Alright. I’ve been working through Level 2 of the Altenew Educator Certification Program and have made it to the final challenge. It’s exciting and intimidating at the same time. I want to push myself a bit with this challenge but still show who I am as a creator.
This was my final challenge for level 2:
~Select ANY 3 components from the classes in Level 1 or 2 (e.g., layering 1/2, Let it shine, stencil techniques)
~Explain the 3 components that you’ve chosen for the project
~Share design tips (if any)
~Please make 4 MASCULINE cards (Themes are; birthday, Love/Thinking of You, Anniversary, and Encouragement)+ Altered Item/Upcycled Project.
~Challenge blog post: Detailed step-by-step photo tutorial and/or YouTube video
~Minimum of 10 photos (close-up and process)
The 3 components I chose for this challenge were:
- Layering 1/2
- Layered Stamps – Moon, Earth, Cupcake, Camera
- Let It Shine
- Clear Heat Embossing
- Gold/Silver Heat Embossing
- Shimmer Pens
- Metallic Watercolour Paint
- Easy Ink Blending
- Basic Ink Blending
- Emboss Resist
- Details with Ink Blending
CARD 1 – ENCOURAGEMENT:
I have always loved the quote featured on this card by Martin Luther King Jr -> “Only in the darkness can you see the stars”. It’s a quote that I remind myself of in times of hardship, so I really connected to this card. I also wanted to try a few things I have never done before, so I opted to to an ink blended night sky with glow in the dark stars to try to really emphasize that sentiment.
I started off with Altenew’s “To The Moon” stamp set to create my layered moon. I stamped the base layer using Altenew’s Crisp Dye Ink in Limestone.
Then I stamped the second layer using Altenew’s Silver Lake Crisp Dye Ink. I could’ve stamped the third layer, but opted to stop at the second layer. I didn’t want too many layers on the moon as it’s not the focus of this card. I then used the smaller circle die in the set to cut out the moon, as I didn’t want a gigantic moon.
Then I used Altenew’s “Wanderlust” stamp set and stamped out the mountain line using Altenew’s Obsidian Pigment Ink.
Then I used Brutus Monroe’s Icicle embossing powder and heat embossed the mountains to add a bit of shine as the clear embossing glistens in the light. Since I was planning on ink blending the background, I didn’t want to lose the mountains so heat embossing with a clear embossing powder provides resistance of the ink keeping a crisp black image.
I opted to do a simple ink blending technique on this background to create the night sky. I started off using Ocean Waves Crisp Dye Ink and my Simon Says Stamp blender brushes. I personally prefer using blending brushes (whatever brand you choose) as I find I get a much smoother blend when I use them. One thing to keep in mind when Ink blending with dye inks is that at first it may seem a bit splotchy, but just let it dry before you more colour as it usually will smooth itself out. It’s always easier to add more ink if you find you need it later, rather than over saturating your page and then needing to start over.
My second blending colour was Altenew’s Persian Blue. I used a circular motion with the blending brush to try to keep a nice smooth look. One quick tip when doing ink blending with any tool…start off the page with your ink then glide your brush onto the page in a circular motion. This helps to eliminate the risk of having a big circle or splotch of ink on your page. I often times will also tap my brush off first on a scrap piece of paper, then begin just off the panel I’m blending and glide on. For me, I find this really helpful and allows me to have a cleaner look.
I add a bit of Dark Night Ink on the upper portion of my panel and a smidge of Jet Black on the very edge for a nice dark sky at the top. I tend to blend backwards as well….for example…I started with Ocean Waves, moved on to Persian Blue, then went back over the transition space with Ocean Waves. This blending back definitely helps give you a much smoother transition.
Then I grabbed the stars from Altenew’s “Happy Dreams” stamp set, and my favourite quote from Altenew’s “Kind Words” stamp set. I stamped the quote in lower on the panel using Versamark Ink (any embossing ink will work). Then I stamped the stars repeatedly using Versamark Ink on the upper section of the panel. I made sure that with each stamp down, I rotated the stamps to get a more natural look and help fill the space much more nicely.
I heat embossed my sentiment using Brutus Monroe’s Sterling Embossing Powder, and my stars using Wow’s Glow in the Dark Embossing powder. The Sterling embossed sentiment adds more shine to my card.
It’s a bit tricky to properly capture the look of the stars in the dark, but here’s my picture:
Then I applied my moon using some of Simon Says Stamp’s Big Mamma foam tape in the upper left corner of my panel. I didn’t want a full moon on the page, as I didn’t want to cover too many of the stars, so i hung the moon off the edge of my panel and then trimmed off the excess.
I cut a panel of Simon Says Stamp’s Black cardstock down to 5.25×4 inches and attached my blended panel to it.
Then I adhered everything to an A2 panel of Neenah Dessert Storm Cardstock. I tend to like a bit of a border on my cards, but with the rich deep colour of my panel, I didn’t want a bright white. So using a slightly darker cardbase avoids there being a harsh break around the edges.
Voila! I pushed myself with the ink blending as it’s not something I do often. I also tend to like a more clean and simple look to my cards most of the time and I felt that this card wasn’t too busy, but had a lot enough dimension and interest.
– To The Moon
– Happy Dreams
Altenew Crisp Dye Inks:
– Persian Blue
– Cloudy Sky
– Dark Night
– Ocean Waves
– Spectrum Noir Midas Metallic Pigment Ink
– Neenah Dessert Storm cardstock (SSS)
– Wow Glow In The Dark Embossing powder
– Simon Says Stamp’s Blending Brushes
-Honeybee Stamp’s Blending Brushes
– Tombow Mono Multi Liquid Glue (SSS)
CARD 2 – ANNIVERSARY:
I have ALWAYS loved he look of a galaxy blended background, but never dared to attempt it…until now! I thought that having a rich coloured background help to ground the card. It’s sometimes difficult to make a masculine anniversary or valentines day card as your mind normally goes to pinks in those cases and lots of hearts. So I wanted to use richer colours to ensure this wasn’t too feminine.
I started off with Altenew’s “Big World” stamp set. I grabbed the Earth stamp and used Altenew’s Ocean Waves Crisp Dye Ink to stamp the first layer.
I stamped the second layer using Forest Glades Ink. Now…I could’ve stopped here, and I may try this card again with only using the first two layers of this stamp to see the difference.
Instead for this card, I stamped the third layer of the Earth using Altenew’s Just Green Ink for a bit of a deeper Earth. I used the coordinating die to cut the Earth out, and set it aside to focus on the background.
Now on to the galaxy background. I started with Ocean Waves Ink and used a Simon Says Stamp Blender Brush to randomly put ink down on my panel.
I added Sweet Leaf Ink on the panel as well, again randomly. No need to try to blend the colours or worry too much about having enough colour…you can always add more afterwards if you need to.
Next colour used is Altenew’s Hydrangea…again…not worrying about blending anything. I just randomly added colour down and my only goal here was to fill in the white spaces.
Finally, I added a bit of Altenew’s Rubellite Ink to finish filling in the spaces. As you can see, I still have a bit of white space and none of my colours are blended. Here is the point at which you can add a bit more colour…and I did. I added a little bit more of each colour, just to fill in the white space as well as add a few areas of deeper colour.
Here’s why the blending doesn’t totally matter…I grabbed Altenew’s Jet Black Ink, then with my blender brush added a light coat of colour across the ENTIRE panel. I built up my colour little by little as I wanted to soften the colours, but still wanted to be able to see the variation of colours underneath.
I added a couple of sprays of water as well, then patted it with a dry paper towel. I just wanted to get a bit of dimension to the panel and since Dye inks typically react to water, this was a simple way to do that.
I trimmed my panel down to approximately 3.75×5 inches. Then I grabbed the “you mean the World to me” sentiment and heat embossed it using Versamark Ink and Brutus Monroe’s Sterling Embossing Powder.
I wanted to add “stars” to my galaxy to help brighten up the panel slightly. Typically I’ve seen either white acrylic or white gouache paint thinned out with water and then flicked onto a galaxy blended panel as stars. However, I wanted a touch of sparkle overall to the panel to brighten it up. So I grabbed Altenew’s Metallic Watercolor Pan Set and the Altenew Medium Waterbrush. I used Sterling Silver, Prasoilite, Amethyst and Topaz to help bring out a little bit more of the ink colours that I used originally under the black. Also, because I used the metallic colours the ‘stars’ glisten in the light – adding a bit more “shine” to my card.
I trimmed down my ink blended panel to approximately 4×5.25 inches. Then I place the layered Earth element onto my panel in the upper left corner using some of Simon Says Stamp’s Big Momma Foam Tape to add a bit of dimension to my card.
For just a smidge more ‘shine’ to my card, I added a small heart on the Earth using Tonic Nuvo’s Aqua Shimmer Pen in Glitter, then topped it using Ranger’s Glossy Accents. This also helps to add a bit more dimension and detail to the card without being overpowering.
I grabbed an A2 sized card base of Neenah Dessert Storm Cardstock and stamped the inside of the card with “Happy Anniversary” from Altenew’s “Stunning Cosmos” stamp set using Altenew’s Obsidian Pigment Ink. I also added a few Hearts using Altenew’s Enchanted Gold PIgment Ink around the inside sentiment to add a little shine as well as to add a little “something” to the sentiment.
I adhered my ink blended panel to the A2 card base allowing there to be just a 0.25 inch border around on the front and the Anniversary card is complete!
Altenew Crisp Dye Inks:
– Altenew Waterbrush (Medium)
– Dr. PH. Martin’s Liquid Hydrus Set 1
CARD 3 – HAPPY BIRTHDAY:
One of my favourite layering stamps from Altenew is the “Layered Cupcake” stamp set as it’s gender neutral and PERFECT for a birthday card.
I started off by stamping the cupcake using Altenew’s Jet Black Crisp Dye Ink on an A2 panel of Neenah Solar White Cardstock.
I then stamped the cupcake wrapper using Volcano Lake for the first layer and then Lagoon for the second layer. This stamp set lines up very nicely making for nice and clean lines. If you ever find that your layered stamps aren’t lining up quite right…try standing up while lining your stamp up in order to get just the right angle.
I stamped the “muffin top” using Sandune Ink. In retrospect I should’ve used something just slightly more yellow, but I felt it wasn’t too bad and I was a bit concerned about having too much yellow so I just kept going with what I had. Then I moved on to the icing. I LOVE the layers in the icing – there are 3 layers and they line up beautifully and allow you to be creative with it. You could easily do 3 colours within the same family or be really adventurous and do very different colours – something I’ll do for a children’s card in the near future!
I used Citrus Burst for the first layer, Fresh Lemon for the second and Autumn Blaze for the third layer – adding a bit more depth with a richer orange colour.
Then I used the coordinating die to cut out the cupcake and set to the side while I worked on my background.
I took an A2 sized card base of Neenah Solar White Cardstock and then cut a circle in the center using Memory Box’s Basic Circles Die set. Then I used Altenew’s Deco Wallpaper Stencil to dry emboss the front panel of my card. In order to dry emboss using a stencil, you’ll need to use your embossing mat to help thicken your sandwich to make sure you get a nice impression. You may need to play with your embossing sandwich a bit with some scrap cardstock, I know it took me a couple of tries before I got just the right depth on my panel.
I do love the look of embossing – it’s very similar to using an embossing folder and allows you to get more use out of your stencils! So if you have a stencil you love…give dry embossing a try for a different, subtle but detailed look on your next card.
Then I moved on to my ink blended background. I started off with Citrus Burst Ink and my Ranger Mini Blending Tool and covered an A2 panel of Neenah Solar White Cardstock. I wasn’t worried about getting a completely smooth finish. If you want a very smooth finish with your ink blending, using a Bristol Cardstock might help as it is a very smooth paper and allows the ink to glide more easily.
Then I used some Fresh Lemon ink and the mini blending tool to add ‘dots’ of ink across the panel.
Then I grabbed Hero Arts Unicorn White Pigment Ink (next time I’ll try their white Dye Ink to see if it comes out a bit better) and added more dots using the blending tool. I then used my WOW Dual Heat Tool to help speed up the drying process of the pigment ink.
Then I used a bit more Citrus Burst and Fresh Lemon to smooth out the dots a bit as I didn’t want a severe dot pattern but I did want the dots to be noticable in order to add some detail to my ink blended panel.
I wanted my sentiment to be rounded and sit inside the circle I previously cut out of my card panel. So I dry laid the front panel over my blended panel and used the cut circle to help place my sentiment. Then I used a sentiment from the Layered Cupcake stamp set and stamped it using Altenew’s Obsidian Pigment ink and then heat embossed it using Brutus Monroe’s Icicle Embossing powder for a bit of shine and to help the sentiment stand up to the ink blended background.
I ended up cutting my card base front off and using it as an additional panel as I wanted to get a little more dimension to my card as well as add some black borders. So I trimmed my dry embossed panel down to approximately 4×5.25 inches, then adhered the ink blended panel (which I previously trimmed down to approximately 3.75×5 inches) to the back of the dry embossed panel, giving me a pop of yellow detail in the opening.
Then I made an A2 cardbase using Simon Says Stamp’s Black cardstock allowing a bit of black to show along the sides. Then I placed my layered cupcake in the center of the circle using some of Simon Says Stamp’s Big Mamma Foam Tape for a bit more dimension.
Since my card base is black, I cut a White panel of cardstock measuring approximately 4×5.25 inches and adhere it on the inside of my cardbase to allow a hand written note on the inside. I also stamped “Happy Birthday” from the Layered Cupcake stamp set and added a little bit of the cupcake in the bottom right corner using Altenew’s Enchanted Gold Pigment Ink. This helps to add a bit more detail as well as a bit of shine to the card.
Then I used Tonic Nuvo’s Aqua Shimmer pens in Glitter and Midas Touch to add some glitter to the swirls in the cupcake icing. I used “Glitter” over the areas that had Fresh Lemon ink, and then Midas Touch over the areas that had Autumn Blaze. I wanted to add a bit of shine to the card while still keeping it masculine and just having a touch of shimmer over the richer colours allows for shine when the light hits it but keeps it subtle enough to still be masculine.
I also stamped a bit of the cupcake on the bottom left corner of a coordinating envelope using Enchanted Gold Ink to match the inside of the card. Finally, the birthday card is completed!
– Memory Box Circle Basics Die Set
Altenew Crisp Dye Inks:
– Altenew Enchanted Gold Pigment Ink
– Hero Arts Unicorn Pigment Ink
– Simon Says Stamp’s Cardstock- Black
– Mini Ranger Blending Brushes
– Nuvo Aqua Shimmer pen – Glitter
– Nuvo Aqua Shimmer pen – Midas Touch
CARD 4 – LOVE:
Interestingly enough – this is my favourite card of the challenge. I typically like to try to do a more Clean and Simple card, which is why the Ink blending component of these cards were a bit more of a challenge for me. I love how cute this card is, but yet with the colours I chose it definitely works as a masculine card.
I used Altenew’s Say Cheese stamp and die set for this card. I started off with the the camera image. There are several layers involved in creating this image and I chose vivid colours for it for the most part. I started off stamping the first layer using Altenew’s Crimson Crisp Dye Ink.
So this image has a few different options for the second layer – stripes, woodgrain, plain or dots. I chose the stripes and used Altenew’s Teal Cave Crisp Dye Ink to stamp it.
All that was left was the finishing third layer with details. I opted to use Altenew’s Obsidian Pigment Ink as I wanted to clear heat emboss the details to add a bit of shine to the card. Using pigment ink to heat emboss is a great option over a Clear embossing powder when you want to have colour without needing a ton of coloured embossing powders. Alternatively, you could stamp with a coloured dye ink, then use a clear embossing ink over top, then heat emboss over.
I used Brutus Monroes’ Icicle Embossing Powder over the Obsidian Pigment ink. I love just that smidge of shine it adds to the camera. I used the coordinating die to cut out the camera and set it aside while I worked on the background.
I started off with an A2 sized panel of Simons Says Stamp cardstock in Smoke and prepped it using an anti-static powder bag to avoid powder sticking where I don’t want it to. I wanted to have a grey background, but wanted a bit of detail on it. I stamped Altenew’s “Rustic Linen” Background stamp with Versamark Ink and then heat embossed using Brutus Monroe’s Icicle Embossing powder.
Then, so get a bit more depth, I used my Simon Says stamp blending brush and Altenew’s Limestone Ink over the panel in a circular motion. I covered the entire panel so that the areas that are not head embossed will darken slightly.
Then I used a dry microfiber cloth and rubbed lightly over the entire panel to remove the excess ink. I LOVE this look. It’s subtle, but quite nice. The heat embossing resists any ink so you can easily see the original colour of the cardstock under those areas, which the sections of cardstock that were not heat embossed are slightly different. I cut my panel down to approximately 3.75 x 5 inches.
Then I took a strip of Simon Says Stamp Cardstock in Black and heat embossed my sentiments using Brutus Monroe’s Alabaster White embossing powder and Versamark Ink. I used “we just Click” from the “Say Cheese” stamp set and “I love you” from Altenew’s “Happy Holidays” stamp set.
Then I popped up my die cut camera and my sentiment strip using Simon Says Stamps Big Momma Foam tape on my blended panel. I placed them on a bit of an angle to add a bit of character to my panel. Then I cut a piece of Simon Says Stamps Audrey Blue Cardstock to approximately 4×5.25 inches and adhered my blended panel to it, allowing for bit of blue around the edges. I found that the Audrey Blue cardstock matches nicely with Altenew’s Teal Cave ink in the camera.
I adhered everything to an A2 sized Cardbase of Neenah Solar White Cardstock.
And my final card is completed!
Altenew Crisp Dye Inks:
– Simon Says Stamp’s Cardstock- Black
– Simon Says Stamp’s Cardstock – Audrey Blue
– Simon Says Stamp’s Cardstock – Smoke
TOOLS (ALL CARDS):
– WOW Dual Speed Heat Tool (SSS)
– Anti-Static Powder Bag
– Simon Says Stamp’s Blender Brushes
– Honey Bee Stamp’s Blending Brushes
ALTERED ITEM/UPCYCLED PROJECT
PROJECT #1: Reclaimed Art
Alright – so I actually LOVE repurposing things. I love making my own unique art with items that aren’t always art supplies. I needed an art piece for a bedroom and thought this would be the perfect opportunity to do it. I wanted a piece that would work for a guest bedroom – so gender neutral and simple.
The main comforter for this bedroom is pictured below and was my inspiration for this piece. It’s hard to see in the image but it’s overall grey, with brown/grey stripes and orange and blue/teal stitching.
So I found a bunch of branches that I had left over from another project that came from a home decor store. It’s meant for a decorative vase or something to that effect. I pulled out some of the branches and off I went.
What better to decorate a tree branch than leaves? So I sketched out a simple leaf and cut it out of a piece of sturdy cardstock and used it as a template.
Then I grabbed some green/teal, orange, grey and light brown cardstock in 60lb weight so that the leaves would be sturdy but have some give. Then using my template, I cut out several leaves from each colour.
Then I used a hot glue gun and started adhering the leaves all over the branches. One of the down sides of a hot glue gun is that it tends to be a bit messy leaving behind globs here and there. I did my best to hide the globs by strategically placing the leaves in front of the globs or behind the branches where possible.
I wanted to make sure I could hang this piece and make it a bit like a headboard for the spare bedroom, so I adhered the branch and leaves to a large inexpensive art canvas. Having the lip on the canvas makes it very easy to hang on a wall.
Then I grabbed Altenew’s Mega Hello Die and Altenew’s Black and White Paper Pad and cut out a bold hello from a striped pattern paper. I also cut “Hello” out of a sheet of a nearly lime green cardstock for a pop.
I layered the green on top of the stripes, so they’re peaking out just slightly behind as a shadow.
I wanted to add a little more detail to the piece, so I grabbed altenew’s Flowing Butterfly stencil and my Blender Brushes to blend on a sheet of White cardstock. I used Altenew’s Orange Cream Crisp Dye Ink as well as Teal Cave and stenciled two butterflies.
Then I fussy cut the butterflies out and bent the wings just slightly upwards so that when I adhered them to my art piece, they would have a really cute 3D effect.
I added the butterflies across the piece and adhered them directly to the Canvas giving a nice 3D effect and another element of detail to the piece. I added the “Hello” sentiment to the bottom right corner of the canvas…and my piece is complete!
Then to make sure this would hang on the wall nicely, I adhered the branch onto a relatively plain, inexpensive canvas – it’s lightweight and easy to hang.
Once everything was dry, I lined up the canvas about the bed and then hammered a couple of nails into the wall and placed the edge of the canvas over the nails to hang. This serves as a nice piece of art and based on the position above the bed, it looks almost like a headboard! LOVE!
PROJECT #2: Living Room Art
This is also a very easy, straightfoward but time consuming piece of art. I had a few picture frames that I was no longer using as actual picture frames and decided to repurpose them. With my love of unique, simple art…i grabbed some cardstock and away I went!
I’ve always love the look of “toilet paper roll art” – google it…it’s cute. However, I had no desire to pain rolls, so I figured coloured cardstock should work just fine. After playing around with the cardstock a bit, I opted for teardrop shapes.
I started off by cutting strips of cardstock in white, grey, teal and orange to approximately 1/2 inch wide (the depth of the frame). Keeping it just wide enough to fit into the frame meant that once closed up it should stay in position perfectly!
I used some tape runner adhesive along the edges of the strips to hold the ends together in a tear drop shape.
I created varying sizes of teardrops and adhered them together with a bit of tape runner. I also placed some of the smaller teardrops inside larger ones for a variety of looks.
I placed a large piece of 60lb cardstock in teal on the back of the frames, then on the right frame I added a strip of orange on the right side, and then on the left frame I added an orange panel on the left side of the frame to add a bit of variety and colour to the pieces.
I started with the left panel, and placed the teardrops near the bottom of the frame.
For the middle panel, I placed the teardrops in the center of the frame.
And then for the right panel, I placed the teardrop along the top of the frame.
This way when you put all three together it looks like a fluid pattern. To add a bit more detail I grabbed Altenew’s “Simply the Best” stamp set. They have a stunning, large flower in that set that is perfect to add to my piece.
I started off by stamping the first layer using Altenew’s Orange Cream Crisp Dye Ink. Since it’s a large image I found I had to stamp it a couple of times to get good coverage.
I stamped the second layer using Altenew’s Autumn Blaze Ink.
And for the final layer of the petals I used Altenew’s Firebrick Ink
For the center of the flower, I stamped it using Altenew’s Chamomile Ink. It’s a very lovely yellowish shade…not too bright, and not too dull. It’s definitely a colour of ink I’ll be using more in the future.
I repeated the process to create 2 more Orange flowers, and 3 Teal flowers using Altenew’s Turquoise for the first layer, Tide Blue for the second layer and Starlight for the third layer. I used the Chamomile
Ink for the center of the teal flower as well as it works perfectly here.
Then I cut out all six flowers and grouped them together in sets of three. Then I added them to the frames of my art pieces…but only on the outer two frames to add some more colour and detail to the piece without disturbing the flow I wanted to have with the teardrops. I grouped two orange with one teal flower in the middle and adhered them to the upper right corner of the right most frame.
Then grouped the remaining two teal flowers with one orange in the middle and adhered them to the bottom left corner of the left most frame. I felt like the flowers added a beautiful beginning and end to the piece, grounding it just a bit more.
I absolutely LOVE these pieces (really once big piece) and it’s simple to make, but does take a bit of time with the cutting of the strips and creation of the teardrop shapes. I love the large flowers from Altenew that add some balance to my frames. You could use any of the Altenew flower set for this, but if you’re going to opt for larger frames like I did, I’d recommend you use larger flowers. I may be repeating this process with smaller frames as well. This is going to be hanging in my living room for a while…at least until I get inspired to make something new!
Altenew Crisp Dye Inks:
– Simon Says Stamp’s Cardstock
– Gina K Designs Cardstock
-Re-purposed Tree Branches (previously from a decor store)
-Re-purposed 8×10 frames
– Simon Says Stamp’s Blender Brushes
– Honey Bee Stamp’s Blending Brushes
– Taylored Expressions Blending Brushes
-Hot Glue Gun
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog today. I hope that you’ve enjoyed my tutorial and my pieces of art (cards and wall art).
I’m now heading off to create my next piece of art! See you again soon 🙂