Saturday, 6 January 2018

First Christmas Card of 2018!

As the excitement of Christmas and New Year draws to a close, we're back with the 52 Christmas Card Throwdown for 2018! We've reverted to weekly challenges, helping you to build up your stash of Christmas cards through the year. Each month we'll have a sketch, a colour challenge, a theme and a stash/technique challenge.

We start with a sketch:

Although this sketch immediately suggests layers, I decided to be contrary and use masking instead. And I wanted to play with my gel press plate and acrylic paints.

I started with 7x7 card. The first layer is quite pale - a light sage paint with a pale gold. I used a snowflake mask from that special touch of... I had a few trial runs at this, the gel press works best with some layers built up on it!

I failed to get a focussed photo, but at least you can see the colours!

I then cut a rectangle from copier paper to act as a mask, and sprayed with stick and spray temporary adhesive. I fixed this to the centre of the card.

The next layer was a dark read, with some gold - I wasn't cleaning the gel press between layers so the texture was building up the whole time.

To build up the gold snowflakes, I used the rectangle petite gel press, so I could focus on specific areas.

I then used masking tape to create the banners. I added a teal/turquoise paint, again with the petite plate.

I wanted to give more texture to the red area, so masked off the banner. I used a script stencil from Clarity with a darker gold, and the mini capricious stencil from The Crafter's Workshop with burnt umber for the swirls.

Switching back the masking tape, I added dark gold snowflakes to the teal banner. I used a sponge through the stencil to give a stronger image.

This was the result with all the masks removed.

To add the star, I cut a template from copier paper with a punch, and used the petite gel plate to apply the teal paint - repeating to give better coverage. I then applied some gold through the swirly stencil, still with the star mask in place.

The final painty step was the sentiment - using a Clarity stencil I got for Christmas. 

I used the teal paint, with the sponge to give a solid colour.

I was really pleased with it so far!

The best thing about the gel press plate is the cleaning up - I usually get the best prints with what's left on it at the end. I add a background colour of paint and pull prints to get as much off the plate as possible. I know some people get the plate clean like this, I never get it all off - maybe it's the paint I'm using.

This was my favourite clean up print from this session - absolutely gorgeous, no idea what I'll do with it!

Once the paint had completely dried, I trimmed my sketch piece to fit a 7x7 card blank (so although it's one layer it won't go in the post with a normal stamp - must try to be more post aware this year!).

I then got out the drawing pens to add details. I used gold and bronze around the outside, the shapes, the star and the lettering, and a thinner gold pen within the letters for interest.

I then used charcoal and Faber Castell pencils to add a drop shadow to the shapes, to add dimension, and look like the layers I had decided not to use! It's quite a clumsy effort, but still gives the effect.

And so I'm off the mark, with my first card of the year made!

To see the other great inspiration from the design team, and join in with our sketch challenge, head over to the 52 Christmas Card Throwdown page. You have until midnight GMT (7pm EDT) on Friday 12th January 2018 to enter.

Good luck, I can't wait to see what you'll come up with!


  1. Elle est trop élégante et chic cette carte Lucinda, biz

    1. Merci Fabiola, le"gel press plate" (aucune idée de ce que les Français seraient pour ça!) est tellement amusante!

  2. Wow - this is fabulous! Thanks for the step-by-step look at your process. Great idea to use masking instead of layers.

    1. Thanks Melissa, it's good to show different ways of using the sketch!

  3. This is even more impressive now I know it's all masked. Fabulous effect and the pen and pencil finishing touches are perfect. I love those colours. I agree about the postage costs but I'm not thinking of that when adding this, that and the other to my efforts.

    1. Thanks Alison. Postage is a issue - I usually end up needed few more "portable" cards at the year end. Maybe this year I need to think about it in advance more. Or see visit more people in December so I don't need to post!


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