This section is a collection of techniques that I have used here and there in various posts; I've gathered them together in one place for convenience. Scroll down to see headers and explanations.

I will add to this section occasionally - be sure to check back from time to time.


Ready to Go Binder


Stencil on Dark Cardstock

Generational Stamping

Background Stamps

Partial Die Cut


Curved Sentiment

Using Embossing Powder with a Stencil

Mirror Stamping

Multi-media products and Stencils

Creating a Torn Edge

Foiling without heat

Perfect Spacing

Custom Sentiments

Enhanced Embossing

Embossing with Water

Layered Stencilling

Testing before You Stamp

The ready-to-go binder has been a game changer for me, for a couple of reasons.

First, it allowed me to organize all the bits I had stamped, die cut or coloured but not used. I would find myself thinking "now what did I do with that ?... " and would inevitably end up creating a new one as it took too long to find it! This binder allowed me gather them all up in one spot so I can simply go to the binder to get the one I'm thinking of.

Second, it allows me to work ahead and create a stash that I can pull from. If I'm in the mood to colour I can go to my pile of prestamped images, grab one (or a few) and get to work. Then I can stash them in the binder until I'm ready to use them. Or I can do the same thing with die cuts, especially sentiments.

This is SO convenient! I have to give credit to my friend Amy of Amy's Wares on Youtube, as this is her idea, She has fabulous tutorials there - check her out!

Inlay is a beautiful technique that gives wonderful results. With this technique, you are die-cutting an image - an outline - and then gluing the pieces back in that were cut out. The fun starts when you decide what those “inlaid” pieces will look like. They can be in a contrasting colour, a bold contrasting pattern - or perhaps your die cut is made from a patterned paper, and the inlay is plain. Anything that provides enough contrast between the frame (the die cut) and the inlay will work beautifully.

To begin with, create your die cut, remove the cutout pieces, and leave just the outline. Glue this in place on your card front.

Then, using the same die and the contrasting paper, cut it out again. Before removing the die from the platform, place a piece of Press and Seal over the top, sticky side down. Invert the platform so that the die and all the pieces are transferred to the Press and Seal. Press the die cut down gently, and then remove the outline portion, leaving behind the cutouts. Now you have all the cutouts trapped in place - there isn’t any guesswork about which pieces go where, and none have gone missing.

Put a tiny amount of glue into each opening in the frame.

Carefully invert the Press and Seal (with the pieces) over top of the frame, and press the pieces into the corresponding opening, wiggling them a bit to get an exact fit if necessary.

This method is courtesy of Jennifer McGuire - who is both talented and very generous with her tips and tricks.

It still takes a bit of time, but the end result is worth it in my opinion!

To use ink to stencil onto dark cardstock you need to begin by applying a good base layer of white pigment ink through the stencil. This sits on the surface of card stock - unlike dye ink which soaks in - and although it takes longer to dry it also creates a barrier to the original cardstock colour, making it possible to apply other colours on top with more visibility. Just be certain to allow the white base to dry thoroughly before moving on, and you'll be delighted with the results.

Using a bold colour apply ink to your stamp as you normally would- then experiment with stamping on a piece of paper repeatedly without re-inking. the second stamp is second generation, the third is third generation and so on. The ink quite naturally fades with each repeat, which can give a wonderful effect and allows more versatility from your ink. You can also do this with a more subtle colour, but it will fade more quickly over multiple stampings.

It can be difficult to get a good impression with a background stamp - there's a lot of area to cover. I get good results with this method - I'm quite certain I saw it on Youtube, but cannot remember who to give credit to.

I lay the stamp on my work surface and ink it up thoroughly, going over it more than once to be certain I've got good coverage.

I lay my card face directly on this, carefully lining up the edges so that it's straight. I hold it down with one hand to be certain that it doesn't move.

I place a piece of copy paper over the card face very carefully, not allowing any movement.

I run my fingers or palm over the copy paper, switching hands as necessary - one holding everything still and the other transferring ink.

When I'm satisfied I remove the copy paper and then the card face, careful not to smudge.

  • I use the copy paper to keep ink off of my hands - it will inevitably transfer to the card face! (The stamps are larger than the card face, so there is exposed ink.)

  • This method allows me to vary pressure or skip over parts of the image if I don't want solid inking.

  • I often use a slightly larger piece of cardstock than I need: if I don't get it quite straight, I can trim it down and fix that.

This technique is exactly what it sounds like - using a die, but only cutting out some of the image or shape rather than all of it. There are many reasons that you might want a partial die cut, but this note is to explain the "how" rather than the "why".

Put the paper and die into your die cutting machine. Position a cutting plate over this as you normally would, but keep the end closest to you from covering a portion of the die. Dies require pressure from the plate to cut , and by removing that pressure from part of the die you get a partial die cut. Control the end result with the decision around where to position the plate.

Masking is a term used when you protect a surface from coming in contact with unwanted ink or multimedia products. There are several products that you can buy specifically for this purpose but I most often simply use Mint Tape and cover the surface that I want to protect. Another option is to use Masking Paper: an image is stamped onto masking paper, and then cut out. This product has a very low tack adhesive on the back: you simply remove the release paper and use this cut out to cover the image you want to protect. The adhesive keeps the paper in place as long as needed. Depending on the quality of the masking paper, you may get several uses out of each mask. After a number of uses the mask becomes saturated with ink and is no longer effective.

A curved sentiment can be created with a regular, straight photopolymer stamp. A long straight photopolymer stamp has a lot of flex, which allows you to curve it into the shape you want (within reason). Start by putting your card face into your stamp positioner, and then lay the stamp on the card face where you want it . Pick it up with the door of your stamp positioner and manipulate it into the shape that is needed. ** when curving a stamp like this, allow it to return to the shape it's meant to be in as quickly as possible to avoid stretching the photopolymer permanently.

When we want to use embossing powder on a card face, Versamark is by far the most common ink to use: when I want to use this on a stencil I don't use a blending brush as the ink is actually too thick to transfer to the bristles: I actually press the pad firmly onto the stencil and twist it just a bit, pressing ink through onto the paper.

Sometimes we have the perfect stamp for our creation - but it's facing the wrong way. No worries, there's a fix for that.

Stamp the image onto acetate, and then use this to stamp onto your paper.

The acetate is non-porous so the ink sits on top and remains wet long enough to do the transfer. I would suggest practicing a couple of times before committing to your card face, to be certain that you get a crisp image.

  • it can be helpful to use Pixie Spray on the back of the stencil when using pastes, gels, glazes etc. (Pixie Spray is a low tack spray adhesive that is used on stencils when you want to be very certain that they don't shift) I typically wait about 30 seconds after spraying before I lay the stencil on the card face, and then I use a small breyer , rolling it over the entire surface to ensure good contact. Once this is done the images generally remain clean and crisp. ** stencils with very fine lines may require two coats of Pixie Spray.

  • When using a paste I scoop some out of the jar and put it onto the image towards the top. Then I use a flat edge to pull it down the stencil. This can be a Stencil Buddy, an expired gift card, a palette knife - anything that is firm enough to give a flat edge and allows you to pull it smoothly over the face of the stencil.

  • Once you have covered the desired area, you can scrape any excess back into the jar to use in the future, and then get the stencil and anything else that has paste on it into water asap. ** I don't have running water in my craft room, so when I'm working with this type of medium I have a dish of water beside me for everything to go into (the water prevents the paste from turning into cement and ruining your stencil). When I'm finished I take them to the sink for a good scrub.

To create a torn edge (and control the process) I put the paper into my score pal and add a score line where I want the tear to be. I bend this back and forth several times to break down the fibers in the paper, and then I tear it off carefully. If the design calls for it, I will further distress this by running my scissors down the tear.

I don't own a hot foil machine, so when I want to foil I use Duo Gel by Thermo-web. You have to be certain that you buy the right foil (not "heat transfer") but after that it's easy and the results are stunning. You simply apply the gel to the area that you want to foil, and leave it until it turns clear (it goes on white). It is very sticky when it dries - be careful putting foil anywhere near it until you're certain of the placement. Clean off any tools as soon as you are done working with them: if using a stencil remove it carefully and get it into water asap. (I don't have water in my craft room, so if I'm working with any kind of stencilling paste or gel I have a dish of water beside me to put tools/stencils in. Then when I'm done the session I take it to the sink and give it a scrub .)

I use this technique when I have a repeating pattern of lines and spaces and want the results to be consistant and accurate.

  • Decide on the width of the lines (strips of paper) and spaces: this will determine how many strips of paper you need.

  • Cut the appropriate number of "lines", as well as one piece to act as a spacer.

  • Glue the first strip of paper towards the top of the card face making certain that it is straight. (I use a T ruler for this purpose.)

  • Place the spacer (a strip of scrap cardstock cut at the appropriate width) immediately below the first piece, fitted snugly up against it. Do not glue this.

  • Taking another strip of paper, glue it in place snugly below the spacer.

  • Now remove the spacer from between the two strips of paper, and put it below the second strip, snugged up tight against it.

  • Repeat these steps until your strips of paper are all in place.

  • By using the spacer, and making sure that it is snugged up against the strip right above it, you are ensuring that the spacing is even all the way down the card front.

What do you do when you want a very specific sentiment, but don't have it? You can print it !

My process begins with going into Canva (a free online graphics program) to select font, colour size, etc. Once I have created a template that I feel will work, I download and print it. I like to print on copy paper first, to be certain that I like the size and general appearance when compared with the card face. Sometimes I have to go back into Canva and modify what I've done - I often find that my first attempt is too large to suit the card. Once the template meets the need, I print onto cardstock.

I find that the ink from the printer appears slightly faded when compared to the ink that we stamp with:. To correct this I heat emboss the entire image by pressing the versamark pad directly onto the printed cardstock and applying clear embossing powder. This intensifies the ink, so that it is closer to what we typically get when we stamp.

You can take a surface that has been texturized with an embossing folder one step further. You can highlight areas that have been embossed by very gently kissing the raised areas with a blending brush or even your ink pad. If you are using an ink pad a very light hand is required.

  • To apply embossing powder with water you have to work very quickly: have your heat gun hot and ready to go, and your embossing powder open and easy to access (without bumping it and spilling it all over!). It's also a good idea to have a dry paint brush close at hand.

  • Give the paper a very light spritz of water and then very quickly sprinkleon some embossing powder. It will stick in place where ever the surface is wet. Quickly assess the result ,and removed a bit here and there with the paint brush if it is too "clumpy". When you are satisfied use the heat gun to melt the powder.

***It may be necessary to do this more than once to get the look you want: because you're only using a light sprinkling of water it evaporates quickly and won't hold the powder. Working in stages takes a bit more time, but will give you a better result in the end.

This technique gives a very fine application of powder that is impossible to reproduce any other way.

Secure the first stencil and apply ink, then without removing that stencil, secure the second stencil over top and apply ink again. You end up with both patterns on the paper.

By layering stencils you create the illusion that the second stencil is actually behind the first stencil. This happens because the first stencil remains in place, keeping the paper clean underneath. Then the second stencil comes in and the pattern only goes into spaces that exist in the first one.

It is an advantage to

a) for your first stencil, choose one that has larger spaces and

b) to plan your inks so that you are working from softer tones to more intense.

You've just completed a card face and you're really happy with how it turned out: the last thing you want to do is mess it up by adding a crooked sentiment. Luckily there's an easy way to make sure you're going to be happy with it before you commit.

Put the card face into your stamp positioner, and position the stamp so that it will be exactly where you want the sentiment to appear.

Before stamping with ink, put a sheet of acetate over the card face where the sentiment will be. Stamping your sentiment on that surface allows you to check on placement and alignment ... if it's not quite what you want, adjust and try again. You simply wipe the acetate off in between the stampings.Once you're satisfied with the positioning of the stamp, remove the acetate and stamp directly to the paper.

This method has saved me a lot of grief, and prevented many a card face from being ruined.