Friday, December 9, 2011

Birthday Greetings

If there's one thing I never have enough of, it's birthday cards.  You'd think that since I make my own cards, I would never run into that shortage, but I do!  So it's always good to have some on hand, or even better, to design a simple card that's easy to replicate--and that's exactly the motivation behind this card.

Simple can also be stunning, which is my personal opinion of this card...probably because I always love the classy look of red, black and white.  In this case, I started with a base of Cherry Cobbler--a deep, rich shade of red--and prepped it for embossing.

Since many of you may be reading about embossing for the first time, I'm going to slow down and take you through the process--one of my very favorite stamping techniques--step by step.  On this card, "Happy Birthday" is embossed using black embossing powder.  This literally is a powder that you dust over your stamped image, then apply heat to melt the powder so that it flows together, creating a continuous image that is raised off the paper (and caught the light in this photo, so you can see some of the dimension).

  1. In order to emboss, you have to use a sticky ink called Versamark on your stamp.  But since the oils from your fingers could also hold the embossing powder to the paper, the very first step of embossing is to rub your embossing buddy all over the card stock.  Similar to chalking your fingers for bowling, the embossing buddy ensures that the powder won't stick where it doesn't belong.
  2. Next up, ink your stamp with VersaMark, then stamp on the paper.  [Pretty easy, isn't it?]
  3. Move your paper over a Paper Pals tray (to catch excess powder), then liberally pour the black embossing powder over your inked area.  Dump excess powder into the Powder Pals (you can put it back in your jar of embossing powder later).
  4. MOVE YOUR CARD AWAY FROM THE POWDER PALS AND JAR OF EMBOSSING POWDER!!!  I can't stress this enough--you don't want to melt all of your embossing powder, just what's on your card.  (Wondering how I know this??)
  5. Using your heat tool, move the jet of warm air back and forth over the area with the embossing powder on your card.  After a few seconds, you will see a dramatic transformation as the powder melts and begins to flow.  [When I use silver, this always makes me think of the bad robot from the future in Terminator 2]  Shut off the stream of heat as soon as all your powder flows.  TIP: Put a piece of aluminum foil under your card stock before applying heat--this will help to distribute the heat evenly, and keep your card from warping.
These five steps probably take about two minutes total from start to finish--and that's because I keep moving around my table, rather than just moving things out of the way.  Once I had my sentiment in place, I merely added a strip of designer series paper from Timeless Portrait.  My finishing touch, because Cherry Cobbler is a darker card stock, was to add a liner of Whisper White to the inside of the card for writing my message.

[Want to see more embossing?  I thought you would.  Here are a few samples/favorites from the archive--Silver Silverware, Pops of Color, Polished Pewter, Gold Medallion.  Of course, you could also check out the entry for Dec 1, which was an embossing double feature as I choose between the Cherry Cobbler embossed ornaments and the silver snowflakes for this year's holiday card--did you tell me which you prefer?]

And I made a whole stack of these, so I'll be ready for the next few birthdays in my calendar.  I learned yesterday that this is a very busy birthday month, so it looks like I might need to make even more!  Would you like to get this card for your birthday?  Let me could happen.  :)  And make sure you mark the star on your bingo card today.

Happy Friday!

Stamps: Perfectly Penned
Ink: VersaMark
Paper: Cherry Cobbler, Timeless Portrait DSP
Extras: Embossing Buddy, Black Embossing Powder, Heat Tool, Powder Pals, aluminum foil

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