ASK THE EXPERTS
Our panel of crafting gurus solve your dilemmas
Q My friend is going through a difficult time after losing her dad, and I wanted to let her know I’m thinking of her. Can you help suggest an appropriate design? Penny Lockwood, Stoke on Trent A What a thoughtful idea, Penny. Softer colour schemes often work well for sympathy cards, especially in soothing shades of blue and purple, such as the two cards above – from issue 160. Choose sentiment stamps or toppers in a handwritten-effect font, for a personal touch, and pair with delicate paper flowers or stamped butterflies, for an ethereal finish. Choose Distress Inks when stamping, as the distressed finish will create the sense of timeless memories.
Q I’d like to use my circle nesting dies on my card designs, but often find they go wonky when I run them through the die-cutting machine. Am I doing something wrong?
Debbie Evans, Pontefract
A Using nesting dies for the first few times can be a little tricky, but with the right know-how you’ll soon get the knack, Debbie. Tape the dies to your card, using washi tape, to keep them in place as they go through the die-cutting machine. If you’re planning to cut multiple shapes at once, choose a slightly thicker card, to prevent any tears when removing the dies. You can use your circle nesting dies to create ovals once you’ve got the hang of die cutting, too. First, die cut a circle then reposition your die on the cut-out to create an oval. Secure the die in place with washi tape, then run it through your machine. Remember, the piece of card from which you cut the circle will now have an aperture for you to create a shaker card with, too!
Q I love the look of heat-embossed designs, but I find my own embossed cards are a little messy and the image or sentiment is often blurred. How can I stop this happening?
Emily White, Bristol
A The main thing to watch out for when heat embossing is the amount of ink you apply to the card, Emily. When stamping, make sure all of the raised surface is covered with ink, and that
there is no ink on the rest of the stamp. Apply the stamp to your design with even pressure, and gently shake the card to remove any loose powder. Keep the heat tool moving when heating the embossing powder to prevent any scorching or running of the design. We recommend perfecting your skills on simplistic designs before moving onto detailed stamps.
Q I’d like to try découpage, but my layers often go a bit awry and you can see the foam pads underneath. Help, please! Natalie Burrows, Leeds
A You’ve come to the right place, as we love creating 3D effects on our cards, and découpage is great for adding depth to your makes. For starters, make sure your scissors are sharp if fussy cutting the pieces, to ensure a neat finish when cutting out the elements. Before adding the sticky foam pads, layer up the elements to work out the best position of the layers. Finally, you can always trim your sticky foam pads so they can’t be seen when added to the reverse of smaller cut-out pieces. You can also buy découpage sets, which give instructions on the layering and placement of the images, for perfect results.
Master using your nesting dies to create perfect frames for your makes
Choose soothing colour schemes for your sympathy makes
Above & below: Keep the heat tool moving when embossing, to prevent scorching your design
Use your sharpest scissors when fussy cutting découpage elements