One of the most satisfying parts of crafting is finding the perfect accents to polish things off. Even the simplest embellishments can go a long way but, because we like to take creativity just that extra step further, today we’re going to show you how we’ve heat embossed on acrylic shapes to open up even more embellishment possibilities!
Follow along with Karen, our Art Studio Director, in the video below and see how you, too, can effectively apply heat embossing to our acrylic shapes.
This technique is quite simple, taking only a few minutes, and adds a unique element to any project. In the video, Karen shows that you can change the color of the acrylic shapes by covering them with embossing ink and a colored embossing powder.
For a thicker, glossier finish, you can re-coat your shape in embossing powder while the first layer is still wet and re-heat it. (If you choose to re-coat your shape, be careful—it will be hot!)
There is another way to heat emboss acrylic shapes in order to make them coordinate with any Close To My Heart exclusive color scheme that you may we working with. Did you know that you can pair any of our Exclusive Inks™ pigment pads with clear embossing powder to achieve that exact same exclusive color of the ink? (Yes, really!) It works on paper and it works on our acrylic shapes!
Keep in mind that as you heat acrylic shapes with a heat tool, even our top-of-the-line acrylic, they may develop a tendency to warp or bend. While this can add a fun twist, if you plan for it intentionally, make sure to apply heat with your heat tool intermittently rather than continuously if you want to keep the original shape.
Give this embellishing technique a try with our beautiful Aurora Scrapbooking Workshop and enjoy the rest of this exciting National Scrapbooking Month!
Now that we’re all confined to our homes for a few weeks, how many of you find that you’ve got more time to devote to your cardmaking and scrapbooking? (There’s always a silver lining, right? 😉 ) Since we’re spending additional time in our creative spaces, we’ve got a few antiquing and distressing techniques for you to try during your next crafting sesh!
All of the techniques that we are sharing today were paired with the elegant and timeless designs of the Yesterday & Today paper collection and are featured in our Yesterday & Today cardmaking and scrapbooking workshops. (Download the free guides by clicking on the links below.)
One tried and true way to give patterned papers, cardstock, and die-cuts an aged look is by sponging the edges in a darker color.
Before rolling the spiral die-cuts that form the 3-D flowers in this layout, we sponged their edges with Toffee ink to make them look like they’ve been around for a while.
Technique: Rub a sponge on the stamp pad to load it with ink. Then, lightly rub the outside edges with the sponge until the desired color is achieved.
The darkened parts make the pieces appear weathered, like they’ve been exposed to the elements over time causing the original colors to change.
Alcohol markers can be used to create a similar effect in a more controlled way.
If you’ve got embellishments that are too bright for the antique look that you are hoping to achieve, simply pull out a brown marker in a shade that works for your project and start adding years to your art by coloring pieces in.
Technique: Color bright pieces with a brown alcohol marker.
In this next technique we literally distress paper to give it a weathered and older appearance.
These crinkled flower petals were almost literally put through the wringer before their edges were sponged with Toffee ink.
Technique: Lightly mist paper with water and carefully crumple it into a small ball; then open it up and flatten it back out. Allow the paper to dry before sponging the edges with ink.
This last technique is featured in our Yesterday & Today cardmaking workshop and can be applied in all sorts of paper crafts.
We called this technique antique heat embossing.
Technique: Rub your work surface with an anti-static pouch. Emboss the image by stamping with Espresso pigment ink, sprinkle the wet image with embossing powder, shake off any excess powder, and heat with a heat tool until the powder and ink melt together. Lightly sponge on top of the embossed image with ink to create an antique look.
Follow along with Karen, our Art Studio Director, in the video below to see how to effectively apply this technique to smaller pieces.
We hope that you can take some time during this period of increased social distancing to continue working on your talents and craft. Learn something new and practice the techniques we shared with you today to preserve the memories you are making now as well as the stories of your past.
Since today is St. Patrick’s Day 🍀I want to remind us all—Irish or not—how very LUCKY we are to be able to document and preserve stories.
Our daily lives have been turned upside down in so many ways right now and we’re all growing accustomed to that uncomfortable feeling of uncertainty. One of the very best things we can do is actually turn to our love of documenting to both capture what’s happening around us for the future and to remember and revive happy moments from our past. Both of these actions have been proven to be sources of strength and calm in times of crisis.
The kind of storytelling that is most helpful is the kind that illustrates connections to our past and reminds us how much doesn’t change. This storytelling is easier than you might suspect—especially with the concept of extended and connected stories available in the Storyteller how-to book.
Extended stories use layers of Memory Protectors™ and lots of photos mixed in with spots of journaling that share both the expected and the unexpected details. When those details point to another person, place or related thing then a connection is created.
Here, let me show you …
When I was working in my studio on this extended story for Addie’s birthday, she came into the room, looked at the 5″ x7″ photo on the first page and said, “My teeth! They were so big.” I replied, “Guess what? I, too, had big teeth when I was your age!” And right then I got an idea. Why not find a photo of me at age 9 and add it to this layout? This, my friends, is a connection. Addie is no longer just a cute girl celebrating a birthday, she is a cute girl who feels connected to her mother because her mother also passed through the big teeth phase of childhood.
Connections also pull details from photos that the casual observer might miss. Using the photo of Addie and her friends, just before they jumped into the pool, I was able to discern that girls between the ages of 8 and 10 clearly prefer to wear their goggles when jumping (and being photographed!). This example may be a bit silly, but there will always be “little known fact” details about life, culture, location, or any activity available to you that can be highlighted in your journaling and that will draw simple, but interesting connections from your story.
One of the primary reasons I love this approach to storytelling is ALL of these fun pockets. I get to include more photos and capture a more comprehensive representation of (in this case) a birthday party!
Look, here, at the second 4″ x 3″ pocket from the top. Another connection! When you share bits of your own memories from the past, as you document events in the present, you will always improve your story and your storytelling skills. Of course, the Story FYI stamps are designed to help you add these “did you know” details.
So, let’s review. An extended story is simply one that uses layers of memory protectors to include more photos and more story. A connected story is an extended story that includes journaled details from another person, place or time. These connections enrich your story and make it more fun for you and your audience.
Watch this full story experience with Addie and keep on telling those stories. They matter and the perspective you gain as a storyteller will bless you with a wonderful sense of confidence and calm, even when life gets crazy!
Story Tip: I love the personality of handwritten journaling, but sometimes it makes more sense to use your computer. You can include both styles in an extended story! Whenever you hear yourself say, “I don’t know what to write!” Make a list. Your brain is exceptionally good at listing out details—there’s not much “writing” involved, and you can list things in random order. A list of 9 things for a 9th birthday is totally doable!
Giveaway: Would you like the opportunity to win a free Celebrate Today Paper Packet + Sticker Sheet, Memory Protectors™ Combo Pack, and a My Acrylix® Story FYI stamp set? Make sure you are subscribed to this blog and leave a comment below sharing what you love most about extended and connected stories. This Friday, March 20th, is World Storytelling Day. At noon (MST) on Friday, five lucky winners will be chosen and later notified via email. Let’s all tell our stories, especially those that we are currently living. Best of luck friends! <3
As we kick off March, our color and design ideas naturally shift from Valentine pinks and reds to springy greens and yellows. If you purchased our Oh My Heart suite earlier this year, you may find yourself with leftover papers covered in lovey-dovey hues and themes. With the help of our zip strips and our newly updated Close To My Heart color wheel (find it below!), let’s explore a few ideas of how to use up those pink papers outside of Valentine’s day.
Have you noticed that each of our pattern papers come with an additional ½” accent paper strip along the top? On one side we provide a bonus design that coordinates effortlessly with the rest of the paper collection and on the other side there’s a bunch of fine print that most people ignore and tend not to read. 😉
On the informational side of these zip strips you will find the name of the collection along with a list of the featured colors from our exclusive palette that were used in the designs of that collection. As you can see from above, the Oh My Heart pattern papers (and stickers) are designed with Ballerina, Candy Apple, Glacier, Lemonade, Pixie, Raspberry, Smoothie, and White Daisy.
If you struggle with creating color combinations, a zip strip is a great place to start, especially if you’re looking to combine papers from different collections.
Comparing the zip strips of all three paper packets, you can see that they have several colors in common.
Ballerina, Lemonade, and White Daisy can be found in all three paper suites. Oh My Heart and Celebrate Today also share Pixie and Raspberry, and, as designed, Celebrate Today and the Mix-in papers have several other colors in common (Black, Evergreen, Lagoon, and Nectarine).
When you look at the zip strips on your papers, you will find color combinations that have already been created for you! All you have to do is pull a pattern paper from one collection and combine it with the pattern paper from another featuring matching colors, as listed on the zip strip.
When you cross collections, you can easily change themes like love and Valentine’s day to something completely different.
For more color combination ideas, flip through the pages of our Love of Color book. It contains hundreds of artwork examples illustrating how to create perfectly balanced color combinations using the colors in our exclusive palette. This beautiful guide is organized by color, each shown in combinations of three, four, and five colors.
We’ve also talked about color theory before, on this blog. If you’re interested in creating your own color combination, 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 help you on this colorful journey we all find ourselves on, 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.
(Here for Australia/New Zealand.)
***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.***
We are having too much fun with the new Card Front Spinner Thin Cuts and their coordinating stamp sets! With multiple, revolving sentiments, spinner cards are a great way to incorporate some interactive fun into your cardmaking, and definitely puts a new “spin” on the cards you know and love. 🙂
The Card Front Spinner Thin Cuts is a set of 3 metal dies that allows you to create an interactive spinning card front. As you spin the wheel on the side, part of a hidden message is revealed in the cutout window.
Because the I Chews You stamp set can be paired with its own set of coordinating Thin Cuts, in order to create a spinning candy machine card, you will have to cut a few additional pieces to layer on top of the Spinner Card Front die-cuts.
For the most part, you still follow the same process to build the spinning base. For an I Chews You spinner card, however, the window piece needs to be turned upside down, where you end up spinning the wheel from the left side instead of the right. This allows you to get the intended full candy machine effect as you turn the spinning mechanism.
So, what do you think? Are you loving these spinning cards as much as we are? If you have any comments, questions, or any fun ideas, please share with us all in the comments section below!
Heat transfer vinyl is one of the newest products to join the Close To My Heart ranks. We are absolutely loving working with it and are eager to help anyone who may be new to vinyl discover practical tips, tricks, and uses for this awesome material! Whether you’re applying it on an album cover or directly onto your cards or scrapbook pages, heat transfer vinyl is an awesome, multi-use medium, and it’s definitely one of our favorites. To address some tricky questions or to simply just get you started on the road to using heat transfer vinyl in your own crafts, we’ve put together a list of ten tips for vinyl beginners.
1. Keep the carrier sheet intact. The carrier sheet is the film backing on the vinyl that is there to keep your vinyl designs together. It is important that you do not cut through it. If you do, you may end up with various separate pieces that make up your design, which will make it a lot harder to position and apply to your project. To keep the carrier sheet intact, always make sure that the shiny side of the vinyl is facing DOWN when you position it on your cutting mat and that your cutting machine is set to vinyl.
2. Use a scraper tool to remove any bubblesand smooth your vinyl on your cutting mat. Having bubbles in your vinyl will potentially result in messy application. As you apply vinyl to your cutting mat, gently glide a scraper tool over the surface for a flawlessly smooth cutting surface.
3. Always cut the mirror image of your vinyl designs. When applying heat transfer vinyl onto a project, the carrier sheet will be facing UP. That means, when you cut your designs with the carrier sheet facing DOWN (as discussed in tip #1) you’ll want to cut a mirror image of how you want the final image to appear on your project. Otherwise, you’ll end up cutting all your project pieces backwards. This is mostly a problem if you’re using words in your design.
In Cricut Design Space™, you can accomplish this by inserting your images or text on your Design Space canvas, and selecting the “Flip” option, located on the toolbar at the top of the page. By flipping your image horizontally, you’ll be able to cut the mirror image of each desired shape without jeopardizing the carrier sheet.
4. Once you’ve cut your image in the vinyl, you’ll need to remove the excess vinyl from the carrier sheet before applying it to your project. This process is called weeding. To make weeding easier, heat your work surface for a few seconds, then weed over the heated surface. The heat will loosen the vinyl from the carrier sheet, making it easier to peel off the excess.
5. For better results, heat your project for a few seconds before placing the vinyl on it. To ensure that you don’t scorch your project, use a protective sheet between your heat source and the project surface. You will need to purchase a protective sheet separately from most heat presses. If you don’t have ready access to a protective sheet or you don’t wish to purchase one, you can use a thin t-shirt or towel to shield your project. If desired, you can also use this protection as you apply the vinyl to your project.
6. When you get ready to apply the vinyl to your project surface, use a little bit of pressure on the heat press for better and faster application. You don’t need to put your entire weight onto your press, but a small amount of pressure is recommended.
7. Don’t over-press your vinyl by keeping heat on it for too long. Start with 10–15 seconds and add more time if needed. Most heat presses come with an adjustable timer to help you keep track of your time.
8. If you’re using an iron, you’ll need to keep a closer eye on your project to prevent scorching. Since heat settings vary, start on a lower heat setting and work up as needed.
9. After applying heat transfer vinyl, you can peel the carrier sheet away from the project’s surface while it’s still hot. If you’re working with glitter vinyl, however, it’s best to peel it when it’s warm. (Just be sure you don’t burn your fingers!)
10. If you want to layer your vinyl, you can! However, we recommend that you don’t put any layers on top of glitter vinyl. The surface of the glitter vinyl will prevent any other vinyl placed on top of it from adhering and sealing properly. You can layer glitter pieces over other types of vinyl, but if you’re incorporating glitter vinyl into your projects, leave it on top, as you see in the photo below.
We hope this closer look at vinyl has helped you get excited about this awesome material! As a special treat, we’re giving away a custom vinyl pack to three lucky readers! These custom packs will include one 11.8″ x 12″ sheet of each of the four different heat transfer vinyls featured in today’s blog artwork (1 White, 1 Black, 1 Silver Glitter, and 1 Galaxy Black Glitter). For a chance to win, make sure you’re subscribed to this blog and leave a comment below telling us what you are creating or want to create with heat transfer vinyl! All entries must be in by 2 p.m. Wednesday, January 29, MST. Contest winners will be notified via email. Good luck! 😉
If you haven’t gotten down and crafty yet this year, now is the perfect time to start. For our second week celebrating National Papercrafting Month, we created this beautiful, large scale, floral wall décor and are giving you our Cricut Design Space™ file, FREE, to recreate this very same project at home!
(Click on the individual images for a closer look!)
In order to keep things simple, we manipulated shapes from just one of our Cricut® collections, Flower Market, while designing our arrangement. If you don’t own the Cricut® Flower Market Collection, contact your Close To My Heart Consultant (or find one near you, here) to get started.
To give you an idea of the physical size of this project, the center French Vanilla flower is 20″ in diameter, both Peach flowers are 17″, the Lilac flowers are 14″, and the smaller Mint flowers are 13½” each.
When you open the file in Design Space, you will find some hexagon shapes among the petal shapes. These are your bases for each of the flowers. Attach the petals of each flower, layering them from largest to smallest, to these bases. You will also notice that the eyelashes are quite large. They are so large, in fact, that when you attempt to “make it” the program will tell you that you need a 12″ x 24″ mat. We did not use a longer mat to cut these, so there is a way around it! When the prompt comes up, all you need to do is select the image and rotate it to make it fit diagonally in the 12″ x 12″ square.
We’re jumping right into the new year and celebrating National Papercrafting Month with the All Around Creativity special, featuring four gorgeous wreath kits that are only available from Close To My Heart through the end of the month. There are so many different ways to embellish these beautiful wreaths, so we figured we’d have some fun and share with you four simple ways that we’ve added color to the plywood bases.
Adding color to wood doesn’t need to be super messy or take a huge amount of time. It can be quick, easy, and clean. To start off, we’ll take a peek at one of the easiest wood-coloration techniques. This method uses an Exclusive Inks™ stamp pad and will only take you a few minutes from application until it’s completely dry!
Simply select the ink color you’d like to use and gently swipe the stamp pad over the surface of the wood with quick, dabbing motions, going with the grain. Going with the grain helps you to emphasize the natural beauty of the wood, while also protecting your stamp pad from getting scratched up or caught on the wood. As you’ll see in the video below, we left some of the wood grain visible for a more stained look, but you can make it as light or as dark as you’d like.
To achieve a softer, mottled look, try sponging the ink onto the wood.
Cut a Round Sponge into quarters. While gripping the point of one quarter with your fingers, gently load your sponge with ink by pouncing it on your stamp pad. Because the sponge absorbs the ink, it may not look like you have a lot on there, but you’ll have more ink than you think!
Once you’ve got your sponge inked and ready to go, use the same pouncing motion you used on the stamp pad to apply the color to the plywood. The ink will dry lighter than it looks while you apply it. For a darker, richer tone, you will have to apply additional layers of ink.
This next technique uses TriBlend™ markers. When using an alcohol-based marker to color wood, you’ll want to go in the direction of the grain and use a steady hand to achieve even color throughout.
Because you have greater control over color distribution when you use this method, you also have more control over the appearance of the colored wood. For instance, if you want a softer, lighter look, use a light hand and don’t go over the same spot too many times. For darker and richer tones, add more color layers to really get the pigment into the wood.
If you’re going for a darker color, don’t jam the marker tip into the wood, as this may damage your marker. Instead, go over the same area of the wood multiple times for color layering and try using a lighter shade of your TriBlend™ marker.
The last technique we’re showcasing today adds a bit of sparkle to your art. Heat embossing! (We went there, and it’s beautiful!)
First, place your wreath over a piece of scratch paper so you can catch any excess embossing powder. Then, begin by rubbing the surface of the wreath with an anti-static pouch. Apply VersaMark™ ink to the wreath, a few sections at a time, using the same pouncing motion you saw in our first technique. While the ink is still wet, sprinkle embossing powder over it, shake off any excess powder onto your scratch paper, and heat set with a heat tool. (Use your scratch paper to easily funnel your excess embossing powder back into its container for future use.)
We absolutely love these wreaths and National Papercrafting Month, because it really gets us thinking outside the box! We can’t wait to see all the different ways you choose to add color to your wreaths.
Remember, you can only get these gorgeous wreath kits until January 31, and if you buy four or more you even get a discount! Make sure to take full advantage of the All Around Creativity special while you still can. For a few of you who may be on the fence, we are giving away four of these kits to four lucky readers! For a chance to win, you must do two things. First, make sure you are subscribed to this blog. If you are not, find the blue button on the sidebar that says “Subscribe to list” and follow the prompts once you’ve clicked it. Second, leave us a comment below telling us what types of crafts you like to work out, outside of scrapbooking and cardmaking. You have until 12 p.m. (MST) Thursday, January 9, to submit your entries. All winners will be notified by email. Good luck and happy crafting!
Happy New Year’s Eve everyone! It is officially the last day of the year, can you believe it? Tomorrow not only brings with it renewed aspirations and hope in new beginnings but, also, a brand new Close To My Heart catalog filled from cover to cover with new pattern papers, stamp sets, embellishments, new and original ideas, and much, much more!
Since the products in the new January–February 2020 catalog will be available for viewing and purchasing immediately after midnight tonight, we just had to ring in the new year a little early and share! Celebrate with us and take a sneak peek into just a few of our new favorites that have us excited for what’s to come!
This new eye-catching holographic paper is a must have! We’ve got two reflective colors to choose from, Oasis (on the left) and Dreamy (on the right). Take a close look at this new product and some additional artwork examples with our Art Studio Director, Karen, in the short video below.
Card Front Spinner Thin Cuts
The Card Front Spinner Thin Cuts is a set of 3 metal dies that allows you to create an interactive spinning card front. As you spin the wheel on the side, part of a hidden message is revealed in the cutout window.
Both stamp sets shown here, My Acrylix® Rainbow Wishes and My Acrylix® I Chews You, coordinate seamlessly to add a fun, interactive spinner element to your cards.
Stitched Bracket Thin Cuts
The Stitched Bracket Thin Cuts are an easy way to mat photos, journaling, and anything else you may want to highlight in your art. This set is just one of MANY Thin Cuts sets available in this upcoming catalog.
Two NewShimmer Brushes
We are adding two new colors to our line of shimmer brushes, Lagoon and Raspberry! We just love adding some colorful shimmer to artwork!
All Around Creativity
Our National Papercrafting Month special is so sensational that we’ve included it in our January–February catalog just to show it off in as many places as we can! This special features exclusive wooden wreath kits. Each kit comes with a 16″ plywood base of your choice ready to embellish with paper flowers, leaves, patterned background papers, and even a paper bow!
Oh My Heart
Can you feel the love coming from this workshop made especially for Valentine’s Day? The Oh My Heart Workshop will not only guide you through creating a single-page and a two-page layout, but also in easily making 40 unique 3″ x 4″ cards! Make the cards even more special by having that special kiddo in your life participate in the assembly process. (They really do come together that easily!)
Our new catalog is brimming with great new stamp designs—here is just a small sampling:
You’re Not Old Stamp + Thin Cuts
Life in Boots Stamp + Thin Cuts
My Acrylix® Floral Borders Stamp Set
Country Animals Bundle
For the first time ever, we have M-size stamp sets with coordinating Thin Cuts! Each of the country animal stamps seen here are available alone, with their coordinating die, or all together in the Country Animals Bundle!
Happy Birthday Shaker Window Thin Cuts
Making a birthday shaker card just got easier! This set of dies cuts a window overlay with a happy birthday banner, as seen here, and triangle confetti shapes to mix in with your sequins or use alone. To create the window, be sure to pair these dies with the Shaker Window Foam & Acetate. Don’t stop there. If cardmaking or shaker windows aren’t your thing, use the happy birthday overlay in your scrapbook pages to frame a picture of a birthday boy or girl.
Craft with Heart™—Subscription with Heart!
Be ready to preserve memories as you make them with new kits from the Craft with Heart™ scrapbooking subscription! As a subscriber, you’ll receive regular deliveries of Cut Above® layout kits, each kit featuring two beautifully designed two-page layouts. Your layouts come together in minutes thanks to pre-printed base pages, with complementary die-cuts and stickers to help you preserve your memories in style.
And don’t forget!!! There’s a new Cut Above® cardmaking kit coming out in January, too!
Each delivery includes materials to create a set of beautiful, handmade cards, that will come together in a snap thanks to pre-printed card bases, die-cut shapes, and more. Each delivery also includes an exclusive My Acrylix® stamp set, complete with stamping block and mini ink pads, so you’ll have the tools you need to create your cards just the way you want them. Keep up with all the occasions in your life with a Craft with Heart™ cardmaking subscription!
There are many, many more products worth taking a look at in our new January–February 2020 catalog. Make sure to contact your Close To My Heart Consultant to see what else 2020 holds in store!