I find Pinterest very inspiring, do you? A while ago I came across this pin which shows you how to stamp a silhouetted heart shape onto a tote bag using a pencil eraser, and I thought to myself “that would make a lovely card”. But the card was going to be for my husband’s birthday, so a heart wouldn’t necessarily have been the most appropriate (we’re not that soppy!), so I wanted to choose something else for the silhouette shape. I could have done a large monogram-style letter (like I did with this card) or number (like I did with this card), but instead I decided that I wanted to write ‘Happy Birthday!” And this is how it came out:
The hardest part was actually figuring out how to make the removable letters that I was going to stamp over. I needed something that would stick to the card without being too thick (my first thought was to stick paper letters down with blu tak but that would have lifted the letters away from the card too much). From my wanderings through blogland, I remembered that one blogger (Minted Strawberry, who I have featured in the past here) used vinyl to create a silhouette that she spray painted over to decorate the front of a notebook (see here for details) and then peeled the vinyl off to reveal the design. Another blogger (The Postman’s Knock – fantastic resource for calligraphy and art!) hand-lettered a silhouette using art masking fluid in the place of ink, painted watercolour over the top and then peeled off the (now dry) fluid to reveal the letters (see here for details).
But I didn’t have vinyl or art masking fluid. So instead I came up with my own solution – post-it notes! It’s the most well-known temporary glue there is. So if you have some post-it notes lying around, and you’d like to try this card for yourself, then read on to find out how to make it!
For this tutorial, you will need:
- Card blank (mine is DL size)
- Post-it notes
- Scissors or a craft knife
- Paint – you will need one strong colour, plus white (I used poster paints but I’m sure most opaque paints would work)
- Paint-proof surface, such as a lid
1. Decide what shape or letters you want to have silhouetted on your card. I wanted to write HAPPY BIRTHDAY!, which worked quite well since the letters were quite small (mine were 2cm high) and therefore not much wider than the strip of adhesive on the post-it note. Larger shapes or letters might not work as well since a larger part of them won’t be stuck down with the adhesive.
2. Draw your shapes or letters on the post-it note(s). For some reason, I forgot to take a photo of this stage, so here is a mock-up of what it looked like. As you can tell, I needed two post-it notes!
3. Carefully cut out your shapes or letters. You could use scissors or a craft knife for this, whichever you find easiest. I didn’t bother to cut out the holes in my letters, partly through laziness and partly because I liked the effect!
4. Arrange your shapes or letters on the card. I found the easiest way to do this without marking the card too much was to make a mark at opposite edges of the card where I wanted the bottoms of my letters to be, and then place a ruler between the two marks. Then I could position the letters so that the bottom of each letter touched the ruler and voila! the letters were all nice and level. Also, I started with the middle letter and worked outwards either way so that my sentiment was aligned centrally (but obviously you can align yours however you like).
5. Squeeze a fairly small blob of the coloured paint onto an appropriate surface (I used a margarine-tub lid) and then press your felt onto the blob. In order to make sure the felt is well soaked in the paint you can either use the end of your pencil eraser to repeatedly press the felt into the paint until it is soaked through, or turn the felt over so that both sides are covered in paint. If you do the second option, then you will need to do some test stamps on a spare piece of paper with your pencil eraser to make sure there’s not too much paint on the eraser, or else you will not stamp cleanly. I discussed using felt to make a paint stamp pad in this post, if you’re looking for more information on this.
6. The next step is the fun part – stamping! Start stamping in the centre of your card. You want your spots to be closer together in the middle and spread out more away from the middle. Don’t go too far out though! You can see how far I went with my spots in this picture:
7. Now on a different part of your lid, squeeze the same-size blob of your first colour as you did before, but now add some white and mix them together to make a slightly paler shade of your first colour. Stamp a little of this colour in the centre of your card, but more outwards, and again get further apart the further you get out. The aim is to avoid having rings of each shade, but mingle them so that there is a gradual colour change from dark in the middle to pale near the edge of the card. It also looks quite nice if the spots get more spaced out the further they are from the centre. Repeat this with increasingly paler shades of your first colour by adding more white paint each time and continue stamping until you have almost covered the card, or until you are happy with the effect. I had 4 shades of blue in my card.
Tip 1: Make sure that almost all the edges of the letters are covered in spots so that they will be clearly defined when the letters are removed
Tip 2: I found it easier to pretend that the letters weren’t there when stamping my pattern so that the pattern was more natural and even. This sort-of contradicts Tip 1 above, but you can always add in a few extra spots at the end if you think there are any edges that have been missed!
8. Now you are ready to remove the letters (another fun part!). I peeled off the letters while the paint was still wet to avoid the risk of pulling dried paint away from the card. I don’t know if that would have happened, but it worked fine doing it this way (as long as you don’t accidentally stick your finger in the paint!). This was the result:
Yay! I was so pleased with it. And my husband liked it too, which is a bonus ;)
I liked it so much that I used the same technique (in green) to make a card for my new baby niece. Doesn’t she have a beautiful name?!
Do you like the ombre stamped spots effect as much as I do? Do let me know if you have a go yourself, I’d love to see it!
Thanks for reading!