Blog: DIY

Layered Stencil Holiday Cards – DIY Play Date

Last week Kim and I got together to make some holiday cards based on this snowflake card I made for my Deck of Cards Challenge – Kim was really excited about playing with the process. It is so simple and easy and wow does it make some gorgeous cards. We made a stack of layered stencil cards – snowflake inspired designs, patterns that reminded us of stars, and just festive layers of color and shape that would bring joy to the season.

All you need is: blank cards, stencils with a radial pattern, Distress Inks, ink blending tools, masking tape, and some pens or markers to finish them off.

We began applying the Distress ink through a stencil, held in place with masking tape, onto the front of a blank card. Here is my Valley Road stencil.

This one we blended out the color – the inks work really well for blending – and kept the design a single layer. I would later add a top to the design as if it were a tree ornament.

But the real magic happens when you start building up layers of color and pattern. Here is my Toledo stencil as a first layer in blue.

Then we rotated the stencil and added another layer in green. Be sure to have several different ink blending pads for different colors – so you do not contaminate the colors.

The resulting layers of color and pattern have a softness that is quite lovely. Here I added in some extra sparkle and lettering with a fine point pen.

In this way, layering up different stencils with different colors, we created some beautiful holiday cards.

Sometimes we used larger stencils like my Manhattan stencil here, and only stenciled a small part of them.

Here we taped off a part of my Star Struck stencil.

We found that about 3 layers of pattern and color gave us the most successful designs. We also played with the color wheel – the above cards use all warm colors, just perfect for a star.

The above card was made by layering up my Valley Road, Flower Maze, and Grove Street stencils. To really push the snow element, we added my What’s the Point stencil for the dots.

We hope you give this technique a try – get some stencils and ink and try layering up some designs. You will love the results!

Here are some of the supplies we used for these cards:


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Grungy Cards – DIY

I thought I would make a few cards using a monoprinting technique with my new Mixed Media Chips.

On a gelli plate I rolled out some acrylic paint with the Midtown 1 and Midtown 2 chips.

Then I printed directly onto blank cards. To attach the chip, I used Coccoina glue stick. I always loved this glue stick- smells a bit like almonds and I am so happy that I found it now also available in the states. It is great for paper and thin paper embellishments.

In addition to my nice and grungy monoprint I also stamped part of the My Home rubber stamp on this one.

This one I snuck in my Love Knots stamp for the xxxooo.

And this one got really yummy grungy and then I also added my Love Tag stamp. I’m really happy with how they turned out, especially with the addition of the painted Mixed Media Chips.

Here are some of the supplies I used:


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Cyanotype & Stencils – Play Date

This was such an interesting and exciting play date with Kim – so excited to share it with you today! I have wanted to try cyanotype (aka Sun Printing) for a long time and we finally did. Now this did require some prep ahead of time, and it definitely is an active process, but the results are very cool.

I purchased a cyanotype kit on amazon (link below) that was a 2 part mixture. You can find the chemicals a lot of places, just be sure to follow the directions on the packaging. My kit required some prep 24 hours before we did the actual “printing”. As for supplies, we used the cyanotype kit, large paddle brushes, gunked up stencils (YES – this is one argument for not cleaning them lol), and a surface to print on. We chose wood frames, some fabric, and watercolor paper. Following the directions of our kit, we painted the surface with the mixture in a dimly lit room and let them dry. Ours worked best when we allowed them to fully dry.

Then it is time to head outside on a nice sunny day. We first did the frames. Here you can see 2 frames covered with an array of stencils. If it is windy you will need to weigh the stencils down.

Here is my Santiago stencil on the frame, catching the sunlight. Our mixture was a greenish yellow when it went on and slowly turned to a bronze color when it had been exposed to enough light.

And here is my Toledo stencil on a frame.

When they have exposed enough, you race them inside and rinse them until the water turns clear. The covered areas will wash away to reveal the wood color and the areas exposed to sunlight will begin to turn a beautiful blue.

Over the next few hours they will cure to full color and look just gorgeous!

Stencils with thicker lines worked a bit better and we learned that it is safer to weigh the stencil down in case wind picks up.

I just love the variety you can get and it all just works together because of that wonderful blue.

We also tried fabric with stencils (Hamilton and Star Struck here) and leaves. Weigh everything down and try to find flat leaves so you get defined edges. The fabric and paper exposure was really quick – so have a plan and all your stencils and objects ready to immediately put down on the fabric when you bring it outside.

Here is some paper with leaves and grass – all of these blew in the wind very easily so we did not get a good print here. I would put rocks on them next time. The top paper had some stencils and rocks. Setting up multiple papers at once was a bit hectic as they started changing very fast. Make a plan, have plenty of extra material (stencils, leaves, rocks, etc) and expect to just roll with it.

The paper process was the same – rinse immediately after bringing inside. Here you see a print I made with my Buenos Aires and Versailles stencils getting a rinse.

We let them dry in the sun and you can see some interesting results.

Definitely something to play around with here.

After a bit, the blue really came out.

My Valley Road, Park Blvd, and Broadway stencils came out very crisp.

We rinsed and dried the fabric as well. Here you see some leaves, vines, and a peek of my Exchange Place stencil in the corner.

These were pretty unplanned compositions. It is worth getting familiar with the process and just playing at first. Kim and I are planning a second play date now that we know how it works and then we can better prepare for what we make in the end.

Regardless, it was really awesome to see the potential and beauty of cyanotype printing.

We are imagining all sorts of fabric and clothing projects :)

Another variation we did: stamping with my new rubber stamp sets and black stazon ink onto transparency film.

I stamped the film with my Fantastic Large stamps and then put it on top of a treated pillowcase… It blew off several times in the breeze hence the “double vision” look to the print.

But still a really cool idea for future cyano projects!

So as you can see there is so much potential to using this medium with your stamps and stencils. We are just getting started and will definitely share future adventures with you as well. Don’t be intimidated by the process – it isn’t that hard and the results can be sooooooo nice and surprising some times. I hope you give it a try!

Here are some of the supplies that we used:

Comments (2)

  • Rae Lynn

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    These turned out so cool! I love the blue!

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Foam Stamped Pillow Play Date

A couple weeks ago Kim and I got together for a little home decor play date – stamped pillows. We used my newest foam stamps, some fabric ink pads, and white cotton pillow cases (we already had inserts). This was a pretty quick and easy way to refresh the living room.

Take the time to iron your pillow cases first. The stamping will look better if you’re working on a smooth fabric.

Slip something sturdy and smooth into the case before you stamp to prevent the ink from bleeding through to the other side. We used some styrofoam pieces I had laying around.

I made my own stencil out of transparency sheets for a sponged background. It’s hard to see in this photo, but it is a shape that is sort of classic mid century.

I filled in the shape with yellow ink, slowly building up the density of the color on the pillow case.

Then I went back in with gray ink and my Jazzed foam stamp. If you don’t want the edges of the foam stamp to print, press more lightly on the stamp. I like the added visual texture here and the authentic block print look.

I also stamped with my Groovy foam stamp – it connects really well with the Jazzed one to make a longer, continuous design.

I filled in some of the other areas with additional yellow shapes.

Kim stamped a subtle background pattern using a pale green ink and my Signals foam stamp.

Here’s the complete background.

Then she came back and stamped my Jazzed stamp over it using gray ink.

I began a second case using blue ink and the same hand made stencil.

I sponged in the abstract shapes.

And then I added the Far Out, Jazzed and Groovy stamps over the shapes.

Kim’s second case began with a background using my Mid Century Squared stamp.

She finished her second pillow with my Gnarly stamp again in gray. After the cases dry, follow your ink manufacturer’s instructions for setting the ink, end enjoy your new home decor!

Stamped pillow cases are a very quick way to spruce up your sofa.

My cases look great on our teal sofa.

I love how the yellow one compliments some of the books in the background.

And the blue one is definitely my favorite – I might make a second one in this color.

I planned it so they also work with some of my existing pillows.

I hope you try this project – just another way to use foam stamps and fabric inks. Here are the supplies we used:

Comments (2)

  • Sue Clarke

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    Love these! Nice way to add a new look for sure with just a fine new pillow with a groovy pattern.

    Reply

  • susan

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    oh, Nat, these are adorable! (i have used your elephant stamps to do pillows for a friend.) i love the block print look you got from the foam stamp mounts. now i know my next project!

    Reply

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Rubber Stamped Reusable Shopping Bags – DIY Play Date

After getting into making patterns with my rubber stamp sets, I knew I wanted to take that idea and use it on a couple fabric projects. Kim and I got together to put some of those lovely patterns to use on reusable shopping bags. Our neighborhood is getting rid of plastic bags in June so we wanted to be ready to shop with a unique tote or two.

The supplies couldn’t be simpler: white (pre-washed and pre-ironed) cotton tote bags, a selection of my rubber stamps, and ink pads that are for stamping on fabric. We used Tsukineko Momento Luxe inks – you can find the links for those below.

We both took a minute to page through the pattern book I made with all those Nat’s April Patterns. It has become a great source to go to for inspiration.

Before you begin stamping, put some cardboard or a magazine in between the layers of your bag so it doesn’t bleed through. Be careful of any creases or gaps or textures in this – it can show up in your stamping. It is best to find something smooth for in there.

I started with the Jewett stamp from my Fan-tastic Large set and inked it up in yellow. The fabric ink is kind of sticky and you have to be a bit fast and also thorough with the inking.

It is easiest to start your pattern in the center of the bag and then work your way out. That way it will be even left to right and you can decide how close to the edges you want to go.

The ink colors can be light in some cases and bolder in others.

After two layers of the Fan-tastic Jewett Fan, I switched to the Hamilton design from the Floral Tile Large set and started stamping in a magenta color.

Looks great already but needs something more…

I finished off the pattern with a stamp from the Fanfare set.

Kim jumped in with my Solid Fan in the large size to do a simple but cool scallop pattern.

She chose a lot of different fun colors – don’t forget to clean your stamps in between colors. Also, you can see that with the solid stamp, the texture of the cardboard insert shows a bit – not a bad effect but something to consider when choosing a liner.

Kim found another pattern in my book that she really liked. She chose three ink colors. And the pattern needed one stamp from the Small Hex set and the two Diamond Hex stamps from the Large Hex set.

She started with the red ink and then filled in with yellow.

Looks awesome! And shows you don’t have to cover the entire bag.

Kim’s bag and the pattern inspiration.

For my second bag I chose a pattern and decided to make it bigger. Tip: You will get a lot more done if you go with a larger stamp ;)

I began with the Space Oddity stamp from the Large Hex set, added a red Fan-fare stamp in the middle, and then I took a minute to choose my next stamp. More Fan-fare or the Broadway Fan from the Fan-tastic Small set?

I went with Broadway Fan :)

And here is the finished bag next to the inspiration.

Our bags included a little pocket pouch to fold the bag into for storage. We decided to stamp that too. Here I used the Fan-fare stamps and the Small Hex set.

Then you can store them like this.

They look pretty awesome! Remember to follow your ink instructions for setting the ink. Every fabric ink is different. These will need to be ironed to heat set the ink.

I’m ready for a plastic bag free Jersey City :)

Here are some of the supplies that we used:


Comments (1)

  • Mary Cheng

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    This is fabulous!
    I sew Boomerang bags http://www.boomerangbags.org for our local community to make people aware of plastic bag issues in our environment.
    I think printing with your foamies will add an artistic touch to our bags! I will give it a go with the inks you mentioned. I do have some of you foamies and hope there is more at a local craft fair next week!
    Thank you Nathalie

    Reply

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Rubber Stamped Easter Bunny Cards – DIY Play Date

Hippity Hoppity :) Kim and I got together for a Play Date with some of my new Rubber Stamps for the upcoming Easter holiday. We had a nice morning stamping some Easter Bunny Cards for friends and family.

For supplies we had my new Floral Tile Large and Floral Tile Small stamp sets, blank cards, colorful ink pads, some bunny images we printed off the internet, a craft knife, and repositionable tape.

First we carefully cut out some rabbit shapes, leaving both the outside and inside intact. These became our stencils and masks.

We used Scrapbook Adhesives E-Z Dots to temporarily stick our stencil to the front of the card. I love this tape – it’s easy to apply, sticks well, and comes off easily too!

We stamped into our bunny “stencil” with stamps from my Floral Tile Small set – the scale is just perfect for tiling into small areas. Here I am using one of the Hamilton designs.

Kim began with one of the Van Vorst designs from the Floral Tile Small set.

I used both the Positive and Negative Hamilton stamps from the small set and filled in the entire bunny.

And here is the big bunny reveal! Now to fill in the rest…

Put a bit of repositionable tape onto the bunny mask and place on top of your stamped image.

Begin filling the area around the bunny. Here I decided to use the Hamilton stamps from the Floral Tile Large set.

It becomes quick work with the large size stamps.

Kim worked with the Van Vorst stamps from the Floral Tile Large set to fill in the area surrounding her masked off bunny.

Looks pretty awesome when it is all done!

I experimented with outlining the bunny too – there are a lot of ways you can take these cards to another level.

Another card beginning with the outside, using the Versailles Positive and Negative stamps from the Floral Tile Large set.

And another using the Versailles Positive and Negative stamps from the Floral Tile Small set.

A very sweet bunny in blue using the Van Vorst Positive and Negative stamps from the small set. This dense pattern worked really well to define the bunny shape.

Kim getting into it – so fun with a lot of different stamp pad colors to choose from!

In the end we made quite a few cards – some that are really wonderful!

I just love this one I made with 2 bunnies!

Kim made a sweet orange one…

So fun to play with different iterations!

And then I realized that the stamped bunny masks should not go to waste – they looked great on the cards too!

Last one :)

We hope you try some of these techniques with my new stamps. Try mixing up different colors, playing with the positive and negative designs, and work with both sizes. We had a blast and can’t wait to spread a little Easter cheer with our cards.

You can find my rubber stamps in my online shop. Here are some of the supplies that we used in this play date:


Don’t forget! Now is a great time to shop in my Online Store and use the coupon code SWEEPSALE to get 20%off all physical products. Hurry! The sale ends April 15th at 11:59pm EST.

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Feel the Rhythm – Marsha Valk

Here’s a post from my Creative Squad! Today we have Marsha Valk back with us again for another round of fun. Welcome back! Marsha is using my Mid Century Squared, Neato, Funky, Gnarly, Groovy, Jazzed and Far Out foam stamps for this awesome tote… and our theme for April: Feel the Rhythm – We’re thinking about patterns this month and using stamps to create a rhythm of marks. Show us your sense of rhythm!


I remember that when I saw Nat’s new stamp designs for ArtFoamies I immediately thought of stamping them on fabric. So that’s what I did!

When it comes to stamping fabric designs, I always like to think about what I want to do with the fabric. This time I thought it would be cool to try and sew a simple tote bag.

You can find tons and tons of great sewing tutorials on YouTube these days. So what I tend to do is to look for a tutorial that matches my sewing skills, gather all the materials and then go from there.

For the tote bag pattern I chose, I needed two different fabric designs, so I bought two slightly different colours of cotton fabric.

Step 1 Pre-wash and iron the fabric before printing. The paint will grab the cotton fibres a lot better when all the sizing is washed out.   

If you already know what you are going to make with the fabric once it’s printed, you can cut it to the sizes needed for your project at this point. 

Step 2  Set up your printing station. Protect your work surface if needed. The paint usually seeps through the fabric onto the underlying surface, so make sure you can easily wipe it clean.

Choose the paint colours you want to use. Limit your colour palette to a maximum of two colours plus a neutral. 

You can use regular acrylic paint to print on fabric, but if you want it to be washable, you’ll need to use fabric paint or acrylic paint mixed with a fabric medium.  

Follow the instructions on the packaging to make sure you are mixing the correct amount of paint/medium for the best result. 

I’m using acrylic paint mixed with a fabric medium. You can mix it on an inking palette and use a brayer to apply the paint to your foam stamps or you can create a custom stamp pad using an ArtFoamies StampBuddy. 

Step 3 Start stamping!

Step 4 For my second fabric design I also used one of my smaller gel printing plates to print with.

First I handcut three stencils from transparencies slightly larger than the gel printing plate and I placed the stencils on my fabric to help me determine the pattern I wanted to print.

Cover the brayer with paint and then roll the paint out over the gel printing plate. 

Take a foam stamp and stamp it into the paint. Here I am using Nat’s Groovy stamp.

Press the gel printing plate paint-side down onto the fabric on top of the stencil. Lift up the gel printing plate. 

Step 5 Leave your gel printed fabric to dry entirely before heat setting the paint with an iron. Consult the label of your fabric paint or fabric medium for the exact instructions. 

Be sure to protect your ironing board cover with a cloth or parchment paper before ironing printed fabric. This will prevent the paint from accidentally staining the cover. 

Step 6 Now your fabric is ready for the sewing project of your choice! This one I printed with Nat’s Mid Century Squared stamp.

Happy foam stamping!


Thank you Marsha for inspiring us to create some of our own printed fabrics for sewing projects! You can find my foam stamps in my online shop if you’d like to create the patterns that Marsha shows. In addition to sewing equipment, here are some of the other supplies that she used:


Feel inspired? Working on something yourself that you’d like to share?  I love to see how you interpret our monthly themes. Email me how you used my stencils and stamps with the theme and email me an image – I would love to share your projects in my next  “n*Spiration From Around the Globe“.

Comments (2)

  • Sue Clarke

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    Marsha…LOVE love LOVE this bag!!!

    Reply

  • Janene

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    Fabulous and one-of-a-kind! I love the stamp patterns and the colors used. I might have to get out my sewing machine and give it a try. It’s been awhile since I’ve sewn anything, but I think I can manage the straight lines of a tote bag. :-)

    Reply

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Stamped Paper Wreath for Spring – DIY Play Date

Last week Kim and I decided to do a little Spring Play Date with my rubber stamps. We saw some cool pictures of paper wreaths online and thought we would try our own. We had just an hour or so and had fun making ours and dreaming of beautiful spring weather :)

You will need rubber stamps (we used my Stroll Through the Hood 1 and 2 stamp sets including the Powerhouse, Main Station, Brownstone, Warehouse, Lady Liberty, Mailbox, Hydrant, US Flag, Art Tag, and Love Tag stamps), ink pads, colorful paper, scissors, glue gun, and a cardboard ring. We cut our cardboard rings from old boxes, using plates to trace a circle and then cutting out the center.

  

Choose paper (and maybe even inks if you have a lot of colored ink pads) in an analogous color scheme – colors that are next to each other on the color wheel.

Then start stamping! Fill up the entire page with stamped images. It doesn’t matter how they line up – the point is to have some design and pattern all over the paper. Here is my Warehouse stamp in action.

Here is Lady Liberty and Brownstone filling a page.

We recommend stamping 3-4 sheets of paper.

Then cut out leaf shapes. 2-3″ works for a smaller wreath and 3-4″ works for a larger wreath.

Try to get as many out of a sheet as you can. It’s ok to cut through your stamped images at odd places.

In the end you will have a pile of leaves.

Try arranging the leaves on the cardboard ring to see how they fit.

You can experiment with color patterns too.

Use a glue gun to adhere the leaves in place. I finally bought a glue gun – yes can you believe this is my first ever glue gun? lol

Three leaves across seemed to cover the cardboard.

In the end you will have a charming little spring decoration.

Look at all the stamp images peeking through.

The big one is just right for hanging on a door.

Two paper wreathes, ready for spring.

One on the inside of Kim’s front door.

Looks nice on a smaller door here.

You can even layer them up for more impact.

This was a great way to use up some colored paper we had on hand and to have some fun stamping. I love how the stamps give it some more visual interest, and you could really play with ink colors and different papers if you wanted to. I hope you try it!

You can find my rubber stamps in my online shop. Here are some of the supplies that we used in this play date:


 

Comments (1)

  • stephanie

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    your art play date projects are always an inspiration! thanks Nat

    Reply

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Foam Stamp and Shrink Film Earrings – DIY Play Date

Earlier this week my friend Kim and I got together for a little play date with my new Foam Stamps. This time we made some really nifty shrink film earrings and brooches that I’m excited to wear!

Here are the supplies – we used my new ArtFoamies designs, Moonlight Duo ink pads, shrink film, jewelry adhesive, scissors, a heat tool, and earring and pin backs.

Here Kim stamped on shrink film my Far Out foam stamp in green and just a bit of my Mid Century Squared stamp in yellow.

I stamped Groovy in peach, Gnarly in blue, and a bit of the Mid Century Squared in pink.

It’s a good idea to gently wipe off your stamps with a baby wipe so you don’t contaminate the ink colors.

We stamped lots of different pairs onto the shrink film.

Time to cut out. Here Kim stamped just one end of my Gnarly stamp and cut it into a rectangle.

You can also fussy cut them out. Here is my Far Out stamp.

Time to shrink the shrink film :) Work on a clean craft mat over a surface that can get hot. Gently move the heat tool around, evenly heating the film. I started with my Mid Century Squared stamp in pink.

It will start to buckle and curl and can get pretty gnarled up. Move the heat tool around, hitting every side and surface to shrink it evenly. Be careful! It can get hot!

By moving the heat tool around and flipping over the shrink film and heating it evenly, it will start to calm down and flatten.

A clean palette knife is useful in flipping the piece over, and gently flattening it out.

We tried a more powerful heat tool and actually melted and ruined the piece – it was too hard to heat it gently and evenly and it curled up and melted before we could flatten it out. This was the Jazzed design.

We used the lower power heating tool on the second Jazzed piece – so cute!

Kim did a pair with just a section of my Signals stamp in black ink.

In the end we used the jewelry adhesive and glued them onto the earring post backs and the brooch pin backs.

Here is the Jazzed design in green.

Kim wearing some purple Neato earrings :)

These are part of the Funky stamp – love these in dark blue/green.

Kim’s little black earrings with part of the Signals stamp.

And one of my favorites – part of the Mid Century Squared stamp in yellow.  So in the end we made some pretty cool looking earrings and brooches for us and our friends!

Give it a try! It’s a fun project for a morning or afternoon and you can definitely play around with how you use the patterns.

In addition to my Foam Stamps from my Online Shop, here are some of the supplies that we used:


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