Handmade by Linda Fields

Take your card making to the next level! Welcome to Part 1 of this two part blog series where you’ll learn the tips and tricks I used to create Asian Inspired Cards.

From Inspiration to Creation – Slide Between Photos


Last year November I was honored when my application to participate in Altenew’s Education Certification Program (AECP) was accepted. This blog is my Level 1 Project. The assignment was to create two card sets; one masculine, one feminine, with matching envelopes complete with packaging. There are so many great Altenew classes to learn from but Clean & Simple Boutique Cards, Let It Shine, and the Celebration Stencil Techniques courses were my favorites. I highly recommend these great courses you can take whether you’re in AECP or not!

Finding Inspiration

Have you ever been so excited you can’t focus on one idea? Or get so nervous your mind goes blank? Finding your inspiration can help turn your creative energy into something beautifully unique. Pinterest is a great platform I use to find inspiration. Check out my “Inspiring Cards” board to spark your next amazing idea!

Developing Ideas

Getting inspired, while important, is only half the battle. Do you own a journal to sketch your layouts and fine tune your ideas? Take notes and draw your answers to questions like: 1) What card size? 2) What measurements? 3) What colors? 4) Simple or dimensional? 5) What theme? 6) Who is this for? 7) What occasion if any? Your answers are only as limited as your imagination so sketch your layouts, write the details down, and start a great reference book for all your future makes!

Getting It Together

Feel that? You’re focused and ready but hold on… you must pull your materials together first. Remember those questions? I took the same steps when creating my Asian Inspired project. I wanted clean, simple styling reminiscent of ancient Japan but with a slightly modernized look. The Yin (feminine) and Yang (masculine) theme was the perfect choice. Black and white became my baseline colors with green, gold, pink and silvers completing my palette. I used rice paper for delicate, earthy texture and metallic watercolors for beautiful, watery movement. Shimmering embossing powders and thread helped tie everything together.

Penny Pinching

Think you can’t afford the materials you need? Time for great substitution tricks! Need a heat gun? Use a blow dryer! Want a stamp shammy? Use a lint free, cloth paper towel! Only have white paper? Perfect! Use any color ink(s) to create the paper you need! Don’t buy more ribbon. That’s right, use your ink pad to color the ribbon you already have! Don’t forget about up-cycling. I ordered Altenew’s “Tall Foliage” stencil and used the included cardboard packaging to add strength and stability to handmade boxes! (see packaging, part 2)

Creating Backgrounds

I absolutely love creating my own papers. It’s downright addicting! I used both black and white watercolor papers. Spray a pan of watercolor paints 2 or 3 times and let it sit a few seconds to get the colors started. I used the wet-on-wet watercolor painting method. I used a fat round brush with a fine tip similar to what the Japanese used for their beautiful calligraphy. Using clean water, I got the paper wet before adding color, letting gravity paint for me, and drying each layer with a heat gun before repeating the process. Metallic watercolors have a magical ability to change color depending on your perspective and lighting!

Stencil Painting

Let me be clear, using watercolors on a stencil is risky! Water allows your paint to be transparent but use too much, it leaks beneath your stencil until you have a mish-mash mess. So I encourage you to experiment on scratch paper before applying new techniques to your project. I’ve learned since but I had to turn my boo-boo’s into happy mistakes. I used black micron pens and white gel pens to ink fine details over the stenciled leaves.

Conclusion – Part 1

Excited to see more? Check out Asian Inspired Card Sets – Part 2, for more tips, tricks and all the steps I took to create this project. I can’t wait to see you there!

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While other kids played at recess, I was on the bench quietly drawing. Nothing's changed. I'm still creating on this lifetime quest to "Leave a Beautiful Mark"

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