Paper & Mosaics

I found this technique online a few years back and really loved how it looked, so I thought I’d share it with y’all. It’s a mosaic style project, except you use paper for the tiles and some texture paste to make the background look like grout.img_1368

Sadly, I have no picture of this finished project; only the close up. It was the cover of a journal that was kinda old and the original artwork had faded from use and age, and I decided it needed some type of fancy refinishing job.

To start, tape off the spine of the book so you will have a nice clean line and a clear place to work in. Paint the whole cover with gesso, and let it dry. While you are waiting, cut up bits of paper for your ’tiles’. They don’t have to be any particular shape, but they do need clean edges; punched squares, cut triangles and even circles all work fine:


This is a wooden cross I did for a school fundraising auction awhile back. All the students contributed 3 ’tiles’ with tiny designs to the project, and I added little square snippets of quilling paper to outline their artwork. But back to the journal…

Now that the gesso is dry, smear texture paste all over the cover. No need to be overly careful at this point – just keep it slightly smooth so you can lay paper on it. You need the gesso first because texture paste isn’t completely opaque. It helps with hiding places that the paste may be a little uneven.

Next is the fun part: after the paste is dry, grab some Mod Podge or other decoupage-like medium and give the whole thing a coat. Start laying down your paper pieces. You may gently press them in if you like, but be careful not to make the paste squish up over the sides; the paste and the pieces should appear flush. Once you have all the pieces in place, let it dry. Apply another coat of decoupage medium. Again, don’t worry about the finish at this point – you just want to make sure your pieces are going to stay put.

The last step is the tedious one, but it’s what makes this look so good. The secret weapon?

Glossy Accents.

You are going to carefully cover each of your paper pieces with Glossy Accents, avoiding the ‘grout’ in between them. This is why I said about having clean edges on your paper ’tiles’. The surface tension is what keeps the Glossy Accents from spilling over, and it makes your paper pieces appear like glass or enamel. Wait for it all to dry and carefully peel off your tape edge.

This is so much fun to do, and it will work on many different porous surfaces. I hope you will give it a try!


Thanks for stopping by!

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Halloween & Shakers

Another thing I saw at the CKC convention was a trend toward cards with shaker elements. One of the classes I took was offered by s.e.i., and was all about creating shaker cards with little 1/8″ deep plastic bubbles like this:


Sadly, their booth had run out of the windows very early in the day, so I spent some time hunting them down on the internet. I’ll post the link below to where I found ’em.

This is a little complicated, so I will explain it as best as I can sans video. I will make a card on video for y’all later this month 🙂

I had some Halloween-ish patterned paper hanging around my desk that I wanted to use up (it’s been there three weeks!). I chose an orange card base and a metallic grey paper for the background of my shaker element. I cut about a 1/4″ off the bottom of the grey piece so a strip of my orange base would show at the bottom of the card. I planned to align all layers against the upper edge.

I then chose my sentiment and centered it on my grey card stock. I stamped it with pigment ink and heat embossed the image, since the paper was of the coated variety and I was worried dye would not be vibrant enough or would smudge.

As the patterned paper would be the overlay for hiding the edges of the window, I flipped it over and drew lines 1/2″ in from the edge on all sides to create something I could cut along to form a frame.


You can use a cutter like this one to cut frames pretty accurately. You align the pencil marks with the wire, look straight down and insert your blade where two lines intersect, pull down to cut and stop where the marks line up with your blade handle. Oh, in case you are wondering, those numbers on my blade represent when I started using it; ‘9’ for September and ‘1’ for the first edge I am using. When that side gets blunt I will flip it around to the ‘2’ side. I find it easier to keep track of when to replace blades that way 🙂


Ok, this is the fun part. I flipped over the shaker window and tossed some google eyes, seed beads, flat sequins, wood veneer stars and enamel skelly heads into  it. The stars were, of course, wood flavored and I wanted something a little more matchy-matchy. I dabbed both sides of each star with my Deep Orange (E97) Copic Marker:


To make the little skelly heads, I used enamel dots and drew the faces on them with permanent marker.


I deactivated the sticky on the back with my cornstarch bomb before I put them in with the rest of the goodies.

CAREFULLY, I peeled off the liner paper around the window to make sure I didn’t shake or spill the contents. I knew where on the card I wanted the window to be, so I lined up the patterned paper frame, then the window (still open and face down), and slowly lowered the card base down onto it, lining up the top edges. When I picked it up, the window was where I wanted it to be and all the shaker bits were sealed inside. If you are working with these kinds of shaker windows, be aware there are no second chances. Always measure twice and stick once. Ask me how I know 🙂


Click to bigify.

Now that all that was done, I added some foam squares to the back on the polka dot frame and centered it over the shaker window, hiding the edges. It’s just as easy to run your trusty glue gun along the back of the frame and hide the edges that way, but I was going for a flat front look instead of having the window raised out from the frame.


And that’s a wrap! Thanks for stopping by!

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Copic Deep Orange E97 Alcohol Marker

Foil & Snowflakes

At the CKC Convention a few weeks back I watched a lady die cut pieces out of foil. It is now my new favorite thing. Aluminum foil looks just like a metal embellishment (or those foil outline stickers you can buy) if you fold it up a few times and run it through your die cutting machine.

Freakin’ amazing. Just look:


To make this die cut, I took a sheet of foil and folded to create 6 layers. You might need to fold it more if you’re using the thinner foil – I have the super strength stuff in my kitchen, so it’s kinda thick to begin with. I ran it through my Big Shot once, then went back and forth over it a couple times to make sure it was cut all the way through and to press the foil layers together really well.

I wanted this card as simple as I could make it, so I chose a white card and centered a panel on top of it with foam squares. Before I layered it on there though, I cut out a frame and then embossed it with a snowflake pattern embossing folder.


You’re going to need Glossy Accents or some other strong adhesive to hold the foil onto your paper – you don’t want to press down with a glue runner and smash it, and I didn’t have much luck with the Tombow Mono Multi glue. I used a crystal lacquer to adhere my snowflake (it’s the same thing as the Glossy Accents).

After I stuck it on, the poor snowflake looked lonely, so I used my new border die from Simon Says Stamp to cut a an outline for inside the frame. This die cut was a little more difficult to make stick; the dots of glue I put on the back were so small it dried quickly, so I had to carefully lift the edges in some places and add a little extra adhesive.

I just got a handy dandy little light box for photographing my cards, too. I hope you’ll notice an improvement in my mad photography skillz.

I’m learnin’! 😉


Thanks for stopping by!

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Thursday Re-Card #1: Birthday Gift

Awhile back, I made a birthday card using some quilling strips curled up to look like those really neat bows you can buy in the party section of your local Giantmart. It came out a little like this:


I know, I know… it’s fabulous, isn’t it? 🙂

This was one of those cards I got so frustrated with that I put it aside for weeks before I pulled it back out for another round. I really liked the curly bow on the gift and I loved the colors, but I just couldn’t figure out the sentiment or placement. The little peg that I used in the center of the bow annoyed me as well, but “it seemed like a good idea at the time..”

It just wasn’t right.


So, I set myself to the task of separating the panel and gift from the card front. It wasn’t as hard as I’d originally anticipated. I had it apart in about 15 minutes, with very little damage. I put a fresh panel (5.25″ x 4″) on the card base, then trimmed off the rounded corners off the gift. It didn’t make sense to me to have rounded corners, since the card was a sharp rectangle.

Also, on the original card, I felt the white panel was too plain, but embossing it or using patterned paper would be too busy to look at with the glittery paper of the gift and all. A 1.5″ banner strip in a coordinating color did the trick, and I heat embossed my (new and improved!) sentiment on it before I attached it to the card front. I like to emboss everything first (when possible), just in case the paper warps – that way I can just glue it down real well and no one would know I messed it up:)

I adhered the square piece for the gift with some foam squares, pulled the peg off my bow and wrapped the center of it with another piece of quilling paper. I used a tiny snip of a foam square to stick the bow in place, and then strategically placed a few extra paper curls with tacky glue to make it a little fuller. Sprinkle a few sequins here and there with a dab of Glossy Accents to keep them on the card, and this is what it came out like:



I’m loving the curly paper strips 🙂


Thanks for stopping by!

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Pumpkins & Swirls

I have SO MUCH patterned paper in my stash right now. Especially since I switched from scrapbooking to card making – I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but I have more 6×6 now than I had of the 12×12.

I tend to just use card stock more often than not. I find it hard to use a printed paper; it just seems too busy to me and I end up having trouble with focal points or overall composition.

Last year I picked up this paper pad from Joanns. Why? Because I didn’t have any with pumpkins on it yet. And there it sat… for a whole year, untouched, in my desk, staring at me staring at it – its lovely autumn colors taunting me as I tried to figure out my patterned paper conundrum.

I realized I’ll never get past the pattern-a-phobia if I don’t just cut the thing up. So that’s what I did. 🙂



The truth is, I colored that image with my Copics and I wanted to stick it on a card. The pumpkin patterned paper matched up with it quite nicely, although I had to compromise with the sentiment – there was nothing else in my stash that was appropriate for the theme, and small enough to not swallow the whole front of the card.

Pumpkins aren’t pumpkins without a few vines and swirls, so I used one of my Memory Box tree dies and then trimmed off the branches:


I layered it all together, but only put adhesive in the center back of the colored image while I positioned the ‘vines’. Then I tucked a few thin foam squares under the corners to secure it. I may die cut a label to cover over the sentiment with another one, once I get a sentiment that will work better there. I’ll post the update 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!

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Hibiscus & Easels

Last night, I decided that I needed to find a stamp set I haven’t used yet and, well, use it. There’s a lot of big graphic sets in my little stamp organizer box, and I just never seem to get around to breaking them out and getting my hands dirty. That, and I’m a little intimidated by them – I have never had much luck with getting a good, even impression. I’ve watched videos online about how good the Hero Arts Mid-Tone Shadow inks are for this type of stamping, so I whipped them out to give it a try with a new stamp set I got last week.


Those internet ladies know what they are talking about when they say those inks dry smoothly. Holy cow! I stamped the flower petals first, then masked it so I could do the leaf stamping. I felt like the card would look a little ‘flat’ without some glitter or something and I wasn’t feeling the sequins or gems. Leaving the mask in place, I dropped a cornstarch bomb on it and then re-stamped over the leaves with Versamark. I heat embossed with some detail clear embossing powder (I never use anything other than the super fine stuff), then did the same thing with the stamen; stamping in yellow first, then following it up with Versamark and more clear embossing powder with a little magic (read: Perfect Pearls in gold) mixed in, and ran my heat gun over it one more time.

Peeling up the masking paper is so much fun! I felt like I needed to share the joy, so I let my husband do it 🙂

IMG_1981After I glued the panel onto my nice, crisply folded card base, I realized I had put in on… upside down. 😦  Le sigh. It occurred to me if I could make a little stand for the inside, I could make the card front stand up like a picture, thus saving me from having to surgically remove it.

If you have a 3″ heart die cut kicking around your craft space, you can use it to make a little stand that you stick inside your card. It doesn’t look ugly (you can dress it up if you want) and it will lay flat for mailing. Simply center it on a scoring board and score a 1/8″ width strip down the center, so the two sides will fold up like butterfly wings. Or, you could use a butterfly die cut – that would work too!

Or, if you own a Silhouette Cameo or something else that can open .studio files, you can download this handy-dandy little file right here and cut yourself out a whole bunch of these little babies:

Heart Easel Cut File (.studio)

Heart Easel Cut File (.studio3)


I used a 1/8″ strip of the Terrifically Tacky Tape variety on the center piece of the heart (the part that adheres it to the card), and lined it up on the rear of the card front, in the center about 1/4″ from my fold.

untitled copy

Of course, you can stick it as far away or as close to the fold line as you want, depending on how much of an angle you want your card to have. This is what 1/4″ sits like:


I cut out several of these hearts and pre-lined them with double-sided adhesive so I can have them at the ready, should I decide I’d like to make this kind of card again. I’m pretty sure I will!

Thanks for stopping by!

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