judynolan

May 212017
 

In my neighborhood you always know it’s graduation season when it’s a weekend in May and cars line the street everywhere it’s legal to park. Garland-festooned mailboxes and balloons tied to poles or trees beckon visitors who stride up the driveway. They enter homes without ringing the doorbell to take part in an open house or a family celebration. That’s also my signal to make a few graduation cards, if I haven’t done so already. This year we have two of them in our family—two nieces who have finished college and are moving on to the next phase in their lives. I had so much fun making and then describing shaker cards in my last post that I decided to try my hand at a couple of graduation cards for my nieces.

I gathered the basic tools and supplies listed below:

To begin the project, I cut 8-1/2 x 11-inch heavy weight white card stock into two rectangles for two cards. I scored them in half and folded them. Then I cut two 4-1/4 inch x 5-1/4 inch rectangles from a sheet I removed from a DCWV pad of black-and-white floral paper that I’ve had for a while.

I removed some rectangular cutting dies from their package for the first time to cut shaker window openings in my cards.

Before I could do so, however, I had to cut apart the dies because they were joined to each other with metal “wires.” Snipping them apart with pliers was easy; filing down the nubs with a metal file took a little longer. I got my file from Elizabeth Craft Designs (which no longer sells them), but you can pick up something similar for around $8 from your local home improvement store, such as a multi-purpose file set from Home Depot.

For the first card, I ran the white card stock and black-and-white floral paper through my Big Shot die cutting machine on two separate runs to cut rectangular windows. Then I wondered if I couldn’t do both sheets at the same time. I tried it, and it worked great.

This left me with some rectangular scraps to use for another project.

After I cut out shaker windows, I covered both of them with bridal tulle, adhering the tulle in place with Scor-tape. You’ll notice in the photo below that the paper bends; this is because it is fairly thin paper, definitely not as heavy as card stock. In retrospect, I wish I had adhered the decorative paper to card stock, and then cut a window into it. It would have been sturdier! I guess you can always learn something new from your projects.

I sandwiched gold and iridescent white sequins between both shaker windows, adhering all layers together with Scor-tape, as you can see in the photo below.

Finally, I stamped images with Memento Dye Ink in Tuxedo Black, and then colored them in with an assortment of Copic markers. It’s important to use a Copic-friendly ink; if you don’t, you’ll end up with a smeared mess! I know this because I made that error with a previous project. Then, I cut out the images with a die set from Avery Elle that coordinates with the Hats Off stamp set. I could have cut them out with scissors, but this was so much easier!

I was in a hurry to use the dies, so you’ll notice that when I cut them apart with my pliers, I did not snip off the wires that attach the dies to each other, nor did I file away any remaining nubs.

I adhered the images to the front of the card using Ranger Multi Medium Matte, which is a strong adhesive that dries clear and matte. Keep in mind that the paper was adhered to bridal tulle, which of course has holes in it because it’s a mesh, so if you don’t use the same product I used, it needs to be something that adheres paper to fabric without adding bulk. I haven’t tried it, but I bet Beacon Fabri-Tac would also work. I like the fact that Ranger Multi Medium Matte dries real quickly; Beacon Fabri-Tac does not.

Hindsight is 20/20. I wish I had used fewer sequins. On the other hand, it was serendipitous that the graduation caps prevented all of the sequins from dropping to the bottom of the shaker window. I wanted to create the effect of confetti floating through the air . . . just not quite so MUCH confetti!

Because I didn’t want the Copic ink, which saturated my card stock, to show through on the inside of the card, I used the Avery Elle coordinating dies to cut out the images once more in plain white card stock. I adhered these shapes to the inside of the card directly opposite the colored shapes on the other side, giving the card a neat appearance.

With one card successfully completed, I decided to tackle the second one. But guess I was over-confident. The next thing I knew, I had adhered my two layers of tulle together, but without the sequins. This was a problem. When I tried to peel apart the layers, the card didn’t survive the effort. But thank goodness for paper scraps! I folded another half-sheet of Bazzill card stock to create a card, and adhered some of that black-and-white floral paper to the front.

Then I grabbed one of the white rectangles that remained after I cut out a previous shaker window, and cut a rectangle of white craft foam to adhere to the back of it. Why? I wanted the rectangle to be the focus of the card. By adding foam (and thus dimension) to the rectangle, it made it stand out more.

The rest of the card was easy to finish. Once more, I used the Avery Elle Hats Off stamp set to stamp images for the front of the card, and colored them in with Copic markers. I cut out the images with the coordinating die set, and adhered them in place with dots of Scotch Permanent Tacky Glue. Then, I dotted the white space with Ranger Multi Medium Matte, and use my Xacto knife to pick up and drop into place one sequin at a time. When I was done, I decided I liked this non-shaker version of the card better than the shaker version. Who knew?

I still have a few leftover paper scraps from the die cuts, but they can be used in another project. That’s the one result that you can’t seem to get away from when you make your own cards . . . and it also means you need a method for storing scraps. I use three-hole punched clear sheet protectors for my paper scraps, and organize them by color groups inside a binder. What do you do with your scraps? Have you been making graduation cards?

© 2017 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

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May 072017
 

As Natasha of The Artisan Life points out in The Joy of Snail Mail & Decorated Envelopes DIYS, there’s something special about receiving snail mail.

It was with this thought in mind, and the prospect of Mother’s Day around the corner, that I decided to make a card for my mother-in-law. She loves flowers, so I knew that whatever I created, it would incorporate one. I also wanted to experiment with a new technique, so I turned to my favorite card crafter, Jennifer McGuire. This past week she released a video tutorial, Tulle Shaker Cards, about how to create shaker cards using tulle.

Your usual shaker card sandwiches sequins and beads between two layers of acetate, but Jennifer suggested using tulle instead. Tulle can be purchased economically in the bridal section of a fabric store; I purchased a yard for $1.49 that will be good for dozens of cards. You can also go to Michael’s bridal section and purchase a six-inch-wide roll of tulle for $2.99; the roll holds 20 yards. Tulle allows a card to lie flat, making it easy and lightweight to send in the mail.

Here are the supplies I gathered to begin my project:

I began my project by cutting my card stock to size, cutting scalloped circle windows into the note card and card front.

Using Scor-tape, I applied double-sided adhesive around the circle openings, and overlaid that with a square of tulle. Then I dropped my sequins into the center of the tulle, and used Scor-tape once more to adhere the front of the note card to the note card itself.

Next, I stamped the daisy-and-leaf images with clear embossing ink, dusting the ink with white embossing powder, and then heat setting it. Using sponge daubers, I colored in the images with Tim Holtz Distress inks.

I sprayed the images generously with Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist to produce a pearlized sheen. As Jennifer McGuire points out, you can create your own glimmer mist with Perfect Pearls powder and water, but I used what I already had on hand. I was in a hurry, so I dried the wet, not-so-attractive concoction with a heat gun.

Once the paper was dry, the flowers and leaves looked a lot better. I did not have dies for cutting out the images, so I fussy cut them with scissors. The trick to fussy cutting is not to turn the scissors, but to turn the paper as you cut. I used Scor-tape to adhere the flower to the front of the card.

The last thing I did was stamp “Happy Mother’s Day” on the inside of the card. Initially I was going to emboss these words in black ink, but I changed my mind and used clear embossing ink instead. When you heat set clear embossing ink, it gives you a tone-on-tone look.

Crafting a card like this takes only an afternoon, and you can probably make more than one if you organize your work assembly-style. Working with tulle was easy and fun; I suspect I’ll use this technique again. Thank you, Jennifer McGuire, for your crafting inspiration!

© 2017 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

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Apr 092017
 

Sniffles, coughs and general malaise have been our companions this past week, so when this weekend rolled around, I was looking for a fun, relaxing project that would take my mind off how well I am not feeling. That project turned out to be a set of Easter cards based on layered background dies. I was introduced to these dies back in November, when I watched Jennifer McGuire’s video, Crafting On-the-Go and Simple Textured Cards. Afterwards, I purchased Birch Press Designs’ Delfina Layer Set.

The idea behind layered background dies is to add texture to the card you are making. The dies are all sized to fit a standard A4-sized card measuring 4-1/4 x 5-1/2 inches. You can cut two of these cards from one 8-1/2 x 11-inch sheet of card stock, so if you decide to make one of these layered background cards, you may as well do two, for efficiency’s sake.

The Delfina Layer Set is designed as three rectangular dies that all work together. You can use one, two or all three at a time, and they coordinate beautifully, adding an intricate-but-lovely texture to your card. In the photo below, you can see that I layered three white rectangles, one on top of the next. Jennifer McGuire suggests using dots of Ranger Multi Medium Matte to adhere the layers together. This works well not only because the adhesive is strong, but also because a wet adhesive allows you to shift the layers until you get them aligned just right.

To make my Easter cards, I decided to mix and match components from three different stamp sets, shown below:

I stamped the images with Tsukineko Brilliance Graphite Black Pigment Ink Pad because that’s what I have on hand, but not before doing a little research about what stamping inks work best with Copic markers, which I intended to use for coloring the images.

The last time I used Copic markers, I stamped the images with a pigment ink that took forever to dry, and did not agree well with the project, resulting in smeared ink. Many of my inks are older, so I figured someone out in Internet Land had already researched what I needed to know about stamping and Copic markers. Here’s what I learned:

After I colored the images I planned to adhere on top of the textured background layers, it was time to think about the sentiment I wanted to add to the cards. I really like the simplicity of thin sentiment strips, with white embossed text on black paper, that Jennifer often uses in her cards. Because the background of the cards is so intricate, a no-frills sentiment seems to work best. However, I do not have the library of sentiment stamps that Jennifer has, and did not want to purchase another stamp set just for the words, “Happy Easter.” My solution was a digital one that cost me nothing but the time to design it—a solution I can re-use by modifying it.

Using Microsoft Word, I designed graph paper and merged the cells of every other row to create sentiment strips. I shaded them in black, and centered text in white. Then I simply cut out the sentiment strips with scissors, and adhered them to the cards. If you click on the image above (or on this link), you can download my digital graph paper and modify the text for your own sentiment strips.

Below are the three Easter cards I crafted this weekend. I think using a layered background adds some nice texture to them, and suspect I’ll be using this technique again. Of course, at the moment I only own one set of layered background dies. They are costly at $69.99 a set, but you can use them over and over again.

There are different ways to add texture to your cards. Do you have a favorite technique?

© 2017 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved

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