Saturday, 17 February 2018


Under-colouring with distress inks.
This is a super-easy way to add colour to a stamped image, although its one of those techniques that people either love......or don't.  I'm in the former category,, and use this a bit, especially with some of my more solid stamps, such as these ones from Darkroom Door.

You just wet a piece of thickish (ideally water colour) paper, ink up your stamp with distress inks and stamp them down onto the wet page,  Leave them there for a little while so that the colours soak and spread.

Dry the page (either with a craft heat gun) or leave it to dry naturally, then re-ink your stamp with black ink (I used Versafine), and stamp on top of the blurry coloured image to add back the detail.

That's pretty much it!

Friday, 12 January 2018

I used a cut-out card from Regal Craft Cards to make this card, which I won't be giving to other because it didn't quite work out the way I wanted, for a variety of reasons.  Still, one always learns at least as much from mistakes as success, so lets have a look at what went right and what didn't.

The success was the mottled background paper.  I had some large leafed loose vanilla tea, which I enjoyed as a cuppa, and then spread the leaves over a piece of plain white card, leaving it overnight to dry.  The leaves died the card this great mottled brown but also gave it a lovely vanilla scent that lasted for a couple of months!

The issues arose with the teacup.  I stamped it on thick cardboard with a dye ink, and then heat embossed it with three layers of ultra thick clear embossing powder.  This is where it all went astray.  Firstly, the Versamark and molten embossing powder caused the stamped writing to run just a little.  This wasn't too bad in this context but could cause problems if a crisp image was important.  Next time I will try heat set pigment ink and if this doesn't work, Staz-On.

The next problem was the embossing, even although the cardboard was quite thick, it wasn't thick enough for the layers of embossing powder and the heating involved and it curled quite badly.  Again, as I wanted to crack the powder it didn't matter too much, and I could straighten it out however it wasn't ideal, and next time I'll die cut two or three thick cups and glue them together to make an ultra-thick base.

Lastly, I wanted to crack the embossing powder and ink over it with sepia ink .  I tried to do this by bending the teacup shape backwards and forwards with the results that some pieces came parially off the page, whilst others absolutely refused to break!  When I inked it, instead of sitting in subtle cracks the ink leaked under the broken edges and ended up making the whole thing look a bit more smudgy than cracked. time I might try the freezer method, and a thicker ink (I used distress ink).

Next time might be a while though......I'll have to work up to it!  On the bright side, I do love the little teacup and tea bag dies from Paper Roses, and I'll definitely put them to good use on other projects.

Saturday, 16 December 2017


We used to do something very similar to this with crayons in grade three, but this is the "grown up" version.

Colour the base paper with permanent markers - I've used really bright colours and a swirly pattern just to make the sample obvious, but you can be more subtle.

Stamp on an image (one with lots of solid area is most effective, this one is from G45) using embossing or watermark ink (I used Versamark) and heat emboss using clear powder.

Go over the whole thing with a dark dye ink , and then gently wipe off the embossed areas to reveal the colour beneath.

Friday, 17 November 2017


This is not my idea but there are so many examples on-line that I don't know who to thank for the technique.   Have a look and you will find many better examples that this so thank you to everyone who has posted their work for us to enjoy and be inspired by.

Begin with a watercolour background.  (I've used my favourite smooshed distress inks applied with an acrylic block - see the last post).

Stamp on some images with blank ink.  I arranged them on a single block and stamped them all at one time so I could do a test run first.  Next just colour in a section or two of the stamps with white gel pen and add a few lines and  a little dotted border here and there. No skill needed for quite an effective result.  This is one example which looks better in reality, and is fine as a sample.  I'll definitely be giving it a go a little more carefully (to get the dots more evenly sized and placed, and the straight lines straight etc) in the future.

Saturday, 14 October 2017


One of my very favourite ways to make a watercolour background (because its easy and almost always looks good) is to ink up an acrylic stamping block with distress inks, spritz on a tiny bit of water and then "print" it onto dampened paper.

I have done a post about this before, but thought this might be worth a view as it shows how easily one can suggest sunset scene via colour selection and an appropriate silhouette stamp.

You obviously won't get precise colour placement with this technique but its worth spending a little time thinking about the placement of  the various inks on your block to correspond to your stamp e.g. sand, sea and sky; flowers, leaves container etc.

(The stamp is from Darkroom Door)

Friday, 15 September 2017


This is a simple layering technique that doesn't involve complicated cutting.

Die cut the number of layers you want  from background card - three seems to work well, then chose a stamp large enough to cover them all.  (I've used a Kaiser butterfly)

Stack them up, centring each on the one below and stamp the stamp over all layers.  (You might need to put a bit of extra pressure on the outer edges as they will be a bit lower than the middle)

Colour in the image if you want to.  I've used Tombows( but haven't bothered with shading and blending - this is almost like a guilty admission nowdays but its OK you can just colour in without getting too fancy about it).  I've added some highlights with a gold glitter gel pen.

You don't have to add borders but I think it looks best if you do (and it helps hide edges if you don't get your layers super straight when assembling).  If you have appropriate dies cut the mats to fit.  If you don't, just do what I did, and stick the butterfly layers to the matting (purple) card and cut around with scissors leaving a small border.

Now stick the layers together with foam tape underneath so that each layer is raised about the one below, stick the whole thing to a background card, or scrapbook page or whatever you want to use if for, and you're done.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Someone asked me today about a tunnel card/book I'd made ages ago and I promised to find where it was hiding.  I forgot to add any labels to the post from a couple of years ago, but the situation has now been rectified, and you can find it by looking under "books".  Cheers!

Saturday, 26 August 2017


I have been enjoying the chance to play with a go press and foil machine, made by Couture Creations, who have a couple of very watchable videos on YouTube that will show you all the "how tos" if you are interested.

One of the appealing bits about the machine is that you can use thin metal dies as well as the specially made foiling dies.  The only thing to remember is that if you use them face up, the bit that will be foiled will be the raised cutting edges rather than the "solid" shape of the die, so its important to chose one that is appropriate and doesn't get "lost" through lack of detail.  This spider's web worked quite well - probably better than it did as a traditional die!

Saturday, 12 August 2017


I don't think that I'll do much of this as I was a bit underwhelmed with the result, however this might just be a function of lack of practice so I probably should give it a few more tries before I give up.

I stamped and embossed the fish with black powder, then used a versamark pen to colour in the silver bits of the fish, then the copper, gold and white in turn, heating between each addition, and finally covered the brown background with clear embossing powder.

You can see on the back that the silver powder is "overcooked" and patchy, whilst he white powder has "escaped" its borders, spreading more that the copper and gold which, if anything, seemed to shrink when heated.

If I try this technique again, I think I'll try just heating the powders until they are stuck in place until the final layer to try to avoid the overheating issue, and I might also choose a design that's larger so that I can space out  the embossed areas a bit between heating,  A sensible person would also do a little trial to determine the properties of each of the different embossing powders before throwing them onto the main project! kind of looks OK, and is quite nicely raised and textured (even if the latter is not quite in the "supposed to be" category) so I've probably talked myself into trying again during the course of writing this entry!

Saturday, 15 July 2017


Back in the day.............and I'm talking 20+ years ago, this is how we did our stamping for greeting cards.

Emboss the outline with gold and reach for the marker pens!

It still looks nice, and is ironically less "old hat" today than it was five years ago.

I've used Tombows and a blender pen for the colouring, and cut the lovely design (from Paper Roses) in half to fit over the aperture, mounting the top on some foam tape to add dimension.

A final "retro" touch is the gold outline sticker that I've carefully stretched around the edge of the oval cut out..  This is a little reminder to myself that no matter how exciting new techniques are sometimes the "oldies but goodies"are worth dusting off too.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017


This is an easy technique but a very effective one,

Just chose a die with a lot of open spaced suitable for colouring.  I cut this Art Deco parrot with double sided adhesive on black card so all I had to do was peel off the backing
to stick it onto Kaiser crystal glitter card.

The next step is to use some Tombow pens to colour the image.  (You can experiment with different types of pens but I was happy with these).

The glitter stays glittery and the end result is a cheery "stained glass" effect,

Saturday, 17 June 2017


This shows the traditional way to "layer" stamping.  It was one of those things that people probably don't do so much today, but in past times it was one of those basic techniques.

On the off chance you haven't come across it yet........

Decide which stamp you want to appear in the front,(in this case top hat man) stamp it on a piece of paper (you could use a post it note - the removable adhesive will help hold it in place in the next step).

Cut out the image.  You might like to cut around the edge leaving a little border as I have done (this certainly make the cutting easier around highly detailed edges), or you might prefer to cut more precisely around the outline.  Experiment to see what suits you best.  Repeat with all the images except for the very back one.  In this case I've only used three pictures so I only need to stamp and cut around the compass image.

Stamp the front image where you want it to appear, then mask (cover) it with the cut out image.  Stamp the next image in place, and over the edge of the mask.  Remove the mask and repeat with the next and any other layers.  Keep the masks with your stamps so you don't have to cut another every time you need one.

These stamps were foam mounted cling rubber so I could position them accurately enough for this project.  Clear stamps are a lot easier.  You might need to use a stamp positioner for block mounted stamps if you are doing a more involved project

I've just used a single colour and three basic stamps but you can get really impressive effects, especially with landscapes by adding more colours and layers.

Friday, 12 May 2017


Here's an easy way to get a layered look without mucking around with masking or resist techniques.

It just involves stamping on the base layer then adding a vellum (parchment paper) sleeve over the top, with stamping on both sides.  When assembled there is a real sense of depth.

I've used black Staz-on (a lot of inks don't dry very well on vellum) so there is a real dark to light effect.

I've just stuck to one colour and one stamp but you could obviously experiment with combinations. I do intend to get around to doing this - I'm thinking maybe words in one layer, small stamps at the front and a background stamp on the base

For the base layer of this example I've used a textured white card, the vellum has been folded around it and secured with twine tied through two holes (made with a darning needle), centred on the fold.

Friday, 14 April 2017


Here's another idea for your small stamps - combine them to make a border.

I guess the technique is pretty self-evident, but there are a couple of things that might be worth mentioning from my experience.

The first is that drawing a light pencil shape that can be erased later, is very helpful.  The second is that it might take a couple of goes (by couple I mean about five) to get the colour and shape combo working to your satisfaction so playing around a bit on paper or a piece of cardboard to be later mounted onto a base card is a good idea.  Better still, photograph the result and file it away or put it on your blog to save you some time in the future!

Another point worth mentioning is how much colour "colours" how we see things.  I showed someone this and they immediately thought "Christmas Card" which wasn't my intention, but it does work for those who like a neutral seasonal greeting.

You don't have to use flowers and leaves of course, a border of  the little men I used in last month's post would work well for father's day for instance, and you could carve your own easter egg stamps from erasers etc etc etc