Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Card Inspired by Helen Allen

My lovely blogging and Youtube buddy, Helen, is in full creative mode at the moment – you could say she’s In the Zone!! Her work is totally inspiring, and this week I decided to try my hand at a card inspired by one of her recent projects, Arty Card Tutorial. Hope you like it, Helen, and thanks yet again for sharing your wonderful creativity with us!

I’m afraid I had some problems with my camera during the making of this project, and some of the photos seem to have come out quite out of focus, for which I apologise – I did not notice at the time – the auto focus seemed to be working OK at the time, and it was only when I came to edit them that I noticed the problem.

Here is all the stuff I got out at the beginning of the project. I didn’t use all of it, and also added in a few things along the way that weren’t in the picture.

01 Materials and Equipment

Helen worked her two examples on plain card, but I decided I wanted a bit of a background to work on first, so I took some A5 white card and cut it down by an inch on one long and one short side, and shooshed it into some Milled Lavender and Dusty Concord Distress Inks spritzed with water on my non-stick craft sheet. The Milled Lavender proved too pale so I didn’t bother to use any more of it during the project. I added a small amount of Spiced Marmalade with an Inkylicious Ink Duster.

02 Smooshed Background

The offcuts from this piece of card I smooshed with Spiced Marmalade Distress Ink, and mopped up the rest with another piece of card which will eventually form a background for another project. The strips would be used later in this project.

03 Smooshed Strips and Extra Background

Now came the fun part – making ink splats! I love doing this. Distress Stains come in a bottle with a fabric applicator and if you strike this firmly down onto some card, it makes a fabulous Splat! Pow! Zap!! Good for working off one’s aggressions. In this case I used Picked Raspberry and Seedless Preserves Distress Stains, the lighter and darker splats respectively.

04 Distress Stain Splats

I then took some sequin waste and used this as a stencil, pouncing acrylic paint with a foam applicator – I made a mixture of Permanent Magenta and Ultramarine to produce a dark rich purple colour. However, I felt that this was a bit too strong, so I made a wash with Titanium White acrylic paint and toned it down a little.

05 Sequin Waste Stencilling with Acrylic Paints

Following Helen’s instructions, I took my bottle of Pure Sunshine Dylusions spray ink, and unscrewed the top. I pulled the tube out of the spray bottle and used this to “scratch” some ink onto the card, parallel to, and at right angles to the design. This is a great technique.

06 Scratching with Dylusions Ink Spray Tube

After this I took some of the purple mix acrylic paint and spattered some of it over the card, concentrating on the design part but also adding some spatters to the background.

07 Paint Spatters

I chose a script background stamp to add a bit of texture to the background.

08 Background Script Stamp

Using the rubber stamp without an acrylic block, I applied some of the acrylic paint to part of it and gently laid it down repeatedly over the design, not always applying more paint between each application, so that some of the impressions came out fainter.

09 Background Script Stamping with Acrylics

I then mixed up a small quantity of Vermilion and Cadmium Yellow acrylic paints and stamped this onto the design using a pen cap.

10 Stamping with Pen Lid and Acrylic Paint

Returning to my offcut strips, I added some Dusty Concord Distress Ink. Some of this would be used as the background for the sentiment.

11 Smooshed Strips for Sentiment

Stamping the sentiment. This is a “Happy Birthday” clear stamp that I have had since I started several years ago, and I have no idea what make it is, or where I got it.

12 Stamping the Sentiment

I matted the sentiment strip onto a strip of purple cardstock and rounded the corners using my corner-rounder punch.

13 Sentiment Matted and Layered

I rounded the corners of the main card piece, and then cut narrow strips of patterned card – odd scraps I have had for ages – you can see them in the first photo. I cut the ends obliquely and stuck them down with soft matt gel medium, and trimmed off the excess around the edges of the card.

14 Narrow Strips of Card Attached

Using an old credit card dipped into Titanium White acrylic paint, I added the white lines across the design. This is an exciting touch that Helen added to her cards, which really lifts the design.

15 White Acrylic Lines Applied with Credit Card

At this stage, I added some more scratched lines with the Dylusions ink, as the original ones had been somewhat obscured by subsequent layers. After this, I painted on some iridescent gel medium randomly, mostly on the background but a little on the design, which really makes the surface of this card shimmer. This is gorgeous stuff, and can either be painted on direct, as I have done here, or mixed with acrylic paint in any colour and then applied. It has a lovely silky finish.

16 Iridescent Gel Medium

The card base was formed from a sheet of heavy white A4 card which looked a bit stark against the card, so I inked the edges with Spiced Marmalade Distress Ink which toned it down nicely and made it co-ordinate with the design. I also inked the inside in the same way, adding some Dusty Concord in the centre part.

17 Inked Card Base and Matting and Layering

I matted and layered the card topper onto some gold mirror card and the same purple cardstock that I used for the sentiment.

I took some rayon seam binding and smooshed it around in some Dusty Concord Distress Ink spritzed with water on my non-stick craft sheet. I kept screwing it up and then applied some ink direct from the pad, to give a nice uneven colour, continuing to spritz and screw it up until I was pleased with the result.

18 Inking the Ribbon

I added a small amount of the Spiced Marmalade Distress Ink, using an Inkylicious Ink Duster.

I tied a shabby chic style bow using three lengths of this ribbon and fixed it in place with hot glue, before highlighting it with some gold gilding wax applied with my finger.

19 Gilding the Ribbon

The sentiment attached to the card topper.

20 Sentiment Attached

A set of decorative brads that I’ve had in my stash for several years – I chose one with a purple and yellow colour scheme.

21 Decorative Brads

I cut off the fasteners from the back of the brad and attached it to the centre of the bow using hot glue, and then used more hot glue to attach the bow to the card.

22 Ribbon Attached

The final step was to attach the card topper to the base card, which I did using quite a large quantity of double sided tape glue from my ATG – the card topper was a bit wrinkly from all that had been done to it, and it is now nice and flat. I rounded the corners of the card base, and here it is.

23 Finished Card

Thank you, Helen, for an inspiring design! I think there is a lot of potential in this technique – as Helen says, it is reminiscent of art journal pages with the building up of the layers.

P.S. Can you spot the deliberate mistake? A real “duh” moment!!


  1. The end result came out so wonderful. I have to admit I was a doubting Thomas along the way there, especially with the white lines, but wow! They really brought the life to the design.

  2. This card worked out really well didn't it!

  3. Morning Shoshi! Love it! I knew you would do a fab job of making it your own. Love the addition of the ribbon and the touches of gold. You have made it look more opulent I think. Thank you for letting me know you had tried it out and for your kind words. I am so happy you had fun.

    I bet your desk is a celebration of glorious randomness now ;-) I look forward to seeing you incorporate your delicate Zentangles into a mixed media project like this one.

    I have tried to spot the 'duh' moment but…nope….can't see it!

    Thanks for sharing Shoshi - I am going to try another canvas today….probably with a spot of gardening as it is sunny here.


    Helen X


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