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.

Posted in Die Cutting, Emboss Resist, Tim Holtz, Winter Holidays: Non-Denominational

Starlit Inlaid Deer Holiday Card

Today’s card will use emboss resist and die-cut inlay to create a timeless scene.

To begin, we cut a cardstock panel to 5″x4″,  just big enough to leave a border when applied  onto a standard-sized card base. From this, we die cut a silhouette deer image and a small star in the positions at which we’d like them to appear on the final card. These white die cuts can be set aside to use on another project, if desired, but don’t discard any pieces that may fit around your deer’s legs, if applicable–you’ll need to piece those back in to achieve a true inlay effect.

For this project, we’ll now cut the dies out again, this time from silver cardstock. A brushed, matte, or mirrored finish would each work, but would give very different looks. I like a mirror finish for this, as it stands out nicely and picks up the shine of the jeweled brad used as a final embellishment.

de4Strong, double-sided tape is placed on the back of the card panel so that the stickiness peeks through the openings left by the die cutting. Then, the silver die cuts are placed into the openings, fitting them in firmly, like puzzle pieces. If white pieces need to fit in around the deer, place them now, as well.  On my project, the silver deer die cut had a bottom piece that protruded beneath the base of the card panel; a pair of shears, used from behind, made it flush.

Next, apply Versamark, or any clear embossing ink, to a dot-patterned background stamp to represent snow–I used Hero Arts’ Confetti Bold–and heat embossed using a shimmery, white embossing powder with an opaque finish.

Using an ink blending tool, apply Chipped Sapphire Distress ink (such a gorgeous color!) to create a night sky, leaving the bottom of the card white to imply a snow-covered field. The embossed “snow” and the metal surfaces resist the ink, and it can be wiped off of them when the inking has been completed.

For the sentiment, the word “Peace” is stamped onto a piece of cardstock using Hero Arts Shadow Inkde2 in Cornflower, then cut out using a die from the Tim Holtz “Labels” die set.

Attaching the sentiment with a small, jeweled brad and gluing the panel to a card base finishes this classic card that could easily be produced in quantity.

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

Joyful Nest Holiday Card 2016

Today’s card was inspired by the pair of small birds that come to nest in the spring wreath we hang on our porch each year, but modified for a winter theme.

nestcu1We’ll start by custom coloring some cardstock using Distress Ink in the beautiful shade aptly named Evergreen Bough. I’m not worried about a smooth, even finish; in fact, I want some variation, as I’ll be using this to die-cut juniper-like branches using a die from the Sizzix “Holiday Greens” die set.

Next, we’ll use Hero Arts Shadow Ink in Red Royal to color some bird wood veneer shapes–these were from Recollections–using a finger dauber to get color on the sides.

From gold cardstock, we’ll cut the circular swirl from the Sizzix Scribbles & Splat die set, and the word “joy” from the Tim Holtz “Holiday Words, Script” die set. Subsequently, we’ll cut out three of the juniper branches mentioned earlier. The intricate dies weren’t cutting all the way through, but adding in a metal shim fixed that.

This being a holiday card, I decide I want some sparkle, and in the same Evergreen Bough color. Since I don’t have that color in a Distress Glitter, I’m going to heat emboss a strip along the top and bottom of my card panel using the Distress Ink and Wow Clear Sparkle Embossing Glitter. While most dye-based inks dry too quickly to allow for heat embossing, Distress Inks stay wet just long enough–if you move quickly, and have your heat gun preheated.

The gold circular die cut that will serve as the base of our nest is really lovely; now I need to choose a background paper that will resemble a wall or a door. I turn to the 6×6 Wood Cardstock Pad from My Mind’s Eye, and find a rustic-looking wood-grain that works with the feel of our project. Applying it to the base panel with Scotch Quick-Dry glue, I weight it down with an acrylic block to help it catch against the glittered surface.

Working on building the nest follows. Trimming the branches into smaller pieces, I weave them in and out of the swirled circle, trying to find a nice balance that still looks organic.

I decide that the sentiment needs some grounding and look at a few options. joycloseupAnother Tim Holtz die set to the rescue–Labels, this time. I choose a shape that echoes that of the nest and also fits the sentiment nicely and use it to cut a piece of cardstock I’d colored in the same Red Royal ink, just to give me some embellishment choices. Mounting the label across a strip of the gold adds balance, and prevents it from looking random.

So, all that time adjusting the branches of the nest, do I now have a tiger by the tail? I can’t just pick it up and glue it; not with all those pieces. Glue dots picked up on a fingertip craft knife can be folded over on themselves to be very small and inserted under the slender branches at strategic points. Beyond that, I’ll be using Ranger Multi Medium in Matte finish to adhere the birds, and with a QuickStik, some flat-back pearls to represent eggs in the nest, and some of another color to decorate the wreath. Those branches aren’t going anywhere!

Some more adhesive to adhere the card panel to a base, and that finishes today’s card.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Posted in My Favorite Things, Stamping, Tim Holtz, Winter Holidays: Non-Denominational

Holiday Cheer, and Fixing Stamping Mistakes

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,holiday-cheer-b-002 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.