Keen to try your hand at making your own stamped backgrounds for cards and handmade gift packaging? Angela’s here with 5 tips for creating DIY printed designs quick and easy. Once you start, you might not be able to stop!
Are you the type of crafter who loves using patterned paper? While many brands provide beautiful collections of it, I have to admit – it’s never been something that I reach for often. In fact, whenever I do, I usually struggle at first because it feels so unusual! That said, what I feel much more comfortable with is making my own prints with clear stamps. I love spending time doing this because it allows me to pick out whatever colors get me excited in the moment, and I’m able to mix and match stamps from various sets to get new looks every time. Today I’ve got 5 tips to share that’ll make DIY print making with clear stamps a breeze, and I hope you find them helpful. Let’s get started!
Tip 1: Experiment with groupings of stamped images before working on your actual card
Here’s where you’ll want to pull together all the stamp sets you’re considering working with, and test various clusters. For today’s card, I used one of the smaller solid stamps from the Essentials by Ellen Abstract Nature stamp set, as well as the honey stick and some small outlined and solid hexagons from the One in a Buzzillion stamp set. For a different example, you might pick a larger solid stamp, an outline stamp to layer over top, and a smaller solid stamp as an accent.
Small stamps are great for print making, but be aware that lots of really small images can result in a more busy-looking print. This isn’t necessarily a bad – just something to keep in mind as you consider the other elements of the card. Before making the print on my card panel, I experimented with the arrangement of the elements in my cluster on a small piece of scrap paper, shown below.
Tip 2: Select inks that will layer well
There are two things I like to think about here: contrast (think dark and light), and color mixing. When stamping clusters of images, I typically start with a lighter shade and save the darker ones for the images stamped over that. The ink colors are going to mix in their overlapped areas, so you’ll want to consider what color is going to be produced when that happens. For example, stamping first in pink and then in blue might create a nice shade of purple, but stamping first in pink and then in green could leave you with a less-than-desirable muddy brown. In my example today, I began by stamping the solid blobs in Catherine Pooler Shea Butter ink (a light yellow), then followed with the honey sticks in Ginger ink. Even though the greens I used were on the cooler side (Uptown and Aquatini), they still layered nicely over the warmer Shea Butter yellow.
Tip 3: For greater flexibility, use acrylic blocks
I use my MISTI for most of my stamping, and for some print making when alignment is important. But for abstract backgrounds, I find that acrylic blocks allow me to move the paper and stamp more naturally. This tends to result in a more organic print where the elements flow together more naturally.
Tip 4: Consider the size and font weight of the sentiment
A large sentiment with a heavier font weight will most likely still stand out with a bold print behind it, whereas a smaller sentiment or one with a lighter font weight could easily get lost. If your sentiment is on the more delicate side, you may want to consider using lighter colors for your background print, or popping the sentiment forward with foam tape to help it stand out and remain a focal point.
You can also try what I’ve done here with the Happy Birthday sentiment, which was to foil it on a piece of Hero Arts Adriatic Cardsock – a very deep blue-green. This cardstock is a close match for the Catherine Pooler Uptown ink, which is what I used in very small amounts for the offset stamped hexagon outlines.
Tip 5: Try adding metallic or textured accents
This could be embossing powders, shiny foil, enamel dots, gems, pearls, sequins – whatever you’ve got! All of them can give the print a little extra wow factor and make it more visually interesting. If the print you’ve made is going to be turned into a gift box or other folded 3-D package, you might want to consider matching the metallic accent color used to the color of your ribbon or bow. The minimal hot foiling on my project here gives the sentiment just enough shine to become the focal point, and the eye is automatically drawn to it when you first look at the card.
And there you have it! DIY print making with clear stamps can be so much fun and the possibilities are truly endless. If reading this post has inspired you to give it a try, be sure to tag me, @mycraftyperspective, as well as @ellenhutsonllc on Instagram so we can see your gorgeous creations. Thank you so much for stopping by, and I’ll see you back here soon! – Angela