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  5. Card Making Techniques for Beginners

Card Making Techniques
for Beginners

Let's look at card making techniques for beginners to help you make your first cards.

Colouring In

Colouring in is not just for the kids! 

Nowadays there's a craze for adult colouring books to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety.

Even better this beautiful skill can also be used for colouring our stamped images

If you are just starting out practice colouring with whatever you have available and try blending different colour combinations.

As you progress you will be tempted to buy different colouring mediums to create a more professional finish....such as...

  • Using a water brush or blender pen with dye based stamping pads
  • Watercolour pencils - that look just like standard coloured pencils until you brush over with a dampened brush to create a watercolour effect 
  • Water based markers
  • Alcohol based markers (such as Copic markers or Stampin Up's Blends)
  • Watercolour paints

Try them out for yourself and see the difference!

Repeating patterns

Repeating Patterns have been used on fabrics since ancient times.

In card making we use repeating patterns to create backgrounds.

Single image stamps make great repeating patterns. Though there are no rules to say you only have to use one stamp!

repeating pattern
repeating pattern

Have a go at creating your own repeating patterns with different images.

Stamping Off

Stamping off or fade out patterns are used to create a lighter image(s) from one colour.

  • Ink your stamp and stamp the image onto your card.
  • Stamp your image again without re inking.  This creates the same image in a lighter colour.

In this example the stamped off image gives the appearance of trees fading into the distance.

stamping off technique

The technique can also be used in reverse and is often used with layered stamps.

Ink your stamp and "stamp off" onto a piece of scrap paper.  Then stamp onto your card.  This is called 2nd generation stamping.

If you "stamp off" twice onto your scrap paper it is called 3rd generation stamping.

It is used when you want to create lighter versions of the same ink colour.

See: Layered Stamps

Two step stamping

Two step stamping is when you use two or more stamps to create an image.  This creates a three dimensional effect.

two step stamping technique
two step stamping technique

Stamping off and two step stamping have been combined to create this flower below.  The base image is stamped off to create a lighter image.  While the top image is stamped in the same colour without stamping off.

stamping off and two step stamping
stamping off and two step stamping


Masking is the technique of placing one stamped image behind another.

This creates foreground and background images.

  • Stamp your foreground image onto your card.
  • Stamp the same image onto a "Post-It" note (making sure you stamp over the sticky bit).
  • Fussy cut around your "Post It" image to make your mask.
  • Stick the mask over your first image so it's completely covered.
  • Stamp your second image over the mask.
  • Lift off the mask and the second image will appear to be behind your first image.

Masking technique

Simple mask made with "Post It" note

simple masking technique

Mask removed and image coloured

Multiple mask have been used to create the image below.  

The masks are used to cover individual sections to allow for sponging.

Masks used to create picture

Masks used to create picture

completed picture after masking and sponging

Completed picture after

masking and sponging

Save your masks so you can reuse them!


Layers or toppers are added to card bases to create a frame.  Using a contrasting colour helps the card stand out from the base.

The most basic layers are the same shape as the card base and usually 1/4" smaller on each side.

Look at Card Sizes and Layers for more detailed information.

layers on a greeting card

Individual images or sentiments can also be mounted to create a three dimensional effect.

These layers can be any shape....circle....square....oval....the choice is yours!

They can also be raised with foam pads and overlapped with each other.

Check out the Card Making Ideas Gallery to see examples of layering.

Discover More Card Making Techniques...

  • Emboss Resist

    Create unique and interesting effects with the emboss resist technique

  • Ink blending

    Create a gradient effect on your card backgrounds by Ink blending your stamp colours together.

  • Paper Die Cutting

    Discover paper die cutting for scissor free cutting and embossing.

  • Digital Card Making

    What is Digital Card Making and how can you use them in your card making?

  • Faux Letterpress

    Enhance your handmade cards by using faux letterpress techniques

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