AECP: A Gift Set for Guys

May 11, 2019Stationery, Gifts & Packaging4 comments

AECP: A Gift Set for Guys

May 11, 2019Stationery, Gifts & Packaging4 comments

Altenew Educator Certification Program Participant Badge

Guys need card stashes

It’s not a question, it’s a statement. Guys. Need. Card. Stashes. It’s soooo annoying every time the hubs forgets about an occasion and pops into the Retreat while I’m working and says “got a minute to whip up a card for <fill in the blank>? I need to send it today/tomorrow/yesterday”.

No. No, I do not. I am working diligently on something completely different and ‘ain’t got time for your last minute request! 

Ok – I don’t really say that. But, he might get a little eye roll and a huff and a “sure, I’ll whip something up”.

That’s why guys need card stashes. And, this Altenew challenge reminded me of that – Brian needed a card stash, and this one is his.

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Level 2: FINAL

I received my Level 2 Final project assignment from Virginia last weekend, and boy was it involved. I knew it was going to take some time to put everything together, and even though I was given a month to submit it, there’s no use in proCRAFTinating, and my personal goals wouldn’t allow me to wait too long to see this assignment through! Besides, it’s always good to challenge oneself – keeps the mind young! Here’s some specifics behind the challenge:

  • Select ANY 3 components from the classes completed in Level 1 or 2. Explain the components and share tips.
  • Make 4 MASCULINE cards in the following themes: Birthday, Love/Thinking of You, Anniversary, and Encouragement.
  • Also create an Altered Item/Upcycled Project.
  • Think of this as a set for a guy to use. It’s like creating a gift set for your husband/nephew/brother.
  • Do a step-by-step photo tutorial and/or YouTube video.
  • Minimum of 10 photos, both close-up and process.
  • Complete the assignment by May 29th!

So, there you have it. If you’ve been thinking about applying to the Altenew Educator program, it is well worth it, and will stretch your creativity. If you are aspiring to make money at blogging and/or teaching crafting, not only will you learn techniques, you will also see how great online craft classes are put together. You’ll also build some good blogging and business skills like planning, scheduling, working to a creative brief and working to a deadline!

**Note: Though I call out the classes that relate to each project and a related technique, the technique is not always directly taught in the class, but is inspired by something I learned in the class.

** Another Note: This is an EPIC post, but it’s worth it to hang in to the end. I’ve got an extra surprise for you if you do… Oh, and don’t forget about the Blog Candy…

Project Happy Mail
Send me a card and get one of my creations in return (blank for you to use).
All received cards are donated! Click for details.

Hello (Thinking of You) Card

This first card was the foundation of the entire set. If you recognize the Cube Builder stencil panel, yes, it is the one I created in the video! It’s been sitting in my scraps pile for weeks now. I always save gems like this to speed up projects later! It’s a pretty straightforward design, with a little twist of vellum. That little bit of diffusion breaks up all of the sharp lines and draws the eye around in an unexpected way. 


How To:

  1. Prep the card base by adhering a 4 1/4″ x 5 1/2″ piece of Storm Cloud cardstock to the card base. 
  2. Stencil the Cube Builder design on a piece of Neenah Solar White Super Smooth cardstock using two shades from the Sea Shore Mini Cube set. 
  3. Stamp the “just saying” image on the stenciled panel, using the hello die to make sure you leave enough space to the right.
  4. Diecut a sheet of vellum using the Heffy Doodle Imperial Stitched Rectangles. Adhere it to the stenciled panel using Zig 2-way glue (it doesn’t show through!). Trim the panel to 4 1/8″ x 5 3/8″ and adhere to the card base.
  5. Stamp the “hello” image and diecut. Diecut a second “hello” in Storm Cloud cs. Adhere the Storm Cloud layer so it leaves a shadow behind the stamped diecut. Adhere to the card.
  6. Add enamel dots.

Here’s a video on using the Cube Builder Stencil!

Birthday Card

Brian needs four masculine birthday cards for the year. Most of the birthdays have passed, but this timeless gem will work later this year, or next! After the first card, I decided that Super Script and stencils would be the additional unifying theme in addition to the color palette. We know that a color palette will help create a unified set, but sticking to a specific stamp set and other common elements (like the stencils and even the enamel shapes) really get us matchy-matchy – in a good way!


How To:

  1. Prep the card base by adhering a 4 1/8″ x 5 3/8″ piece of Storm Cloud cardstock to the card base. 
  2. Stencil the Feeling Dotty design on a piece of Neenah Solar White Super Smooth cardstock using one shades from the Sea Shore Mini Cube set. 
  3. Stamp the “celebrate” image on the stenciled panel.
  4. Shift the stencil and use Versamark to add embossing ink to random parts of the stencil. Emboss with gold.
  5. Diecut the “celebrate” sentiment from the stenciled panel. Diecut a second “celebrate” using foam sheets or chipboard. Adhere the two together. 
  6. Stamp the “hello” image on a vellum strip. Emboss in black. Snip the left end at an angle and trim for length.
  7. Adhere the stenciled panel to the card base. Then, adhere the diecut sentiment back into the space. Add the little cutout bits if desired.
  8. Adhere the vellum flag with glue dots and add enamel dots.

Here’s a video on the distressed offset stencil look!

Encouragement Card

This one is Brian’s favorite! I love how crisp and bright it is. It was at this point that I was glad that I went for more of an aqua blue than a traditional blue as it really pops against the white, black and gray. The double stencil technique really results in some “advanced” looking stenciling, but it’s so easy! Adding in the sketching somehow reminds me of comic books, and the dots look like little Pac Man dots. Oh, and that little bit of blending on the center panel – that was money! It softened up the stenciled lines and allowed the diecut sentiment to stand out. I think this one is a favorite for me too!


How To:

  1. Stencil the Calligraphy Maze and Feeling Dotty designs using the double stencil technique on a piece of Neenah Solar White Super Smooth cardstock using two shades from the Sea Shore Mini Cube set. 
  2. Use a fine-tipped black pen to add in sketchy lines, following the stenciled maze. 
  3. Trim the stenciled panel to 4″ x 5 1/4″. Diecut the center using a Heffy Doodle Imperial Stitched Rectangle die.
  4. Softly blend in some ink over the center diecut panel to soften the edges of the stenciling. 
  5. Stamp and diecut the “awesome” image.
  6. Using the “awesome” die as a placeholder, arrange the “you are” and “just saying” stamps and stamp on the cutout stenciled panel. To get “just sayin'”, mask off the “g”. Once stamped, use the fine-tipped black pen to add in an apostrophe and put parenthesis around the words. Adhere the “awesome” diecut in the space.
  7. Diecut a stitched rectangle in vellum. Make sure it is larger than the stenciled cutout. Adhere the two together.
  8. Cut a piece of foam sheet to back the diecut layer. Adhere the background stenciled image to the card base, then add the diecut center to the card base, making sure the stenciled images line up.
  9. Add enamel dots.

Here’s a video on the double stencil technique!

Anniversary Card

This is another favorite for me because I love the halftone background, and the watercolored flowers. I have a feeling I might find this card back in my possession in December, unless Brian gives it to someone else to use for their anniversary. I don’t normally let elements stray so far off the edge of a standard card size. I made an exception for this one as I figured it will be hand-delivered! 😉


How To:

  1. Prep the card base by adhering a 4″ x 5 1/4″ piece of Storm Cloud cardstock to the card base. 
  2. Stencil the Halftone pattern in one direction using one shade from the Sea Shore Mini Cube set. Then, flip the stencil 180-degrees, making sure the first stenciled images fit in the spaces evenly, then stencil a second color from the same set. I like the high contrast look, but you can go with two closer colors for a more subtle difference.
  3. Diecut a sheet of vellum using the Heffy Doodle Imperial Stitched Rectangles. Adhere it to the stenciled panel using Zig 2-way glue (it doesn’t show through!). Trim the finished panel to 3 7/8″ x 5 1/8″.
  4. Arrange the “you are”, “my” and “everything” stamps to the lower left corner of the stenciled panel. Stamp and emboss in black. Then adhere to the card base.
  5. Stamp, emboss and diecut the “celebrate” image. Adhere to the card base.
  6. Stamp floral images from Lacy Scrolls. Watercolor the flowers using shades from the Sea Shore Mini Cube set. Stamp leaves in black. Diecut the images and arrange. Adhere to the card base using foam adhesive to pop it up.
  7. Add enamel dots.

Here’s a video on watercoloring solid images!

Upcycled Gift Bag

I am not a “thing hoarder” or a “tchotchke” person, so I don’t often save items that can be upcycled. BUT, I get these lovely muslin bags from an online beauty company, and I just can’t seem to part with them. The logo is so small that I knew there was a way I could cover it up to make the bag my own. In this case, GESSO to the rescue! (I love that stuff!!)


How To:

  1. Prep the material, ironing if necessary to remove wrinkles. Mask out an area for applying gesso. Insert a piece of plastic/acetate or cardboard in the bag to keep the gesso from bleeding through – even if you plan on painting the back.
  2. Apply gesso (white, tinted or black) over the area, covering any undesired logos. Dry (air dry or with heat gun). Add additional layers of gesso if necessary to cover any show-through.
  3. Create a stencil by cutting the Gradient Stripes Cover Die out of heavy weight cardstock or chipboard.
  4. Place the stencil on the gessoed area. Cover the edges with wide masking tape. Stencil in one or multiple shades from the Sea Shore Mini Cube set. If necessary, shift the stencil to the left or right to allow the pattern to extend all the way across the area. Allow the inking to dry (air dry or heat gun).
  5. Mask out an area for the gold embossing. Swipe Versamark across the masked area and emboss in gold.
  6. Stamp “for you” on the bottom colored stripe.
  7. Spray the finished design with a fixative such as clear spray lacquer (matte, semi-gloss or glossy).

**Note: even though the finished design is protected with a spray finish, avoid getting the bag excessively wet as water can still get to it from inside the bag. Wipe any stains or water with a cloth. Do not wash.

Here’s a video on upcycling a cloth bag!


Thank you so much for sticking around all the way to the end of this epic post! Putting this project together was absolute fun, and a really lovely result. It’s been a while since I penned an Inspire File, and since I had so much to share with this assignment, I thought I would bring back a new and improved version of the PDF tutorial.  

In the future, the only way to get the latest Inspire File will be by subscribing to my newsletter.

Download the SPRING 2019 Edition here!

(the PDF will download immediately to your computer or mobile device)

Still time for Blog Candy…

The Blog Candy giveaway is still going on. You can get an entry by following the steps on this Instagram post, and a second entry by leaving a comment on Tuesday’s Level 2 Roundup post. Winners will be announced next week. 

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AECP: A Gift Set for Guys