Saturday, February 17, 2018

Die-cut Mini Masterpiece

It's one of my resolutions this year to do a Christmas card or tag each month of the year, into the Fall. I will make 10-12 of each design. I'm doing this because since I make all of my cards and tags, I have realized that getting them done is one of the biggest stresses on me during the Holiday season. I really think I will enjoy it more if I get them done earlier in the year. I don't know if anyone else feels this way, but in case you would like to see them, I plan to post one of each design, hoping this will inspire you. I'm a little behind already! Here's my first card, and I love how it turned out.

This design is based on the Mini Masterpieces that we did in a class by Sally Penley. You can look at my Mini Masterpieces from last year here, here and here. This is also a great design for any other type of card such as Happy Birthday, Thank You and Thinking of You. (Sally is still teaching the Mini Masterpiece class, so if you are local, I highly recommend it. You will get so much from this class. You can access her website here to sign up for her classes or buy her beautiful artwork.

If you are not a calligrapher yourself, choose a beautiful stamp for the sentiment, as I did here. This is my current favorite Magenta Merry Christmas stamp. I am also hoping that soon some of Sally's amazing calligraphy may be available in stamps through Magenta. I will definitely let you know when that happens.

To create the background, you basically make a master sheet with color and bling, and cut it up. Here are a couple of my latest ones. I think they look like a hot mess until you cut them up. I used acrylic paint on these. What doesn't show well in the photo is the stickles, and ironed-on foil I used to bling them up. I did use some gold acrylic paint on these. You can also use any other medium that you like to make these, such as watercolor.

In the past, we have cut the sheets up into 2" squares, like these shown here

You mat these, put them on a card with a nice sentiment below, and you have a beautiful card.

I also like the idea of die-cutting them, like fancy patterned paper; and I will explore this further in future posts. My card above is the first of these using die cuts that I have tried.

One thing that can help you when you are die cutting your pieces is to create a "finder" window. Simply choose your die-cut and then cut it out of a plain piece of white cardstock. Use that to "find" the perfect place to cut. This is a great tip that I got from Marj Marion, a long time teacher and associate at Art 'n Soul. So much of what I know I learned from her!

You can see some of the stickles and foil I added to the above master sheet. I especially love the foil glints that were added by just placing pieces of Deco foil over the finished, dried sheet (with the pretty side of the foil up) and just ironing it. I used a seam presser iron that has a smallish triangular tip that is used in sewing to press seams. It works perfectly for adhering foil to acrylic paint. I added foil to this one a couple of weeks after I made it and the foil still stuck very well to thicker areas of the acrylic paint. There is also a foil glue that you can put over your piece (especially if you are not using acrylic paint) and that will work the same way to allow your foil to adhere. I found it in pen form here.

Products Used and some Tips

I want to say use what you have for a similar look. Most of the products for this card and similar projects are from my stash and I have lost track of where some of them came from. I will list those that I know. 
The gold ribbon is a thin, wired ribbon - maybe from Michaels? 
The top of the ornament is thin, silver Washi tape
Acrylic paints are: some from Ranger's Dyan Reavely, some are borrowed tube acrylics. Anything you have should work fine. I also have some Martha Stewart paints that are pretty, especially the pearly colors. Ranger Distress colors would also be great.
This Magenta Merry Christmas stamp is a must-have. You can click on the link below to order it from Magenta.
07.462.I Merry Christmas
Stitched Rectangle die from Die-namics MFT-463 Blueprints 13 die set (this cuts a rectangle exactly 4" x 5.25" and I use it a lot)
Memory Box 98917 Traditional Ornament (this die seems to have been discontinued, but as of the date of this post, I found it on Starlit Studios here. Don't know how long they will have it. I highly recommend this website for online sales by the way. It's a small store, owned by a mom. Very good customer service. Alternately, you could use any solid ornament you may have).
Gold Deco Foil (Most foils will work, but I like Deco Foil from Therm o's thicker and more sturdy and they have lots of great colors)
Various Stickles (any color of Stickles will work. I put a blob down and gently smear it with my finger. It makes a beautiful swipe of glittery color).
Black Sharpie pens of various widths
Strathmore watercolor cardstock - I like the 140# and the pads with the brown cover (400 series). I also like Tim Holtz watercolor cardstock because it's white, and so the white spaces in your artwork are actually white instead of cream. The largest TH paper though is only 8.5 x 11, and if you are cutting your pieces into squares, it doesn't come out even. If you are die-cutting, this is not an issue.
Stardream Jupiter cardstock - used for the red mat behind the white panel. I cut it to 4 1/8" x 5 3/8"
The black square is a black linen cardstock of unknown provenance cut to 2.25" x 2.25" Black makes the image pop, but use any color mat that works well with your colors
Neenah Solar White Classic Crest  cardstock 110# for the base card, and 80# for the front panel


  1. I love your masterboards and you wonderful card. Thank you for sharing them. I'm going to check out the links and explore. Thank you.

  2. Wonderful blog post, Dianne. You are setting the bar high to start on Christmas already!

  3. Awesome Dianne ! Love it great idea !!


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