Friday, June 22, 2012

Metal Embossed Backgrounds

My friend Cathy Varner showed me this easy metal embossing technique and overnight I became totally addicted to it!  Just ask Cathy, I think I texted her a photo of each and every one I made! There is something about  the depth of  texture and shiny surface that just makes me need to make more, and more, and more.


To start, Cathy cuts up cereal box cardboard and then brushes glue on each piece and wraps it with aluminum foil.   Any glue will do, even Elmer's.  Glue the front of the board and glue the foil flaps that wrap around the back to anchor the foil in place so it won’t slip when embossed. Glue Foil Embossing The cardboard can be cut to any desired size.  For a card front I cut my cardboard to 5.25” by 4” to layer onto the front of a standard 5.5” by 4.25"" card.  Cut first, then glue the foil on. Once the glue is dry the foiled piece can be put into an embossing folder and run through whatever your squishing machine happens to be.  Mine is a Vagabond.

vagabond For my machine I use the Sizzix-Big Shot Pro Accessory  - Solo Platform, Shim and Wafer Thin Die Adapter.  I flip the #2 tab over and through the machine.  Only Tab #1, my two clear cutting mats and the embossing folder go through at one timebase plates folderHere they are all sandwiched and motoring through.

IMG_1919 Each squishing is like magic and I never tire of the process.   I think I have borrowed every embossing folder from friends within a 50 mile radius to do this technique!

IMG_1922 In fact when I ran out of cereal boxes, I discovered that there are many other kinds of the same weight of cardboard that could be gathered from all over the house and used!IMG_1900 

Once they’ve been embossed, these metallic pieces have so much potential.


They can be left shiny or distressed.  I love alcohol inks so that is my go-to for adding color to the pieces. 



This is the card that Cathy gave  to me for inspiration.  Alcohol inks in browns were used with Graphic 45 paper for the focal image.

Cathys Cuttlebug Card

This is my “bubble fish” card using bottle, lettuce and stream alcohol inks for coloring the background.  It has added layers of teal and brown papers.  The image is from a sheet of Graphic 45 paper.  I placed PWA Bubble Beads on the swirls but they really don’t show well in the picture.

Bubblefish Card2 

The raven card above was a collaborative effort with my friend Sarah Payne.  She chose green tones of alcohol ink mixed with butterscotch for the background of the raven.  (An unmounted stamp that might be from Invoke Arts)

The raven piece was layered onto black paper to make it pop out a little bit.  The edges were textured using 1/4” O’So Sticky Tape and Lettuce colored micro beads.  This was then layered onto the embossed background also colored with the green inks.

Whenever in doubt, layer, layer, layer!  This card has a total of six layers.  In my opinion layers always take a card up a notch.

raven2 I hope you’ll give this technique a try – if it brings you half the joy and contentment it has me it’s so worth it!

Hugs, Suzanne

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Easy Bead Masking

Blooming Friends

Bead masking is a fun “beadnique” using masks made of release paper.  I always save my tape liners so that I have some on hand for just this purpose. 


For the “Friendship Grows” card above I used floral shaped punches and the release paper from a sheet of O’So Sticky Tape.  When doing this there are two very simple and important things you need to know before you get started.

a.  Always use the PAPER piece of release paper with punches, not the red liner.  The red liner has rubber in it and does not punch well. 

b.  Another important note is that the release paper has a shiny side and a dull side.  The shiny side will release and the dull will not.  Always put the shiny side against the exposed O’So Sticky so that it will release and not become a permanent part of your design.


1.  Create a card  base in desired color. (Example is blue).

2.  Cut a background piece of cardstock 5.25” x 4” to layer on card base. (This one is green).

3.  Cut a sheet of O’So Sticky tape the same size  - 5.25” x 4”

4.  Adhere the  O’So Sticky Tape to the background cardstock following the simple “Tape Trick” instructions:

The secret to applying O’So Sticky Tape  perfectly every time is to peel back just one small corner of the tape sheet and crease it as shown.clip_image002[6]

Next, with the creased side  facing down towards your cardstock base align the O’So Sticky Tape sheet to fit squarely. The creased  flap will keep the O’So from actually touching your paper.


Once the tape is lined up with the base press firmly on the exposed corner to anchor the O’So Sticky in place (see photo at right). Next remove the rest of the liner from the back of the tape and gently smooth it into place as you go.



5.  Remove the top liner from the O’So and lay a piece of ribbon on the card about 2/3 of the way down.




6.  To save a spot for the verse to be added later, place a small piece of cardstock over the ribbon and tape as shown.



7.  Place paper liner flower masks  (shiny side down!) randomly over the remaining areas of the exposed O’so.  Let some flowers hang off the sides and over the ribbon.



Using tweezers to do this part will make it so easy.   A saved red liner works great to press the flower masks down flat onto the O’So.



8. Lay the card in a tidy tray and pour beads over all of the still exposed areas.  Choose a color that somewhat matches the background cardstock or go with clear.   (These are Lettuce Translucent micro beads). 

Press the beads into the O’So to secure and then tap off excess. 



9.   Gently remove mask liners at random and add colored beads as desired. Take care not to tear the masks, they can be used over and over.



I lift several liners off at once and lay the card in a tidy tray, then pour the beads onto the areas that are exposed, press the beads in with my fingers, tap off excess and return them to the bag.



Repeat until all flowers are done.



10.  I stamped my verse on white cardstock and layered that onto blue cardstock.  To make the frame pop I put it on foam tape before placing onto the card.



11.  Secure the ends of the ribbons behind the beaded piece and adhere to card base.


Below is an up close look at the masked bead flowers.  You can see that some stray colored beads are stuck in the background.  I didn’t mind them.  They can be flicked off with a pin if desired.

Blooming Friendscrop

I think it’s true that friendships and flowers have a lot in common.  With a social based company like Pennywise, I get to participate in lots of blooming friendships and I also get to witness friendship blooming in the lives of others when we all get together for events and retreats.  It’s so awesome.  Ü

Hugs, Suzanne

Monday, June 18, 2012

M is for Micro Beads!


My hairdresser Candy McIntyre has been creating these fun and unique one of a kind collaged letters to raise money for her Relay For Life team.  She glues bits of found objects, broken jewelry, shells and whatever else catches her eye to each letter.  On this one she used glue to add rose and silver micro beads as grout between the objects.



The pictures are unusually blurry because I captured them with my cell phone camera at my last hair appointment.  I think these letters are super fun and fabulous!!

Hugs, Suzanne