Category Archives: Tutorials

Video for Watercolored backgrounds

I just finished a video tutorial on how I created the background on these two cards shown on this blog a couple of posts ago.  The backgrounds were created using copic ink/colorless blender and copic ink/rubbing alcohol.


Here is the video:



Watercolor background with alcohol ink

I love the look of watercolors, but I also just love using my copic markers – which are alcohol based. Both have a place in my craft room, but I often wonder, can I get the vibrancy that I get with copics by using watercolor, and can I get a soft watercolor look from using alcohol markers?

Well, yesterday I tried a little experiment…and I am thrilled at the way it turned out!  When I use my copic markers I always have a problem with getting a nice soft background and often I just either sponging some color on, which I usually end up hating, or just going without any type of colored background, which sometimes makes the card look unfinished.  I wanted to get a watercolored background look with my copic markers – so here is what I did.

EDITED:  The video tutorial for this can be found on this post HERE.

I stamped my image on copic x-press it paper using memento tuxedo black ink. I filled my aqua brush with copic colorless blender and scribbled some dark blue color (B69) on my craft sheet. I picked up the color from the craft sheet with my aqua brush and began coloring the background – starting from the center of the image and working out. I continued picking up color and working my way around the image,  Because the aqua brush is adding the colorless alcohol you can get a nice variation of color – and if you want more intense color just add a bit of color to the tip of the brush. I love the look it created.  Just a note:  if you want to devote one aqua brush for alcohol just mark the brush with a label so that it does not get mixed up with other brushes that are filled with water.

So, then I thought…that colorless blender from copic is rather expensive, what if I use just plain rubbing alcohol?  Would I get the same, or at least as good results?   I figured what have I got to lose?   So I just poured some 70% Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol into another aqua brush and went to work,   I used the same image stamped on the same paper , same copic color (B69), and used the same technique.

Here is what I learned:

-Both the colorless blender and regular rubbing alcohol worked and provided a watercolored look,  However, using the plain rubbing alcohol I noticed that it caused the color to change.  With the copic blender the color stayed true to the shade of blue, although less intense because there was much more colorless liquid involved.  Using rubbing alcohol the color was not as intense and had more of a purple hue than blue.  This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing except if you were really looking for a blue color.  Here are the two pieces side by side  so that you can see the slight variation of color.

-Using an aqua brush  – I found the aqua brush very easy to work with doing this technique and on this paper (copic x-press it)  I merely had to pick up color from the craft sheet when I needed it.  I will have to try this technique on other cardstock and on watercolor paper in the future to see how they react.

-Copic Colorless blender costs about $11 for a 200cc bottle (at Oozak).  200 cc is about 6.8 ounces.  A bottle of 70% Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol, 16 ounces costs about $2.20 at Walgreens. In my area the colorless blender is not available in local stores, only online.  So there is a significant difference in price and that may be a determining factor for you.  In my test the plain rubbing alcohol changed the color and its intensity. This may or may not be a good tradeoff – it all depends on your personal preference.  You can use the rubbing alcohol and test colors ahead of time to see how they work.

Now that I was finished with my experiment it was time to make a card!  I used the piece I made using the colorless blender for the background.


Once I colored the background I worked on the flowers – these are paperwhites and are a winter bloom.  In order to get some dimension I used grey copics (C1 and C3) for shading, Y08 for the centers, and YG03 and YG63 for the leaves.  The rhinestones used were already a light green, but I needed them to be darker so I colored them with  a YG97 marker.  The ribbon is a silk ribbon from May Arts and is absolutely luscious!  If ever I was limited to just one ribbon it would be these silks from May Arts.  They are expensive and I hoard my supply using them only for very special cards (this card will be going to my mom).  The scallop was done with an EK punch.

Because I used a “winter bloom” on my card, I am playing along with Power Poppy’s Winter Blooms Power and Spark Challenge. Details can be found HERE.

Thanks for stopping by today!


diy designer paper

Now that I’ve been exploring what the Silhouette can do, I find myself thinking more about making my own designer paper.  For the tag and background paper used on yesterday’s card I created the patterned paper on Photoshop Elements 11 using digital stamps, text, and features found in PSE.  If you don’t have version 11 of PSE you probably still have all the features needed to do this.  It took a little time since I was using some features for the first time but I am getting better at it.  Here is the pattern I created:

 tulip script bg in crystal tones

Here is how I did it.

Open up a blank file in PSE.  I made mine 6 x 6 but you can make it any size that you typically work with.  I set it to 300 dpi.  Now change it to whatever color you want it to be.  Use the color swatch and paint can tool to fill the page with color.  Now add a gradient to this color  – in the “draw” section select the gradient tool and choose the gradient style you want. I used a gradient that goes from the upper left to the lower right.    This adds a little more interest.   You can play around with the gradient features quite a bit in PSE if you want.   At this point you may want to print out this file to make sure the colors on your screen are properly represented on what comes out of your printer.  I did not do this and the color was a bit off.  I’ll have to look into how I can get my printer to match up with the colors on my screen.

 crystal tones gradient

This is nice, but it still is a bit flat.  Let’s add some texture by selecting the filter drop down menu then selecting “texture”, then “texturizer”.  In the “texturizer” option select “canvas”.  You can then adjust the “scaling” and “relief” buttons until you get the desired effect you want.   PSE comes with a handful of textures but there are also  many available on the internet.   Here is the texturized paper at this point.

 crystal tones gradient with texture


Next I brought in the digital tulip image from Power Poppy. When you bring in a file like this it comes over nice and crisp!  But for this paper I wanted a softer look so   I changed the transparency of the tulip by using the opacity tool, lowering it to about 30.  The photo below shows the image before the opacity was lowered.

crystal tones gradient with tulip

I made a copy of the tulip and added it below the first at a different angle.  Finally I added some text to the upper right.  The font is called Jellyka Gare de Chambord and is a free font from  It’s a great script to use for backgrounds.   I typed some text from a French poem.  I also changed the transparency level on this as well and set my text color to white.

 tulip script bg in crystal tones

And there you have it!!  With just a little effort you can get so much use out of your digital images. This combined with the Silhouette makes for so many possibilities.  Think of coordinating embellishments with your paper!!

Thanks so much for stopping by today!


diy tags and patterned paper

The more I use and learn about this Silhouette machine the more my mind expands with its potential.  Here is a card that combines patterned paper,  tags and a honeycomb cut file.  I made the patterned paper and tags!!  This card was made for the Power Poppy Peep Of The Week challenge  – details here.

 honeycomb card


Let’s get a closer look at those tags.  They are print and cut files that are easy to create. See the white stitched border on the blue tag and the stitching on the white tag?   So easy to do!!


To make a basic tag in Silhouette draw a rectangle and square. Rotate the square one turn and position it over the rectangle.  Select both shapes  then open the modify window and select the subtract feature.  Here is a sample of those three steps:

 three tags


You can use a variety of shapes for the bottom of the tag.  In the example below I used a “left bracket” on the bottom.  When you combine the two shapes there are a couple of pieces you will need to delete.

 bracket tags

Next I took my tag and made a smaller version to print my sentiment on.  You make the smaller tag by selecting your tag, then open up the offset window and select internal offset.  Adjust the distance to get the size you want and select the “corner” button to get the sharp edges instead of the “rounded corner” edge.  Once you are satisfied with how the smaller internal tag looks you can just move it away from the larger tag.   I also made a small circle to use as my “faux brad”.

two tags

Then I brought in a file of designer paper I created. I covered most of this paper up for this card but I printed out a couple of sheets to use in a future card.   Note:  tune in tomorrow and I’ll show you the steps I took to make this paper.  It uses a digital stamp from Power Poppy and was created in Photoshop Elements.

tulip script bg in crystal tones

Now let’s put the details on those tags.  Bring the designer paper onto your tag file and move the large tag shape and the small circle shape onto the pattern.  Make sure you have the tag and circle in front (you may have to use the “bring to front” button).   Select everything, open up the modify window and select crop.  You’ve just created your designer tag to match your designer paper along with a little faux brad!!


using modify

 patterned paper tag

Lets add some stitching around the border.  Select the blue tag.  Select the offset button and select internal offset.  Adjust the distance to where you want it – for this example I set mine at .075.  Select the corner edge (not the rounded edge).  Go to the line color button and select white as the color.  Select the line style option button and select one of the stitched/dashed lines.  I used the smallest one.  Change the line thickness to however thick you want the line – mine is set at .010.  Group it all together and you are set to print and cut.

stitched tag

For the white tag – there is no color – you will just add stitching.  Select the smaller tag, do an internal offset  – mine is set at .055  Select the line style as the small dashed one like you used in the larger tag and change the line thickness as well. We did not select a line color so you will see that these are just cut lines.  Bring in your sentiment and place it onto the smaller tag – resizing it if needed.  Also place the small circle “faux brad” on the small tag.  Group everything together and you have your print and cut file!

print and cut tags

For the rest of the card…..I used a honeycomb cut file from Kerri Bradford.  The file is sized for a full sheet of scrapbooking paper but I just eliminated some of the honeycomb pieces and resized it down to card size.  A small dot of glossy accents was added to the “faux brad” to give it dimension.  The ribbon is some old SU ribbon from my stash.

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  I hope this wasn’t too involved  I’m working on tomorrows post to show the steps I took to create the patterned paper used on this card.  I hope you will stop by!

Silhouette Print & Cut

Hello crafty friends!  I’ve been busy experimenting with my Silhouette machine and today I will show you how I worked with Silhouette’s Print and Cut feature.  This is a very cool way to not only print and cut out your digital images but it also means you can create your designs.  There is a bit of a learning curve with this and I admit I am still learning as I go – I’ll point out an issue later on in the post that I am still working on.

I am working with the Silhouette studio version 3 – the basic and most recent updated software so the steps I am taking may be a little different if you have version 2.  I don’t have the Designer Edition software and at this point I have not found a need for it.

First – the card.  The images are digital images from Power Poppy and the card is for their Peep Of The Week challenge shown HERE.

Power Poppy Tulip


The tulip was colored with copic markers:  YR01, YR12, YR18 YG21, YG91, YG93, YG95  The embossed panel was sponged with Memento’s Pistachio and Cantelope inks.  The designer paper is from Basic Grey’s Scarlett’s Letter line.

So…the tulip was cut out with my silhouette – here is how you can take your digital image and make it into a print and cut file.   First, you have to make your image into a cuttable image.

Open up your file in Silhouette.  Open up the trace window and click select trace area.   Then draw a box around the area you want to trace. (Hold down the shift key and go over the area).

Once you have the area you want selected, uncheck the “high pass filter” box,  check the “low pass filter” box and then start adjusting the “threshold”.  I set mine at 86.6.  Then click the “trace outer edge” icon.  This is one of those things that you will have to play around with on each file.

Here is my result after doing these steps  (note:  I moved the digital image off to the side so that you can see the red cut lines but when you are doing print and cut just leave the two pieces together)  As shown in the photo below you can see the outline.  Now – the cut line is right to the edge of the image – if you want a little more of a border you can use the “offset” tool to make the cut file a tad larger.

tulip outlined


SO…now that we have our cut file we can do a “print and cut”.  For this feature you need to let silhouette know where to cut.  Bring up your cut file.  At this point I change my page size to 8.5 x 11 – go to the page tool and select letter size to do this.

Now add  “registration marks”  This is how Silhouette reads where to start and end cutting.  In version3 All I had to do was to click the “registration marks” icon to do this.  In version 2 I think you have to open the registration marks window and manually select  it.   Once that it done you will see something like this on your screen.  See the greyed out boxes?  You need to make sure your image is not overlapping any of those greyed areas and that the image is in the white area of the space.

tulip registration marks


Now send your image to the printer.  This is what gets printed out:

printed registration marks

You can see it printed out my tulip as well as those black marks in the corner.  Those are what the Silhouette will read.  Now put the paper on the mat, load the mat and send to the Silhouette to cut.  Here is how it cut – and the one small issue that I have not yet solved.

tulip cut with silhouette


The silhouette did a great job cutting the outline – but I need to find out how to modify the  cut file to cut that small piece on the inside where the arrow is pointing.   For the card I made it did not make a difference.  I’ll have to do further research into this and it will most likely mean learning about the more advanced features.   I will let you know what I find out!

Thanks for stopping by today and I hope tings are going well for you!