Monday, May 23, 2016

See What You Can Do with Colored Pencils

Reader Beth kindly reminded me this morning that I haven't yet fulfilled my promise to talk about layered stamps and their difficulties. By shocking coincidence, today's post provides a possible solution to the problem of layered stamps.

Oh, my. They are a problem.

I realized long ago that two-step stamps present a huge challenge to the uber-CAS stamper. Mainly, we need to be incredibly precise, and I often found that, despite being afflicted with steady hands and a discerning eye for precision, I failed spectacularly at making two-step stamping work. Lining up the second stamp perfectly, with no gaps or crookedness, proved far more difficult than expected...even with clear stamps or a stamp positioner.

Add a third layer, as many current sets do, and I'm D. O. N. E. Done.

In the past year, I have purchased several three-step stamp sets from Hero Arts (these are enormously popular right now and available from a number of companies...Altenew has some particularly beautiful ones) as well as a set from Papertrey that includes three different birds with two-step stamps. After rigorous and repeated attempts to make all these work, I've essentially given up.

Yep. Given. Up.

Life's too short to spend your craft time swearing and throwing photopolymer across the room.

Not that I lose my cool like that, but you know....

Stampers like Jennifer McGuire make these stamp sets look easy, but I struggle. And it's simply no longer worth it.

Fortunately, you can achieve a similar effect with block stamps and colored pencils, as today's card shows. The rose stamp, from Hero Arts Flower Garden, looked extremely flat when stamped in Impress Fresh Ink melon. I loved the layout of the card, but the flatness of it wasn't doing the design any favors.

So I broke out the PrismaColor Pencils and went to work.

Check out the shading made possible with colored pencils. I took a shade darker (nectar) and a shade lighter (light peach) and created some depth over the melon ink. A few strokes of the clear blender pencil over the shading, and it's finished. The results are quite gratifying. A bit of chartreuse added to the leaves, and YAY! Depth and dimension, and no multi-step stamping involved.

Note that I only use PrismaColor pencils because my fine-artist mother said they were the ones I should use. Always listen to your mother.

Adam Savage of Mythbusters says that failure is always an option. Fortunately, my failure with layered stamping doesn't keep me from creating some dimension in my stamping. There's usually a work-around somewhere, if you are determined. I'm certainly determined.

And that's all I have to say about that.

stamps: Simon Says Stamp It's Your Birthday, Hero Arts Flower Garden
ink: Impress Fresh Ink melon and grass, Memento Luxe espresso truffle
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: corner rounder, PrismaColor pencils


  1. pretty card! my ease with layered stamps came one I got the MISTI. made all the difference!

  2. Beautifully done, Susan! The MISTI came to my rescue also for more accurate stamping of sentiments and layers.

  3. The pencil colouring adds lovely dimension. And as Joan & Kathy say, MISTI or Stampaholic is the way to go for layering stamps (and for sentiments)

  4. You are not alone in feeling like this .... I struggle to perfectly realign if I discover I've mis-stamped a clear image so have yet to even think about trying the multi layer images. When I was lucky enough to win some I selected abstract designs that could be used separately!!! Chicken, or what?!?!?!

    Love what you've done with the crayons on this delightful card


  5. So pretty, Susan. I have a few layered stamp sets in my collection but I'm still sort of afraid to use them.
    I agree with the others, though, that the MISTI is an incredible tool. So far, I've mainly used it for lining up my sentiments and for double stamping to get a crisp image or sentiment. It makes my stamping so much more enjoyable.

  6. A gorgeous card and proof that layering stamps aren't a requirement. You shading looks beautiful. The MISTI does help, mainly because you can line up before inking so don't have to be looking through an inked up clear stamp. I do want some decent colouring pencils though, they add fab dimension x

  7. A gorgeous card and proof that layering stamps aren't a requirement. You shading looks beautiful. The MISTI does help, mainly because you can line up before inking so don't have to be looking through an inked up clear stamp. I do want some decent colouring pencils though, they add fab dimension x

  8. Your card is BEAUTIFUL!! So sad for your layered stamps!
    I love a layered stamp. Have you tried going it what some would consider the opposite order? start with the darkest part and then towards the largest stamp in the lightest color, I have found that waorks best and also a MIST helps ENORMOUSLY...for everything stamp related but layered stamps and masking especially! :D

  9. I love what you've done with the pencils, but when I try it, my results end up in the trash. I resisted the MUSTI for the longest time, but I finally followed the advice of some friends and bought one. It really helps me, although there is a learning curve there, too.

  10. Congrats at finding a solution and making this beautiful and dimensional card. I struggle with 3 layer too, but find for 2,when the layers are not perfect, it is still pretty.

  11. Your card is very good and the pencil shading makes all the difference. I know what you mean about layered stamps. Many years ago I had Kitchen Sink daisy ones and I gave them wish I hadn't as the Misti does help. As for the Altnew ones which I could not have 3 of them. Vintage Roses, Magnolias for Her and my all time favourite is the Beautiful Day flower.
    It was the hardest thing in creation to get these two sets lined up (Magnolias don't layer) - I was so frustrated that I asked Altenew had they a chart to help out...of course it was already there on the site and it helped enormously to go along with the instructions there. I printed them out for my stamps and keep them to hand.
    I wish I could colour like Marika of Altenew. She is a genius at colouring...what talent. If you haven't watched her videos you should - Altenew site or you tube or Pinterest possibly....and the music accompanying her work is so relaxing too....I had to know what it was and it is available for free from Bensound or something like that. Sorry for rambling on....
    Should say that I did purchase a set of 36 Faber Castell Albert Duherer watercolour pencils but it's taking a lot of practice to get anywhere...I am colour challenged I can tell you.

  12. I love that you were able to get the same results with colored pencils... and I agree, Prismacolor are the only way to go. As for the Jennifer McGuire, stamping is her super power (that, or great video editing). The rest of us mere mortals have to work a little harder. I like going with the middle layer first, then the smaller/darker layer, then the large/light layer. That said, I also have assimilated and have bought a MISTI a year ago and love it. It saves me so much time and paper! I still occasionally make mistakes, like dropping an ink pad in the middle of the paper. But I don't have to throw out a failed stamp attempt... or 12. ;-)

  13. Having bought a set or two of layering stamps recently I understand perfectly where you are coming from. With a bit of trial and error I have managed to put a guide mark on the stamp so I can see which way is up. Not ideal but it helps. I like your tip about coloured pencils though. Will have to give that a try.


Thank you so much for taking time to comment!