Today we will take the imprint of a stamp that has many parts or lines to it, like a map 😉, and create a final image by piecing together a variety of papers, kind of like a mosaic. This technique is fittingly known as paper piecing. The technique is much harder to describe than it is to do, so let us show you and see for yourselves!
The first thing you’ll want to do is figure out what colors or patterns you want incorporated into your final design. In our case, with the map, we thought it would be best, because of all the details that we are not cutting out, to use four solid cardstock colors.
This next step is also easy, but maybe a bit more time consuming, depending on the image you are working with. Cut out all the shapes from each of your papers, except one. The one you do not cut into pieces will act as your base later, when you put it all back together.
When you are cutting your shapes, make sure to cut them out exactly the same between papers. For example, our cutout of California should be the same shape and size in each of our cardstock colors. Essentially, we are creating a puzzle and its puzzle pieces. The pieces need to fit together for this technique to work.
The final step is to put those puzzling skills to use and assemble the paper pieced image on your base.
As a tip, we suggest playing around with the placement of your paper pieces, first, before attaching them.
And there you have it! Another stamping technique to add to your repertoire!
How are you spending your National Stamping Month? Let us know in the comments below, and, as always, happy stamping! ❤️
September is National Stamping Month, and if you know just one thing about Close To My Heart, it is that we absolutely love all things stamps!
We kicked off the month with a Slimline Celebration, made up of exclusive stamps and coordinating Thin Cuts designed especially for slimline cards. Make sure to join us on September 24 for a free virtual event where we will be putting together the cards from our Slimline Celebration workshop on our Facebook page. Find all the details, here. This is an event you will not want to miss!
As we continue our stamping celebration, we compiled 10 techniques to add to your stamping arsenal and have at the ready for your next crafting session!
1.a. FIRST-GENERATION This first one is technically not a technique, but we will put it on the list to have for comparison with the next one. You get a first-generation image when you ink your stamp and stamp it on your project. (In the video below, it is referred to as “solid stamping.”)
1.b. SECOND GENERATION A second-generation stamped image is achieved by inking your stamp, stamping it on a scratch piece of paper, and then, without re-inking, stamping your image on your project. The result is a lighter version of a “first-generation” image, because you are using the “second-generation” of ink that’s leftover on the stamp.
2. RANDOM STAMPING Use this technique to create patterned papers from our stamps and solid colored cardstock. You could take a “random” approach to this, but to insure a more visually balanced and pleasing pattern, take the random right out of the equation by using visual triangles.
Follow along with Close To My Heart President Monica Wihongi, below, as she illustrates all three of these first techniques, including how to create the visual triangles for not-so-random stamping.
3. ROCK & ROLL This technique is an oldie but a goodie! Ink your stamp in one color, then gently roll the edges, and only the edges, in another color to stamp a multicolored image! (You can also combine this technique with the second-generation technique if you want to use the same color, just in different opacities!)
4. OMBRÉ STAMPING Achieving an ombré effect, where you gradually blend one color into another, is a lot easier than you might think! Simply ink the top half of the stamp in one color and the bottom half in another color, overlapping the two colors in the middle. Then, you’re all set to stamp onto your project!
5. SHADOW STAMPING Create a shadow by stamping a second-generation version of the original image just slightly offset from the original.
6. BASE & SHADE Base and shade stamping is used to create realistic dimensions through color. There are specific stamp sets designed for this technique, where you stamp the base in a lighter color and then add the details, or the “shade,” with a darker color.
7. BACK SIDE STAMPING This technique sounds a little funny, but don’t let the name fool you! If you have a stamp that is symmetrical, or just close enough, mount the stamp on your block backwards, with the smooth side up. Ink the back of the stamp and use it to create a base before flipping the stamp over to the side with the details that you will stamp on top.
8. MASKING Place a scratch piece of paper, or a sticky note, as a mask over your project to cover the area that you don’t want stamped. Stamp your image on the project and mask, and then remove the mask.
9. TONE-ON-TONE The tone-on-tone technique is exactly what it sounds like. Use a darker tone of a color, or color family, to stamp onto your project. All of our exclusive colors can be found in Exclusive Inks™ stamp pads and our two-toned cardstock, allowing you to enjoy a full spectrum of color-coordinated products whenever creativity strikes!
10. KISSING TECHNIQUE For this technique you will need two stamps, one to act as the base image and the other to create an effect on the base image. First, ink the base stamp. Then, with both stamps mounted on blocks, press the two stamps together. The second stamp will not have ink on it and will remove some of the ink from the first stamp in its shape. After your stamps kiss, stamp your prepared base stamp on paper. Use this method to add textures and all kids of shapes or designs to your stamping! (Another way to use this method is to ink both stamps in two different colors and then have them kiss.)
BONUS** NO-LINE STAMPING This technique is great to use when you are coloring your stamped images with watercolor paints. You can easily achieve a “no-line” look by stamping your image in a light ink, like Linen. Then, use the soft color as a guide as you add the watercolor with your brush. The inked parts of the image will show up as a darker version of the paint color you are using. Move the paint around, and color in the other parts of the design, as well, and easily create beautiful watercolor images!
National Stamping Month is here! Celebrate with us in a Slimline Celebration! With so many great deals on slimline stamps and Thin Cuts metal dies, it’s bound to be one of the biggest bashes of the year!
The Slimline Celebration special includes three exclusive stamp and Thin Cuts sets, one stamp set of just sentiments, and two exclusive Thin Cuts dies, all of which have been designed specifically for slimline cards! Let’s take a closer look at all the amazing stamps and Thin Cuts available through this Slimline Celebration!
One of the stand-out stamp and Thin Cuts sets in the Slimline Celebration is the Mini Garden Gnomes set! Some of our most popular stamp sets over the past year have been from our gnome collection, and this miniature gnome set is sure to be a fast favorite.
The last stamp set included in the Slimline Celebration special is the My Acrylix® Slimline Sentiments stamp set. This set includes twice as many stamps as a normal set would have and is comprised entirely of sentiments tailored specifically for slimline cards!
These sentiment stamps include options for both vertical and horizontal cards, and look incredible no matter where they’re placed! These stamps are perfect for card fronts and interiors, alike, making them a quick, easy, and versatile option as you create your own slimline cards!
As a special treat, we’re giving away five Slimline Celebration Cardmaking Workshop Kits to five lucky readers! All you have to do to qualify for this giveaway is make sure that you’re subscribed to this blog and leave a comment below telling us about your favorite part of the Slimline Celebration special, or who you’d love to give a slimline card to! You have until noon on Friday, September 3 (MST), to subscribe and leave a comment. All winners will be notified via email (the one you are subscribed with!).
If you have yet to dabble in the world of stencil design, this is a great place to start! Even if you are a seasoned pro, maybe we’ll share something that you haven’t thought of yet. Either way, stick with us and then share with us some of your thoughts and ideas in the comment section that follows!
A stencil is a material with a cut-out design to which you apply your choice of pigment in order to transfer the design onto a separate surface. The benefits of using a stencil range from helping those of us who struggle with drawing a straight line ( ✋🏼 we’re all welcome here!) to those of us who like to create and duplicate intricate patterns, time and time again, quickly and with ease.
Stencils can be made of all sorts of materials and created in a myriad of ways. What we share here is just a sliver of the possibilities these multifaceted tools are capable of.
The very first step in stencil design is determining the product you want to use for your stencil. You can purchase ready-made stencils or create your own. If you are creating your own, consider the following information about these popular materials:
Stencil Sheets. Our stencil sheets are made from a medium weight stencil film. They can be machine cut, die cut, or paper punched and used with wet and dry applications. The see-through quality of stencil sheets, makes stencil placement easy—this is especially useful if you are layering images. Stencil sheets are the most durable way to go if you are hoping to reuse a stencil over and over again.
Cardstock. Stencils cut from cardstock have a limited use but are very economical. Placement can be tricky, however, since you can’t see through the stencil. Cardstock is great for edge stencils and positive shapes.
VellumPaper. Vellum stencils work a lot like those cut from stencil sheets, but with one major drawback. These can only be used for dry applications and cannot be washed off. They are also not as durable as stencil sheets.
TIPS FOR USING MACHINE-CUT STENCILS
1. Get the most out of machine-cut stencils by choosing layered shapes. Always keep all of the negative pieces and store them together with the stencil. You never know when you may want to use one of these pieces for additional texture, color, or dimension in your art.
2. Use the contour feature (in Cricut Design Space™) to make multiple stencils from a single image. Block out different parts of the image for each of the different stencils. This will allow you to create unique designs, but also to easily separate colors in different sections of the image if you want to use the stencils together, like we did with the two flower cards you see here.
3. Use basic shapes to weld images onto and to restructure shapes for easier stenciling. To create the cloud stencils, above, we welded cloud shapes (#M418DFA) onto a rectangle base. If your shapes don’t quite cover the size “base” you need or want, remember that you can easily duplicate and resize your shapes to make them work. When you are using a stencil like this one, move it around on the page as you add the color, or flip it over and use the back, to create variety from the one stencil pattern.
TIPS FOR USING DIE-CUT STENCILS
4. Just like we suggested for machine-cut stencils, keep both the positive and negative pieces that are made when you cut a stencil from a Thin Cuts die. They may be used for different looks and effects.
5. Create stencils from stamp coordinating Thin Cuts, too! You can use these alone or to add dimension to a stamped image.
The butterfly above was sponged with color then stamped. Use these sorts of stencils directly on your projects or cut them out, like we did here.
6. Make letter and word stencils out of stencil sheets. You want these to be as durable as possible because these generally get used a lot.
7. Keep the separate letters of favorite “words” together in a storage envelope for quick access. Make sure to keep the negative space pieces as well. Take a look at the letters “a,” “p,” and “o,” below. Easily attach these to your stencil with a small amount of adhesive tape to have ready to place and use when needed.
8. Explore different media to use with your stencils.
If you use alcohol markers, these can bleed slightly past your stencil image, as you see in the red Y. Metallic markers are another option. These work especially well on darker papers (see the Y on black cardstock). For a more textured look, consider heat embossing. Using embossing ink pens, like on the Y on the blue cardstock, you can have a more controlled inking experience, like you would with a marker. Use your stencils to create dimensional, shadow effects, too. In the case of the Y on the green cardstock above, we used the negative stencil shape to color in a black shadow with a journaling pen, then attached a die-cut paper Y on top, slightly offset.
TIPS FOR USING SPECIALTY INKS WITH STENCILS
9. Achieve a subtle shadow, watermark-type look by using embossing ink with your stencils. You can dab the VersaMark™ ink pad straight through your stencil and onto your art, or have a more controlled inking experience using embossing ink pens.
Of course, you can use a shimmer brush directly on your artwork, too, without squeezing out the ink, for a brushed on ink effect. It will look different than the pounced-with-a-sponge look. Similarly, you can also use a waterbrush to brush on the Exclusive Inks™.
Now that we’ve given you a few tips on how to make and use stencils, let’s explore a few ideas on how to store them. In the video below, our Creative Arts Manager, Karen, shares several tips:
Stencils are a great way to quickly and easily add dimensional elements and general pizzazz to artwork. Do you use stencils? Let us know in the comments below how you incorporate this versatile tool in your art!
One of the most satisfying feelings for a memory keeper is to see beautiful scrapbook pages come together. These pages not only provide a fulfilling creative outlet, but also serve as backdrops for some of our most cherished life moments. For an easy, elevated scrapbooking experience, Close To My Heart provides exclusive gorgeous products in convenient workshop kits, ensuring you can have a worthy place to tell and share your stories!
Our scrapbooking workshop kits come with materials to create three breathtaking coordinating 12″ x 12″ two-page layouts, including easy-to-follow instructions embedded with artistic tips and techniques to help you along the way! Grab your photos, trimming tools, and a journaling pen, along with a few optional additional supplies, and you’ll have everything you need to preserve your memories on beautiful, detailed scrapbook pages!
All of our scrapbooking workshop kits include patterned papers and stickers, a few sheets of coordinating cardstock, exclusive die-cuts designed especially for the workshop, and an additional accessory.
Our Isabella scrapbooking workshop kit, for example, comes with adorable die-cuts designed for a mediterranean, summertime feel. With these too-cute citrus, title, and background pieces, the layouts in the Isabella scrapbooking workshop are an absolute joy to create!
Because many of the pieces included in our workshop kits come in easy, punch-out die-cut sheets, there is minimal cutting required to complete the workshop’s layouts. This makes our scrapbooking kits ideal for all scrappers, and hopeful scrappers, who don’t have the luxury of time to create beautiful pages for their photos.
Along with die-cuts, you will love the included accessory that is often an exclusive product for our workshop kits! If we continue with the Isabella scrapbooking workshop kit as our example, you will see that this exclusive accessory comes in the form of acrylic shapes. These shapes include a few of the designs from the Isabella paper collection, itself, and a few additional designs that aren’t available anywhere else.
Additionally, every one of our scrapbooking workshops features a specific crafting technique to help you maximize your creativity and add a little flair to your artwork! For instance, the Isabella scrapbooking workshop kit guide includes step-by-step instructions on how to implement ink pad sponging for a little extra pop of color, as you can see here.
With so much crafting potential all in one place, it’s no wonder that crafters and memory keepers everywhere love our scrapbooking kits! If you have any memories you’d love to document with this or any of our other workshop kits, let us know in the comments below! Happy scrapping!
How is it the middle of August already? Bells will ring, announcing the start of a new school year, and students and teachers, alike, will be back in the thick of it all before we know it!
Our teachers give so much of themselves, year after year. As our children prepare to return to fill their classrooms, let’s add to their supply lists a small gift of appreciation and encouragement!
We’ve got three simple projects for you and your kiddos to work on and bring to your teachers on that momentous first day.
First, we have a fun twist on the traditional school apple.
Did you know that, back in the 1700s, some families would give teachers a basket full of apples as payment for their child’s education? Now-a-days, the gifting of apples (or an apple) shifted from attempted compensation to a kind gesture of appreciation.
We’ve got a delicious variation of this popular gift with these gorgeous paper apples.
You will need three different color/pattern papers for the body of the apples, another paper for the leaf, and another for the tag (if you choose to add a tag). You will also need a pencil (cut down to 6″), adhesive, and twine.
We used a combination of shapes from our Art Philosophy Cricut® collection and free shapes available through Cricut Design Space™ to cut the pieces you see here. (School Apple Cricut Design Space™ file.) If you don’t have a cutting machine, we kept the shapes fairly simple so they could be recreated by hand. We recommend making the apple shape first, on a scratch piece of paper, and then using this as a template to trace and hand trim the six apples needed for the 3-D apple shape.
Once you have all of your shapes cut, fold the apple pieces along the score lines and attach them to each other, as shown above. (For those of you who cut these shapes by hand, there should be two score lines in the middle of each, approx. ⅜” apart.) Before attaching the last two wedges together, closing the circle, glue the pencil inside the “core.”
Embellish the apple with a leaf and a tag and then it’s ready for school!
Dressed up sticky notes is another fun way to show your teachers a little love. You know they will use sticky notes throughout the school year, so why not add a little flair and present them as gift?
To make one of these, you will need a 3″ x 3″ sticky note pad, one sheet of cardstock for the base of the holder, hook and loop dots (aka velcro dots), adhesive, and any type of embellishment you wish to add to the inside or outside of the base.
Use this Design Space file to cut the long, scalloped and scored rectangle cardstock piece you see here. (If you are cutting it by hand, the rectangle is 3¼” x 8½” and has score lines at 2⅛”, 2⅝”, 5⅞”, 6⅜” from the bottom.) Once you’ve cut and scored the cardstock, this project is pretty intuitive. First, attach the note pad to the center of the cardstock. Next, fold the pieces up and around the note pad. Then, embellish the top of the holder however you’d like, and finish by adding a hook and loop pair for the closing.
The last diy gift of appreciation we’re showing you today is actually a gift box for you to make and then fill with small goodies.
To make one of these boxes you will need two sheets of cardstock or pattern paper (that’s if you’d like for the box insert and sleeve to be different colors or designs), adhesive, and embellishments of your choice.
Use this Design Space file to cut the necessary shapes. (If you don’t have a cutting machine and would like to make a gift box, use this link to learn how to make one similar to the one shown here.)
Fold the cut paper along the score lines and attach them with adhesive to create the sleeve and box insert. Decorate the top of the box with additional papers, the teacher’s name, and other embellishments, and then fill it with goodies you know your teacher would like (tissues, lotion, hand sanitizer, a gift card, candies, etc.). That’s it!
Now, let’s show our teachers some love and encouragement this upcoming school year by letting them know, even in small ways, that we see and recognize their hard work and dedication.
In the comments below, we’d love to hear what you’re doing to show your teachers how much you appreciate them. ❤️
As memory keepers, we love telling our favorite stories and expressing all the feeling behind the happy smiles in our most beloved photos. When it comes to storytelling through scrapbooking, it’s important to be able to capture all the layers of your story, delving deeper than the basic “where,” “when,” and “what” descriptions of your photos.
With the Story by Stacy™ program, memory keepers of all experience levels can practice the art of storytelling. Today, we’re taking a closer look at the Stacy’s Stories I Love program, showing just how easy it can be to record a meaningful and in-depth account of your favorite memories!
With a Stories I Love workshop kit, you start out by gathering between 5 and 10 of your favorite photos (preferably 4″ x 6″) to work with. These photos do not have to follow a specific theme; one of the key points of this storytelling exercise is to learn how to tell individual, stand-alone stories and get into the meaningful details of those memories. The closing page of your finished Stories I Love album spells it out beautifully,“These pictures belong together only because I love them.”
Your next step is to select or take a current photo of yourself. Identifying yourself as the storyteller can be very empowering, especially if you find that you don’t always make an appearance in the photos and memories you choose to scrapbook. This photo will be added to the closing page of your finished album.
As you continue on with the Stories I Love process, you’ll turn to your workbook to help you identify and uncover the various layers of the stories you want to capture. Select one photo to start your album, and then turn to your Stories I Love workbook to see an example of how you can delve deeply into your story and tell it in a way that really brings it to life.
Once you’ve had a chance to look at the provided example and familiarize yourself with the process, you’ll be able to follow it with your own photos and stories. We recommend writing out the entire story at least once before recording it on your Stories I Love story pages, although you may want to do this multiple times as you progress through the editing process. If you’re crafting with other people, consider reading your story aloud to them, or just to yourself if you’re creating your album alone. Good writing is also good reading, so reading your story aloud can be an invaluable step as you continue to craft your story!
After you’ve finished drafting your first story, it’s time to assemble your first story and photo pages! For the story pages, you’ll want to select either a grid-lined or blank side of the provided story pages. While using your personal penmanship to record your stories can add a nice touch to your album, there’s nothing wrong with typing and printing it out, especially for longer recollections.
Each of your photo pages should feature as single photo and can be embellished with the selection of stickers included in the Stories I Love workshop kit. Your kit also includes nine 5½” x 6″ White Daisy cardstock pieces to provide a layered background for your photos. Your Stories I Love workshop gives examples of various patterns you can follow as you assemble your photo pages, although you’re free to come up with your own patterns as well! If you find that your stories require more than a single photo, one fun idea is to incorporate Flip Flaps™ Memory Protectors™ to add more pictures and additional context to your story.
The last step of a Stories I Love workshop is to assemble your entire album, putting together your story and photo pages in the provided Memory Protectors and assembling your closing page. Once you’ve completed your album, it’s time to share your stories!
A Stories I Love album is a great start for new memory keepers who are just starting to discover scrapbooking, or for more experienced veterans who want a storytelling refresher. No matter what your experience with scrapbooking and memory keeping is, the Stories I Love workshop kit as an excellent exercise to help you find your inner storyteller!
For even more crafting fun, we’re giving away three Story by Stacy™ Holiday Stories I Love kits to three lucky readers! To qualify as a potential winner, you must be subscribed to this blog and leave a comment below telling us about a story you’d love to document with Stories I Love by no later than 4 p.m. Thursday, August 5 (MDT) . (Winners will be contacted via email, so make sure your email address is up to date!)
We can’t wait to see all the amazing stories you have to share!
One of the quickest and simplest ways to dress up your artwork is to add a unique Thin Cuts die-cut (or a few) to the mix! Our Thin Cuts metal dies are easy to use and produce gorgeous die-cuts time and time again. Let’s look at some of the more unique Thin Cuts from our July–August catalog and explore the various ways to use them to maximize creativity!
These dies make an impression all on their own, but when you pair them with the intricate patterns in the accompanying Isabella—Cardmaking stamps, it takes them to a whole new level! Combining these stamps and the larger dies results in dimension that literally bursts off the page. When you create with these dies and stamps, you can either stamp on the die-cut after it’s been cut out of the paper, or you can stamp on paper and then use the Thin Cuts to cut your image. It’s completely up to you!
Next, let’s take a look at the Isabella—Scrapbooking Stamp + Thin Cuts set. A few of the floral stamps and dies in this set have been specifically designed to layer over each other for greater dimension within these images. This results in more metal dies, but with our magnetic carrier sheets, you’ll never have to worry about losing a piece.
With these duplicated stamp images and die-cut outlines, you can easily combine them for a more dimensional image, larger image clusters, or you can use them separately for even more floral fun! To get the most out of these stamps and Thin Cuts, we recommend attaching them with 3-D foam tape.
The last die we’re looking at is the Butterfly Background Thin Cuts. This fun, stand-alone die yields an intricate image with a variety of delicate stitched butterflies and floral cut-outs. Because this die includes so many small or delicate pieces, you may find that you have a few left over at the end of your project, but don’t throw them out! You can always save the smaller pieces as accents to use in other projects whenever you’re looking for a unique embellishment.
One of our favorite ways to use this die is to cut several layers in various colors, patterns, or textures and allow them to peek through the cut-out portions, while leaving the larger stitched butterflies at the forefront. This die even allows for the butterflies to have lifted wings, bringing your artwork to life!
For a more in-depth look at how you can maximize the Thin Cuts and stamps showcased above, check out this video, where our Creative Arts manager, Karen Pedersen, takes you through her creative process with each of these dies and stamp sets!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this highlight of a few of our more unique Thin Cuts! If you like what you’ve seen here today or have some ideas of how you’d like to use the dies and stamps, leave us a comment below!
We are returning to one of our happy places this month by bringing back some of our most magical products and two new workshop kits, all at 20% discounted prices!
With vibrant colors, delightfully whimsical patterns, and a wide selection of coordinating items, the Return to the Happiest Place collection is a must have, as so many of you already know! If you missed out on any of these dreamy products last summer, or wish you got more of them, now is your chance to stock up and save!
And, because no one likes a sequel that is exactly the same as the original, we are offering two new workshop kits this time around to sweeten the magic!
Let’s take a VIP tour!
1. Happiest Place Paper Packet + Sticker Sheet
Our first stop is the Happiest Place Paper Packet + Sticker Sheet. This packet comes with twice as many patterned papers than the packets in most of our other collections, with 12 sheets—two each of six double-sided 12″ x 12″ designs!
Along with this awesome paper count, the coordinating sticker sheet in this collection is full of eye-catching silver glitter foil accents!
2. Happiest Place Coordinating Cardstock
The Happiest Place Coordinating Cardstock also comes in a pack of 12 sheets, including six sheets with silver foil patterns on one side designed especially with the collection’s theme in mind.
3. Happiest Place Acrylic Shapes
Looking to add even more dimension to your projects? The Happiest Place Acrylic Shapes coordinate perfectly with the magical patterns in this collection and make a great addition to any card or scrapbook layout!
4. Happiest Place Stamp + Thin Cuts
They say, “a dream is a wish your heart makes, when you’re fast asleep.” Well, wake up and dream no further! Next, on our tour, we have the Happiest Place Stamp + Thin Cuts set. The dies in this set make creating your own dimensional accents from this fanciful coordinating stamp set even easier!
After downloading the image files, resize them, remove layers, and much more with your chosen software, and then cut the shapes with your personal digital cutting machine. These files can be used to cut paper for your cards and layouts, and they can also be used to cut vinyl to create one-of-a-kind album covers!
6. Happiest Place Cut Above® Kit
Use the materials in this kit to create the pages of an 8½” x 11″ album—an opening page, a closing page, and seven two-page layouts. No fussy-cutting required!
The Happiest Place Cut Above® Layout Kit includes pre-printed base pages, exclusive die-cuts, pre-cut pieces, and instructions to guide you through every step of the way! No cutting or stamping necessary. Just pair this kit and your memories with a journaling pen, photos, and some adhesive!
7. Return to the Happiest Place Scrapbooking Workshop