Tutorial - Collaboration between That's Crafty! and Relics and Artifacts

Hi everyone,

I’m absolutely thrilled to be here today joining in this amazing collaboration with That’s Crafty! and Relics and Artifacts, combining creative forces with some awesome products from both brilliant companies. I decided to go for a sort of glam grunge…..if such a thing exists of course! 

I used an MDF That’s Crafty! upright for this as my base as it will take anything and everything you throw at it! For my main focal point I chose to use this gorgeous heart and flame. 

The upright was coated in a couple of coats of Fresco paint and crackle glaze to give the cracked effect. The heart was painted with a coat of DecoArt Crackle Paint and a mixture of Luminarte Silk Paints. The flame was painted with a mixture of Pebeo Iridescent Paints and coated with a layer of DecoArt Glamour Dust Paint.

A close up of the heart so you see the crackle effect.

A close up of the flame so you can see the shimmer and shine on it.

A quick sprinkle of a mixture of Infusions and some spritzes of water resulted in a nice grungy background which is ready to go!

I just had to use one of my favourite Dinky stencils to add some detail with one of the new fab Oxides too.

Some background stamping with a new That’s Crafty! texture stamp to replicate a crackle effect. I also added the script stamp from this set too which you’ll see later on the finished creation.

The gorgeous hand and key were coated in a mixture of Distress Paints with a piece of rusty wire attaching the two together. I also adhered some bling with these beautiful Relics and Artifacts jewels, they really sparkle and catch the light.

Here is my finished piece. I really like the addition of the sparkly bling against the grungy background as it provides such a great contrast I think, hope you all do too ;)

Here’s some close ups for you of the finished creation. I’ve added some Tim Holtz ephemera as I thought they complimented the look I was aiming for ;)

Tutorial - Using die cuts for Paperartsy

Hi everyone, Donna Gray from Inky and Quirky here excitedly joining you this evening with a post about Die Cuts. I love using an assortment of die cuts to add interest and texture to a creation and when I saw the new Seth Apter one’s it set the little arty cogs in my brain whirring away with possibilities! So I thought I’d use them teamed up with some wonderful Lin Brown stamps to do an Autumnal theme with a woodland nymph keeping to all the russet colours. 

Step One:​  Use a large piece of That’s Crafty white/greyboard and start to brayer on the colours of Fresco paint in Tikka,Tango,Zesty Zing and Chartreuse randomly to create a light background for the stamping. Start adding some stamps from the fab ELB29 set using Archival ink in Coffee, this keeps the background muted as I didn't want it to overshadow what comes next. 

Step Two:​  Next it’s time to start drawing the wood nymph…...yes she does look a bit strange at this stage but don't worry it gets better! Use Fresco Nougat as the base of the skin colour, Fresco Tinned Peas for the eyes and Fresco London Bus for the lips, define the features using a brown Faber Castell Polychromos pencil. The body was painted with a mixture of Fresco Zesty Zing, Seaweed and Brown Shed, I wanted to create a sort of tree trunk effect.

Step Three:  Take a sheet of PaperArtsy Smoothy paper and sprinkle some lovely Infusions on, use a mixture of The Sage, Lemoncello,Orange County and Are You Cerise and spritz with a good spray of water until the colours start to mingle, dab with a kitchen towel if needed before heat drying. Now it’s time to start stamping up some leaves using the leaf stamp from ELB29 with a mixture of Archival and Memento inks, still sticking to that Autumnal colour palette, lots of lovely fussy cutting there! At the same time I also cut one of the Seth Apter dies (Drip Drop set cut from more Smoothy paper) and used the same mixture of Infusions.

Step Four:  I ​used some more die cuts, this time from Tim Holtz’s Sizzix Garden Greens die, and coloured with more Infusions in the same colour range as previous. In the end I only used the leaf pictured on the right as the other one just didn't work for me and as you'll see on the picture of the final creation I substituted it for another Seth Apter die (Ring Around) which I coloured with Distress inks in Barn Door, Vintage Photo and Spiced Marmalade.The same Distress colours were used on the die cut from the Drip and Drop set with a little bit of stamping with the circle stamp from the ELB29 set.

Step Five​: Now you start pulling all the pieces together. Use the drip drop die cut to form a circle around the wood nymph’s head and then layer up the leaves around that (I added a little Barn Door to the leaves to redden them up a bit). I used stencil PS002Lin Brown and pounced Mowed Lawn Distress ink through it to create a little more depth on the background.

Next take a couple of stamps from ELB23 and ELB29 and use on the nymph’s ‘body’, stamp and cut the leaf stamp separately and pop behind the leafy garland. Take the gorgeous tulip stamp from stamp set ELB23 and colour with a mixture of Zig clean colour pens in red and orange shades, fussy cut out and again place one in the nymph’s garland and attach one on top of the die cut leaf. For a finishing touch add a couple of Tim Holtz chit chat stickers and use one of the new Ranger Enamel Accents in white to add a little pop here and there against the Autumn colours.


Step Six: Here’s a close up of the face and some leaves. I added a couple of drops of Decoart Media Liquid Glass to the leaves so they look like they’ve just caught a little rain drop.

I really hope this has inspired you to get out your stash of die cuts and use them up, they are so versatile and can be coloured and textured with a whole range of products depending on what you want to create. How about drawing your own wood nymph too and maybe create one for each season, now there’s an idea ;)


Tutorial - Using Fun Foam as a Stamp

Hello everyone,

Today I'm going to show you how to take a piece of cheap fun foam,a stencil and a little block of wood and turn it all into a stamp that would be ideal for background stamping. Of course,don't forget that fun foam can also be used to die cut a shape out and then use that as a stamp but I thought I'd show you that you don't have to limit yourself to just that.

Gather all your supplies together. I've used just the 2mm thick fun foam for this but any thickness will do. I suggest that you choose a stencil with a 'solid' image on so you can cut the form out in one piece rather then several little pieces,this makes stamping easier and clearer.

supplies,yes this is all you need

I picked a crafters workshop stencil for this as the images are not too intricate to cut out. I found just a plain black ballpoint pen is ideal for tracing the image onto the fun foam.
select your image,trace with pen

This is what you should have after removing the stencil,your image ready for cutting out.
nice and clear

Cut carefully around your image,as the foam is so thin it cuts really easily.
one little gingko fun foam leaf!

For mounting these foam images,I just use some glue dot pads but you can use anything that will adhere to the foam and wood...experiement and see what suits you but I find this method works well for me.
all ready for mounting

This is the back of the foam image covered in glue dot pads,nice and sticky.
ready to be stuck down on the wooden block

Any old block of wood will do....my lovely other half kindly cut some for me the other week. The beauty of this is that you can also stick a foam stamp on either side :)
ah,all ready for inking up 

Now you can ink your newly created stamp up! You can use absolutely any ink you want or even paint,gesso anything! I do suggest however that whatever you use make sure its quite juicy as the foam does absorb a little bit of what you put on it.
wow,what a bright green!
Here's the finished tag. I've kept it plain for you so that you can see how clear the stamp has printed. Lovely gingko leaves!
tag all ready for more arty stuff 

Lastly, I am sharing a journal page that shows some of the foam stamps I've used along with some of my mounted stamps. There are other stamps on the reverse of these wooden blocks.
journal page still to be completed.

You can of course cut any shape out and use it,doesn't have to be just from a stencil. Sometimes you might have a favourite part of a stencil that you just want to use separately. I just think this is a great idea just for filling up your backgrounds of journal pages,tags etc. Its quick,cheap,easy...whats not to like!

Hope you found this useful in some way.any questions just leave me a comment and I'll happily help.

Donna x


Tutorial - Carving A Stamp

Hello everyone,

Today I thought I would show you how I've gone about carving a little Christmas tree stamp for myself. I would suggest for any beginners out there to purchase the stamp carving kit first to see if its something you enjoy doing. Then you can always upgrade to a bigger slab of rubber and a more complicated carving tool if you feel its something you would like to carry on with.....its very addictive so I can't see anyone not being hooked on it.

Okay,this is how I start. I usually always have a couple of sheets of scrap paper for trying out ideas first and for stamping on the inked up images to see how I am progressing. Now you can of course place your images onto the rubber using tracing paper but I tend to draw mine straight on the rubber after deciding what I want to carve. You can also take the image you've drawn on the paper and rub hard on the back of it,that should leave an imprint on the rubber too for you to start carving.

Of course, if you have anyone interested in advising you,make sure they are given the best seating advantage to supervise what you are doing.....

So, this is now the image drawn onto the rubber. Ive kept it really simple so there's no need to worry about shading what areas that are to be carved and what areas are to be left. I will do a more advanced tutorial at some point if anyone wants to see a more complicated image being made.

Go over the image with a marker so you don't rub out the lines to be carved,cut your image from the block.
I always use my Tim Holtz scissors for this,whatever you use make sure its sharp! I also always use my self healing mat for the carving,you are using a VERY sharp tool in carving so really need something to protect your work surface. Its also inevitable you will at some stage try and carve your fingers....just be careful...take it slowly,there's no rush

So,now we are ready to go. You have your image ready to be carved and your carving tool

Now,in the set you buy,there are only 2 tool heads. A number 2 and 4. The number 2 is for more intricate areas,the 4 is for larger areas. I tend to always use the 2 for everything but once again it will be what you feel most comfortable with.

Here you can see I've started carving the outline of the stamp. Take it slowly and remember in this case less is more.....once you've taken a chunk out of the rubber you can't put it back......cant think how I know this.....

More carving,you can see it really starting to take shape now. You'll also notice I've cut some of the rubber off on either side.its less for me to carve out and will not effect the final shape of the image.

When you think you have finished carving and you are happy with the shape,its time to ink the image up and see how it stamps for you. This will also highlight if there's any areas that still need to be carved. You just want the tree image and not any of the area around it. You will find on some images,you will need to ink up a few times before you are satisfied with the final print.

Image all inked up and ready for the trial stamping. It doesn't matter what ink you use for testing.

Hmmm,first stamped image....not happy with it...back to carve some more...

After more carving,inked up again and ready for another printed test image

You can see how the images differ between the first and second carvings but I'm still not happy with it.

Carved some more and inked up again

Still not impressed with the print!

Carved a bit more off and another print....I'm STILL not happy!

At this point, the Arty Director stepped in to advise where I was going wrong....it helped because I finally got the stamp to where I wanted it.

The final stamp shown with all the stamped images of the previous carvings....see how different it ended up?

A quick card to show how I've used my new stamp.

Finally,in better light,the finished card with some bling.
This stamp can be used to stamp on tags for pressies,multi stamped for gift wrapping or continue to be stamped on various backgrounds for Christmas cards. This one was embossed with Ranger Verdigris embossing powder.

Well I hope you found this helpful. I just wanted to show how easy it is to do. All you need is patience and a steady hand. I like the idea of trying to make some of my own supplies as it then makes your creations more unique to you. Plus if you carve something yourself,you can get whatever you think is missing from your stash :)

If this inspires you in anyway to start stamp carving,please leave me a link so I can come and see. Its all about helping and inspiring each other,thats why the crafting community is the best!

I've included a couple of links below for my UK based followers/readers for the stamp carving kit and Julie's wonderful stamp carving book which really is the best out there.

Have a lovely weekend everyone

Donna x.


Tutorial - Bleach blocking created for Julie Fei-Fan Balzer

Hello everyone and a big thank you to Julie for letting me on her blog, especially as she's the one who got me into stamp carving. 
My technique for you today is one I call 'bleach blocking' but without the horrid smell of bleach! This is a much more friendly and safer way to remove some of the colour from your background via your favourite stencils. I am showing you 2 examples today using Ranger Distress Stains and Inks but it can be used on any medium that's water soluble. I have chosen to use the new Ink Blending Tool with the rounded foam pads as this is easier to dab on the stencils but you can use the square version, cut and dry foam or any type of sponge.
With this method, be careful not to oversaturate your chosen method of removing the colour otherwise it will soak through under the stencil and you will be left with a soggy mess....and then you'll get annoyed with me! Also choose a stencil that's quite 'open', a stencil with tiny detailing will not show as well....all of Julie's stencils will work perfectly of course!
Right, let's get started, gather all your supplies and you are good to go:
#1: Distress Stains
Now all your supplies are gathered, just randomly lay down the colours on your chosen medium. In this case I've just used white 300gsm cardstock, make sure whatever you use can stand up to being wetted.
Image (1)
Now grab your lovely stencil, use your low tack masking tape to keep it in place, now lightly wet your sponge applicator and gently 'pounce' or dab on the areas that are exposed. You can also dab with a paper towel as well to remove the excess water if you've wetted your applicator too much! Lift the stencil carefully to check your progress, if you're not happy, continue dabbing, if you're happy....stop!
Image (2)
Okay, so this is now what you should see when the stencils removed....pretty neat huh?! A lovely cool watery background, ideal for the start of a journal page.
Image (3)
Now to finish it off. Some more supplies gathered, lovely American stamps that I've just received. It's up to you what you use at this stage but I have kept it quite plain so as not to obscure the background too much as that's what this feature is all about, right?!
Image (4)
This is the background now stamped up....see how I picked this lovely lady with her umbrella to keep with the watery theme of course. So now the stampings done we can add some details with the supplies shown, once again, entirely up to personal choice what media you use...we all have our favourites don't we.
Image (5)
Here's the finished page now stuck into my journal. A really quick, fun way for adding interest to any background
Image (6)
#2 Distress Inks
This time I am using Ranger Distress Inks....we all have these don't we. I have grabbed a white card to show you on this time. Repeat the same steps as used in the # 1 example. I have used my square applicator to apply the inks to my card and kept my round applicator for wetting with.
Image (7)
This is what you have after you have randomly applied your inks
Image (8)
Once again, choose one of Julie's stencils (yep this one is not very clean, sorry),tape down and start dabbing!
Image (9)
This is what you should be left with when you do the big reveal! Pretty cool again, huh?! Perfect for a card
Image (10)
Once again, my dear crafty friends, the next stage is entirely up to you how you decorate the card. In this case I have gathered a couple of my beloved hand carved stamps (see I told you what an influence Julie has been) and some distress markers
Image (11)
Now I've included this picture as I changed my mind and decided I wasn't going to use the distress markers after all so used just the supplies in this picture instead....who says I'm not organised!!
Image (12)
So here's the finished card, pretty funky huh. Now I just have to think of someone to send it too....
Image (13)
Thank you so much once again Julie for featuring me, it's been a real honour and thank you to everyone out there who has read all through this! I really hope this is a method you will try if it's new to you, pop by my blog and let me know how you get on :)
Donna x


  1. Great tutorial Donna and I have none of the stamps you have used in the first one, love the woman with the umbrella.
    Amanda x

  2. I love your hand carved stamps!

  3. I really love your little bird stamp, and what a beautiful card it makes on this background.

    Thank you for sharing the idea :-)

  4. Hi,
    Love all your tutorials, have been thinking of making stamps and not sure how to go about it, thank you for sharing.


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