Hi everyone, Elizabeth here and welcome to the latest Inspire Me Monday! Experimentation was the name of the game for this week’s post. Well that, and the fact that I bought a whole bunch of vellum on sale, and therefore decided to put my laser printer and foiling machine through their paces! I ended up making two Thanksgiving cards that contrast warm gilding with a frosty glow, perfect for that late November holiday.
Please keep in mind, while I’ll be talking about printing and foiling in my post, the design concepts of these cards can absolutely be repeated with your clear stamps and heat embossing: So hopefully there’s a bit of something for everyone today. Also check out a great introduction to lots of other techniques using vellum right HERE on this very blog.
For today's cards, I chose to work with the Bittersweet Wreath digital stamp. While I was initially attracted to the autumnal theme, I also realized that if I was going to layer vellum over my coloring (thus obscuring it), I wanted an image that didn’t require too much time-consuming and subtle shading that folks might not get to see!
I imported the wreath image into Pages (my Mac word processing software), and sized it to about 5.25”/13.4 cm high. I wanted to place the Happy Thanksgiving sentiment in the center of the wreath, so I needed the wreath to have a big enough opening to accommodate that (but not end up being too big to mail). Here's one go at sizing the various images from the stamp set.
I printed my wreaths on both 80# Neenah Solar White card stock and 29# vellum. PLEASE NOTE: You’ll need a laser printer to do foiling. I got the best printing results from using 29# vellum, vs. a heavier 48# vellum. The heavier vellum printed up with streaky toner lines obscuring the images. This is the opposite of what I expected, because when you heat emboss a stamped image on vellum, a heavier paper weight keeps the heat tool from warping the vellum as you melt the embossing powder. Lesson learned!
Tip: If you have a printer that feeds from the front - so the paper path makes a 180 degree turn to exit - you can usually get good results with up to 80# card stock by putting one sheet of card stock (by itself) into the regular paper tray. This seems to create a less severe curve to the paper than feeding via the manual slot or on top of a stack of paper in the tray. I manage to successfully print on all sorts of heavy paper with my ornery HP laser printer via this method.
While I heated up my foiling tool (the Minc mini), I quickly colored my bittersweet wreaths. There are lots of tiny berries and leaves in the design (that's what makes it look so delicate!), but I filled them in with dots of color, and the image came to life. I found that varying the shades I used for each component made the wreath look a little more true to life. Not all berries ripen the same way, and not all leaves mature and fade at the same time.
I used orange-reds for the berries, and shades of green for the leaves. But I wanted to incorporate one more color, in order to create a softly lit, but still earthy background. At first I wanted to try sponging some Antique Linen distress ink, but I couldn’t get the coverage I wanted. Instead, I returned to my copic markers and chose a pale yellow, pale peach and a pale yellow green and blended tiny dots in the background to approximate that same shade.
Coloring done, I started foiling the images printed on vellum. I like to use parchment paper as my carrier, and for flimsy papers, like the lightweight vellum, I’ll add a shim of card stock. I used Deco Foil’s Rose Gold foil, and heat level 2 on my Minc Mini.
You can see that I also foiled - but ended up not using - a sentiment that came from the same stamp set. Since I had the Minc out, I figured I’d foil some extra pieces. These sentiments can be saved for another day.
Now it’s time for layering. For the card with the orange frame, I used the whole foiled image.
I anchored the vellum on top of the copic-colored card stock with four tiny drops of multi medium matte. I had to use tiny clothespins in the corners until the glue dried, but then it held the vellum in place well. While the glue dried, I made tiny dots of Liquid Pearls on non-stick craft sheet. When these dried, I’d adhere them to the same corners of the vellum, to hide any trace of the glue. You could make the Liquid Pearl dots right on the vellum and save a couple of steps, but I wasn’t brave enough for that.
The vellum doesn’t sit perfectly flat on the card beneath, so the image of the wreath changes in intensity, depending on how you grip the card. You can also peek under the vellum to see the the intense color below.
If you want to show off more of your coloring efforts, you can choose to use a partial vellum overlay, and I did this with the green-framed card.
Most of the time, I’ve seen folks wrap the vellum around the card front, and adhere the ends to the back. This solves the problem of lines of adhesive showing through the translucent vellum. But, in the spirit of experimentation, I decided to run my foiled and cut vellum through my Xyron. This produced a thin layer of adhesive edge-to-edge on the bottom of my piece, which I could then stick onto the card - right over the printed and colored wreath. Let me tell you, lining up the designs was not for the faint of heart! The adhesive was so sticky, and I’m not sure I managed to get every part of the wreath perfectly aligned. I think next time, if I want a seamless and edgeless look, I will use this particular method with simpler designs or sentiments.
I completed the cards by attaching my card fronts to larger squares of colored card stock. The green card got a layer of fun foam between the card front and background. Then I attached my finished card fronts to scored and folded 80# Neenah card stock.
Bonus: When you’re foiling, you’ll usually end up with negative images left in your piece of foil. If these leftovers are in good shape, it’s possible to upcycle them into card fronts! For these coppery examples, I spritzed a little spray adhesive onto the silver side of my leftover foil, then quickly flipped and smoothed them onto some white card stock. I grabbed a couple of large open-shape dies, and die cut through the layers!
Four cards for the price of two - not too shabby!
Power Poppy digital stamps: Bittersweet Wreath
Copic Markers: R05, R08, YR09, YR18, Y15, Y17, G43, YG1, YG67, YG93, YG00, Y11, E50, 0
Foil: Rose Gold by Deco Foil
Vellum: 29# transparent vellum from Paper Source
Cardstock: 80# Solar white by Neenah (card fronts, card bases, 80# Spruce/80#Persimmon from Paper Source (card backgrounds)
Other supplies: Liquid Pearls in Copper Pearl, Xyron 9” creative station, Ranger Multi-Medium Matte.