Altenew Educator Certification Program (AECP) – Beyond Basic Backgrounds

Another very interesting class that’s a part of Level 2 in the Altenew Educator Certification Program (AECP) is Beyond Basic Backgrounds. Sounds like a straightforward class, right? Well it is and it isn’t. There are some really interesting techniques in this class. Of course I picked to use one technique that I’ve tried before, but not quite like this. Bleaching….yes bleaching, but instead of using bleach it’s with water. Most inks react with water, pigment as well as dye inks. Some of the best inks for water reaction are Distress Inks and Distress Oxides. I love the look of the oxide inks as they have a muted chalky finish and are easy to blend. I’ve done ‘bleaching’ before on oxide inks but I’ve typically just done it with water splatter, never with stamps before…so this was an interesting option to me. I wanted a birthday card for a friend, and thought this would be a really cool technique for this look.

I started off using Ranger’s Mini Ink Blending Tools and Distress Oxide Inks in Cracked Pistachio and Evergreen Bough. I started by dipping the blending brush into Cracked Pistachio and covering approximately half of my panel, then completed the panel with the Evergreen Bough.

I overlapped the colours slightly in order to create a smoother blend and went over the colours a couple of times to make sure the transition was smooth.

I let my inked panel sit overnight to ensure it was dry. Alternatively you could use a heat tool to speed up the drying time. Then i grabbed the leaf stamps from Altenew’s Happy Dreams stamp set. Now … how would I add the water? In the class the instructor used a sort of sponge to add water to the stamps similar to an ink pad…but I didn’t have anything quite so sophisticated. Instead, I added a couple of drops of water onto the stamps while they were attached to the cover of my My Sweet Petunia’s MISTI Stamping Tool (MISTI) and then used my finger to distribute the water across the stamp. I also made sure I wiped away any excess water off the lid of my MISTI so I wouldn’t get water where I didn’t want to.

Then I pressed down the cover of my MISTI onto my inked panel. Then I opened the MISTI, and used a clean paper towel to remove any excess water. You can see in the picture below that there’s a very faint change in the colour of my panel. I wanted something a bit more obvious, so I repeated the last step…added more water to the stamps and stamped again. This is one of the advantages of having a stamping tool as I can be sure that my stamps are in the exact same position every time.

Below you can see that I got a much more obvious change in the colour of the panel…perfect. Going forward I knew I need to ‘stamp’ the water on my panel twice in each position.

I wanted to have a nice background of the pattern so I moved my stamps into another position on my panel and stamped again with water. I repeated this a few more times to fully cover my panel with the bleached images.

I cut my panel down to approximately 5.25×3.75 inches, then grabbed a sheet of coordinating patterned paper from Reverse Confetti’s Winter Solstice Patterned Paper Pad. I trimmed the patterned paper down to be approximately 0.25×5.25 inches and adhered it to the left side of my panel. I wanted to add a bit of detail without taking away from the beautiful green colours.

On to my sentiment. As previously mentioned I needed a birthday card…so I grabbed Altenew’s Birthday Builder stamp set. This is a great stamp set to have in your stash as it has lots of various styled ‘Happy Birthday’ stamps, so I’ve always been able to find something to go with any card! I used to Simon Says Stamp’s Grid Transparency align my sentiment perfectly in my MISTI.

I grabbed a strip of Simon Says Stamp’s Cardstock in Slate and treated my cardstock with anti-static powder bag to eliminate any static and stop any embossing powder from sticking to places I didn’t want it to. I used and stamped the sentiment using Tsukineko’s Versamark Ink. Then I used Brutus Monroe’s White Alabaster Embossing powder and my WOW Dual Speed Heat Tool to heat emboss the sentiment. Then I adhered the strip to the lower right portion of my panel and ended up trimming off the excess.

Then I took the same leaf stamp I used to bleach the panel and used Cracked Pistachio to stamp on the lower left corner of the coordinating envelope.

I adhered the bleached panel to an A2 sized Neenah Solar White cardstock cardbase.

After taking the first couple of pictures of the finished card, I opted to add a few gems as I felt that something was missing. I added 3 of –Studio Katia’s Iridescent Crystals  using  Ranger’s Glossy Accents and my Crystal Katana Jewel Picker. That made it feel a little more complete to me, however the jewels could have easily been left off making the card a bit more masculine.

Altenew Stamps:

Birthday Builder

– Happy Dreams


– Tim Holtz for Ranger Distress Oxide Inks – Cracked Pistachio, Evergreen Bough

– Tsukineko’s Versamark Ink

Other Supplies:

– Neenah Solar White cardstock (SSS)

– Simon Says Stamp’s Cardstock – Slate

– Reverse Confetti’s Winter Solstice Patterned Paper Pad

– Brutus Monroe’s White Alabaster Embossing powder

Studio Katia’s Iridescent Crystals (SSS)

– Ranger’s Glossy Accents (SSS)

Tombow Mono Multi Liquid Glue (SSS)

– Ranger’s Multi Media Matte

– Tonic Deluxe Adhesive Nuvo Glue

Simon Says Stamp Big Momma Foam Tape (SSS)


Crystal Katana Jewel Picker (SSS)

– My Sweet Petunia’s MISTI Stamping Tool (SSS)

Tim Holtz Mini Comfort Trimmer (SSS)

Simon Says Stamp’s Acrylic Blocks (SSS)

Simon Says Stamp’s Grid Transparency (SSS)

WOW Dual Speed Heat Tool (SSS)

Ranger Mini Ink Blending Brushes (SSS)


1 thought on “Altenew Educator Certification Program (AECP) – Beyond Basic Backgrounds”

  1. I like that you used a coloured cardstock, it really changed the outcome! Looks really good.
    Thank you for entering your gorgeous work to the AECP assignment gallery.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.