EBE by Julie Ebersole, Essentials By Ellen

3 Reasons Clean and Simple Designs Make a Bigger Impact

If you suffer from not know when enough is enough on a project, our Creative Ambassador, Daniel, is here to help you with three reasons your should give Clean and Simple (CAS) cards a try.

Hey there! Daniel West here! Happy to join you today with some great reasons Clean and Simple (CAS) cards make a bigger impact. 

What is a CAS card design? Well, from my extensive research, (and by extensive, I mean I typed in #cascards on Instagram search) I learned that CAS cards use less layers, less space, less of everything. They remind me of a classic beauty queen who turns heads with understated main pieces and pops of color in the right places. Of course, in arts and crafts, we have no rules, just guidelines, so feel free to make it up as you go.

Let’s take a look at the three reasons I enjoy CAS cards most.

1. CAS cards often take less time than other designs.
As a rule, I gravitate toward CAS designs for this reason. I do not want to spend less time in my workshop. I want to make more cards with the time I do have. If I die cut four items and color two, I can make a card in 10 to 20 minutes and it offers the same satisfaction and impact as if I had spent 2 hours on a more complicated setup.

I filmed the making of this card and it took me 23 minutes total. This includes the time I poked around with random ideas for the final design.

2. CAS cards offer sophistication and subtlety.
CAS design requires less things and usually less colors on the panel. But you can make a beautifully cohesive project that leaves a lot of empty space and still offer the joy eliciting sophistication your crafty hands long for. Subtlety is also an art — you say more with less — less words, less color, less of images.

For today’s card, I used four die cuts and only three colors — red, black, and lots of white. The Essential Ovals create two great pieces. One of them, the thin oval, creates a great outline for a focal point. 

TIP: When you die cut your thin oval, place the die on the front of another card panel to use the negative space as a guide for placement on your card front. Since the thin ovals can move and bend a little, I find it helpful to keep their shape by adding glue around the inside edge of the negative oval, placing the thin oval die cut back inside and then lifting the negative oval back up.

Even my coloring is CAS. I die cut this little Thread Friends dachshund out and gave him some simple spots. I don’t even know if spotted dachshunds exist, but they do now! I colored him in with a few spots of Copic W10 marker and did not add any shading to him.

I grabbed the fire hydrant from the Bear Ware Dress Up 1 by Julie Ebersole with its coordinating die and colored it in with a few red Copics — R39, R29 and R27.

A few weeks ago, I stamped and heat embossed a sheet of the Positive Vibes Stamp Set with copper embossing powder. But since I wanted to limit my colors for this design, I broke them out again with the coordinating Sentiment Strips Die, to make a black and white sentiment.

3. CAS cards make really great gift sets.
You can quickly make a ton of really great cards with less supplies. Package them together in a set with a piece of baker’s twine to make a wonderful handmade gift set. You can make them all the same or switch out a color here and there to add some variety. 

TIP: Switching out the red fire hydrant on this project with a rainbow of different hydrants and keeping everything else the same, can help you create a perfect gift set. This can be done with ANY card element. You can switch out the color of the oval or the dog.

Break the rules of CAS design and bend them, too, like I did by adding more layers to this card. Card design and paper crafting should make you and the person receiving your handmade effort smile no matter what design you come up with.

I hope you enjoyed this little foray into clean and simple design. Let me know in the comments below what you might switch out of this design to make a variety of the same setup.

Have a wonderful day!



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  • Reply Cat June 16, 2022 at 3:56 am

    Great tips Daniel! I love a good CAS card now & then and don’t mke enought if them

  • Reply Deb Bryson June 19, 2022 at 11:07 am

    Super cute card! Ido love CAS cards. A great friend of mine works with a wiener dog rescue here in Texas & typically has anywhere from 15 to 25 fosters at her house. They do indeed have spotted ones, they’re called piebald. But as you said, it wouldn’t matter if they really exist or not, that’s art. I think the only thing I would have done is have the dogs feet standing on the sentiment. Maybe a few tiny paw prints in opposite corners of the card base

  • Reply Surekha Galagoda June 22, 2022 at 9:08 pm

    Dear Daniel
    Thank you for the valuable advice. tks for the inspiration.tc stay safe

  • Reply Cindi Hansen June 27, 2022 at 8:26 am

    Is that Dachshund i die?

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