Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Floating Butterflies Birthday Card Part 2

Warning – picture-rich post!

Continuing to work on this 3-D card for a friend’s birthday – if you want to see the first part, please go here.

I realised that I had not cut enough frames to complete the card, so I cut a couple more (a spare one to go in my stash) and I also cut some more butterflies while I was at it. I have plenty for the card, but these can go in my stash too, to be inked at a later date for future projects.

21 Cutting More Frames and Butterflies

The next step was fun. I wanted to cut a decorative piece to attach inside the card, visible through the aperture on the front.

Every time I am using inks, I mop up by spritzing the craft sheet with water and wiping it up with a piece of kitchen paper. I am careful to limit the colours I use on each sheet, and once they are completely covered with ink, they are stored away in a pizza box to be used in projects. I love going through this box and enjoying all the vibrant colours! An added bonus is that kitchen paper is 2-ply, so once it is dry, you can pull the two layers apart, and you get two identical sheets of inked paper.

I went through the box to find one I liked, that would go with this project, and was very pleased with this particular one, which is very richly coloured, with some nice splodges on it, and which would contrast with the background of my card.

22 Choosing the Inked Kitchen Paper

I opened up another pizza box, this time containing acetate scraps. I keep a lot of this, cutting up packaging if it has decent-sized flat pieces. There are different thicknesses in the box too, so there is usually something that will do for a project. Acetate has so many uses.

In this case, I needed two pieces – one to make the window in the aperture on the front of the card, and the other from which to cut the spiral which is the main feature of this card. For the window, it wasn’t important how thick the acetate was, so I chose a fairly thin piece, but for the spiral, it needed to be rigid enough not to collapse in use.

23 Choosing the Acetate

Last time I made this card, I remember having difficulty with the spiral. There isn’t a template for this, and on the original Youtube video it wasn’t really clear what would work best. This time I decided to keep the final test piece, as a template in case I want to do this project again.

This is my second attempt. I used my Martha Stewart circle cutter with a pencil to draw the circle – in this case with a 4 inch diameter.

24 Designing the Spiral Template

I marked the centre first with a cross, and lined this up in the centre of the circle cutter, and ran around with the pencil in the “4-inch” hole. The clear central part of this tool rotates on a ball-bearing. It has the added advantage of being exactly the same size as the base of my little fabric caddy that I keep my tools in, so as well as being a useful place to store it, it also acts as a revolving base. I was very pleased when I discovered this.

I cut the spiral in paper first, and once I was satisfied that it would work by attaching it temporarily to the inside of the card with a couple of spots of Prit glue, I used the template to cut the spiral in acetate.

25 Cutting the Acetate Spiral

With a pencil, I traced around the inside of the aperture onto the inside of the card, to mark the position of the inked kitchen paper.

26 Marking Inside Frame

I moved the inked kitchen paper around under the aperture until I was happy with the patterning on it for this project. I held it firmly and went around again with my pencil, creating a cutting line – this was quite hard to do because the colour was pretty intense and I had a job to make it show up sufficiently, and also, I had to be careful that the pencil did not tear the paper.

27 Positioning the Inked Kitchen Paper

Once it was marked, I cut it out, and applied it to the inside of the card, lining it up with the pencil lines I’d made, and attached it with soft matt gel medium, using a brush, and then smoothing it out with a palette knife, and then left it to dry.

28 Attaching the Inked Kitchen Paper

I took a CD pen to mark the acetate for the frame. These pens are excellent for marking on shiny paper. I drew a line just in from the edge of the aperture to show me where to cut the acetate to fit. The acetate shape had to be large enough to cover the aperture completely, but not so large that it would extend beyond the cut frame which would eventually be stuck down to cover the edge.

29 Marking the Acetate for the Frame

The acetate window in place.

30 Acetate Window in Place

Because I omitted to cut enough frames, I did not have one available for inking when I inked the background and butterflies, so I had to colour the new white frame, using distress stains.

31 Inking the Inner Frame

Both the inner frames in place, attached with Scotch Quick Dry Adhesive.

32 Inner Frames in Place

The card folded closed, showing the inked kitchen paper through the acetate window, and with the second gold frame in place to finish the aperture.

33 Inked Kitchen Paper Showing Through Window

Time to add the embellishments. To begin, I laid the acetate spiral in place inside the card.

First I added the “Happy Birthday” sentiment and the “60,” both of which I had cut out with Sheba, the top layers being sprayed along with the butterflies and the shadow layers being cut from gold mirror card. The banner for the “Happy Birthday” was sprayed as well, and the two layers arranged to provide maximum contrast. You can see that I have also arranged some butterflies on the spiral inside the card.

34 Sentiments on Front of Card

Using my alcohol pen and a couple of different colours of alcohol ink, I added some colour to the gold butterflies and just touched the pen to the sprayed butterflies. I had layered some of these.

35 Alcohol Ink on the Butterflies

Here are some of the completed butterflies. When I layered them, I flipped up the wings of the top layer, and stuck it to the bottom layer with a thick blob of Pinflair gel glue, so that when it dried, the wings would not get flattened.

36 Some Completed Butterflies

A couple of pictures showing the spiral inside the card. This is a bit difficult to photograph because the spiral is transparent and therefore not really visible (which is the whole idea), and also being at different levels, not everything is in focus, but you get the idea, and the fact that the floating butterflies cast a shadow, adding to the impression of depth.

37 Butterfly Spiral 1

38 Butterfly Spiral 2

On the left-hand side you can see that I have applied a small ink-sprayed circle, embellished with a gold butterfly. This covers the end of the acetate spiral.

Here is another “Happy Birthday” sentiment on the inside of the card, this time without a background banner layer, and I’ve deliberately kept the colours fairly light. You can clearly see some of the masked butterfly shapes n the background here.

39 Sentiment Inside Card

The card front, pretty well finished. I have glued down the butterflies using Pinflair glue to keep the wings up. The butterflies through the window do not yet have any alcohol ink embellishment.

40 Card Front Completed

Turning my attention to the back of the card, I used a cut-out formed when creating the frames, and coloured it with distress inks to co-ordinate with the card, and added some water spatters which I then blotted off with kitchen paper. I did a draft of the lettering on a piece of scrap paper and traced it off onto the shaped card on my light panel, using a permanent black marker. After this, I filled in the letters with a sanguine marker and highlighted the letters with a white gel pen.

41 Working on the Greeting Panel

Here is the greeting panel stuck down onto the back of the card.

42 Card Back Complete

Here are the final photos of the completed card. You can see that I have added some alcohol ink to the gold butterflies on the spiral inside.

43 Completed Card Front 1

The next photo was taken from a slightly different angle, giving a view through the acetate window, showing the butterflies flying in the opening.

44 Completed Card Front Looking Through the Window

Some detail photos.

45 Completed Card Front Top

46 Completed Card Front Sentiment

A full view of the inside of the card, showing the floating butterflies on the acetate spiral.

47 Completed Card Inide Full

The right side of the inside of the card.

48 Completed Card Inside R

The sentiment on the inside of the card. In this photo you can clearly see the butterflies on the background, created with the mask-and-spray technique.

49 Completed Card Inside Sentiment

Turning to the back of the card, again you can clearly see the mask-and-spray butterflies.

50 Completed Card Back

Detail of the greeting panel.

51 Greeting Panel

Again, on these detail shots of the back of the card, you can see the mask-and-spray butterflies.

52 Greeting Panel Top

53 Greeting Panel Bottom

I think this is a card worthy of a special friend celebrating a special birthday!


  1. What a lush card! Totally extravagant - you must have poured your heart into it! Your friend will be very touched and more than a little impressed, I predict!

  2. I really love the card. I really love how the butterflies look in the acetate. I make a lot of butterfly creations. I love to look through all my extra butterflies I cut out. My friends tease me I have a butterfly box. :) I love the lettering you did. It is so beautiful. I don't know if this would help you any but when I need templates I make them on my die cutters and cut them out on acetate. Then I have them for a long time. I have a file too in case I need to make templates in different sizes at a later date.

    1. Thanks Aiyana - so glad you like it. I have a butterfly box too!! I always cut more than I need so the stash builds up, with flowers and cut sentiments etc. too. Having an electronic cutter all my shapes are saved as svg files and I can scale them how I like. Your template idea is a good one, though.



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