Stamping on Scrapbook Layouts: Part 6

This series didn’t seem complete without touching on one of the biggest trends in both the scrapbooking world and stamping world at the moment: travelers notebooks.

I jumped on this trend about a year ago. But it took me awhile (about a year if I’m being honest) to feel really comfortable with this format. (Pro tip: sketches help!)

And for the better part of the year, I definitely wasn’t stamping IN my travelers notebooks! I was so nervous I’d mess up a page and then the entire notebook would be ruined!! It seems silly now.

But I’ve ventured out of my comfort zone and have been stamping in my TN much more frequently. Here’s a look at a layout I made for today:

I have about a million pictures of my kids on their new trampoline. So I’ve been sticking a lot of them in my TN because there’s not a lot of story to go along with them, or I already scrapped the story. Either way, I’m not too worried about journaling here.

I started with this idea of stamping all these gears (from this Jillibean Soup stamp set) in multiple colors all over my page. Since my TN is getting pretty full, it kind of dictated where my stamping will go.

One of the reasons stamping in your TN is so awesome, is because it’s flat. This travelers notebook I’m working in is pretty chunky. At this point, I don’t want to add a lot of items with dimension. So for my title, I decided to use a stamp as well. I stamped it prior to stamping my gears. And then used masking paper to mask it off while I continued stamping my pattern.

I ended up with this really fun, colorful pattern. (Which also looks exactly like this paper, but took me 45 minutes to complete *insert eye roll*).

Here’s a couple more examples of me stamping on TN spreads:

And if you’re interested in this form of scrapbooking, I recommend checking out the work of Heba, Melanie and Sarah.

This wraps up my stamping on layouts series! I hope you found all my tips and tricks useful! Tag me on Instagram @kira.gets.crafty if you use any of these techniques! I’d love to see what you’re making!

xo, Kira

Stamping on Scrapbook Layouts: Part 5

When I came up with this idea to make a blog series on stamping on scrapbook layouts, I wrote down all of the ideas I had for different parts of this series. And naively I wrote down “mixed media”. Because stamps are awesome to use for mixed media layouts!! But guess what guys? I don’t do mixed media. I mean, I do, but in a much more controlled sense. Here’s a look at the layout I made today using stamps and mixed media:

It’s a scraplift of this layout I made for Ink Road Stamps a few months ago:

Which is still one of my favorite layouts I’ve ever made, honestly. I have a process video on how I made it, if you’d like to watch.

So when I thought about how I combine stamps and mixed media, my Easter layout was the first one to come to mind. And it was so easy to make, and I love it so much, why not make a new version of it?!

This technique can easily be used with just about any stamp you own. I chose a balloon since I had chosen to scrap this cute photo of my son eating his brothers birthday “cake”.

So, choose your stamp, and your inks. I wanted to use up some of these Confetti Wishes supplies I had, so I chose inks that coordinated. But I love the idea of a rainbow of inks like I used in my original layout.

Then take your stamp and place it on your acrylic block image side facing DOWN. On a larger acrylic block stamp your ink directly on the block and then add water to turn it into a watercolor-like consistency. Stamp your downward facing stamp into the ink and then onto the page. By using the stamp, you’re basically doing the “smooshing” technique but in a controlled way so that your smooshed image is roughly the same shape as your stamp. Do this as many times and in any pattern you like.

Once your background is done, you’ll set it aside to dry. Flip your stamp back to the right side up on your block. Using the same ink pads (not the ink-y water used previously), you’ll stamp out images on vellum. Once these dry (which will depend on the type of ink you use), fussy cut (or use a die) your images.

Use a small amount of glue to adhere the vellum on top of the mixed media. Then using a sewing machine, stitch down the center of your images. (If you don’t have a sewing machine, you can skip this step).

Then it’s just a matter of embellishing your page! I hope you try this technique out for yourself. Here’s a few more examples of combining mixed media with stamps:

I’ll be back at the end of the month for the final part of this series!

xo, Kira

Stamping on Scrapbook Layouts: Part 4

A new day, a new stamping technique. I planned on starting this post with “I struggle with xyz” but I feel like I might be starting all of these posts that way. So let’s just be clear that I struggle. Period.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s take a look at the layout I made for today’s technique:

Today’s technique is all about creating a pattern with your stamps. Some people use this technique to create a custom patterned paper, which I find admirable. But I’m much lazier than them. I like to create patterns on a smaller scale.

I don’t necessarily struggle with the pattern creating itself. But what I struggle with is using pattern builder-type stamps. The stamp I used for this pattern is Ink Road Stamps Between the Lines. I’ve had it for months, attempted using it multiple times and completed a layout with it a total of zero times. Yeah. I struggle.

So I really challenged myself today, I wanted to create a pattern with a stamp specifically made to create patterns. (Saying it loud now makes it seem like not much of a challenge at all. Lol.)

I started with an adorable photo of my youngest son on our most recent trip to the beach. After choosing my picture, I “researched” some title ideas on Pinterest and ended up liking “Ocean Bliss”. I chose a couple different fonts from dafont.com and created some cut files.

I love the Blackout font for stamping. It gives you such a large workspace to showcase the stamps you want to use. Once I cut my title out on white cardstock, I kept it adhered to my cutting mat for the stamping.

I used the wave-like stamp and used three shades of blue-green to create an ombré effect. I did repeat stamping after the initial stamp to add interest to my pattern.

Once I completed my stamping, I adhered my letters to the page and did some handstitching around the title. I used two different shades of embroidery floss to keep with the ombré look. Then it was just a matter of embellishing the page!

Have you been playing along with stamping on your scrapbook layouts this month? If so, I’d love to see your pages. Tag them with #scraptemberinstamptember on Instagram!

I’ll be back soon with another technique for using your stamps on scrapbook layouts!

xo, Kira

Stamping on Scrapbook Layouts: Part 3

Do you ever buy a stamp set with the perfect phrases, only to let it sit in your craft room unused? I’m embarrassed to admit that this happens to me way too frequently. Just this month, I was so excited about a stamp set from Citrus Twist and guess how many times I’ve used it? Okay, don’t guess. It was zero. I’ve used it zero times. (Don’t judge me.)

For a traditional scrapbooker, phrase stamps can be a challenge to use. But this week, I’m accepting the challenge! Here’s the layout I created using a variety of phrase stamps (and you can scroll down to see even more examples on how I’ve used them in the past).

This is a really easy technique to get the maximum use out of your stamps. I started with a cut file I created. Any simple shape would work here, hexagons was another option I was toying with.

I first cut out my cut file on some white cardstock. Before beginning my stamping, I wanted to add a little mixed media around my circles. I chose some ink colors that I would be stamping in, stamped them on an acrylic block, added some water and painted around the circles.

After my ink was dry (this literally took seconds), I removed my background from the cutting mat. I placed a second sheet of cardstock below my cut file. Then using a pencil, I lightly traced around the circles. This served as a guide for where I would be doing my stamping.

I kept the ink for my stamping the same as the ink I had painted with. The phrase stamps were randomly chosen from two stamp sets from Citrus Twist Kits. I used washi tape to keep the stamps from running from circle to circle.

I chose phrases that would work well with my photo, “beach” “outdoor fun” “splish splash” etc.

For one of the circles, I chose to skip the stamping and fill it with enamel dots. After the stamping was complete, I added some embellishments on top of some of the stamped phrases.

Once the embellishing was done, I added my title and some gold splatters and called it done. Here’s a look at some other layouts I created, focusing on using phrase stamps.

8.5×11 layout using Citrus Twist Kits Conversation Starter stamp set

12×12 layout using Ink Road Stamps Fur Babies stamp set

12×12 layout using Ink Road Stamps Fur Babies stamp set

12×12 layout using Ink Road Stamps Egg-stra stamp set

12×12 layout using Ink Road Stamps The One With All The Stamps

I hope this has inspired you to use those phrase stamps in a new way! I’ll be back soon with Part 4 of this stamping on layouts series as part of #scraptemberinstamptember!

xo, Kira

Stamping on Scrapbook Layouts: Part 2

I think the easiest way to use stamps on scrapbook layouts is to stamp and then either die cut or fussy cut the image to use as die cut ephemera.  It allows you to stamp without the permanence of stamping directly on your layout.  So let’s create a layout using this technique!

I decided to start with this selfie of my husband and myself, right after we closed on our house.

This stamp set from Studio Calico seemed like the perfect stamp to use since it had these cute little houses/buildings.

I grabbed a variety of papers from my stash, so I would have a jumping off point as to what colors I wanted to stamp my houses in.

The other great thing about this stamp, is it’s super easy to fussy cut! I rarely buy dies, because I’m cheap, so I usually have to resort to fussy cutting. But again, these are super easy shapes so it took no time at all.

I went with a simple design with circle punches, and layered my house stamps in three different areas to create a visual triangle. I pulled in a few other embellishments to finish the layout off.

Here’s a few other examples of layouts where I used stamped images as die cuts:

12×12 layout using Ink Road Stamps Chin Up Buttercup

12×12 layout using Ink Road Stamps Bork

8.5×11 layout using Ink Road Stamps Chin Up Buttercup, Bella Flora and Frond of You

8.5×11 layout using Ink Road Stamps Chin Up Buttercup and Bloom Where You Are Planted

I hope this has inspired you to use your stamps as die cut elements on your scrapbook layouts! I’ll see you soon with another technique as part of #scraptemberinstamptember!

xo, Kira

Stamping on Scrapbook Layouts: Part 1

I was watching Making It the other night and one of the contestants said that stamping was a gateway craft. I’ve never heard a truer statement in my life. I also feel like it’s something a lot of crafters struggle with. How many of you have tried stamping, and then almost immediately gave it up? Or continue to buy stamping supplies that never get used?

I’ve been a stamp hoarder longer than I can remember. But I rarely used them, usually getting frustrated when my cards didn’t look like the ones I’d see online. Then I started scrapbooking. And continued to buy stamping supplies.

Why??? What in the world was I planning to use these stamps for???

Then in June 2017 I made the Ink Road Stamps design team. And my first thought was, “Welp, better start coming up with ideas on how to stamp on my scrapbooking layouts.”

And after being on the team for over a year, I’ve not only overcome any hesitation I had with stamping, I’ve also created my own techniques on how I use stamps on my scrapbook layouts.

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Layout using Chin Up Buttercup stamp set

What better time to share these tips than during Stamptember! So I’ve split up these stamping posts into multiple parts that I’ll be sharing throughout the month.

The first thing I thought we’d talk about is tools. All of these items you’ll need to stamp on your scrapbook layouts (and I want to remind you that I don’t consider myself a cardmaker, so these are the techniques I’ve found that work well for me as a scrapbooker).

Paper:

The type of paper you plan on using for stamping will completely depend on the type of stamping you’ll be doing. A lot of us use textured cardstock for our backgrounds, and stamping on textured cardstock will definitely create a certain look, but maybe not the look you’re going for. If you’re trying to go for a messy, mixed media look, a la Missy Whidden, textured cardstock could look really neat. So don’t discount it altogether.

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I typically use a smooth white cardstock for my backgrounds. I use this kind from Joanns. It’s cheap which is why I like it. But it definitely isn’t the greatest paper to stamp on. My ink colors soak right into the paper and the color will look different after about a minute of drying time. I usually test my colors early in my creating process.

My favorite type of cardstock for stamping is Neenah Solar White. I use 80# and 110#. 110# is ideal for Copic coloring. If I’m planning to stamp (without coloring) and fussy cut, I’ll use the 80#. I’d love to use this paper for backgrounds…but I’m cheap. Meh.

A couple other papers I always have on hand for stamping include Bristol smooth watercolor paper for using with my Zig Real Brush Markers and watercolors. I also keep my vellum stash up because I love the look of stamping on vellum.

Inks:

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I have a small sampling of about every type of ink there is. Here’s what I use most often:

Altenew dye ink mini cubes-multiple colors

These inks are great for your general stamping needs, along with layered stamping since the colors are designed perfectly for that.  I used these most often in my stamping:

Memento-Tuxedo black

This is the ink I use when using my Copic markers.  Its designed so it won’t bleed when introduced to the alcohol inks.

Ranger Dye ink- Raven

This is my go to for stamping my date on layouts…it’s not really used for much more than that.  I can also stamp directly on a photo with this ink with it smudging.

Versafine Pigment ink-Onyx black

This ink is ideal for watercoloring, or using Zig markers, which is about the only time I use it.

Tim Holtz Distress inks-multiple colors

I have lots of these, but they don’t get used much.  I’m not a fan of using them for stamping, but they’re fun for blending and adding mixed media techniques.

Acrylic block vs. stamp platform

I bought a stamp platform a few months ago. I got the Tim Holtz one because it can accommodate larger paper but I think most of them work pretty similarly.

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But full disclosure, I never use it. Like ever. Not because it isn’t a neat tool, it’s great for providing more precision to your stamping and making sure you get a clean image every time. But for me, a small acrylic block is just easier and more convenient.

So use what makes you most comfortable. If you’re nervous about stamping directly on a layout after you’ve finished almost everything else, use the platform! But for all the examples I’ll be showing you throughout this blog series, I only used acrylic blocks.

Coloring:

For about the first year being on the Ink Road Stamps design team, I never colored. It always struck me as such a huge investment and what if I didn’t like it and then I’d be stuck with all these markers I don’t use and they cost so much money and so on and so on. Then my bestie told me she was planning to get rid of her Copics and Zig markers. Did I want them?

Umm, yeah!!

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So she sent me about 50 Copic sketch markers and a pack of Zigs. I really liked the look I got with the Copics, so I asked for 25 more for my birthday from my husband. I also received some colored pencils from my mother in law for my birthday.

Out of all the color mediums I now own, I prefer Copics. I haven’t found my groove with Zigs or colored pencils. But each of these takes a ton of practice. Weekly, at the minimum.

So if you’re looking to add some sort of coloring medium to your stash, practice a lot before making up your mind about it.

Stamps:

Now the fun stuff…stamps! I don’t own a single wood mounted stamp. And the majority of my stamps are Ink Road Stamps, Citrus Twist Kits and Jillibean Soup…because those are the design teams I’m on and I haven’t felt the need to invest too much in stamps when I already receive so many from my teams.

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A couple of my favorite sets from Ink Road Stamps

Some other stamp companies I love are: Elle’s Studio, Felicity Jane, The Stamp Market and Studio Calico.

But here’s the thing about stamps…I literally want them all. I see a set and I want it. It could have one cute phrase, one cute icon, and I’ll want it. But then I’m stuck with a million stamps I don’t know how to use!

So my advice when purchasing a stamp set, is to have at least 3 ideas on how you plan to use that stamp set. (I’ll go into specific ways of how to use stamps in upcoming posts!)

And don’t feel like you have to use every single stamp in the set!  One of my favorite and most used stamp sets is Chin Up Buttercup from Ink Road Stamps.  I have used the flowers on multiple layouts, I just love them.  But I haven’t used the phrase or the hexagons once.  That stamp set has like 8 stamps on it…and I’ve used 2.  But was it a good investment?  Heck yes!  Just because you can’t find a use for every single stamp in the set, doesn’t mean it’s worth passing up.

image2Layout using the Chin Up Buttercup stamp set

I hope you join me for future posts on how to use stamps in your scrapbooking! Let me know, do you struggle with stamping on layouts?

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5 Tips on Improving Your Flat Lay Photography

I’m going to let you in on a little secret…a year ago, I didn’t even know what “flat lay” meant.  It didn’t take me much time to learn all about flat lay photography.  A quick Pinterest search and you’ll be eyeballs deep into a million blog posts that explain what it is and how to do it.  But not a single one of those blog posts explained how to flat lay with scrapbook layouts.

I mean, I guess it’s not much of a stretch to replace what they were photographing with a scrapbook layout.  But I felt like my photography subject of choice was really underrepresented on Pinterest.

So I learned what I could, and started applying it to my Instagram photos.

I’m going to let you in on another (albeit completely random) little secret…I hate taking pictures on a wood grain background.  Not because I don’t like the look of it, because I LOVE the look of wood grain.  But I was using it for awhile and I could never match up the color, so my feed looked like this:

IG woodgrain

What in the actual heck, guys.  Not a single one of these photos matches!!  Ooof.  And I’m not saying my photos look horrible or anything.  But it makes me cringe just a little.

After experimenting with this background for awhile, I switched to layout only.  Which I think can look amazing on an Instagram feed.  Paige Evans has a mix of layouts and other photos on her feed, but none of her layout photos are staged, and it’s gorgeous y’all.  (Some other great “layout only” Instagram pages are Heather Shank, Rachel Lowe, and Anne Keller.)  But I’m, sadly, not Paige, so my feed looked like this:

IG Layout

Not horrible, just not exciting either.  Also, it read a little like an advertisement for all of my design teams, which wasn’t what I was going for either.

I started experimenting with flat lay in April 2018.  It’s a learning process for sure.  Here’s a peek at my first flat lay after all my Pinterest research:

first flat lay

My suggestions to past Kira would be:

#1:  Tilt the layout less.

#2:  Increase brightness and contrast.

#3:  Add a larger element than the bowl OR add more smaller pieces around the shot.

So why in the world am I telling you all of this???  Recently, I have had a few people approach me asking for advice on staging photos.  And while I am still learning myself, I am always happy to share any tips or tricks I have learned along the way.

For simplicity purposes, I am going to be talking about Instagram photos. 

Tip #1: Decide the “theme” you are going for.

Do you want your Instagram page to read as bright and colorful?  Or simple and clean?  Perhaps you love the look of wood grain and feels it works well with the aesthetic you’re going for.  Whatever it is, go for it!  I’m not here to tell you, “I use a white background, so you should too!”  Pick what works best for your “look”.

Tip #2:  Choose your background.

This doesn’t mean if you’ve decided on white, you have to stick with white.  Or choose a single color and stick with that.  I actually love what Zinia does with her Instagram and how she switches between multiple poster board backgrounds.

Full disclosure:  I went with white, because its easy to edit.  White will always be white, if it looks grey, you brighten it to white.  If it looks yellow, you decrease the warmth and make it look white.  It’s just easy.  And I am just lazy.

If you are still fine tuning your photography, I wouldn’t suggest a wood grain, or something that would be difficult to edit in different lighting.  It was frustrating to me to try and match the color of my wood grain, and I spent more time than necessary editing when I could’ve easily cut that time in half by choosing a white background.  But if you are set on woodgrain, by all means, CHOOSE THE WOOD GRAIN!

I do, however, use a wood grain background for my Jillibean Soup blog posts, and I think they end up looking great!

Jillibean-Soup-Kira-Ness-TX-Smile-2-Cool-For-School-JB1543-August-2018

Tip #3:  Props, props and more props

I didn’t start with a million little trinket trays around my craft room.  I collected them over time because of my photography staging obsession.  I even have two of the same wooden tray because I got sick of unloading it with practical tools, staging it with other items, and reloading it back up.  So I have an empty one for staging and one that actually serves as a desk organizer.  Seriously, it’s gotten out of hand.

I like to have “medium” sized props, “small” props and then the little bits and bobs that really set your staging apart.

Medium sized prop ideas:  typewriter (as long as you are only adding in a small corner like I did with the above layout), desktop organizers like this, trays, cupcake tins and bowls (think cereal bowl sized, not trinket sized).

Here are a few of the medium props I use:

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Small sized prop ideas:  small jewelry trays, small trinket dishes, and small bowls.

And some of my small props:

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Most of my stuff was purchased at Tuesday Morning, Hobby Lobby, Target or IKEA. 

Bits and bobs:  buttons, sequins, paper clips, safety pins, clothespins, etc.

Tools:  Sometimes its nice to add in some of the tools you used on your layout.  I consistently add in my tiny attacher and date roller stamp because they add a pop of black to the layout.  But I don’t usually add in my cutterbee scissors because they’re bright yellow.  So if you are adding tools, choose some that look nice.  Gold stapler=good.  Dirty fineliner bottle=bad.  You get the gist.

Tip #4: Your layout should be the star of the show!

This seems obvious, right?!  But even just angling a prop at an awkward angle, or adding too much stuff to your “square” can quickly turn your layout from the star to a secondary component.

Tip #5:  Start setting up the shot.

Since Instagram is set up in a square format, I like to keep my flat lay photos in a square.  It’s just easier and looks nicer when you’re looking at your Instagram page as a whole.  So when you are setting up your flat lay, you need to imagine that square when working on placement of layout and props.

I start with my layout, the star of my photo.  When deciding which side and angle to place my layout, I look at the layout itself.  If the layout is heavy on the left, I want the left side in my shot and have the right hanging off the side.  You can always choose to have your layout fully in the shot too!  No rule saying you need it peeking off like I do mine, I just prefer to give my followers a little sneak, then post another full shot so they can swipe to see the entire layout.  (Did you know that the Instagram algorithm likes when you use that multi-photo feature?  Yeah, that’s why I use it.)

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Next, I start “building” my shot up.  I have my layout placed, so next I choose a medium prop.  I try to be conscious of what prop I use so I don’t have the same tray used twice in a row, or in the photo that will be below my new photo.  I don’t go in a specific order or anything, I just want it to look a little staggered.

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If I choose to go with a small prop as my 2nd piece, I may choose to use two to make it a “medium prop”.  So instead of a desktop tray, I could use a trinket dish and a small bowl.

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Finally, you will start adding those bits and bobs.  For the most part, I like to stick with similar items that are on my layout.  For example, if it is a layout using my August Citrus Twist kit, I will pull items from that kit.  That way I know my colors will coordinate and it gives me an opportunity to show off more of the kit.  But generic items like paperclips and sequins are great to “fill in” empty space.

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If I am being honest with this photo…it’s looking a bit cluttered.  I’d remove the ribbon, “you are loved” piece and tassel and just keep the sequins.  But I’m lazy, remember?  So I’m just going to say that and not re-shoot the photo. 

Staging photos is a constant learning opportunity.  I am always trying new things and experimenting with what I think looks good.  And it’s not always easy either.  I spend more time staging one photo than I do on taking and editing ten photographs.  So take your time, find what works best for you, and try and have fun with it!

I hope all these little tips helped you!  Feel free to comment any questions you might have about staging your photos!

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