Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Creating a Fun Card Background Using Acrylic Craft Paint

Hello, crafters!

Today, I am sharing with you my latest Youtube tutorial that features an abstract background made from acrylic paint.
In the video, I show you how to set up your work surface to do this technique without making a mess. If you are interested in seeing a step by step tutorial on how to create these backgrounds and how I used them in a birthday card, make sure to watch the video! I hope you're inspired to use acrylic paint in your cards. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Watercolors for Beginning Crafters 101

Hello, crafters!

When I first started crafting, I initially thought that I wanted to be a watercolor artist. I had never really been into crafting or painting, but I remember seeing a lot of gorgeous DIY watercolor paintings and tutorials online. I knew I wanted to become apart of the crafting world, but I figured card making and stamping would be too expensive. Watercolor seemed to be the perfect intro to crafting, so I went to Michael's one day and got started!

Fast forward a few months: I enjoyed painting, but I just wasn't getting into it as much as I hoped. I purchased my first stamps at this time (three clear quote stamps) and began combining stamping with water coloring. Soon enough, I finally bit the bullet and began making cards, and I haven't stopped since! I still love using water media to color stamps and add fun embellishments to my cards.

The reason I am telling you all of this is that I spent a lot of money getting into crafting and finding out what I wanted to do best. I really wanted to write a post about what supplies I started with and what is worth purchasing once you are committed to the hobby! I hope you enjoy everything I have to share with you today, and I hope I can share some valuable information for other beginner crafters. 

Water Media for Crafters 101

When I first started painting, I purchased two watercolor pan sets from Michaels. One was regular watercolors and one was pearlescent watercolors. Both were $4.99 a piece. I also purchased a bunch of the cheap paintbrushes that come in packs of what seems to be a million, also for $4.99 a piece. This was my first mistake! While it seems you're getting a good value because of all the different brush sizes, they shed too much and are hard to control. 

I eventually purchased some better, student grade watercolor brushes, and I am still so pleased with them! 
For beginning crafters who want to color stamped images with watercolors or do simple watercolor paintings, I recommend these size synthetic brushes. I purchased them all at Michael's/Hobby Lobby.

5/0 Round
0 Round
2 Round
6 Round
8 Round
16 Round
3/4 Mop
Flat 8
Filbert 8

TIP: I still keep a large and small cheap watercolor brush on my work space because they are great for removing embossing powder from the wrong areas.

As for paper, 140 lb. cold press watercolor paper is a must! I would stay away from paper that is 90 lb. because it is much thinner and doesn't handle water as well. 140 lb. cold press paper has a little bit of texture to it, but it stamps beautifully and can handle a lot of water being added to it. I recommend the Canson XL watercolor paper because it's affordable and is the perfect paper for new crafters to get the hang of how watercolors work. 

Tim Holtz makes a Distress Watercolor Paper that is precut to the A2 size and is perfect for card makers. I haven't tried it yet, but I am planning on it because it gets such great reviews by card makers who love using watercolors in their work.

If you are going to be using watercolors with your stamping, you need a water-resistant ink. I first purchased the Archival Ink by Ranger. It is a nice black ink that doesn't bleed when it comes into contact with water. I like a very crisp, black image when I stamp, however, and I feel that the Versafine Onyx Black Pigment Ink is much better for that. No matter how intricate the stamp is, this ink really helps the image to come out sharp looking. It also is water-resistant once it dries, making it perfect for a plethora of techniques!

Tube Watercolor & Pencils:
Once I got more comfortable with watercolor, I purchased some tube watercolors and some watercolor pencils. 

I have a set of Reeves Student Grade watercolor tubes and various Winsor & Newton Cotman tubes. I put them in a palette I purchased at Hobby Lobby. 

I own the Prismacolor 36 set of watercolor pencils and a 24 set of the Derwent Inktense pencils. The Prismacolor watercolor pencils are wonderful! They are so creamy and easy to blend. If you like coloring with color pencils and are curious about watercolors, watercolor pencils are a wonderful way to get started. All you do is color with the pencils and then blend them out with a wet paint brush! The colors are soft, but gorgeous. They're also great for sketching your picture before you begin painting with watercolors because no pencil lines will be left behind!

The Inktense pencils are wonderful, also, but I think they are better suited for crafters who are more experienced and are committed to the hobby. They are expensive, and can be a little more difficult to use. Unlike a traditional watercolor pencil, the Inktense pencils turn into an ink when wet. Once the ink dries, it's permanent! If you mess up with watercolors, you can always add more water and play with the color to get it where you want it. I have found it to be much harder to fix Inktense mistakes because it won't budge once it dries! This permanent ink can be of benefit, though, if you like adding more layers to your work.

TIP: Whenever I get a new set of pencils, I like to swatch out all the colors on watercolor paper and keep it in the lid of the container for reference.

I wanted to do a little comparison of all of the watercolor products I own to show you what I think works best.

I began by comparing the regular Artist Loft watercolor pans to their pearlescent counterparts. 
The regular colors are so rich and vibrant, while the pearlescent is much softer. I still can't believe how rich the colors are in such a cheap palette! The pearlescent palette is very shimmery and is great if you've always wanted to try the Wink of Stella or similar product to add shimmer to your project.

While the Artist Loft palette is the cheapest, I honestly enjoy it the best for crafting. For actual watercolor paintings, I do prefer my palette of Reeves and W&N, but the Artist Loft palette is fine for paper crafting. It provides a wide and vibrant color selection for an unbeatable price. It definitely gets the job done for all of my card making needs. It has great colors to create backgrounds for your cards, color flowers and people, and so much more!

To compare my other watercolor mediums, I swatched them out in the closest crimson colors that each set had.

While I enjoy using all four products, I have to say I love the way the W&N Cotman paint reacts with water the best. When I do a wet into wet technique (wetting the paper before adding color), the Cotman paint seems to flow the best and look beautiful once it dries. For money's sake, however, I think the Reeves paints are worth looking into if you are interested in tube watercolors. You can get more colors for your money, especially if you use a coupon at Michael's for them like I did! I would love a full set of the Cotman paints, but I can't talk myself into buying them when I am mostly a card maker whose needs can be met by a $5 palette.

As for the pencils, I prefer the vibrancy of the Inktense over the creamy, soft colors that Prismacolor offers. I do enjoy using both to achieve different looks, but I think the Inktense is the most versatile.

I wanted to show you the inks and paints in actions, so here are some photos comparing the inks and the paints. I stamped a hot air balloon stamp from Lawn Fawn's Blue Skies stamp set on the Canson 140 lb. paper I mentioned previously.

I have to say that I really do like the Artist Loft paint palette. It worked well with the ink and has a really vibrant, yet loose look to it. For the price, you can't beat it! It is great for both beginner paper crafters and those who have more experience. 

Thank you so much for checking out this long post! I appreciate it so much, and I hope my experience with these products can help you, too! 

Get the products I mentioned here!
Artist Loft Watercolor Palette

Derwent Inktense Pencils

Prismacolor Watercolor Pencils

Reeves Watercolor Tubes

Winsor and Newton Cotman Paints

Ranger Archival Ink Pad

Versafine Onyx Black Pigment Ink

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Fun Foam & the Masculine Dilemma


Today, I'd like to share with you one of my favorite new layouts for my thank you card sets, but I first want to take a look at dimensional adhesives. I love adding dimension to my cards, but I am always concerned that adding pearls or popping a piece up with foam dots will only ruin my card if/when they get torn up when mailed. I was so excited last week when Jennifer McGuire of www.jennifermcguireink.com posted a video on using foam adhesive versus sheets of fun foam. Since watching this helpful video, I have completely abandoned my formerly beloved foam dots and have been solely using fun foam cut to the exact shapes and sizes I need for my cards.  I like how thin the foam is and how much easier it is to work with. I have always wondered whether or not the adhesive on foam dots will hold up well over time. When I use my own foam, however, I know exactly what adhesive to use in order to get a strong bond between my paper and my dimensionals. I have been using the Tombow Mono Multi Glue, and so far it has worked flawlessly!

I have really been enjoying this new layout. I begin by taking a sheet of patterned paper and cutting it down to 5.25" x 4" and adhering it to my card base. I then add faux stitching with a gel pen that matches a color found in the paper. After I do this, I like to take a piece of cardstock that matches my card base and cut it into a strip that measures 4.25" x 1.5". I like to cut the bottom section of the strip into a banner, but you could leave it as a rectangle and it would look good! I then dry emboss the strip with some kind of embossing folder with a sharp geometric pattern.

Here's where the sheets of fun foam comes into play! I cut a strip of fun foam out that is .25" narrower than the cardstock strip and adhere it to the back. It gives the cardstock banner an even, yet raised appearance and is the perfect way to add dimension to a card without having to worry about pieces getting crushed in or torn. 

After I do this, I punch out a scalloped circle out of the patterned paper I used previously. Before adhering it to the banner, I like to stamp the small thanks circle stamp from Simon Says Stamp's Many Thanks stamp set on a piece of cardstock. I can use a 5/8" circle punch to cut it out exactly! I adhere this sentiment to the scalloped circle and then adhere the entire circle to the banner. Although the sentiment is small, it is so cute and looks great on so many different patterns!

I often find myself panicking when I have to send a guy a thank you or birthday card and have no masculine cards made! I tend to make very girly cards with butterflies and flowers and embellishments that guys wouldn't typically like. One of the things I really like about this layout and this stamp is that it works great for both feminine and more masculine cards. The paper collection I used for this set had a great plaid paper that works well for masculine cards, so I made sure to make one! 

I hope you enjoyed this blog post! Thank you so much for checking out my blog.

If you would like to check out Jennifer McGuire's video on foam adhesive, the link is below!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Crate Paper Farmhouse Collection Thank You Set

I recently completed a custom order for thank you cards, and I decided to use paper from the Farmhouse Collection by Crate Paper for the set.

For this set, I used smooth A2 Kraft card bases by Core'Dinations and their matching envelopes. I also used Ranger's Liquid Platinum Embossing Powder for all of my embossing. Pearls and jute rope were added for dimension and to embellish the cards. I am loving that bike stamp by Inkadinkado!

This card would make for a great teacher appreciation card! The thanks sentiment stamp is by Paper Smooches and the heart stamp is by Lawn Fawn.

This is my favorite layout for thank you cards, as it works well with any color scheme! This stamp is from the Many Thanks stamp set by Simon Says Stamp. If you are interested in checking out how I make this type of card, check out my Rustic Chic Thank You Card tutorial on my YouTube Channel!

Thanks for stopping by! If you are interested in purchasing this paper pad, you can do so on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/American-Crafts-Paper-6-Inch-Farmhouse/dp/B005IZZAA2

Friday, June 19, 2015

My Current Favorite Crafting Tools

I love trying new products, but it takes time to develop a true favorite. On this page, I will list my favorite products for each category. I will update this as necessary as my favorites change, but that takes time! I hope to add my favorite stamping mounts/blocks, paper trimmer, and crafting mat soon.

Favorite Scoring Tool:
Martha Stewart Mini Score Board: I absolutely love this product! It is the perfect size for card makers and isn't as bulky as her regular sized scoring board. It is very inexpensive, yet it is something I will never have to replace. I love that provides suggested card and envelope sizes on the back and has grooves to make envelopes that correspond with your card's sizes.

Favorite Corner Rounder:
We R Memory Keepers Corner Rounder: I have yet to find another corner rounder that is as durable and easy to use as this tool. This corner chomper produces flawless results every time I use it, and it is comfortable to grip no matter what thickness the paper is that I am cutting through.

Favorite Cutting Tools:
Fiskars Craft Knife: I love the durability of my Fiskars craft knife. Teresa Collins for Fiskars has also come out with a beautiful pink one if you aren't a fan of the traditional Fiskar orange. 

At this time, I do not have a favorite paper trimmer. I am currently using one by Fiskars, but I have had many issues with it shredding paper and cutting unevenly. 

Tim Holtz Scissors: These are the best craft scissors! They provide a very comfortable grip and cut cleanly. I have not had any issues with them getting dull, and they cut well through so many different materials. I haven't had too much trouble with the blades getting sticky, either. They are advertised as non-stick scissors, but if they do get sticky, a little rubbing alcohol can help!

Favorite Adhesives:
Tombow Stamp Runner Dot Adhesive: This is a wonderful adhesive because it allows the user to stamp with it to add tape to small areas. It is the best runner I have used because it is more versatile than most because of this stamp feature. I find that it runs out of tape quickly and the refills can be hard to manage. I recommend watching a few Youtube videos on how to properly load the dispenser because it can be tricky and leave you with a ruined roll of tape.

I am looking to try a new tape runner, and I am interested in the Scotch ATG gun. The tool itself is more of an investment, but I am pleased with how much tape is on a refill roll and how inexpensive the refills are with a coupon.

*UPDATE: I purchased the pink Scotch ATG from Michael's, and it has proved to be a wonderful tool! It can be tricky to refill, but the adhesive is strong and lasts a very long time. It is great when mass producing cards, as I don't have to stop to refill often.

Xyron Sticker Maker: If you use small embellishments on your cards, this may be a good tool to research! I love being able to make stickers to add to my cards and it is a great way to adhere small pieces to a card. It is also helpful as I make stickers to go on the back of my cards to indicate that they are handmade. 

My First YouTube Tutorial: My Go-To Thank You Layout

Hello, crafters!

Today, I am excited to share my very first card tutorial that I have posted on YouTube. In this video, I share one of my favorite card layouts I use when I make card sets. I hope you enjoy this tutorial, and I will provide a list of supplies and a recap of the video below.

Supply List:
1. Kraft Cardstock for the card base: I used the Core'dinations Precut A2 card base for this card because I love the color of this kraft paper, however, a lighter kraft would also look great! I use this layout with many different color schemes, but kraft is always my favorite.

2. You can use any patterned paper and coordinating solid card base, but I really wanted to choose a patterned paper that complimented the Kraft by providing a subtle pop of color. I am using one of the coral and white designs from the Autumn Press collection by Studio Calico
Get the Autumn Press 6x6 pad here!

3. While I enjoy using vellum in my cards, I don't like how easy it warps when it undergoes heat from my heat tool. I have tried sheets of the Core'dinations vellum and vellum by The Paper Studio found at Hobby Lobby. The Paper Studio vellum seems to be a lot thicker and it doesn't warp nearly as bad when I heat emboss it.

4. To die cut my vellum circle and my white cardstock circular frame, I used my Big Shot die cutting machine and a circle die set by Sizzix.
Get the Sizzix Framelits Circle Die Set here!

5. I heat embossed my favorite thank you  sentiment from the Many Thanks stamp set by Simon Says Stamp in the color Liquid Platinum by Ranger. This is both my favorite and most used embossing powder and stamp set! The Liquid Platinum powder looks great with almost every color and is a wonderful warm silver shade. To emboss, I used my Martha Stewart Crafts heat tool and Versamark ink.
Get the Many Thanks stamp set here:
Get the Ranger Liquid Platinum Embossing Powder here: https://www.simonsaysstamp.com/product.aspx?id=61858
Get the Martha Stewart Crafts Heat Tool here: 
Get Versamark Ink here:

TIP: Instead of buying a powder tool or powder bag to eliminate the static and create a clean embossed image, I use a little bit of baby powder and a soft paint brush. If you don't have a powder tool, this is a great DIY option! I have tried using a dryer sheet by rubbing it on my paper, but it doesn't work as well as the baby powder. 

6. Any twine will work for this layout, but for Kraft bases I prefer to use a jute rope twine because of the natural color. I purchased a big roll at Target in the Dollar Spot.

7. A white gel pen (or a color that matches your patterned paper) is the perfect way to tie in the pattern to the card base and is a fantastic finishing touch. 
Get the Sakura Gelly Roll Gel Pen I use here:

8. For adhering the patterned paper panel to my card base, I used my Scotch ATG tape adhesive. This machine is definitely worth the cost because of the adhesive's strength, ease of use, and the large amount it comes in. I am happy to say I am spending less money on refills and have more adhesive now that I stopped buying smaller tape runners. I also used Ranger's Glossy Accents to adhere the vellum to the frame and the card base. Although this product is marketed for adding dimension to your craft, it is also a wonderful adhesive. It is quick drying and does not remain tacky after it dries, unlike my previously much loved Tombow Mono Multi Glue.
Get the Scotch ATG here:

Get Ranger's Glossy Accents here:

Thank you so much for visiting my blog! I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a a comment or send me an email at papercraftingbyg@gmail.com

Sunday, June 14, 2015

What I've Been Creating Lately

Hey, everyone! For those of you who don't follow me on Instagram, I decided to post some of the card projects I have been working on lately.

Enjoy, and thanks for checking out my blog! Follow me on Instagram @papercraftingbyg

American Crafts Dear Lizzy Neapolitan Paper Card Set:

Black, White, and a Pop of Red Card Set:

Special Birthday Shaker!

DIY Bookmarks: A Look at Lawn Fawn's Blue Skies Stamp Set

Hello, everyone!

I am here today with a quick DIY project. I am in the process of developing some custom card set orders, but today I decided to take a break to work on a project that is kid friendly! I think it would be great to include a set of these as a gift with purchase for people who order cards and have kids or even teach.

I love playing with watercolors, even though I am not very good at it! Today, I decided to break out my 24 set of Derwent Inktense pencils and give them a try.

I began by taking a piece of 4.25" x 5.5" (standard A2 size) 90 lb. watercolor paper by Canson, and I cut it in half to create two bookmarks. You could use watercolor paper or another great option is the Tim Holtz Distress Watercolor Cardstock. It's precut to the A2 size, so all you have to do is cut it down the middle with your trimmer to get two bookmarks.

I went through my stamps to find one with a large image I could color, as a well as a longer quote or phrase. I ended up choosing Lawn Fawn's Blue Skies stamp set.

I arranged my stamps on the bookmark and stamped them with my favorite black pigment ink- Versafine Black Onyx. TIP: One of my favorite ways to use this ink is to stamp the image and then quickly coat it with clear embossing powder. It isn't nearly as messy as black embossing powder! Just remember that if you are going to do this, only try it with a slower drying pigment ink. I believe dye based inks dry too quickly for this to work! Anyways, I stamped the images in black and then using a clear embossing powder over it. It prevents the person coloring from going outside the lines with their watercolors, and it prevents the ink from bleeding when it comes into contact with water. This black ink in particular does dry to be water resistant without needing to be embossed, but the embossing does really help with the colors staying where you want them.

I colored one with my Derwent Inktense pencils by using a wet paintbrush and touching it to the tip of the pencil and then down to the area I wanted to color.

I added a piece of clear tape to the back and punched a hole with a 1/8" hole punch towards the top of the bookmark. I also added a piece of baker's twine to finish it up!

I think a set of these would be a great add on gift for orders. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial!

Get the Lawn Fawn Blue Skies stamp set here!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Card Layout Design Sheets

Hello crafters!

I am a frequent watcher of crafting YouTube videos, and I recently stumbled upon a video by Deanna Gonzolas of Deanna's Craft Room. She made a wonderful video about having a card layout binder that you can use when you are making cards to pick out which layouts you want to use.
(Here is the link to this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bXpfdxL0z8)

While I do take pictures of most of the cards I make, I sometimes forget the layouts I have use in the past. Sometimes, I sit down to make a card and have no idea what layout to use, so a tool like a card layout binder is very helpful.

I am planning on making a binder very similar to the one she references in the video, but for the time being, I am using a worksheet I designed to sketch out my favorite layouts.

On this worksheet, I created 10 different rectangles using Microsoft Word. This took two minutes to do, and it has already become such a valuable tool! Five of the rectangles are portrait and five are landscape, so that I can have a variety of sketches. I printed five of these worksheets out and stapled them together to draw my sketches on until I am ready to start making my layout binder.

I am excited to continue making sketches of my favorite layouts. Thanks for checking out my blog!

Quick Tip: Acrylic Block Clean Up

Hello, everyone!

I am back today with a quick tip about how to clean your acrylic stamping blocks. If you're like me, you hate getting Versamark and other ink residue on your blocks that make them look dull and sticky.

I keep a bottle of rubbing alcohol in my craft caddy and a roll of paper towels to take care of this mess. When I'm done stamping for the day, I pour some rubbing alcohol on a paper towel and wipe the blocks clean. It removes all the sticky ink and makes them look and feel brand new!

I hope this tip helps!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Shaker Card 101: 4 Quick Beginner Tips

I have begun making shaker cards recently, and I have realized there is quite a learning curve when figuring out how to make them. They can be frustrating to make because the shaker windows are so easy to mess up if something isn't lined up correctly or if you don't use the right adhesive, so I wanted to create a list of tips to keep in mind when you're creating!

1. If you are unfamiliar with how to make shaker cards, I suggest watching a few YouTube tutorials before you start. Kristina Werner is a wonderful card maker and she has quite a few videos on her channel that will help you get started. I had watched some shaker videos in the past, but I should have refreshed my memory before I began making them! I probably wild have saved myself some time and effort if I had a better plan for my shaker window. 

2. Make sure that your sequins have room to move! I used a foam sheet to die cut part of the frame for my shaker window. Whether you use foam tape or die cut your own, make sure that it is thick enough so that your sequins don't get trapped between the plastic and the card front. The 3M foam tape works well and you can cut it and adhere it in whatever shape you need. If you do die cut the thin foam sheets you can buy in the kid's craft aisle like I did, be careful!! I die cut a circle frame out of this foam and it stretched out and warped so much when I pulled it out of the die. Be careful when getting it out of the die to avoid having it stretch. If it does stretch, I cut an opening in my circle and adhered the foam carefully inch by inch around the circle and cut the remainder of the foam off when I had made it all the way around.

3. Be careful with what adhesive you use to glue the acetate to the foam. I didn't wait for my Tombow Mono Multi glue to dry, and some of my sequins got glued to the inner part of the frame. Oops! If you did what I did and didn't use thick enough foam or let the sequins glue themselves to the frame/other sequins, the shaker card doesn't work too well! The sequins become way too hard to shake.  Make sure you wait for your glue to dry completely and that you don't accidentally smear some on the plastic and make a mess.

4. Find materials you can recycle to make shaker cards with! Acetate sheets and transparencies can be quite expensive. Instead, look for old report covers or packaging you can use for the clear part of your shaker window! I used a baby wipe to clean off the plastic and they were ready to go. 

I hope these tips help you if you are new to shaker cards! They are so beautiful when done carefully, and they are well worth the effort!

Shaker Card: Butterfly Congratulations

After my first shaker card (see my last post), I was a little hesitant to make another because it took me so long! I was happy that this one didn't take as long since I knew better what I was doing and it turned out so much better.

1. I began with a precut white card base and used my scallop edge punch by Fiskars on the right side of the card. I made sure to only cut the front piece.

2. I then trimmed out a piece of blue paper and added a faux stitched border with a white gel pen.

3. I like silver and blue together, so I decided to use my silver glitter embossing powder and a congratulations stamp by Avery Elle at the bottom of the blue paper.

4. I made my shaker window out of a shimmery silver cardstock, an old report cover, and foam. I also used my circle die set by Sizzix.

4. I cut out a white circle and used a butterfly stamp in the center. I used the same embossing powder here that I used with the sentiment. 

5. I placed a bunch of flower sequins in silver and blue colors inside the window and adhered it to the card.

6. I took a butterfly punch and punched one out using the blue paper. I wanted to give it some dimension, so I folded its wings up slightly and added small silver rhinestones down its center. 

I hope you enjoyed this card as much as I did! I appreciate you checking out my blog! 

Monday, June 1, 2015

My First Shaker Card: Graduation Celebration

Yesterday, I made my very first shaker card for a graduate who is headed to FSU. 

I used a gold glitter paper and a shimmery maroon paper along with matching sequins for this card. All products were purchased at Michael's. 

1. I began by using a precut card base and adding a piece of 4.25" x 5.5" glitter paper on top of the front of the card. 

2. I then cut a smaller maroon rectangle and used a scallop punch by Fiskars at the bottom.

3. To make the shaker portion, I began by using a gold glitter embossing powder to add my "bravo" sentiment by Avery Elle from their Oh Happy Day set. 

4. I used my scallop circles dies by Sizzix to cut a foam frame, a gold glitter frame, and a piece of acetate out to make the shaker window. After adhering them together, I inserted my sequins and made sure everything was adhered securely to the card.

I'll admit that I had a pretty difficult time making this card. I did redo the shaker window once! I ended up making another shaker card, and I had way more fun making that one once I got the hang of it!

Thanks for checking out my blog! I will be posting another shaker card tomorrow!