Some card questions answered by Allison Cope!

Some card questions answered by Allison Cope!

13 March SCT Card

Good morning!  Last week I asked Jen, the lovely SCT Social Media Editor (and Director of Customer Happiness!), to post a question on the SCT Facebook page to all of you!  I had her ask…

What would you like to learn more about when it comes to card making?"

So today, I’m going to answer some of your specific questions.  Let’s begin with some of the questions asked by our readers:

Michelle Potier asked: “I'd like to know more about how to create letters without a Big Shot Machine and similar. Are there techniques for people who don't own expensive tools?”.

Denise Sullivan  asked “I have always wanted to learn how to do "bleaching" when stamping”.

Karen Young asked “How do you emboss using stamps?”.

Well Michelle, Denise and Karen, let me share a project with you today that may answer all three!  Let’s get started.

 First all, when you are a paper crafter, you don’t necessarily have to have all the big, new sparkly tools!  Nope… you can use whatever you have at home.  And one of those tools is… your computer and your printer!!

Let’s begin our project today by creating a fun sentiment for the front of a card. 

Supplies you will need:

  • Computer & printer
  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Pencil, Pen or Pencil Crayon 

First you need to open your word processing program; anything that you can type and print words from will work.  I happened to use my Photoshop CS3 program for mine today but a simple Word program will work too!

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Type the word you wish to print.  Make sure it’s not too big for your card (or your layout).  I created the word “HELLO”.  It is approximately 2 inches in length to fit nicely on my card front.   I duplicated the same exact word, changed the colour and then placed it one over top of the other to create more depth and interest.

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Next I printed out my word onto smooth white cardstock but any colour will do.  I took a pencil and quickly sketched out the word “happy” above and overlapping my “HELLO”.  I like the fact that you can include a little of yourself with adding your own hand writing on your creations… even on your cards!

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Now take a pen, pencil crayon or in my case a fine tipped black marker and ink up your penciled word.  I went back and made my word a little thinker in places.  Feel free to add doodles and even other ink colours and mediums too!

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Grab those scissors and start “fussy cutting” or cutting closely around your words.  I chose to leave a little bit of a white border around all of my letters.  It’s a simple as that!!  Easy right?!?

Okay… now that we have our sentiment for our card finished, let’s go on to the next step of our project and answer Denise’s question of how do you do a bleaching technique on your cards.  I wouldn’t recommend this technique for your layouts – the bleach may react with your photos and other keepsakes so reserve this technique to your cards.

Here’s the supplies you’ll need:

  • Household liquid bleach
  • Paper towels
  • A plate or flat bottomed plastic container
  • A stamp, stamping block and cardstock

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To prepare for stamping, I recommend that you grab a flat bottomed container like a cheap plastic sandwich container or a plate ~  don’t be grabbing your Grandmother’s antique china soup bowl for this!!  The bottom of the container needs to be relatively flat and you need to be able to easily press your stamp block with your stamp block into it.  Place a folded sheet of paper towel into the bottom of your container and pour a few tablespoons of bleach onto your paper towel.  Add more if needed.  This is going to act as your bleach stamp pad!

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Now before you go and stamp on your project, you need to go and test out some cardstocks.  Some cardstocks will not bleach, and some will turn a funny colour when exposed to the bleach so… TEST, test, test first!!!  Find a cardstock colour that reacts to the bleach in a manner that you like.

A few things I did learn when doing the bleaching technique were that you needed to make sure you got your stamp rather wet with the bleach.  I rubbed a white eraser across my rubber stamp to add some “texture” to my stamp surface so it would grab and hold onto the bleach a little better.  Secondly, when pressing your bleach “inked” stamp to the paper – leave the stamp there for 5-10 seconds right on your cardstock.  This allows the bleach to transfer to the paper and absorb in and do its thing.  And lastly, use a stamp with little to no details.  Bleach stamping will never be “perfect” so the less detail on your stamp the better.

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Here you can see I have begun my stamping using the bleach as my ink.  If you notice, the flowers are not all the same shade and they won’t be!  The bleach needs a moment or two to sink into your paper and react with the colour in the paper.  The last flower image I stamped is the large, whole flower to the left of the stamp block.  The bleach is still “doing its thing” with the paper and the image isn’t the same shade as the others.

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Here’s the finished bleached panel!  Super cute right?!

Now… onto Karen’s question of “How do I emboss using stamps?”.  It’s actually simpler than you think Karen and much easier once you give it a try.  You’ll wonder what all the fuss was about!

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The supplies you are going to need to emboss are:

  • A sticky embossing ink like Versamark
  • Embossing powder – I’m using a “Detail Fine” powder for those extra tiny details
  • A heat tool/ heat gun (Sorry… a hair dryer won’t work!)
  • Stamps , a stamp block, scrap paper and cardstock
  • Embossing Buddy, tweezers  (are both highly recommended!)

09 March SCT

First, take your Embossing Buddy and swipe the fine powder across the surface of the cardstock you wish to emboss.  This is a highly recommended tool for your stamping arsenal as this powder helps the embossing powders slide off of the cardstock areas where it is not wanted.  If you don’t have this is your tool stash don’t worry…

QUICK TIP:  Can't find your embossing buddy or don’t want to buy one? Make your own! Just take an old tube sock or a leg of pantyhose and cut it about 3 to 4 inches up. Fill it with cornstarch and tie or sew the end shut. Voila!!!

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With your stamp stuck on its acrylic block, apply your sticky clear Versamark ink to your stamp.  Then carefully press your stamp to the cardstock surface.  The Versamark will stick to your cardstock and in this case, with the releasing powder on the black, you can clearly see where I have stamped my image.

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Next, lay your stamped cardstock carefully on a piece of scrap paper.  Try not to touch the wet inky parts!  I used a piece of yellow copy paper as my scrap paper.  Sprinkle your embossing powder directly over top of your sticky ink (Photo A).  Be generous!  You can always return any extra powder to your jar using the blend-able scrap paper! 

Tap your cardstock to remove any extra unstuck particles of embossing powder (Photo B).  Because of the Embossing Buddy application, my extra white embossing powder particles slid right off!

Now, using your tweezers (they help you to not burn your fingers!!), apply heat to the surface of your cardstock and embossing powder (Photo C) using your heat tool.  If you look where the red arrow is pointing, this area has already had heat applied to it.  The powder is now smooth and shiny and it’s now melted to the cardstock.  If you look closely at the end of the green arrow, this area is still “powdery” looking and it requires more heat!  This is how you can tell when your embossing powder is properly heated and adhered.

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To remove the excess Embossing Buddy powder, I simply took a water spritzed piece of paper towel (not soggy!!!) and wiped it across my cardstock.  This removed the white haze of the powder from my cardstock and made it all crisp and black again!

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So I took my handmade sentiment, my bleach stamped blue cardstock and my black embossed cardstock and I created a simple card using each of my elements today.  I even did some more embossing and created a matching black and white floral panel to include on my card.

Well Michelle, Denise and Karen, I hope that answers your questions!  I hope you too have enjoyed my simple card making tips and tricks today.  Don’t forget to just play with your supplies ~ whether they are the latest and greatest or the simplest of tools, paper crafting is all about experimenting and trying new things.  No one ever said this industry was about perfection! It’s about the FUN… oh…  and getting your fingers inky!!

Happy creating everyone!

~ Allison Cope 



  1. Kathy P. March 13, 2014 at 11:17 am

    What awesome ideas! Thanks so much, Allison….I am going to try them all out!

  2. Christine Kiehl March 13, 2014 at 11:43 am

    Oh this was a super awesome post. I learned a few tips for which I can add to my knowledge crafty mind bank!! Whoo hoo! Her card was a nice mix of the tips too! Wicked!

  3. Angela March 13, 2014 at 11:52 am

    Very nice card, but a couple of elements not addressed, to wit:
    The scalloped shaped was done with some kind of machine I assume which many beginners do not have. What might be another way to get that shape?
    I assume you’ve used pop dots, but you don’t mention it anywhere.
    The dash marks: we’re those done with Sharpie or are those actually stitches with needle and thread (which seems to be quite the rage right now)!
    Thanks the lovely card idea and the directions. Even an old timer like me learned a new trick; the cornstarch is a great idea!

  4. barbara macaskill March 13, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Wonderful and informative post! Thank you!!

  5. Allison Cope March 13, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    The scalloped shape is a die from Spellbinders but you also try using some scalloped Deco Scissors and cut around a pencil traced circle. You could also print the scalloped circle shape onto the back of a piece of patterned paper and fussy cut it out that way.
    Yes… I used foam adhesive (or pop dots) behind my circle element. You can find this at the dollar store nowadays!
    The dashes are indeed just a fine tipped Sharpie dragged along a ruler – super easy! You also use a pin or needle, poke dots in a row and then “connect the dots” with a pen for faux stitching too!
    I hope that helps!

  6. terriavidreader March 13, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    Very Nice! And thanks for not having a die cut for this! some of us don’t have all those!

  7. Tona March 13, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Great tips! Thanks for sharing.

  8. karen kemplin March 13, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    I love how you used all 3 techniques to make your card. Beautiful. Thanks

  9. Michelle w March 13, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    Fantastic tips Ally. Thank you for that great tutorial!

  10. Rosie Neustaedter March 13, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    Great tips, I love heat embossing and learned something new in your great tutorial! Thanks!

  11. Deborah Dvorak March 13, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    Omg this was the best ever teaching I have ever read! Now I completely understand how to emboss!! And I cannot wait to try the bleaching!! Thank you thank you thank you

  12. Judy B March 13, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    Loved the tips. I especially liked the one about making your own embossing buddy. Any money saved on tools means you can spend it on paper or embellishments, right? lol Thanks for sharing.

  13. TracyM #6773 March 14, 2014 at 12:32 am

    THANK YOU Allison!!!
    Your card looks lovely and your tutorials & top tips were very informative!!!
    THANK YOU to Michelle, Denise and Karen – great questions 🙂

  14. Cheri Goldsmith March 14, 2014 at 12:37 am

    This was a fantastic and informative read! I look forward to playing with the bleach method.
    So well presented, thank you so much Allison.

  15. Jennyfer L March 14, 2014 at 4:33 am

    Wow! This is such an informative post!!! Love it and thank you Alison 🙂

  16. Kim JD March 14, 2014 at 8:50 am

    Just wanted to let you know that I love Jen’s position title! Makes me smile everything I read it!

  17. Nancy Carroll March 14, 2014 at 11:51 am

    So informative! Thanks.

  18. Renee VanEpps March 14, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    Fabulous tutorial and I love the bleaching part, thanks for sharing!

  19. Stacie March 15, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Thanks for sharing the bleaching technique and use of the embossing buddy. So fun to learn new things to try out!

  20. Kathleen Spaeth March 16, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Wow what a wonderful Tutorial! Might I suggest that you purchase a Clorox Spashless Bleach and that you wear an apron and neoprene gloves. This will help cut down on getting your clothes splashed with Bleach. Also, make certain that you properly dispose of the used Bleach too. Here at Home, our Septic System is very sensitive to Bleach so a little goes a long way (and my Husband is always reminding me about not destroying our friendly amebas). You also must be very careful what you mix the Bleach with, so keep it away from any Ammonia based products (or you will create a noxious deadly gas). I just Love the suggestion of using an Embossing Buddy and how to make one of your own. I never realized why it was necessary, until you demonstrated its usefulness.

  21. Maryann March 19, 2014 at 4:51 am

    A really great tutorial, thay I´m sure anyone can follow to create really beautiful cards, and such great pics for it too.

  22. DebbieC March 19, 2014 at 9:22 am

    Beautiful card. Love the color, love the bleaching. Great tips shared today….thanks

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