Today’s post is an extra special treat! We’ve asked the talented Chari Pack, founder & CEO of Persnickety Prints, to share with you some tips for taking better photos on our phones. Whether we’re promoting our businesses, taking photos for our scrapbooks, or just posting to social media, these tips are sure to take our phone photography to the next level!
Whether you’re digitizing photos with your phone or snapping pictures of your latest project, these tips will make a big difference for taking lay-flat photos.
1. Find Natural Light (no flash)
Lighting is everything! Find natural light next to a window. Avoid direct light, and use curtains to soften the photo when necessary.
2. Avoid Distracting Backgrounds
Avoid wood tables with grain, do not use the carpet or a distracting counter top. Use a clean background to focus on the subject and make it pop! Use a plain white poster board or colorful paper as the background.
3. Take Advantage of Grid Mode
Use the grid tool on your smart phone to level a lay-flat photo! Align the cross hairs to level the phone, and snap!
For iPhone: settings > camera > grid > on
For Android: settings > varies by phone
A few more….
4. Remove Unwanted Glare Scrapbook pages in page protectors may result in a distracting glare. Remove the layout from the page protectors and set them on top to take the photo.
5. Do a Quick Edit! After taking a photo, take 30 seconds to edit it! A quick auto enhance makes all the difference.
6. Try Different Angles
Capture fine details by changing your angle. In this photo I focused on the butterfly to show the dimension of the page. Tap the screen to focus and slide up and down to adjust exposure.
Now, get your projects off the shelf and take photos of them to share and inspire others. You’re creating art, we want to see it!
Thanks, Chari, for the great tips!
Close To My Heart is proud to recommend Persnickety Prints as a trusted photo lab for quality photo prints.Our commitment to memory keeping means we strive to provide products of the highest quality that will last. Persnickety Prints shares that same mission with all their photo processing and with their new Persnickety Box app. Every order is assessed, optimized, hand-printed, and quality checked. You already use the best products to tell your story—be sure that you have the best quality photos, too!
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!
Great crafting from scratch is all about finding a cohesive way to incorporate various elements into a project. Adding a Cricut® shape to your artwork is a quick and simple way to elevate the aesthetic of your artwork, and to make this easier than ever, we’re going to show you a few ways to create a little mix and match Cricut action for your projects, using a handful of shapes from the Stars & Sparklers collection and the adorable papers, stickers, and shapes from the Hillside Cottage suite!
To supplement the paper collections in our bi-monthly catalogs, we’ve partnered with Cricut® to create a coordinating collection of shapes for each suite! These mini Cricut collections are designed to pair seamlessly with the patterns and designs in the papers, stickers, Picture My Life™ pocket cards, and stamp sets that make up the paper suite itself.
The Stars & Sparklers and Hillside Cottage paper collections are available now in our July–August catalog. Click here to check out all the amazing papers, stickers, stamps, and Cricut shapes included in these exclusive suites (along with all the other amazing products available in this catalog 😀).
Now, let’s take a look at a few fun combinations that we created through this fusion of Stars & Sparklers Cricut® shapes and various components of the Hillside Cottage suite!
To start things off, we took the “good TIMES” title and a handful of flowers from the Stars & Sparklers Cricut collection and cut them out of coordinating cardstock from the Hillside Cottage collection.
Similar to the scrapbook page above, this “We Are Family” layout also includes a few of the Stars & Sparklers flowers, and with these scattered throughout the pages alongside the Hillside Cottage patterns, stickers, and shapes, it’s easy to create beautiful artwork and make it unforgettable!
For an absolute treat of a card, we paired the ice cream cone from the Stars & Sparkles Cricut collection with the few Hillside Cottage patterned papers and coordinating cardstock. This sweet card is a great example of how an everyday Cricut shape can be paired with a few papers for a gorgeous finished effect!
Even a simple shape can be a great way to dress up your crafts—just check out the awesome texture on this cone!
For this last card, we took the cute pick-up truck from the Stars & Sparklers Cricut collecion, layered all the pieces on top of a few strips of Hillside Cottage paper, and finished it off by filling the truck bed with a beautiful Hillside Cottage floral sticker! We’re left with a whimsically beautiful card that can be created in minutes!
With a little bit of time and some outside-the-box thinking, it’s easy to create gorgeous cards in minutes when you get creative with your Cricut® shapes! By mixing and matching the Stars & Sparklers Cricut truck shape with the Hillside Cottage suite, we ended up with a beautiful card, where the pieces pair so well, it looks like they were made for each other!
Even though our kit-coordinated Cricut® collections are designed with specific paper collections in mind, they’re incredibly versatile and can be used with any paper suite! As you can see, the sky’s the limit when it comes to what you can do with Cricut shapes!
Do you have a favorite Cricut® collection? Leave a comment below to tell us which one, and how you love to use it!
If you’re looking for a quick, easy, and beautiful way to scrapbook your photos, then we’ve got just the thing to make that happen!
A little while back, we shared a speedy scrapbooking technique that we called the 3-2-1 Formula to make 10 6″ x 8″ two-page layouts. Since it’s national scrapbooking month, we decided to pair this speedy scrapbooking method with the exclusive You Are Enough collection and share with you our gorgeous results!
(Click on the individual images to enlarge.)
Now, let’s revisit the steps to making this album! As the name implies, this is a formulaic project. That means that you will follow a simple formula to cut all of your patterned paper and then assemble your layouts. As you will see, you will continue to have a lot of creative freedom to add your own flair to each of your pages. No two albums will look the same, unless you make them that way intentionally.
*If you are not familiar with Close To My Heart products, all of our cardstock and patterned papers come in a 12″ x 12″ format, and that is what we will be using to make this project.
Step 1: Creating Base Pages. The very first thing we cut are base pages, from the White Daisy cardstock. From 10 sheets, you should be able to get 20 6″ x 8″ pieces.
Step 2: Cutting Patterned Paper. Before measuring and cutting anything, trim all the zip strips from each of the patterned paper sheets. The zip strip is the extra ½” accent paper along the top of each Close To My Heart patterned paper sheet. Cut each of these in half and set them aside. Next, cut the remaining 12″ x 12″ paper in half, to 6″ x 12″. Here’s where the 3-2-1 comes into play. Cut these two half sheets of patterned paper into strips of 3″ x 6″, 2″ x 6″, and 1″ x 6″.
(Half of this example is showing what the pattern is on the back side of this sheet. Each one of our patterned papers has a double-sided coordinating design, for additional creative flexibility.)
Step 3: Creating Photo Mats from Cardstock. For a more polished look, we like to add photo mats behind most, if not all, of our photos. That is what we make with the four sheets of coordinating cardstock.
Cut each cardstock sheet into six 6″ x 4″ rectangles. You should have a total of 24 when you are done. If you’d like to have a few 3″ x 4″ mats, simply cut these in half. Please note that the photos you will be mounting on these mats will have to be trimmed down a ¼” in both height and width to fit.
Step 4: Putting It All Together. You’re going to need a bit of space for this part, so make sure to clear your table or a place on your living room rug or somewhere else you can keep your project safe. Lay out all 20 White Daisy cardstock base pages. Next, distribute the strips of patterned paper and cardstock mats. Each page should get one 4″ x 6″ photo mat, or two 3″ x 4″ mats, and one strip of each size, 3″, 2″, and 1″. If you’d like for the pages that will be facing each other in your album to match, keep that in mind as you distribute your papers. Lastly, decide how you want to attach these pieces to your pages and get to it! Move the components around until you are happy with your pages. Experiment with different arrangements and consider whether you want 3″ x 4″ or 4″ x 6″ photo mats on your layouts, or a combination of both.
Step 5: Embellish! Using coordinating embellishments, add your finishing touches!
If you like our finished album and would like to recreate it using our same papers and embellishments, make sure to get your You Are Enough papers, cardstock, and butterfly sequins while you still can! This collection is only available while supplies last and it has been flying off our shelves, fast! If you want to make an album like this using other papers and embellishments, that’s completely okay, too! The beauty of the 3-2-1 technique is that it can be used with any coordinating papers and embellishments you like.
As we begin to wrap up another National Scrapbooking month, we hope you enjoy creating scrapbook pages that you love and that best suit your photos and memories!
Layered stamping is a wonderful way to expand your creative skills and improve as a crafter! This type of stamping isn’t limited to simply plunking down one stamp on top of another—there are a wide variety of techniques you can use to achieve different outcomes. Today, we’ll be showing you a few layered stamping tips and techniques with the gorgeous stamps from our Mothers Are the Best special.
If you’re new to layered stamps and how to use them in your artwork, one of the first things you’ll want to practice is how to align the various coordinating stamps for clear, precise images. Coordinated layered stamps are usually designed with one solid, base piece for color distribution, and one detailed piece.
In these Mothers Are the Best stamp sets, you can see the dark-colored base pieces alongside the detailed pieces. In order to create a layered stamp image, you need to align these pieces, preferably with all the details lined up with the solid color portions (our equivalent to coloring inside the lines). This is where our clear acrylic blocks come in clutch!
Having a clear line of sight for stamp placement is a lifesaver when it comes to layered stamping. Whenever you decide to incorporate a layered stamp image into your artwork, we recommend doing a couple practice runs on a piece of scratch paper before stamping on your actual project. Once you feel confident with layered stamping, it’s a great way to spice up your crafting projects! For even more layered stamping fun, check out these five tips and techniques and learn how to get the most out of your layered stamp sets!
1. Stamping Layers in Different Colors
When using layered or coordinating stamps, one way to get a more precise image is to stamp using the darkest color first. It may seem logical to always stamp the base (or solid portion) of your image first, but if you’ve decided to use a darker color for the details stamp, stamping that image first will make it easier for you to see where to place every other stamp for precise alignment.
In this example, you can see how the flower has been created by stamping the details in a darker color first and then, using these more visible lines for alignment, the lighter base.
If you don’t want to use two different colors, you can also incorporate second-generation stamping on either your base or details stamp.
To achieve a second-generation image, you ink your stamp and then stamp it on a scratch piece of paper. Then, without re-inking the stamp, you stamp the image on your project. This lighter impression is a second-generation image.
In the example, you can see how this technique has been used to create a perfectly aligned leaf, with first-generation details and a second-generation base!
2. Embossing the Top Layer
This technique is pretty basic but incorporating it into your artwork can make a real splash!
(Tip: To ensure that extra embossing powder doesn’t stick to your project where it doesn’t belong, use an Anti-static Pouch to rub the area you want to emboss before stamping with VersaMark™ ink.)
3. Using Just One Layer
Many stamps you’d use for a layered image are designed to fit together, but one way you can maximize your use of these sets is to use just one of the stamps in your artwork.
On the bag pictured, we’ve used the details portion of the leafy stamp to create leaf outlines, providing a beautiful addition to the Peacock flower and complementing the rounded edges of the tag and circle.
You can also use individual stamps from a layered set to create your own personalized background.
See how we created a subtle leafy background to complement the project as a whole? It’s simple enough to be an effective background element but does a great deal to tie the entire piece together.
4. Second-generation and Kissing Stamping Techniques
A real stand-out stamping technique for layered sets is second-generation kissing.
For this technique, first mount your base stamp and a details stamp on two separate blocks. Then, ink your base stamp and stamp it on a piece of scratch paper. Without inking the details stamp, gently press the two stamps together (muah! 😘) and then separate them. When you take the two stamps apart, you will find that the un-inked stamp removed ink from the inked one in the design of its impression.
After your stamps’ “kiss,” stamp your prepared inked base stamp on your project for a beautiful subtle image! (For a darker image, skip the part where you stamp on a scratch piece of paper.)
5. Second-generation and Rock & Roll Stamping Techniques
Another technique that’s a knockout with layered stamps is the combination of second-generation stamping with the rock & roll technique.
This technique requires you to, once again, ink your base stamp and stamp it on a piece of scratch paper. After you’ve completed this step, carefully roll the edges of the stamp on the stamp pad again—you can mix things up and use a different color, even, for this rolling part. Once your stamp is inked, stamp it on your project.
When you stamp your rolled second-generation base image, you’ll be left with a flawless fade from saturated color at the edges of the image to a softer, lighter hue toward the middle.
Incorporating layered stamping techniques like these into your artwork is an excellent way to elevate the quality of your artwork, all while being a ton of fun! Did any of these techniques stand out to you? Leave a comment below to tell us about your favorite technique from this post!
Follow along with us, today, as we give you an inside scoop into our creative process for designing and creating embellishment clusters of your own!
Embellishment clusters are large, sometimes intricate, paper accent pieces that are capable of standing on their own but can also be incorporated into larger projects, like scrapbook layouts, cards, or gift bags. We call these accents embellishment clusters because we are essentially putting several individual embellishments together, in a cluster.
While there are no set rules on where to begin creating these clusters, and there is no right or wrong way to proceed, we do have a few guidelines and tips to get you get you started on a successful creative experience!
1. Stick to a Color Scheme
When you first start designing an embellishment cluster, we recommend that you stick to a specific color scheme and spice it up with a complementary color or more neutral shade here and there. When you work off of a set color palette, it’s easier to focus your creative energy more effectively, and you’re more likely to end up with an embellishment cluster you really love!
This shaker window cluster is a great example of how to create around a color scheme. By focusing on cool shades of blue, throwing in a couple of green hues, and incorporating a few neutral tones, the elements of this embellishment cluster effectively harmonize with each other for a beautifully coordinated result!
2. Use a Variety of Paper and Cardstock Options
Incorporating different types of paper not only brings variety in patterns but in texture as well. Using our unique patterned papers next to our heavier, solid-colored cardstock helps to bring a nice variance to embellishment clusters.
If you’re looking to keep things a little simpler with the embellishment cluster itself, you can also consider saving more textured elements for the background.
With the card shown above, we kept things a little simpler overall and created exclusively with cardstock. Rather than featuring textured elements on the embellishment cluster itself, we used a large Thin Cuts die and two coordinating cardstock colors to create a gorgeous textured backdrop for this simple embellishment cluster!
3. Layer, Layer, Layer!
A great embellishment cluster often includes a few layers and dimension. Even a simple embellishment cluster should have at least one layered element to make sure it stands out from whatever background you may end up putting it on.
With this embellishment cluster, we made sure to create multiple layers so it will have some extra pop once it’s placed on a scrapbook page. (Using dimensional adhesives, like 3-D foam tape, are a great way to ensure that your embellishment clusters have added dimension, as well!)
4. Follow the Rule of Thirds
Incorporating this photography technique into your embellishment clusters is a great way to ensure that they remain balanced and can even help to simplify your design process. If you’re unfamiliar with what the rule of thirds entails, it’s basically the process of dividing your subject or scene into three distinct sections, making sure that each one is visually balanced with the others.
With this embellishment cluster, imagine that there’s a 3″ x 3″ grid over it. With this imaginary grid applied, you’ll notice that the butterfly and floral accents are fairly close to intersection points on the grid, while the stamped “Bloom & GROW” title occupies the center square. By distributing the butterfly accent, stamped title, and floral accent in this way, it ensures that the entire cluster remains balanced. (Check out our photo composition blog post for a more in-depth explanation about the rule of thirds.)
5. Be Flexible
When it comes to crafting, you don’t always have to use crafting materials for their intended purpose. Take a look at this cute little cluster, for instance:
The envelope you see here was actually created using a stitched hexagon Thin Cuts die, folding the sides of the cut hexagon shape into its center! Re-purposing die-cut shapes, incorporating paper scraps, and even trimming patterns or icons from other patterned papers for use in an embellishment cluster is an excellent way to make sure your work stays fresh, fun, and completely unique!
6. Work Smarter, Not Harder
Once you find a design, color combination, or shape pairing you love, stick with it for a few more embellishment clusters! This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to re-make the same identical embellishment cluster over and over again. Simply switching out a single element can make a huge difference!
If a single, simple change isn’t doing enough, you can do a more drastic re-design while retaining the overall shape and combination of elements. These two shaker window clusters are a prime example of how different colors, patterns, and stamped images can be incorporated into a pre-existing design for a beautiful, brand-new result!
Another way to work smarter is to think about future crafts and prepare for them while you’re in your creative zone! If you use a Thin Cuts metal die to cut an element for an embellishment cluster, cut a few more for future use! If you use a Cricut Design Space™ file to create your cluster, make sure to save it so you can return to it the next time you want to create a beautiful embellishment cluster!
There’s no hard-fast way to create embellishment clusters, but by holding yourself to a few basic guidelines like these, you can fast-track your creativity and make absolutely gorgeous embellishments that are completely unique to you!
How have you been using embellishment clusters? If this a brand-new concept to you, what’s the first thing you want to create with an embellishment cluster?
It’s no secret that we love color at Close To My Heart. Color breathes life and feeling into the world around us. With an unspoken language all its own, color has the power to calm, to energize, and to inspire. As spring slowly creeps its way into this year, the world is brightening up its color palette bringing with it a rejuvenation we all could use right about now—and we are all for it!
We are starting today’s color celebration with our Love of Color how-to series. Through its pages, the exclusive Close To My Heart color palette, made up of 44 unique colors, comes to life. Breathtaking artwork illustrates how to create perfectly balanced color combinations without any guesswork. Each spread in these volumes starts out with one exclusive color that is then combined with two, three, and four other exclusive colors, shown in beautifully crafted inspirational artwork.
Since we hope for sunny days in the upcoming season, let’s take a closer look at the color combinations offered for Sundance, one of our newer colors, in Love of Color Vol. 2, pages 26 and 27.
In this example, Sundance was paired with Avocado and Glacier. Sundance is the dominant color, and the others were used to complement it and to create accents throughout. (White is a neutral and doesn’t really count, so feel free to include as much or as little as you’d like!)
This perfectly spring-themed card was created by following another color combination featured in the guide, combining Sundance with Cinnamon, Blue Belle, New England Ivy, and Charcoal.
The third color mashup for Sundance in our Love of Color Vol. 2 includes pairing it with Peach, Desert Rose, and Peacock.
These inspirational color guides really make it so simple to combine colors that some of us probably wouldn’t even consider. Its pages explore the unique qualities of each color and help you see their beauty and versatility.
We’ve also talked about color theory on this blog, before. If you’re interested in creating your own color combinations, we encourage you to revisit those posts for a quick refresher on techniques for pairing colors. (Find links below.) Once you’ve got those basic rules down, we also encourage you to break them as you see fit!
To continue this colorful celebration, we’ve updated our Close To My Heart color wheel by removing the colors that retired from our palette just a few short months ago and adding the new colors that were introduced.
Download the updated Close To My Heart color wheel, here.
***Keep in mind that our exclusive colors are made up of much more complex tones, shades, and hues than how they are categorized on the simplified color wheel offered above. As you reference and use this source, know that it is not 100% confining. Especially as you become more familiar with what makes colors work together visually, you’ll find that this color wheel is very flexible.***
Lastly, we have a couple of bonus downloads for you today! Working with our amazing art studio, we put together two watercolor guides featuring techniques, tips, and all-around useful information—one for watercolor paints and another for watercolor pencils. In these guides you will find how to blend our exclusive colors using watercolor paints, the variety of ways a watercolor pencil can be used, and so much more! Enjoy exploring these watercolor guides, below!
Great artwork is built on the inclusion of many small elements, all coming together for a stunning end result! Watercolor is an incredibly easy and effective way to boost the overall aesthetic of your artwork, resulting in a truly professional appearance while still keeping it uniquely “you.”
When most people hear “watercolor,” they may picture intricate images painted free-hand by a skilled and experienced artist. Today, however, we’re going to show you a variety of different ways you can easily apply watercolor techniques to your artwork, some of which may even surprise you! Watercolor is a skill anyone can practice and use to up the ante in their own artwork, and the techniques we’re sharing with you are great for beginners and experts alike!
All of the artwork we’ll be showing you today was made using papers, stickers, and embellishments from our beautiful Daisy Meadows collection.
This bright paper suite lends itself well to watercolor and is a great starting point for anyone who may be new to this beautiful medium!
Artistic splattering is a great way to break up a plain background, and it’s incredibly quick and easy to add to any artistic project!
To create these fun splatters, take a wet waterbrush, pick up some paint from your watercolor paint palette, and gently tap the brush on top of your index finger, holding it over the general area where you’d like the splatters to land.
(Tip: Use a piece of scratch paper to cover any parts of the page you don’t want to be splattered.)
Here, we’ve combined the splattering technique with some light stamping and complemented it all with a few small stickers and Daisy Meadows Dots. When these elements are combined, you go from a plain white background to a multi-textured one!
Another way to incorporate watercolor into your artwork is to create a painted border around the perimeter of your scrapbook pages.
To create a painted border like this one, lightly make a few long strokes around the edges of the page, taking care to not let your hand wander toward the center. A simple watercolor element like this is a wonderful way to brighten up a modest background!
The next technique on our list shows you how to use watercolor paints to create eye-catching elements and accents in the foreground of your projects. In the page pictured below, we used watercolor paints to add soft color not only to the floral accents by the photos, but also for the bright swash in the title.
This vibrant addition draws the eye to the title, allowing for a natural, flowing progression as viewers take in the rest of the page.
(Tip: To achieve a flawless swash effect, add the watercolor paint and let it dry completely before stamping. This way, you can adjust the color to get it just right, and you’ll avoid smearing the ink on the stamped image.)
For the delicate floral accents, you can easily achieve a gentle fade by concentrating the paintbrush along the outer edges of the stamped image, creating an outline. Then, clean the brush, wet it, and softly brush the color toward the center of the image. If watercolor paints aren’t your preferred watercolor medium, this effect can also be achieved using watercolor pencils.
Another fun way to up your watercolor game is to play around with various color saturations and pigment shades.
For a more pigmented effect on your initial coat, consider using a dry brush to pick up your wet paint. Wet bristles will pick up less paint, resulting in a lighter pigment, so starting with a wet paint well and a dry brush will allow you to achieve a darker color right from the get-go!
You can also adjust the color saturation as needed, but this process takes a bit of patience. To get the best results, wait for the first layer of paint to dry fully before going in for a second coat.
For a more abstract approach to watercolor painting, consider using a smooshing technique!
Like you’d do with a swash, you’ll want to apply your watercolor pigments to the paper before stamping. To add a smushed watercolor element, apply your watercolor paint to the page or accent in a more abstract form.
Once you’ve applied your color, you’ll take a plastic bag and smoosh it on top of the paper where the paint has been applied, mixing the colors together. This results in a beautifully blended texture, which will be ready for you to stamp on top of once it’s fully dry.
(Tip: You can save the acetate wrapping from a new stamp pad, or any other new product, and use that for your smooshing!)
One last technique we’ll share with you today is stencil painting. This technique is one of the easiest things you can do to add watercolor to your scrapbooking pages or cards.
This technique is also a fantastic way to express your own unique creativity, as you can cut your own stencil patterns for this watercolor element! To create your own stencil, cut a design into cardstock using your favorite cutting machine. If you’d like to reuse your stencil, cut your design on Stencil Sheets, so you can design and create your own stencils and use them for multiple projects! (For pre-designed stencils, check these out!)
When you use a stencil to add watercolor to your artwork, use strips of washi tape to hold it in place while you paint over it. This will ensure a more uniform appearance with fewer unwanted smears.
Once your stencil is secured in place with washi tape, use your waterbrush to gently wash over the stencil. This technique may result in some light bleeding, rougher edges, or blotching, which gives it a beautiful, perfectly imperfect look!
Did you see any techniques today that you can’t wait to try? Leave a comment below to tell us about your favorite watercolor technique and how you incorporate it into your own artwork!
Slimline cards are a fun change from the standard, 4¼” x 5½”, size cards. They’re long and narrow, typically measuring 3½” x 8½”, providing a much larger surface area on which to create a design.
One of our favorite Thin Cuts currently available from our January–February Catalog is the Diagonal Stripe Slimline die that cuts a beautiful diagonal stripe pattern, sized especially for the front of a slimline card. Paired with a few simple techniques, it’s easy to create a wide variety of looks with this eye-catching pattern.
We hope that once you’re done visiting with us today, you will leave here feeling inspired and ready to create some of these beauties of your own!
This first card has a gorgeous, somewhat fantastical galaxy, look to its background.
The card base was sponged with Distress Oxide™ inks and a Mini Ink Blending Tool, creating an exaggerated version of the colors that are most often associated with the northern lights (pink, green, yellow, blue, and violet). The small, star-like spots are the oxidizing effect of the ink when we splattered it with water. When we finally layered the die-cutmade using the Diagonal Stripe Slimline Thin Cuts, our out-of-this-world look was complete! The White Daisy lines from the die-cut look like a meteor shower!
The top card, even though it is more adorable than most store-bought cards, came together in a matter of minutes! We first covered the front of the card base with a solid piece of patterned paper, then layered the diagonal stripe die-cut, also cut from patterned paper, on top. From there, it was a simple matter of weaving in stickers (from our Sweet Safari collection) through the diagonal paper strips. Complete the card with a stamped sentiment on a solid color cardstock and embellish with more cardstock, gems, or stickers.
The background of this third, Congrats, card is a little more involved than the first two we’ve shown you so far, but it is still not difficult to achieve!
We decided to back 10 of the open spaces of the die-cut with patterned pieces of paper, leaving the remaining spaces free for stamping later. You know those scraps you just can’t seem to throw away? Well, pull them out because this is a great way to use them! All you need are strips of paper that are large enough to cover the gaps. We used 5″ long strips of patterned papers, between ¼” to a smidgen over a ½” wide, and attached them to the die-cut using adhesive only along the top and bottom border. Then, we just trimmed any excess that was hanging over and attached the prepared die-cut, front side up, to a blank card base.
This last card we are sharing with you today is a show-stopping, slimline shaker window card!
Follow along with our Creative Arts Manager, Karen Pedersen, in the video below to see how this endearing card comes together.
Several of the pieces, including the two top frames, were cut using our Cricut® Art Philosophy collection and Design Space’s Basic Shapes. If you do not have access to our Art Philosophy collection, contact your Close To My Heart Maker or find one near you, here, by clicking on “Find a Maker.”