Monday, 5 September 2016

Floating Butterflies Birthday Card Part 1

A friend has recently celebrated a significant birthday, so I thought I’d make her a posh card. I have been working in Inkscape quite a bit lately, designing some new cut files for Sheba, my Cougar cutting machine which is now up and running again, and I’ve been looking back at some of my old files that I used for previous projects, and decided that instead of designing a new project from scratch, I’d revamp an old one that I was particularly pleased with, with a few variations.

This is a rather special card with lots of butterflies, and when you open it, more butterflies appear to float in mid-air, being attached to a spiral cut from acetate, attached to the left and right sides of the inside of the card.

You can see my original one here.

Cutting the Shapes

Here is a picture of the gold mirror card being cut on Sheba.

01 Cutting the Gold Card

The mat removed from the machine, with the cut card still in place.

02 The Cut Gold Card Still on the Mat

The cut-out pieces. You can see that I have cut two gold frames and quite a lot of butterflies. The lacy butterflies are overlays to be stuck onto coloured card.

03 The Cut Gold Pieces

At the top left of the photo there are quite a few small gold butterflies. These were cut with a Stampin’ Up butterfly punch from the remaining piece of card after cutting the shapes on the machine, and from another offcut of gold card. I don’t like to waste any! If I don’t use all these butterflies on the card, it doesn’t matter because they will go into my stash.

Also in the picture you can see some “Happy Birthday” sentiments. These are actually shadow layers, and the text, cut from other card, will be overlaid, to reveal a narrow gold mat layer.

I also cut two very narrow rings which were measured to fit on the lids of some small papier mache boxes which I am altering at the moment, and the circles are the pieces cut from their centres. There is also a curved banner mat layer which I shan’t be using for this project – it will go in my stash – and finally the mat layers for the numbers to go on the front of the card.

Here are the pieces cut from white card. I have overlaid the gold lacy butterflies on top of their underlay pieces to show how they will work. You can see that there are two banner pieces, onto which the “Happy Birthday” sentiment will go, and the card base which is A4, with an aperture cut in it. This will be covered with acetate on the back, through which you will see the butterflies on the acetate spiral.

04 White Card Cut Out

I cut several “Happy Birthday” sentiments. I designed these some time ago, using the Edwardian Script font, and then editing it so that the words would cut as a single piece, and would not fall apart when cut. I cut these particular ones pretty small and Sheba, my Cougar cutting machine, did a good job.

05 Sentiment Cut-Outs

To colour the card base and the embellishments, I used my “Mask-and-Spray” technique – I’ve done a separate post about it here.

I prepared a mock-up of a possible layout for the card. The “60” was originally going to be stuck down onto an acetate window that will be stuck to the back of the card base, behind the aperture – since finishing the card I’ve rethought this.

16 Preparing a Mock-Up of the Card

One of the things I love about this technique is the use of the kitchen paper to mop up the excess ink – I had to do this several times, because with all the ink, and spritzing with water to move the colour around and mix it, it all got pretty wet. Following what I’ve seen others do online, I rolled the whole kitchen roll over the piece. The ink soaked through several layers.

You end up with quite a lot of absolutely gorgeous coloured sheets. Each one, of course, is two-ply, and you can separate these, and you get double the quantity! I use these inked pieces in different projects, and when I’m using kitchen roll for any cleaning up purposes, I gradually build up the colour on individual sheets, which I keep in a box within easy reach – I choose one which already has some ink in a similar hue so that I don’t end up with a load of papers looking like mud! Once they are sufficiently covered, they go into another box ready for use. I hate throwing stuff away, and after all, there’s a lot of expensive ink soaked up into these papers, so why throw them away?

Wouldn’t you agree that this is a glorious result? – a spin-off that means that with the mask and spray technique, you end up with three different materials for projects – coloured cut pieces, a decorative background, and some soft kitchen paper to be used in a variety of ways.

17 The Inked Kitchen Paper

Preparing the Pieces to Make the Card

Here is the collection of inked pieces together with the card base. The pieces include a couple of circles for use in the construction of the card pop-up, two overlapping banners for the sentiment, the sentiment itself, and the “60.”

18 Inked Pieces

Working on the sentiment, I made a mock-up of the text pieces with their gold shadow layers, and the two banner pieces, and thought that there wasn’t enough contrast, so I experimented with dabbing one of the text pieces with Seedless Preserves distress stain. This gave a good result.

19 Distress Stain on Sentiment

Here is a mock-up of the front of the card, showing the completed sentiment pieces on top of their gold shadow layers, and the gold frame to finish the aperture in the card base. I stuck the cut sentiment pieces down using Crafter’s Companion Stick and Stay repositionable permanent spray adhesive, and the layers of the banner with Scotch Quick Dry adhesive.

20 Card Front Mock-Up

In the next blog post, I will show how the card is assembled and finished.


  1. Wow, absolutely gorgeous butterflies cut from that gold card. They're so intricate! Loving the kitchen towel too. Looking forward to part two to see your card in its full glory. So sorry to hear about your finger - ouch! It must have been a bad cut if you ended up in A&E. I'm so squeamish about these things. Hope it heals quickly so you can forget that it ever happened!

  2. Wooow! This is stunning ♥

  3. I love everything. I really love the gold butterflies. I love your bracelets. :) It took me many years to figure out what kitchen roll was. I was always so fascinated by this kitchen roll. Watching Keeping Up Appearances I looked all over for Hyacinth's kitchen roll. If had to be fancy and Hyacinth would have it. :) It had to be so special. What kind of utensil was it? Then I found out it was paper towels. :) I love kitchen roll a lot more. It sounds so much fancier. I know your paper towels must be so much nicer than ours. I am convinced of it. :) It also took me a long time to figure out what cotton wool was too. I do confuse a lot of my UK friends when I say baby wash. :)

    1. Thank you so much Aiyana - you are always so enthusiastic about my work!! I laughed at not knowing what kitchen roll was... haha! I always say the USA and the UK are two nations separated by a common language! Glad you like my silver bracelets. I've been collecting them over many years and got a new one this summer.



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