greeting cards

3D printed 21st birthday

CR00464 Jaron's 21st (1)

My eldest nephew has just turned twenty-one (!). So I had to make a card. A masculine card. While terminally uninspired… I was just going to keep it super simple: fussy cut numbers from something shiny and then do some paper layering. Then my other half said that he could 3D print some numbers for me.

3D printing is not quick. And he wasn’t happy with the first couple of attempts (he’s just got a new printer and is learning its quirks). So I spent quite some time experimenting with various rejects to see what I could apply to the surface. And essentially confirmed my initial expectation that the most reliable way of putting anything — paint, foil, whatever — on a 3D-printed piece is to start off with a layer of gesso.

And then I decided to leave the big numbers plain anyway; make a feature of them being 3D-printed rather than try to hide the fact. The smaller ones were given a coat of gesso and painted silver.

So I needed to make an interesting background to set them on. I was originally going to have shiny numbers, but now I would have a shiny background instead. And it gave me a good excuse to try a technique that I’ve been meaning to play with for a while: faux embossed metal.

Rather than running the mirri card through an embossing folder (which would probably crack the card if past experience is anything to go by), I stamped the pattern with Versamark and heat-embossed it with clear embossing powder. And really liked the effect.

But I wasn’t really happy with the card once I got it assembled. It needed something else. If it had been for a girl I would have added some sequins or half pearls, but… boys… Eventually, I decided to carefully add some fireworks to the background. I wasn’t sure whether archival inks would stamp reliably on a combination of shiny card and embossing powder, so I played it safe and used Stazon. Much better.

I used a couple of offcuts from the background to hold the obligatory cheque in place inside the card, called it done, tidied up and went back to my Copic colouring.

CR00464 Jaron's 21st (2)


  • stamps:
    Visible Image – de-stressed
    Marianne Designs – fireworks
  • inks:
    Stazon – cloudy sky
  • embossing powder:
    Wow! superfine clear gloss
  • paper and card:
    Hunkydory – 50 shades of mirri (darker)
    Hunkydory Adorable Scorable pearly shimmer
  • miscellaneous:
    3D printed numbers

CR00464 Jaron's 21st

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