38 posts categorized "Video"

06/09/2018

Sat 09

Rainy Pond
by Olga

Hi crafty friends, 

Today's card is one of those projects that look more complicated to make than they really are. Basically you just have to die cut all the images with Memory Box dies out of neutral cardstocks that you most likely already have and stick them down onto a card.

In a video tutorial below I am demonstrating exactly how to assemble it.
 
Rainy Pond 1
 
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Thank you for stopping by today and have a wonderful weekend!

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Supplies

 

01/17/2018

Wed 17

Shrink Plastic Wireworks Heart with Colored Pencils
by Dave Brethauer

Hello everyone!

I am playing with some shrink plastic today and wanted to share a few tips for using this fun medium. I've been itching to color something with pencils lately and remembered how much fun it is to see colored pencil get really intense when it shrinks down.

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It really is magical when you see how small a shrink plastic piece becomes after it has been heated - the stamped lines become crisp (and tiny!) and all of that color becomes really solid and vibrant.

 

(To view this video in HD click here)

If you haven't used shrink plastic before that's ok - it is easy to work with. The only hiccup that I have ever had is when shrinking it, occasionally it will stick to itself (watch the video for a tip on how to correct this). Otherwise, it is easy to do and the results are fun. 

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After scratching up the shrink plastic with sandpaper (you need to roughen the shiny surface of the shrink plastic in order for the colored pencil to stick) you will stamp the plastic with a permanent ink (I used Brilliance Graphite Black and made sure to let it dry before coloring). I used the heart from the Wireworks Heart Clear Stamp set - it is FULL of lots of little areas for adding color.

Once your ink is dry, you can color away! I used Prismacolor pencils - but any soft, wax based pencil will work. The best part? Shrink plastic is very forgiving! You do want to stay inside the lines - but if you miss covering an area completely, chances are that it won't matter because once the piece has shrunk down, the color tends to fill itself in a bit! 

You can see on the heart above that there are some areas of color that are a little uneven - but don't worry, that will all go away.

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Here's a closeup of the heart after shrinking it down - the color gets really dense! Any imperfections become so tiny that they aren't noticeable.

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You can use these shrink art pieces a number of ways - as charms, buttons, or embellishments - I used them as art pieces on my greeting cards today. I stamped the sentiment from the Wireworks Heart Set and die cut the edge with the Poppystamps 1847 Dotted Border.

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All of the little dots from the border add some activity to this simple card - I didn't want to have too much going on, there is plenty happening on the heart as it is!

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I colored another heart - this time with shades that were a little closer to one another. I chose reds, pinks and oranges for a tighter color scheme, to see how that would look.

Here I took a picture of it before I started the shrinking process - and I stamped the "just because" on there so you could see how large the heart was to begin with.

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And here it is after shrinking! I added Glossy Accents to the heart after shrinking - it makes it look like enamel! Again, those colors get really intense and seem to be bursting with vibrancy.

The 1997 Double Stitch Circle Frame makes a simple frame around the heart - my aim was to keep the focus on the heart piece.

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I added a thick layer of Glossy Accents over the piece and the cool thing is that it levels itself and then naturally bevels at the sides. It is important to make sure that your piece is really flat after shrinking - I have tips in the video for making sure this happens!

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It was now time to switch things up. I had been using white shrink plastic in the beginning - but decided that I wanted to try out the same project on black shrink plastic.

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The prep is the same - but you will get a much different look with the black shrink plastic. The color intensifies once you have completed the shrinking process - but without the white base, the colors do not get quite as bright. This is just a different look - still quite beautiful as you will see.

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Probably the biggest challenge here is coloring inside the lines! It is a little difficult to find the boundaries of the stamped image on the black shrink plastic - so you can see where some areas touch other areas when the heart is smaller.

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I added the heart as an embellishment to the 30116 Wrapped Stitch Hearts and glued the Poppystamps 1825 Big Luxe Love to the side for a simple collage.

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I was really intrigued with the black shrink plastic after that first project. The black shrink plastic yielded a more distressed look - the colored pencil strokes showed up a bit more and because I was coloring outside the lines a bit, the areas of color were pressing against each other after shrinking.

I decided to try a different color scheme - this time with blues and purples - and also to try and stay inside the lines!

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And I got another fun result! I wanted to make a little "scene" with this piece so I used the Poppystamps 2011 Little Hummingbirds on either side and framed the heart with the Poppystamps 2000 Double Stitch Square.

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These are truly art pieces - your card recipient may wonder how in the world you got all of that tiny coloring into those little spaces!

Thanks for checking things out today - now, go make something amazing!

 

01/10/2018

Wed 10

Rainbow Valentine Video
by Dave Brethauer

With Valentine's just about a month away, there is a lot of love in the air here in the studio. So I thought I'd create some super easy rainbow colored Valentine's cards that come together in a snap.

Valentine's Day is such a great excuse to make some handmade cards - as you know, there is a lot of creative care that goes into making something handmade and it always seems like such a genuine way to express love and friendship.

For these projects, I decided to skip the classic red and pink and instead used the whole spectrum of colors - and I love how they turned out!

(To view this video in HD click here)

For the first project in the video I did a really simple watercolor background. I used my Gansai Tambi watercolors, but really any watercolor set will work, because the technique is really basic. I just swirled some paint onto a piece of cardstock, instead of watercolor paper, to create some spots of color. Normally I would be tensing up at the thought of spreading watercolor around on cardstock, since paint doesn't really want to move correctly on this type of paper. But the idea here is that there will be some uneven color and brush strokes - adding some texture to the background will help make this card come alive.

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I started the process by making a whole bunch of backgrounds - here are a few to show you some of the results that I got. I played around with the shapes of the areas I was painting and also how much water I was using. This is the part of the creative process that I live for - watching colors run together and overlap to create new colors - the unexpected surprises that come with making art.

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You'll need to work quickly and decisively on cardstock - it won't allow you to go back and fix areas like watercolor paper does. But that's OK, because you'll get a different, possibly more beautiful look out of cardstock! Cardstock is inexpensive compared to watercolor paper - so experimentation is allowed! Expect that some things won't work - you may have to toss out a few pieces.

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Once I created a few backgrounds that I was happy with I began making the card. I used the 99938 Classic Double Stitched Heart Rings to cut holes in the watercolor background and then added the 30117 Wrapped Stitch Frames to create a frame around the center.

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Since I really wanted the watercolor rainbow to be the important factor on the card, I wanted to keep everything else simple. I chose white for the border frame, to match the white cardstock in the center, and for the sentiment I chose a plain black ink. The sentiment is from the CL5218 Wirework Hearts clear stamp set and looks clean and crisp in the lower right corner.

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Now here's the same composition using a different watercolor background. I used lots of paint and water to create this background and love how the colors all swirled together. Note that the cardstock curls and buckles when you put this much water on it - but you'll be running this cardstock through your die cut machine to cut out the hearts and again when you cut out the frames, so it gets flattened back out. Just make sure it is dry before you cut it!

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Up close, you can really see all the little rivers of colors! I added some Fairy Sparkles sequins to glitz things up a bit and they look terrific over the watercolor - they take on the color that is below each of them.

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I continued experimenting with different backgrounds and die cut combinations (I made a lot of backgrounds!) and really like how each card had its own personality.

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I used less paint on this particular card - which gave me a more pastel effect - and I used the same size heart die over and over for the cut outs. The effect is more subtle - the color is softer - and with more die cuts there is more white overall.

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At this point I started noticing all the "leftovers" that I had from my cards. I'll use all of these heart rings by repurposing them for a new batch of handmade cards in the future. They are all ready to go and look amazing in varying watercolor shades.

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The sentiment that I used is from the Wireworks Heart clear stamp set again - and this card is easily mass produced. You could send this card for Valentine's Day - but really it could be used for almost any time of the year.

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 A sprinkle of the Fairy Sparkles sequins adds a little more dimension to this version - and makes the pastel colors shine.

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I switched things up a bit and came up with a similar card using a slightly different composition. This time I used the Poppystamps 1938 Pointed Rectangle Frames to create the border and the Poppystamps 1986 Splendid Stitch Hearts to create the row of heart shapes across the center. I reserved the die cut hearts for another project - the watercolor shows through the heart shaped openings and creates a rainbow across the card.

I used a strip of vellum over the rainbow and stamped it with a sentiment from the Poppystamps CL462 Valentine Fairies clear stamp set - a little white embossing powder really worked on the vellum to make the sentiment stand out.

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I really liked how the strip of vellum added a frosted look to the card so I set about making a stack of these cards - until I ran out of watercolor backgrounds!

But not to worry, I had some rainbow colored background papers on my desk! I think what I loved most about the vellum cards was how the colors softened behind the vellum - so using some background printed papers worked just as well. 

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I continued using the Poppystamps 1938 Pointed Rectangle Frames and Poppystamps 1986 Splendid Stitch Hearts to create the base - and just slipped the rainbow papers in back.

(The papers are from our friends at Lawn Fawn - this is the Really Rainbow 6x6 Paper Pack available in February - thanks Kelly, these backgrounds are so brilliant).

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I wanted to see how the card would turn out with a mix of the techniques I was using - the 30117 Wrapped Stitch Frames for the borders and stamping the sentiment directly on the paper.

This time I inserted all of the rainbow hearts directly into the holes - this showed the stitching detail of the hearts, and the rainbow paper added gorgeous color.

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Whether you make your own rainbow background or not - these cards are really going to brighten someone's day. I am a big fan of these types of cards -where color is the star and the rest of the card is easy to put together.

Now go grab your paints and brushes - and make some cards!

 

12/08/2017

Fri 08

Watercolor Ornaments Video
by Dave Brethauer

Roundfawn

Hello everyone!

I will apologize in advance for going overboard here - what started out as a simple ornament video led to a whole bunch of projects and watercolor techniques. These are so fun! Once you get started, you won't want to stop.

What I love best about these ornaments is that you are creating your own little scene. All it takes is a background and some cleverly positioned die cut pieces and you are all set! And you'll realize quickly that you can put together a bunch of ornaments pretty quickly -which make terrific gifts for the papercrafting lovers in your life. Enjoy the video for step by steps on how to make the different kinds of watercolor backgrounds - and for all the details on each ornament.

To watch this video in HD click here

I began the session with a very simple one color watercolor wash. I love these washes - all of the "action" is in the details of how the paper reacts with the water and paint. The little textures of the brush strokes, and the little curls of color as the paint moves when it is wet, contribute to a unique pattern.

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The first ornament used just one color from the Gansai Tambi set from Kuretake - I just used a wet on wet technique to pull the blue paint across the watercolor paper. Don't worry if it isn't completely even - this is what makes the hand painted look so compelling!

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The Memory Box 99572 Whispering Pine Landscape makes a terrific horizon line against the sky and I used the Poppystamps 1782 Young Fox Pair for a white on white addition to the scene. All that it needed was a little embellishment in the sky, so I added some dots of white ink with a gel pen - this could be stars or little snowflakes.

When you add some foam mounting tape between the pieces, it really makes the scenes come alive with dimension. The light catches on all of the outlines and casts shadows, to make everything take on a more 3D look.

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While I was completely satisfied with my white on white look, I couldn't resist the idea of adding a bit of color to the ensemble. The white hills of the Memory Box 99853 Stitched Tree Landscape against the blue watercolor background provided a cool backdrop... to a bright red cabin! The cabin is cut out using the Memory Box 99894 Little Townhomes (keep the roof white so that it looks like there is a little bit of snow on top).

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Now, to make the ornament look more polished, I added the Poppystamps 1940 Pointed Circle Frames to all of my creations. This not only gives the scenes a nice boundary, but the dot detail on the frame looks clean and crisp. I used craft foam to add dimension to the frame - which creates a little shadow around the edges and makes it look as if you are peering through a tiny window into a fantasy world.

To make it easy, I used the Open Studio 30087 Circle Basics Set to cut out all of my watercolor backgrounds - this way they are the perfect size to work with the Pointed Circle Frames. There are circle sizes that match all of the sizes of Pointed Circle Frames, so no matter which frame you use, you will get a match.

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And I love how the colors look against the greenery - wouldn't a bunch of these look amazing on a tree?

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There is another little house you can make using the Little Townhomes die, so I tried that one out too in the same position. I think either would work - or you could create a little village on the hill with lots of little homes!

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I went on to create a two color wash - using paints again from the Gansai Tambi set. I love this set for the color intensity - it took a few layers to build this up - and the color is brilliant.

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I designed a bunch of faeries for our Poppystamps line this year and so I decided to create a faerie ornament. Couldn't you imagine a woodland Christmas tree decorated with faeries?

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The Poppystamps 1829 Large River Faerie is a great silhouette for this handmade ornament and is stunning against the pink and purple background. It was at this point that I started to get a little carried away - as the wheels turned in my head I thought, "How could I create a shaker ornament out of these projects?".

So I added some Fairy Sparkles sequins for shaking, and a few snowflakes using the Poppystamps 1931 Simple Snowflakes die!

I wanted the faerie to work with the background so I chose some bold colors of ink and sponged the faerie with Oxide inks in Wilted Violet, Broken China and Faded Jeans. The sponging is a nice contrast with the watercolor. Sponged ink creates such a smooth blend, especially with the oxides, and really stands out against the texture of the watercolor paint.

If you look closely here, you can see the brush strokes and rivers of color on the paper - there is nothing like the look of watercolor. You will love the results on these!

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I switched things up a bit on the next two ornaments - using a technique to create a crackly background in the watercolor. It is difficult to explain, so take a look at the video to see the process. Laying a piece of plastic wrap on the wet paint and allowing it to dry creates this amazing texture, and I used it for the sky on the ornament above.

To create the scene I die cut the Memory Box 99805 Snowflake Drift, so that there would be a few background trees, and then added the Poppystamps 1882 Cute Fawn. Since I die cut the trees and hill in glitter cardstock, I decided to cut the fawn in plain white cardstock, and realized that it showed up better. While you probably can never have too much glitter, it was just too hard to see the glitter fawn in front of the glitter cardstock!

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I repeated the same painting technique for this cute polar bear ornament. Look closely and you will see the overlapping lines of lavender and blue from the plastic wrap technique. For some reason, the Peerless watercolors seem to work better for the plastic wrap technique, so I used Peerless for these backgrounds.

I wanted to convey the idea of a snowy breeze in the background, so I used the Poppystamps 1736 Magnifico Flourish behind the Poppystamps 1874 Mighty Polar Bear. See what you have in your stash - sometimes a die that isn't necessarily "winter" can help convey a winter-y theme.

But this flourish die was perfect - it adds just a little swirl behind the bear - and the delicate white line of the die looks terrific on the crackly painted background.

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At this point, I was very excited about making these into shaker ornaments. So I simply added some clear plastic, which I cut out with my circle dies, and then I threw in a dash of sequins. These Mermaid Tale sequins are beautiful - you will use these on so many things! The blues and aquas in the pack go with everything!

And do you see the red and cream scarf on the bear? Check out the video to see how I transformed a tiny bit of silk ribbon into a shabby chic scarf!

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I started playing around with larger dies that would fill the ornament space as I became more excited about the process. I realized that adding a symmetrical design could look really uniform and classic inside the circular space.

The Memory Box 99802 Chancery Snowflake Outline (in gold glitter) and 99806 Chancery Snowflake (in white) are layered together over a gold and red background. The snowflake images fill the space - and since the snowflake outline die is slightly larger than the snowflake die, there is some instant dimension in the project.

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I repeated the idea again, this time in soft shades of purple and blue, but only with the Chancery Snowflake Outline. Now you are able to see that there is stitching on this die - adding some interest even if used on its own. At this point, I was beginning to assemble the ornaments and adding little loops of ribbon at the top for hanging, and so I started using our shimmer ribbon. It is a soft cotton ribbon with metallic thread woven in - sturdy and very sparkly. I used some of the Lavender Metallic ribbon for this one and it picked up all the lavender glints of color in the paint.

We are so happy with this ribbon - we sourced it from Italy and had some exclusive colors produced just for us. I am especially fond of the pale colors - the soft blues, pink, lavender and neutrals are so versatile and work on all sorts of projects. My favorites are the Ice Metallic and the Silver Metallic and I have been using them a lot - and wrapping a few special gifts with them.

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But back to the ornaments!

Now once I started painting with my metallic watercolors, things took another direction!

The Metallic Paints from Finetec really catch the light. I realized I need to add a few coats of the paint to get it on really thick - and then combined it with the Gansai Tambi paints for a slightly ombre effect. There is a trade off here - the more water you add to the paper and paint, the easier things overlap and blend together, however the color gets softer and more diluted.

I ended up using less water - in fact, I was painting dry paper - to create a really solid metallic look. Don't worry if you see little brush strokes - embrace them! Once things are die cut, they sort of fade away!

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One of our most popular dies, the Memory Box 99787 Evergreen Reindeer, is ideal for these round ornaments. I added some Scor Tape (double sided adhesive) sheets to some white cardstock and die cut it with the reindeer. The space around the reindeer falls out, so you can see the gold and green background behind.

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I covered the white cardstock with clear glitter - so the branches and deer sparkle and shine. The perfect glitter for this is from Elizabeth Crafts - it is so incredibly fine and feels like silk when you are applying it to the adhesive sheet. I used my finger to spread the glitter and make sure that all of the evergreen boughs were covered. Just add a loop of ribbon and you are all set!

Again - white on white, with a little shimmer of color is so striking.

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I switched to red and gold to warm things up - and I loved how rich and intense this color scheme became. This is a combination of the Gansai Tambi (red) and the Finetek paints (gold).

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I saved the cut out portion of the first reindeer ornament and placed it onto the red and gold background (see the video for a trick on placement). A simple dusting of white glitter adds some raised dimension to the cut out portion and you are finished. I love getting two for one projects!

The Silver Metallic ribbon is dazzling with the metallic paints - the base cotton thread is an off white color and the silver thread that runs through the weave shines.

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Here you can see that the glitter is slightly raised above the watercolor background - which adds subtle shadows to the ornament. I used Impress Sparkle Glitter for this - I wanted a glitter that was a little chunkier than the ultra fine, so that it would give a raised appearance on the ornament. I added some window plastic on the outside, so that I could have added some glitter or sequins to make this into a shaker ornament - but I didn't want to cover up any of the beautiful paint!

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And at a slightly different angle you can see the transition from metallic to plain watercolor on the background piece.

You will love the shine you get from these metallics. One thing I noticed was that the metallics did not create a new color when mixing with the red - so I tried to dilute the metallic as much as possible in the overlapping area. This way the red peeked through, with just a haze of metallic gold floating over it.

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Finally - I added one more faerie ornament to the mix! Poppystamps has a popular collection of faerie dies and putting them into winter snow scenes was easy. I cut the Poppystamps 1930 Sugarplum Faerie out of glittery white cardstock (her wings too!) and placed her onto the Memory Box 99843 Stitched Circle Trees

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I had already done a purple and pink background with the Gansai Tambi watercolors - but decided to flick the paper with some metallic paint on my brush and was delighted to see bright gold dots show up nicely on the painted background. It is as if the faerie is surrounded by twinkling lights!

A pinch of Fairy Sparkle sequins is all you need before closing the ornament up - and creating a memorable ornament with a tiny winter fairy dancing on a snowy field.

Now run to your craft area and start making these! They are a blast and so easy to put together! Before you know it, you'll have more ornaments than you know what to do with!

11/21/2017

Tue 21

How to Use Deep Edge Dies

Hello everyone!

I am sharing our brand new Deep Edge dies with you today - a specialty collection of dies that are capable of cutting deeper, and into thicker materials, than ordinary paper dies.

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They can certainly be used on paper - and I created a bunch of fun cards in the video with regular cardstock - but they can also cut through thin wood, thin metal and multiple layers of fabric. They are ideal for applique projects - you can line up the die exactly where you want on the fabric, which eliminates waste - and since they can cut up to 6 layers of fabric at once they are a real timesaver!

These dies are sturdier and stronger than regular paper dies - they are made from carbon hardened steel that stays sharper longer and can cut through a surprising number of mixed media materials.

If you use them on cardstock, they work like normal dies - but if you are trying to use them on thicker materials, I recommend the following sandwich:

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Note that the die will be cutting face down into the metal adaptor plate - these dies really cut well, so if you are running thicker material through your machine, you'll want to cut into the metal plate (this won't hurt the Deep Edge die). The metal plate will get pretty dented - so reserve a metal plate just for Deep Edge dies. Again, this is only if you are cutting material besides cardstock!

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Now lets create something! The video will show you the step by step for these projects - I love assembling these types of dies, it is like putting together a puzzle.

(Watch this in HD on Youtube by clicking here)

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This fun little guy is the 30099 Wonderland Snowman and he couldn't be more fun to assemble. This is a terrific way to use up all those little scraps of patterned paper that you couldn't throw away - I used pieces of patterned paper for the hat, arms, scarf and even the nose -and used plain old solid cardstock for the nose and eyes.

You can play around with how things are positioned - the arms could be holding something (or cheering!) - get everything in place and then glue it down. Once you;ve done your first card, you can use that as a template to make more.

I watercolored the background piece with my Peerless Watercolors and then cut it out using the super popular 30094 Wrapped Stitch Rectangles die.

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Cutting fabric is a breeze with these dies - and in the video I show you how to iron some Heat n Bond onto the fabric and then cut things out. I cut out 3 pieces at once (technically, the fabric is ironed onto the Heat and Bond, so I am cutting 6 layers at once).

The Heat and Bond is an "adhesive" - you iron it onto the back of the fabric, die cut your shape, then iron the shape onto your project. You can stitch around the edges or leave it unstitched - the Heat and Bond helps give the fabric a clean cut and stiffens the fabric for die cutting.

I am using fabric from Joanna Figueroa - she is a terrific quilting fabric designer who makes the most amazing fabrics. I love the color relationships in her designs - so timeless and happy. She even let us use her fabric design on our Deep Edge die packaging!

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Here's a onesie that I made using the 30105 Cheering Snowman - I just bought a pack on onesies from Target and was able to cut and iron the pieces onto 6 of these in less than an hour. Now I am ready for gift giving!

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I couldn't resist creating a snow globe as part of the collection! The 30108 Enchanting Snowglobe is a great base design for using in lots of different ways - the pieces can be layered and combined to create little forests surrounding a cabin or can be used with other dies to create charming scenes.

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I used Broken China, Faded Jeans and Cracked Pistachio Oxide Inks to create the frosty hued sky inside the dome - and then I layered splatters of Faded Jeans and Broken China onto the background paper. 

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I love how the 99784 Warm Christmas Wishes looks like curls of smoke coming out of the chimney - position it so that the bottom is close to the chimney and attach it an angle. 

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And how cute is this fellow?

I sponged a warm background of yellows and oranges using Fossilized Amber and Spiced Marmalade Oxide Inks before adding all the pieces to make the 30097 Snow Bunny.

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One tip is to cut everything out first and then assemble - that way you have everything on hand and ready to go, and it is easier to keep track of where things are to be placed.

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I tried him in a different color scheme here - with some more muted colors, since it was a winter themed card. (Tip - leave off the hat and he looks ready for springtime!)

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Now the 30098 Arctic Penguin is really easy to mass produce. He doesn't have nearly as many pieces as the Snow Bunny - and he takes up the whole entire card, so all you need is some fun background and the card is finished!
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I tried him out over and over - and I think I like the scarf a little higher on his body, making his face a little smaller. I layered the "rosy cheeks" behind the scarf on both versions, but you can see that making the scarf a little higher on the second version seems in better proportion to his body.

The background was splattered with Wilted Violet and Faded Jeans Oxide Inks and then cut with the 30112 Wrapped Scalloped Rectangles die for a fun border.

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Here's a version with a plain background - still fun to do and even easier!
 
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I wanted to share few more ideas from the collection - they didn't end up in the video, but I wanted to give some inspiration! This is the 30100 Snow Kitty Deep Edge die - if you are a cat lover then this large size kitty is sure to please.
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This project uses three different Deep Edge dies - the 30102 Feathered Friends , the 30107 Swooping Branches & Leaves and the 30096 Wintry Snowflakes. I designed these images to all work with each other - the designs are all open and curved, so all of the elements can be combined to create fun scenes like this, whether it is on a handmade card or a mixed media or fabric project.
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I use the other two bird designs from the 30102 Feathered Friends  Deep Edge die and perched them on branches from the 30110 Basic Forest Branches Deep Edge die.
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And how could I not create a couple of Santas?

The first one is the 30101 Jolly Old Santa Deep Edge die - his oversized design fills a card and would make a great tag, or look good on an appliqué Christmas stocking!
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And here is another Santa version - his mustache is so much fun to play with and position!

The 30103 Gleeful Santa is one of the easier designs to work with - a simple design that comes together quickly to create a cute greeting card. (Tuck a gift card in the brim of his cap!)

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I also thought some little houses could be used for lots of different things - so I designed the 30106 Mountain Village Houses Deep Edge die. This one can be used year round for all sorts of projects, but I have always liked creating little "villages" and neighborhoods on cards. 

I used a ton of scraps here and all of the textures and color creates a lot to look at - so I kept the background neutral with a simple layer cut using the 30009 Stitched Rectangle Layers die.
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I designed a second snowman - can't have too many snowmen in my opinion - and he is a winner! The  30105 Cheering Snowman Deep Edge die is so friendly and happy that you will be reaching for this one again and again. 

I added a simple trim around the background using the 30090 Scalloped Stitch Fancy Frames die - for a delicate touch.

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I couldn't forget a reindeer! Here's the 30109 Decorated Deer deep edge craft die - ready for you to wrap a few Christmas lights or ribbon around his antlers!

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He looks terrific on the onesie here - it makes such a thoughtful and sweet gift!

30109
And last- a mitten card (slip some cash inside for a quick gift) using the 30111 Warm Mitten die for all those helping hands you need to thank!

For more ideas - check out our Design Team blog posts for some wonderful ideas! Donna created an amazing mixed media ornament with the Snowglobe using cork board and watercolor paper Jean made a cute paper ornament with the birds, Anne sewed a mini quilted ornament, Jenny whipped up some Kitty ornaments, and Laura crafted an adorable Bunny out of felt. Enjoy!

11/10/2017

Fri 10

Inked Background Holiday Cards Video
by Dave Brethauer

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.

Candle1

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!

Candle6

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.

Candle7

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.

Candle10

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.

  Candle3

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.

  Candle2

Here I used some Oxide ink in Broken China and Peeled Paint - with a dab of Squeezed Lemonade in regular Distress ink for a bright glow of "light".

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.

Candle5

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!

Candle9

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.

Candle8

I used Distress Oxide ink in Fired Brick, Peeled Paint, Worn Lipstick and Vintage Photo - and you can see up close how they blend so nicely.

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!

11/01/2017

Wed 01

Winter Wonder Cards Video
by Dave Brethauer

Greetings everyone!

I was working on some sample cards in the studio over the last couple of weeks and came up with a couple of ideas that I'd like to share.

I was trying to make some projects with a very soft look to them - pastel and blurry, like what you might imagine a scene to look like on a crisp winter morning with a little fog in the air.

Close deer

Both of these projects use deer - my favorite animal! - but I have scaled them differently.

  Edited--3

My first project is a sample I featured in our Holiday 2017 video - I had a lot of requests to do a step by step video on how it is made, and so I did!

(Watch this video in HD by clicking here)

To create the soft look that I was going for, I used my Distress Oxide inks in Cracked Pistachio,  Broken China and Faded Jeans. I was careful with the amount of ink that I sponged onto the paper - adding just enough to create some soft bands of color.

Stripes

The key is to overlap the ink - I apply the color in a circular motion, over and over, a little at a time. It actually helps if your inkpad is a little dried out! That way, you don't get as much color on your sponge.

Edited--2

For the sentiment I used 99794 Sentimental Merry Christmas cut out of glittery white cardstock. I was trying to keep most of the card white, but I noticed that when I cut out the Merry Christmas in plain white cardstock it was a little, well, plain.

So I decided to use something glittery (it always works!) and now the sentiment floats on top of the scene and really stands out!

Edited--4

To create the composition, I used the 99823 Gentle Valley Oval and 99811 Gentle Horizon Oval - layered together to create a dimensional look. These two dies were designed to go with each other - of course you could use them individually, but when I created them, I made it so that one set of hills is slightly lower than the other. That way you can create some depth when layering.

There is a natural shadow that happens when you stack these together, so there is a little shading between the foreground and the background.

In the video you can see how easy it is to create the background and then fit it like a puzzle piece into place - the aqua and blue sky just slips right into place around the trees - it is so easy!

Edited-

To embellish the base of the card I used pieces of the Poppystamps 1872 Snowflake Screen to make the corners a little more interesting. Just cut the Snowflake Screen out of white cardstock and snip off a few areas to use on the card.

The base card is a Memory Box Powder notecard - it is so very pale blue, nearly white. In fact, you will probably think it is white unless you put some actual white cardstock on it! The effect is very subtle when you use a Powder notecard - but it really enhances the soft aesthetic of this handmade card.

Finally, I decided to use the Poppystamps 1886 Tiny Fawns at the bottom of the oval. They are just the right size and look like they are greeting each other on the hill!

I cut the Tiny Fawns out of white cardstock and colored them in with a Copic Marker (Brick Beige Cream copic marker) and then embellished them with a few tiny white dots on their back by using a White Opaque Pen.

Red

I had some extra materials lying on my desk so I decided to try the card in a different color scheme. I was trying to create a more "rosy" color scheme, so I sponged the background with Distress Oxide ink in Fired Brick and Worn Lipstick.

Edited--8

Since the colors were a lot warmer, I changed out the glittery white cardstock for some metallic gold - and I love how the Merry Christmas shines in the sky!

Edited--9

A quick spritz of water added some texture to the sky - and I decided to try just a solo deer. The Memory Box Cranberry notecard makes a basic background for the project - and you are done! The layer dies make this look like more work than it really is - and you could mass produce these in a flash! 

Edited--10

For my second project, I wanted to really focus on minimal color and create a faded spatter effect behind the trees. I knew that I wanted to use the 99829 Alpine Trees and the 99167 Valley Deer Trio, so all I had to to do was figure out how to make the dark ink fade perfectly to white in the background.

Edited--11

Iced Spruce turned out to be the perfect Oxide Ink for this effect - the gray is a little bit blue and green, and when I spritzed it with a little bleach solution (2 cups water to 1 tablespoon bleach), I could achieve the effect I was going for. You can see in the video that you want to start the sponging low on the card, behind the trees, and then fade the color out toward the top.

When I applied it to the paper, I tried to create sort of a pointed "blob" area that would mimic the outline of the trees. My goal was for that color to fade around the trees, so that the color appears to be only positioned behind the treeline. The edges of the ink were good, but not perfect. 

But a spritz of the bleach solution, centered towards the top of the sponged area, faded the edges of the ink beautifully!

Edited--12

I tried the inked area in a couple of different positions on the card- and it turned out that it still looked great even if you didn't keep the ink directly behind the trees. 

It really is a mesmerizing effect - it reminds me of looking at the forest when the snow is falling really hard. All you can see is some shadow - and the rest of the sky is filled with white. 

Edited--13

I realized that a little color would help the composition, so I cut the Valley Deer trio out of an off white cardstock and sponged them ever so gently with Distress Oxide ink in Vintage Photo.

I sponged them so that most of the color was at the top of their bodies - which naturally kept their stomach and legs a little lighter. Simply add a few white dots from a white opaque pen and they are ready to be used on the project! 

I hope you'll try creating your own soft and subtle projects - the soft pastel color is the star here! I hope you are inspired to make your own winter pastel project!

10/21/2017

Sat 21

Fabulous Snowy Sky Video by Dave Brethauer

Well, hello all you Memory Box fans!

I am so happy to share a video with you today that will teach you a background technique you will use over and over. The results are wonderful each time - and very creative.

Move--7

I think this is one of my favorites because of this particular combination of color - the blues and purples, and then the small golden accent. This is truly beautiful in real life - you must try this so that you can see it in person!

(Watch this video in HD by clicking here)

I used Distress Oxide inks for the background - Wilted Violet, Faded Jeans and Broken China - all sponged together and overlapped. And then there is a small dab of yellow ink - Fossilized Amber - to create a little burst of light in the upper right corner.

I have been sponging backgrounds for a long time and by now, I can whip up a background in no time. To give it this bright spattered look I gave it a little spritz of water mixed with a bit of bleach. My portions change from time to time - the stronger the bleach solution, the brighter the white spots get and there is a more noticeable "halo" around the spots. Generally, I stick to a recipe of 2 cups water to one tablespoon of bleach, but you should try what suits you.

Move--6

You can see the difference between the two cards here - the card on the left has the tiny drops and the card on the right has larger drops. This is just a matter of how you use your spray bottle.

I spritz it with a spray bottle - if I squeeze quickly, then the spray comes out in tiny drops. If I squeeze slowly, then the spray comes out in larger drops. As a bonus - you will be disinfecting your craft area!

  Move--8

I used the 99834 Single Deer Oval to create the first layer - and then the 99816 Batavia Snowflake Oval for the second layer. Both of these are cut out of white cardstock, which provides a bright contrast to the colorful background. Both ovals are exactly the same size, so they line up perfectly. And if you want to add some snowflakes to the card, the 99825 Batavia Snowflakes match the snowflakes in the oval!

Move--2

In the video you will see that you have some leftover pieces - like the reindeer above. This is what is left over after you cut out the background - don't throw it out, this makes another beautiful card!

Move--3

Adding a white background, and gluing on a few sequins - you'll have another card in less than a minute!

I have designed a lot of layered dies over the years, including the tree and branch collage dies in the Faerie Cards video I made awhile ago. It is a concept that I really have had fun with as I developed Birch Press Design Dies over the last few years - layering cut paper to create intricate artwork, like I did in my Peony Blooms video. I really enjoy assembling these layers to create some dimension on cards.

Move--4

I ended up really liking the color scheme that I used for the background, so I made about a dozen background pieces, changing where I was putting the color until I came up with a composition that reminded me of the Northern Lights.

Move--5

This turned out to work perfectly with a die that I hadn't played with too much - the 99822 Sheer Treescape. This die features some cut lines to create some texture in the paper - these extra lines do not cut out a shape but rather just add some extra detail to the image.

The treescape creates a perfect border - and the "Northern Lights" jump up through the treeline. The only change here is that I added Distress Oxide Ink in Black Soot to the border to darken the edges. A spritz of my bleach and water solution added the look of stars (or snow, depending on your perspective).

Sleigh

That beautiful sky was begging for something to be flying in it - so I placed the 99606 Small Reindeer Team in the sky for fun!

I hope you will try out this background technique - the bright spatters really make the background come alive and the colors seem to intensify. These quick cards are the perfect project to try this out on. 

I really hope you have fun if you try these cards! We'd like to give you a chance to make them by entering to win 3 dies! The Sheer Treescape die, the Batavia Snowflake Oval die and the Single Deer Oval die! Just leave a comment on the video or on the blog for a chance to win. Leave comments by October 26, 2017 at midnight Pacific Coast Time!

 

10/10/2017

Tue 10

Holiday Cards That Move Video
by Dave Brethauer

Hello everyone!

Today I wanted to share a couple of interactive card ideas that hopefully will get you inspired to create some memorable holiday cards.

Like many of you, I have made A LOT of holiday cards over the years! I love handmade cards with moving elements, but I often find myself short on time to mass produce them - so they have to be simple. These projects are perfect - simple to make, but they are really fun to receive and look like you worked really hard on them!

Move-

My first project is a "pocket card" that can be used as a holder for a holiday photo. I have created lots of photo cards over the years - embellished with stamps, or ribbon or dies. But for this one, I had designed a die with this very purpose in mind!

(Watch this video in HD by clicking here)

When I created the Snowman Panel I was thinking that there would be some sort of layer behind the panel that could just slide away to reveal a new background. At the time, I wasn't sure exactly what the background would be but after playing with the die a bit in the studio, I got an idea.

Move-

So I began with the Pinpoint Rectangle set - by cutting two large rectangles I could create a "pocket" by gluing them together. But before I glued them, I cut the Snowman Panel in the front.  When you put the insert into the pocket, all you see is white.

  Move--2

But when you pull the slider piece out (I stamped the top of it with the Merry Christmas Sentiments set), then you see the background! I chose a bold red, so that the snowman would really stand out.

Move-6

I decided to dress him up just a little bit too - so I used a few shapes from the Snowman Heart Collage die to create his hat, eyes and carrot nose. I think this adds a little character on the all white background!

  Untitled-1

Here's a look at what the Snowman Heart Collage looks like all done up - I used some soft velvet paper to fill in the heart area, and various cardstock colors for his face, hat and scarf. I used the stamp set called Each Day is a Blessing for the sentiment - this set is very versatile and can be used on all sorts of cards.

Move-9

I only used a few of the elements - just the eyes, nose and hat - so that I could keep things simple!

Move--3

You can use the back of the sliding panel for a photo, a recipe or simply your holiday greeting. The person receiving the card will have so much fun moving the panel up and down.

Move-7

And here is what the slider piece looks like when it is flipped over - a cute photo card! The person who receives the card can display the photo separately from the slider pocket - it's like receiving two for one!

Move-2

Now there is another die that I designed with the same goal in mind - the Snowy Spectrum die. I created the same idea here - this time using the Stitched Rectangle Layers to create my pocket.

Move-4

I thought it might be fun to create a Distress Oxide background for this card - so I blended Wilted Violet, Broken China and Faded Denim to make a snowy wintertime background for the snowflakes. I spritzed with just a bit of water for some simple texture and that was all there was to it!

Untitled-2

I love this color scheme - a nice alternative to traditional red and green! I could embellish this a bit further - the snowflakes in the Snowy Spectrum die match the Batavia Snowflakes die - so I could cut some out and layer them on here in some sparkly white cardstock, but I decided to keep it simple.

For my second project, I was still really into slider cards, so I wanted to create a card that had that interactive element, but was still relatively simple to mass produce.

Move--8

So I used one of the Jumping Elves from the Christmas Elves Die set and  Christmas Elves Clear Stamp set and figured out a way to make him "leap" over the word Christmas. I realized that the Large Sentimental Merry Christmas was big enough for what I had in mind.
Move--8

I got out my Copic markers for some simple coloring - the elf is small so you can color him in pretty quickly! 

I had to choose the right slider die and found that the Slider Grooves set worked perfectly. It has a small curved arch that creates the perfect path for making the elf look like he is leaping! In the video, I show the basics for making a slider card - and how easy it is to get him to spin.

Move--8

To dress it up a bit, I used a Poppystamps Holly Berry Sprig die in the corner - just something simple to put a little more color onto the front of the card. I inlaid the cut out paper - green cardstock for the leaves and some sparkly red cardstock for the berries. This created just the right touch.

There are endless variations on these ideas - reindeers jumping over chimneys, polar bears hopping from igloo to igloo, the list goes on and on. What will you make?

 

09/27/2017

Wed 27

Zig Zag Slider Video by Dave Brethauer

Hello and welcome!

I am always trying to use my dies in new and different ways - and I wanted to share a new idea for working with slider dies. Sometimes these ideas do not come easy - I am always super impressed when I see designers use dies in a way that I never would have imagined - so I was excited to try this when I started thinking about connecting the paths of sliders.

This idea uses the Memory Box Slider Grooves die set to create a unique slider pathway in a zig zag shape. Take a look at the video to see how it works...

(Watch this video in HD by clicking here)

I am fascinated by interactive cards, so slider cards have been really inspiring to me lately. I received my Mechanical Engineering degree about 25 years ago and even after all this time I still gravitate a bit towards cards that have some sort of movement involved. And what better way to spend an afternoon than to play with some slider cards! (Instead of pursuing an engineering career I took up stamping, then started Memory Box, then Poppystamps and then Birch Press - and I have had a lot more fun in this creative field!) 

Ghost-(4-of-7)

I decided to apply the zig zag slider idea to a Halloween card so I used the Whimsy Ghost and the Playful Boo dies to create the scene.

When you put the ghost in the upper right corner and start to tilt the card back and forth, the ghost twirls and slides down the pathway to the bottom!

Ghost-(5-of-7)

When I designed the Whimsy Ghost die I was playing with the notion that some areas could be cut out (like the bow tie) and some areas could just be cut (like his smile). I think creating designs for craft dies has endless possibilities and every time I sit down at my desk to design I literally smile while I am drawing.

When I am creating a die design I think about how fun it will be to try out the new die, and to see what others will do with it. When I was drawing the ghost I was thinking how fun it will be to put a little dot of white ink (from a White Gel Pen) onto his eyes! That little twinkle gives him a little bit of charm - don't you think? I was thinking that he would look kind of good with a small witch's hat - and then thought the witch's hat would look good on a stamp set I was drawing at the time (the set was the Feline Spooky set in poppystamps, and the hat would be perfect on one of the cats!).

Ghost-(2-of-7)

I wanted the background for the slider card to be a little special- so before I cut the slider pathways into the black cardstock, I splattered it with metallic watercolor paint. This set of metallic watercolor paint is my favorite - a few sprinkles of this onto a card transforms the whole thing!

What is it about silver and gold on black cardstock that looks so magical and rich? I think I splattered paper for about 10 minutes before I remembered that I had other things to do!

Ghost-(3-of-7)

I love these paints - they are so bright and dense, and when you start building the color onto the black cardstock it becomes hard to stop.

I was trying to create sort of a sparkling and spooky effect - like the ghost is flying across a starry sky. But then I saw some Distress Oxide inks on my desk and...

Purpleghost

...I had to try it with a Distress Oxide background! I used Wilted Violet and Broken China with a spritz of water to create this look - a magical background with more of a twilight color scheme.

Then, I thought - well this would work as a beautiful color scheme for a winter card - and I bet a snowflake would work as the slider!

Ghost-(7-of-7)

I went through my designs and grabbed the Batavia Snowflakes and matching Batavia Stitched Snowflakes to create a winter themed slider element. The Batavia Stitched Snowflakes are slightly larger than the Batavia Snowflakes - so that when you layer them together, the result is dimensional and detailed.

I put the snowflake slider card together in a flash - and I show it in the video too as a bonus card. The snowflake spins down the zig zag pathway, just as you might expect a snowflake to drift back and forth as it settles to the earth. The Let It Snow die is a peaceful and subtle addition to the lower corner.

Ghost-(6-of-7)

I spritzed the background with a bleach and water solution - about 2 teaspoons of bleach to a cup of water. This is a little stronger than I usually use for a bleach and water solution - but I noticed something when I was playing with this solution the other day.

You will notice that where the drops hit the paper, they spread just a little into the surrounding ink and lighten it - this creates a bright spot in the middle of the splatter, which is then surrounded by a little halo of color. Can you see it on the close up above? It really shows up in the Wilted Violet area - there is a nearly white spot in the middle, surrounded by a soft blue halo of color.

I think this is really effective for snow scenes - the way this softens the colors and gives the idea of snow blurring slightly as it falls.

I hope you enjoyed today's video! Get out your slider dies and create this card! What will you come up with? 

I want to encourage your creativity so I am having a giveaway! Please leave your idea for a fun zig zag slider card in the comments section by September 30, 2017 Midnight Pacific Time. I will choose one comment at random - and that person will win a metallic watercolor set from Finetec! I can't wait to read what people come up with!

Paint