Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Recycled Cards - Fussy Cutting & Decoupage

I love the cards people send to me. I have them on the bookcase to look at for a while (actually months) then I take them down, but it seems such a shame to put them in the recycling bin.  So I've started recycling them to turn them into new cards.  I put the results on my FB feed and a group I'm in (Stamping Enablers, it's a great group, go join them!) and people seemed quite interested in how I go about doing it. So here's a post about what I do and how.

This is today's output - 6 cards using a calendar from erm probably this decade lol. Anyway, can't remember why but there's 12 different birds, with duplicates, 4 or 5 repeats of the same bird.
No idea why this is sideways, I edited it but it refuses to turn in the blog. Sorry neck craning time!

I don't really think about it, but I suppose if I have any guidelines I try to
  • Use only the one card/image source in a single recycled card. Then I don't have to worry about colours or shapes co-ordinating or matching. But if I need to add elements or embellishments to make it all hang together, that's cool too.
  • Trim or crop or fussy cut the source image so that it becomes different - because I've cut up individual elements, and rearranged them in a different size or shaped space, or because I'm using a different coloured background, or added dimension/ raised up bits in some way
  • Keep to a card size I've already got an envelope for (sounds crazy but sometimes I get carried away and end up having to make an envelope specially. Sigh. I HATE making envelopes!)
  • Often the source image is a little too big to fit into the new card I want to put it on, so I trim and fussy cut and overlap layers so that it all fits in. (Sometimes I let things hang over the edges which is when I find I have envelope issues afterwards)
  • I pretty much always use commercial plain rectangle or square blank cards with ready made envelopes. Sometimes I'll cut cardstock to fit envelopes I already have. I like to use white cardstock because then it's easy to write in the card afterwards, and I don't have to ferret around for a silver pen cos I've made the card blank out of black card. Basically it's all about me making my life easier!
These are my basic supplies
From left to right -
  • A cutting surface. Mine is a green A3 sized self healing mat - metric on one side, imperial on the other. I would use the A4 sized one but I temporarily mislaid it. Lots of working space on an A3 one. I use my dining room table which is Georgian circa 1820s so whilst it's not super expensive antique or anything, I don't really want to mark it. Mostly though the drawback is that it's not actually flat like modern man made surfaces, it's bowed, so any big cutting up, I drag the mat onto the floor and cut down there. Saves wibbly edges....
  • Glues - You have to think about what you are glueing - whether it's nice and thick and won't stretch if you use a liquid glue, or if it's thin so you need a double sided tape etc. The selection here is
    -a blue double sided tape machine - this comes out as a stickly layer.
    -a pritt stick type solid glue, the sort you use for crafts with kids
    - a blue tube with yellow lid of CollAll Silicon Glue, this is used to give a more naturalistic dimension when you raise things. It's like a sort of jelly consistency, you apply it with a toothpick/cocktail stick in blobs to support your fussy cut decoupage.
    - a roll of double sided tape. This sort you stick onto your base, then you have to take off a paper layer to expose the top side's stickiness.
    - a sheet of double sided sticky foam pads. Similar principle to the roll of tape, you peel it off the sheet, stick it to your base card or paper, then peel off the top bit of paper to expose the other side of the stickiness. This gives a raised up effect cos of the foam pad depth.
  • Cocktail stick/ bamboo skewer - normally I'd use a cocktail stick to apply the CollAll glue, but these bamboo skewers were to hand. They're useful for nudging things into position and holding them down too, without marking the delicate paper one is using.
  • Fussy Cutting Scissors - these are cheap decoupage scissors, they're quite fine with pointy ends so you can cut quite intricate features of your image
  • Retractable Craft Knife. This one has a scalpel blade inside. I have another one that is like a mini stanley knife. I don't use a Guillotine, I use scalpel and a METAL RULER. Seriously, use a metal ruler and always understand which edge you cut against so you don't sever an artery!
  • Pencil (HB) and eraser - for marking out positioning of images for glueing down and rubbing the marks away.
  • Big paper scissors - for quick chopping of parts that don't matter. Mine are Fiskars, they used to be fabric scissors until someone used them for paper. Now they are paper scissors and my fabric scissors are hidden, far far away from people who might misuse them *shudder*
  • An old catalogue as a glueing surface. This one happens to be House of Bruar which is a high end country clothes type shop. Good for a giggle - you should see the guy top to toe in blue tartan - tie, jacket, trousers AND slippers lol. Anyway, whatever you have to hand, I use it as a glueing surface, when I get glue on a page, turn it over and use the other side. At the end of the session, I tear out the pages I used and stick them in the bin.
  • Metal ruler (as above for using with scalpel)
  • Miscellaneous images to be turned into recycled cards (these are at the top leaning upright against my cutting machine).
All quite low tech and stuff you probably already own. 

If you aren't sure about the glue, personally I'd say you need a glue stick/ double sided tape and also if you want dimension, some double sided foam pads. Liquid PVA (I get mine from IKEA for a pound as wood glue) does in a pinch. But IF YOUR CARD is thin, don't use liquid glue, it'll buckle!

Today I decided to tackle the pile of calendar pictures.
Old Wall Calendar - 4 or 5 duplicate images x 12
I picked the pheasant at random.
Decided I could do decoupage to make 2 cards and have one as a single layer.
So I fussy cut 2 of the pheasants - I picked the two images that were less pristine backgrounds, as those are cut away and discarded.
I used my fingers to gently bend the fussy cut pheasant so his body was a bit curved.
Then, I put him to one side, whilst I decided which size card and what colour background I'd do for these cards. I auditioned a few colours and decided these 3 worked well.

I decided on a 12.5cm square card, and used double sided tape roll around the outsides, lifting up ONLY the ends of the tape at the corners. This means you have more scope to position the card nicely and also the ends of the tape give you something solid to lean on to stop the card base moving when you're adding the coloured card on top.
I always add the card so that the FOLD of the cardbase is against an already cut edge. This means I won't have to trim it (assuming I positioned it right) and I'm only going to have to trim edges that don't hold it together!

Like so:

Then I get my scalpel out, trim the 2 sides against the white edge and ta da one nicely mounted piece of lime green on a white card base.

I worked out I needed 1cm at the top and 2cm each side as spacing for putting the pheasant background onto the lime green, using the blue tape runner thingy (what are they called?) to apply the glue. And stuck it on.
It's important you STICK YOUR CARD together BEFORE adding the dimensional bits. It's a right faff trying to stick things together that are bumpy!

Then I got my silicon glue (into the lid of a nutella jar which I wash out and reuse) and my cocktail stick and blobbed some of the CollAll silicon glue onto the back of the fussy cut pheasant (remember this was moulded slightly with my fingers to be rounded before I added glue). Using the old catalogue to contain any glue 'accidents'.

At this point I should like to mention that if I had actually glued my trousers to my own leg with a different glue earlier on when I thought I didn't need to use the catalogue cos nah, wasn't going to drop anything; this was not the moment at which I noticed nor is it something I'd admit in public ;)  Moving on....
Gently stuck the fussy cut pheasant to the background matching up the image underneath. Because I'd gently rounded it, and used the silicon glue, you can very delicately prod and hold bits into place so that for example, his tail, head and undercarriage are flat to the background, but his body is rounded dimensionally. Hold it down til it stays where you put it. Then LIE IT FLAT for 24 hours to 'cure' if you're using this silicon type glue.

You could use foam pads instead, and the glue stick to give dimension to the middle and make sure the edges are flattish instead of the silicon glue.

I repeated exactly the same steps with the second fussy cut pheasant. And mounted it onto a dark green background. Then the final image, which is a flat one, cos I ran out of extra pheasants, I just stuck down flat onto a dark blue background.

Then I moved onto robins.

Exactly the same process, 3 cards - 2 decoupage and one left over. Decided to mount them on a mid brown card backing.

Except - with the single image left over, I mounted it onto a piece of rust brown card (flat)
Left is the black white cardstock with mid brown mat. Middle is the rust brown and then the image on the right.
Used the blue sticky roller thing to stick the image to the rusty brown.
Then turned it over and used the foam pads - in regular intervals all over the card (because I've found if you don't use enough it bows and dips, especially after it's posted and it looks rubbish!).

Then applied the foam padded card to the base mid brown card

I rather like it! Gives a bit more 'oomf' than just glueing the image to the background like I did with the pheasant.

And that's it, all 6 cards I did today - 4 decoupaged using the silicon glue, 1 just glued onto the background and one mounted on foam pads and an extra different coloured piece of card.

Bah! It's still coming out sideways! Anyway, I'm off to change my trousers (it's water soluble glue so that's good lol) - have a think what images you have at home on old calendars, in old diaries or magazines that you can make into cards! I'd love to see pics of what you've done, I'm always up for ideas!

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