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Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Cardstock Cutting Tips With Cricut

 The Cricut cutting machine is a very popular tool that is used to create and cut all types of materials. You can create customize your settings to get the best cuts when you are using cardstock. 

Cardstock is one of the easiest materials to work with. There are so many different types of cardstocks available, And the best part is of all the materials you can cut, cardstock is the most reasonably priced.

Taking the time to understand how to create custom settings for your materials makes all the difference in the world, especially with different types of cardstocks. 

Types Of  Cardstock Cricut Will Cut

There are lots of different papers cardstocks that you can cut with your Cricut. Cricut has a line of cardstock that has been developed to work with their cutting settings. This makes it easier to get the best possible cuts because they developed these papers to specific settings. 

There are other really quality papers that will also work well with your Cricut cutting machine. Quality paper is important to get the best cuts and results for your projects. If you opt for inexpensive paper, you are going to do be doing a lot more tweaking with your settings to get  the right cuts. 

Cardstock For Use With Your Cricut

  • Colored Cardstock
  • Glitter Cardstock
  • Deluxe Patterned Paper
  • Sparkle Paper
  • Shimmer Paper
  • Foil Paper
  • Foil Embossed Paper

Solid Core Vs White Core

Cardstock either has a solid core of the same color or a white core with color over the top. For my projects, I prefer the solid core. I like to see the same color without any white showing. Make sure to check the packaging of your paper so that you get exactly what you prefer.

Textured Or Smooth?

There are times when you will want to add some texture to your projects. Texture is a great way to add dimension to any cut. The only thing to remember is that you will have difficulty with textured paper if you plan to write or use Cricut pens over the paper.

Settings On Different Cricut Machines

The Cricut electronic cutting machines have different setting options for different machines. 

Cricut Joy

The Cricut Joy has a group of default boxes on the Make It Page of the program. You can select one of the default buttons on the page or use the Click Browse All Settings to get the exact material that you need. 

Cricut Explore

The Cricut Explore has a dial setting where you can adjust the setting for your type of cardstock. Or you can use the custom setting to select the exact cardstock setting for the material being used. 

Cricut Maker

The like Cricut Joy, the Cricut Maker has a series of boxes that has preselects for your convenance. Again, you can select Click Browse All Settings to get more selections.

Popular Settings For Cardstock

Here are some of the most popular settings for cardstock in the custom setting of Design Space,
  1. Cardstock For Intricate Cuts Setting (best for any SVG design that has small details and numerous intricate cutouts, such as layered mandala designs).
  2. Light Weight Cardstock Setting (tex-weight paper or 50-pound weight cardstock)
  3. Medium Weight Cardstock Setting (The most popular cardstock setting. Works well with 65-pound cardstock)
  4. Heavy Cover Weight Cardstock (heavier weight papers like cover weight or 80-110 pound cardstock).
  5. Glitter Cardstock setting (use with glitter papers or textured glitter cardstock)
  6. Pearl Paper Setting (use with light-weight shimmery frosted metallic papers)
  7. Scrapbooking Paper Setting (use for any lightweight patterned scrapbooking papers with printed images).
  8. Poster Board Setting (ideal for any heavier metallic foil textured cardstock)
  9. And there are loads more! Browse them all by searching the keyword “cardstock” or “paper” in the material options of Design Space.

Blade Tips And Ideas For Cutting Cardstock

For the most part, you will be using the fine point blade for cardstock. There are some heavier cardstocks that require a deep point blade, but the machine will prompt you to change it when needed. 

You can get a lot of cuts from your blades if you do some maintenance on them on a regular basis. If your blade is old, has had a lot of use, or has debris on it, the blade will drag and rip the cardstock as you cut your project. You might be surprised at the amount of debris that will collect on your blade over time.

Tin Foil Cleaning

This is one of the easiest maintenance tips that you can do to prolong the use of your blade. 

  1. Grab some tin foil and squish it together to form a medium tight ball.
  2. Remove the blade housing from your machine if your blade is installed,
  3. Push on the top of the blade so that the blade is exposed. 
  4.  Push the exposed blade in and out of the tin foil ball. several times.
The tin foil may not only clean the debris, but also may sharpen the blade. If the blade is too far gone, however, the tin foil may not sharpen the blade. 

Replacing A Fine Point Blade

Placing a blade correctly is essential to the function of your machine. 

  1. Remove the fine point blade housing from the clamp B (there is only one clamp on the Joy machine.)
  2. Press the top button down and carefully pull out the blade with craft tweezers.
  3. Remove the plastic top for the new blade and place it into the housing while holding the button at the top. 
  4. Release the top button to retract the new blade into the housing.

Cutting Cardstock With Cricut

Choosing The Right Cardstock

The first step to getting the best cut with your Cricut is choosing the right cardstock. When you use a good quality, dry cardstock, you are bound to get better results. If your cardstock is ripping or tearing and you have a clean mat and a clean bade, it may be that you need to change to a different weight or brand of cardstock. If your cardstock is damp because it has been stored in humid conditions, you could try heating it with something like an EasyPress to remove the moisture. 

Using Your Mat

It is important to use the right mat to cut your cardstock. The blue light grip mat is the best mat to use on lighter cardstock. The green mat is the best choice for heavier cardstock. I know that there are a lot of knockoff mats out there that are cheaper, but quality does matter. I still tend to stick with the Cricut mats as the best choice for my cuts. 

Choosing The Right Mat

For most paper and cardstock projects, you will use the light grip, blue mat. You can use the standard green mat for medium and heavier weight mats. Once you have used the green mat a few times, it can be used for the lighter cardstock. 

How To Remove Cardstock From Your Mat

We have all faced the problem of getting out project off the mat. It is frustrating and a pain when you finally get the right cut, but the project will not come off the mat. 

If you are using a new mat, it is important to prime it. Just remove the plastic covering off the mat. Then just press the mat against your shirt. You only need to do this once. It helps to keep your project in once piece. The stickiness of the mat is very strong when it is new. 

Never pull or yank a piece of cardstock off of your mat. It will most likely curl and may rip. 

Instead, lay the project with the cardstock face down on a clean workspace. Now gently bend the mat back to remove it from the paper. Use a scraper to help remove the paper from the mat. 

Clean Your Cricut Mat

  1. Use dish soap and lukewarm water to clean your mat.
  2. Remove any surface debris before washing your mat. Use a scraper tool.
  3. With a soft sponge work the soap and water over the mat.
  4. Rinse with slightly warm water (not hot)
  5. Pat dry with paper towels. 
  6. Let the mat air dry before further use. 

Using A Brayer Tool

When you are cutting materials on your mat, a brayer tool is a useful tool to help you get a better cut. Brayers are inexpensive tools that come in different sizes. The tool helps you make sure that the material is securely on the mat to get a better cut. It extends the use of your mats.

The rolling brayer tool helps push the material on the mat, especially if the mat has some wear and is not super sticky. 
  1. Place the material on the mat.
  2. Firmly roll the brayer tool back and forth over the entire surface of the mat. 

Replace Your Mat

There are times when your mat will need to be replaced. Consider these:

  • The mat has been actively used regularly for the last 4-6 weeks.
  • The mat appears bent or bumpy.
  • Or if the mat has deeply cut lines covering the majority of the surface

Using The Right Pressure Settings

Using the right pressure settings can make your projects a success or a mess. 

Here are a few settings to try for your next project. These are found in your Design Space Program once you select the custom setting on your cutting machine dial. 
  1. Light Weight Cardstock-50 lb. weight paper
  2. Medium Weight Cardstock-65 lb. cardstock
  3. Heavy Cover Weight Cardstock-80-110 lb. cardstock
  4. Glitter Cardstock-Glitter paper or textured glitter cardstock.
  5. Pearl Paper-Lightweight shimmery cardstock.
  6. Scrapbook Paper-Lightweight patterned scrapbooking papers with printed images.
  7. Foil Poster Board-Any heavy metallic foil textured cardstock.
Another option for pressure setting allows you to tweak the setting when you need to get a more custom cut. 
  • Once you have selected your base material, Cricut will prompt you to load your mat.
  • On the screen you will see a dropdown menu with pressure options,
  • The pressure option dropdown allows you to customize (fine tune) how much stress the blade is putting on the cardstock. 
  • It always starts with default automatically. But you can select More or Less pressure according to your needs. So, if you were cutting heavy cardstock and it is not cutting through you might and the More setting.
  • As you work with different materials, you should keep a list or a little book noting the brand of paper, the weight of the paper and the best cutting settings.

The Size Of The Design

One other thing that can affect cardstock when you are cutting with the Cricut is the size of the design, or the design itself. Every cutting machine out there has its limitations. Trying to cut a 1-inch delicate detailed design is simply not going to work no matter what setting you use.  

If your design is very small, and keeps tearing, you may need to increase the size by a couple of inches to get the best results, If your project needs to be a certain size, you may have to use a less complicated design. Some designs may not work well on cardstock but might be perfect on other materials like vinyl. 

To keep your mats, stay in the best condition possible make sure to store them with the plastic liner over the top. That way dust, pet hair or other material will not collect on the mat. Dirt and dust will cause a bad cut. 

If you are using a new material in your cutting machine, it is always best to do a sample cutting before cutting the actual project. That way you will be able to tweak your settings before you actually go to cut the project.

Sime thicker papers like glitter cardstock may require two cuts to get through the paper. You could also adjust the cutting option to more rather than default on the Make It page of Design Space. As always, we recommend that you do a test cut if you have not used a particular cardstock. 

After you chose your paper settings on the Make it page, you have another option of you are using the Explore 3 or the maker version. There is a Fast Mode button that can be used on simple shapes and designs. It will cut your design 2 times faster. This setting is one your Make It screen in Design Space. Do not however use this function on more intricate designs. It will make a mess of your project.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Multimedia Greeting Cards

 Multimedia Greeting Cards

Have you ever considered taking your greeting cards the next level by using more than one media? We often focus on stamping, embossing, coloring or stenciling, today we are going to mix it all up with stencils, inks, colored pencils, stamping, and even some glitter. 

Welcome to another edition of my journey in the Altenew Educator Program as I move closer to becoming a certified educator. We will be sharing some advanced stenciling ideas to inspire you to take a leap forward in your own journey with some ideas an some tips. 

My specific focus for this tutorial is with tow specific stencil sets. For these cards, we used the 

I also layered some embossing folders to add some design ideas. The embossing folders that we used are all Altenew  3 D embossing folders. Not only did we use them to create extra dimension, but we actually layered them to create focus. 

I selected the Geometric 3D embossing folder, the Botanical 3 D embossing folder, and the One Of A Kind embossing folder. Each of these folders have a unique design. 

To highlight the stencil pieces, I added another layer with some die cuts. That helps focus on the main stenciled images. 

I also stamped the sentiments to give some added interest, I raised them with some foam pieces. Here is how we created the three cards for today's tutorial. 

We are focusing in this tutorial on two specific cards. The burgundy and pink flower card as well as the blue flower card. But I have to say that the options with these combinations are endless.

Card Base

Because there are multiple layers to these greeting cards, I needed to have a good strong foundation. So, in this case, I used Neenah Solae White cardstock at 110 lbs. Each base was cut to the size needed. Then I used a scoreboard to add my fold mark. The scoreboard enables you to measure and mark your card to get the correct fold, The bone folder that comes with it helps you to get a crisp solid fold.

The Embossing Folders

The Altenew 3 D embossing folders are amazing! there is a lot of detail in these folders that make it easy to use them in this technique.

The detail makes it easy to pair them together to create designs that give your cards a lot of depth and design features.

They emboss well and are easy to cut down into any size that you need. 

The Stencils

The stencils on these cards are a little more intricate than others. But that is not a problem. Each of the stencils are clearly marked to help you place them exactly where they should be. The masks for the flowers are built in so there is no extra masking needed. There are outlines built into the stencils. So, though you may have to rotate them a bit, you will clearly see where they should be placed. Ther are three layers for the leaves and 4 layers for the flowers. Because they are so clearly marked, even beginners will be able to use them after a little practice.

Burgundy And Pink Flower Card

 This card shows depth in color and detail with both the focal flowers as well as the background for them. This 6" by 6" card features the Altenew  stencil. The stencil set has layered stencils in the set that give excellent detail to the featured bouquet.


  • White cardstock 110lb
  • Cream cardstock.
  • Burgundy cardstock
  • Altenew Flower Bunch Die and Stencil Set
  • Altenew Puffy Heart Dye Ink
  • Altenew Coral Bliss 
  • Altenew Maple Yellow Dye Ink
  • Altenew Frayed Leaf
  • Altenew Bamboo Dye Ink
  • Altenew Hunter Green Dye Ink
  • Altenew Maple Yellow Dye Ink
  • Altenew Sicilian Amber Dye Ink
  • Altenew  Organic Linen 3 D Embossing folder
  • Nesting Dye
  • Die Cutting Machine
  • Ink Brushes
  • Paper trimmer
  • Double sided tape
  • Glue gun
  • Glue
  • Pink half gems
  1. Cut a piece of white cardstock into a 12" by 6" piece.
  2. Score a line at 6" and fold. Use the bone folder to make the fold crisp.
  3. Using the die cutting machine, emboss a piece of 6" by 6"creme cardstock with the organic linen.
  4. Using the burgundy cardstock die cut the flower background piece.
  5. Die cut the. Once sie cut, place the die cut back into the cut section.
  6. Start with the leaf stencils. Stencil the leaves three times using the stencils. Each stencil adds another layer of darker green.
  7. Stencil the two flowers in their base color.
  8. Stencil the middle portion of the flower. 
  9. Stencil the base of the cone shapes with Maple yellow dye ink
  10. Using the second stencil, stencil the detail on the cone shapes with. 
  11. Cut and stencil one additional flower and cone shape.
  12. Use the three green colored pencil to add depth around the flowers. Use the darkest pencil closest to the flower. 
  13. Use a pink and deep pink colored pencil to add depth and petal detail to the pink flowers.
  14. Use a brown colored pencil to add depth to the cone shapes.
  15. Use Nuvo glue on the petal centers.
  16. Sprinkle gold glitter on the glue and tap off excess.
  17. Apply the Organic Linen embossed piece to the base with double sided tape.
  18. Glue the stenciled bouquet to the burgundy die cut piece. 
  19. Add three pink half gems to the card front.
  20. Add sentiment of choice to the card.

Blue Layered Card

This card has features of blue and yellow for a soft look. The card has a softness to it, but because of the geometric embossing folder, it could be used for a lot of different occasions. It would be a nice anniversary card, or a baby shower card as well.


  • White cardstock 110 lb
  • Cream colored cardstock.
  • Altenew Flower Bunch Die and Stencil Set.
  • Altenew Organic Linen3 D Embossing Folder
  • Altenew Checkered Diamonds 3 D Embossing Folder
  • Altenew Sea Breeze Dye Ink
  • Altenew Aqualicious Dye Ink
  • Altenew Maple Yellow Dye Ink
  • Altenew Sicilian Amber Dye Ink
  • Altenew Frayed Leaf Dye Ink
  • Altenew Bamboo Dye Ink
  • Altenew Hunter Green Dye Ink
  • Ink Brushes
  • Background die cut.
  • Die cutting machine.
  • Paper Trimmer
  • Die Cutting machine.
  • Double sided tape
  • Nuvo glue and gun
  • Sickles 
  • Dark brown colored pencil
  • Medium blue colored pencil
  • Dark colored pencil
  • Blue half gems
  • Foam dots.
  • Sentiment of choice
  1. Cut a piece of white cardstock into a 12" by 6" piece.
  2. Score a line at 6" and fold. Use the bone folder to make the fold crisp.
  3. Emboss the Checkered Diamonds embossing folder using a 6" square piece of creme cardstock.
  4. Emboss the white cardstock with the Organic Linen embossing folder. Cut the embossed paper to a size of 4.5" by 5..
  5. Die cut the blue piece of background paper.
  6. Die cut the flower bunch die, Use the paper that you cut it from to hold the die in place while you are stenciling. 
  7. Start with the leaf stencil using the lightest of the three green inks-Frayed Leaf
  8. Apply the second layer of ink- Bamboo to the second leaf stencil.
  9. Apply the darkest layer of green ink-Hunter Green to the third lead stencil layer.
  10. Using the base flower stencil apply the Puffy Heart Ink,
  11. Then apply the Second and third layer with the Sicilian Amber ink.
  12. Use the base stencil for the cone base and color the shape with the Maple Yellow ink. 
  13. Use the pink and the dark pink colored pencils to add detail to each of the petals of the flower. 
  14. Add detail to the leaves with the three colored pencils. Use the darkest colored pencil closest to the flowers to help the flowers stand out. 
  15. Use the dark brown colored pencil on the cone shapes. 
  16. Dot the center of the flower with the  . Let it dry.
  17. Apply the Geometric 3D embossed piece to the base with double sided tape.
  18. Apply the One of A Kind embossed piece on the geometric piece with double sided tape.
  19. Apply the blue die cut piece to the One Of a Kind embossed piece.
  20. Glue the stenciled flower piece with the neuvo glue,
  21. Attach the gems to the blue die cut piece.
  22. Attach the sentiment of choice with foam dots.

Here are a few ideas to help make your experience more successful:
Number the stencils in permanent black ink. 
If there are numerous layers to the stencil, line them up and mark areas you can focus on. Mark them with a permanent marker on the back side of the pencil
To make your flowers stand out, use the darkest pencil closest to the edge of the flower.
Raise the sentiment with foam dots to create extra dimension.
With larger flower elements, make the flowers the focus. Use smaller sentiments.
Use a paper stub to blend the colored pencils.
You can also blend the colored pencils with some gamisol.

Thank you for stopping by. We hope that you will visit the community often to get resources, ideas and tips to help you grow in your art. 
So how do you feel about the prospect of creating layered multimedia greeting cards. We hope that you will give these ideas a try in the near future. 

Till next time, Happy Crafting!

Supplies To Make Multimedia Greeting Cards

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Stencils And Ink Sprays

Check out more ideas at

We do not often think about using ink sprays. I suspect because they tend to be the messier side of paper crafting. But on the flip side, they can be a lot of fun and very rewarding. We are using spray inks with paper today, 

This is a very basic technique that has a lot of applications. You could use this technique in art journals. scrapbook base pages, greeting cards, junk journals and so much more. 

While we all love ink sprays, there are times when we also hate these products too. Clogging is the biggest problem with any of these products. Clean the nozzle after each use. Use water and a paper towel to keep the nozzle clear for a consistent spray.
 Sometime when you press down the spray top, they don’t pop back up again. If this happens, just pull on the top to help it come back up. It’s a little annoying, but it means that you can still use the spray ink inside the bottle. If push comes to shove just move the ink to a clean bottle. I keep several empties on hand just for that purpose. 

Let's Talk About Ink Sprays

There are a few different options when it comes to ink sprays. You want to be sure to select the spary that fits your needs. 

Adirondack Color Wash Spray

A translucent spray with a darker range of colors.

Altenew Ink Sprays

Metallic Shimmer Spray-These sprays are acid free and archival. They come in 2 oz bottles. 
Metallic Ink Sprays

Distress Oxide Spray

This product is a pigmented ink fusion that creates oxidized effects. It is the fluid version of the distress oxide ink pads.
These need to be shaken before they are used. If you forget, you will get an entirely different effect than expected. It is recommended that you shake them side to side. There is a ball inside the bottle that will mix the contents. The manufacturer also recommends that you store them upright. That way mixing will be less of a problem. It starts out shiny but has a chalk like finish when dry.

Since this is an opaque spray, it is perfect for art journaling.

 Comes in a 2-ounce spray bottle.
71 colors are available. Free color chart.

  • Make sure to clean the nozzle every time that you have finished using them so that the nozzle does not get clogged.

Distress Spray Stains

These sprays are basics for most spray ink techniques. They are water-based dye inks for paper and porous surfaces. They are the fluid version of the distress inks. The colors match the distress ink pad line. The bottles contain 1.9 fluid ounces of liquid ink in a fine mist sprayer. You can mist with water to lighten the color. 
The metallic spray stains are thicker than other sprays. They are completely opaque.
75 colors make this collection the largest collection of all of the ink sprays Use the spray 8-10 inches away from your project with a sweeping motion. There is a picket fence stain that gives a milky effect to your projects that I do recommend having. 

Dylusions Shimmer Spray

Colorful pearlescent shimmer makes these sprays stand out as a defined statement. Use as a finishing spray or layer over inks and paints to create luminous effects and backgrounds. There are currently 32 colors. Get a free color chart.

Dylusions Spray Ink

These are highly concentrated colors. They are non-toxic and acid free. Is water reactive.
 The bottles contain 2 fluid ounces of spray ink. This ink tends to glost and lighten.
There are currently 36 colors available. Get a free color chart.

Inkadinkado Spray Mist

Dries very fast! These are alcohol based but are considered non-toxic. Is pigmented and shimmery. May sometimes dry a different color than the dye. Each bottle contains 2 ounces of spray mist.

Mica Spray

There are 12 different sprays available. There are three mica sprays for the Distress line, Diana Wakely Media line, Dylusions line and the Wendy Vecchi line. Free color chart.

Perfect Pearl Mists

These are liquid bound mica powders. They are considered transparent and permanent. Each bottle is 2 ounces with a fine mist spray. The thing to know about these sprays is that the perfect pearls in these bottles will settle at the bottom. So, they need to be shaken well before use. Flip the bottle over and shake them. That way you can see that all of the perfect pearls are distributed evenly.

For this product, the darker the surface, the better the result.

The product tends to be a low shimmer. One of the places that they are good for is when you make rolled paper flowers. After you cut the flowers on your electronic cutting machine, spray them with the perfect pearls shimmer spray. That softens the paper, and you can get a better rolled paper flower.

DIY Perfect Pearls Shimmer Spray

Tattered Angel Chalkboard Mist

Chalky semi opaque mist-highly pigmented. About 12 colors currently. Must be shaken side to side so that the glimmer is spread throughout the fluid. You can blot this product with a paper towel to get it to dry faster.

Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist

Translucent with lots of shimmer. This is a non-toxic pigmented spray that gives you a slight hint of glimmer.

Before you use this product, you will swirl the bottle, rather than shaking it. That helps to avoid air bubbles. Lack of air bubbles gives you better results.

  • You also want to not overuse this spray with stencils, 2-3 sprays should be more than enough. Any more than that will cause you to lose the stencil pattern.
  • Dry it before you move it. It is a liquid so if you move it before it is dry, the liquid my run and you will lose your stencil pattern.

Get Crazy With Color

Who says you have to limit yourself to one color or even one-color family? As we always say, "your art, your way" So experiment with color. Use 2-3 different color sprays on one piece of paper! Find the combinations that float your boat and use them to your best advantage.

While you are at it, mix different kinds of sprays to see what works for you! 

The closer to the stencil you spray, the juicier the image.
Too much ink? Just roll a roll of paper towel over the image to blot up any excess ink.
Sprayers may get clogged. Soak them in warm water and then spray them till the clog goes away.
If you are developing your ink spray sets, divide them into three groups warm, cool and others. Makes it easier to work with colors. Black, white and grey are considered non-colors-They go with everything.
Remember, if you use two colors or more, where they meet, a third color will be created. Take time to experiment with your sprays so you know how they work together.
When you’re all finished using the spray ink for the day, turn it upside down and give it a couple of pumps until nothing comes out.   I like to use every drop of color, so the cleaning created the start of a future art journal page.

Tools And Supplies To Use Ink Spays With Stencils

The first thing you will want to consider is protecting your workspace. The ideal situation would be to use your ink sprays outdoors where the spray could cause little damage on a non-windy day. But even then, I would use a spray box. You can make your own custom spray box with a shipping carton is less than 30 minutes.

Other tools and supplies that you will need include:


You can use any stencils that you would like. If you are using a stencil that has sharp lines, you may want to use a temporary spray adhesive like Pixie Spray. 

Cardstock and/or vellum

You can opt to use white, colored or even metallic cardstock to create your stenciled images. Remember, this is a wet technique, so you will want to use at least 80-90lb cardstock. Try using some watercolor paper or textured paper for a different look.

Vellum will not absorb the spray so it will take longer for the vellum to dry. But you can get some amazing effects with it! When spraying vellum, make sure to place a piece of cardstock behind the vellum. Attach the papers together with some mint or washi tape. that way you will not get curling of the vellum.

Using the heat tool. especially with the vellum, will decrease the amount of time your papers need to dry.


Most ink sprays will stain your hands and everything else they come in contact with. If you want to keep your manicure fresh, it is well worth it to wear gloves.

Heat Tool

It is super important to use your heat tool for these techniques as your manufacturer recommends. 
  • If you get too close or your tool is too hot, you take a chance of getting a scorch mark on you paper. 
  • If you have two settings, try the lower setting first.
  • Remember to always let your heat gun warm up before you apply it to the paper.
  • Make sure that you set your heat tool on safe surface, I keep a large tile to lay mine on.
  • Always allow your heat tool to cool off completely before putting it away,
  • Finally, remember to unplug your heat tool when not in use.

Paper Towels

This is a fun, but messy technique. So, you want to keep some paper towels handy to blot ink and clean up any little messes you may make. You can also blot some of the ink off your project if you overspray.

Easy Steps To Use Spray Inks With Stencils

  1. Set up your spray station. Place some parchment paper, waxed paper or scrap cardboard st the bottom of the box. 
  2. Place the cardstock in the bottom of the spray station.
  3. Place the stencil over the cardstock.
  4. Spritz the spray over the stencil. The more you spray, the darker and richer the color will be,
  5. Carefully remove the stencil and set it aside.
  6. Carefully remove the cardstock.
  7. Place a new piece of cardstock on the bottom of the station.
  8. Flip the stencil over to use what is remaining of the spray. Go over the image with a paper towel roll to press the ink onto the paper.
  9. Then add a little more spray to complete the second stenciled image.
  10. You can keep flipping the stencil till you have all of the images you need.
  11. Set the stenciled images aside to air dry or use the heat tool to dry your projects.


Along with the liner to your spray box, you can include some paper toweling to absorb some of the wet media.
Don your gloves before you get started. Some ink sprays are difficult to get off the skin. The gloves can be used several times before you dispose of them.
Be careful using too much spray with your stencils. The more spray you add, the more likely some of the spray will steep under the stencil.
The farther away you hold the spray, the more of a mist like effect you will get.
If you are using an oxide ink spray, make sure to shake the bottle well for the best results.
A brayer can be used to press the ink onto the paper. Just make sure to clean the brayer in between colors unless you like a messy look.
Layer some acrylic paint on your project before doing the ink spray and stencil technique.

Oxide Ink Resist Technique

You can use one or more oxide inks to create a resist technique. This is a great tag or art journal technique that will turn out perfect every time.


  • Oxide ink sprays in your favorite colors
  • Stencil of your choice
  • Paper towels
  • Clean spray bottle with water
  • Heat gun
  • Craft mat, silicone mat or parchment paper
  1. Lay the craft mat or parchment paper on your work surface. And then lay the paper that you are using on top.
  2. Spray the oxide ink of your choice on the paper.
  3. Use the heat gun to completely dry the ink. The ink must be dry for this technique to work. You could allow it to air dry too.
  4. Once the paper is completely dry, place the stencil over the paper. Make sure it is tight in the paper. Use any type of low tack secure the stencil to the paper.
  5. Spray the paper with the water spray.
  6. Let the water react with the ink for a minute or two.
  7. Blot the project with a paper towel.
  8. Let the paper dry.
  • Reactivate any ink that is one your mat with the water spray, smoosh some paper or a tag over the leftover ink to use it up.
  • Glass mats work well for this wet type of technique.

Wet Wipe Oxide Spray Technique


  • Oxide inks
  • Paper
  • Wet wipe or baby wipes
  • Stencils
  • Low Tack tape ot washi tape. 
  1. Apply one or to oxide inks to your paper.
  2. Use a heat gun to dry the paper or let it air dry. The paper must be dry for this technique to work right.
  3. Once the paper is dry, lay the stencil on top of the paper.
  4. Secure the stencil to the paper with the low tack tape.
  5. Wipe the paper with the wet or baby wipe to remove the excess ink.

Adding Gesso To Your Stencil Before Spraying

Another option is to add gesso to your stencil before you spray it. The gesso adds texture and dimension to the paper. If you are not familiar with gesso, it comes in thin, medium and heavy textures. For this technique, I would use either the medium or heavy texture. Experiment and see which texture you prefer.


  • Cardstock-90-110lb in white or solid colors
  • Gesso-medium to heavy texture
  • Stencils
  • Spatula
  • washi tape
  • Paper trimmer 
  • Heat tool
  • Silicone mat or parchment paper
  1. Cover your work surface with the silicone or parchment paper.
  2. Cut your paper to the size that you need with the paper trimmer. 
  3. Lay your paper on your work surface.
  4. Lay the stencil over the paper. Use a piece of washi tape or any other low tack tape to create a hinge on the top of your paper. 
  5. Apply a thin coat of gesso over the stencil.
  6. Carefully remove the stencil from the paper
  7. Let it air dry or use a heat tool to dry the paper. If you use a heat tool, be very careful not to get too close to the gesso. If you have a low setting on your heat tool, use that. You want to avoid bubbling the gesso.
  8. Wash the gesso off the stencil and the spatula right away so that it does not dry. Use warm water.
  9. Once the paper is dry, spray a fine mist over the project. Add more spray if desired.
  10. Dry the paper with the heat tool.

The Difference Between Using Gesso With Ink Sprays Or Not

What Can You Do With The Finished Stenciled Images?


1.Die Cuts

One thing that you can do is to create panels and ovals to layer onto greeting cards. Start with a card base that is made from 110lb cardstock in the size desired. Die cut the panel, oval or circle. Mount it to your card base either with double sided tape or foam tape. Add a sentiment and any embellishments. You will have a truly custom greeting card. 

2. Tags

Spray inks are the perfect media to use on tags. Tags are used in lots of mixed media projects. Lots of paper crafters create tags ahead of time to add to their journals, planners, art journals, Bible journals and a lot more. Any technique that you can do on card stock, of course you can use on tags. 

Use the ink sprays for the base of your tag. Then add embellishments and words to create a custom design.  You can do themed tags fir different seasons, themes and occasions. Because you can create gift tags for birthdays, holidays and special occasions with these techniques. 

Start with a tag base. You can cut a tag on you electronic cutting machine. You can also use a die to cut tags in different sizes. You can also hand cut them using a ruler and a cutting craft knife. Make sure to add a hole in the top of your tag. That way you can add ribbon, twine embroidery floss or anything else you would like to add to your tag. Tags are the perfect way to use up those bits of ribbon.

Just like other paper crafts, you will want to cover your work area with either a craft mat, silicon mat or some parchment paper. Remember that ink sprays will go anywhere and everywhere. Do spray in a cardboard box or outdoors. 

Making tags with ink sprays is a lot of fun.

Journal Backgrounds

Journal Background Tips

  • If your page gets too dark, you can always add some Dylusions White Linen Ink Spray to lighten it up.
  • Always allow one layer to dry before you add another layer.
  • Use stencils to add more dimension to your pages.

We hope this information, ideas and tips have helped you think about giving these techniques a try. As always, we welcome your comments, ideas and thoughts. Please leave a comment below. 

Happy Crafting!



Supplies To Make Stencils With Ink Sprays

Monday, October 9, 2023

Advanced Ink Layering Technique

Today we are sharing with you some advanced ideas and techniques in ink layering. We are also sharing some additional ideas to help you take your greeting cards to the next level.

We are featuring a new tutorial as part of my Level Three accreditation in the AECP (Altenew Educator Certification Program). This is a program that I have been working through for some time. My goal has been to be able to learn and share with you the best ideas and techniques to help you be the best paper crafter you can be. 

There are actually 5 levels of layering classes in this program. The project that I am focusing on is a more intricate stamp set called. Climbing Clematis. 

There are actually 6 layers to the main flowers and several layers to each of the coordinating flowers. The coordinating flowers add a natural touch to the design. 

Here are some of the techniques that I am focusing on for this tutorial:

  • All About Layering 1-5
  • All About Layering Dies Edition

Layering Guides

Layering guides are an essential tool when creating multiple layers of any stamp set that you are fanning to use. It makes the process so much easier. 

I have chosen the stamp set from Altenew called Climbing Clematis. This stamp set was a bit more challenging because there are many more layers and a lot more details than many others. But even through this set is a bigger challenge, there is layering guide that takes you through each of the elements. 

If you look closely at the images on the layering guide, you will see that there are marked areas to help you line up each layer. I found this very helpful, especially when working with multiple layers. 

This stamp set has three larger flower options as well as two smaller flowers too. Because this is a large and intricate set, each of the layers of each element has a number on the acrylic sheet. The layering guide elements are identified the same way. This is really helpful since the numbers direct you in which order the stamps are applied. 

Especially for this project, I used my Misti stamping tool. It is easier to find the points that help you create the layers every time. There are many other good stamping platforms and tools, so use what you feel comfortable with. I also used the sticky mat to assure that my images would stay put every time. 

Getting The Layering And Stamping Right

Before I actually started the project, I practiced with the stamps to get the placement right. Each of the layered stamp sets has a base stamp, layered stamps as well as an outline stamp. 
First, I practiced with each individual stamp. Aa I work with each stamp; I am looking for specific points in the stamp where I can look for points in the flower where I can line up each layer. Once I am comfortable with the stamps, I follow the layering guide to place each of the layers. 

You can use a light pencil if you would like to note your matching point. That way your eye will line up each layer. A mechanical pencil is perfect to create your reference points. 

When starting with layered flowers, you want to start with the lightest color and build up to the darkest. For this project, I wanted some softer looking flowers with no harsh outlines. So, I started with the base first.

like my ink pads up with the lightest color on the top and the darkest on the bottom. As I use the color, I flip it over and move to the next color. That way I tend to make less mistakes.

Another option is to start with the outline stamp and then work your way up through the layering. I prefer this method when I stamp set with a lot of inner details and petals.

When starting with layered flowers, you want to start with the lightest color and build up to the darkest. I line up my ink pads up with the lightest color on the top and the darkest on the bottom. As I use the color, I flip it over and move to the next color. That way I tend to make less mistakes.

More Layering Tips

  • Double-sided adhesive on the cardstock makes little stickers when you die-cut the pieces, meaning you don’t need to add adhesive to smaller pieces. You can use adhesive sheets to stamp and then die cut pieces that you are planning to use as flat pieces.
  • I like to keep my stamp, layering guide and dies all together in one storage envelope. You can choose to keep them together either in your stamp storage system or with your other die sets. It's up to you! 
  • As I work through the layers. I like to give a minute to each layer to allow some drying before applying the next color.
  • On a single piece of white cardstock, stamp multiple images of each of the elements that you are planning to use. That way you can use all the corresponding dies in a single pass through your die cut machine. This saves a lot of time, especially if you are doing lots of elements.

All About Color Families

Altenew Color Families

I have chosen three color families for my project- blue, pink and yellow. It is important to use ink pads with color families that give you the right variations for your layers. And another tip is to make sure that your ink pads are juicy. You want to have a bright crisp image in your layers to get the best detail. The Altenew stamp pads that I used gave me the best options for the color families that I needed. 

If the brand of ink that you are using, has a color chart, look to see which colors would look good on your layers. While I like using color charts, I also know that they are just a guide. The color may not always be true to the finished product. 

One thing I always recommend is to create color
swatches with all of your ink pads. That way you have a true representation of what the color actually will look like when dry. It also acts like an inventory to help you select color.

If you have never used layered stamps before, I encourage you to give it a try. Start with a simple two to three layered stamps set and work your way up. 

While I prefer to use a stamping platform like a MISTI when I am working with layered stamps, you can in fact use acrylic blocks. Use a clear acrylic block close to the size of your stamp for the best results, rather than a block much too large. You may need several different blocks as the different layers may be in different sizes. 

Other Tools And Supplies

  • Climbing Clematis Stamp set 
  • Climbing Clematis die set.
  • Altenew Tiny Sentiment: Wishing
  • Die cutting machine
  • Misti Stamping Platform or another stamping platform
  • Pokey tool is used to poke and the stamped images from the dies.
  • Nesting square die set or any other nesting set that you would like to use.
  • White Cardstock-at least 90-110 lb. cardstock for the base of your cards
  • Blue Cardstock
  • Blue Printed Paper
  • Blue Crystal Gradient Glitter Cardstock
  • Emerald Gold Washi Tape
  • Leaf washi tape
  • Foam tape
  • Double sided tape
  • Foam squares
For my three cards, I used one of the larger sets, two of the smaller flowers and several of the leaves. There are lots of options in this set. Besides the larger flower, there are two medium flowers and two smaller ones. There are also three leaf options. You could create all kinds of combinations from just this one set.

Pink Washi Tape Card

Washi tape is a design essential when you want a simple yet elegant card design. Instead of using printed paper, you can create an endless number of designs from one roll of tape, I used a leaf design washi tape fora striped design on this card, Then I added a tape between the washi tape stripes called Emerald Gold washi from Altenew. It added just the little bit of elegance that the card needed.

I used a simple 5" by 7" card base. I chose the next layer for the card panel in the blue from the background of the washi tape. It is about 1/4 of an inch smaller than the card base.

The design panel is one slightly smaller than the base panel. The keep the design balanced, I use 1/4 inch less on each additional layer of the card. You want to lay the washi tape diagonally across the panel. Cut your pieces long enough to go over the back of the panel. Smooth them out with your finger or a bone folder to make sure that they are adhered to the panel. Now add the thinner washi tape between the stripes.

Mount the flowers to your card. The larger flowers in this design are adhered to the panel with foam give more dimension to the card. Raising them up gives a more natural look. 

And the sentiment is raised as well with foam squares just to give a little more dimension to the overall design.


The Pink Color Family

Layer One-Frosty Pink Crisp Dye Ink
Layer Two-Pink Pearl Crisp Dye Ink
Layer Three-Coral Bliss Cricp Dye Ink
Layer Four-Ruby Red Crisp Dye Ink
Layer Five Mango Smoothie Crisp Dye Ink
Layer Six- Mahogany Bark Crisp Dye Ink

I love the pink colors in this color family. They are soft and feminine. They would be perfect for a gender reveal party, a birthday party, a baby shower or a wedding shower where pinks are the predominant color.

If you wanted richer tones, you could opt to start with a darker color. And move your way up from there.

Blue Lace Card

This card uses several different techniques in one design,
Not only am I layering inks in the flowers, but I am also using die cut to add extra layers to the designs.

The design starts out with a white card base. Because of the multiple layers of die cuts and flowers, I used 110lb cardstock. It is important to use a strong card base to hold the other layers. Between the layers, I added the same blue paper as I used closest to the base to give some balance to the card. The color blue cardstock that I chose was in the tone of the some of the ink in the flowers. That gives more balance to the card. 

Since the design is mostly blue, I wanted to add a little contrast between the layers. I started with the black as a frame to the base. It acts to bring out color in the design. 

Then to add some additional contrast I used some Glitter Gradient cardstock in the Blue Crystals. If you are not familiar with this cardstock, you might want to give it a look. It cuts with dies beautifully and works with choosing folders. It is one of my favorite glitter papers to use. 

I used a set of nesting dies to help create the layers in the design. It gave a lacy look to the design. Nesting die sets are a good investment. They can be used on their own and in layered designs as I am showing here.

The sentiment is layered in the same way as the card using the smaller elements in the same nesting die set. I used the glitter cardstock and the black to set it apart from the rest of the design. I also used some foam squares to raise the sentiment above the card.

O love the blue flowers in this design, I wanted to create a bouquet effect for the card. The easiest way to create the bouquet effect is with foam dots or squares. These are double sided foam pieces. One of most important things to so when using these on elements is to cover the element with the foam as much as possible. You will also want to raise the larger pieces and fill in the bouquet with the smaller elements. This gives you a lot of balance to your design.

The Blue Color Family

    Layer One- Dew Drops Crisp Dye Ink
    Layer Two-Ocean Waves Crisp Dye Ink
    Layer Three-   Turquoise Crisp Dye Ink                              Layer Four- Teal Cove Crisp Dye Ink
    Laer Five-Mango Smoothie Crisp Die Ink
    Layer Six--Galactic Stream

I love the tones of blue in this color family. The colors remind me of baby boys and summer flowers.

The blue color family has a lot of options. It is actually the largest group in the Altenew color family. That gives you plenty of options with any layered stamp set that you may design with.

Yellow And Blue Wedgewood Card

This card features not only layered flowers, but also additional layers in the card design. The lace blue layer was created with a nested die set that was only partially die cut. The partial cut gives the illusion of lace. The glitter paper was thick enough so that you get the pattern without actually cutting through.

The inner and outer nesting die was placed and secured with low tack tape. Then run through the die cutting machine twice. 

The inside circle was die cut with a third of the nested die cut set.

Yellow Color Family

         Layer One-Butternut Crisp Dye Ink
         Layer Two- Mango Smoothie Crisp Die Ink
         Layer Three-Maple Yellow Crisp Dye Ink
         Layer Four-Honey Drizzle Crisp Dye Ink
         Layer Five-Snapdragon Crisp Dye Ink
         Layer Six Mahogany Bark Crisp Dye Ink

  The prominent colors on this card are the yellow tones. But I added some blue in the smaller flowers to add more interest.
You could also opt to go from the darker yellows into the oranges.

The Leaves For These Designs

There are several different leaves for this collection. All of the leaves have lovely veins as part og their design, The inks that were used for my leaves were:

  • Frayed Leaf Crisp Die Inks
  • Green Field Crisp Die Ink
  • Moss Crisp Die Inks

Layering Tips And Ideas

Here are a few ideas to help you when you are working with and designing layered stamps. 

When you are using large and small layered elements in your design, place the larger elements first and then fill in the design with the smaller elements. That way you will have more balance.
Once you are happy with the arrangement of your design, use some low tack tape on the elements to keep them in place while you add adhesive.
Raise a few of the larger elements(flowers) with foam dots and squares. It gives a lot of dimensions to your design. 
You can vary a flower bouquet by using different colors within the same color family.
You will get a better look to your flowers if you use a coordinating die, when available. You can fussy cut the element but leave a small thin border around the edge of each image.
Add odd numbers of flowers and leaves to give a more natural look.
Add leaves in a triangle around flowers to create a natural "bouquet."
Add flowers and leaves over the edge of the card. Then trim the edges. This gives a nicely designed appearance. 
Use markers to color the edge around die cuts when adding to a dark card base; it makes the flowers pop.

Other Choices For Multiple Layering Techniques

The stamp set Climbing Clematis  is available in a link below. But if you are looking to take the challenge of creating multiple layered flowers, here are some suggestions for stamp and die sets that can be used. Like the stamp set that I used for this project, these sets include the dies that you need to get started.

Build-A-Flower: Laelia Layering Stamp & Die Set-6 layers in the main flower.

More Ways To Use This Collection

Beyond cards, there are dozens of ways to use this collection as well as other layered flower stamps. They can be used on journal pages, clusters, tags, and even scrapbook pages. 

  I used little nosegays in the pink color family to create this scrapbook page. The larger flower was raised with foam squares. Then the other elements were tucked into the arrangements and adhered with PVA glue. 
  I also used green toned doilies. to frame the baby picture
  I layered the picture in pink cardstock to complete the design.

  When you are designing scrap book pages, the best color choices are usually found in the picture itself. Choose the primary color of the picture and you can never go wrong.

In addition to the "nosegays" you could also use these flowers along one side of the page as well. 

Scrapbook pages are so much fin to create when you use layered flowers and elements.

 All of the leaves on both scrapbook layouts were cut from my Cricut electronic cutting machine, I used the larger leaves to bring out the color of the flowers. The larger leaves make sense since the scrapbook page is much larger than a greeting card size.

I hope that you think about using your layered dies for more than just cards. 

Are you interested in taking the layering challenge? Would you like to take your greeting cards a step further and grow in your stamping skills? Here is a free group of classes that you can consider taking to learn new techniques and skills to learn how to layer stamps. 

My journey has been amazing to this point. I have grown as a crafter in so many ways. I recommend the Altenew Educator Certification Program to everyone. You will be challenged to grow and become more than you ever thought possible. Thank you for traveling on this journey with me.

Till next time,
Happy Crafting!


Supplies To Create Ink Layering Techniques