How To-sday | Distress Ink Background

Today we have a How To-sday from our design team member Sara Case Strickland. I am quite excited about this post as I have always loved the look of these distressed backgrounds but have always been afraid of trying it.

I love a good background technique. Something that can go from card to layout to canvas just makes my heart happy and today, I want to make yours happy too! Here’s one of my favorites – it’s all about Distress Ink!

First, pick your colors, usually three or four is a good start. Make sure they will blend well, brown isn’t normally what we’re going for here! I started with red, yellow, and blue by pressing each ink pad onto my non-stick craft mat:

The next step is to mist until you see drops of colour:

For an extra pop, I like to mist with Perfect Pearls Mist instead of plain water – the shimmer is amazing!

Then simply lay your surface onto the puddles of ink and press down to blend the colours. Lift your tag and dry. It’s important to dry between steps or you’ll simply end up with all blended colour, no layers.

Once the surface is dry, lightly tap it into the drops of ink left on your craft mat to get extra dimension.

After that step is finished, use the leftover ink to make another background in the same way!

I find that when mixing colours, I can normally get two, maybe three, backgrounds but if you use several shades of the same colour, you can get many more. For example, I used four shades of green and made six complete backgrounds!

Now, simply embellish:

Or cut up the backgrounds to use on other surfaces. Here, I used the original background I made and adhered a fussy cut tree from the green background:

I hope you try it this out and have fun playing. Try mixing up your own colour combos – I promise, it’s fun and addictive!

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Thanks Sara! Come back tomorrow for the next installment of our Citrine  Mid Week Mojo!

American Crafts Stamps and Memory Marker | Mid Week Mojo Amber #10

Amber – Week 10 of 10
New to Mid Week Mojo?  Get started here!  

American Crafts Stamps and Memory Markers are some of the best around. Now, I love stamps and stampers but I am not one. I used to be a stamper but that was years ago and I am definitely out of practice! I took on this week as a challenge and I am pretty happy with the results.

Stamps are so versatile and can be used in many different ways. I ended up using them mostly to make die cuts.  Here is my layout:

American Crafts Stamps Layout

Here is the sketch:

mid week mojo amber10

A simple sketch, but you can add many layers.  I used the banner stamps for my title, and colored in the outline with the Memory Markers.

American Crafts Stamps Close Banner Stamps

 I love to layer items to create dimension.  I used the grid stamp as a sort of a background and layered die cuts on top.

Here is where I cut out the stamp images into little die cuts.  I also just added some chevrons to add a little on the background.

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Now, it’s time for the random winner of last week’s Mid Week Mojo Amber #9 . . .Heather Gray!

Hether Gray Winner


Awesome photos of you and your little one.  I love the background paper you chose.  That corner design peeking out is lovely.  Let our customer service know you are this week’s winner in an email with your address to and we will be happy to send some sweet swag your way!

To enter to win this week’s prize, complete this sketch (Amber #10) and have it posted somewhere online by 11:59 PM MST Monday April 29, 2013. Leave a comment on this blog post with the link to your Amber 10 creation.

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If you’re new, we’d love to see you join in! Each Wednesday we provide a sketch and you have until the following Monday at 11:59 MT to leave a comment on this post with a link to your creation. You can find all of the fantastic details here. Also, as we continue week to week, bookmark this page for your quick reference to Mid Week Mojo links.

Can’t wait to see the interpretations of this week’s sketch start popping up on our Facebook fan page! If you haven’t already liked us, stop by.

There will be some noteable projects on Friday, make sure to come back and check it out!

American Crafts Zing Embossing Powder Tips and Tricks

American Crafts Zing! Embossing Powder is perfect for adding color and dimension to your projects.  Zing! isn’t ordinary embossing powder, it is the most even, opaque and vivid embossing powder available.  Now, I am the first to admit I don’t stamp and emboss nearly enough in my projects.  I love the effect, but am sometimes scared to use it!  I’ve gathered some tips and tricks (most of them from the awesome Kristy Lee’s ScrapbookSteals projects)  to embossing and hopefully we will all use it more often. 😉

Products Needed:

  • Heat Embossing Powders (like today’s steal)
  • Stamps
  • Versamark ink pad (or other pigment ink pad)
  • Heating Tool

Embossing Supplies


Embossing is actually a pretty simple, three-step process:

  1. Stamp your image using Versamark Ink or another pigment ink product.  tip: if using a pigment ink, make sure to use one in the same color family as your embossing powder
  2. Dump the embossing powder onto the inked image and tap off excess.  Make sure to get rid of all excess embossing powder so you don’t have any stray melted powder on your project.  tip: rub a used dryer sheet over your project to help reduce static
  3. Hold the heating tool 6-7″ away from your project heat powder until it  begins to melt.  Once your powder melts, move the heat away quickly to avoid warping.  tip: allow heat tool to warm up prior to melting the powder.  This helps reduce over-melting and burning paper

That’s it!

Today’s embossing powder is perfect for projects on black or dark papers.

zing embossing powder projects

I have challenged myself to use embossing more often.  The process can seem daunting, but is actually really simple!  Good luck to all of us.

Make sure to check back on Monday for our Monday Craft Madness #22!

My Mind’s Eye Collectable Remarkable & Unforgettable | Monday Craft Madness #16

The My Mind’s Eye Collectable Remarkable and Unforgettable Collections in today’s steal are just as adorable as the rest of the Collectable Collections. Remarkable is such a bright, fun collection of primary colors and patterns, the perfect combination for your boy pages. Super cute label and layered stickers, journal cards and chipboard – you won’t be lost for words! Unforgettable is the complete opposite – pinks, yellows and girly colors – both sweet and trendy at the same time! Again, the stickers and embellishments take the words right out of your mouth! They also come with coordinating stamps and washi tapes – what more could you ask for? Onto this week’s Monday Craft Madness theme…

Stamp it!

Use any stamps you like on your projects!

I decided to make a ‘girly gift collection’ for this week’s crafts. I used the 6×6 paper pad and stamps from the Unforgettable Collection, and made a gift bag, a card and a gift card holder.

  DIY handmade gift bag, gift card holder and card using MME Collectable Unforgettable collections

I used a normal lunch sack for the gift bag. For the top of the bag I used a border punch, and then layered some of the different papers and mini journal cards, vellum and paper clips for a little interest. Instead of using washi tape, as is the trend of decorating paper clips at the moment, I got the same effect using small strips of the patterned papers.

DIY handmade gift bag using MME Collectable Unforgettable Collection

I used 3 stamps from the collection, white I heat embossed using a watermark stamp pad and white embossing powder. I also used the WRMK tab punch from a steal at the beginning of the month.

DIY handmade gift bag using MME Collectable Unforgettable Collection

For the purse card, I used my silhouette for the first time! I bought a super cute purse cutting file and went to town! The background paper is just plain pink cardstock (as it needed to be bigger than 6×6), with the decorative papers coming from the Unforgettable 6×6 paper pad. I used one of the stamps, which I also heat embossed, a little netting, and a button and twine to finish off the clasp. Another two different stamps were used inside the card for a simple sentiment.

DIY handmade card using My Mind's Eye Collectable Unforgettable collection

The gift card holder was again a cut file from the silhouette store. I used the same flower stamp and button to coordinate with the purse card – and the great thing about the gift card holder, is that you can use it as a bookmark too! So much fun!

  DIY handmade gift card holder using MME Collectable Unforgettable collection


I hope I have inspired you to start work on your stamping projects this week. Remember, they can be any project you like – there are so many possibilities!

Just remember to have fun! :)

And, it’s the end of the February Monday Craft Madness challenges – so you know what that means? We have to choose a winner! Our lucky random winner of a $20 to is Kassandra LePage! Kassandra – Such cute photos! Such a great layout! Please let us know you are this month’s Monday Craft Madness winner in an email with your address to and we will be happy to help you with your prize!

Kassandra LePage - feb MCM winner

If you’d like to enter to win the March Monday Craft Madness prize:

Create a project (a card, layout, altered project, or any other craft your heart desires) using any of our weekly themes! You have until the Friday after the final theme is posted to create your project and upload a photo of it somewhere online with a link to this post in the caption. To enter to win, simply leave a comment on our blog with the link to your project! We’ll choose a random winner and they’ll be the lucky recipient of a $20 prize pack from at the end of the month!

Just note that this is separate from Mid Week Mojo, so you’ll have at least two fun projects a week you can dive into. :)

Don’t forget to check back in with us tomorrow a How To’sday post by Winter Design Team Member Bev Code!

How To’sday | Emboss Resist Technique

Today’s How To’sday by Jennifer Blomquist is awesome! You have made it look so easy – such a great effect!

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It’s a new year, and that means a good excuse to try new things.  One of the things I’ve recently rediscovered is heat embossing!  It always looks so classy on a project and here is another technique you can try to take your heat embossing up a notch with the Emboss Resist technique!  It is easy to do, and gives you endless possibilities using your favorite stamps, ink, and embossing powders.

To get started, you are going to need your basics:  Versamark ink, embossing powder, heat gun, stamps, and I recommend an embossing buddy (that little fabric pouch in the upper left corner of the photo). It holds some magic cornstarch-like dust that de-statics your projects and keeps stray embossing powder from sticking where you don’t want it.

First, pick your image.  I like an image with lots of detail and gaps for color between the raised embossed part of the image.  Use the embossing buddy to destatic your paper and them stamp in Versamark. Cover the stamped image with your embossing powder of choice (I like white embossing powder) and heat with your heat gun.


For fun, you can stamp a coordinating image overlapping your heat embossed image.  This is your first hint of how the embossing is ink-resistant!

Now, to start inking up your image.  Grab a sponge – I like the porous yellow sponges that I can cut into wedges. You can use other sponges to get different densities of ink (the makeup sponges or sponge daubers will give you a darker, more concentrated look). I don’t recommend cotton balls or similar items because you tend to get stray fibers from the cotton ball that pick up ink and put it down where you don’t want it. Take your sponge and tap it on your ink pad to pick up ink. Then, starting from the center of your image, swirl the sponge over your heat embossed image in a circular motion. Keep spiraling out, tapping more ink when necessary, until you have covered your entire embossed image and have the color as dark as you want.

When you are done, you should have your embossed image resisting the color you sponged and the paper picking up the ink you wanted.

Another cool look you can get with this technique is to color in your image using this emboss resist sponging. Just start with your heat-embossed, stamped image. For a more subtle effect, use clear embossing powder.

Take your yellow sponge and squeeze it so the part of the sponge that picks up ink is fairly small. Tap that on your ink pad and color in parts of your stamped image using the swirling technique mentioned above.

Layer your colors until you have the look that you want. You may find that when you are doing this technique that the color you were sponging with seemed to have covered up and stained the embossed area. This is especially common with dark colors of ink. All you have to do is grab a paper towel or tissue and clean off the embossed area by buffing it off. I use the same swirling motion that I sponge with when cleaning off with a Kleenex.

Keep adding color and buffing off the embossed area until you get the contrast you want. Now just take your finished embossed pieces and show them off in a cute card or scrapbook page!

It just takes a little bit of experimenting and a few minutes, and you can end up with a card that has a lot of pop and wow factor.  One other tip: I usually do this with dye-based inks.  You may get a bit more staining and a longer drying time if you use pigment inks for your sponging. I hope you enjoy trying this out and have lots of fun!

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Jennifer, thank you so much for sharing with us today! Such a beautiful card. You are certainly going to stretch my heat embossing with these ideas!

If you have an idea that you would like to share as a How To’sday tutorial, please send your photos and directions to

Have a great day and be sure to stop by tomorrow for Mid Week Mojo sketch Jade #4 from another Guest Designer!