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.

Apr 292015

I looked at my calendar today and realized that May—and graduations—are just a few days away. That means congratulatory cards are in order for at least four graduates I know. I could go to the greeting card aisle to purchase some cards, but with all of the designer card stock, embellishments and paper crafting tools I have, I think that would be a sin. I decided to challenge myself by not purchasing a single item to add to these cards, but instead to use what I have on hand. My starting point consists of these black, white, taupe, silver and gray printed papers, a package of black Petaloo flowers, some graduation stickers I purchased previously a year or two ago, and a package of charms. Let’s see where we go with these raw materials.

Starting Raw Materials

First, I visited Pinterest and entered the search term “graduation card ideas.” Obviously, I have different materials than what the cards on Pinterest show, but what I was actually looking for was some layout ideas. I sketched some layouts that appealed to me. As you can see, these are pretty rough, as I sketched them pretty quickly.

Layout ideas

When I was finished with my cards, the only materials I added to the original set were some ribbon and Neenah Bright White 65-pound card stock to form the foundation of the cards. All cards are A2-sized (4.25 x 5.25 inches), which will make it easy to make envelopes. But that will be another day.

For the first card, I used a top-fold landscape orientation. All papers for this card are from Doodlebug Design. The solid black is Beetle Black Sugar Coated Cardstock, which left little sparkles all over my work and had to be cleaned up afterward with a dryer sheet. The polka dot paper is one side of a double-sided paper called Classic, while the “ribbon” and “Achievement” file tab stickers come from the Fancy Frills collection. I printed “Class of 2015” with my printer on Neenah Bright White card stock. The lock-and-key charms were part of a five-piece Blue Moon Beads packet. I used the Stub side of a We R Memory Keepers Crop-A-Dile Corner Chomper to punch the corners of the layered papers.

Graduation 2015 - A

For the next card, I did a portrait side-fold. I used the same Doodlebug Design Beetle Black Sugar Coated Cardstock for the bottom layer of paper. On top of it is a double-sided sheet of card stock from Imaginisce, simply numbered #400239. I suspect it’s no longer in stock, since it came out in 2013. The ticket stubs are stickers from Doodlebug Design’s Fancy Frills collection. The stickers are a tiny bit askew, but I’m afraid they are they to stay, as they are pretty firmly affixed. The charm comes from the same Blue Moon Beads packet I described for the first card, and once more I used a Corner Chomper to punch decorative corners for the layered papers.

Graduation 2015 - B

The third card is top-folded in a portrait orientation. The bottom paper is the same Classic polka dot paper I used for the first card. The scallop border and “Success” file tabs are stickers from Doodlebug Design’s Fancy Frills collection. The diploma paper is one side of a double-sided design called Cap & Gown from Doodlebug Design, while the silver paper is the back side of a card stock called Black Swirl on Silver from The Paper Company.

Graduation 2015 - C

The fourth and final card also has a top-fold portrait orientation. My camera didn’t take a very good picture of the Flora Doodles flower from Petaloo in the upper left corner, but I hope you’ll take my word for it that the flower looks better in person than it does below. The bottom layer of paper is Beetle Black Sugar Coated Cardstock from Doodlebug Design, followed by #400239 from Imaginisce. The next paper is the back side of the polka dot card stock and is called Elegance by Doodlebug Design. The “Congratulations” paper was created by me on my computer. If you would like to download this printable that includes the “Class of 2015” rectangle, just click on Graduation 2015. It’s a PDF file, so you’ll need to have the most recent version of Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.

Graduation 2015 - D

Well, there you have it. I probably could have gone to the store and back several times in the time it took me to make these graduation cards, but I suspect it wouldn’t have been half as fun. And it sure looks like I have a lot of leftover paper for future graduation cards, based on how little I used from the stash in the first photo—probably enough for the next 10 years!

© 2015 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.