Oh, happy day … oh, happy accident

You have a brilliant idea for a paper-craft project. You round up the supplies and begin. The process is going smoothly … until something goes wrong. The stamp didn’t leave a clean image, or the die-cut machine flubbed on your last scrap of metallic-violet cardstock, or your paint/glue/drink spills onto your work. The damage is not pretty. Do you start over?

I’ve had my fair share of instances like these, and sometimes I trash my work and begin again. Most of the time, though, I reassess. I find creative ways to work around the problem. I call these events “happy accidents.” This story is about one such event. The facts are real, the crafter is real and the damage was very real.

I haven’t done much embossing with my trusty Slice. I’ve successfully embossed on foil cardstock, and I know from a past experiment that plain cardstock is not the best material. The machine tears through it.

Exhibit A

A good friend of mine celebrated her birthday this week. For her card, I wanted to make something colorful: a background of cardstock strips in a gradient of one color to another. I decided on fuchsia to very light orange.

I wanted an embossed “happy” in big letters on the gradient. Based on my prior experience, I decided to adhere my cardstock strips to a piece of copy paper in hopes that it would add enough thickness for the machine not to tear through it. I cut the strips, adhered them to the copy paper and placed the piece, copy-paper side up, under my Slice. The machine was set to embossing mode, “happy” was set to a mirrored effect (so the word would be in the right direction), and I pressed the button to begin embossing. Things seemed to be going well … until the process was done, and I lifted the machine.

What I saw was not a perfectly embossed “happy.” The embossing tip went through the copy paper and tore into the strips in a few places. As I discovered the damage, one of the Halloween decorations in my house, a “Grimm Hotel” that plays sound and music, let out its scream. “Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” Good timing.

I’ll spare you, dear reader, an image of the horror. Refer to Exhibit A above, and find comfort in the fact that the damage was not as bad. Also, I didn’t think of taking a photo; I was too preoccupied with thoughts of “Oh, no! No! What do I do?”

Overall, the embossed effect was not as raised as I would have liked, anyway. Maybe the embossing tip I used, the smallest one, was too pointy. I wasn’t willing to risk using a larger tip on a recreated piece. I weighed my options: trash it and start over, or, as Tim Gunn would say, “Make it work!”

Using my Slice in cutting mode, I made die-cuts of “happy” and its shadow. I rubbed out the embossing with my bone folder, then used dimensional adhesive to stick my new “happy” piece over the damage. I think the result is far better than my initial plan. The recipient can’t see the chaos beneath the creation and never would have known about it had I not shared this frightening tale.

Happy World Card Making Day, everyone!

Here’s how to make it (damage-free):

Make a card from a 6 1/4-by-9-inch piece of medium-pink cardstock (such as Bazzill Basics cardstock in Berrylicious). Cut a 6 1/4-by-4 1/2-inch piece of scrap paper (I used copy paper). Cut strips of cardstock, all 6 1/4 inches wide but in various heights, in a gradient of colors from fuchsia to light orange. My strips are cut to these heights:

  • 1″ fuchsia cardstock
  • 1/4″ dark-pink (I used the reverse side of a metallic dark-pink) cardstock
  • 1/2″ medium-pink cardstock
  • 3/4″ salmon-colored cardstock
  • 1/4″ orange (I used the reverse side of a metallic orange) cardstock
  • 1″ light-orange cardstock
  • 3/4″ very light-orange cardstock

Adhere the strips to the scrap paper horizontally, from top to bottom, starting with fuchsia.

Cut a 6 1/4-by-1-inch piece of metallic orange cardstock. Stamp “DAY!” (I used part of the Oh Happy Day! stamp by Hampton Art’s Ditto line) in medium-orange ink close to the right edge, centered between the top and bottom edges.

Trace over each letter in orange glaze pen (I used a Sakura Glaze pen). Trim the top and bottom edges if necessary, and adhere it between the orange and light-orange pieces.

Cut a 1 1/2-by-3/4-inch piece of fuchsia foiled cardstock (such as from the Street Lace collection by Die Cuts With A View). Trim the right edge to a point. Stamp “oh” in StazOn vibrant violet ink in the center.

Fill in the letters with pink glaze pen (again, I used a Sakura Glaze pen), and adhere this piece, centered, on the left edge of the fuchsia cardstock strip (it may be necessary to have some overhang). Trim any excess from the edge.

Create a 3 1/2-inch-wide die-cut of “happy” (I used my Making Memories Slice Elite and “happy” from the “Parties!” design card) in metallic dark-pink cardstock.

Use the reverse side of this cardstock to create a 3 1/2-inch shadow die-cut for this piece.

Adhere the word to its shadow, then use dimensional adhesive to adhere this piece to the gradient piece, placing it horizontally between the “oh” and “DAY!” and vertically between the fuchsia strip and “DAY!” strip.

Tie salmon-colored embroidery thread around the salmon-colored strip, underneath the “happy” die-cut. Affix a large, orange rhinestone brad next to the left edge of “DAY!” and between the metallic orange and light-orange strips. Adhere a small yellow rhinestone sticker to the right of the brad, between the light-orange and very light-orange strips. Adhere a small fuchsia rhinestone sticker to the bottom left edge of the “oh” piece. Adhere the entire piece to the front of the card.

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