Saturday, 23 September 2017

Northern lights

It's time for another pink, red and green Christmas Card for the Christmas Card Throwdown.

I was very unsure about this combination when I first saw it, but it's proven a rich seam of inspiration! This is why I love the challenges, it makes you think outside your comfort zone.

This card will also suit the Berkhamsted Creative Challenge "Celestial Wonders".

I've been wanting to try this Northern Lights technique since I saw it last year, I think it was on a sponging technique challenge.

I started with my distress oxides and the challenge colours - fired brick, picked raspberry, twisted citron and cracked pistachio.

I sponged them onto my card in streaks.

My camera doesn't focus on these backgrounds well, this was the best photo of several!

I then took the black soot oxide and sponged round the outside, and a little over the lights. I used a torn paper mask to add a hill at the bottom.

For a focus, I added some trees along the horizon. I used memento ink as I wanted them to be crisp. These are a selection of Clarity stamp trees - I used the top half as I wanted them smaller than the full stamp.

Where the trees showed on the black hill, I sponged over again in memento to blend them in.

While that dried, I had another go, using the normal distress inks, to see how they compare. This one isn't in the challenge colours!

As I wasn't restricting myself, I added chipped sapphire around the edge first, then black soot over it.

This gives a deeper, more velvety effect to the night sky.

In general, the colours are more vibrant, and the black darker, so for this I think the normal inks are a better choice. Having said that, I didn't add water to the oxides - I suspect that a light spritz might activate them and give a whole other effect. One to try another time!

I added the trees as before, first and second generation. 

Once they had dried, I added stars with a white gel pen.

I also darkened the sky of the oxide one with normal black soot ink.

For a sentiment, I stamped the top half of a Clarity Christmas stamp, using versa mark and white embossing powder.

To finish, I mounted on card - pink for the oxide one, purple for the distress ink one, then onto 6x6 card blanks.

I think you could play around with the "shape" of the sky to be more realistic, and with the patterns in the colours. There are lots of videos on youtube with different ways to play with this kind of effect. But even a fairly basic version like this is (I think!) very striking and effective. 

To join in with our colour challenge, head to the Christmas Card Throwdown, where you'll find lots of inspiration from the design team and the other entries.

As there are 5 Saturdays in September, this challenge is open for three weeks, so you have until Friday 6th October to enter.


  1. Magnifique ton aurore boreale Lucinda, très poétique, biz

  2. Wonderful Christmas card Lucinda! Love the glowing background! Thanks for sharing your creative process!

    1. Thank you Mona. The black framing does give these a real vibrancy!


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