A Big Tropical Project!

This past year I have been working my way through the Altenew Educator Certification Program.  It's designed to build your skills and techniques in paper crafting.  There are three levels and at the end of each level there is a big project assigned that combines several of the skills learned in that level's courses.  I recently finished Level One and was assigned a project to create a minimum of 8 cards (4 for men and 4 for women) with a central theme, using at least 3 skills from the classes and one recycled project.

I decided to go a tropical route and combine the skills of stenciling, layered die cuts, and adding shine.  My recycled element was using the acetate from the packaging as an element in a shaker card.  Throughout the cards, the central them was the tropical leaves and flowers.  

I started with choosing the supplies - The Altenew Tropical Vibes set.  I thought this would work well for both men and women.

I tackled the men's cards first as they are more of a challenge.  I think they are more difficult because you need to create something attractive yet not frilly, nice looking yet not girly.  I started by stenciling the tropical leaves in a variety of colors.  I then stamped leaves and die cut them.  When I stamped the leaves I used The Altenew Stamp Wheel tool in order to keep them in the same place, then was able to use my first set of of the die cut negative side to keep the dies lined up for easy cutting of future sets of leaves.  That was a nice time saver.


Next I die cut some deep green using the Altenew Leaf Frame Cover Die.  This isn't part of the Tropical Vibes set, but I thought it was a nice compliment to the look.  It was kind of fun to look thru my stash and mix and match these things.  On one card I used the cover die green leaves, and on one card i used the negative pieces.  I cut the cover die in white and used it as a guide to place the negative pieces, then peeled up the white so the embossed and inked card based would show thru.

Here are the men's cards.  You can see the continuity of the leaves thru the designs.  The fist card below has shine added using some black embossing powder - a perfect touch of subtle shine that's not going overboard for a male card.  I also intentionally kept the font consistent and no-frill using a stamp from a different set of Altenew Stamps.


Creating the female set of cards was even more fun.  I spent a long time using the Altenew Stamp Wheel to die cut tons of flowers, parrots and toucans.  I then used my die cut negative to speed up the die cutting process.  

Using a variety of ink colors to stencil leaves on card bases, both embossed and flat. I then created my well for the shaker card using Altenew foam tape and the acetate cover from the Tropical Vibes stencil set.  What a great way to use recycled things!  I also pulled from my huge stash of die cut flowers and leaves to play with the layering.

Here are the female cards.  Again I added shine using gold embossing powder.  I played with the font a bit, using several fonts and sayings.  And lastly, not gonna lie, I went a little crazy with the the flower layering!

Next I turned my attention to the packaging of the set.  I found a box that was the right size that I thought would be perfect to upcycle.  I gessoed the cover, added some acrylic paint and then stenciled the tropical leaves on it.  The box was gorgeous... but after assembling it, I found that it was too gappy in places, and the flaps were sticking to each other and pulling off tiny bits of paint.  So unfortunately I had to scrap this idea and start over.  A valuable part of what we learn as we go thru these courses - what works and what doesn't.

So I started fresh with a new idea.  I used a large piece of wallpaper scrap and fashioned a pouchlike envelope out of it.  I added a card base to the front that was embossed and inked.  I layered on die cuts from the project and created a tropical yet elegant vibe on the front.  I packaged the cards in a bright green tissue paper and they fit perfectly in the topical pouch.  This time it worked like a charm!

You can find a short video of the cards on my instagram feed below.  Enjoy! 



February 10, 2024 by Mary Sterk
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