mentioned, I’ll be using vibrant colors for one version, so those will be Copic markers B29, R39, G29, and Y38. For the more subdued card, I’ll use B16, R46, G16 and Y17. I think that a really pretty card could be made using a monochromatic palette, as well, since I’ve seen some stunning pieces of stained glass made that way.
In choosing your color placement, you can just wing it, if that’s what you enjoy, or you can incorporate a few design principles, such as these:
- Try to have an odd number of instances of each color, as we humans have a tendency to want to mentally count and pair off even-numbered items, and so we find odd numbers more visually soothing.
- For those of us in a Western culture, having one of your strongest/darkest colors at the bottom right corner “feels” correct to most viewers, as that falls into place with how we’re taught to read.
- If you’ll be including a sentiment or other additional element, consider what color it will be and whether that color needs to be included in your thinking of how to balance your number of color occurrences.
Once you’re happy with your coloring and the ink is dry–which doesn’t take long for alcohol inks–you can remove the micro-pore tape and adhere the acrylic to the back of the panel with some multi medium matte. Cover the back of the panel with the backing panel you’d cut out and set aside and glue it over the “workings” of the reverse of your card panel for a polished look. You may notice that you didn’t get a perfectly smooth look from your alcohol markers–that’s actually ideal for this project! Stained glass, especially older, leaded glass, is full of ripples and variations within any given segment. It’s part of its intrinsic beauty, and you’ve just captured it nearly effortlessly.
I want the sentiment to keep with the clean, classic lines we’ve been using so far, but I also want to add something eye catching. I decide to make some glitter paper using Versamark embossing ink and Wow Metallic Gold Sparkle Embossing Glitter. From that, I’ll use the Tim Holtz “Typeset” alphabet die to cut out the word “believe” in all lower case letters, which will be spaced out evenly beneath the window. Once the sentiment is applied, the card front need only be added to a card base; but, of course, we didn’t go to all this trouble making a “window” and making the back look nice only to glue it down onto a card base; we want the recipient to enjoy the window effect. So, we’ll take a standard A2 card base, side folding, and cut a 2-1/4″ wide by 4″ long window into the front, starting 1/2″ from the top, which will allow our card front to be transparent, and to cast colors onto the card’s interior when light hits it.
Align the stained glass panel to the card and glue down. Add some additional visual interest and use up some leftover materials at the same time by applying a thin strip of the black cardstock, followed by a thin strip of the handmade glitter paper, to the right of the fold on the front. Our cards are now complete. Thanks so much for making them with me!