Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Using Background Stamps: Part 2

Big background stamps provide a unique challenge to the clean-and-simple stamper. If the whole card has a background pattern stamped on it, where's the white space?




There isn't any.

And we CAS stampers love our white space, right? So what can we do with these monstrous stamps that still looks clean and simple? Lots, actually, and today's card shows one possibility.

Here, I stamped only part of the card with the large wood-grain background stamp from Hero Arts. Because so little of the background would show once I layered the Lovely as a Tree panel over it, I went a bit higher than 1/3 up the that 1/3 of the layer goes above the background and into white space. Also, the tree panel is not centered on the's slightly closer to the left edge to make room for the green bling.

This shows how you can adjust proportions depending on the size of images you're working with and still get a balanced feel to the card. Centering up that tree panel would have been fine, but then there wouldn't have been room for bling. And that would be so, so sad.

The trees and wood grain were stamped in gold ink and embossed in silver pearl embossing powder. The combo gives a lovely, golden pearlescent sheen to the card, plus keeping the color scheme so simple, with the pops of color defining the occasion of the card, minimizes the busyness of the design.

Finally, a word about appropriateness. Backgrounds need to make sense in relation to the main image of a card. Putting a bold, geometric pattern behind StampinUp's classic Lovely as a Tree image would have looked wrong, as would a big floral pattern. Big flowers behind a winter scene--unless perhaps the flowers are poinsettias--just doesn't work.

Wood grain behind trees is appropriate. But that doesn't mean the wood-grain stamp has to be limited to woodsy themes. Stamp it in blue, and you get some mighty pretty water, perfect for all sorts of aquatic themes as well!

stamps: SU Lovely as a Tree, Hero Arts wood grain background, Papertrey Ink Silent Night sentiment
ink: ColorBox gold metallic, VersaColor evergreen
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: silver pearl embossing powder (Ranger), heat gun, dimensionals, rhinestones, sharpie to color rhinestones


  1. More great info, thanks for these hints and tips Susan, Cathy x

  2. Wonderful card, simple and yet classy and such Great tips; thank you

  3. thanks for this-I have a wood grain stamp like this that I have been stuck how to use, so thanks for the inspiration x

  4. Stamped in white, the woodgrain would look like snow. Thanks for your suggestions on getting more use of this background stamp!

  5. Very Pretty card!!!Thanks for sharing!!!

  6. Thanks for all your wonderful postings, sorry I don't get to thank you often. I, too, like the themes in stamped cards to be congruent, but I am also thinking of the way Japanese designers of textiles and other cultural works often break that rule very successfully. In particular, I think about how it is almost common to combine strong, even severe, geometric forms with images from nature. Just my $0.02. Keep up the good work!

  7. This is fabulous, love the woodgrain background - the whole design just "sings" :)

  8. Oh, my. Lovely as a Tree was the first stamp SET I ever bought and it's still a favorite. That is one set I will never get rid of. What a great way to use it. I'd have never thought to stamp the wood grain stamp behind it as an anchor, but it makes perfect sense when I see it and you explain it. I like the idea of stamping it in blue to simulate waves. How about in reds and oranges to simulate those heat wave mirages that I've been seeing in our hot weather? ;-)


Thank you so much for taking time to comment!