Friday, July 25, 2008

Quick Tip: Paper Perspectives

There are so many wonderful artists out there who design decorative papers for all the big name crafthouses. Many times, when I discover a new collection or artist that tickles my fancy, I have a hard time using some of the papers on my projects. You almost feel guilty about using the "pretty" paper. But, eventually, the creative juices usually win the battle and you end up creating something beautiful from it. (Though, I will admit that I do have certain paper designs that I tend to hoard for truly special projects.)

While I'm not as much into scrapbooking as I once was, I do enjoy working on and designing layouts for various projects. Many times these designs and techniques transfer over into my cardmaking--only on a smaller scale.

One comment I hear often is that sometimes a background paper is "too busy" or "too intricate" to use in a scrapbook layout or card. But, I say it's all a matter of perspective and thinking outside the box. Just because you have a 12" x 12" sheet of paper doesn't mean you have to use the entire piece in a card or layout. Sometimes, you need to put your designer's cap on and utilize your resources to fit your project.

For instance, I found this piece of lovely hibiscus paper in a Basic Grey paper pad from their Mortifica range. It is truly a piece of artwork.

I had an idea for a layout, but I honestly needed a little more contrast and focus for the project I had in mind. As I had several pieces of the same paper design, I thought it would be interesting to modify a piece so that it would work for my project. So, I found a piece of 12" x 12" black Bazzill cardstock and grabbed for my scissors and played around for a bit. After looking at potential cuts and layouts in my mind's eye, I found a combination that I liked. I carefully cut part of the hibiscus paper design out and adhered it to my black cardstock. The result is a piece of paper that combines two different ranges and design aesthetics--but works.

The lesson is to let your papers work for you. If they don't work the way you want them to, change it up and create something unexpected. Sometimes, it may not be a resounding success. But, in crafting, they are no failures. Expressing your creativity and resourcefulness can never be a losing proposition.

Create...and keep crafting!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Waterfall Card Tutorial

I've been wanting to try and make a waterfall card for a while now. However, I was honestly intimidated to try. Something about the engineering involved sort of frightened me. Now that I've done it, I have to say that it is much easier than it might look at first glance. If you haven't tried one, I hope this tutorial will help you to give it a go.

Supplies you will need for this project:

--cardstock (two complimentary colors)
--decorative paper
--eyelet setter
--paper trimmer
--ink pad
--scoring tool
--colored pencils

First, you will need a base cardstock that your card will be built upon. I chose to use Bazzill corduroy textured cardstock in Raven. The base card should be trimmed to 4 1/4" x 5 1/2". You then need to cut a mat for your base out of a decorative paper. I chose to use DCWV Once Upon A Time Mat Stack for my decorative paper and trimmed it to 4" x 5 1/4".

The next few cuts will form the backbone of the waterfall mechanism for your card. You will need to choose a solid cardstock that coordinates with your mat and base colors. I chose Bazzill criss-cross textured cardstock in a Burnt Orange. The following pieces need to be cut from this cardstock:

--waterfall slider bar at 2" x 9"
--mat squares for your stamped image: you will need four (4) of them at 2" square

The final set of cuts are for your stamped images and for the keeper bar that will be attached to the front of your card. You will want to use white cardstock for your stamped images (I chose Bazzill again in the color Snow). The keeper bar should be cut from the same cardstock as your base color (in my case the raven).

--stamped image squares: you will need four (4) of them at 1 7/8" square
--keeper bar at 3/4" x 4"

We'll begin the card construction by creating the scores in our waterfall slider bar (the card's backbone). Take your strip of cardstock (2" x 9") and grab your scoring tool. I use the Scor-Pal.

You'll want to make four score lines at the following intervals: 2", 2 3/4", 3 1/2" and 4 1/4". The folding is a simple back-and-forth accordian fold.

Set your slider bar to the side and take your card base and decorative paper and adhere them to one another. I used my Xyron 510 to run the decorative paper through and smooth on to the cardstock (TIP: A couple of passes with a bone folder works wonderfully to assure that you have no trapped air pockets between your mat and decorative paper).

Next you'll want to position your holding bar on top of your card face approximately 1" from the bottom of the card. We will be using eyelets to attach this piece to your card. You will need your preferred eyelet setter. In my case, I used my Crop-A-Dile and a couple of 3/16" copper-colored eyelets.

Next, we'll take the 1 7/8" white cardstock squares and adhere them to the 2" colored cardstock squares. Again, I just ran my white cardstock through the Xyron 510.

At this point some people would advise to begin stamping your images. However, I think it works best to wait until the card is fully constructed to stamp your images. The main reason for this is to make sure your images are positioned properly on your squares and they are "covered" by the waterfall square above it. If you stamp now, there's a chance your images will not align properly.

It's time to adhere your stamping squares to the scored and folded waterfall strip. For this job, you'll need to use an adhesive runner or your favorite glue. I used my ATG 714. Each square will need to be adhered just below the score lines on your waterfall strip. Place a strip of adhesive on one side of your first square and adhere it just below the fold of the first score line on your waterfall strip.

You will continue to repeat this process, attaching one square just below the crease of your next score line until all four squares are adhered to your strip.

The rest of your colored cardstock will now fold right behind your stamping squares.

We are now ready to attach the waterfall slider bar to your base card. First, you'll want to slide the folded portion of your slider bar behind the keeper bar. Once it's behind your bar, I used three strips from my ATG gun to put on top of the keeper bar. You'll want to use the width of your slider bar as a guide for how far to spread your adhesive. You do not want to apply too much adhesive or it will show through the sides of your waterfall panels.

You will pull the strip with your stamping squares down until the edge of the bottom stamping square is aligned with the bottome of the holder bar. When aligned just press down to adhere the stamp square to the top of the keeper bar. Believe it or not, this is the only place your waterfall mechanism is adhered to your card. It sounds counter-intuitive, but it works wonderfully.

Here's a side view of what your waterfall mechanism should look like:

Now, all that's left to do is the fun part. Pick out the stamps you want to use and embellish to your heart's content. I decided to make an early Halloween holiday card. I used some of the new Studio G stamps with a Tsukineko Brilliance ink pad in Coffee Bean. After my images dried, I used my Prismacolor pencils and Gamsol to give each image a bit of shading. I stamped the "Happy Halloween!" greeting (another Studio G stamp) with Tsukineko Brilliance in Black Graphite.

Now all that's left to do is put a ribbon pull on the end of your waterfall strip if you'd like. I chose not to on this particular card. You can also cut a half circle (or other notch) out of the card base for ease of pulling the strip. But, I think it works just fine without it. Again, the design possibilities are endless.

I'll bet you'll spend hours minutes watching the card flip back and forth.

Have fun exploring the waterfall card!