Background Stencils For Quick Card Borders

Mix-ables Stencils

Using Stencils to Get Out of a Card Layering Rut

I must admit that I can be a bit lazy when putting cards together. Often, I’ll stamp and embellish a central panel and then layer it onto a colorful base card using additional layers of paper (either solid or patterned) in between as a mat to tie things together neatly. It’s an approach that is easy and often works well, but you can get in a rut doing things the same way all the time. Using multiple layers of paper can also make your card heavy – something to consider when you want to keep the weight (and postage cost) down.

Recently, the folks at My Favorite Things asked me to try some stencils from their “MIX-ables Stencils” line. I picked five that at first glance look like backgrounds . . . but that’s not what I had in mind for them. Instead, I used them to create borders. This easy border technique isn’t too time consuming and keeps card weight down. Stenciled borders also let you create a border that matches inks in other parts of the card. My Favorite Things’ stencils are 6” x 6”, a good basic size for a card background, but also perfectly sized to create stenciled borders. (You could also use their repeating patterns to create backgrounds and borders of larger sizes.)

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Messing With The Stamp Proportions

Too Many Books Card

(Books: Serendipity Stamps, Woman: Remarkable, Text: computer generated)

Due to my scene stamper background, I usually aim for realistic proportions when I choose images for a stamped card. If I want to use stamps of a person and a coffee cup, the stamped cup will be the right size to be realistically held in the hand of the stamped person. If the cup image I have is too large to look right in her hand, I’ll either reduce the cup image size or I’ll use perspective tricks to use the cup in a different way in the card or I’ll simply look for a different cup image. But sometimes it is fun to mix things up, play with image proportions and deliberately use images that don’t, at first glance, seem like they would work together.

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Cutaway Stamped Card

Cutaway-Thank-You-Card

(Thank You: Posh Impressions)

In last Friday’s post about turning a line stamp into a silhouette stamp, I mentioned that the method I used created a flipped image (because the final silhouette uses the back of the stamped image rather than the front.) This of course means that words would wind up reversed.

This morning I got to thinking about working with word stamps and thought I’d try cutting away the stamped text to create a cut-out background instead. In this case, I’m not really turning a line stamp into a silhouette because my text stamp had simple thick solid lines, but I liked the way it turned out. As Robyn pointed out in the comments on my Friday post, if you have a digital cutter, you could use that to cut out a stamp to create this result much more quickly. But if, like me, you don’t have one of these electronic cutters, then a sharp craft knife and a cutting mat will do the trick.

 

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Turn a Line Stamp Into a Silhouette Stamp

(Tulip: PSX line stamp; Text: Verses Rubber Stamps)

Lately, I keep having these weird urges to use my stamps in ways other than they are designed. Hey, call me a rebel! This time around, I took a line stamp and turned it into a silhouette shape.

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1 Solid Stamp + 1 Line Stamp = 3rd Stamp Design!

Solid Plus Patterned Stamp

(Heart: Rubber Tree Stamps, Sun: Stamp Francisco, Bare Trees – Magneta)

Solid shapes are fairly common stamp designs. Their broad areas of rubber invite all kinds of interesting coloring opportunities. But one of the things that is so cool about solid stamps is that you can combine them with line stamps to create an almost endless number of new stamp impressions.

Solid Heart Stamps

(Hearts: Left: Rubber Tree Stamps; Middle & Right: ZimPrints, Lace Pattern: SonLight Impressions, Rose: Kristal Clear Impressions)

These three heart stamps are fairly typical solid stamps. They are all basically a broad smooth expanse of rubber cut into a heart shape. Two have a cutout detail, but mostly it is solid rubber. Ink one up with an inkpad, paint or watercolor markers and you get a solid heart image in one or more colors. But look what happens when you combine it with a line stamp!

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A Simple Heart Stamp Five Ways

Rubber Stamp Plantation heart stamp

(Heart: Rubber Tree Stamps)

I’ll bet somewhere in your stamping stash, you’ve got a heart stamp. These popular designs are happily found in stores (both online and off), especially this time of year. And if you don’t have one, they are also easy to create using an eraser and linoleum cutters (or even craft foam for that matter!) Want some ways to use them beyond simply stamping them once as a central image on a card?

In my January 31st post, I looked at seven ways to use a cedar branch rubber stamp design. Let’s do something similar using a heart. This particular heart is a solid design from Rubber Tree Stamps, but solid heart stamps from lots of different stamp companies can be used very similarly. And if you have a heart stamp that is patterned rather than solid, give it a try too!

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One Stamp Seven Ways . . . plus Stamp Surgery

Magenta Cedar Branch Stamp

Some stamps are pretty much designed to be used in one way . . . but do you have to confine yourself to its intended purpose? When you are choosing stamps, or even later when you get your new acquisition home, take the time to really explore its uses. You may be surprised at how many ways you can use it.

I purchased this Magenta stamp a few days ago. The stamp’s price sticker labels it as “Cedar Branch.” I blogged about using it to create the look of “frost” on a stamped window in my January 30th post. Obviously, the stamp was designed to represent a tree branch, but let’s look at seven different ways that we might use this deceptively simple image.

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