Cardmaking, EBE by Brandi Kincaid, EBE by Julie Ebersole, Essentials By Ellen

How to create a “mosaic” background with cardstock strips

Looking for a fun new way to create an artistic look? Design Ambassador Ardyth Percy-Robb puts a twist on the trendy (and easy!) technique of using cardstock strips to build a background!

Good morning! Ardyth here with a quick photo tutorial showing how I used the Rainbow Slider die in a very unexpected way!

I wanted to create a background of tiny squares of randomly-placed colour. I figured I could easily adapt the technique of using cardstock strips to create a background to get a mosaic or tile look!

Step 1: I started by choosing my colours. I used Copic markers, but any markers (any colouring medium, really, even ink pads!) would work.

Step 2: I trimmed some white cardstock to be 1.5 inches wide – just wider than the Rainbow Slider Die that I used to create the strips.

Step 3: I used the chisel tip end of my markers to put stripes of colour along the strips of carsdtock. I went in random order and oriented the stripes of colour so that they are perpendicular to the way the Rainbow Slider die will cut them. (make sure you have something absorbent under your Copic colouring – I use a pad of recycled newsprint).

Step 4: I did the same method of colouring to all my strips. I did one strip with just the pink and yellow, and one with just the blues and greens, to add some interest.

Step 5: I ran the cardstock pieces through my die-cutting machine with the Rainbow Slider die to create lots of happy, multi-coloured strips.

Step 6: I coated a piece of computer paper with adhesive to form a backer. This thin backer will make it easy to trim your panel with a die later (see Step 8).

Step 7: I simply laid the strips of cardstock onto the backer, watching the colour mix to ensure that there wasn’t too much of one colour in an area. If there was, I turned the strip the other way, or chose a different strip, so that I could get a good mix of colour.

Step 8: I used an Essential Squares die to trim the panel to fit my 4.25 x 4.25 inch square card front.

Step 9: Last year, I really enjoyed creating plaid backgrounds with my Copic markers. It’s quick and easy to customize to whatever project you’re working on. I used several pink-reds to create a small panel of plaid cardstock to stamp my Backyard Bird Friends cardinal on. Then I trimmed him with the co-ordinating die.

Step 10: For the branch, I used shades of brown Copics. I cut it out with the co-ordinating die.

Step 11: By this point, I was gasping for some white space on this busy card! So I cut 3 clouds with the EBE Clouds dies to help break up all the busy-ness!

Step 12: I stamped a sentiment from L’il Squatch onto one of the clouds with Versafine Onyx ink.

To finish the cardinal, I paper-pieced a yellow beak onto him. I added his ‘mask’ with a cool gray Copic marker and gave him a twinkle in his eye with a white gel pen.

I adhered two of the clouds and the branch directly to the mosaic background and then popped up the cardinal. I love how the plaid on the cardinal fits so well with the mosaic background! I added some Stardust Stickles to the edge of the cloud for some sparkle and popped it up as well.

So what do you think of this easy background technique? I hope you’re inspired to give it a try!

How about some variations?

  • choose different colours
  • start with coloured cardstock and choose similar colours for a tone-on-tone look
  • do the stripes on a diagonal, to create diamonds instead of squares
  • make an A2 size panel (you may need to create more strips than I did)
  • trim the mosaic panel with a different shape – circle, heart, star
  • use striped patterned paper if you’re running short of colouring time!



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  • Reply K Barkman September 2, 2020 at 6:39 am

    Cool idea! I gain so much inspiration from your posts. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply Ardyth Percy-Robb September 2, 2020 at 7:03 am

      This is the best compliment ever – I’m so happy that you’re inspired!

  • Reply Gina September 2, 2020 at 7:32 am

    What a great idea! A lot of bang for the work!

  • Reply SmilynStef September 2, 2020 at 7:35 am

    how fun … love how you help us stretch supplies & techniques

    • Reply Ardyth Percy-Robb September 2, 2020 at 8:47 am

      Thanks, Stef! I love to get value for money! LOL!

  • Reply Kelly G September 2, 2020 at 11:44 am

    I already commented on IG, but want to give you a high 5 here, too. I love Ellen Hutson’s designers and she was so smart to add you to the team :).

    • Reply Ardyth Percy-Robb September 2, 2020 at 1:15 pm

      Oh my word, Kelly, that is the nicest thing to say! Thanks so much! I love being on this team!

  • Reply tonilea September 3, 2020 at 6:40 am

    At first I didn’t notice that the bird and branch were striped too, but that really ties it together. I think maybe that I DiDN’T notice is a good thing since that really was the idea (probably) I am not explaining this well, but at any rate, I think your card is the bomb — as the young ones say. I have one question though — I don’t have that rainbow slider die so I am wondering how wide those little strips are. I could easily cut them from a larger piece and get a similar result. Your cards are ALWAYS such an inspiration. You have a very creative style that I enjoy ever so much!

    • Reply Ardyth Percy-Robb September 3, 2020 at 7:08 am

      Haha! I get exactly what you’re saying, and yes, I was trying to tie it all together with the patterns on the bird and branch. No rainbow slider die is no problem. Those strips are about 1/4 inch wide, maybe a little narrower, but this would work with any size strip – a wider strip would make the coloured stripes look more like rectangles and you would get yet another look – I should have put that in my list of ‘variations’! So any size strip you want to cut will work, but give you different looks, but if you want it to be ‘kind of, almost’ square like mine, maybe start with about 1/4 inch. Thanks so much for commenting!

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