All posts by phantomsax

Holidays are coming!

Hello to all!

Its been a while since I had a chance to post anything; with Christmas on the horizon I am sure that we are all looking at our Christmas stashes with glee and becoming reacquainted with stamps/dies which we had forgotten that we have πŸ™‚

Today I am bringing you an MDF project; this is my first attempt at one as I wanted to move into working with something more durable than a card and MDF seemed a reasonable priced option with the added benefit that if you really hate what you have done, you can sand it back and start again!



  • MDF door hanger
  • Spectrum sparkle pens
  • Sheena Douglass Ivy stamp
  • Sheena Douglass Christmas words Stamp
  • Dona Ratcliffe christmas pixie’s stamps
  • Sheena Douglass Twinkling lights die
  • Sheena Douglass poinsettia die
  • Spectrum Noir alcohol pens
  • clear glitter embossing powder
  • Pebeo 3d relief paste and silver foil
  • Pebeo silver gilding wax
  • Fomarian
  • Liquid pearls / glitter glue
  • Black embossing powder
  • White Gesso
  • fine micron pen


  1. Cover the whole base with white gesso and leave to dry
  2. splodge your choice of spectrum sparkle pens onto a glass matt
  3. pick-up with a damp sponge and dab freely onto the whole of the base.
  4. leave to dry(!)
  5. repeat from step 2 until you are happy with what you have
  6. Apply gilding wax all around the edges, bringing some of it on into the corners (you can do this later, but then you will have to navigate around stuff)

1st Layer:

  1. Stamp your base images (words and ivy) in black ink; I used versafine because it is so very juicy and the surface of the MDF is not as smooth/flat as a piece of card
  2. use a micron pen to fill out any bits that didn’t quite make it
  3. Stamp the toadstool house with an embossing ink and heat emboss

2nd Layer:

  1. Trace over various lines with the 3d paste; I chose to do the stems on the ivy and the line running through the words ‘sparkle’. I also did a couple of extra foil stars to match in with the word.
  2. leave the paste to go off (I recommend either walking away, or doing all the prep work for layer 3) if the paste has not turned clear, it is not ready.
  3. apply the foil

3rd Layer:

  1. On separate card, stamp out, colour and cut out your decoupage elements. This is the leaves for the ivy and the flying pixie. You may have noticed that I did not mention colouring the ivy on the first layer, this is because there is no point, you are going to cover it up with the decoupage anyway
  2. Die cut your additional elements. These are the twinkling lights and poinsettia elements. I have used foamarian for the poinsettia which will cut through at 3 layers of foam in one go (yay)
  3. Colour your elements – I have used sn pens for both; in addition I also drew on some vein lines in the flowers with a micron pen.
  4. Shape elements as required
  5. Cover the fairy lights (the actual lights only) with clear embossing powder and heat emboss with clear glitter embossing powder. I have done 2 layers of this, but you can do more.
  6. Layer up your elements onto the base (I’ve used 3d glue gel)

To finish:

  1. Add liquid pearls to the centre of the flower and as desired over the whole of the base
  2. Add gold glitter glue to areas of the flower for extra sparkle

And that’s it – happy crafting!




Well hello to all!

Its been a bit quiet on the blog front recently, but we have been busy busy busy πŸ™‚

This is a small selection of our most recently commissioned pieces; if anyone wants to know specific products/techniques etc please ask πŸ™‚

However the majority of the stamps are by Sheena Douglass/Donna Ratcliff with most of the colouring being various items from the Spectrum Noir Range; I have however tagged other products which have also been used.

I hope everyone is having a happy 2018 so far; I plan to spend a couple of happy crafty hours today so will quite possibly post some of the new goodies which have mysteriously arrived at my door….


Butterfly Teepee time

Hello to all, I recently made this card for a facebook challenge and due to its unusual shape, wanted to post a ‘How To’ guide πŸ™‚



I have divided the guide into sub headings, so if you already know how to construct a Teepee card, feel free to skip ahead πŸ™‚





Teepee Construction:

  • x3 Squares of construction weight card (Ive used centura pearl, 6×6)
  • Glue
  • Scoreboard

If you haven’t already, I would strongly recommend that you have at least one groove on your scoreboard coloured in; personally I have the central line coloured as this gives me the most space to either side of the line. This is so that when you score a diagonal line, you can see where you are going!


Score all three of your squares diagonally across the middle and then fold them over into triangles


Arrange your triangles so that the central one has the score line running vertically away from you; then place the two sides (one to the left, the other to the right) so that their score lines run along the right (or left) top edge of the central card. Like so:


then stick together πŸ™‚

The two outer flaps that you will now have then cross over each other to complete the Teepee. DO NOT stick these two flaps together as if you do you will not be able to lay the card flat for an envelope; neither will your recipient be able to open the card if you have chosen to put a personal message inside πŸ˜‰

Normally, the crossover will be held in position by either mini-magnets or sticky back velcro, however mine is currently being held by a peg as I am waiting for magnets to arrive…

Matt and Layer:

If you have a perfect layers tool, feel free to skip this bit as you won’t need it.

  • x2 squares at whatever mat interval you want to use from your base layer. My base layer was 6×6, so my mat is 5.75×5.75, this means that I am reducing all sides by a quarter inch
  • Scoreboard
  • Guillotine/trimmer (you get the idea)

Line up your mat layer on the diagonal (as you did to score the base card). Score a line at a quarter of an inch away from the central line – please note that these two score lines must match the measurement you have reduced your mat by; I reduced mine by a quarter inch so my scorelines must also be a quarter inch.


Cut down the two scorelines and you will have your first mat πŸ™‚

My next layer is the pretty stuff; in terms of layering against the mat the process is the same as the mat we have just done, but you are resizing against the mat, not the base layer. So for me, I am taking another quarter inch off so my squares will be 5.5×5.5 and my scorelines will still be one quarter out from the central line because my layer is still one quarter reduced from the mat.

Pretty Stuff:

  • Stamps
  • Colouring tools
  • x2 squares of appropriate card for you chosen colouring medium (as stated above, 5.5×5.5 in my example)
  • Some extra of your chosen card
  • Appropriate ink for your chosen colouring medium
  • glycerin (optional, depending on whether or not you are using watercolours)
  • Pearls/gems
  • Scissors
  • 3d glue/foam pads

Firstly, do your score lines for when you cut the layer, but do not cut yet πŸ™‚


Start to stamp; I have deliberately placed my pieces of card together because I want my stamp to crossover the lines of the card. You can use some low tack tape to make it all a bit more secure for this bit if you want.


Colour it in(!) You will notice that my two outer triangles are more vibrant than the middle two; this is because on the middle ones they will be covered by the decoupage layer that I have stamped, cut and coloured and are now sitting to the right of my card. As they then become an underneath image they only need enough colour not to look as if you haven’t bothered.

At this point it is important to think about how the card will be when fully constructed; the two flaps that don’t have any decoupage on the flowers haven’t got it because one of them will be underneath the closing flap and therefore needs to be mostly flat and the other will be coming off of the bottom edge and I wanted to keep it clean.


Once you’ve finished the basic stamping you can cut down the score lines and finish decorating however you choose; the butterflies are stamped and fussy cut then attached with pinflair (As are my decoupage layers). In addition I have gone drop crazy with liquid pearls and also added black mats to the two small ‘leg’ triangles at the bottom. I have used a small palette of colours, (red blue and green) so they all match each other; its not clear on my pics but I have also used clear sparkle overlay. If you are using the overlay on top of watercolours, remember that it will act as a waterbrush and spread the colour some more; if you don’t want this to happen (eg on the lillies) work in from the outside and regularly clean your brush off on a scrap of card.


And that’s all there is to it; fold the card down the central line for enveloping, though I suspect I may need a box for mine due to the embellishments *sigh*

I hope you have all enjoyed my tutorial and have lots of fun giving your own a try – thanks for reading x

Stamps used:

  • Sentiment stamps from Sarah Davies’ Flutterby collection
  • Sheena Douglass Butterfly
  • Donna Ratcliff musical collection


Music to my eyes

Its now a holiday week for me too, which has happily coincided with the launch of some lovely new music themed stamps designed by Donna Ratcliff.


There are six stamp plates altogether in the set featuring X4 different musical centerpieces and then a variety of co-ordinating detail and sentiment stamps. This post, however is specifically a card building post so I am going to go through the above card step by step.

Step 1

Stamp your main image and colour it in!_20180219_221830813540054.jpg

I have used my Lyra Polycolour pencils here, but choose your preferred medium. You will notice that this is literally just the sax, this is because at the time I stamped it I just needed an image to take out and about with me to colour, so the rest of the stamping was an afterthought!

Step 2

Add detail to your main image

This is also the point at which I make decisions about overall size of the topper. Everything except for the flowers has been stamped over the top of the saxophone. I masked the saxophone off using Hunkydory’s masking paper but you can use a post-it or copier paper if you have something such as stick and spray to make it adhere to your card. Remember you do not necessarily need a full mask; on my topper it is only a small section on the body of the sax that actually needed to be covered. You could also use pebeo drawing gum however do take into account whether or not the card you have used for your topper will happily take a liquid being applied to it; because I used pencils here I also used momento to stamp rather than Versafine/Stazon so for my topper there would also be the risk of an ink bleed if I used the gum.


I have then used an edged ruler to tear all four sides of the card and used distress ink around the edges; to finish I have then mounted it onto black card.

The flowers are x3 of the same image stamped and then coloured with the same colours as the flowers on the saxophone. I have then fussy cut them, shaped them and layered them onto the corner of my topper so the they hang outside of the frame. Without the flowers, this topper would fit a 5×7 card base, so its important to decide on your base card size before adding overhanging accessories or you may find yourself making a larger card then you intended(!)

Step Three

Base Layer

As I have already said this topper is roughly 5×7 which means I will need an 8×8 base or the topper to sit nicely. Obviously, I could just dig out a paper that looks nice with it, but frankly, that involves rummaging…. instead, I have made a matching base layer which allows me to repeat the same colours as the topper which will help it all tie together.


This is the topper laid on top of an 8×8 base; as you can see, less than half of the base card needs to be decorating. To help with positioning, draw a light pencil line down the edge of the card (use the edge of the card as you would a ruler). Personally, I don’t want to faff around later trying to rub this line out, so I will shift the edge slightly further back before I draw the line- this means that the topper will cover the line when I stick it on, but I still have a guide as to where the edge of the topper will fall.


This then, is my base. The stamps that will be coming out from under the topper are only partially stamped – why waste the ink?! – and the music notation joining the corners are 2nd/3rd generation stamps. I have used the tearing ruler again for the tears into the base layer.

Step Four

Put it all together



As a further tie-in between the base and the topper, I have added some light pencil colouring against in the same shades as on the topper. On my example, the base is supposed to be more faded than the topper however if you wanted it to be a more equal balance you would just need to do the base layer stamping in the same black as the topper (I have used brown). I have also used a metallic pen to go around the edges of the white card on both the topper and the base; as before, using the edge of the card as a ruler to run the pen along. In addition I have coloured the underside of the tears with the same pen. To finish off, I have extended the gems which were originally just in the hearts of the flowers to connect the topper to the base; additional swirls would also look quite good, but I went with just the gems in this instance.

And that’s it, this is now ready to go onto a card base πŸ™‚

Now the keen observer will notice that the finished card is slightly different… this is because when I looked at it the following day I decided that it needed tweaking; so using a black micron pen I have gone over the first bit of all of the swirls coming out from the topper for an extra bit of definition and also the bottom line of the left hand music corners. I have then added eyelets down the left-hand side using my cropadileΒ  and threaded a dark purple ribbon through it. Which just goes to show that there is always time for a tweak πŸ™‚

I hope you have enjoyed my little tutorial and find it helpful in creating your own works of joy!


3D embossing folders

Well happy new year everyone! A little bit late I know but never mind! Since the Christmas makeathon and the new goodies that came with the Christmas Fairies my craft zone has had yet another reorganisation, but should now be good to go πŸ™‚

One of the first makes of the year has been the following card which I made for my Mother’s birthday and also entered in January ‘s Inkettes challenge on Facebook (which I won, yay)

This was made using one of Sheena’ s 3D embossing folders,

A Little Bit Spooky!

Hi folks,

So today I have spent my time creating a halloween card for a crafty challenge. As I do not have any halloween real stamps, I have used the digital images from Issue 9 of Crafters Companion magazine (Autumn 2016) as there were some Sheena Douglass Day of the Dead Digi-stamps on it as well as some other halloweeny type images and papers. I know some people have cd’s sitting at home feeling unloved because they belong to messy crafters so I am posting a guide for this one to show that even messy people can find joy in a digital image πŸ™‚

This is the finished card front and what we are working towards. As normal, the sparkle pen used on the spider and the skulls does not show on the photo, but it is there!

The first step in any computer crafting that will result inΒ  a physical card, is to know your printer!! It is incredibly disappointing to create something that you are really happy with only to discover that you cannot print it.

The second is to decide what software to use. Depending on the disc you have, there may well be an embedded program that will mean you can resize and print directly from the disc. This is great if all you want to do is click and print to the preset sizes and build a project that way.; for what I have done here however, an actual graphics program is useful as some of the techniques I have used cannot be done on a program that is only designed to print out the image it sees.

I have used Serif (as this is my go to program) however you can also use My Craft Studio Elite to achieve the same results; the ‘Docrafts’ program does not have the right tools for what I have done here and if you are working with ‘word’ you will need to fussy cut the background cobwebs and stick them on…. probably not worth it….

Build your scene:

You will need to decide which elements you are going to want to use; I usually give myself a reasonable selection and then narrow them down further depending on how I like them when grouped with the other elements. You will need to import your chosen images into your graphics program. If you are not using Serif, please skip this next bit!

For Serif users, the quickest way to import your images is to do it from the ‘add photo’ tab at the left hand side of the program. When you click the ‘add’ button you will be taken to your current computer files; locate the disc you are using from the list on the left had side of the window which will have popped up, click on it and then click through the folders on the disc until you get to the image that you want. Either double-click the image (which will import it straight away) or single click the image and then click ‘choose’ in the bottom right hand corner of the file window. Your image will now be imported into the photo section of the program and you will be able to manipulate it to your hearts content. On a side note, you can also move images from the photo section into either ‘backgrounds’ or ‘materials’ by first dragging it out to the work space and then dragging it back in to the section you want it to appear in. The reason for doing so is so that it will then behave as a ‘background’/’material’ rather than as a photo.

If you are using My Craft Studio, then the files on your computer will already show on the left hand side of the program without needing a separate window; so just work your way through these files to the disc and then to the images that you want; you should then be able to double-click or drag them to use.

Once you have your images you are ready to scene build πŸ™‚

My initial scene build

So what have I got?

  • Background paper
  • 7 digi images

The background is a paper from the disc. As you can see, it is a more vibrant colour on my screen than the printout; this is where knowing what your printer will actually give you comes in handy. It is also worth a note about what you intend to print on. You will need to think about what you hope to do with the image once you have printed it which will then dictate what type of paper/card you will need.

For this project, I need something that will take heat embossing, distress inks, glue (for glitter) and also work well with my alcohol markers. Paper is too flimsy for heat embossing and glue and my general use ‘light card’ is not great for alcohol inks. I have therefore used the ‘My Craft Studio’ super smooth card as this will do all of the above; however what it wont do is go through my printer at A4 size. Fortunately, this is for an 8×8 card and my printer will take the card if it is cut down to 8×8 size, but again this is something you will want to sort out before you start creating to avoid angst later on πŸ˜‰

A lot of digital images include white space, by which I mean that they are an image drawn onto a square/rectangle piece of digital paper. This means that if you layer them together you will have random white corners of this ‘paper’ blocking out parts of your other images; it also means that for images like the cobweb, you will have white spaces in-between the web lines rather than than the background you have chosen. This is where using a graphics program comes in handy. In Serif you can use the ‘cutout studio’ function to remove the white space. Some images will do this really well because they have been digitally created which means that the program will recognise all of the lines, for others the program isn’t quite so sure about which lines are which so you will need to help it a little. In MCS the corresponding tool is the scissor function; it will not recognise lines the way that the cutout studio does but you will still be able to use to eliminate white space.

My Build

  • Drag in the background and then lock the layer so that you can’t move it by accident!
  • Place the first cobweb
  • Copy and paste the cobweb another two times
  • Rotate, resize and switch the second two cobwebs as desired and layer onto backgounrd
  • Play around with the line depth and transparency of the cobwebs – the large cobweb at the bottom is a lot more faded than the other two
  • Layer on your other images, resizing as appropriate – this is an important part of the build; although the mummy, the spider and the two sentiments are printed separately to the rest they need to be included at this point to make sure that the sizes are correct

Once you are happy, you will need to remove the items that are not being included in the background print, however do not make the mistake of deleting them as you will then no longer have the images at the right size for your project. Just move them to the side of the print area. Both Serif and MCS have a scale to the bottom right hand of the program which you can use to zoom in or out of the print space; I find it useful to zoom out before moving my images off of the print space.

Background print

This is the initial print-off, ready for me to play with!

Glitzed up version; which is substantially more exciting than the original print

So what did I do?

  1. Stamped and heat embossed the latin words stamp several times
  2. Added distress ink – I tend to do this a lot with my printed backgrounds because they are not as vibrant when printed out as I would like so i tend to use a matching ink to warm it all up. For this project I have used Barn Door and Black Soot
  3. Coloured the ‘what lies beneath’ digi-stamp – you may have noticed that the black parts of the print-off were not particularly black, so I have gone over all of the solid black sections with ‘True Black’ and used DP4 for the lighter dark shadow areas. I shall puta full colour list at the bottom.
  4. Glittered the cobwebs – only some sections and in two different colours just to be interesting….
  5. Matted the background onto black card

The Elements


All of theseΒ  have been fussy-cut; when choosing to do elements like this take a moment to consider how easy they will be to cut out… or not…

The Spider, Mummy and ‘Happy Halloween’ have all been coloured with SN; what you can’t see on the photo is that the Mummy also has red glitter eyes and both the spider and the happy halloween have some heat embossing on them.

On the Happy Halloween I have also used a red fine liner to go around some of the words to make them pop; them the whole has been ‘torn’ against a deckle edge ruler.

To finish


If we take a last look at the finished piece, I have shaped the elements before sticking them on (pinflair 3d glue) then added some Nuvo drops both as actual drops, but also along some of the edges of the card to mimic blood (urgh!).

Disclaimers (hehe)

The light caught against some of the shinier bits of the card so the finish photo is actually a little brighter than the real thing; the background photo from earlier is a better colour match. This photo also doesn’t show the height on some of the elements, in particular the spiders legs which I have curved right up and over.

Really observant people may have noticed that my Mummy suddenly has a couple of blood splotches on his bandages; this was an accident as my finger tips appear to have picked up some distress ink from nowhere and dumped it on my Mummy 😑

I hope you all like this one; I did πŸ˜‰

Spectrum Noir Colours:

  • EB1,2 & 7 – Mummy and all bones
  • DP4,3 PV1 – Spider and all ‘torn’ paper and shadows
  • True Black – Deep Shadows