Card Challenge Corner: Step It Up!

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Pumpkin Thank You
Whether you like clean and simple cards or cards that have layers and embellishments, you’re sure to love the Step It Up! feature in each issue of CardMaker! In this section, the designer creates a simple card and then a second card that includes additional layers and embellishments. This week, we’re challenging you to try this concept! Create two cards: one should be clean and simple and the second will be similar but with additional pieces. Share your photos with us on our Facebook page or Instagram and tag #CardChallengeCorner!

Projects by Lois Bak from our autumn issue—pick up a copy here!

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Nancy’s Technique of the Week: Layering

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Hi everyone, Nancy here with a fun card topic all about layering. While I tend to lean towards clean designs, it’s fun to experiment with different styles.

I practiced coloring in some of the unicorn stamped images with the Zig Clean Color brush markers. I colored them in a variety of colors until I found a color combination I was happy with. I then used a steel die to cut the shapes out and set them aside.


To begin layering, I started by blending Distress ink in a pretty light blue color along the edges of my cardstock panel. This will help the layers of clouds stand out. Next, I placed stitched cloud borders along top and bottom edges, layering vellum pieces as well. Using pop dots to add height to two of the clouds gives them dimension and adds another layer.

The sentiment was stamped with VersaFine ink. The pink unicorn layer was added with pop dots, while the purple one was simply tucked behind the cloud layer at the bottom.

Creating layers is an easy way to make a card really pop. Successful layering includes a nice variety of shapes (clouds,borders and unicorns here) and having some elements lay flat, while others are lifted with help from a pop dot.


Supplies used: Solar white 80# cardstock from Neenah Paper Inc.; Be a Unicorn stamp and die sets (#D-16-04) and Pierced Clouds dies (#D-05-01) by Avery Elle; tumbled glass Distress ink pad from Ranger Industries Inc.; onyx black VersaFine ink pad from IMAGINE Crafts; Zig Clean Color Real Brush Markers from Kuretake; enamel star from My Mind’s Eye.


Sean’s Technique of the Week: Heat Embossing to Design Your Own Background Paper with Stamps

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One of my favorite techniques in card making is heat-embossing. It adds shine and a little extra “something” to make the card even more special. Today, I wanted to show you how I use heat-embossing to make my own background paper with stamps and a little extra fun!

Let’s cover the tools and supplies that I used for this technique. For my card project today, I am using:

Cardstock measurements:

  • Base: 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 inches
  • Middle Layer: 3 3/4 x 5 1/4 inches
  • Top Layer: 3 1/2 x 4 3/4 inches

Ribbon measurement:

  • 5 3/4 inches


Step 1: Preparing the top layer for embossing

  • Affix the stamp that you wish to use as the decor for your background paper onto an acrylic block and set aside.
  • Rub the anti-static pad all over the cardstock you will be embossing, making sure to cover the entire piece as this pad will remove the dirt and oils that embossing powder tends to stick to. You only want the embossing powder to stick to the stamped images.


Step 2: Stamp the image on the top layer for embossing

  • With the stamp on the acrylic block, press the stamp onto the watermark ink pad picking up enough ink to stamp the image on the cardstock.
  • Stamp the image on the cardstock. On some cardstock colors, the image will be very light and will be hard to see so be careful not to stamp over an image that has already been stamped.
  • Repeat until you have the desired look you want to achieve for this layer.

Step 3: Applying embossing powder to the watermarked image

  • Place stamped cardstock on a piece of scratch paper.
  • Cover images with embossing powder.
  • Remove excess embossing powder and place back into your jar. Blow any excess away that remains that is not on a stamped image.

Step 4: Embossing your image

  • Heat up your embossing tool for about 15-20 seconds to get it hot enough to melt the embossing powder.
  • Hold the embossing tool about 6-8 inches away from the image.
  • Once the powder starts melting, keep moving along to another image. Otherwise, the image will burn.
  • Repeat this technique until all of the embossed images are done.

Step 5: Embossing the middle layer

I could find a metallic cardstock to use that would be “okay” for this card, but I like to match my papers and colors as closely as possible. Therefore, I’ll make it! Here’s how I did it!

  • Use temporary adhesive to adhere the middle layer cardstock piece to a piece of scratch paper.
  • Cover entire surface of cardstock with watermark ink.
  • Pour silver embossing powder over cardstock to get full and complete coverage.
  • Pour the excess powder off of the cardstock and back into the jar.
  • Heat up your embossing tool for about 15-20 seconds.
  • Hold the embossing tool 6-8 inches away from cardstock and start embossing the entire piece.
  • Once the powder starts melting, keep moving until the entire piece is embossed. Otherwise, the image will burn.

Now all you have to do is assemble your card and it’s done. Here is the completed card project that I created for today.

I hope you like it! Thank you for stopping by and learning more about my favorite technique.

Have a great day!



Jeanne’s CardMaker Tip

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Hi! Jeanne here today with a card-making tip.

My best tip for any card maker (new and old) is to practice. Carve out a little time in your busy life each week to get creative. It’s good for you.

Every card you make is a learning experience. You might be trying a new color combination, a technique or a challenge of some kind. I prefer challenges without a prize because I don’t want to compete—I’d rather just play when I create. Challenges are a great way to learn because they stretch you to try new things or look at things you’ve done before in new ways. If I get in a slump and need a jump start I usually head to and see what challenges are happening that week. I always seem to find something that wakes up my creativity.

Like everything else in life you need to work at your craft a bit to get better. Make a card in a different shape than you normally do. Try new techniques. Try new color combinations. Relax and have fun while you create. Through the process you will become a better card maker.

Here is a look back at a card I made in 2005 (stamps from Stampin’ Up!). Not bad.

Here is a card I made recently (stamps from Impression Obsession). Much better!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my tip. Now get out there and make a card!



Sean’s U Inspire Me

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Fall is my favorite time of year. What inspires me the most is the amazing and brilliant colors that are displayed throughout the fall season. Even though I am a lover of summer, I am looking forward to fall coming. Looking outside my window in my craft room I can see so many trees that will be bright and gorgeous in a short time. Here is the picture that inspired me to make my card project:


Here is the project that I created based on the inspiration that I received from that picture:




Supplies used: Dark chocolate and ivory Layering Weight 80 lb. cardstock, Friends ’til the End stamp set, Color Companions ink pads (dark chocolate, tomato soup, sweet corn, sweet mango), gold Pure Luxury fine-detail embossing powder and dark chocolate gingham ribbon from Gina K. Designs.

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Card Challenge Corner: Birthday Greetings

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Party Time
For this week’s challenge, use this adorable Party Time Gift Set by Taylor VanBruggen for Taylored Expressions as inspiration to create a card and gift box set for a special friend’s birthday! Remember to share photos on our Facebook page or Instagram and tag us with #cardchallengecorner!

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Daniela’s Storage Tip

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Hello! It’s Daniela with a storage tip for your adhesives.

I am a very messy crafter. My table is filled with various items, and I am constantly looking for something, mostly my adhesive. When my son started kindergarten and I visited his classroom, I loved that his teacher used an art caddy to store crayons and pencils on the tables. It had three compartments, two small and one big along with a handle. I thought it was a great idea and I found some at my local Michaels store. I bought several for storing my son’s supplies. One day after I got really tired of searching for my adhesive, once again, I came up with an idea to use one of these caddies for my adhesives. I love that it has a handle and I can take it anywhere.

The front two compartments hold my roller adhesive, tapes and wet adhesive. The back, large, compartment holds my foam squares, photo corners and Zots. Whenever I work on a project, I just bring the caddy out on my desk and I have everything within reach.

This caddie is stored on my desk shelf to the right of where I sit. Above that is my other most used adhesive. Everything is close by. When I am done I put the caddie back where it belongs.

I hope this little tip helps you as much as it helps me. Let me know how you store your adhesive.

Thanks for visiting!


Supplies: Art caddy from Amazon; art caddy from Michaels; adhesive from Therm O Web.


Catherine’s Celebrate & Decorate

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Hello everyone, Catherine here with my first post for the CardMaker blog. Today I want to share how you can easily create unique and beautiful party favors using just a few supplies—and by changing your color scheme you can achieve two very different, yet beautiful looks.

Here are the products I’ll be working with today: adhesive stencils, stencil brush and a Pillowbox die from Momenta, Ultra Chalk paint from Art-C, kraft cardstock and watercolor paper. I ended up not using the burlap flowers in the final design, but they are also from Momenta. I also used white organza ribbon, twine and a silver charm to finish up my pretty boxes.

Begin your project by creating the pattern on kraft cardstock using adhesive stencils and paint. The paper should be large enough to cut the pillowbox template two times, one for the front and one for the back of the box. I like to work with one stencil at a time and then fill in the design with a second stencil. If I’m being really fussy, I’ll put sticky notes around the edge of the stencil as a mask to protect the paper from any over brushing.

When the stenciled pattern is complete and the paint is dry, use a die-cutting machine to cut the front and back of the box, and assemble. You can always add fill-in stenciling after die-cutting if you think any areas need an additional design here and there.

Once you assemble the box, embellish with ribbon, a tag or a charm.

If you are looking for a more romantic look, start with a base of watercolor paper and instead of white Ultra Chalk paint, create a pretty romantic pattern with blue and pink Ultra Chalk paint. A little water added to the pink paint creates a pretty, soft wash to add a touch of color to the background. Once your pattern is complete and dry, die-cut, assemble and embellish. I used a scrap of leftover paper to create a tiny tag that matches the stenciled design.

The great thing about creating your own favors with custom designs and colors that you love is that you know they will be the right color and style for your event!

THANK you so much for joining me today. I’ll be back again soon with another fun project you can create in no time! Happy crafting!


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Nancy’s Quick & Easy Cards

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Hi everyone, Nancy here today with my first post on the CardMaker blog. I’ve made two cards that at first look detailed and complicated, but actually were put together in under 15 minutes.

The simple bee was stamped at the lower right side of the card with black ink. Next, the title was stamped in black and aqua inks. I colored the image with Copic® markers. Tip: Keeping the blending to a minimum cuts down on time while still filling the image with pretty color.

Bee 2
Then I simply filled the background of the card with the bee image in a very light gray ink. It’s a direct pun on the sentiment and hopefully creates a smile.

This card was created in just a few minutes with some pre-colored mermaids that I had on hand.

Mermaid 2
A quick and easy way to create this beautiful frame is to use a die like this large circle burst. It’s the easiest way to add a high-impact shape to a card quickly.

Mermaid 3
When I first receive a stamp, I spend some time coloring random images. I keep a nice stash of colored images to use in a pinch. This mermaid came in handy! I just needed to place some aqua cardstock to back the circle frame and a sentiment to complete the card!

Time-Saving Tips

  1. Create a beautiful background by randomly stamping a repeated image in a light colored ink.
  2. Use a die-cut frame to create a high-impact shape quickly.
  3. Keep a variety of colored images on hand to save on time.
  4. Use dies to quickly cut out complicated shapes.



Supplies used: Solar white #80 cardstock from Neenah Paper Inc.Fly-By Friends stamp set, blu raspberry and grout gray ink pads from My Favorite Things; Memento tuxedo black ink pad from IMAGINE Crafts; Copic® markers (BG01, C5, C7, Y11, Y13) from Imagination International Inc.


Supplies used: Mermaid For You stamp set and die set (#LF-1168) from Lawn Fawn; Memento tuxedo black ink pad from IMAGINE Crafts; lemongrass and mojito ink pads from Mama Elephant; Large Circle Burst die (#98478) from Memory Box.


PLUS Corp & CardMaker Blog Hop!

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Roller stamps are so much fun and should be an essential in every cardmaker’s toolbox. If you’ve never played around with them, we think you might want to give them a try after today’s blog hop. The CardMaker designers have created some stunning projects showcasing PLUS Corp’s Decoration Stamp Rollers! To make it even more fun, PLUS Corp is hosting a giveaway on their Facebook page. Visit the blogs on the hop and then take a look to find out how you can enter for a chance to win. Let’s get started!

A Day Without a Friend
I love a good honeycomb pattern so I jumped at the chance to use this roller! A couple of quick rolls of the stamp across cardstock created the main portion of my design—so fast and easy! A little coloring, a handwritten sentiment and a few mini gems scattered about finished off the card—a little sparkle is always a good thing, right?!?

Supplies used: Honeycomb Decoration Stamp Roller from PLUS Corporation of America; Blending Card from X-Press It; wildflower honey cardstock from My Mind’s Eye; Spectrum Aqua markers from Spectrum Noir; Stampin’ Write markers from Stampin’ Up!; tuxedo black Mark It marker from BIC USA Inc.; orange self-adhesive gems from Want2Scrap; paper trimmer from Fiskars; scoring board and Scor-Tape from Scor-Pal Products; adhesive foam squares from Scrapbook Adhesives by 3L®.

Next up on the hop is the talented Nancy Damiano! If you get lost along the way, come back here. The entire blog hop list is shown below.

PLUS Corp Giveaway!

And take a look at the package PLUS Corp is giving away! Visit their Facebook page for all the details.

Blog Hop List
CardMaker (You are here!)

Nancy Damiano

Daniela Dobson

Sean Fetterman

Juliana Michaels

Catherine Scanlon

Jeanne Streiff