Stretch Your Supplies – 5 Techniques, One Die
Hello everyone. It seems like it’s been a while. Well, I hope it is worth the wait because in today’s post I will show you how 5 different techniques that you can create with using just one die. This works especially with cover dies but keep in mind that you can do this with most dies you have in your stash.
Before I begin, I am so exited to tell you that I have completed Altenew’s Level 1 for an Educator Certification and in order to advance to Level 2 I need to complete the Final Challenge. For this final challenge I had to make 2 sets of cards for Him and Her and the cards in the set need to be cohesive, implementing techniques used in Level 1.
So, let’s begin!
I truly had to think about this challenge a little bit. In the beginning I wanted to use just a brand new stamp set, but the only thing that came to mind is changing the colors and/or adding embossing. Too easy, I said to myself and truly not that different. So, one day while I was in my little studio, the light bulb just turned on and I knew what I wanted to to! As a matter of fact, this idea has been on my mind for a very long time now but somehow I haver had the time to do it and this was just the perfect opportunity for it, which got me so exited! As I mentioned in the beginning, sets had to be cohesive so, I couldn’t pick anything too feminine nor too masculine but something universal. I also thought one step further: Can I use these cads for any occasion ? And this one was the most important question for me. That is why I chose two dies from Altenew: Garden Trellis Cover Die and Fancy For You Die.
Once I knew what I wanted to create, it was time to pick color schemes first. I recently stumbled upon a website called Color Pallets.net, a truly awesome site for anyone who is struggling with color inspirations. I often hit this wall and this site helps me get back on track. Once I found what I like, I created a small ink swatches to make sure the inks that I chose are going to work with the project; then, I drew a rough concept and it was time to begin.
Set For Him:
- Misty Morning
- Grass Field
Set For Her:
- Coral Bliss
Technique 1: Die Cutting
This is a straight forward technique, known to all of you paper crafters out there. That is why I started with this technique first. When we buy dies, this is how we plan to use them and there really is not a lot to think about this technique. But there is something I do have to mention, and this is more of an advice to all of you who are struggling with die cutting. It is really important to have a good die cutting machine if you are going to work with intricate dies, otherwise the experience can be quite frustrating. Good die cutting machines provide good pressure which will make your die cuts seamless and easy and save you a lot of time in the long run. There are two die cutting machines that I use in my craft room and I highly recommend:
- Manual Machine – Spellbinders Platinum 8.5 (or a smaller version Platinum 6)
- Electric Machine – Gemini by Crafter’s Companion (or a smaller version Gemini Junior)
Technique 2: Stenciling
If you have a background die, it is very likely that you can make a stencil out of it. I picked some old, scrap paper for this. One thing that is very cool with this technique is that you can make your stencil from a white card stock and when done with your stenciling, you can use that die cut on another project. That way you have 2 cards for one. The reason I did not do this, is because my original plan was to make a stencil out of acetate. Unfortunately for me, this background die was just too intricate for acetate and I was not able to cut through it, no matter how many times I’ve tried. If you have a tip on how to cut acetate with intricate dies, please leave me a comment below, I would love to find out!
Once I had my stencils, it was time to add some color to my card panel. First I used a Multi Medium Mat from Altenew to protect my work surface and used masking tape to secure my stencil and prevent it from moving. To apply inks I used old blending brushes I had on hand and gradually build the intensity of color to my project. When using blending brushes you have to remember to work slow and in a circular motion. That way your ink blending will be smooth, whiteout any harsh lines. Unfortunately, the picture cannot show the transition from one color to the other, but in real life this blending turned out great! I then glued everything together, and cards #2 were done!
Technique 3: Debossing (+ inking “direct to paper”)
I simply have to get better at taking pictures. :) This technique is so fun and super easy to do, and one more different way to use your dies. This technique also works good with word dies.
To quickly add color to your project just simply use a technique “direct to paper”; as the technique says, just pick your ink pad and color your paper by simply applying it directly to paper. This technique is super fast and easy to do and it will add nice vibrant colors to your projects.
For debossing technique you need to have a rubber mat. Some die cutting machines come with this, but if you do not have one they are truly easy to come by and fairly inexpensive. For this technique I switched to my Big Kick die cutting machine by Sizzix and the reason for it is because this machine does not put a lot of pressure and I know that it will not tear off my paper. TIP: If your die cutting machine is damaging your paper when debossing, spray your paper with a very light mist of water. Water will soften the fibers of the paper and prevent it from cracking. After I had all my pieces, I simply glued everything together and my cards were done!
Technique 4: Stamping
Did you know that you can create stamps using your dies? Oh, my, if you didn’t know, you are in for the treat! I have to admit that this technique is one of my favorites!I use this technique often and this is a wonderful way to stretch your expensive dies. As a matter of fact, last year this technique won me a $25 gift certificate from Altenew! Please Click HERE if you would like to check out this short video tutorial.
Before I started die cutting, I colored peaces of white card stock scraps for my sentiments. For this I used two darkest shades of inks, in my case those were Evergreen and Amethyst. I simply used an ink blending tool and started adding ink to the paper until I was happy with the desired color.
For turning dies into stamps you are going to need fun foam. Fun foam can be purchased at most craft stores and it is truly inexpensive. TIP: please save all those little leftover pieces, they are perfect for extra dimension for your embellishments, eg. sentiments…
Since my “stamp” was pretty big, I had to mount it on a stamp positioner. I used a regular size MISTI, this truly is an amazing tramping tool that honestly changed the way of stamping and it is a must have for every card maker out there! Now, since my stamp is made out of foam, I used temporary/removable adhesive by Tombow Mono. I first attached my card panel and then I positioned my “stamp”. What I realized is that, since my “stamp” was so intricate, I was not able to just put adhesive directly on it because it was starting to pull the sides and started messing with the shape of it. I just took some scrap paper and put adhesive on both sides. This definitely helped hold my “stamp” and I was ready for stamping. Since this stamp/die is symmetrical it was perfect to do some overlapping and bring some more interest and color to these cards. To achieve this look I just shifted my paper a little bit and stamped again in a different color. Such a cool technique! So, once my stamping was done, I did not like how it turned out and instead of starting all over again, I decided to trim it a little bit and use it as a panel; but then I realized that the panel is too short for my liking and to save this project I turned the panels into banners. I measured and marked my panels and then just simply trimmed it with scissors and attached to the card. I added the sentiments and my cards were finished! One thing I have to mention is that I added Glossy Accents to the sentiments. This is totally optional but I just felt like the cards needed a little something extra.
And then, it was time for the last, 5th technique.
Technique 5: Partial Die Cutting
And here we are the very last card(s) of the day. Now, this might look a little bit complicated, but, trust me, it is super easy. All you truly have to remember about this technique is that the paper will ONLY cut if it’s sandwiched between both cutting plates. I also explained this technique a little bit more in one of my previous blog posts “Easy Die Cutting Techniques” (check HERE).
Once again I used my darkest inks to create my own color paper. I did the same thing as I did in the example above. I love these colors and I hope Altenew start making colored paper in the exact color. When doing partial die cutting it is very important to take your time and to make sure that you are lining your paper correctly. Try to be more careful and precise with this technique because there will be no going back and chance for recovering your projects are pretty slim. As you can see, My plate is covering only a part of my die; everything underneath the plate will cut, and my die cuts came out perfect. To give it a little more interest and polished look I decided to put gold washi tape at the edge of my die cut. For this I used Gold Foil .5 inch Washi Tape from Altenew. Since this tape was too wide for me, I cut off a piece and trimmed it using a T-Ruler and exacto knife and I had perfect strips of gold washi tape. I then pressed the tape with a bone folder just to make sure that is securely glued onto my project and trimmed of the excess. I then attached everything to the base and my project was done!
With this I finish my part one – my cards. I love how all of these cards turned out. They are simple and elegant and truly for every occasion and for everyone! This makes a very nice gift and I truly am hoping that this inspired you to try these techniques and get more usage out out your dies.
If you have more techniques that you would like to share please do, let me know what you like to create, what is your favorite technique?
The next post will be about boxing these beauties, so do not forget to check it out!