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Trend Alert: Wood

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While looking at new releases from the annual Craft & Hobby Association (CHA) Conference & Trade Show that was held at the beginning of this month, I noticed that there was a continuation of the wood trend. Wood designs in papers, textures and embellishments are not really new, but they are very prevalent in the new products that are about to come on the paper-crafting market.

To me, wood is a great neutral design element; whether a wooden-plank pattern on paper, a wood-grain texture or an embellishment made out of wood, it goes with every season or theme, if you ask me. First, do you know how difficult it is to find products that work well for both men and women? Flowers are everywhere, but they don't work well on a masculine birthday card. A wood design on patterned paper makes a great background for feminine designs and any holiday theme from Christmas to Valentine's Day.

The style of wood on patterned paper can range from a realistic wooden plank design to a hand-drawn tree. You can find a range in colors as well, from natural colors to whitewashed, and wood that appears to have been painted and distressed. To bring the wood theme to life, try an embossing folder to impress a wood-grain texture onto cardstock. Or you can stamp with a wood-grain design and add embossing powder to create a raised feel to your card which is similar to that created by an embossing folder.

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Don't forget the embellishments. You can use wood-veneer words and icons and wood dots instead of sequins. Laser-cut, intricate wood designs such as doilies and feathers are easily found from different manufacturers. These items work perfectly in their natural state of tan or brown, but because they are wood you can paint, ink, stain, sand, color and customize them. On larger wood pieces, such as tags, you can even stamp sentiments or designs to add a special touch. For all these reasons, wood embellishments are very versatile. They can be used on any project for any recipient and for any theme. The best part is that these embellishments tend to be very lightweight and flat so they don't add a lot of bulk to cards that need to go through the mail. Since the wood embellishments are lightweight, you can use small glue dots or a liquid glue to adhere them to your project. They don't need a heavy-duty adhesive to hold them in place.

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Keep your eye out for this trend. Don't be intimidated; now is the time to try something new. Imagine what a whitewashed wooden-plank background on your next thank-you card or tiny wood-veneer stars on a birthday card will look like. Now fire up your creativity to make it really fit the occasion. For instance, use a marker or inkpad to change the color of a wooden heart to add a special touch to a Valentine's Day card; a transparent layer of color will still allow the grain of the wood to show through. The main thing is to have fun with this trend -- it's definitely still a hot one in the paper-craft world.

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