This is my final set of Christmas cards for this year; all that remains now is to make an individual card for my mum.
I knew exactly what I wanted to do as soon as I saw the snowflake stamp in this year’s Visible Image Christmas release. I absolutely love this large distressed snowflake and the smaller versions match it perfectly.
I don’t tend to go into a lot of detail about how I create my cards these days — mainly due to a lack of energy and focus — but I think it’s worth recording the process for this set even if only to remind me how I did it…
For the backgrounds:
- I chose three colours of Distress oxide ink pads and blended them in patches over the whole panel.
- I sprayed and splattered the ink with water, letting it sit for a moment before lifting the droplets with paper towel leaving paler spots across the ink.
- Using three colours of archival ink — white, light grey and mid-grey — I stamped the smaller snowflakes, avoiding the central area which would later be covered by the large snowflake.
- Once the ink was dry I splattered fine drops of white ink over the whole panel.
The initial idea for the large snowflake was to heat emboss it then lay foil over it and run it through my Minc machine (basically a glorified laminator with more temperature options) which should give a solid foil coverage by melting the embossing powder so the foil sticks to it; you do lose a bit of definition but that’s absolutely fine for this design. And it worked perfectly on my test snowflake where I used white embossing powder, but then I thought that I didn’t want to risk having white embossing possibly showing around the edges so I switched to clear powder. And didn’t bother doing another test. Now, I don’t know whether that actually made any difference or whether other factors were at play, but the foiling on the other panels was, let’s be charitable and call it distressed. And running it through the Minc again or on a higher heat did not help at all. So I had to improvise.
For the large snowflake:
- Stamp in Versamark ink and heat emboss with clear embossing powder.
- Run it through the Minc machine on heat setting 2 with a piece of foil covering the whole snowflake.
- Stamp over the top with ink which added a bit of colour but not enough.
- Stamp over the top with Versamark again and sprinkle on embossing powder (mostly silver) BUT then lightly brush off some areas of the powder so the coverage is not complete before melting it.
And I love the effect. It’s far more interesting than if the foiling had worked perfectly.
There were two exceptions to this process. The first is the grey card — this was my test foiling, the one that worked, and it seemed a shame to waste it, so I added some inking over the top (the foil acts as a resist so any excess ink can be easily polished off with a soft cloth) followed by the water drops, snowflake stamping and white ink like the others.
The second exception was the red card. This really was a case of not wasting anything. When I foiled the test piece I was left with a perfect inverse snowflake on a square of opal foil. Also in my stash I had some toner card and as the opal foil is toner-reactive I ran them through the Minc together. This left me with a black snowflake surrounded by a dark almost mother of pearl effect, not super impressive. So I took a piece of white foil and ran it through the Minc again where it adhered to the exposed toner card giving me a bright white snowflake. It wasn’t big enough to turn into a card on its own, so I roughly fussy cut it out and mounted it on a red card base with some foam tape after first stamping some snowflakes on the base in archival ink.
The sentiments are either a simple die-cut or two stacked together with a slight offset to create a shadow effect.
And this is my favourite set of cards this Christmas. It could have been comparatively simple, but the failure of the foiling made me adapt and come up with a finish that has a lot more depth to it.