2017 Holiday Card Details – The Next Step

We are officially in November, which means that it’s time for me to really get to work on my cards. Now that my layout is set, the next step in my process is to do a mock up to test out how I want a finished card to look. I spent about six hours on Saturday in a creative bubble and here’s what I got: my 2017 Holiday card details.

This post contains spoilers in text and photos. If you don’t wanna know before Christmas, get thee hence.

Spoiler Alert
The post ahead contains commentary that may include spoilers

Another disclaimer: I’m not at all happy with my inks (from Michaels). I tried several times, but nothing produced a nice colour. I got one close-ish to the saturation I wanted so I used that for the mock up. It’s not going to be the finished product though, so don’t judge me!

2017 Holiday Card Details – Die Cuts

This year I’m doing a LOT of die cut card details. I’m doing boughs, a wreath, lanterns, bows, and present boxes. Die cuts can be time consuming so I always try to get those sorted first. I decided to start by cutting my bough options using the Christmas Staircase die cuts. Here’s the process:

2017 Holiday card details green paper swatches
First step, cut swatches
2017 Holiday card details Cuttlebug plates
Second step: get plates ready
2017 Holiday card details die cut sandwich
Third step: create the plate “sandwich” by layering a base plate, cutting plate, paper, die cuts, top plate and any shims you may need

If you’re unfamiliar with die cuts, they make beautiful embellishments but they don’t always behave. I use an old school Cuttlebug, which isn’t the most sturdy or precise machine. I’ll upgrade to a Big Shot eventually, but for now I get to manually punch out what Cuttlebug leaves behind. Here’s an example:

2017 Holiday Card Details Punching Out Die Cut
My cut out is stuck to the paper so I have to finish punching it out manually

You can buy special piercing tools to separate the cut out and the little details, but a wooden skewer will to the trick in a pinch. There are also tricks using wax paper or dryer sheets, but I find these just make more mess. Eventually I had a set of all my bough options in each of my green swatches.

2017 Holiday Card Details Greenery Options
All my shape and colour options

Then I spent some time playing around, layering the various options on top of my stamped gate image (Graveyard Gate stamp set) until I found a combination of colours and layers that I liked.

2017 Holiday Card Details – More Die Cuts

On to the smaller card details. For these elements I used the Christmas Lamp post and Christmas Staircase die cuts and the Brightly Lit Christmas stamp set. The cutting process is the same, so I won’t repeat all of that. I will however show you the options I made for each item.

For the wreath, I picked a paper that I didn’t use for the boughs to add depth. The die cut doesn’t have the same detail as the boughs, so it needs embellishment. I tried using the coordinating stamp but, as I mentioned, my inks *cough* SUCK *cough*. I edged one using the Old Olive marker but it wasn’t enough detail. I’m going to wait for new inks before making a final decision, but these are the options I have for now:

2017 Holiday card details wreath options
Regular, untouched wreath on the left. Edged wreath on the right.

After that, I tested out the lanterns. Using black cardstock and two die cuts, here were my options:

2017 Holiday card details lampstand options
Rounded lantern vs. traditional lantern

The traditional suited the card more so I went with that one and then hand-coloured the insets to make them glow. 

Bows were the next card detail. Between all the die cut and stamp sets I’m using there were a ton of options. My samples included some in coloured paper, and some in white paper with a stamped outline and hand-coloured details:

2017 Holiday card details bow options
Solid colours, white with stamps, hand coloured options oh my!

For the presents I tried to cut the shapes using coloured paper, but they just looked like blobs. They are such small elements, they really need detail. I scrapped the coloured paper and focused on using white cardstock with stamped designs and hand-coloured details.

2017 Holiday card details present boxes
Not married to these colours and will probably change them up on the final card

2017 Holiday Card Details – Putting it on the Mat

After about 5 hours of work, I finally had all of my card details ready to go. Now to put them all together. I played around with the overall layout of all the bits and pieces quite a bit. I still think there is a little work to be done, but for the most part I’m happy with the mock up:

2017 Holiday card details everything coming together
Ta dah!! Mock up complete.

I have to wait for my new stamp pads to arrive before I can do any more stamping. Since so many of the elements in the card use stamping, that’s going to put a bit of a damper on my production. HOWEVER, I am already behind so I do not have time to sit about. While I wait for my delivery, I’m going to mass-produce all of the die cuts so that they are done and ready to go. 

I have to say a huge thank you to Glen. He did everything humanly possible to make sure that I could work uninterrupted for an entire day. Plus he let me run a million “do you like this one, or that one” questions by him and he didn’t complain once. So THANK YOU Glen. 

Once I get my inks and I get all the die cuts punched out, I can assemble the final cards. I’ll post again once I have one card complete and I’ll show you all the changes and the finished product.

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