Posted in Card Engineering, Copic Coloring, Die Cutting, Heat Embossing, My Favorite Things, Tim Holtz

Two Stained Glass Window Cards, Plus Bonus Masculine Thanks Card from One Die Cut

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 tomascthx 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.

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!

Posted in Die Cutting, Spinner Card, Tim Holtz, Winter Holidays: Non-Denominational

Merry & Bright Double Spinner 2016

An elegant ornament spins on this card–and, below it, spin the words “merry” and “bright.”

The card is designed as a tri-fold so that the cardstock supports the spinning, and so that the greetings can be placed on the inner-most panel, unseen while the card is displayed. Gold and black with clear, diamond-like embellishments have been selected to give the card a style that will keep it on display through a chic New Year’s Eve party.

This card will require two pieces of 8-1/2″x11″ black, heavy-weight cardstock, cut to 7″ high in the landscape orientation. Cut one sheet (we’ll call this Sheet A) to 6″ wide, turn 90 degrees to portrait orientation, and score at 5″.  Keep the remaining 5″x7″ piece of this Sheet A. Take the second, longer sheet (we’ll call this Sheet B) and cut it to 8-1/2″ wide. Score it at 4″.  Set Sheet B aside for now;  it won’t be needed until final decoration and assembly of the card.

On the large panel of Sheet A, cut two rectangular openings that leave at least a 1/4″ border at the top and bottom and a 1/2″ border on the left and right. You can do this with a paper trimmer, but I used the Sizzix Framelits Tickets Die set with the Big Shot die-cutting machine. Because the placement was important, I held the dies in place with micro-pore surgical tape while I ran them through. Using this cut piece as a template, tracing the positions first with a pencil, if you like, cut the same openings onto the 5″x7″ piece of Sheet A. Set this 5″x7″ piece aside until final assembly.

Continuing with the die cutting, choose a flourish die that contains a section that will fit attractively within your ornament, and cut it twice from heavy cardstock. Cut your words mbbrightdetfrom either gold cardstock or from gold glitter paper, like this one from Heidi Swapp. Now is also the time to cut a bow to top your ornament (two copies of this, as well). I used one from the Paper Smooches Wise Dies Bows set, which offers eight petite bows from which to choose in the package. For your graphic images (the flourish and the bow), you’ll have an easier time if you choose symmetrical images, as they’ll be being placed back-to-back on a clear item. If you’re using an electronic die cutter, you can always “flip” the image to get the exact reverse, so you can choose any image you like. The same holds if you’re inking your image–simply cut it from white paper, flipping it over first.

Use the remaining black scraps to cut out the base for your word spinner–two copies. For my words, I used the Tim Holtz Holiday Words Script die set, finding a shape that not only fit both of the words when they were placed back-to-back, but that also echoed the shape of the ornament I had chosen (the third-smallest ornament from the Memory Box Drop Ornament Layers die set).  Cut two copies of your ornament die from a sheet of crafting acetate.

Before we start assembling the card, let’s add a few shimmering touches using Delicata Golden Glitz ink. First, I inked the flourishes we cut out earlier (being sure to reverse one first, as mentioned above); then, I selected the Stars Shimmer stencil from Memory box. I like a finger dauber for stenciling and other quick inking tasks, but a makeup sponge mborndetwould work just fine. A few stars at the upper left and lower right frame the front cardstock panel nicely, and a line of stars swirling on the inner panel add interest from the other side when the card is propped open. This is a pigment ink, so it will a little take time to dry. In a pinch, you could speed things up with your heat gun, but I don’t recommend heat embossing the Delicata metallic inks. They’re among the few that are formulated with gorgeous shine that is actually diminished by the heat embossing process. And, at the busy holiday time of year, I’m all for saving a step!

So, as the ink dries, let’s go back to constructing the spinning elements of the card. Using a matte liquid glue, attach one of the words to each of the labels being used as the word spinner. Next, use the same glue to carefully adhere your flourish to your ornaments,  lining them up on each side. I like to use temporary tape like micro-pore surgical tape to hold them together while I make sure things line up as I’m working. When adding the second flourish to the second side, gluing it to the back of the first one on the over-hanging sections is helpful in getting precise alignment, and also holds the pieces in place as we continue. Once the adhesive has dried, remove the micro-pore tape, and take this opportunity to clean off the ornament before final decoration. I used a lint-free alcohol wipe, like those packaged for medical use or cleaning eyeglasses, but any lint-free cloth and rubbing alcohol will work. Please don’t use glass cleaner on clear craft plastic–it will permanently cloud it. After this much effort, you don’t want anything to spoil the effect.

Now comes the fun part! Further embellish your ornament with diamond-like gemstones to your liking. A fingertip craft knife provides good control for moving the tiny pieces. Following the path of the flourish is likely to give you a natural and pleasing line, as would following the shape of your ornament. These are self-adhesive; however, that generally means they were designed to adhere to paper. I didn’t trust the adhesion onto the smooth plastic, so I reinforced the sticker gems with some Multi Medium Matte. For the sake of concentration, as well as not knocking off your gems while you work on the other side, you’ll probably do best to decorate one side completely, allow it to dry, then turn it over and apply matching gemstones on the opposite side. When both sides are finished and dry, trim off the excess of the flourish with sharp scissors. Retain the flourish pieces to use for embellishment later, if you choose.

Time to put it all together. Place your front panel and half of each spinner element, including your bow, face down on your work surface–using a grid mat will help with alignment. Adhere strong, double-sided tape above and below each window, as well as at the middle of each element, then run clear thread straight down, embedding it into the tape. Cover at the top and bottom of the window panel with another piece of tape. To have elements in each window spin separately, give each window its own piece of thread. Cut off any excess thread, then use a strong, liquid, matte adhesive to adhere the second copy of each spinner element over the first–this time facing towards you. The addition of more double-sided tape at the thread junctures will give additional strength. To give the interior a finished look, carefully align the 5″x7″ die-cut panel that you made and retained from Sheet A and adhere it with a liquid glue like Scotch Quick-Dry to cover the threads.

If desired, adhere leftover flourish pieces as further embellishment. I chose to put them on the panel where we’d added the swirl of stars. Additional gemstones could also be scattered strategically, as suits your taste. I briefly considered adding one of the small gems to the center of each of the stenciled stars, but I felt that I had enough going on with this card. If you want to go all out with the bling, though, that’s certainly an option!

Use more liquid glue to adhere the scored 1″ section of your front panel to the 4″ section of Sheet B to complete the assembly. For the inner-most section that’s intended for your greeting, you could add white cardstock, stamp with white or metallic ink, write with a white or metallic gel pen, print onto a white panel and adhere it, or combine any of these.

This was certainly a more elaborate card than previous ones have been; but, sometimes we have somebody to whom we want to send a card that makes him say, “Wow!” If you have such a person, I hope that this card fits the bill for you.