Tips & Tricks

 Scrapbooking and Paper crafts Tips and Tricks

The “Best” way to adhere Vellum to your paper craft projects!

close up embelly project 1Fact: Any adhesive shows up behind your vellum when you attach to your projects!   So you can either spot on some glue and/or sticky dots and cover over on top, OR use a double sided adhesive that can be used to add additional interest.   At the top, the purple vellum block has been completely backed.  The blocks surrounding the journaling have smaller squares of adhesive (see the center shadow) and the journaling block itself is only adhered to the page using double sided dragonflies that were punched out of the adhesive sheet.  Note, this is a close up of a finished scrapbook page from “sketch #3″ article (scrapbooking tab) and/or youtube video.



Dry Emboss your Envelopes for a quick and easy, finished look.

I’ve been lining, using double sided paper, stamping to create a pretty coordinating envelope for my cards.   Easier still is to dry emboss – the flap (remember when you dry emboss one side, you’re creating debossed side also) – super fast, finished, coordinated look!   or use your stencils with the texture plate materials and move onto the front as well.  Just some samples to show – but I’ll continue to demonstrate coordinating envelopes for ALL my cards!

samples finished note flat


FAN tastic, #1 FAN, FANtasy, FAN dango!

Try accordion folding your patterned papers to add dimension to your projects, easy enough with either a paper trimmer (w/ a scoring blade) and even easier using a score board if you have one:

scoreI demonstrate creating a fan, although accordion folds can be used as any background element to create dimension.  Begin with a rectangle – for creating a fan embellishment, make the length at least 2x the width.  To make 1/2 ‘blades’, first score every inch along the length.   Crease your scores all in the same direction (makes things easier later).   Score every inch again, in between the first  lines and from the other side.  Crease all of those.   Do a bit of a crunch on one end (I like to twist once) and then “tie off” at twist.  I opted to wrap with craft wire.   Position onto your project.

just a twistfinished FANtastic



Easily identify your wedges

Is the color on your used sponge wedge unidentifiable?   Punch out/cut a rectangle (2″ x 1″ works)  in the same color of card stock as the ink – fold in half and staple to the sharp edge of your wedge.   Write the color using a sharpie and toss them into a clear baggie for storage.   Very easy to see and find the wedge you need.   My product pick for March 2016 – 3 sponges, each cut into 6 pieces can account for 18 different colors.

cut and labellabel and staple away from the curve easier to distinguish

Storage solutions

Foam circles are pretty inexpensive, BUT I tend to grab for the same ink colors…..

so, have cut some tiny velcro squares to save my circle foams.  Right now they are on a piece of cardboard, new color, not a problem.  The thing is, the more ‘used’ the foam the better the “smudge”

reusable round foam

Rotate your photo mats to add focus

Pretty simple really, you have 1 or 2 small-ish photos for your scrapbook layout – OR you have very busy patterned papers that make out the background for your page(s).  Either way -think about rotating your mat, in this example, this is a second embossed mat – 90 degrees…   Or rotate however works in your layout:



Postage Stamp Edges

This is the way we used to do this in the old days (before specialized punches, edge punches and framelits).  It still comes in handy when you are trying to coordinate design elements – especially when you’re using the Postage stamp punch.  My finished panel if for a greeting card, but the technique works just as well on a scrapbook page embellishment, mat or panel:

finished edges<- These are the edges we’re creating.  You’ll need your hole punches, and you will need to choose a size that compliments your project/panel.   I’m going to begin with the smaller (1/16) punch.  Life is made easy when you’re pattern paper has the grid lines as part of the pattern (yes, I purposely chose this for this technique and card).  It’s just a matter of moving along the outside edge of your paper and punching half circles.  For this punch to work cleanly though this paper I needed to back it with a scrap piece of cardstock. little punchinglarge punching   If your attempting to edge punch a solid piece of cardstock or a patterned paper without ‘obvious’ squares – use a section of grid paper behind the panel you’re punching as your guide.


Versatile Hardware for your paper crafts

Can’t believe I hadn’t shared this neat little trick long ago.  Similar to my suggestions about smart ribbon purchases- the same can be true about bulk shopping for hardware/embellishments:  Neutrals!   If you’ve already purchased some ‘hard to match’ pieces, this also works to give them a face lift in a coordinating color for your projects (how many times can you really use a sky blue gingham button)?What you will need are a nice selection of fine point sharpie permanent markers.beforefinished  It doesn’t matter whether your original piece is plastic or metallic -or even cloth.  Metals when colored give a metallic color (Red on a silver brad makes a great holly berry).  Metallic sharpies on plastic buttons give a matted metallic look.  You can even heat emboss a large brad -see the heart brad in the photo, use your dazzling details to sparkle up a grommet.  Any hoot, it’s much more convenient to have some essential hardware (brads, eyelets, buttons,…clasps, staples – you get the picture) in generic/neutral colors that can be manipulated then try to keep an inventory of multiple colors of each.


Test Card Stock

I had to learn the hard way – but fortunately I was working with a panel for my scrapbook page and not the base page:

oopsmuch bettertest pieceI have since learned my lesson.  As I was putting together Grunge I – see my scrapbook page, it occurred to me that I should test out my stamping and my inks BEFORE stamping onto the base page for my layout.    I used to test on some computer (white) card stock – but the images are just not the same unless you test on a scrap card stock that is EXACTLY the same as your base page.  Hope this saves you from some ‘flip it overs’!


Smart Investments – Framelits, Dies and Punches

After producing my video on Christmas framelits I didn’t really doubt that I made a great decision in purchasing the collection I did.  I thought I would share the thought process (as I have made some un-smart investments in the past).  I’m going to share 4 questions that you need to ask yourself BEFORE you commit – and a few stories, good and bad):

1) Do you Love IT?  There are so many products out there – so many variations, that you probably don’t need to ‘settle’ for anything you do not love.  OK, we get past that and let’s talk budget.  If you are able to purchase anything you love – no need to consider anything else, but if you need to get the most out of your crafting dollars:

2) How Versatile it it?  Geometric/symmetrical and nested collections can be used in multiple projects for multiple looks.  Irregular shapes, not so much.  Even seasonal collections may have generic pieces to be used at other times of the year (ie bows, joy, merry vs santa, noel, witches).  Punches and BIGZ dies rarely can be used as negative images (but make great templates).

3) How Useful will it really be?  Back in the day scissors, paper trimmers and hole punches were pretty much it.  A 2″ square punch?… pumpkin framelit?  Will you use it often enough to make it worth while not to create/trim the shape yourself.  scalloped/postage stamp punches might be bigger time savers.  Do you see more than meets the eye?  Butterflies can be used as wings for angels, hearts, flower petals, and bird feathers (to name a few out of the box ideas).

4) Everything sounds do-able?  Sleep on it and if it still seems like the product for you, it probably is!

Aligning Stamps

I still do love my Stamp-a-ma-jig when I’ve got to be ‘spot on’ with the image placement, no matter what type of stamp I’m using.  stampamajigBut, more often than not, if the stamp is either the clear stamps (still do have a backing) or photopolymer stamps (totally see-through), a clear acrylic block and my grid paper do the trick.long stamps1 2 3 4  The longish style stamps do have a tendency to bend/droop and really need to be placed on a grid sheet – or at least a paper with lines BEFORE you get them on the acrylic block.  Duh – no brainer. Let’s talk about the flower frame w friends in the center.  To get your stamped image (close enough for government work:  1) position on grid as you’d like to see it on your page/card, 2) press block down onto stamp also perpendicular (edges meeting would be extra special) – for instance if I want a 1/2″ from the page bottom to the bottom of the stamp – I let my block do the measuring (stamp is 1/2″ from bottom of block) – line up the block at the bottom of your page and walla.  (if you are able to line up 2 sides, even better still).  Now – stamp your grid paper as well…. position your second stamp (friends in this sample) and place the block down…. surprise it will, assuming your keeping track of your block position on your page, will align perfectly.  All came about since a customer was asking about blocks with grids – expensive and unnecessary.

TeePee Die Cuts:

Was creating my gift tags to accompany my July XMAS card and wasn’t sure who knew about the TeePee technique.  All Bigz dies can do this (and I’m thinking most framelits can as well).  die cut imagesfinished tags2 3  So in the first finished piecesphotograph I’m just showing the Big Z die images – in this case - Tags, Scallop Combo #2;  Second photo are my finished gift tags.   The next photo is my attempt to draw where on the die you need to place your card stock.  First off:  Measure and score the fold line just inside of cutting 2 indpendant pieces of the …. the most significant placement is keeping things square while placing the folded card stock on the die (fold needs to be inside the cut outline) and the last photograph is just about versatility – pretty much any image can be made quickly into a teepee!

Lined envelopes using your shipping materials

How fun and what a savings if you make and send your own greeting cards.  HOARD and SAVE your packing materials as they make for a super, FREE envelope, embellishment,  gift tags and gift wrappings!

gift package coordination

basics samplesmore samples more materialsCheck all these techniques (because if you’re going to make your own envelopes they really do need to be Magnificent! and these are:  Custom Envelopes for FREE: DIY demonstrates the step by step.  First off take all your ‘craft’ dunnage and iron it- I use the hottest setting but protect both my ironing board and other papers as some of the printed tissue papers will bleed.  Next separate envelope material from “lining material” – really just a weight thing.  I like using my packing materials because, well first off you’ve paid for it… secondly it is typically lighter than card stock, patterned papers and whatever material you would have to purchase.   In the video I go through a bunch of “closure” techniques – because I believe that is the thing that keeps most of us from creating our own envelopes – they NEED to stick!  Final elegant recipe for homemade envelopes is snail adhesive along the outside edges of the lap – covered by a wider strip of was paper.  Peel the was paper strip, close and send :)  That is a good thing when sending cards. Now it is a matter of going to town with your designs….  where to start:  You can cut the front of your envelope with a framelit and use the lining to back it.   Dunnage  for your lining OR some of those materials that are in your kitchen – wax paper or parchment paper – incredibly inexpensive when compared to vellum.




Combining Ribbon and Twine

Nothing earth shattering here – perhaps just a reminder of fun ways to add interest using your ribbon borders and treatments.  Combining like ribbons in different colors, combining different types and widths of ribbon, twisting two twines together and/or unraveling cording/twine and then recombining them in new color combinations and patterns.  I’ve released the short video on you-tube and linked it on the videos page -> scrapbooking techniques, but I’m thinking these photos might be enough to trigger your own creations and combinations:

samples 1 front siderecombine twine








Make Your Own Foam Squares and Dimensionals

Not really suggesting that you actually make them out of foam, but the teeny tiny dots and squares that you buy are inexpensive, and do the job – BUT how many do you have to peel and stick to get the job done when you’re scrapbooking?  Layered scrap or computer card stock is the way to go.  Prep it ahead of time.  Don’t want to mess with that?  Cardboard is perfect as well.  This video “Scrapbooking Tips & Tricks #1” demonstrates how simple it is, and than you have layering pieces that make sense for large elements and mats that you typically use on your 12×12 pages.


Tack down your templates and masks

Planning ahead can save a bit of frustration.  Strips of tape – even painters tape, can be a hit or miss when it comes to a ‘clean’ removal from your project.  That and they do nothing to help with the tiny edges that sometimes are part of your template design (you know that ones that lift up at exactly the wrong time).    Try this next time:  Apply tiny dots of TomBow Multi Liquid Glue to the back of your template – especially those smaller nooks and crannies.  LET DRY COMPLETELY.  Once dry, they stay “tacky”.  Enough stick to keep your template from moving and/or lifting – but won’t damage the surface when you’re finished.    This trick is also perfect for masking of stamped images.  No more sticky notes and trying to ensure you capture enough of the sticky strip to hold down the mask!


t and tDon’t DO this:

prize photoPaper snips are better than…well sliced bread – unless you try to open a can of acetone with them.   Why did I try?  Well they were pointed and could fit into the notch.  Don’t get me wrong – they worked great… for that.  But afterwards I was left with bent up snips!  ugh.  Cutting any kind of ribbon cleanly is, I think, their claim to fame – not so much once you use them as a can opener.  Something to keep in mind.  Also – if you are reading this T&T, you can win yourself a sheet of Stampin’ UP Jewel Basics Rhinestones!  I have to admit I helped with the photograph.  Just click over to my contact page – put ‘Rhinestones’ in the subject and your address in the message and I will send you totally FREE: Jewels Basic Rhinestones – 150 self adhesive rhinestones in a variety of sizes perfect for your scrapbooking and/or card making!  I’ll delete this once the freebie has been awarded.  (All contact info is time stamped.  So first come, first WIN!!!!)



final photo for articlea quick swirl

 More Stick, Less Slip

If you have ever been frustrated by your clear stamps not clinging to the acrylic block, taking just a little longer when you first put them together will save you down the road.  I prefer to purchase the clear stamps mostly because they are less expensive - but also because they take up less storage space – but I was just about to give that up because they would slip off of the block and/or get stuck onto my versamark pad while I was working on a project, especially the smaller stamps.  My video “Prepping your clear stamps” begins with a clear stamp set, right off the shelf and the whole peel and stick procedure.  The trick is after you’ve finished setting up your stamp, swirl a thin line of glue onto the back.  Let the glue dry completely before storing.  This gives the stamp just enough additional sticking power to stay put!

Flatten it for your scrapbook

I believe that including dimension on your scrapbook pages keeps things interesting… but what may work on a greeting card focal, might not just be right on a layout.  For instance, the folded paper focals on my birthday easels – could be a bit much in a scrapbook page.  First off, the obvious positive is that you’re not limited to that 5.5 x 4 1/4 card front.  So start with larger tags, larger squares!  The obvious fix to downplay the page profile is to glue the layer (layers) together…. before you ‘think’ you need to do anything, I suggest taking your finished focal and place it under a very heavy book for the evening – you might not have to do anything at all!  So, still not flat enough – as I suggested glue layers.  Depending upon the size, this might just end up making your page “stiff” – which is also why I avoid the larger chipboard embellishments.  You’re last resort would be to cut at the folds – removing the bulk (pieces that fold upon each other, but do not show when flat).  The Christmas tree I’ve put together for an example has a top ‘branch’ that is simply glued together and the bottom two branches that were cut and then pieced.

of course bigger is bettersnip on folds and piece back profile

Shopping for Ribbon

1) Resist the urge to buy for a single project, a single color.  3 yards is a LOT of ribbon, the 10 yard lengths that Stampin’ UP typically gives you in a spool – more difficult to use, unless it is a ribbon that you can manipulate to meet any/many project color pallets.

2) Never, never – and I will type it once more: NEVER pay full price

Black and White? – It doesn’t have to be:

black and white

black and white, brown and white, navy and white geometric ribbons are always a good purchase.  Ink the white portions with your stampin’ write marker to coordinate with your projects.  Lighter base ribbon colors don’t work as well.   Just color over the white areas and you have a color coordinating black and “whatever” for your project, turning a one trick pony into something you can reach for over and over.

Metallics with a White/Neutral – Always!

all day long exactly coordinatingWhen you find it, buy it…  after the holidays especially, the metallic ribbons are always reduced.  Hunt around to find that silver or gold metallic with white.  Once again, white never has to stay white.  Color it up to coordinate with your project.  In this case, the 1/8″ ribbon came in black w/silver, gray w/silver and “white” w/silver all in the same style on the same spool.  Bonus.

 Lastly is twine/cording


I macramé, so I am never without some sort of jute that can be inked to the color I’m needing in a project (omg – more than you will ever use twine in natural, white, craft colors from your home improvement store) – or if you prefer, bakers twine in white, natural linen thread…. still plenty to go around.  Inking is interesting on natural fibers.  I’ve found it easiest to ink first and then run through a damp paper towel to pull/blend the ink.  Make sure you allow the twine/jute to dry completely.  The great thing about jute/twine is that typically you can ‘unravel’ it… so choose to leave it spotty or ink each strand independently.  Scroll down to ‘customizing ribbon’ to read a few techniques that go beyond just manipulating the color of your ribbon/twine.

Note that for each of these variations, the resulting ribbon/twine WILL bleed if introduced to water/moisture (with the exception of stayz-on inks.  Your fingers may get a little discolored as you work it into a bow/knot even after letting it dry.

Resist the temptation, no matter how much the price is reduced:avoid like the plague

this collection has been sitting, collecting dust for…. hmmm, more than a decade.  Pre-printed ribbon is a no-no buy – unless you are buying for a specific project, and even than it better be for a homecoming mum or you will never use it all.  Else, you will have to design around the ribbon and that is never a good idea.


Enlarging die cuts:

If you work in a 12×12 format for your scrapbooking, I’m sure that there are plenty of times that you’ve wished for larger die cuts/die cutting and paper punching tools.  With this trick, you don’t have to “eyeball” your enlarged images AND you don’t need to buy those pricier large punches and dies.  I’m working with the Owl Builder Punch from Stampin’ UP, but this technique can be used to resize anything you have in your inventory to create a template the size you need for your layouts.  Begin by punching out the elements you wish to resize.  Place them together on a plain piece of printer paper (I glue them down to minimize any distortion when taking crop and enlargethe photograph).sizing for scrapbooking  Take a picture at as close to straight on as possible.  Edit your photo, cropping any unnecessary portions.  Print at the size you need onto cardstock to make your template pieces…I print in black and white and a low quality to save on ink  since these will only be used for patterned pieces.timesaver  Cutresult out all the shapes and use them to trace each piece to create the larger image/die cut.  In this particular example, I hunted around for existing circle and heart punches (eyes and heart of the owl) so that I wouldn’t have to trace and cut those elements each time… big time saver.  When all is said and done you have a finished enlarged embellishment that coordinates perfectly with the original or to stand alone in your scrapbook layout.  I’ve produced a 5 minute video that demonstrates this technique – check under the videos tab – papercrafting techniques, and here are the SU item numbers:  Owl Builder Punch (118074), Cajun Craze card stock 8.5×11  (119684) and Regals DSP stack (130139).




FRUSTRATION SAVER – Thin die cutters

hodge podge

 <- These are the guys I’m talking about

I just finished with my Sparkling Tree Christmas Card video and was carrying on about hassles with the die cut frame, similar to a Stampin’ UP thinlit.  I’ve heard about using wax paper before, but wanted to be able to test all the thin and delicate products out there that create hassles when trying to remove the finished cardstock die – or even more of a pain, patterned paper!  BOTTOM LINE:  A wax paper layer is a significant improvement/time saver with all of them.

Let’s begin with the thinlits.  thinlitsI still recommend that you roll the ‘sandwich’ through the Big Shot/Die Cutting machine 2-6 times slowly - and if you can rotate 90 degrees during the repetitions even better (sometimes the length of your card stock, especially in scrapbooking, is longer than the 6″ width of most die cut machines). But introduce a piece of wax paper the size of your cardstock, or larger, against the thinlit before rolling.  1) All together easier to remove the finished die cut  and 2) Any innies left in either the cardstock or the thinlit, pop out much, much, easier.   A layer of wax paper works great with your embosslits also – I can’t tell you how many butterflies I’ve had to pick out using a sewing needle.   Place the wax paper layer on the embossed side of the image(s) – that is the side where the textures are raised UP.   Lastly Sizzlits – yup, even though you’re not working against a metal, I think if you look closely at my snowflake decorative strip you can tell where I’ve had to pick out the innies that get left behind, not to mention the time consuming task of the innies that get ‘stuck’ in the finished snow flake.   A layer of wax paper against the sizzlit worked to fix both of those issues.   I don’t typically have problems with the BigZ dies, but as everything becomes more intricate, my stash of was paper will be close at hand.  Embosslits  Sizzlits


A Word about Adhesives:

Runner upsI have a few that I continue to use and have tried as many more which I will use on Cards and Framed projects - but never again in my scrapbooks.  I’m going to be blunt, but it’s really BAD when you work very hard on a project and it all comes apart at the seams.  Glue dots, sticky tape, snail adhesive (the runner adhesives) and GLUE STICKS:  They will not hold up over time.  I know, sticky tape, right?  big claim to fame is super sticky!  But not if you wait around for a few years.   Yo’all are laughing – BUT don’t scrapbooks need to hang in there for – well for…ever?   I’ve gotten cards in the mail where they’ve used runner type adhesives that didn’t even make it as long as me opening the envelope.  Back in the day – scotch tape (a few rolled pieces under the photograph) was the way to go – nope.  It gets very non-sticky – and discolors if you are one of the unfortunates that taped on the outside of your memorabilia and photographs.   I was a major fan of GLUE sticks for a long time – but a couple of years and turn a couple of pages and everything is popping off!  It becomes brittle/dry and stops sticking- ugh.  and the winner isSo – I have a TIP on an adhesive that is great to work with (you have a few seconds to manipulate positioning) and once it sticks – it sticks for …  ever!   It’s the Tombow Multipurpose Liquid Glue (110795  3.95).  I also like that if you get a glob on something – or it oozes out from behind – let it dry and the little rubber “Adhesive Remover” (103684 3.50).  It’s the only thing I let my students use in workshops and again, – the only glue in my scrapbooks.   Whenever I have a few more dollars to spend on an order – I fill up on this glue because I never want to be without.


Organizing Card Stock and Patterned papers

I wanted to share some filing systems for my card stock and designer series papers that will, I hope, help to first and foremost organize your materials, but secondly – be able to create some great organization that doesn’t cost a fortune.  finished 2Think everyone would luv to have a craft room with drawers and labels, filing caddies and the like.  I do agree that the best way to keep all your scrapbooking papers is horizontal/flat…. BUT – I have found that file folders work well, very well for me.  So feel free to check out my video on creating your file folders from the shipping material that comes with your Stampin’ UP orders(visit the video tab under scrapbooking techniques).  I’m moving onto organization:does not work onedoes not work two To begin with I have had paper stored as in these couple of photographs and they don’t get utilized.  If you’ve seen my stamp wall, for me, anyway it is out of sight out of mind situation.  Guess in the big scheme of things, if you can see it “quickly” you will be more apt to use it – or in my case, know that it is there to use.  So let’s prep our patterned papers and the very expensive, totally intricate product you will need are ZIPLOCK baggies.  That simple really.  The first thing I do is ALWAYS grab a baggie and then list all of the coordinating colors in the collection of patterns – If I see a few secondary colors I list those as well, especially if they are the neutrals.  As I’m working on a project I’ll store scraps of the patterned papers inside the baggie so that the next time I’m using those papers, the niblets are the first to go.  Also,

punch line for dsp2 inch seperatorsuse it or lose itwith the colors listed there are many times that you can find some of there retired inks and papers on Amazon or Ebay.  My photo is of a 2008 DSP:Western Sky and just for haha’s I looked to see if I could purchase more – nope.  BUT I was able to find Buckaroo Blue cardstock and ink pads that is the predominant color in the series.  Always good to know.  If you ever have problems checking out coordinating colors for a particular patterned paper just contact me (contact tab) and I’ll help. Separator tabs are one of those personal choice issues….   I prefer to use the dunnage (shipping materials, or the backings for my products) to create either 12 x 12 seperators or 2 inch tabs.  In the past, I was pretty much set on purchasing file tabs from and office supply store – but, ding, ding – I have more than enough materials to create tabs! So whether you use a rectangular piece of cardstock, punch out your tab or chose to coordinate with the filed materials – pretty much up to you.above and beyondindexed fileshelf for paper and cardstock






Create Custom Ribbons that work with your scrapbook pages

Never be caught without coordinating ribbon for your scrapbook pages again! Started playing with inking ribbon and twine when I had to have a ribbon that was not in my inventory, or wanted to use a retired ink (as they last FOREVER), but the ribbons were no longer available. The styles and techniques just grew exponentially from there….. I hope you give some of these techniques a try:

01 bakers twine 02 spotted twine 03 dauber on ink

Color Ink your whisper white, very vanilla, or natural twines!

Use a stampin write marker (brush side) to spot dot along the length of your twine. For creating a solid color, grab your stamp pad and a dauber and trap the twine between the dauber and stamp pad – pull through 2-3 times and then repeat between the dauber and scrap paper.  Let it dry for a long time - like an hour or so.  Anytime you can purchase the whisper white, very vanilla or a natural color twine - it’s worth it.  Depending on your layout these base colors are limitless in potential (I have some product suggestions and items at the end of the article that will work).

04 stamped images 05 stamped images 08 too pretty 09 and totally coordinatingtimesaver Extra wide ribbon – and I’m thinking 3/4″ and up has a lot of potential.  Depending upon the material it will bleed just a bit… even with Stayz On ink.  I think the coordination you can achieve is worth it – grab some blender pens as well to color in sections.  My only word of warning is in the adhesive you use to attach your ribbon to your scrapbook page.  I’d recommend sticky tape or glue dots (liquid glues will ‘bleed’ your stamped ribbon further).  Tiny stamps are soooo versatile in scrapbooking, which is probably contrary.  But how great does those little scallops look with the large stamped image!  Too great

06 tie dye effect 07 more tie dye

I call this technique a tie dye effect.  Blender pens are ok, but the aqua painters work really well – just a touch of ink on an organza ribbon makes a distinctive difference in the appearance of your project.  Again – I stock up on white and vanilla organza ribbon whenever I can (vanilla and white satin ribbon as well).

09 bold and beautiful

And lastly, Stayz On lives up to it’s name.  There really are so few LARGE coordinating ribbons available for scrapbookers – and these “ribbon manipulation” techniques make it 1) so affordable, 2) so versatile and 3) totally unique that you can’t help but give it a go.   Having said that, a lot of these samples do involve getting down and dirty with your ribbons and inks – water for one – and they do limit the adhesives that you are able to use on your scrapbook page – but I think, totally worth it for the “one-of-a-kind” look.

OK – so let’s look at current Stampin UP products not to be without: (link to my Stampin UP website follows suggested products)

Adhesives first:  Sticky Strip (104294), Glue Dots (103683) and Snail Adhesive (104332)

Now – Current ribbon/twine recommendations:  The first is a “must have” in your inventory: 7/8 Cotton Ribbon – Natural (127844); 5/8″ Organza ribbon in whisper white (114319); 7/16″ Trim (129287); 3/8 Taffeta Ribbon  – Whisper White (109070); 1/2″ Seambinding in Very Vanilla (120999) and lastly the baker’s Twine in Whisper White (124262)

MY SHOP…   just make a list and shop now (top right) – bring up your item and add.

Happy Scrapp’n!


SAVE the scraps from your stamp sets to CREATE solid shaped stamps

You can make use of the large leftover pieces of both the rubber and, in the case of clear stamps, the thin layer of plastic that allows your stamp to cling to the acrylic block.  Run them through your BIG SHOT to create solid shaped stamps!    It does have to be a BIGZ die and I run the Rubber first and the clear label separately.  I also save the “innies” of clear shaped stamps to use as well.  Solid stamps are great for using your water color crayons, double stamping, transferring and stamping shaped patterns - AND you will also have coordinating stamps to use with your die cut shapes!  You’ll enjoy this added versatility in your scrapbooking.


I’ve  made myself 2 solid star stamps, a med. sized butterfly, and a tulip with right and left flourishes using the BigZ dies I had on hand (top photo) and just out of the “Daydream Medallion” clear stamp set, kept a solid 1″ circle, a solid 2 3/8″ circle, and 1 1/2 inch ‘tire’ stamp.  In the past I have tried to ‘free cut’ the leftovers, but they never really came out with a clean edge…. still I do keep small hand cut squares and rectangles -or at least just until I purchase a BigZ die with those shapes.

To see a variety of techniques to do more with ALL of your solids stamps, be sure to check out my How To: Techniques Video “Do more with your solid stamps




If it has dimension, chances are you CAN emboss it!

Yes, you’ll need to have a die cut platform – of course, I use my big shot. But the point is you don’t always have to buy an “embossing folder”, which while I encourage you to have a selection of favorites – creating your own can give you an unlimited variety of images and flexibility, especially for those images you may only want to emboss once/twice for a specific design need.

Let me show you what I mean.

We’ll start with the most obvious: You have a die cutting machine and probably a few if not a lot of die cut images. Use those die cuts to emboss! – if you cut from thicker cardboard, you’re ready to go, if you can only cut through card stock – glue 3 on top of each other to give you the thickness you’ll need.



Adding Interest to Your Scrapbook Photos

     Do your photos sometimes get lost on your scrapbook page or decorated photo frame?  With the variety of card stock, patterned papers and embellishments it’s not hard to see how that could happen.  Try these techniques to help make your photos jump out from the page!

Think Out of the Box:

Original photograph includes the dog within the landscape.

Within your photo printing software, resize your original photo to the size you want to print out.  Before you print: Add a duplicate photo.   Take your original and CROP it (no more resizing!) so that your subject will extend beyond the edge(s).  In this example, you would be left with about 1/2 a dog on the left hand side.   Use the duplicate photo for trimming around the subject once it is printed.  To save ink, I crop this photo as well before printing because we only need the subject (dog).  Print, trim around your subject and attach using dimensionals, making sure to align it over the remaining portion of the original.

Standing Out from the Crowd:

Original photograph is entirely in color

     Within your photo printing software resize your original photograph to the size you want it to print.  Before you print, add a duplicate.  Edit your duplicate photo to black and white, – be sure to give it a healthy contrast, so lightening the b&w is a good idea as well.  Your color original can be cropped to include only the subject(s) you want to stand out in your finished piece.   Print, trim and glue to black and white copy.

** if you’re into photo effects, try something other than black and white in the background!  grain, posterize, brush strokes, etc


   Print your photo to size, cut it up and arrange on background card stock leaving gaps.

For added effect, you can substitute irrelevant sections of your photo for colored card stock: Trace the section you’re replacing and substitute into your finished piece.