Sunday, 5 July 2015

Create with Carl - Top 5 tools and stuff to start you off.

Top 5 Tools and stuff.

Hi everyone its thestampinupbloke again.

One of the things I fondly remember about my grandparents, was the cards hung over the dining table after all special events in their life. All their friends and family would send them cards and they would hang them on a string over the table. The favourite cards went on the mantelpiece or on top of the old "magnavox" record player, (now all you young people might not know what that is, it played vinyl discs, LOL I'm so old)

So where do all your cards get put, the ones you give away each year? What do you do with the ones you get given? How much do you spend on cards every year? Think of all the special occasions you have to shop for, if you are like me the cards that you buy are usually the last thing that you think of when you purchase a gift. And if you are a bloke like me it is definitely the last thing thought of, seriously if you remembered the bunch of roses on your anniversary you are doing pretty good , a card as well what do you think I am made of money (have you seen the price of roses). Now most of us would give at least 10 to 20 cards a year, at least,  and that adds up to quite a lot.

What if I was to show you a way that for a lot less than the price of those cards you could make at least 50 cards that will be remembered, what would you think    

While this card making gig is fun and a hobby, for Petra and I it is far more important. We are working hard to provide crafty type people (like you) with the materials and equipment to indulge their passion for the paper arts or just to make a card for someone special. I am sure if you read this blog you are a crafty type person perhaps you are already involved with "Stampin up" somewhere, nevertheless it is important to know just how easy it is to become a card making guru.

So here are my top 5 tools and supplies for you to make the cards that will get the top spot on the mantelpiece, or even better, that record player.

I have made 4 cards from these materials to give you an idea, and no I didn't cheat and use all Petra's equipment ,with just these 5 things (and a couple of sparkles) you can make these cards as well. Probably better cards, remember I am a bloke working in a woman's world. (it's a tough life)

1) Card -Stock 
               Obviously you can't make a card without the card. However there is more to card than you might have thought. So my first recommendation is to purchase a pack of "whisper white" for your base card. You get 40 A4 size sheets in a pack which you cut in half to get 2 cards. So technically if you don't waste any you can make 80 cards.  I cut my A4 sheets into 8 inches by 5 and a half inches (203mm x 140mm) which leaves a bit of scrap which always comes in handy. (The American sizing is due to Stampin up being an American company and all the card-stock will be sized in inches, if you eventually get a paper trimmer it will have inches on it)

Now plain white cards are definitely simple but they are a bit boring (and remember you want this up on the mantelpiece till May) so you will need some colour. Stampin up make these awesome card packs with card-stock and "designer series paper" (DSP), all the colours match so it makes setting out your card so much easier. So my second recommendation, purchase a pack of coloured card-stock and the matching DSP.

Timeless elegance DSP

This paper is for the added backgrounds and colour in your card, you get a bit less in a pack but it goes a lot further as you only cut off small bits to put on the white card base.
For my demo cards I used the "timeless elegance" pack of card-stock and DSP.  DSP is great, because it is double sided, there is a different pattern on
each side of the paper so if one side doesn't take your fancy the other side will. In my demo cards I have used the same DSP just reversed to show the different pattern. There are several different packs of card and DSP to choose from I am sure that you will find one that you love.

2) Small tools 
               You will have to cut your card somehow and I'm sure that you will probably have a pair of scissors around the house somewhere which will do the trick in a pinch. I was unconvinced on the value of a pair of dedicated Paper Snips until I tried them ("I still can't believe they are not Scissors") they are sharp right to the end and have very fine tips, which is great if you are trying to cut out a flower as I did on the demo card. If you are serious about your card making you will eventually have to get yourself a pair, or come along to one of our card class days and pinch a pair, I dare you. (no not really Petra will kill me)
Stamping paper snips
Some other things you will find handy is a ruler (with inches if possible), a sharp knife like a Stanley Knife a small one and a sharp lead pencil with an eraser. Most of these things you might have or just raid the kids pencil case. 

3) Adhesive
            To stick your creation together you will need some adhesive. I am not going to get into which one is better, as everyone has their personal preference and eventually you will too, I will just say what I have found to be easy. I find a liquid adhesive like "Tombow" to be the easiest to use as it gives me some time to adjust what I am doing before it sticks rock hard.
Tombow liquid adhesive

The strip adhesives like "Fast Fuse" and "Snail" are instant once it is down it stays there, my creations are never that perfect first go. So recommendation get a tube of "Tombow" and make your life easier.
Fast fuse adhesive

4) A Stamp Set
           To make your card individual and personal a stamp is just the ticket. It also helps with the sentiment, as writing it on with a pen is not so good, unless you have the copperplate handwriting of my grandfather. I have chosen two different stamp sets to show you, both are great however one will need a bit bigger clear block to hold the stamp. I have chosen to show you the photopolymer stamps, as they are the cheapest and you can see through them so it makes seeing where the stamp is going real easy.  

Crazy about you
The first set is "Crazy About You". It has a sentiment for almost every occasion and two simple flower designs and a leaf, all up you get 33 stamps, pretty good hey. on my demo card I used three of the sentiment stamps to make a sentence and one of the flowers to give a focus point on the card. You will need to get a "D" size clear block to stick the stamp to, but that one block does all the stamps and it is way cheaper than getting the wood block stamps.

Sheltering tree
The second set is "Sheltering Tree". I picked this one as it is a bit like a liquorice all-sort, there are all kinds of things in this set and you can let your imagination run wild. It too has some nice sentiments and lots of pictures, all up 14 stamps, another great deal. On my demo card I used just two of the picture stamps and a sentiment. This set needs a "E" size block for the biggest tree shape, this block is a bit big for some of the other stamps in the set but you can make it work. If you want to make it a bit easier you can get a smaller block as well.

5) Ink
             Last but not least you will need some ink to make the stamp set work (or you could just glue the stamps to the card , lol) No you will need an ink pad! I made it easy for myself, as I have just used basic black. It works for all the sentiments and even for the pictures, although colour does make the pictures stand out a bit better, it is not absolutely necessary as you can see.
Stampin up make a couple of different black inks but the "Memento" one is simple and easy to use. Of course you can get coloured inks there are dozens of them, all with crazy names, yellow is not yellow it is "daffodil delight" or is it "crushed curry" no its "hello honey" actually it is all of them but different. 

So there you have My TOP 5 tools and product. If you are just getting into making cards we can help you to get all these things and more, much more, this is just the tip of the iceberg. You have the wonderful opportunity to jump in as far as you would like, and this list is enough to get you started making beautiful cards that will stay on the mantelpiece for a lot longer that you might even dream. Picture it, your card up on the mantle, being the envy of all your friends who have been relegated to the string over the table. You need to check out our online store right now and get started, It will be the best thing you have done today.

      How to make the cards: I used card sketches to get the ideas (you can find them on the internet, there are hundreds just google search them) and just simply put it together. I like to have all the things I might use on the table in front of me and try a few different ideas. I only glue it all together after it is finally what I want. Probably the hardest part was fussy cutting out the flower but only because it took ages to get it right and I was being a bit impatient.

There are no set sizes (you can make your card any size you want) however a good start is to cut an A4 sheet in half and then fold in half again that gives you 2 base cards. Then just cut the backing paper to match the front, if you are not sure cut the bits bigger that you think they need to be lay it down and have a look, simply keep trimming if it needs to be smaller (if it needs to be bigger you will have to cut it again). Lay it all in place, (I usually don't like my cards until they are finished, I keep second guessing the steps I have taken and the colours used), keep going until its finished and I'm sure you will like it. Then glue it all together, write inside it and give it to someone you love. You get stress relief and get to give something handmade to your loved ones, what could be better than that.

If you look closely at these cards left and right you will notice that they are similar but different to each other. I used the same sketch for the cards on the left and another sketch for the cards on the right. the first card of each pair is really simple with just one stamp, one sentiment and a single layer for each of the banners. The second card is stepped up a bit with a matt placed under each banner and even under the face piece of the card. These additional layers give the card a bit more detail and make it look a little more interesting. For a closer look check them out on Instagram follow "thestampinupbloke" they are posted there.

So with just these basic tools and supplies, a few different card sketches and a Saturday afternoon, you too can make beautiful cards that will be remembered and treasured long after the special occasion that prompted you to get creative. If you want to be inspired or need some more guidance you can leave me a message

 or if you are ready to get started just click over to our online shop here.

Thanks for reading hope I have inspired you to get creative. 

Till next time - Happy crafting - "may all your cuts be Paper" 


  1. Awesome Carl! How can you not feel inspired now! Great post.

    1. Thanks Nicole I'm having fun learning and sharing. Thanks for the encouragement

  2. Wonderful cards. I love "Shelterin Tree".
    Thanks for you comment on my blog :)
    x Sigrid


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