Beginner Guide ..Stuck on Sticky?

As a beginner one of my big questions was..”what do you stick everything with ?”

There are so many choices of glues and tapes and such to use.. what do you buy?? paper glue, rubber, glue, all purpose glue, glue dots, tape runners… the list is endless!  Everyone has their own preferences as to what they use on their projects… here are just a few of the things I use, and what I use them for.



Tombow Aqua –  Personally I find that this glue is too wet for card and paper ..unless you use a sponge applicator or your finger to spread it around thinly.  I find if I use the large applicator the card gets too wet and warps.  However I find it is fantastic for sticking on the nail bling that I bought at Amazon. If I have small pieces of card to add to a project, it is perfectly fine, I just don’t like to use it for  sticking large pieces to base cards unless I thin it out.


Elmers Tape Runner



Tape Runners  – Love this thing….I just wish they came in longer lengths, or bigger refill packs.  I know there are other brands that have longer lengths, I just haven’t tried them ..YET.  These tape runners are fantastic for sticking large background pieces and It’s a must have for any card maker.





Glue Dots


Glue Dots …I know a lot of people love these, but I can’t quite seem to get into these as much as the tape runner.  They definitely have their uses and I would always keep one handy, but for actual assembly…. for the most part I find them too thick and obvious and not so permanent as the tape runner. Maybe I need to find a lower profile dot or just use them on the smaller pieces of thick card.  Definitely a good thing to have on hand..but I wouldn’t use it for everything.




Double sided tape –  basically its a not so convenient tape runner.  Works the same it is just not as quick and easy to apply as a tape runner.

Rubber Cement – always a useful thing to have on hand.  You can pick this up in the local hardware store.  Very handy for sticking wood, rubber, and other heavier materials to your projects. Comes in handy for sticking unmounted rubber stamps to wood blocks too if you decide you want a permanent bond.  It stinks a bit and comes with a brush applicator that is over-sized for a lot of projects. It’s designed for use by plumbers really  not just use your own applicator.  It’s definitely worth having tucked away for those moments when.. and we all have them… when you  decide to use something crazy on a project and then realize you have nothing in your box of tricks to stick it down with.


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Beginners Guide to Dry Inking Techniques










Ok.. list of what you need for this technique… brushes, ink pads, crayola markers or similar …. scrap paper to work on..and some patience 🙂

This is the easiest, most effective coloring technique … as a well known insurance advert likes to say “Even a caveman can do it”

.. hell my 3 year old does it. It’s a great technique for anyone…. beginner, or advanced. But specially good for those beginners who haven’t quite found their coloring mojo yet. Do not be scared of trying to color stamps, or ink your edges because you think you can’t… YOU can.

I am your classic example of “that crafter..” I can’t color, paint or draw worth a damned.. but I can do this!!

Before I get into this super complicated coloring technique << insert rolleyes for sarcasm here…. I am going to share with you some of my own project images. Just to show you what YOU can do…. it’s a great starter technique that will allow you to transition into a more detailed technique over time. Saying that…. this is a great technique all in it’s own, which lends itself to certain projects way better than the usual color in the lines style of coloring.

Now be aware that this is a brand new technique for me…and I just kind of fell into it totally by accident. I was actually trying to learn how to do the cool inked edges that a lot of our ladies do. Being the tangent head that I am.. I started with that and it just kind of took on a life of it’s own. I am loving this technique and the versatility of it. It makes even me go “WOW.. I did that!!! …ME !!!”

Ok so that said.. here are some of my personal images…

This is the first stage of an 11×17 sheet of card stock before the background was filled in. I wanted some unique paper for some card projects… and this technique lends itself perfectly to creating your own paper/card stock. These are just rubber stamp images from my personal stamp collection, colored with the dry brush technique.






Then a background was inked in, just because that is what I wanted for my project. Video link below was done using this image set.







Need a quick card… flat card in under 15 minutes ..stamp, ink, bling and go







Card and envelope in a hurry… gotta be a stamp, emboss, ink , bling and go.





Ok.. so now you have a rough idea of what it’s all about… lets get to the serious business… Pay close attention as this is extremely serious stuff and one false move could render your project.. FRICKIN AWESOME !

I kid you not… once you try this and make a mistake, try to fix it and it just starts to breathe on it’s own.. you will often discover your ‘mistake’ was actually cool and you ended up with something better than you were planning to do.. as Bob Ross used to say… no such thing as a mistake, just happy little accidents.

Ok so the highly specialized list of items needed…

  • Card Stock.. cut, ripped, punched ..whatever you desire… to size and shape for your project
  • Scrap card… if you need to mask areas off to keep them clean for text etc later
  • Brushes… I have a set of artist brushes picked up at Michael’s for about $9 after a 50% coupon… these are actually my toddlers paint brush set lol. I have also used smaller artist brushes for finer work.. hell I used the old brush from the top of a mineral makeup. It’s kind of like an old badger hair shaving brush in shape and texture. Pretty much any brush other than the kids plastic bristle ones should work, so don’t be scared to grab old brushes and give them a try.
  • Ink pads.. I have dye ink pads for my toddler… these are cheap old ink pads from Michael’s.. as often as not, they are on sale. They are cheap, come in a range of colors and It’s no biggie if I spread my colors from one pad to another.. it just means I get new shades lol.  I love these ink pads !
  • Crayolas… yup I use Crayola washable markers.. at $2 a pack for the fat 10 pack, it doesn’t matter if my kid grabs my pens or I borrow his. It’s not like he drew on his coloring book with a set of Copic’s and made me cringe LOL. Crayola ink will dry up quicker than dye ink … so be prepared to get subtler shades and have to re-ink your brush more often… or just wet your brush down a bit. I draw on an acrylic block, then pick the ink up from that. If you want a lot of different colors, without a hefty price tag pick up a 30+ multi pack of the skinny ones.

Ok.. so .. did I miss anything .. oh yeah… obviously if your project requires images… you need some stamps.. rubber, clear, Digital… whatever floats your boat.

Dry Inking – Quickie example video.

And here we go…. nothing special, it was just a quick rush video to show some of the ladies the technique, I will try and add a better video later 🙂 There is no verbal commentary to this one as it was done in the wee hours of the morning while my boys were fast asleep… however there is music, so speakers down ladies and gents !!

It will appear upside down to you… sorry about that…. but it’s either you see it upside down, or spend 10 minutes trying to watch the brush work and not stare at my cleavage 🙂

Upside down or back to front.. the technique remains the focus of this video.. so it doesn’t really matter..for those who really need it right side up, may I suggest viewing on a tablet or phone and lock your screen rotation and then flip your device. soooo much easier on your blood pressure than trying to watch a 10 minute video on your head. The video cuts off before the project is finished… but the technique is the same all the way through and even the background is done the same way.. just with a bigger brush. I got a new software for desktop capture so stay tuned for more on screen videos showing projects and techniques..including digital coloring in a graphics program, working in Design Space .. and anything else I happen to be up to that might be of use.


and lastly.. a few more samples

This was a collaboration piece by myself and my 3 year old… he rocks the dry brush like a pro.

I inked the edges and did the Gelly Roll highlights on the fireworks.. which is kind of hard to see on this one.

He stamped the fireworks and the red ink in the center is all him. He hijacks my projects all the time.. but I love being able to share crafting with him…. so you won’t hear me complaining.



This is a KennyK digi image which I colored on the computer, printed out and then inked a flag on.. It’s a work in progress. The cop has some serious Gelly Roll Stardust bling going on for a touch of fun, white stars were glued on…and a rectangular scrap sheet was used to mask off the area I plan to put text when I am done. This piece is for a LEO friend of the family and will probably have some humorous verbage along the lines of .. “No ladies you can’t pay in dollar bills… this is a speeding ticket, not an autograph”.

The photo’s really don’t do this piece justice. If you try this technique you will see just how much fun it is and how easy it is to create unique pieces for all sorts of cool projects.


..another KennyK piece… can you tell I love his style.. haha

This piece is actually one of my submission for one of the July super Card Challenges currently going on. This is Capt. Locke part of KennyK’s Steampunk collection. This is an over-sized card.. you can read more about the techniques used and see progress pictures over on the message board. Sorry you have to be a member to view this.. so come on over and sign up.. we’re mostly house trained over there 🙂

In a nutshell.. large base card made from an 11×17 card stock done in 3/4 fold style.

Background card was dry inked.. card stock was ripped into pieces that were then embossed and ..dry inked. and then Capt. Locke.. bless her heart is the major player on this piece. She was colored in a graphics program and then imported to Design space and a print and cut on the main outline was done… she was printed 6 times and then each layer was hand cut to remove sections for the layers. She is a 6 layer, pyramid style topper and stands about half an inch off the base card at her highest point.

*** FOOT NOTE  Do not throw away your  scrap paper you use underneath when inking edges and drying ink off brush.  It makes awesome backgrounds for cards.   The card in  the image at the top of the page was made using my scrap paper .. it can make a great vintage/rustic style background.  I usually throw down an 11×17 sheet of card stock  as a protector sheet on my desk. 


Beginners Guide to Embossing with Folders

This is a totally different technique to embossing with powders as seen in Nanadonna’s Tutorial.


Sizzix Machines

Embossing with folders usually requires a machine such as Sizzix Texture Boutique Embossing Machine, Big shot or similar.

There are lots of machines on the market and we will link to some of them at the end of this post. Choosing a machine comes down to budget and personal preference based on your crafting needs.

Embossing machines use what are referred to as embossing folders to create a raised design on your card stock or materials.

Embossing folders consist of two sides….a negative and a positive image and your card stock goes in the middle.  The plastic texture plates are hinged to take the guess work out of matching the two plates.  The folder is then sandwiched between the machines plates and inserted into the  machine… crank the handle and voila, beautifully embossed card is now yours to play with.  You can emboss directly onto your card blanks, or on to sheets of card which can then be applied to your base.  There are lots of examples of projects using embossing folders in our Message Board and on the galleries.


Here are some examples:


Embossed Card Samples


This is a selection of  card stock that has been embossed using  the Texture Boutique Embossing Machine.  This machine uses A2 size folders and is great starter machine for someone on a budget or just testing the waters.  My 3 year old loves to help  emboss with this, and it’s manual crank….so safe for little fingers.  so far we have only tried to emboss one alien figure LOL






Embossed and decorated Card Sample



This is a card with an embossed greeting that has been embellished with a Gelly Roll Stardust clear gel pen for  some extra bling. You can learn how to do the  dry inking effect HERE







Embossed and decorated Card Sample




Again, more examples of  embossing  done using an embossing folder and Gelly Roll Stardust pens. These particular folders are the Dandylion folder from Darice and in the background is the Daisy folder, also from Darice.







Embossing folders range in price  depending on the brand and the size.  Make sure you check the maximum size  capabilities for your particular machine.  The Texture Embossing Boutique is a budget machine intended only for embossing and it only takes the A2 size and border folders.

If you want to be able to use dies too, you should consider looking at something like a Sizzix Big Shot, or  Big Kick ….or if you have the budget for it and need larger capabilities.. check out the Big Shot Pro with an impressive 13 inch capacity and a price tag to match.

The range of dies available is take into consideration what you want to do now AND what you think you might want to do in the future when selecting a machine.  I just ordered a Big Shot  because I want to be able to die cut some of the fancier card templates and got a great deal on some Sizzix dies a few weeks ago…which you can read about HERE

Sizzix Die Cutting & Embossing Machines
Darice Embossing folders
Sizzix Embossing supplies