Posts Tagged ‘Design tips’

Welcome Back

Today’s article is all about stamps. I am going to give you a list of the sorts of stamps and elements that make for good design. Exactly what images you buy will be down to personal taste, as will be how you use them.

My favorite designer is Anna Griffin, and from her I have learnt that a good card/page design is made up of a few essential elements.

  • Background; create an overall pattern as a background to your main images
  • Cartouche; Frames
  • Salutation; Wording/ text for greeting etc
  • Motif; This would be your main image
  • Boarder; use for edges or frames
  • Embellishment; extra feature to enhanse the appeal of your project.


For many years I collected stamps based on ‘Ohh that’s nice’ and I bought it. The problem with that approach is without at least some planning you end up with a large collection of images that simply do not go with each other. This was brought home to me most obviously when  I started taking part in swaps over on the Stamping Mad Forum www.stampingmadforum.co.uk As soon as I tried to make a card/ATC/Moo to a theme I realised that my images simply didn’t go together! Ahhhh. Once I had collected some of Anna’s stamps it was incredible what a differrence using images that were designed to compliment each other made on the finished cards. 

From then on, whenever I buy any image it is definately with a mind as to what it will go with. I have mentioned before that I take a ringbinder of photocopied images from the stamps I have, with me when I go shopping. That way I can see if the image I am considering will ‘go with’ what I already have. It can also help if you like a particular designer as collecting images from a range by them are more likely to co-ordinate.



My current favourite designers are


Best wishes and thanks for reading


Billie xx


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Welcome back

Today is a suggestion for how to make the most out of your craft time.

The Design Box

Do you ever find that inspiration strikes, when you are not able to do anything about it? You have a brilliant idea for a card, but the kids are asleep so you can’t move stuff around to create it without waking them up.  Maybe you are going on holiday and this is the first chance you will have some time for yourself, you would like to make some cards but haven’t got space in your luggage for craft tools.  Maybe you have to spend a lot of time in bed and don’t have the energy for long crafting sessions but have loads of ideas. Well read on, after a little preparation, even a few minutes will leave you with card designs to be proud of.

You will need

  • A storage box
  • Blank card
  • Permanent ink or embossing ink, heat tool and embossing powder
  • Card bags or similar clear bags
  • Scissors
  • Rubber stamps, stencils, templates, punches whatever craft items you have
  • A hard backed plain paper notebook. Consider an artist’s sketch book style, as they are more robust than an exercise book.

Here are the steps to creating your own Design Box

  1. Taking the blank card, fold a collection of blank cards in the sizes you love to work in. If you have one of the scoring boards that offers selections of sizes, try making one of each.
  2. Next stamp your rubber stamps on to pieces of card using permanent ink. If you do not have permanent ink, use embossing ink but do cover it with embossing powder and then heat set. (It will make your images last longer, hot hands in the summer would smear the ink otherwise. Been there worn the t-shirt and had to make more).
  3. Cut out your images and group them together into themes and place them in a card bag, labelled with the theme name. If your image fits in to several categories, just stamp extra images to put some in each category. Close the card bag with a paper clip to prevent the images dropping out.
  4. If you take part in a lot of swaps, consider writing the stamps details on the back of your stamped image. This will make it easier to tell others which stamp you used, it will also help with later planning.
  5. Do the same thing with your other craft items; punches, stencils etc.

From now on these images ‘live’ in your design box.  They will be used to create patterns to copy from.

Storage box and card bag

Storage box and card bag

Stamped images

Stamped images

Details of the stamp, written on the back of the image

Details of the stamp, written on the back of the image.

Grouped images are stored in card bags in the box.

Grouped images are stored in card bags in the box.

What can you do with your Design Box?

Now when inspiration strikes you can get your Design Box out and play with different layouts. Lay your chosen stamped images onto the blank card of your choice and move them around till you see something you like.  If a design isn’t working on one size of card try it on a different size. It is amazing how different your stamp images look like this, I have rediscovered stamps that I’ve hardly used and now are favourites. It is also useful if you are making ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) you can see how your stamp would look on the small size card.

When you have a design that you are happy with you have a choice.

  • Make your card copying the ‘pattern’ you just created
  • Draw your design in your notebook. If you have ideas for colours make these notes next to your drawing. It doesn’t have to be a detailed sketch as long as you note where the images are going and list the stamps name; you will remember what your idea is. (Using this method you can return your images back to the box ready for next time)
  • Get another card bag and leave all the images together for creation at a later date. (If you are going to do this, you will need more than one copy of each image)

Why should I use a Design Box?

This is very useful when you only have a few minutes to spare and would love to create but haven’t got time to get all your supplies out. Great for holiday as it can all be stored in a small box.  Handy if you are stuck in bed as nothing is heavy or bulky.

This method saves a lot of time, rather than taking an hour to create a card which you then may decide doesn’t work, with the layout method you can try different variations of image and card size without using up lots of card stock.

Sometimes we get a whole afternoon or even a whole day to craft, but in the real world how often do we get time to do that. You don’t always feel like getting all the craft things out (and putting them all away again coz it’s almost time for tea and you need the table). With the Design Box you make the most of your precious craft time, and can create your newly ‘designed’ card when time permits.

Here are some pictures of how I have used the Design Box to design an Anna Griffin style card.

Here are my Anna Griffin stamps grouped in bags; Motif, Cartouche, border and Text

Here are my Anna Griffin stamps grouped in bags; Motif, Cartouche, border and Text.

I would then either draw this design in the notebook (see Card Log) or make it.

The elements placed on the card
This shows the elements placed on the card.

Card log notebook

The last in this series of articles on organization and will feature a Card Log, however due to ongoing problems with photo/text alignment and old posts displayed as underlined, there will be a delay before I post any more. I am in the process of investigating the problems and trying to resolve them. It appears only to be a problem on the home page, not on the articles themselves. It also may be only a problem to viewers using Internet Explorer.

Thanks for reading and hope to be back soon.


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