Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Stamping Backgrounds

Stamping Scrapbook Backgrounds
Since I started out a stamper and then became a scrapper, stamping and scrapping always seemed to be joined for me. In fact, in the beginning, I seldom used pattern paper.

This is an example from my beginning work and typical of it. First, I stamped the background. Then I used the same stamp to stamp the accents or embellishments. I used the same set to create a paper "ribbon" border also. It's simple, but I still love the fresh green and white color scheme and the emphasis on the pictures.

This is a recent layout. It might be hard to see, but I stamped the large blue card stock with a darker blue image all over. I'm not much for a lot of "white space" but all over stamping seems to break up that blank area and give it a bit more visual texture.

In this layout, the background stamping is a bit more sophisticated. I stamped the background with leaves and watercolored them in... I used the same flower stamps to create the embellishments over the text block.

This is one of my favorite layouts. It is my scrapbooking manifesto layout. I used a lot of simple collage stamping and masking to create the backgrounds and title blocks.

This is a very recent layout. The background stamping is subtle. They blue-grey strip of card stock going down the middle of each side has stamping. I used the same stamp as I used in the giant ampersand and the accent circle. I love the way I used the same stamp in background and in accents. It really helps tie the whole thing together.

For my last layout in this blog, I have included one where I took a fairly sophisticated stamping technique and made a background paper. I love this layout of my Grandma's wedding. The gold tones in this background paper makes this layout very special. Generally when I do this, I just make one large sheet of background paper and then cut it up and use it like regular pattern paper. If you want to learn more about these more advanced stamping techniques, I would refer you to Technique Junkies Newsletter. It is a great resource for learning more stamping techniques.

I hope this has shown the range of ways you can use stamps to create backgrounds, from stamping all the background to stamping just a bit to help tie the layout together. What I love about stamped backgrounds is that they are often less busy than background paper. As I've grown more sophisticated in my work, I find that I am mixing pattern paper with stamping more and more. I like the balance and contrast that it offers me as a scrapbooker.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Creating Your Own Embellishments

Making your own Embellishments with Stamping

One thing I love about stamping is that it allows me to create my own embellishments that are inexpensive, match my layout perfectly, and are completely personal and creative. I tend to buy only plain embellishments: plain tags, plain brads, plain slide mounts, plain chip board. Then I modify them to fit my layout, usually with stamping techniques. Some embellishments are very simple, like this little tag. I just wanted a little accent, so I puddled embossing powder and stamped into it.

Here's a copy of the layout in full. As you can see, I did very little stamping overall. Just the tag here and the title. I almost always stamp the titles of my layouts because I have tons of alphabet fonts (they can be inexpensive if you know where to buy them ;) ).

The only other kinds of titles I usually make are chipboard. This stuff is addictive. It is just my kind of embellishment. Simple and cheap and easy to alter. On these title letters, I painted the chipboard with acrylic paint, then I stamped the snowflake in a vanilla craft ink. After that I added 2 layers of Ultra Thick Embossing powder, then glitter and a third layer of UTEE. How I did this was when the second layer had cooled, I inked heavily with versamark, then I sprinkled on the glitter and then added more UTEE. Then I heated the whole thing. The glitter became embedded in the UTEE.

As you can see, I also stamped the little tag at the top. I just stamped the words and inked the edges with distress ink. Simple.

Here's the layout in it's completion. Again, the stamping is a subtle but important addition for me. Could you get this look without stamping? Perhaps... but I love the feel of paper crafts and stamping and just getting my pinkies inky.

This next example may look hard, but in fact it was very easy. Layering stamped images has become all the rage in the stamping world and that's all I did here. On these slide mounts, I started by painting them with acrylic paint. Then I stamped the words with different "christmasy" phrases in red craft ink. Then, I took a stripe and stamped with a gold ink over the top. It's kind of hard to see in this example, but you can kind of see it in the "ho, ho, ho" slide mount.

Here's the layout as a whole. The slide mounts and the title are the only stamping you'll see here. I think you can see a theme here.... I'm trying to learn how to incorporate pattern paper into my scrapping right now and I'm doing less stamping of backgrounds. I used to have only cardstock and stamp it all, but lately I've been working more and more with pattern paper. I do still occasionally stamp backgrounds, but that is a topic for another blog.

In this example, I needed two focal points. The top photo shows altered brads. I stamped white brads with Staz-on, then I rubbed it around a bit before it dried to give it a distressed look. I sanded some and finally I sealed them with sealing spray (which frankly had a solvent base and thus further gave the staz-on a "distressed" look... next time I'll use UTEE to seal them).

The altered tag has several things to note. First, I painted a simple chipboard tag. Then I added a little strip of pattern paper at the bottom. I stamped all over with a flourish in chalk ink (I think). Then I added the brads at the bottom. For these brads, I used regular cheap school brads and painted them with acrylic paint and stamped with brown Staz-on. For these, I sealed with diamond glaze. Not the best choice as the water base of the diamond glaze tended to destabilise the acrylic paint. Next time UTEE. The dragon fly was part of the awesome pattern paper I was using. I cut it out of the paper and put it on the tag so that it could be a focal point. That dragonfly made me buy the paper and I needed it to be prominent in the end product!

Here's the layout in completion. I love this layout so much with the combination of pattern papers. I made this one out of scraps from other project! That made it even more special to me.

This will be my last example... and it is sophisticated in it's use of stamps. This is from a middle period of my scrapping (a couple of years ago), when I still hadn't really learned to use pattern paper. I pretty much stamped everything. As you can see, I stamped the twill here with craft ink. But more notably, I made this title with something that is called "faux weathered metal" technique. I took plain chipboard and painted it with a rusty brown color. Then, using versamark, I stamped the title with UTEE. I used a versamarker to crate the line border and again, used UTEE. The UTEE is important as if you use it without layering it, it is kind of nobby and inconsistent. Then I painted it with three layers of cream acrylic paint. Then I rubbed off the paint with a wet towel to expose the letters and make the edges seem distressed. These are so cool in real life. I just love them.

Here's the layout as a whole. If you look carefully, you will see that I stamped plain white paper with vanilla ink to create the background paper behind the focal photo also.

Honestly, I'm still learning. In my early layouts, I tended to stamp an image and color it in and that was my embellishment. I still love those layouts, but I find I'm becoming more sophisticated in my use of stamps... finding ways to mimic expensive embellishments yet making them my own and making them perfect for my layout. I hope you find this useful... whoever you may be.