Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Clarity Challenge for September '15

The theme for this month's Clarity Stamp Challenge is shaped cards. I came up with the plan for this card (a grungy purple heart) very early in the month, but the execution has taken me up to the last minute.

I started with Clarity gelli/stencil card, and tore it into a heart shape. Then I decided it was too big and too perfect, so I took some more off to make a more rough and ready heart shape.

I then tackled the sentiment. The phrase came from an article I saw on positive things to say to your child, this one resonated with me. I embossed it onto parchment using the Groovi bunting wave and alphabet border, then tore around it. I wasn't sure how the parchment would tear, and it took a bit of care, but I really liked the white border it created.

Onto the messy stage. I mixed a dark grey in acrylic and brayered the heart and the back of the parchment sentiment. The parchment took the paint well, the writing popped out nicely.

Once the heart had dried, I applied another coat, in purple this time, allowing marks from the brayer to remain; I also left the edges (which were reluctant to take the paint) grey to add interest and make it look less "neat".

Time to add some pattern. I covered the Clarity leafy swirl stencil in watermark ink, then embossed it onto the heart using my grand calibur. Swept on some silver mica powder to take up the pattern. Then repeated to cover the whole of the heart. It worked better than I had expected - a lovely clear imprint, actually a bit clearer than I wanted. No matter, we can grunge it up a bit more.

At this point I realised I should take progress pictures, so here's what it looked like so far.

I haven't quite got the hang of taking clear and colour true photos, I'll have to have a play with the camera one day to figure out the best settings.

I put the heart back through the grand calibur with the Crafters Companion distress embossing folder, which broke up the pattern nicely.

Added gilding wax in purple and silver to tone down the mica powder and mix up the patterns.

Happy with that as my grungy heart base.

The next step was the flowers to embellish the heart. I did these late one night after the baby had gone to sleep, so no daylight to take photos! I used lightweight card, and covered one side in dark grey acrylic, the other in purple. I die cut flower shapes using tattered lace dies, then put them through the distress and hessian embossing folders from Crafters companion. The same gilding waxes as on the heart tone them in. I folded the petals to add dimension, then folded a bit more, and ended up basically scrupling them up to get the look I wanted. Grey gems in the middles, and attach to the heart with silicon glue gel.

I attached the sentiment at this stage too, using foam pads originally, but adding glue as they didn't stick the parchment very well.

It's nearly there, but needs a little something on the left I think. Time to rummage in my stash and see what I find. I had in mind something like a chain looped across the corner, but I found this black thong and had the idea to lace it onto the card. It was more fiddly than I expected, but I'm happy with the effect it gives.

Then it's just a matter of attaching the finished heart to a plain black tent card, and sitting back to admire…

…oh dear, something's not quite right. Aha! Back to part of the original plan from the start of the month. Out with the black soot distress ink pad, and drag it gently over the left edge of the card. Yep, like that, do a bit more. And get carried away - oh no, I've been far too heavy handed. Quickly get water, a brush and paper towel and try to lift the ink off - thank goodness everything else was thoroughly dried, it does lift away cleanly, I think I got away with it!

Right, time to quit while I'm ahead. So this is my shaped card for the September Clarity Stamp Challenge completed. 

As a bonus, I have a nice collection of backgrounds I made with waste and spare paint to add to my stash for another time.

Post script - I'm extremely chuffed and flattered that this card was chosen as one of the top 5 entries for the Clarity challenge in September!