Friday, May 13, 2011

Fun with stamps: Make your own patterned paper

I love, love, love working with stamps. I love making my own patterned paper. I pull images from unlikely matches in my vast clear stamp collection. I truly hope that clear stamps never go away... I've noticed even JoAnn is starting to sell more of the repositionable rubber stamps. If clear stamps go away, some of my favorite effects will be gone, too!

Lemme splain.

I love using clear stamps with dye inks because it gives a mottled texture to the image. Some people hate this about clear stamps. You can relatively easily get rid of it. Either stamp the same image twice in the same place (if you have really steady hands), or coat your stamp first with Versamark Watermark ink and then get the dye ink on there and then stamp. Or just use pigment or chalk inks for perfect clear stamp images.

However, when you're making your own patterned paper, I believe the mottled look actually adds to the illusion that your paper isn't handmade. Now, unless you are a small portion of scrapbooking personality, you actually don't like perfect papers. You think you do. Go look through some of your patterned cardstock and really stare at it. The images in the pattern are aged in some spots, with extra ink in others, clear some places, and faded away in others. The images are NOT perfect. So you can, even though at first it feels weird, go for not perfect when you're trying to create your own patterned papers.

One of my favorite ways to do this is simply to use dye ink with clear stamps. Apply ink to the stamp and go to town. Sometimes I purposefully put less ink on the stamp by tapping the stamp against the ink pad (or tapping the pad against the stamp, if I'm using a tiny ink pad) purposefully softer. Also make sure you do some whisper stamping--stamp your image once and then immediately stamp it again somewhere else on your page. This helps create variety in your stamped images so that they don't look so super perfect and handmade. I mean, I mostly am aiming for perfection in my finished product, but sometimes my "perfect" is really translated as "looks store-bought". I think that's true for a lot of us.

I stamped the following patterned paper for a page featuring pictures of my son and my husband from April. If you're using multiple colors like I did here, it helps to use a coordinated ink set so that everything will look good. I used the Regals collection of classic (dye) ink spots from Stampin' Up!. I love the ink spots, too. Using the smaller ink pad gives you more control over how much you're inking your stamps. Ink heavily on one side and then sort of tap softer towards the end... That's another thing I love to do. Create your own fade looks. You can't do that with a huge inkpad.

Below is a picture of the paper with the stamps I used piled on top. They are, from left and traveling clockwise:

Inkadinkadoo 98693 Rock Star (Used the skull border and the star)
Basic Grey Oliver Shield (Used the flourish and the star)
Kelly Panacci Inc. (from Sandylion) KSTP18 Love (Used the straight flourish)
Basic Grey Crumpets (Used the dot strip)

I started here with a plain textured sheet of white cardstock. I used the straight flourish from the Love stamp set to go around the entire page, then began adding extra bits here and there. One of the best tips I EVER heard about making your own random patterns with stamping was from a show I watched on PBS a few years ago... I can't remember which show. The guest showed that if you stamp in a triangle shape, you can truly create random patterns. Since my stamping is confined on this page to the borders, I just did triangle shapes in the borders of the accent pieces such as the flourishes and the stars. I did a lot of whisper stamping with the red dot strip.

Once all of my stamping was completed, I inked all of the edges with Vintage Photo Distress Ink, and then took my sponge dauber and scribbled in the middle of the page with it.

For those of you who think that scrapbooking this way takes way too long, I timed myself. From start to finish, creating this paper took me about 15 minutes. I work pretty fast because I refuse to get hung up on any one individual step. I have learned that in the end, after you've added all the elements, the finished product will be good. It doesn't have to look perfect at steps one, two, or three. The finished product will be perfect. Move on, even if it looks weird. It'll all come together in the end.

(Incidentally... If you get to the end and you think it looks weird still, I recommend putting it away for at least a half hour and messing around with other stuff. It's funny how focusing your mind on something else for just a while will keep your brain from re-focusing on whatever it was focusing on in the first place that made you think your work looked weird. When you pull the paper out again, you'll look at it and usually think it looks fine. These are my favorite tips for not driving yourself crazy when you're doing this stuff. ^_~)

Now to the actual page...

I had these photos. They're all random photos from our April that I wanted to mark and include, but I didn't want to make three individual pages. So I decided to turn this into a month collection.

I knew I wanted this basic layout, but I didn't like how wide the photos were on the page.

I could pull my trimmer out and trim the left photo, but it's easier to just slip the photo behind the one next to it like so. (I purposefully left one of the little edges up higher so that you could see that you can just slip photos behind sometimes instead of trimming them. It works really well. Why dull up your blade or risk messing up your photo if you don't have to?) This way, if you accidentally put too much behind, you can pull it back out again, and vice versa.

Once I had my photo layout figured out, I just played around with a few more things. I really didn't do very much more on this page. I had already had fun making the paper, right? I rounded the corners on the photos and the journaling block, creating a faux box from the uneven elements which I believe helps tie them all together into one unit even though their ends don't match up. The corners of the unit are rounded here... Do you see it? The top right and left and the bottom right and left of the entire piece are what I rounded, not of the individual items.

I finished it out with stamping April 2011 on the page in random colors (from the Regals set to keep it all coordinating). I used the Inkadinkadoo 97719 Maison Ornate Alphabet stamps, which is one of my favorite alphabet sets. It's ornate enough to be fancy for fancier pages, but also not so fancy that it looks out of place on a page featuring only boys.

I am so pleased with how this page turned out, too, and it was less than 45 minutes, including the time it took to make the paper.

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