We don’t know about you, but we’re starting to hear Christmas bells ring here at Close To My Heart! (Yes, we know it’s still two months away…😬) In all seriousness, the holiday season is right around the corner, and if Christmas cards are your jam, it’s time to start planning for these festive creations! What we have to show you today is truly special, as it allows you to celebrate your dearest relationships and memories by showcasing your favorite photos, right on the front of each card! It also puts a brand-new twist on a favorite art technique—shaker cards! Picture This Christmas is a beautiful way not only to flex your creative muscles, but celebrate your relationships with the people closest to you.
Our Picture This Christmas special is built on the idea that your own personal photos have an incredible power to inspire joy in those you love most, and who doesn’t love to inspire joy and share their legacy? 😄 We are all about expressing and sharing the products of your creativity with those closest to you, and the holiday season is a prime time to do this! Let’s take a look at the amazing opportunities available through the Picture This Christmas special and how you can use these cards to spread a little extra Christmas cheer among friends and family.
One amazing thing about Picture This Christmas cards is the ease with which they come together. Picture This Christmas cards were designed with the Close To My Heart Cut Above® format, which means that the creative process takes just a few minutes from start to finish, and you’re left with an absolutely stunning card at the end of it! With Cut Above® projects, each workshop kit contains pre-cut paper pieces, die-cuts, stickers, and even pre-printed card bases, so all you need to create your cards apart from the Cut Above® kit itself are your choice of adhesive, and a journaling pen to inscribe your personal message on the inside of the cards. Cut Above® projects are a great option for crafters of all types and experience levels.hey can serve as an easy starting point for crafters just discovering this mode of creativity. For more experienced crafters, they make a quick project that they can do in a short amount of time, with minimal effort, whether to wind down or just to catch up on a few crafting goals! With Cut Above®, there are a wealth of creative possibilities to help you realize your crafting vision, whatever it may be!
To showcase just how easy it can be to create with the Picture This Christmas Cut Above® card kits, we’re going to go through each step of how these cards came together. For our Picture This Christmas cards, we start off with a pre-printed, pre-cut card base, measuring 5” x 7”. These cards are larger than our standard 4¼” x 5½” cards for a very special reason. As we mentioned at the beginning of this post, the cards in a Picture This Christmas kit are designed to feature your own personal photos, and by providing a 5” x 7” card base, your cards can comfortably accommodate a 4” x 6” photo!
With card base in hand as a starting place, we next attached a photo to it, taking care to center it, and then continued by attaching the provided frame die-cut. As with the photo in the previous step, make sure to take care when placing your frame, aligning the corners of the die-cut with the corners of your photo. By taking extra care when placing your photo and die-cut frame, you will be left with a more polished card at the end.
After placing the photo and attaching the frame die-cut over it, we used the provided evergreen branch and pennant sentiment die-cuts to add some extra flair and pizazz to the corners of the photo. The addition of these die-cuts helps to add some depth to the photo, and definitely ups the visual interest of the overall card.
And just like that, with only a few simple steps, we created a beautiful, polished card with a one-of-a-kind personal touch! This card, while simple, is an excellent example of how a Cut Above® kit can be used to incredible effect as a quick and easy crafting solution.
If you’re wanting to take the creative process a little further with your own Picture This Christmas cards, we have an outstanding option for that as well! Let’s take a look at how you can really shake things up and take this card design to the next level by adding a full cardfront shaker window!
Once we made our shaker element selection and added it to the center of the photo, we carefully trimmed a 5” x 7” piece of clear acetate from the 12” x 12” sheets included with the Picture This Christmas Shaker Window Card kits and centered it over the photo and base, making sure to line up the corners. Once the acetate was secured, we centered the die-cut frame over the acetate and base and embellished it at the corners with the provided die-cuts. After this final step, our shaker card is complete, and we’re left with a stunning and uniquely personal card, perfect to send to a loved one or friend!
As a fun, final touch, Picture This Christmas also includes the 5” x 7” Envelope Flap Thin Cuts to decorate the flaps of your card envelopes, as well as an exclusive stamp set to add sentiments to the interior of your cards! These stamps and Thin Cuts can be used to further personalize and set your cards apart!
No matter who you choose to send your cards to, or which photos you decide to feature on them, your Picture This Christmas cards are a beautiful reflection of your memories and identity, and are certain to be treasures for years to come! What photos will you showcase on your Picture This Christmas cards? Tell us all about it in the comments below!
Your artwork is one-of-a-kind, and that makes it priceless. Each of your creations represents a part of your own vision and an expression of your artistic self, and this is something to be celebrated! With this in mind, we’re here to show you how you can use one of our favorite stencil packs in your own artwork pieces, and how these seemingly static tools can be utilized for superb customization as you put your creative identity on the page! The stencils used in our showcased art today are from Stencil Pack 1, available in our 2022–2023 Core Products Catalog. Each of these stencils is used to great effect with an array of Distress Oxide™ ink pads, which can be applied in a variety of ways to beautify your artwork!
For those of you who may not be familiar with our stencils, let’s take a moment to go over some of the basics of what makes them great! To accommodate a wide variety of crafting interests, we create stencils in a variety of sizes, ranging from sizes to fit a standard card all the way up to 12” x 12” scrapbooking stencils! We manufacture all our stencils out of clear acetate material to ensure maximum visibility and control as you use them to apply colors and patterns to your artwork. With no guesswork involved, our transparent stencils are precise and easy to use, too! Stencils can be used not only to apply patterns, colors, or words over a large area, but they can be used to create smaller borders as well, which is a standout feature of our showcase artwork today.
We love to see all the amazing ways stencils can be used, and we’re excited to share a few of the incredible things stencils can do! One very specific detail we’ll be focused on today is how to layer stencils to achieve unbelievable effects! Let’s jump in and check it out!
Our first piece is a single 12” x 12” scrapbook page with a woodsy, exploration theme. One very unique aspect of this page is that all the details added to the background, borders, accents, and photo mats were done using stencils and Distress Oxide™ and Exclusive Inks™ ink pads. This page doesn’t use any stamps, stickers, and with the exception of one small tab at the top left corner of the page, there are no die-cuts, either! Each detail is unique and can easily be achieved with just a few applications of color through a couple of layered stencils.
To start off, we’ll take a look at the simpler elements of this “Explore” page. At either side, you’ll see a row of bold stacked arrows forming strong borders on either side. These borders help to frame the page and create a great foundation to build the page on. Moving in, we see that two photos form a major focal point of the page. One thing that really helps these photos stand out prominently from the background is the detailing on the photo mats behind the pictures.
These photos are mounted on Mink cardstock, and a wood grain pattern has been applied using one of the single layer stencils in Stencil Pack 1. This detail is subtle enough to not overwhelm the photos, but it still catches the eye and draws attention to the pictures. Just below the photos is a small section of stars applied using Salvaged Patina and Speckled Egg Distress Oxide™ ink pads. We love how this small and simple inclusion has helped to further offset our photos and round out this page.
In addition to these more simple elements, our “Explore” page plays host to a variety of more involved stenciling techniques; the first one we’ll pick apart is the line of aspen trees behind our main title (more on the title in just a minute!).
To create this incredibly lifelike background element, we applied our base layer of color with a Pewter Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad and our selection of Blending Brushes. Once this layer has dried, we’ve taken our secondary layering stencil and applied additional detailing with Charcoal ink. With this element, the transparent quality of our stencils comes in clutch, as the ability to see where the base layer is in relation to our secondary detailing layer allows for more precise alignment and a more polished end result!
Just in front of our treeline, we’ve got a gorgeous color-tiered “Explore” title, which is another primary focal point of the page! To create this title, we used a total of four layering stencils and ink pads to create this awesome effect! To start off, we applied the treeline you see along the bottom of the title, then layered in the rest of the title, using first the full letter stencil, then the half letter one, and finally the quarter letter stencil. Each layer was applied using a slightly darker color of ink to achieve the ultimate tiered look! To avoid smudging your artwork in progress, make sure to wait until each individual color layer has fully dried before applying your next layer.
The final standout feature we want to zero in on from the “Explore” page is the sunrise accent positioned along the right edge of the page. This piece was created using a single stencil, but rather than layering stenciled images, we’ve layered our colors using the masking technique. For this particular example, we used our 1” Masking Tape to block of ½” sections of color to prevent ink colors from bleeding into each other. Using this technique allows for a striped effect and a standout accent to finish this scrapbook page off! By combining so many beautiful stenciled elements, our “Explore” page is a great example of how a simple tool can be used to stunning effect!
Our second piece to review today is another travel-themed two-page layout, though this one is for more urban adventures!
Like our previous page, the photo mats on these pages have been detailed with stencil work, this time with a city-grid map pattern.
These photo mats were initially cut from Shortbread cardstock, with the pink coloration added by sponging Abandoned Coral Distress Oxide™ ink across the cardstock through the stencil. This stencil allows for a great deal of color to be applied through it, leaving thin lines of the original color to peek through. Once again, this unique appearance is a wonderful way to help draw attention to the photos without overpowering them.
As with our “Explore” page discussed above, this layout also incorporates a layered stencil border at the bottom edge of the pages, this time adding a city skyline to the page! To create this effect, we applied a light layer of Sapphire ink, and then used the two layers of the cityscape stencil with a combination of Pewter and Charcoal Exclusive Inks™ stamp pads. With this combination, we are left with a well-defined, dimensional skyline border to tie the pages together.
In the spaces above and around the photos, we applied a handful of stenciled stars and bursts, along with a few dots of Silver Liquid Pearls™ to break up the open space. (While the Liquid Pearls were not applied with the stencils, they still add a cool dimensional effect to the page!)
The final stand-out features of this layout are the suitcase accent, the ”Live, Love, Travel” title, and the 3-D continent feature, all of which were created using various stencils.
For our well-traveled suitcase, we applied a base layer of color with our grid stencil, then added our tags and corner-pin accents with other layered pieces of our stencil set. Once we finished applying our color and accents, we carefully trimmed the suitcase from the larger White Daisy cardstock piece to create an accent we could add wherever it suited us! The presence of this piece is a great way to reinforce the theme of the layout and provides a playful touch to these pages.
For our 3-D continent feature, we selected the corresponding stencil and placed it over our base page, attaching it temporarily with washi tape to keep it in place. Once we secured our stencil, we turned to an old friend, Opaque Matte Texture Paste.
To apply the paste to our base page, we picked up small amounts with a palette knife and applied it to the base page, through the continents section of our stencil, which leaves us with a section of raised continents. We left the stencil in place until the paste had dried, after which we revisited it to add color over the top with a Shortbread ink pad and a sponge. This technique allows you to easily build and vary the color throughout for an even more unique experience!
The “Live, Love, Travel” title was created with a combination of texture paste and cardstock, with the addition of black ink sponged over the texture paste, and Shortbread ink applied to the cardstock lettering. Just like the continent feature, we applied our texture paste lettering through our selected title stencil, allowed it to dry, and then applied color with a Black Soot Distress Oxide™ ink pad to help it stand out. For additional flair, we then used our stencil and a pencil to lightly trace “TRAVEL” onto a piece of White Daisy cardstock, cut out the letters, and sponged Shortbread ink over them for a light color. (You could also trim the letters out of Shortbread cardstock for a similar effect.)
Once we had finished preparations for our cardstock letters, we placed them over the texture paste letters, placing them just off-center to give them a drop shadow effect. With all of these effects combined, the “Live, Love, Travel” layout becomes an unforgettable addition to this art piece! Hungry for even more artwork examples featuring stencils? Check out another stencil technique on page 87 of our Core Products Catalog, with this vibrant 2-page “Love You” layout:
The bulk of this layout was detailed using a floral stencil option from Stencil Pack 2. By sponging and blending color from multiple Distress Oxide™ ink pads, we achieved a delicate ombre effect across both pages. Thanks to this ornate background, we were able to keep the remainder of this layout fairly simple, with just a few other pieces of layered cardstock and a handful of acrylicshapes, die-cuts, and clear sparkles making up the rest of this layout’s design. With the stenciled section covering such a large area, the “Love You” layout is another beautiful and unique example of what stenciling can do.
Whether you layer them, apply them to large areas, or use them to create small accents, stencils are a truly sensational way to add out-of-this-world detail to your artwork. We’re always excited to see all the amazing things crafters do with our stencils! Which stencil detail from today’s post was your favorite? Leave a comment below and tell us all about it!
We’ve been having a lot fun with StazOn™ ink in our art studio recently and wanted to let you in on it!
Considering all of the different black ink options available, from the faithful Archival Black to the newer Intense Black, it is no surprise that the StazOn ink pad is often overlooked. Most of us who follow this blog papercraft, scrapbook, or make cards out of paper. StazOn ink, although it works well on semi-porous surfaces, including paper, is better known for its use on non-porous surfaces such as plastic, glass, and porcelain. It stays put on the stamped surface, without pilling, until it completely dries.
We decided to put this trusty ink pad to the test, and sure enough, the results were as expected!
Tip: An inked stamp can be slippery on a non-porous surface, like the acetate circle in the shaker windows above. When you are ready to stamp, we suggest you do so with a steady hand, bringing the stamp straight down. (Avoid breathing if possible! 😉 ) Any slight movement in your hands can cause your image to smudge. Just as carefully, remove the stamp from the surface with a straight lift. Do not roll your stamp away.
Follow-up Tip: If you moved while stamping…it happens…have a damp rag (a wet wipe works!) at the ready to wipe off your surface. This only works on non-porous surfaces. If you are working on a semi-porous surface, like leather or photos, wiping will only spread the ink around creating a bigger smudge. A wet wipe should do the trick. (DO NOT use the My Acrylix® Spritz Cleaner to wet your surface for cleaning.)
Once your image is stamped, the ink will require time to set. We recommend that you plan ahead as you work with StazOn ink. Stamp first and set these pieces aside to dry as you work on the rest of your project.
But what if you want to stamp on something that is porous?
Most inks will seep into a permeable surface and spider out from the original stamped image. The trick, here, is to make your surface non-porous, or less porous. To stamp on a wood surface, like this album cover from our Made with Love mini album workshop, use a clear matte acrylic sealer. Before we stamped on our album cover, we sealed the surface with a clear finish aerosol spray. (If you have access to Mod Podge, it works really well, too!) Make sure to allow the sealant to dry before stamping onto the surface. It shouldn’t take too long, but if in doubt wait a bit longer just to make sure.
What are you stamping with StazOn? Do you have any tips or tricks for using this ink? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!