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Beyond Basic Backgrounds (AECP Level 2)

Hey there! I hope you've had a good week :) I've got three new cards to share with you today for the next class on my Altenew Certified Educator journey.


I decided to do the Beyond Basics Background class for this assignment as I wanted to get more creative with my card backgrounds. I used to use a lot of patterned paper, so I tend not to do many of them, although that's really changed since being on this programme. I chose three techniques: Water Bleaching, Inlaid Die Cutting and Blending Through a DIY Stencil. My favourite technique was water bleaching as it's not something I've ever done before.


Card One - Water Bleaching


I absolutely loved doing this technique. It's quick and easy to do and looks fab. I will be adding it to my list of go-to techniques for sure.


Here's the recipe:

  1. Create a blended ink background using three distress inks. I used Picked Raspberry, Tumbled Glass and Seedless Preserves.

  2. Using a Misti stamping tool, spritz a piece of foam with water. I used a Tim Holtz blending tool.

  3. Stamp the Altenew Wallpaper Art leaf image over the blended background to remove some colour. Create a random pattern across the background using the stamp at different angles. For example, I used the same leaves stamp and rotated them.

  4. Repeat this process until you are happy with how much water bleaching you've done. I repeated the stamping of each image five times.

  5. Stamp, colour, and die cut a flower and leaf from the Wallpaper Art set. I used Zig watercolour pens for the main colouring and added more colour using my Prismacolor pencils to make them darker. I forgot to make a note of the colours, sorry. I also added metallic shine with a gold Prismacolor pencil to tie in with the remaining gold detail on the card.

  6. Stamp the 'Thank you' sentiment from the same set and die-cut it with a banner die.

  7. Attach the sentiment to the card. I layered three pieces of scrap cardstock behind the sentiment to add dimension without using pop dots.

  8. Add some depth to the background by splattering black and gold paint splats.

  9. Finish off the card with some Altenew Antique Gold sequins.



Card Two - Inlaid Die Cutting


While I love intricate cover dies, they can be very time-consuming to use with die-cut inlay. So I opted to make a partial die-cut inlay card instead of a full inlay. Here's how to make it:


  1. Adhere a piece of white cardstock onto some double-sided adhesive paper. This extra step helps you to work with intricate dies and avoid unnecessary glue splodges.

  2. Using the Altenew Dodec Cover Die, die cut a white panel out of the adhesive-covered cardstock. Put to one side.

  3. Using the same die, selectively die cut three 'snowflakes in two colours. I used light and dark pink.

  4. Remove the adhesive sheet backing paper from the white background and attach it to another piece of white cardstock.

  5. Using a jigsaw-type method, stick the small pink die-cut pieces into the card. I placed mine in a triangular shape as it's more appealing visually.

  6. Next, die cut a diamond shape from vellum using the Altenew Fine Frame Diamonds Die.

  7. Stamp, colour, and die cut the floral image from the Altenew Weekend Doodles stamp and die set.

  8. Attach the floral image from the set, Altenew Weekend Doodles, to the piece of vellum and then attach the panel to the card base using pop dots. Vellum can be tricky where you can see the glue/pop dots through it, so I hid the pop dots behind the image to give dimension without the messiness.

  9. Using a sentiment from the Altenew Sweet Friends stamp set, stamp 'hello gorgeous' in chocolate brown ink. Fussy cut the sentiment using scissors. As with card one above, I layered scrap cardstock pieces behind the sentiment instead of using pop dots.

  10. Die-cut a rectangular panel in chocolate cardstock and layer the white inlaid panel on top.

  11. Attach the completed panel to the front of a white card base.

  12. Finish off the card with some Altenew Antique Gold sequins.

I have to be honest; this card isn't my favourite. If I was doing it again, I think I'd skip the vellum and flower and simplify it with a sentiment and the three die-cut inlay 'snowflakes'.



Card Three - Blending Through a DIY Stencil


For my third card, I did a simple pattern using a DIY stencil I'd created and then doodled over the flowers for some added detail.

Here's more info:


  1. Die cut one or more flower shapes using the Heart Flowers die set (see image to the right). Remember to place some shapes off the edge of the card to give the illusion of patterned paper.

  2. Repeat this process until your card is full of die-cut flowers. This creates your 'stencil'. I used three different flower shapes from the set for mine.

  3. Using your stencil, mask off different areas by placing the die cuts back into the spaces giving you small areas to ink (see the image at the bottom of this recipe).

  4. Ink the background using a random colour pattern. I used Altenew inks in the following colours: Maple Yellow, Lavender Fields, Persian Blue and Fuschia. I was aiming for pastel colours, so I pressed very lightly when blending. Vary the pressure based on the colour intensity you would like.

  5. Once inked, stamp the flower centres in black ink from the Heart Flowers stamp set, and using the three-dot stamp and more black ink, stamp the little pattern in the white space between the flowers.

  6. Using a black Copic multi-liner pen, doodle the outline of the flowers, and add little dots around the edge of the petals.

  7. To finish the front panel, wrap a piece of vellum paper around the card front, attaching it to the back of the card with double-sided tape. Use a bone folder to score the vellum on each side to give a crisp finish before adhering to it.

  8. Die cut the word 'hey' three times in black cardstock and once in glitter cardstock using the Altenew Bold Alphabet set. Next, attach the layered letters, finishing with the top layer of glitter. This method creates letters that resemble a chipboard finish.

  9. Add some glue to the vellum behind the word 'hey'. This secures the vellum firmly in place without any splodges.

  10. Add black pearls to the centre of the flowers for added interest.


I thought it would be fun to share how I label my mini ink cubes. I use a star shaped stamp from the Altenew Bride to Be stamp set that I stamp onto a square punched piece of white card stock, and I stick this to the base of my cubes. it works a treat :) I do love a good crafty storage idea that works!


I'm pleased with how the cards turned out—all very different styles and techniques. I hope you found the tips helpful.


Happy Crafting. Thanks for popping by!


Supplies Used:


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