“Lenticular” Papercraft for a Moving Image Effect

I call this project “lenticular” papercraft because it takes advantage of different viewing angles to display different, related images to the viewer. The effect it produces is like that of lenticular printing, popular in the mid-20th century, where an image printed on plastic appears to move or change when the card is tilted back and forth.

For this card, I chose two sets of related images, but you could choose any two images that you wanted to relate thematically. The pairs I chose were Exercising Woman 3 and Exercising Woman 4 for the first set, and Exercising Woman 5 and Exercising Woman 6 for the second set.

You will first need to create a base, or scaffold for your card. Take a sheet of paper or thin card stock, and score it with parallel lines every 1/4 inch. If the paper is thin card stock, you might want to score the other side as well so that the paper bends easily at each scored line. Next, accordion fold the paper along the scored lines. If you plan ahead, you can trim your card to size before you fold, but if not, relax the folds, and trim before the next step.

Next, stamp your images, and trim them to be the same height as your accordion-folded card. Trim the images in 1/4 strips, top to bottom. Try to keep the strips in order at this point because it will make the next step easier. Now, with both images trimmed, interleave the images so that a strip from one image is adjacent to a strip from the second image. Keeping all of the strips in order, lay all of them out in this way.

Now take the accordion-folded scaffold, and coat it well with spray adhesive. Taking one strip at a time, lay them sequentially on the scaffold so that all of the strips from one image are on one side of the folds, and the all of the strips from the other image are on the other side of the folds. You should now have something that looks like this:

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When you hold the card at one angle, only one of the image will be visible:

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And when you tilt the card in the opposite direction, the other image will be visible.

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If your images are very similar, like the ones I used, you can create an effect of movement by tilting the card back and forth. If you use very different images, the effect will that of one image turning into the other. You can use either effect to your advantage when creating a “story” for your card.

The scaffold can now be mounted on another piece of card stock, which can be used to display your greeting, or anything else you choose.

Happy New Year Crazy Collage

Paper collage is a great way to use up odds and ends from your other stamping projects, but not to underestimate it, a collage can be a wonderful project in and of itself. It is a great way to explore new ideas, compositions and color schemes. Sometimes you have a big idea for what you want to create at the start, and other times, the art work emerges as you go.

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For this collage, I didn’t plan much ahead besides picking the rubber stamps I wanted to use, and having some idea that I wanted it to be festive and colorful. I had a piece of confetti paper in my stash that I wanted to be the background. Then I chose three stamps, Cow Jumped Over the Moon, Howling Dog, and Cat and the Fiddle, and stamped them on primary colored papers. Then I drew various sizes of circles around the stamped images with a stencil and cut them out, along with some small circles as well.

For the rest of the card I played with the composition, trying out different papers, colors and shapes until I found one I liked. Then I added the greeting and nursery rhyme poem in black pen, and added silver highlights.

The new year is a fun time to have a paper collage party, and is a good activity for family and friends of all ages. Have everyone bring some paper scraps, stamps, odds and ends and then put them in a big communal pile for everyone to draw from for their projects. Make as few or as many collages as you like, and share them with each other, or send them out as greetings in the new year.

Easy Rainbow Backgrounds with Pigment Ink

It is easy to make this fun card by using several brightly colored pigment inks. Using a sponge dauber, dab the applicator on the pad using the color you want and streak it along the page. Do this several times using different colors, cleaning the dauber between each color and blending the colors together as you go. Then, sprinkle on hologram embossing powder and heat with your heat gun to add a bit of shimmer.

To embellish the card, stamp and cut out Sledding, shape the paper a bit in the palm of your hand so it has a bit of dimension (see this post for more about the 3D paper craft technique), and attach to the card using foam dots so it is raised off the surface a bit. Finish with the greeting of your choice, written in a fun, decorative script:

Nature's Blessings Fine Art Stamps

 

 

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

As the weather turns cooler our thoughts turn to the first snowfall, snow sports like skiing, sledding and skating, and of course lots of snow for the holidays! Send out your own wishes for lovely winter landscapes with this card, made from Pine Tree, and Girl Catching Snowflakes. The tree is stamped in opaque white pigment ink on dark card stock, and the girl is stamped on white card stock in a shade that matches the dark card stock beneath, giving the whole scene that monochromatic feel of a good snowstorm. Add your own greeting with an opaque gel pen in white. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Nature's Blessings Fine Art Stamps

Stamp on Metallic Paper to Add Shimmer to Your Holidays

When making Christmas Cards, I like to have a simple, elegant design that is fun, but basically foolproof so I can make lots of them and not have to fuss too much. Metallic cards and envelopes make that easy. They add a soft shimmer so even a single basic image gleams with elegance. Here are a couple of examples.

In the first card, I stamped Pine Tree with embossing ink onto silver card stock. Then I embossed the image, sprinkling dark green and white embossing powders over the image to make the tree look like it has newly fallen snow on the branches. Lastly I dabbed on a few dots of glue, and added metallic foil stars to twinkle on the tree. And that’s it! I attached it to dark green card stock to frame the image and pick up the color of the embossed tree.

Nature's Blessings Fine Art Stamps

The next card is extremely simple. Stamp Stockings Hung with Care in red pigment ink on silver card stock. Attach the silver card to red card stock to frame and pick up the color of the image.

Nature's Blessings Fine Art Stamps

Lastly, if you can find them, metallic envelopes are a lovely final touch. Embellish them with smaller images stamped on the front and back. Here I’ve used Christmas Stocking next to the recipient’s address:

Nature's Blessings Fine Art Stamps

And on the back I’ve stamped Santa by Fireplace on the flap. If you can’t find metallic envelopes, I’d suggest picking one in a shade that matches or complements your card. Then you could stamp Santa by Fireplace on a round foil sticker, and seal the envelope with it.

Nature's Blessings Fine Art Stamps

These backlit Santa Claus stamps make great candle holders!

Santa Comin’ Down the Chimney and Santa ‘n’ Reindeer by Nature’s Blessings Fine Art Stamps make a great pair, because they are a similar style of drawing, and are both show Santa in silhouette, lit from behind. I love each of them and have used them as my main Christmas card images before. But given their backlit design, I figured they would both look great as candle holders, and they do!

These are a quick project to make if you just want a temporary decoration. Start by finding a couple of canning jars or other glass candle holders. I’m using antique Ball Mason jars. They have just a touch of blue tint, and you can see the bubbles and other imperfections in the old glass shine through when a candle is placed inside.

Nature's Blessings Fine Art Stamps

Next, stamp each image on vellum paper with a non-smearing / non-bleeding ink like StazOn. When the ink dries, trim both images to the same size, and to fit your glass holder. Then for a temporary decoration, simply tape the image to the glass in the back, and tie on a pretty bow. Wouldn’t they look lovely sitting on a shelf or your fireplace mantle?

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Light up your holidays with this stamped LED Christmas Tree card!

For a while I’ve been wanting to show a project that makes use of a ‘soft circuit’ – a flexible circuit designed for paper or fabric. And ta da, here is my first one! It is a Christmas Tree with real lit LED holiday lights, and I’ll show you here how to make your very own.

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There are lots of materials you can use to make a soft circuit – sewing with conductive thread, using conductive paint, etc. I tried all of those and am still experimenting with them, but the method I’m showing here seems the most reliable and less tricky. To start I’ve taken a thin sheet of craft copper which I’ll be cutting to the shape of my desired circuit.

First I’ll stamp the image I want to work with. I’m using Pine Tree by Nature’s Blessings Fine Art Stamps, and I’ve stamped it on the copper in Onyx Black StazOn ink which works well with metal and other non-porous surfaces.

Nature's Blessings Fine Art Stamps

Now I’ll sketch out my circuit. I need one set of copper ‘wires’ for the positive side of the circuit, and another set for the negative. They need to run alongside each other, but must not touch or you’ll end up with a short circuit and it won’t work! I used a ruler, and ‘drew’ a set of parallel lines by pressing the surface of the copper with a blunt point – the metal tip of a ball point pen should work well. If you mess up a bit, like I did at the bottom, don’t worry you can redraw your lines and fix things in the next step.

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Now, take a permanent marker like a Sharpie, and draw your actual circuit ‘wires’ following the lines you drew in the previous step as your guide. You will be now cut along these lines (be careful, as the cut edges of the copper will be sharp and pointy).

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Here I’ve cut out my circuit, and cleaned things up a bit by removing the ink and Sharpie lines with a bit of rubbing alcohol.  I’ve also stamped Pine Tree again on a piece of card stock, and I’ll use this card to build my circuit. To get the copper to stick, spray it with a light coat of spray adhesive on the bottom.

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Now you will want to assemble your LEDs. I had a few red and green ones around and so decided to go with those. You will also want to have a couple of alligator leads. These are rubber coated wires with clips on the end protected by flexible plastic. You’ll be using these to test your LEDs and your circuit. I like to use a red one for the positive side of the circuit, and a black one for negative / ground.  You will also want to have a 3v coin cell battery and holder.

Start by testing your LEDs. One reason to do this is to make sure they work! Also, you will want to find out which of the leads /wires coming out of the LED is positive and which is negative. You may be able to tell by looking, if one lead is longer than the other it is the positive one. But test to be sure. Spread the leads of the LED out 180 degrees from each other so the LED basically lies flat. Clip one end of your red alligator lead to the positive side of the battery, and one end of the black alligator lead to the negative side. Then clip (or simply touch) the other ends of the leads to the LED. If it doesn’t light, swap which lead of the LED is connected to black and which one is connected to red. Once it lights and you know for sure, mark the positive lead in some way. You could use a sharpie pen, or stick a piece of tape on it. Do this with ALL of your LEDs.

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Now choose which side of your circuit will be positive, and which side negative.  I’ve made the right side here positive, and marked it with a red plus sign “+” to indicate this. The other side is negative / ground, and I’ve marked it with a black minus “-” sign. Trust me, this makes everything lots easier!

Now comes a fun step…decide where you want your lights to go! It will help at this stage to stick them down with tape. If you’ve marked your LEDs with tape in the last step, that makes things more straightforward. Since you’ve spread out the leads of your LEDs 180 degrees, you can stand up the LED light while each lead rests on one side of the circuit. Make sure you have the right LED lead on the right side! Match positive lead to the positive side of the circuit, and the negative lead to the negative side of the circuit. Use the tape to keep your LEDs in place. You should end up with something like this:

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The next step involves a bit of soldering. This may sound scary if you have never done it, but TRUST ME IT ISN’T! If you can use a glue gun or a heat gun or hammer a nail you can solder. And you should really know how to do it – it is a basic life skill in my opinion. You just need a few inexpensive tools and supplies. I won’t go into the details of how to do it here, as there are plenty of beginner guides online.

Solder all of your leads, and trim the leads with wire nippers to keep everything tidy. Now, slightly bend up one small corner of your negative and positive copper ‘wires’, and attach them to your coin cell battery with the alligator leads. Your LEDs should glow beautifully! If not, go back and check to make sure each LED works, if not, you may have attached the leads the wrong way, or your solder point may not be a good connection. Also make sure you have a fresh battery. Mine are all working as you can see in the image below.

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Now, you’ll want to attach your battery holder and battery. I’ve stuck the battery holder to the paper with a bit of double-sided tape, up in a corner where it is out of the way but still close to the circuit. Next I’ve cut three short segments of wire. One of these I’ve used to solder and connect the positive side of the battery holder to the positive side of the circuit.

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The other two short wire segments I’ve connected to a small ‘on/off’ switch hidden on the back side of the card. One wire is soldered from the negative side of the battery holder to one lead on the switch. The third wire is soldered and connects the other lead on the switch to the negative side of the circuit. This is an optional step, but a useful one because it allows you to turn your Christmas Tree on and off, saving your battery power for when you want to display it.

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Here is the backside of the card, showing the detail of the small switch. This switch actually had six leads, but I only needed two of them. So I trimmed off the other four. I punched a small hole in the card, poked the remaining two leads through the hole, and bent them 180 degrees from each other which does a great job of holding the switch firmly in place. The leads are exposed on the circuit side of the card. One is soldered to the wire that goes to the negative side of the battery holder. The other is soldered to the wire that is connected to the negative side of the circuit.

When the switch is off, no current is flowing through the circuit.

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When you switch it on, it completes the circuit and the current flows, and voila your Christmas Tree glows!

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At this point, if you really want to show off your handiwork with the circuit visible you could leave it as is. I’ve chosen to hide my circuit a bit behind a piece of vellum. I’ve stamped another image of the tree on top of the vellum, and trimmed it to size. I also used another piece of card stock cut to the same dimensions as the first one, and trimmed out the center to make a frame. To get everything lined up correctly, put small pieces of masking tape on the edges of the vellum, sticky side up. Place the vellum over your lit circuit and move it into place so the lights are where you want them to be. Then carefully lay the frame over the top until it sticks. You can now lift off the framed image and make sure the vellum is taped all the way around.

For the last step, stick a few double-sided adhesive foam dots on the card that has the circuit on it, in three of the corners, but not the one with the battery on it. this will keep the second card elevated off of the circuit, but the LED lights will still show through. You can easily access the battery in the corner if you need to change it, and the on/off switch is neatly hidden in back. Attach the top frame with the stamped vellum image.

If you want to send or give your card, be sure to switch it off to save battery power. Another idea is to buy an inexpensive mini wooden easel, and use it to display your card like this!

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Let this jolly Santa do all of your Christmas decorating for you!

This little stamp Santa with Pack is wonderfully simple and versatile. It may just be the only stamp you need this Christmas! (Of course if we are wrong about that, we have plenty more to choose from…)

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Here he is, stamped in red on white card stock. What could be simpler or easier for a Christmas Card?

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Here he is stamped on white paper for gift wrap…

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And another version of gift wrap… this is a monoprint using the stamp to lift off ink which gives a cool effect, but you could just as easily use white pigment ink on red paper to make a print that looks very close to this.

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And lastly here he is stamped in red on a cardboard tag. This would make a great gift tag, or even a Christmas tree ornament. Or, you could send it out as your Christmas card and let the person you send it to decide!

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Come, ye thankful people!

Did your garden turn out like this? I’m sure it did! And now as Thanksgiving approaches, it is time to celebrate the bountiful harvest. This card features a thankful Farmer and Harvest from Nature’s Blessings Fine Art Stamps. The images are nested in layers of contrasting paper frames, one which has a verse from an old Methodist Hymn that is often sung at this time of year: “Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home; all is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin!”

Nature's Blessings Fine Art Stamps

Come see us at the Mendocino Art Center’s Thanksgiving Arts & Crafts Fair!

We are delighted to announce that Nature’s Blessing Fine Art Stamps has been accepted to the Mendocino Art Center’s juried 56th Annual Thanksgiving Arts & Crafts Fair! The show will take place all day on Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving (November 27 and 28) in the beautiful, historic, ocean-side village of Mendocino, California. We will have a Nature’s Blessings rubber stamps for sale, as well as pre-packaged gift bags to make your holiday shopping a breeze (a lovely ocean breeze, perhaps!).

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More information about the show is available on the Mendocino Art Center‘s website:  “In what has become a north coast tradition, thirty-five juried artists and craftspeople from throughout Northern California exhibit original handmade artwork. The Mendocino Art Center’s galleries and class studios are transformed into a two-day holiday marketplace, providing residents and visitors a pleasant alternative to hectic, stressful mall shopping while supporting local and regional artists. Featured will be a wide array of unique, high quality artwork and gift items, including handcrafted jewelry, original paintings, functional and decorative ceramics, fiber art and clothing, handcrafted herbal body care products, holiday ornaments, fresh holiday wreaths and more.”

This show is also an important fundraiser for the nonprofit Art Center, which “is an educational institution that fosters engagement, exploration and excellence in the arts.” 15% of all sales go to support the Art Center and its programs.