We have a special treat in store today! Our Creative Arts Manager, Karen Pedersen, is showing us a few creative and easy watercolor techniques using our small round and medium round waterbrushes!
Unlike a traditional paintbrush, the handle of a waterbrush is made up of a water reservoir, eliminating the need for a water cup. The light colored bristles allow the painter to easily determine their color load and paint concentration, and the included cap protects the bristles and brush head while also sealing the water inside.
If you are accustomed to using traditional paintbrushes, you will notice that controlling a waterbrush is quite different. With a little practice, however, you too will find your groove and discovery why we love them!
Follow along with Karen, below, and pick up a few tips and tricks for making a waterbrush work for you!
Here’s a closer look at the artwork examples from the video:
The first watercolor technique you saw teaches how to create a colorful background like the one on this page. Using a medium round waterbrush, lay down watercolor paint onto an all-purpose mat. Then, lay the paper you want to add the color to facedown onto the paint and allow it to soak up for a few seconds. Turn your paper right side up and let it dry before continuing with your project.
If you look closely, you’ll see that in this Welcome card, we have two different watercolor techniques to talk through. The first, is the stenciled background. Using a stencil we created out of a stencil sheet and a Cricut® shape, we were able to paint a beautiful watercolor textured background with a medium round waterbrush. The second technique Karen talks through is how to achieve the detail and color variation seen in the plants of this card using the small round waterbrush.
The last technique we share can easily make any of us look like watercolor experts! Instead of ink, add watercolor paint to a raised stamp and use it to create the image on your artwork! Look how beautiful those leaves turned out on this card! Make sure not to add too much water to avoid ending up with a blobby image. (In the video above, Karen shows you how!)
If you’re a fan of waterbrushes, please leave us a comment below and tell us why! AND…if you’ve got any tips or tricks you’ve picked up along the way, please share those with all of us, too!
Celebrate the men who mean the most in your life with our exclusive Legendary Father’s Day stamp sets! The Someone to Look up To and Legendary Father’s Day sets will honor these important men in a “dapper” mixed with just the appropriate amount of “cute” way.
By pairing these legendary stamp sets with a few fun stamping and coloring techniques we were able to achieve some rather handsome results.
Heat embossing with white embossing powder was used to achieve the raised white sentiment on this other card, above, and shading with color pencils was once again used on the shirt of the card on the left, to create a more dimensional image.
If you’d like to learn how to achieve the beautiful color pencil shading we’ve shown you in a couple of these cards, follow along with Karen, our Creative Arts Manager, in the video below. She explains how to determine where and how to add your shading based on your “light source” and so much more!
Lastly, we promised you scrapbook pages and we are delivering!
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.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to scrapbook that stack of photos that you keep meaning to get to, then you’ve come to the right place! We are going to be making 10 6″ x 8″ two-page layouts using a super speedy scrapbooking technique known as the 3-2-1 Formula.
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.
Here’s what you’ll need:
5 sheets of patterned paper* (in a variety of coordinating patterns)
4 cardstock sheets* in coordinating colors (coordinate with your patterned paper)
10 White Daisy cardstock sheets*
*For those of you 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 your 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 paper 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 will be making with the 4 sheets of coordinating cardstock.
Cut each cardstock sheet into 6 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, so make sure to clear your table or a place on your living room rug or somewhere else you can keep your project safe. We are going to lay out all 20 White Daisy cardstock base pages. Next, let’s 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 the layouts, or a combination of both.
Step 5: Embellish! Using coordinating embellishments add your finishing touches!
Here’s an album that we came up with using this method:
(Click on the individual images to enlarge.)
If you like our finished album and would like to recreate it using our same papers and embellishments, we’ve put together the Craft On Everyday Life™ Album Workshop Kit to help you do just that. If you don’t, that’s okay, too! The beauty of the 3-2-1 technique is that it can be applied using any coordinating papers you like!
Your pages and layouts can look very differently depending on how you choose to mix and match the various components on your pages. Have fun creating pages using the combinations that you love and that best suit your photos and memories!
We love using colorful inks to create cool backgrounds on cards. Today we are showing you how we made the vibrant gradient background on the card below.
Let’s get started!
First, we picked our colors. We needed a full spectrum to create a rainbow effect, so we used Candy Apple, Raspberry, Nectarine, Lemon, Willow, Bluebird, and Pansy from our Exclusive Inks™ collection. The next thing to do is to prepare your sponges.
We took one of our round sponges and cut it into wedges, one for each color. (Daubers also work, if those are your preference.)
Firmly hold your paper on your work surface. A little bit of rolled up washi tape on the back of your cardstock should do the trick for when you can’t hold it in place with your hands. Now, to the fun part of sponging on the colors!
With an inked sponge wedge, start off by applying your first color with light pressure and in a circular motion. Continue to apply the color until reaching the desired level of saturation. As you switch colors, slightly overlap each for that blended look.
After all of our colors were applied we splattered our background with Spritz Cleaner to achieve a water “damage” look. First, we unscrewed the top and dropped fat drops of Spritz Cleaner onto the ink straight from the tube. Then, we replaced the top and sprayed the card for smaller droplets. We suggest using Spritz Cleaner instead of water because the ink will separate better and create the desired effect without warping the paper like water will.
We finished the card by heat embossing a sentiment and cute balloon in white.
One of the great things about this technique is that you don’t always have to sponge your ink on a solid color piece of paper. Take a look at how we used this same technique on patterned paper to create this other card:
It also looks great with just one color:
What do you like about this sponging technique? And if this isn’t new to you, what are some ways that you do things differently? Please share your creative thoughts with us in the comments below!
There are as many different approaches to memory keeping as there are memory keepers. We celebrate every approach and believe that whatever approach gets your stories told and your memories preserved is the best! For some that means pictures and pocket cards tucked into an Everyday Life™ album; for others it means putting together a pre-cut Cut Above® layout; for others, memory keeping also doubles as an artistic outlet incorporating different crafting techniques on a 12″ x 12″ paper canvas. Deluxe scrapbooking workshops provide this kind of creative experience for anyone who wants to add a little more “oomph” to the pages of their scrapbook.
Our Holiday Expressions idea book introduced the first two deluxe scrapbooking workshops, which featured the Boutique and ‘Tis the Season collection. Earlier this month we released a third workshop featuring the Hello Pumpkin papers used in decidedly non-Halloween artwork. Here, see for yourself:
As you can see, this workshop guides you in the creation of two 2-page scrapbook layouts and two single-page scrapbook layouts, all in the 12″ x 12″ size. Each layout is made using a few papercrafting techniques, such as folding, angled cuts, and creative use of Thin Cuts dies to achieve unique effects. Take this scrapbook page, for example:
There’s a lot happening on this page, but we’d like to draw your attention primarily to the circle and heart right in the center of the page. Here’s a quick look at the technique that went into creating this accent.
Starting with a 2¾” square of Peach cardstock, we used the 2¼” stitched circle die to cut only half of a circle. The trick to only cutting half of a shape is all about how you feed the die through your machine. As you can see in the photo above, only part of the circle is sandwiched between the plates, resulting in a partial cut like this:
Thanks to our beautiful two-toned cardstock, when you fold back the cut part, you get a lightly contrasting color. We then layered this piece over a piece of Ballerina cardstock to add another shade and topped it off with the adorable heart sticker. Neat, right? And that technique is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to our deluxe scrapbooking. Take a closer look at the other layouts you’ll make as part of this workshop:
The helpful instructions that accompany the workshop show you how to replicate each technique, guiding you step-by-step through the creative process. If you’d like to try something new for your memory keeping, we invite you to check out the Hello Pumpkin Deluxe Scrapbooking Workshop, and see what deluxe scrapbooking is all about!
The important thing about memory keeping is preserving our stories.
With how easily accessible cameras are to us these days, we have been trained over the years to take photos of absolutely everything we experience. From an outing with friends last weekend to the coffee you picked up this morning, we are certain you have photos that you love but aren’t quite sure what to do with. You may have posted some of these on a social media channel and received a bazillion likes, but now that the moment is over you would like to preserve these memories somewhere more permanent. As one of our blog readers you know we’re going to suggest to you that scrapbooking is the answer. (And it is!) But, how do we scrapbook and journal about a cup of coffee?
Today we’re sharing a journaling style that allows us to talk about pretty much any topic under the sun that is based on The Important Book written by Margaret Wise Brown. In her book, the author dedicates a two-page spread to individual common, everyday things—like the sky, an apple, grass, and rain. On one page is an illustration of the subject and on the opposite page is a short passage describing it, starting and ending with what she considers is the most important attribute:
The important thing about a spoon is that you eat with it. It’s like a little shovel, You hold it in your hand, You can put it in your mouth, It isn’t flat, It’s hollow, And it spoons things up. But the important thing about a spoon is that you eat with it.
Brown made talking about a spoon easy and interesting. If we apply the same principles used to describe this otherwise seemingly mundane subject in our journaling, the occasion will be rare, if at all, where we will be truly stuck with nothing to say.
So, how do we do it? We put together a handy worksheet to help us get started.
First, what is your topic? Write it down. Then, write down as many words and thoughts as you can think of that describe this topic. Your words, your thoughts—this is your story. Next, from all of these things you just wrote down, what stands out to you as the most important? This attribute is how you will start and finish your journaling passage. Use all the other information and details to fill in the middle.
When you are first starting to use this journaling method, stick to the formula on our worksheet to avoid any problems or confusion. As you get more familiar with this way of journaling, then start changing some of the words up (but not the order!).
Here’s a scrapbook layout about our cup of Joe:
The first and last lines in the journaling are the same thought, “The important thing about coffee is how it creates small moments of joy.” All of the in between stuff is insightful into how our friend in the layout feels about coffee, however, there is no question as to why it means all of those things to her. She let’s us know what the important thing about coffee is as she starts to write about it and then circles back to remind us as she closes her remarks.
To help highlight the unique things that are important to you, we paired this journaling model with a 6″ x 8″ album and designed The Important Things Everyday Life™ workshop. (Getting a copy of The Important Book itself, though recommended, is completely optional.)
Each of the eight layouts can feature something that is uniquely important to you, with a large open space on one page for your journaling and the facing page created to add photos illustrating whatever topic you choose to document.
Take a look at these other completed examples from The Important Things album and see how the important thing journaling style is applied to each subject.
The important thing about cookies:
The important thing about friends:
The important thing about my dog, Sophie:
The important thing about rain:
The generic theme of this album and the bright colors and patterns of the Perfectly Imperfect Picture My Life™ cards make this a versatile project to make for yourself, present as a gift, or both!
But, the important thing about memory keeping is preserving our stories.
First we attached the largest stars to the page. You can use glue dots, thin 3-D foam tape, or both—which is what we did. Add the adhesive only to the center of the shape to keep it from going completely flat.
The smaller stars were stacked on top and then attached with a mini staple—not only functioning as an adhesive but as an added design element. You’ll notice that we only used three out of the four star sizes per stack. We found that doing more than three looked too bulky and didn’t visually work with our page. (If you remember from one of our previous posts, details in odd numbers look better than even!) Lastly, using nothing more than a finger, we lifted the corners up starting with the top layer.
Replicate this user-friendly technique with any of our basic shape Thin Cuts. If you want to achieve a similar effect with a Thin Cut that doesn’t come in a variety of sizes, follow the same steps and stack the same sized shapes on top of each other.
And don’t forget, our Thin Cuts are on sale this month! Save 25% on individual sets and 30% on select bundles! Click here to shop!