Cardmaking Design Tips–How to Step it Up

Today I have some cardmaking tips for you on “stepping up” a design.

Have you ever designed a card, and liked the basic idea, but think it looks too plainIt needs something but you don’t know what it is?  Or you have some ideas, but don’t want to mess up what you’ve done in case the idea doesn’t work?

Here’s a really simple handmade Valentine card I designed for some beginning stampers, using More Amore Designer Series Paper (DSP) and Hearts-a-Flutter Framelits.

Handmade Valentine from Stamping Madly with More Amore DSP and Ciao, Baby! stamp set

This is a sweet card, just the way it is.  You could sit down and make a whole bunch of them, because it’s so simple.  You could help your kids make them for their whole class. The shapes are all cut with the Big Shot and Framelits, and the embossing (also done with the Big Shot) adds bit of texture to the heart and keeps it from looking too plain.

But what if you could step it up a little without making it more complicated to make?  Maybe you only need a few Valentines, and can take a little more time with them.  Here’s the stepped up version:

Stepped Up Valentine from Stamping Madly with More Amore DST and Ciao, Baby! stamp set

When you want to take a simple card design and make it more powerful, there are some easy tricks you can use.  You can see how I used them in this card.

  1. Layers:  Just adding a layer on top of the card base makes a huge difference.  Especially if there’s a lot of contrast between the colors, like the Pool Party against the Real Red base.
  2. Creating layers with a sentiment is always effective for stepping up a card.  Instead of stamping it directly on the background, the “love” stamp from the “Ciao, Baby!” set was stamped on Very Vanilla.  Then I cut around the outside outline so I could layer it on a Real Red mat, punched with the new Petitie Curly Label Punch.  (This punch debuts in the Sale-a-Bration Catalog, and you can earn it for FREE between January 22nd and March 22nd.)
  3. Texture:  Adding texture to the Pool Party background with the new Cloudy Day Embossing Folder adds just the right amount of interest to an otherwise plain background, without being distracting.  The Fancy Fan Embossing Folder used on the heart enhances even the simple card.
  4. Embellishments:  A Real Red brad at the top of each banner adds interest and makes the focal point even stronger.  Nothing fancy, just a small touch here and there sometimes makes the difference between an ok card and one that wows.
  5. Stampin’ Dimensionals:  Even the simple card was made more interesting by putting space between layersDimensionals gives a flat card a 3-D feeling, even though everything’s still all on onle plane.
  6. Colors:  When using Designer Series Paper, the color scheme is already established by the paperStick with the schemeRepeat colors throughout the card.  Usually, a color used in only one element seems out of placeUse it twice, and then it belongs.

I’m loving the new products in the Spring Catalog, and I think you will, too.  If you don’t have a catalog yet, and want me to send you one, just email me at  Include your address and phone number, and I’ll send out both the Spring and Sale-a-bration catalogs.

Meanwhile, here are some of the items used in today’s cards:

Click here to order More Amore Designer Series Paper from Stampin' Up!

More Amore Designer Series Paper (129309)

Hearts a Flutter Framelits and Ciao, Baby! stamp set from Stampin' Up!

Hearts a Flutter Framelits (130159)

Ciao, Baby! stamp set (W 129645, C 129648)

Next time you’re making a card that seems too plain, use some of these design tips on how to step it up!


2 Responses to Cardmaking Design Tips–How to Step it Up

  1. Jan Ross April 22, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

    You are a great teacher as evidenced in the videos I have seen that you created. Do you have a newsletter that I could subscribe to?


    Jan Ross

    • Sage June 12, 2013 at 1:43 am #

      Hi Jan, I do have a newsletter you can subscribe to. The signup box is right on my webpage. Your comment came at a major transition time for my website, and I’ve just found your comment today. Sorry to take so long to reply.

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