Journeying Towards Perfection – 10 tips for getting it right

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People are very kind with the praise they send my way for my cards and projects, which makes me feel all warm & fuzzy.  Some of my cards are originals, some are copies of others.  But there is always one thing that remains the same – the finish.  The difference between a good card and an excellent card is all in the finish.  Here are my top 10 tips for creating cards with amazing finish, which I hope you will find useful if you are an experienced crafter or one who is just starting out.  Kelly x

  1. Use QUALITY products – your final product is only as good as what you put into it.  Cards made with cheap or inferior products can look this way.  All of Stampin’ Up!’s products are guaranteed to be of the best quality, which ensures you are well on your way to creating fabulous works of art!
  2. Make it STRAIGHT – the first thing someone will notice about a card is wonky bits.  To the best of your ability, line everything up straight.  Make sure your mats have equal distance around all sides, that your strips line up straight, that your sentiments are straight.  If you have problems with straight, you can use templates or guides to help you [I’ll be writing a blog post about this soon].
  3. Make it NEAT – just like wonky cards, messy cards are incredibly obvious.  Errant glue, smudgy fingerprints and fuzzy edges will be noticed!
  4. Find the MIDDLE – if you’re aiming for something to be in the middle of the card – measure this.  If it’s supposed to be in the middle and it’s off, it’ll be glaringly obvious.  The other option is to avoid the middle.  Put sentiments in corners, DSP strips along the top, stamps in patterns that are random by choice.
  5. Find the BALANCE – the finished result of a card should be one that looks cohesive.  Find the balance of all of your components including size, shape and position.  Remember the rule of 3 – things always look good in threes.
  6. STAMP WELL – stamping that is smudged or images that bleed can let your whole card down.  Keep your images crisp and clear.  This is especially important for sentiments.  Use fast drying inks and quality rubber stamps (like the Stampin’ Up! ones) and be careful with your pressure.  With the new style ink pads, too much pressure will end up with ink all over you and your project.
  7. Use MATS – the most professional of cards & card makers, always use mats (note: a mat is an extra piece of cardstock or DSP around your main piece that borders it).  This helps your card to look ‘finished’ by added extra depth.
  8. Lots of LAYERS –You can push a card into the world of OTT, but by adding extra layers, you can often lift your card from good to excellent without too much effort.  Add a banner behind your sentiment, a couple of layers of flowers, another piece of DSP or some pretties – ribbon, buttons, brads.
  9. CO-ORDINATE your colours – One of the best features in the Stampin’ Up! range is the level of coordination within their colour range.  Cards with excellent colour coordination will always ‘pop’.  Luckily, there aren’t too many colours in the collections that clash.  If you don’t feel very confident about your ability to choose colours that match, Stampin’ Up! is perfect for you.  Select a DSP and use the colours in the DSP as your guide.  Buy a colour coach and use the suggested colour combinations.  Create in colour collections (ie, 2013-15 In Colours) – these have been balanced and put together already.
  10. Include TECHNIQUES – with the number of friendly Stampin’ Up! addicts in the world, and the availability of internet, there is no excuse to make the same boring cards over and over again.  Jump on you tube, Google Stampin’ Up! or subscribe to your favourite blogs.  You’ll be able to access thousands (and then some) of free tutorials and project ideas.  Include some of these techniques to make your card special.
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