One of the things that I love most about using craft dies in cardmaking is how the shape can be transformed with clever use of color.
Sometimes I use a little bit of color and sometimes I saturate the background. Both effects are fun and artistic and help take the card to another level.
This year I have been obsessed with all of the Tim Holtz oxide inks - I came late to the game on these, so I have been catching up on all the fun. The way that they can layer and blend - and change their look when splattered with water - is so mesmerizing.
And the way that you can use them to make a background that highlights the shape of a die has me hooked. Here's a good example of how an inked background can really make a craft die shape come alive.
I sponged some background paper with Distress Oxide in Peeled Paint, Fossilized Amber and Cracked Pistachio and slipped it behind the 99828 Snowflake Swell die - and that simple snowflake design is instantly transformed into something magical.
Now there is nothing wrong with a solid color behind those snowflakes, but just look how interesting it becomes when the green shades swirl into different hues along the card.
And the effort to do this is small! But it looks as if you did a lot of work!
In today's video I created two different holiday cards that made the most of some inked backgrounds. First up is the Holiday Candle card -
I combined the idea of using a little bit of color for a portion of the card above (the halo around the candle) with using lots of color (on the holly leaves) to create this handmade card. Check out the video to see the step by step...
(Watch this video in HD by clicking here)
I knew that I wanted to have the center images "float" in the white background. SO I decided to use just a tiny bit of ink on the white - and use most of the ink on the leaves.
To make these beautiful leaves I created an inked background using Oxide inks in Peeled Paint and Cracked Pistachio - overlapping these inks in various intensity to build many different shades of green. Then I spritzed it with water to add a little bit of splatter. Using the 99790 Holly Collage I cut the leaves out and saved them to add into the card.
The way that the green contrasts with the bright white is really striking in person - and the embossed lines of the leaves make it even more interesting.
And here, I used just a little bit of color (Distress Oxide in Broken China) around the edges of the panel. This created a "halo" around the center - which was the perfect setting for the 99803 Candle Centerpiece. After cutting the Candle Centerpiece out of shiny gold cardstock - I inlaid red and green cardstocks (use some texture here to make it interesting!) to complete the composition.
One of my recent favorites are the Poppystamps Pointed Frames - available in Ovals, Squares and Rectangles. I tend to use a lot of borders with stitching on them, but for a fresh take on things I love these pinpoint frames. I used the 1938 Pointed Rectangle Frames here and they helped me create those perfect white borders.
The second project in the video was probably the one that I had the most fun with this season (I made a lot of these for store samples!).
This design is the 1888 Peaceful Dove Collage from Poppystamps and I love how it looks like it is moving on the card.
I got to roll up my sleeves and explore some layering with the background on this one - spreading one color over another and slowly building up the intensity. One thing I noticed again and again was that the background looked better after I die cut it.
I mean, I would be putting all of these ink colors onto the paper - and some of the time I must admit it looked like a real mess! - but after I cut it out, it always looked like I planned things out!
Like how the blue happened to be just touching the bird.
Or the spot under the wings that I didn't blend out very well - it now looked like a blur from the wing. As if I had done it on purpose! I embrace this all as happy accidents.
Once you cut it out there is a lot of paper removed from the card, so the background is broken up into different areas of color, swirling around the bird. So I think your eye is drawn more to the contours of the cut paper - and the background somehow becomes more interesting because the color stops and then starts again across the open spaces in the die cut.
This is similar to the look I used in my Snowy Sky Cards video - a little spot of light shining down - but I am using a different color scheme. The effect is still amazing - and creates some depth on the paper. Try to position the Broken China blue area above the dove's head if you can - and then get the portions of Peeled Paint to flank the bird on either side.
At the bottom of the composition I used the 1852 Holly Twig as something that the dove was about to perch on. I cut it out of various colors of cardstock and then glued the pieces together in order to get green leaves and red berries - and I added a little bit of red glitter glue to sparkle the berries right up.
I wanted the background at the bottom of the card to be darker - so after sponging the bottom with Peeled Paint and Fossilized Amber, I went over it with some Distress Oxide ink in Vintage Photo. Once you get it dark enough, then spritz with some water!
Here's another example of how an inked background can transform a card - shown here with the 99797 Reindeer Window. The craft die creates a very simple opening around the reindeer, which can be filled in with a solid color, but look how exciting it becomes with lots of ink and splatter! For even more texture I stamped and embossed some leaves (from the CL5187 Christmas Botanicals stamp set) onto the background with clear ink and clear embossing powder. This allows the color of the ink to show through the embossed lines, but the color becomes a shade darker.
I sprayed it with a little bleach and water solution (1 cup water to 1 tablespoon bleach) for some bright white splatter. The antlers are cut out of white glitter cardstock - and for good measure I used a Wink of Stella pen to fill in the leaves with some shimmer. Do you see how the area inside the leaves picks up little glints of light? So amazing.
So as you can see, there's tons of opportunities to make the most of inked backgrounds on your handmade cards. From small areas (the holly leaves) to large areas (the space around the dove collage) - you can transform a plain background into something spectacular with some ink in no time.
OK - time to get out your inkpads and start sponging!