Beautiful Bokeh Backgrounds

In case you’re unfamiliar with the term ‘bokeh’, it’s a photographic term for an aesthetically pleasing blur you get when the background is out of focus.  Bokeh is from the Japanese word ‘boke’ meaning ‘blur’ or ‘haze’ and as far as I can ascertain, it is pronounced “bo-kay”.  However, I may be wrong but, irrespective of how you pronounce it, it’s a fun technique to try out.

To begin, choose 3 complimentary ink colours and, using sponge daubers or sponge pieces, smoosh ink onto cardstock in random places gradually blending the colours together at the edges.  Leave to dry.

Next, you’ll need to make a bokeh stencil.  Cut a selection of circle sizes out of a sheet of acetate or glossy card.  You will need a pigment ink for the circles so that they show up on the coloured background.

Using a clean sponge dauber, apply the white ink in circles, moving the holes around the background and overlapping other circles in places.  Leave to dry.

The last part is to use your unique background to create a beautiful card.  I used gold embossing powder and the hot air balloons from the recently retired Lift Me Up set to finish my card.

I enjoyed the inking process so I decided to try out another in purples and yellow.  What I discovered in making this one into a card is that you can’t stamp silhouettes on it with Memento ink as it dries to a dirty grey colour.  Black Stazon works though, as you can see from my little experiment; S=Stazon, M=Memento.

As this inking disaster had ruined my bokeh panel, I cut off the offending half and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with silver embossed dandelions on the remaining half of the panel.

If you can’t be bothered with any of the above, you can use the Bokeh Dots background stamp.  These stamps are a little tricky to ink as if there’s too much ink on the stamp, it loses the effect. Applying the ink using a brayer worked better for me.

Whilst I had the stamp set out, I decided to use the other stamp in the set too, which is a starburst/firework kind of effect.

 

 

Images © 2019 Stampin’ Up!

Team Training with Inspiring Inkin’

To be a demonstrator with Stampin’ Up!, you have to join another demonstrator’s team.  You can join any team you fancy within your worldwide geographical area but I joined a local demonstrator, Amanda Fowler of Inspiring Inkin’ (http://www.inspiringinkin.com) as I’d enjoyed many of Amanda’s videos on YouTube and I like to support local businesses where I can.

We have online training once a month via Facebook Live but there are a few in person training days where you get to meet other members of the team, get new ideas and try out new products, chat, eat cake and craft together, which makes a nice change as crafting tends to be a solitary occupation.

A common, but optional, activity at this kind of event is Team Swaps.  This involves making a card front to swap with other demonstrators, thereby getting new ideas for a stamp set you own or seeing a new set that may have escaped your notice!  I decided to repeat my old favourite of the ombre sunset and Dandelion Wishes card front and, whilst watching the Masters snooker, spent a very pleasant couple of hours ink blending 25 card fronts.  I then stamped the image together with the sentiment, then heat embossed them with clear powder.  The Stamparatus is invaluable for this kind of mass production.  A sticker with the ‘recipe’ is put on the back should anyone want to CASE (Copy And Share Everything) your design.  Here are my swaps.  Can you spot the slight oops moment? I inked the panel upside down – I have no idea how I managed it!!

These are the swaps I received from my fellow demonstrators – such a talented bunch!

Amanda also had a Demonstrator’s Choice competition whereby you make any project using anything, but if SU! sell it (like ribbon, card etc.) you have to use it but anything they don’t sell can also be used.  I decided to make a Lighted Bethlehem 3D frame as I’d made a few of these for Christmas presents and they had all been well received.  I was chuffed to bits to be voted the winner especially as there was very strong competition.  Here’s my frame with lights off…

….and lights on.

For this, I won a stamp set and was also lucky enough to win another one in the raffle too.

Whilst the day is called a training day, that is a rather formal term and it’s actually a lot of fun.  Amanda provides a number of projects for the team to complete although I didn’t get to finish all of them.  Here’s what I did complete.

We also had a couple of demonstrations of techniques and new product lines and a very interesting presentation on bullet journaling, or Bujo as it’s apparently known!  This really piqued my interest and I’m going to investigate this further, particularly as I may be able to combine it with my challenge to myself for this year, to learn hand/brush lettering – so that I’m not totally dependent on stamp sets for my sentiments!!

 

 

Images © 2019 Stampin’ Up!

 

Dragonflies & Dandelions Card

After spending (erm…wasting!) many hundreds of £££ buying stamp sets that I liked but didn’t have any ideas for, I now only buy stamp sets that I can immediately think of 3 projects or cards that I could use them for. This was the case with Stampin’ Up!’s Dragonfly Dreams and more recently Dandelion Wishes, the latter being one of my all-time favourite sets.  I thought that the two sets would complement each other well  and decided to use the dandelion stamp to make my version of DSP (Designer Series Paper).  Here’s the card.

I wanted a monochrome look so stamped in grey ink but you could use any colours you fancy.  Here’s another I made using light turquoise ink and a scrap of ice blue glitter card I found in my large box of card offcuts.  You can really see the wing detail of the stamped image.

This is another different look using Crushed Curry and Pumpkin Pie inks together with gold glimmer paper.

If you’d like to watch my YouTube video tutorial on making this card, please click this link

https://youtu.be/DUKUmoHxfiE

To make this card, I used:

  • Stampin’ Up! Dragonfly Dreams stamps and Dragonfly thinlits
  • Stampin’ Up! Dandelion Wishes stamps
  • 11.5″ x 4 1/8″ white card base, unscored (you will score it later)
  • 5.5″ x 3 7/8″ card lining piece, I used grey
  • 3.5″ x 3″ pieces of silver glitter card and grey card for the dragonfly cut outs
  • Scraps of white/grey for the sentiment
  • Co-ordinating ink pad
Materials needed
  1. Stamp the dragonfly showing the wing details onto the small grey piece of card and then cut out using the solid framelit.
  2. Cut out the detailed dragonfly framelit using the glitter card.
  3. Stick the glitter dragonfly onto the grey stamped dragonfly image, only adhering the body and tail.  Gently bend the glitter wings up a little to give the 3D effect.

    3D glitter dragonfly (left) and inlaid dragonfly (instructions later)
  4. Measure 5.75″ along your card base and put a couple of tiny pencil marks.  Stick a post-it note along these marks, positioned to the left of the marks.
  5. Stamp your background image using the Dandelion Wishes stamps.  Less is more –  you don’t want to entirely cover the card.  Ensure you stamp off the edges too.  Whilst you’ve got your ink out, add a little stamped detail to your card inner and the envelope and stamp your sentiment on the scrap of white.
  6. Remove the mask, erase the pencil marks then score the base at 5.75″ and fold in half.
  7. Adhere the liner to the inside of the card.
  8. Cut out your greeting and add a backing if you want.  You can flag the ends, add a mat, add a small offset mat (which I did) – the choice is up to you!  It’s one of the ways you can make the card your own.  I added a grey mat the same size as my sentiment, positioned offset slightly above and left of the sentiment. I thought it looked a bit bare so added a couple of rhinestones – well who doesn’t like a bit of bling?!
  9. Add some foam dimensionals behind the sentiment and the dragonfly body and head and add to your card front.

And you’re all finished!

Try changing things up by trying out different colourways, changing the sentiment and/or changing the position of the elements.  In this one, I used the large detailed dragonfly thinlit and flagged the sentiment banner.

 

Inlaid Dragonfly Directions

If you wanted to use the glitter cut outs from your glitter dragonfly wings to make another card topper, the inlaid dragonfly shown above, here’s what you do.

  1. Stick a piece of double sided adhesive sheet onto another piece of grey 3.5″ x 3″ card stock and cut out the solid dragonfly and also cut a detailed dragonfly out of grey card. 
  2. Remove the adhesive backing paper and adhere the detailed dragonfly  to it.  The adhesive is quite unforgiving so try lining up the body and head first and the wings should follow suit.  (You can always trim off any adhesive backing showing on the front if necessary.) This will leave the holes in the wings with a sticky surface.
  3. Using your silver glitter dragonfly  and trying to keep all the pieces together, lay the  glitter dragonfly directly on top of the one you just made and using tweezers, a cocktail stick, pokey tool or the like, push the cut out pieces through into the adhesive lined holes underneath.  You will have to press quite firmly.
  4. Carefully remove the glitter dragonfly, capturing any cut-outs that haven’t stuck and relocate them.
  5. Press the glitter inserts firmly onto the dragonfly base to ensure they’re properly adhered.

Lo and behold! 2 dragonfly card toppers for your projects!

 

Another project

You can also make this into a cute picture using a shadow box frame.  I used a 10cm x 10cm white shadow box for this.

Thanks to Liz Yuille of Old Stables Crafts for the inspiration for the inlaid dragonfly.  https://oldstablescrafts.co.uk/

Images ©Stampin’ Up!

Ombre Sunset Card featuring Dandelion Wishes

This idea came to me one evening as I was gazing out of my craft room window at the sunset.  It was a beautiful sunset, with very rich pink, orange and yellow colours but only a strip of it was showing.  It was obscured at each side by huge cloud banks which framed the sunset.  It was stunning! As the colours intensified, the trees in the foreground became silhouetted which made the whole scene look even more spectacular.  As such, I was inspired to create this card.  As you’ve no doubt gathered, I’m a bit in love with the Dandelion Wishes stamp which works really well for this card, but any stamp which has a good silhouette image will do the business too – have fun trying out different images!  I find that a black mat layer or just a black card base (if you’re not matting it) frames this card the best.

If you’d like to watch my YouTube video tutorial for this card, please follow this link  https://youtu.be/3eWH_chcIOM

For this card, I used:

Card base: 11½” x 4⅛”, scored at 5¾”

Mat layer: 5⅝” x 4” (optional)

2 White layers: 5½” x 3⅞” (one for the card front and one for the liner)

Two 5” x 3” post-it notes

Stampin’ Up! Dandelion Wishes stamp set

Stampin’ Up! Ink Pads in: Crushed Curry, Pumpkin Pie, Cajun Craze, Cherry Cobbler, Rich Razzleberry and Blackberry Bliss

A piece of sponge or a sponge dauber for each different ink colour

Memento Tuxedo Black Ink

Versamark Ink Pad

Clear Embossing Powder

Scratch paper for working on – it will get a bit messy!

Using small pencil marks, mark on your white topper layer where you want your coloured panel to be.  I did 1” and 2½” from the left-hand side.  Tear a narrow piece from the sticky edge of the post-it note, ensuring there’s still some sticky area left.

Apply the post-it masks to the topper, roughly in line with your pencil marks and press down well.  Erase the pencil marks if you can still see them.  Put this onto a piece of scratch paper as you’ll be sponging off the edge of the card.

Stage 1, going up!  Using Crushed Curry first, dab the sponge onto the ink pad and apply the ink using small circular movements and ALWAYS starting on the post-it note, start at the bottom of the card and work onto the card.  Work the sponge across the card making a small section of yellow.  You will be going over this again so don’t worry if it looks a bit patchy.  Next, use the Pumpkin Pie ink and using the same technique, sponge a small section of orange just above the yellow, overlapping slightly.  Repeat this until you’ve used all your colours and are at the top of the card.  You’ll probably still have some light sections between the coloured bands.  This is fine, they’ll get blended out in stage 2.

Stage 2, coming down! Continuing with the Blackberry Bliss, start working your way back down the panel.  This time when you start a new colour, start in the colour above and work your way down to the bottom of your current colour section but not into the lighter colour below.  You always want to start your lighter colours on top of the darker coloured section above as this is how you’ll get the blended ombre look.  Continue blending until you’ve reached the Crushed Curry layer again.

Once you’re happy with the effect, carefully remove the masks and leave to dry a little.

Using the Stampin’ Up! Stamparatus, position your card front and anchor with the magnet. Position the triple dandelion image in the inked panel so that the stalks are just off the bottom of the page. Position your sentiment on the white section to the right then pick up the stamps with the flap of the Stamparatus. (If your stamps are a mixture of photopolymer and foam mounted rubber, position one stamp on one door and the other stamp on the reverse side or on the other door as you’ll need to remove the foam mat for the rubber stamps.)  Stamp the image and sentiment using black ink.  I like Memento Tuxedo Black as it produces a fine image.  Leave your stamps in place.  Give the ink a minute or so to dry and then pounce (a crafting term for making little dabbing motions to make a bit of powder come out of the bag!) your Embossing Buddy over the surface of the card.

Side Note: Embossing powder is super fine and will cling to any static or oils from your fingertips and then you have the arduous job of trying to brush it off with a paintbrush without disturbing your image.  Trust me, an Embossing Buddy is indeed a good friend to have!

Ink up your stamps again this time using Versamark Ink (which is stickier that normal inks and takes longer to dry) and then remove from the Stamparatus and add the embossing powder.  Pour off the excess, give the card a tap, I like to give it a couple of flicks on the reverse too and then carefully put it down whilst you get your Heat Tool warmed up (30 seconds or so).  This just helps the embossing powder to melt quicker to minimise the warping of the card.  Once hot, hold the Heat Tool over the embossed areas and watch the magic happen! You will see the powder melt and go from opaque to shiny.  Don’t hold the Heat Tool too close to the card, you could scorch the card (or even set it on fire!!) and move on as soon as one section has melted as you don’t want to overheat the powder, it will lose the shine and texture.  If your card has warped, gently heat the reverse side as this can help straighten it out again.

Layer up the card.  Adhere the topper to the coloured mat layer (if using) and then adhere to the card base.  The card front will be warped slightly due to the embossing so it’s best to use some form of wet glue like Tombow.  This is a strong adhesive and will help the card front regain its flatness (is that even a word??) which will then be further helped when sticking it onto the card base.  This is why I generally add a mat layer if I’ve heat embossed.  Adhere the liner to the inside.

You’re all done!

Optional: If you want even more shininess, add one of each size of rhinestones to the centre of the dandelions!

Another ombre sunset but with a birthday sentiment
This card was made without the heat embossing element.

 

 

All images ©Stampin’ Up!

Tone-on-Tone Dandelion Wishes

If you are new to card making, it can be overwhelming, not to mention expensive, choosing which items of kit to buy as there are so many things which people deem to be indispensable.  It doesn’t have to be like that though.  Choose one or maybe two stamp sets that you love and can immediately imagine what you’d make with them, add a couple of ink pads in your favourite colours plus a black one, some white card stock and you’re off to a good start.  You can easily build on this foundation purchase once you develop your style and preferred mediums and colours.

So, my first card project to share with you is a tone-on-tone card using the Stampin’ Up! Dandelion Wishes stamp set – an absolute favourite of mine, I can’t ever imagine getting bored of it!  It involves a bit of sponging, some stamping and a single colour of ink and cardstock.  The great thing about Stampin’ Up! is that there is matching cardstock for each ink colour, with the addition of coordinating embellishments like ribbon, twine and rhinestones.  It takes away the guesswork and ensures your projects have a coordinated look.

For this card, I used:

  • White card base: 11.5” x 4⅛”, scored at 5¾”
  • Rich Razzleberry mat layer: 5½” x 3⅞”
  • White inner layer: 5½” x 3⅞”
  • White topper layer: 5¼” x 3⅝”
  • Two 5” x 3” post-it notes
  • Stampin’ Up! Dandelion Wishes stamp set
  • Stampin’ Up! Rich Razzleberry Ink Pad
  •  A piece of sponge or a sponge dauber
  • Scratch paper for working on – it can get a bit messy
  • Stampin’ Up! Basic Rhinestones (optional)

Using small pencil marks, mark on your white topper layer where you want your coloured panel to be.  I did 1” and 2½” from the left-hand side.  Tear a narrow piece from the sticky edge of the post-it note, ensuring there’s still some sticky area left.  Or alternatively you can leave the edge straight if you prefer that look.

Apply the post-it masks to the topper, roughly in line with your pencil marks and press down well.  Erase the pencil marks if you can still see them.  Put this onto a piece of scratch paper as you’ll be sponging off the edge of the card.

Dab the sponge onto the ink pad and apply the ink using small circular movements starting on the post-it note at the top of the card and working onto the card.  Slowly work the sponge down the card as the amount of ink reduces so that you get a graduated effect with the top of the card being darker than the bottom.  Once you’re happy with the effect, carefully remove the masks and leave to dry a little.

Using Rich Razzleberry ink, stamp the triple dandelion image so that the stalks are just off the bottom of the page.  Position it centrally in the lighter section of the inked panel. (A stamp positioner like the Stampin’ Up! Stamparatus is really handy and I found it improved the quality of my stamping no end.  But it’s not essential; you may well be a championship stamper using blocks or woodmount stamps.   I wasn’t!)  Stamp your sentiment in the same colour.

Holding the inner liner (make sure your fingers are clean!) lightly go over the edges of the liner with your sponge without inking it up again.  Stamp the other dandelion image in the bottom left corner, going off the edge and stamp the seed in the top right corner.

Stamp some images onto your envelope too.

Layer up the card.  Adhere the topper to the coloured mat layer and then adhere to the card base.  Add the liner to the inside.

Optional: Add one of each size of rhinestones to the centre of the dandelions for a bit of extra zing!

You’re all done!

Variations

If you use a stamp positioner, like the Stamparatus, you could emboss the dandelions after you’ve stamped them using Versamark ink and clear embossing powder to add a little extra shine.

Change up the look by using coloured card for the topper and emboss the image and sentiment using Versamark ink and silver embossing powder.  I also added some second generation stamping along the bottom edge, lightly sponged the edges with the matching ink and stamped the seed images around the edge of the mat layer.

Another option, if you have more ink pads, is to create an ombre effect by blending one colour into the next to make a seamless transition – another post to follow with this technique.

Whichever method you try, you’re sure to produce a stylist result!

Images ©Stampin’ Up!