Making handmade cards is one of my favorite pastimes. Each card is a blank canvas, a new beginning, a place where I can combine bits and pieces of painted and textured paper, stamped images, and a whole plethora of other things, to create something beautiful. Autumn is one of those seasons that I especially love creating handmade cards to send to friends and family and let them know that I am thankful for them. I am going to begin this series of posts at the ending, assembling some beautiful handmade cards, then I will add additional posts doing tutorials for the different techniques I used to make up each element used.
My studio is a wonderful place filled with all things creative! I have drawers and bins filled with handmade papers, baskets holding twine, banners, tags and such, collections of embellishments for every season, including holidays and birthdays, and of course beach themed everything! Ribbon hangs from wire baskets lining the wall, and there are cabinets filled with stamps and punches, seashells and fabric, jewelry supplies and tools, and a wide assortment of different mediums to play with. As glorious as this all is for me, it can be overwhelming when you start on a project. When I decided to make these cards to feature on the blog, I thought it would be fun to pick a color palette and start fresh. Realizing that it was going to be closer to a book than a blog post, I decided to do a series of posts instead. All of the techniques used are easily transferable to other art projects. My hope is that these posts will spark your imagination and inspire you to make cards to let those special people in your life know how much they are loved.
With this first post I will feature how to heat emboss stamped images to use as a focal point for your cards. Then we'll paint in the images with mica watercolors, and assemble the cards. Follow along with me and please don't hesitate to ask questions if you have them.
Heat embossing rubber stamped images is so easy and the effects are wonderful. Ranger makes a beautiful product called Super Fine Detail Gold Embossing Powder. You begin by stamping your image onto a clean surface, usually cardstock. I like to use a VersaMark Watermark Ink Pad when I am heat embossing. It can be a bit tricky because it is hard to see the image you've stamped, but the open time of the ink is good, which means it doesn't dry quickly, so you have plenty of time to stamp multiple images, coat them with embossing powder and heat emboss them. After stamping, shake some of your embossing powder over the leaves, then gently maneuver the paper around working to coat all of the images. Shake the excess powder onto a clean sheet of paper. Use a paintbrush to get off the powder that doesn't tap off. Now fold the sheet with the excess powder and carefully refill the bottle with it. Next it's time to apply the heat using the embossing heat tool. It's so much fun to watch the colors transform into metallic gold! Hold the heat tool a couple of inches from the paper and watch as the powder melts and raises. Be careful to not hold the heat tool too close or for too long in one area, because you might scorch the paper. Caution! This can be addicting!
I like to paint the stamped images before I cut them out because it is easier to handle them. Choose your palette of mica watercolors and then spritz a tiny bit of water in each jar. You can also use regular watercolors for this. Mix the water and paint until it's a smooth consistency. You don't want it to be too watery. Tap off some of the paint from the brush on the edge of the jar, so you only apply a small amount at a time. Next, paint the leaf using the different colors and blending them. When it dries, cut it out and you're ready to make your card.
I begin by assembling the different items I want to include on my card. I like to use the 8.5 x 11" cardstock cut in half to make two 8.5 x 5.5" pieces for the cards. Next we will emboss the edge of the card using an embossing machine and embossing folder.
Line up the folder with the short edge of the cardstock, then run it through your embosser. Now, fold card in half and burnish the crease. Measure the area of the card front that isn't embossed and cut your first layer to fit there. I keep several types of adhesive handy. Those pictured are my favorites. The double sided adhesive (red roll) is great for heavy duty jobs. I used that to put down the first layer that is made with the alcohol ink and embossing powder because the paper got slightly rippled and I want it to lay flat.
Add the tape to the back, burnishing it down, and peel off the red backing. I find it easiest to use a small blade to lift up the corner, separating the backing from the adhesive. Place the inked paper on the card. Next I taped a rectangular piece of embossed card stock to the front. I then used the rice paper to make the fan shaped accent, cutting a piece approx. 1 x 7" and carefully folding it into the fan shape. Affix some double stick tape to the back to hold the folds in place and adhere it to the card. Attach your leaf artfully on top of that with a raised glue dot. Curl up a bit of gold wire and place it under the leaf sticking it to the glue dot. Finally add your sentiment. I printed the words thankful, grateful and blessed out on cardstock and the layered them with the rusty colored cardstock and rice paper. Now you have a lovely handmade card to give to someone special! Happy Thanksgiving!