Art Journal

The Art of Layering in Cardmaking

Are you looking for ways to add subtle yet stunning detail to your cards? If so, layering is another exciting technique that can take your cardmaking projects to the next level. It involves building up a layer of decorative elements, such as stamps, dies, paints, and other mixed media, on your cards to create dimension. Layering elements on your cards give character and depth, so this handy technique will enable you to make cards like a pro in no time at all!  

In this blog post, we’ll explore the art of making layers in cardmaking and share tips on creating beautiful cards filled with professional-looking layers. So grab your favorite decorations and adhesives, and let’s get crafting!

What Is Layering?

Layering is the technique of mixing different elements on your cards to create exciting designs. For example, if you have ever heard of the terms “pop-up cards,” “shaker cards,” “pocket cards,” or “slider cards,” then you should know that these cards were all made with layering techniques. Layering involves using different parts for your card: card base, card front, and card panel.

  • Card base – Your card base is your card’s foundation or primary structure. It is typically made of heavy cardstock and supports the other layers and elements you add to the card. The card base is usually slightly larger than the finished card, allowing for a border or mat to be added around the edges. 
  • Card panel – Your card panel is a piece of cardstock or paper used as part of the card’s design. It can be a decorative layer that is added to the front of the card or an interactive element incorporated into the inside or back of the card. You can make card panels in various ways to create a background, focal point, fold, or pocket. They are an essential part of layering in cardmaking and can help add depth and interest to your overall design. It is usually the layer that goes on top of the card base.
  • Card front – It’s easy to confuse your card front with your card panel, but card front refers to the front or main surface of the card where the design is typically focused. It is the first thing the recipient sees when receiving the card and generally is the most elaborately decorated part of the card. The card front can have many layers of cardstock, patterned paper, and other combined materials to create a cohesive and visually appealing design. It can also include embellishments such as ribbons, stickers, and sequins.

Certain paper crafting products also make this technique easier, as layering stamps, dies, and stencils are available for use. In this blog post, we’ll talk about how to layer in cardmaking and what kind of cards you can make with this method. 

How to Make Stunning Layers With Stamps, Dies, & Stencils 

When it comes to layering for beginners, the easiest way to make beautiful layered designs is with stamps, dies, and stencils. These products do not need advanced techniques and can be great tools for exploring your creativity with layering. 

Layering Stamps

Layering stamps are different from your standard sets. Instead of just stamping one image at once, layering stamps are coordinating stamps that combine to form a full, detailed image. Think of it this way: instead of just one regular flower stamp, you get six stamps: the petals, the shadow of the leaves, the stem, the shadow of the petals, and the lines of the leaves. Each stamp is made up of coordinating parts that you can mix and match for countless looks. By rearranging the order in which you place your layers on cardstock, you can create an entirely different design with any single set! 

The instructions for layering may be different, depending on the brand of the stamp that you’re using. However, a general rule of thumb is to follow the layering guide included with your stamp’s packaging, which will show you how to align your stamps properly. You wouldn’t want your flower to have a completely offset leaf, won’t you (LOL!)?

Normally, the first layer you need to stamp will be the most prominent image. This will likely be a solid stamp image. You need to stamp it with a light color and then stamp your succeeding layers with darker colors successively. If you stamp your first layer with black ink, for example, you will not be able to see your following layers since the base layer is too dark. 

With layering stamps, you can make repetitive patterns for your backgrounds or make a beautifully complex focal point for your cards. You can even fussy cut or die cut your stamps and stack them together with foam tape to create a raised design. To see this technique in action, try watching the video below:

You can also take this FREE class on using layering stamps for a more in-depth tutorial.

Layering Dies

Similar to layering stamps, layering dies are detailed dies that cut different parts of an image you assemble. These dies, which can be made of metal, plastic, or paper, are designed with multiple shapes that stack together to create a single image. 

Returning to our flower metaphor, it involves die cutting leaves, petals, and stems and forming them like puzzle pieces using a special lock mechanism or adhesives. Not only does layering make your card look more exciting and professional, but it also allows cardmakers of all levels to create stunning cards easily. 

Layering dies come in all shapes, sizes, and designs, from florals to animals. You can use them to create all sorts of raised backgrounds, accents, and even frames. Watch this handy tutorial to see how layering dies work:

Layering Stencils

Layering stencils are coloring templates that are used in cardmaking and other crafts to create multiple layers or levels of design on a project. They are typically made of thin, flexible material such as plastic or acetate and have cutout shapes or patterns. 

To use a layering stencil, you would place it on top of your cardstock or other surface and apply ink, paint, or another medium through the cutout areas of the stencil to transfer the design onto the surface. You can then remove the stencil and repeat the process with a different color or medium to create multiple layers. Layering stencils can be used with various mediums, such as ink, paint, embossing powder, or glitter, and can be used to create a wide range of effects.

Layering stencils are a valuable tool in cardmaking because they allow you to create intricate, multi-layered designs quickly and easily. They are especially useful for creating backgrounds, adding texture, or creating repeated patterns on your projects. 

PRO TIP: For best results, try using gradient colors for all your layering stamps, dies, and stencils. Per succeeding layers, try using a darker hue than the previous one so your design can look beautifully realistic, with highlights and shadows. 

What Kind of Cards Can You Do With Layering Techniques?

Besides using layering stamps, dies, and stencils to make one-of-a-kind designs, you can also layer with other materials such as vellum, acetate, cover dies, stickers, and even washi tape! Using these materials, you can make shaker cards, pop-up cards, 3D framed cards, and cards that feature enchantingly layered backgrounds.

By combining both matting and layering techniques to create various colors, patterns, and textures, you can make professional-looking and wow-worthy handmade cards, even as a beginner!

Try Layering and See the Wonders It Does for Your Cards!

If you’re looking to add some wow factor to your cards, layering is the way to go! This fun technique allows you to experiment with different materials to create beautiful layers of interest and texture. Plus, the best part is there are no rules – so you can let your creativity run wild! With so many options for layering stamps, dies, and stencils, you can do this technique easily, even as a beginner. 

For more cardmaking inspiration, tips, and tricks, check out our other articles on choosing the perfect color palette, cardstock, and other supplies! 

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