Create an Abstract Background for Handmade Cards

You can create intriguing backgrounds for your handmade cards using abstract stamps and a lot of experimenting.  If you’re like me, you’re fascinated by the designs you can make with splatters, brushstrokes, and other abstract images.  But it’s not always easy to end up with a cohesive design.  

For those of you who are interested in designing cards, I thought I’d share the story of how one card evolved using abstract stamps.  I started with the focal point this time, three flowers from the Special Reason Bundle.

Focal point for handmade card from Stamping Madly, using Special Reason Bundle

Then I got out some of my favorite abstract stamps and started playing with them to come up with a design that would enhance the focal point, but not detract from it.

An important thing to remember when using abstract stamps is you want to paint an interesting picture with themThis is not the same as stamping the same image randomly across a background.  The background itself needs to be designed as consciously as any other part of the card.

Here are some of my practice pieces:

Practice pieces of abstract backgrounds for handmade cards

I decided to go with the diagonal line composition, as this is so effectively pleasing to the observer’s eye.  So I got out some cardstock, and after a few experiments, settled on this design.  The reason the texture stamps in the center are so dark, is I kept underestimating how much would get covered by the flowers.

Final version of abstract background for handmade card from Stamping Madly

When I put the flowers on the background, I was underwhelmed.  I added some Lace Doilies, which helped.  Here’s the first version of the finished card.  I thought it needed something, but by that time I needed to get ready for bed.

Handmade card from Stamping Madly with abstract background and flowers from Special Reason Bundle

The next morning I looked at this card and thought it looked very anemic.  So I carefully peeled the flowers and doilies away from the background and did some more experimenting.  First I extended some of the background texture so it would show more.  Then I sponged some the  Doilies with Wisteria Wonder Ink, and sponged the edges of the flowers as well. Now the card is much more effective.

Finished handmade card from Stamping Madly with abstract background and flowers from Special Reason Bundle

The first night I had also played with the background design on Mint Macaron Cardstock.  I liked the background, but the Mint Flowers didn’t have enough contrast against the background.  Very Vanilla Doilies did the trick.  I did try sponging them with Wisteria Wonder, but the Vanilla accentuates the flowers better.

Handmade card from Stamping Madly with abstract background and flower from Special Reason Bundle

Please leave a comment to let me know if you find this kind of blog post helpful.  I’ll do more like this if you let me know you want them.  I don’t want to bore you!  🙂  While you’re at it, let me know which version you like best!

The abstract stamps I used came from three stamp sets.  If you’re just starting with abstract stamps, you can choose one set and play with that until you’re sure you like them.  Then add to your collection as you see stamps that fit your style.

Click here to order Timeless Textures Stamp Set from Stampin' Up!

Timeless Textures (wood-mount 140514, clear-mount 140517)

Click here to order Touches of Texture Stamp Set from Stampin' Up1

Touches of Texture (wood-mount 141934, clear-mount 143251)

Click heree to order the Awesomely Artistic Stamp Set from Stampin' Up!

Awesomely Artistic (wood-mount 138694, clear-mount 139950)

I hope you’re inspired to create abstract backgrounds for your handmade cards!

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9 Responses to Create an Abstract Background for Handmade Cards

  1. Michelle March 30, 2017 at 3:52 am #

    Yes, Sage, I like posts like these as it gives me an insight into your thought process as you craft and create. My preference is for the first card, the one on the Very Vanilla (or is it Whisper White – it is hard to tell on my screen), with the sponged flowers.

  2. Patt Brantley March 30, 2017 at 9:16 am #

    This is so appropiate for me as I have been thinking of reviewing my BG stamps and use them more. I love your posts because you give more of an explanation than just giving measurements and sets used. Definitely like the last one best. It pops more to me than the other. TFS

    • Sage March 30, 2017 at 8:51 pm #

      Thanks, Patt. I’m glad you like hearing about the design process. Thanks for the comment. It’s interesting that in the comments here and on Facebook, each card was chosen as favorite by different people. That says a lot, our tastes are so personal!

  3. Trina March 30, 2017 at 10:56 am #

    Hi Sage, I liked reading about your thought process you went thru to create your card. I would like to see more of these. I like the first card also. I like the crispness of the white dollies.

    • Sage March 30, 2017 at 8:48 pm #

      Thanks, Trina. I’ll keep doing posts like this. Designing cards is definitely an adventure!

  4. Janelle March 30, 2017 at 5:20 pm #

    Very helpful! I like the second and third card more but I think they are all very pretty.

    • Sage March 30, 2017 at 8:47 pm #

      I like the one with the Very Vanilla background and the sponged doily best. Thanks for the comment.

  5. Michele Trow April 3, 2017 at 11:18 am #

    I really enjoyed your post on how to use stamps to do an abstract background. I will definitely be trying this technique.

    I really like the card with the inked edges.

    • Sage April 3, 2017 at 5:16 pm #

      Thank you, Michele. Just play and experiment as you try it. I hope you come up with some designs you like.

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