Well, it has been some time since I set up the blog but I have been really busy in the background, getting ready for my first 'proper' post.
Every level of the Altenew Educator Certification Programme requires completion of a series of classes, each designed to consolidate and grow your creative card-making skills. As a Level 1 Participant, there are 10 classes to complete, in any order, and I decided my first one would be Easy Die Cutting Techniques.
Just as a note, you do not have to participate in the AECP in order to take these classes - they can be purchased individually here at the Altenew online store. I had already signed up to several classes before being accepted on the AECP, and I can thoroughly recommend them to anyone wishing to improve and grow their card-making repertoire.
So, back to my first class. Over the course of six lessons, this class covers the basics of die cutting right through to more creative use of your existing dies to help you stretch your stash. Lesson 4 caught my eye particularly, as it was a technique I hadn't explored very much. I ended up with three cards, each building on the previous idea.
Starting with the Dotted Starburst Debossing Cover Die, I used Altenew Silver Lake ink and dragged it very lightly over the raised dots of the die. I use a Spellbinders Platinum 6 die cutting machine for all my die cutting and embossing and found it easiest to create my embossing sandwich 'upside down' for this technique, i.e. I placed my die on the platform, inked side up, gently laid my paper over the top and then placed my embossing mat didn't have to worry about where the die was going to emboss on the paper. I ran the whole thing through the machine and ended up with a nicely embossed image with a hint of colour to define the dots.
I used this as a light background to my first Christmas card of the year, using Altenew's newly released Holiday Flower stamp set. I stamped the image twice and coloured it with Copic markers. I fussy cut the images, right on the stamped line, and then decided that I wanted to remove one of the flowers from one of the images, so I cut into the image on one of the lines. I used a black Copic marker to go around the cut edges of both images, just to redefine the stamped line. I used a Sakura Gelly Roll pen in Metallic Gold to add the centres of the flowers and highlight lines on the leaves.
I decided to use a piece of vellum for the sentiment, which I stamped in Versamark ink and heat embossed in gold embossing powder. The sentiment was also from the Holiday Flower stamp set and I love the style and font of the sentiments included with this set.
I wrapped the vellum around to the back of the die embossed piece so that there was no visible adhesive on the front, then matted the die embossed piece onto a piece of gold card and assembled the rest of the card. I added a few bright gold sequins for an added bit of bling. A handmade gold envelope finished the project off.
The inking of the die before embossing really gave some added 'punch' to the pattern, so based on the success of this piece I set about using the technique again with a darker ink - Moss. The darker ink transferred more to the embossed piece outside of the dotted pattern, so I decided to cut a circle from the centre where it had embossed the best and cleanest image and to use this as a basis for another, smaller, card.
I used the Build-A-Flower Stargazer stamp and die set, together with the small flower from the Simple Beauty set. The flowers were inked with a combination of Sunkissed, Orange Cream, Autumn Blaze, Firebrick and Dark Chocolate inks, from the Goldfish Tails Mini Cube Set and the leaves were inked originally with Morning Frost, Evening Gray and Cloudy Night inks. However, the greys were too insipid against the green background (which is a sheet of Hot Off the Press paper, bought many years ago and taken out of retirement for this card) so I added a layer of Frayed Leaf ink over the top of each leaf, which just lifted the colour a little.
To give a little dimension to the centre circle, I added a circle of fun foam underneath it before attaching to the card base. This is my favourite way of adding dimension to larger pieces as I feel it provides better stability than foam squares or tape.
The sentiment is from Sentiment Strips 2 and I heat embossed this with white embossing powder over an extra piece of the background paper, so as not to introduce another colour into the card. A few green sequins and a handmade envelope finished this project.
Here's a close-up of the embossed centre:
My final card (and there won't always be so many for one technique, I promise!) was inspired by the previous two but I wanted to produce three layers of interest at once. To do this I used the Leaf Mix Die Set in three different ways.
Next, I took some of the leaf dies that I had already used and lightly inked these with Moss ink. I laid these on the embossed watercolour paper, careful not to move them, and then ran these through the machine, and back again, in an embossing sandwich. There was a very slight movement but nothing to spoil the piece. I cleaned the ink off the dies and put them to one side, ready for the third use.
Taking another piece of watercolour paper, I inked a panel with Distress Inks (Bundled Sage, Twisted Citron, Crackling Campfire and Evergreen Bough) and, once dry, used the same dies to cut out several leaves. I adhered these around the embossed panel and trimmed off any overhang, using the trimmed pieces to fill in around the edges. Here's a close-up showing all three textures.
I stamped a sentiment from Birch Press Lingo Thanks stamp set onto some brown card, and heat embossed this with gold embossing powder, before cutting it out with the co-ordinating die. I matted the panel onto the same brown card and assembled the card, adding a few gold and orange sequins for bling, and finished off with a handmade envelope.
Gosh! That was a long post! Thank you for your time - I hope you have enjoyed reading and like the results of my first class.
Until next time, happy crafting