The serendipity technique is one of those go-to techniques that is not only timeless, but also results in beautiful one-of-a-kind creations! Although it is not new, it may be new to many of you. For others, this may be a pleasant reminder to revisit this technique and all of its possibilities. Like many techniques, it has evolved and continues to do so with each new product being used in the world of card making and paper crafting.
Some refer to "serendipity" as a "fortunate happenstance or a pleasant surprise." I am confident that you will be pleasantly surprised with your serendipity creations! This technique is similar to paper collage where a variety of materials are pasted onto a surface to create a piece of art. In the serendipity technique, a master board or serendipity panel is created using bits and pieces of various papers. Strips of washi tape and ribbons are also options at this stage. Once the panel has been created, it is then manipulated by cutting it into strips, squares or shapes. Those pieces can then be used to create cards, tags and many other projects. Almost any type of paper, ribbon and tape can be used.
Choosing a Color Palette
There are a couple of options when choosing the color palette. One is to work in a monochromatic color theme choosing various shades of one color. Another is to pull together complementary colors or color themes for the season, holiday or occasion that the card is being created for. If you are in need of inspiration, look toward the color combinations found in clothing, fabric and home decor. Patterned paper itself is also a great resource—the color matching has already been done for you! A little tip here is that the paper selection process is even easier if your paper scraps have been previously organized by color.
Creating Your Serendipity Panel
A cardstock base is necessary to glue the papers onto. While white cardstock is usually used, colored cardstock is also an option especially if you choose to leave some spaces of the base color showing through. Determine how much finished material you may require and this will help you decide on what size of panel to create. For example, the three projects following this article used a quarter sheet (41/4 x 51/2-inch) serendipity panel in total. If more finished material is required, then start with a half sheet (51/2 x 81/2inch) or full sheet (81/2 x 11-inch) as the base.
The process of creating a serendipity panel is quite simple. Just tear or cut papers into 1–11/2-inch or smaller pieces and adhere to the cardstock base using a glue stick (Photo 1). My choice of adhesive is the UHU glue stick. Xyron adhesive is another option. A good starting position is in the center of the cardstock base. Then work out toward the edges until the panel is full. Rather than trying to align the papers flush to the edge, let them extend beyond the edges and then trim the excess after the panel is complete to create an even edge (Photo 2).
If using a glue stick, it is important to work on a discarded magazine, catalog or scrap paper. Just turn the page for an adhesive-free work surface.
Dimension is an element that adds interest to your panel. This can be accomplished by using textured papers or by crumpling or embossing papers. Edges may be all the same or varied. Straight, torn, distressed and even decorative-cut edges all provide visual interest.
Once the papers, tape and/or ribbon have been adhered to the base it can be taken a step further by adding a variety of other materials. Most can be added prior to cutting the panel into squares and shapes. However, some that are difficult to cut with a paper trimmer, such as micro beads, should be added after the desired shape has been made. In some cases, a rotary trimmer or die template may offer better results.
Cutting Your Serendipity Panel
Once the panel has thoroughly dried, it is time to cut it into the desired shapes. One option is to cut the panel into various sizes of squares and layer them onto a card as seen in the Ghostly Greetings card on page 59, where three serendipity squares are matted and layered to the card front. Another option when using squares is to cut 4 small squares and layer together in the center of a card or one larger square as shown in the Happy Halloween project on page 58. One of my favorites is to use die templates to cut a specific shape such as the Patchwork Pumpkin tag on page 58 or the die-cut pumpkin shown on this delightful mini treat bag (Photo 3). Another idea is to simply use strips of the serendipity panel for borders or to dress up a card front as shown in this gift card (Photo 4).
Whichever shapes you decide upon I am sure the serendipity technique will become a go-to in your crafting arsenal. I hope that you are inspired to create something wonderful today!