Monday, 2 September 2019

Altenew Educator Certification Program Level 1 Challenge

Hi Everyone,

Welcome to my blog, I hope you are having a wonderful day! Today I am here with my Level 1 Final Challenge for the Altenew Educator Certification Program. My challenge was to create  2 sets of cards that can be given as gifts, and therefore I had to create packaging also. **note** this post is very picture heavy and has ALOT of info. I decided to break down the post into each card so it is easier to follow along. The guidelines for my challenge are as follows:

Final Challenge of Level 1

~Select ANY 3 components from the classes in Level 1 (e.g., layering 1/2, Let it shine, stencil techniques)

~Explain the 3 components that you’ve chosen for the project

~Share design tips (if any)

~Create a His and Her Card Set birthday/graduation/encouragement cards (your choice) as a gift sets. This makes TWO sets one Masculine and one Feminine.

Each card (with various sentiments) can vary a little bit, but it should have a similar and cohesive theme as the rest of the set.

~Each card set should consist of 4-6 cards

~Also, use one recycle element on a set or its packaging.

~The minimum card number is six (up to 12) per set. You will also design how you package the sets as a gift. Be creative!

~Challenge blog post: Detailed step-by-step photo tutorial and/or YouTube video

~Minimum of 10 photos (close-up and process)

3 Components chosen

I decided to choose 1. Easy Die Cutting Techniques, 2. Easy Ink Blending and 3. Let it Shine classes/techniques for my projects. I thought that there were a lot of fun techniques within each class that I could showcase on my card sets. I also thought it would be a nice challenge to use techniques from the Let it Shine class for my masculine cards, since shine usually is associated with more feminine cards. I describe each technique below when I describe how I made each card, including process photos.

I decided to tackle the masculine set first as I thought this would be the hardest to create... turns out I found it somewhat easier because I had limited options with stamps sets etc. I actually found choosing colours and stamp sets for the feminine series harder.

Masculine Card Set and Packaging

For the Masculine set, I knew I wanted to use the Baby Zoo stamps and dies and also inspired by the colours of Africa, which I thought was fitting with the animals in the stamp set. I looked at pictures on Pinterest and decided on a colour palette of brown, orange, yellow, green and blue.

CARD 1 &2 

I made the first two cards together because I used both the positive and the negative diecut piece as well as the positive die cuts. Firstly I used the Baby Zoo die cuts (that coordinate with the stamp set) to cut out 1 of each animal from a piece of 5 1/2 x 4 1/4" piece of white cardstock in an arrangement that I thought looked pleasing. The idea was to create a diagonal line toward the top of the card panel.  I saved both the negative and positive pieces to make the two cards.

I marked a rough placement for my ink blending onto some watercolour cardstock using the negative diecut panel as a guide and then used ink in Warm Sunshine, Forest Glades and Ocean Waves to do my ink blending. You can use whatever ink blending tools that work best for you, here I used my mini ink blending tools, one for each colour. I kept checking my ink blending by placing the negative diecut piece over the top as I knew I didnt need to ink blend the whole panel. I chose to do a gradient of colour and worked from yellow to green to blue.


I also ink blended a full watercolour cardstock panel using the same type of gradient of colours to use as the background piece to lay my positive diecuts on (for the 2nd card).

Water on a paintbrush tapped over each panel to create droplets added some interest to each panel. Make sure to pat the water dry.  This helps to remove the colour and works because Altenew Inks are water based and therefore react with water.

I took this idea one step further by using a paintbrush and water to pick up some colour and adding splatters to each panel. I did this by smooshing each ink pad onto my glass mat then adding water and picking up with a paintbrush and tapping close to the cardstock to flick the paint.

For the 1st card I die cut the Happy word from Halftone Happy from some double sided adhesive paper (attached firstly to a piece of cardstock).  I used Xpress -It adhesive sheets and add a foil sheet to the die cut Happy. I used Teal Deco-foil.**Tip** Run this through your dicut machine to help adhere the foil to the adhsive sheet. Alternatively, you can burnish the foil to the adhesive using a bone folder. I temporarily lay my diecut on my negative diecut panel and stamped my secondary sentiment onto the cardstock using Ocean Waves ink and a stamp from the Halftone Happy set.

Add foam tape to the negative diecut panel and adhere it over the ink blended piece.*Tip* Use the positive die cut pieces to ensure correct placement of any loose pieces for the negative die cut piece when adhering the card together.

To finish up the 1st card, adhere the Happy diecut to the finished panel using liquid glue and add the whole panel to a cardbase.

For the 2nd card use tacky glue (I used Decofoil transfer adhesive) to stamp each solid animal onto its matching diecut.  To do this I created a stamp pad using a kitchen sponge and added the transfer adheve to it and inked up like I would with any ink pad. You will want to allow these to dry before adding the foil. **Tip** stop what you are doing at this point and immediately wash the stamps you used in stamp cleaner and/or warm soapy water.

Apply coloured foil to each stamped image and burnish with a bone folder. I used foils in Gold Deco Foil, Teal Deco Foil and Mint Heidi Swap Foils.

Add foam tape to each die cut and arrange onto the ink blended panel in a similar arrangement to the first card. Stamp sentiments from Super Script in Jet Black ink and die cut / cut out each and adhere to the ink blended panel. Finally, adhere the completed panel to a cardbase.

CARD 3 & 4

These cards involved using negative and positive die cuts once more so I created them together. Diecut the animals in a "marching" arrangement from a piece of white cardstock. Ink Blend through the negative die cut panel (using it as a stencil) onto a piece of watercolour cardstock. For this blend I chose Warm Sunshine, Caramel Toffee and Dark Chocolate. **Tip** Ensure you hold each of the "loose" edges/pieces with tape so the stencil doesn't move. "Pounce" the Ink blending tools over the stencil rather than rubbing too much so you dont get colour under the stencil.  Add details in a bokah effect using an ink dauber.

Remove the stencilled piece and temporarily adhere the positive diecuts over the ink blended stencilled animals. Add double sided tape in varying widths toward the bottom edge of the card and covering each animal.  **Tip** Lay your panel onto a mat with a grid on it to ensure you get your lines straight and evenly lined up. Once you are happy with the tape placement, burnish it to your cardstock using a bone folder and then remove the backing paper.  Carefully, using a craft knife, cut into the adhesive at the edge of each animal to allow you to pull up the positive diecuts you temporarily adhered.

Add gold foil to the taped sections of both the negative and positive pieces and burnish with a bone folder.   For the third card (with the stencilled animals) stamp sentiments directly onto the watercolour panel and then diecut the stamped friend script and add to the card using foam tape to add a little dimension.

For the fourth card, create an ink blended panel as for the 2nd card, but work from darkest shade to lightest and aim to have the top of the panel be white.  Add interest as before using water droplets and then adhere the foiled animals in the same marching arrangement as for the third card.  Stamp the sentiment Happy Birthday from the Super Script stamps set, cut it out as a small strip and add tape to each edge.  To this you will add some more gold foil and then put up on foam tape to add to the card. By adding foil to the sentiment it helps to tie it into the final design.


Ink blend a watercolour panel using all five colours used in the previous cards. Work through brown, orange, yellow, green, blue and fade out to white at a diagonal.  Add interest by tapping brown ink to the whole piece.

Add double sided tape in varying widths in a pattern on the card and burnish with a bone folder.  Add foil to this and burnish once more. I used Heidi Swapp foil in Mint.

Die cut a giraffe from watercolour cardstock.  Stamp the matching giraffe image onto the diecut using Versamark ink, add white embossing powder and heat set.

Use the same colours of ink from the blended panel to paint the giraffe creating an emboss resisit effect.  Add flicks of brown ink to the painted image and then use an ink dauber to rub brown ink on the edges of the die cut giraffe.  Die cut a giraffe from black cardstock and adhere to the painted giraffe to create a drop shadow.  This helps to ground the image and make it stand out on the card.

To finish the card, stamp and diecut sentiments from the Super Script stamp/die set and adhere to the ink blended/foiled panel.  Then add the giraffe image with foam tape.  Adhere the finished panel to a cardbase.


Another ink blended piece on watercolur paper for this card.  I used all five colours again, but this time I made them radiate out from the centre of the panel, starting with blue and working out to brown. Again, I added brown splatters of ink to the water coloured piece.

I added a taped design to this panel too, in a slightly different pattern to card five.  This time I added Teal Deco Foil as I felt like the Mint colour would have looked lost on this card.

As with card five, I diecut the animal (here I used the elephant) from water colour card and stamped the detailed stamp onto it using Versamark ink, then heat embossed it using white embossing powder.  I painted the elephant using the green and blue inks and added brown ink to the edges using an ink dauber.

I also die cut another elephant from plain white cardstock to adhere to painted elephant to to create a drop shadow.  The white helps the elephant to stand out and looked better than a black drop shadow.

To complete this final card, diecut  the happy word from the Halftone Happy set and stamp out a secondary sentiment onto a strip on white cardstock.  Adhere the elephant to the card using foam tape and then add the Happy diecut using foam tape also. I chose to interlock the word die with the elephant image to make it look like the elephant was holding the word. tuck in the secondary sentiment near the word diecut using liquid glue.


I chose to use a recycled element for the packaging as I found the PERFECT thing to use as a box.  I was given a box of Cadbury chocolates not too long ago and would you believe it fits standard sized cards like a glove!! I was sooo happy.  Not only did the cards fit perfectly, but the lid of the box is gold foil!!! WIN! WIN! WIN! It fit in with my theme so well.

I decided I would alter the box by wrapping it like a gift.  I used another recycled element here in the paper I chose. I had some gorgeous recycled handmade paper from India that just happened to have all the colours in the colour palette I used for the masculine cards.

I cut a 6" strip of the paper (2" of this is to wrap with).  I scored the strip of paper at 1/2", 6 1/4", 8 7/8", 14 5/8" and 17 1/4" (basically so that the strip wrapped around the box nicely). I also scored at 2" along the length of the piece.

I cut slits on each score line up to the 2" scored long line to ensure it was easy to wrap around the box.  Before adhering the whole piece to the box I used varying widths of double sided tapes to run along the length of the piece so I could add foiling as I did on many of the cards above.  I burnished the tape, added gold foil and burnished again.

I adhered the wrapping to the box using liquid glue so that I had some wiggle room to ensure perfect placement of the paper to the box.

Next I diecut some animals from the Baby Zoo set out of watercolour cardstock and did some ink blending on each using the colours I used for each card and created a gradient for each animal.  I added water droplets and also brown ink splatters to each die cut.

I stamped out the "Just for you" sentiment twice from the Label Love set and using my paper trimmer to cut a white border around each. I added foam tape to each strip as well as to the animal die cuts and arranged them to the box.  I made both short sides of the box the same and both wide sides the same so that it looked good from any angle.

I absolutely love how my masculine gift card set came out. It was a lot of work but super fun to create.  I love that you can create a few cards at a time when doing diecutting and ink blending techniques, making it more efficient to create several cards at once.  I feel like you could gift this set to a man  or a woman in your life to use for men's birthday cards. 


Feminine Card Set & Packaging

For my feminine card set I was inspired by pictures of saris which were pink/coral and purple with some gold accents.  So I chose to use a gradient of both colours with gold foiling. I used the Always and Forever stamp set for all 6 cards to showcase that with just one stamp set you can get so many different looking cards that also work as a cohesive set.

I worked a little differently for this set, as I knew exactly what I wanted to do for each card, so I worked in a systematic way, doing a lot of the stamping and embossing to begin with and then working on each card from there.  I drew up a very rough sketch of each card and how I wanted them to look. I am adding a picture of it here so that you can see my thought process (it is by no means neat and tidy, possibly not legible to others either) but I wanted to include it here regardless.

I used both stamps from the Always & Forever stamp set and stamped each image onto watercolour cardstock. **tip** I used my MISTI tool here so that I could ensure a good impression on my rough watercolour cardstock panels.  I inked each image with Versamark ink and added gold embossing powder to each before heat setting each panel.  See below for the arrangements of the bouquets on each card. I used an anti static powder tool before stamping to make sure that I didn't get any stray embossing powder where I didnt want it.

For cards one and two I did some partial die cutting.  To do this technique you place the diecut over your stamped imagine and place it between the plates of your diecutting machine leaving out of the plates anything that you do not wish to cut.  I trimmed off the excess cardstock using a paper trimmer.

I simply diecut the images from cards three and four as well as using each die to diecut some gold foil cardstock.   Keep the negative diecut piece for card four as we will use this for an overlay.

Panels five and six we will use as is, so no need to diecut them.  You will however need a mask for card 6, so use the matching die for the image on card 6 to diecut a piece of masking paper. Set this aside for when you work on card 6.

For cards 1 and 2 we want to have an ink blended panel sit behind the partial die cut image.  To do this I cut a panel of watercolour cardstock in half lengthways.  For one panel I used Altenew inks in Frosty Pink, Cotton Candy and Coral Berry.  I started with the darkest shade and worked my way up the panel and faded out to the white cardstock. I did the same for the second panel, only this time I used a purple gradient. To achieve this I used Altenew inks in Lavendar Fields, Deep Iris and Midnight Violet.

As I did for my masculine set of cards, I added interest to the ink blended panels by adding water droplets, mopped up with paper towel, and ink spatters using the darkest colour in each blend and a wet paint brush.

Next I wanted to complete cards 1 and 2 so I smooshed the lightest shade of each ink blend to a craft mat and very loosely watercoloured the flowers of each bouquet.  The pink watercolour flowers will match the pink ink blended panel and the purple to match the purple.  For the leaves I used Frayed Leaf ink. To add a little more interest I waited for each bouquet to dry then went back over some areas on each and added a little more of the same ink colours, this time adding less water to the ink so that it would be a darker version of the colour.  Again, I did this very loosely and did not want to achieve a perfect look here.

I cut a 3/8" strip of gold foil cardstock for each card 1 and 2 and adhered it to the back of each card where the partial die cutting meets the straight edge. You want there to be a gold stripe on each card. 

Use your MISTI to stamp Birthday Builder sentiments in Jet black ink directly onto each bouquet panel piece.  For one of the cards I also used a sentiment from the Always and Forever stamp set. 

Add each ink blended panel to the left side 2 separate card bases. Adhere the corresponding floral bouquet panels using foam tape to add some dimension.  Cards 1 and 2 are complete. 

Ink blend the negative die cut panel for card 3 and a full watercolour cardstock panel for card 4.  Card 3's blend is Frosty Pink, Cotton Candy and Coral Berry.  Card 4's ink blend is Lavender Fields, Deep Iris and Midnight Violet.  As with all other ink blended panels, add water droplets and ink splatters in the darkest colour of each blend. 

Paint the floral images for cards 3 and 4 in the same manner as you did for cards 1 and 2.  This time however we will have the colours be opposite to the ink blended panel ie. pink flowers for a purple ink blend and purple flowers for a pink ink blend.

Adhere the positive die cut bouquets (purple ones) to the previously die cut gold foil bouquet pieces to create a drop shadow effect.  Trim the overhanging gold foil. 

Decide where to add your sentiment by placing ink blended panels into the MISTI with your diecut images temporarily in place.  As for cards 1 and 2, stamp the Birthday Builder stamps of your choice onto your cards using Jet Black ink. 

Pop up the negative die cut panel fir card 3 onto foam tape and adhere over the watercolour bouquet piece to match.  Attach this whole panel onto a cardbase. 

Pop up the positive die cut pieces for card 4 with foam tape and adhere to the corresponding ink blended panel.  Adhere the finish panel to a cardbase.  Cards 3 and 4 are complete.

For card 5 I decided to die cut the bouquet image and also diecut it from some gold foil cardstock.  I ink blended the negative diecut piece using the same pink blend as before, again adding water droplets and ink splatters.  I inlaid the gold foil bouquet (this just means adding the positive diecut piece back with the negative piece at the same height, ie. without dimension) into the ink blended piece. 

As I wanted to see the gold foil cardstock, I fussy cut the bouquet imagine before watercolouring it in the same manner as all previous cards in my feminine set, only this time I used both pink and purple inks for the flowers.  Whilst I was watercolouring I also painted the bouquet for card 6 in exactly the same way.

For card 6, I waited until the watercolouring was dry then added the mask over the image and ink blended the panel using a gradient of Deep Iris, Lavender Fields, Cotton Candy then Frosty Pink.  I added water droplets and ink splatters in Deep Iris. 

I used my MISTI tool once again to add Birthday Builder sentiments to each panel with Jet Black ink.  For card 5 I added the fussy cut bouquet in the centre of the gold foil bouquet using foam tape then added the finished piece to a cardbase.  For card 6, I trimmed a 1/2" piece from the left side of the panel then cut a strip of gold foil and adhered it to the left side of a cardbase and finally added the watercoloured panel with foam tape to the card.  Cards 5 and 6 are complete.

Once completed, I felt like my six cards needed a little something extra.  I remembered some of the other ways to add shine to cards from the Let it Shine card class and reached for my Nuvo Glitter Drops in Gold Coast.  I added droplets of this to each card. **tip** add the nuvo droplets in groups of three as this is pleasing to the eye.  Adding the droplets slightly under popped up panels also adds interest. 


For the Feminine card set packaging I decided to use another Cadbury chocolate box (I admit, I didnt actually have one, so I went and bought another... and ate ALL the chocolate inside.... for a good cause right?? LOL!!).

I cut two 6" strips of marbled, recycled, handmade paper (this paper is shorter than the paper I used for the masculine set, so I used two pieces instead of one long strip).  I cut each to a length of 8 7/8".

I score each piece at 1/2" and 6 1/4". I also scored each length ways at 2".  Cut slits on the scored lines to the 2" mark. 

Run varying widths of double sided adhesive to both panels in a way that looks nice to you the burnish the tape using a bone folder.  Add gold foil, in the same way you did for the masculine set, and burnish it again. 

Adhere the wrapping to the box using liquid glue so that you have some wiggle room to ensure perfect placement. 

Create layered die cut roses using more handmade marbled paper and gold foil (top layer) from the Layered Rose 3D die set.  Adhere all the layers together. Repeat 5 more times, to have 6 roses and 6 leaves in total.

Add them to the box using liquid glue in an arrangement that you like.  Stamp and cut out 2 of the same "Just for you" sentiment from the Masculine box (Label Love stamp set) and pop on the box using foam tape.

Your box is now complete! I chose to leave the lid plain it already coordinated perfectly with this card set.



If you have stuck with me until this point, thank you so much! This was such a fun challenge and required a lot of descriptions and photos.  I'm so excited to move up to Level 2 so hopefully my projects here are worthy :). I think that I am going to gift both sets to my Aunty for her 70th Birthday.  I hope she likes them as much as I enjoyed creating them.

I hope you are having an amazing day,

Jodie xx