2017 Holiday Card Layout

I’m so excited, my 2017 Holiday card layout is tested and complete! This year is a little bit different for me. Usually when I’m designing my cards I think of a colour scheme first and get all my foundation papers – cards, mats, envelopes etc. Then I develop a theme and shop around for suitable stamps and embellishments. This year it’s the total opposite. After going through the Stampin Up Holiday catalogue a couple of times (ok, obsessively) a design came to me first. I know exactly what I want the decorative mat to look like, but I have no idea what layers or cards I’m going to use. It’s kind of weird.

Knowing the design means I get to jump right into the creative assembly part though, which is kind of awesome. Fair warning: if you want to wait to see them until the cards are finished or until Christmas is here, the rest of the post contains images that may spoil you.

Spoiler Alert
The post ahead contains commentary that may include spoilers

2017 Holiday Card Layout Step One: Stamp Assembly

There are three main types of stamps in crafting: wood-mount rubber, clear-mount rubber, and photopolymer. If you’re interested in the differences between them, this great blog post tells you everything you need to know. I’m using a combination of clear-mount rubber and photopolymer this year.

The base of my 2017 Holiday card layout come from the Graveyard Gate stamp set. I know, using a Halloween stamp set for Christmas?! But I promise it will make sense in the end. I ordered the clear mount set because I prefer it for placement, visibility, and storage. Clear mount stamps do require a bit of assembly though. When you get them, the stamp sets look like this:

2017 holiday card layout stamp set pre-assembly
Stamp set before assembly

On the right is all of the rubber stamps joined together. On the left is a sheet of stickers that go on the backs of the stamps. First, separate all of the stamps.

2017 holiday card layout stamps popped out
All the stamps popped apart

Flip a stamp over and remove the protective paper on the stamp:

2017 holiday card layout sticky stamp backing
Remove the protective layer to reveal sticky backing

Grab the stickers and locate the image that corresponds to the stamp you just prepared.

2017 holiday card layout image stamp sheet
Sheet of stickers for stamp backs

Peel the paper off of the corresponding sticker to reveal the sticky side.

2017 holiday card layout stamp image sticker
Remove the protective backing from the sticker

Line up the stamp sticky side down with the sticker and press them together.

2017 holiday card layout stamp assembly
Press the back of the rubber stamp on to the sticker

Peel the stamp away from the sheet and the image will be secured to the back.

2017 holiday card layout assembled stamp
Ta-da! Here’s the stamp all assembled

Repeat until all your stamps are assembled!

2017 holiday card layout complete stamp set
Here’s my whole stamp set assembled

2017 Holiday Card Layout Step Two: Inking and Layout

Doing my 2017 holiday card layout is going to be tricky. Normally if I’m stamping a scene, I will put all the stamps on to a single block so that the layout is the same every time. I can’t do that with this set though. I’m using the gate and the post stamp, but there is only one post stamp. If I want a post on either side of the gate, I can’t lay them out in a row. I’ll have to stamp everything separately.

Once I figured that out, I picked a couple of clear blocks that best fit the size of the stamps and I affixed them.

2017 holiday card layout stamps on clear blocks
Here they are mounted to clear blocks

Next I applied the ink. A tip for those new to stamping: don’t press the stamp directly into the ink pad. Turn the stamp upside down and pat the ink pad on to the stamp. That minimizes the amount of ink you get on the stamp edges and helps you control the colour saturation.

2017 holiday card layout inking the stamp
Always tap the ink pad on to the stamp
2017 holiday card layout ink saturation
Keep laying ink on until you get the colour saturation you want

Then all you have to do is put your stamp on the paper, press, and hold it without wiggling. Depending on the ink you are using, you may want to hold the stamp on to the paper for 20-30 seconds to allow the paper to really absorb the ink. Since this was only a test, I wasn’t too worried about colour saturation or image clarity.

2017 holiday card layout stamp placement
Using stamps individually makes placement a little trickier

After four test runs I found the layout I liked. 

2017 Holiday Card Layout Step Three: Measuring the Mat

Once I got the placement of the stamps and the general layout of the image the way I wanted, the only thing left to determine was the size of the mat I was going to need. As I said earlier, normally I pick my papers and sizes first and find images that work with what I’ve got. Since I’m doing the opposite with these cards, I had no idea how big my image mat was going to be. I had to see the stamps in action and determine the exact layout before I could figure out how much mat I would need to accommodate everything.

After I finalized the layout, measuring the mat was easy. All I had to do was use a ruler to measure the length and width of the stamped images in their correct positions. 

2017 holiday card layout mat length
I can make my mat length 5.5 inches
2017 holiday card layout mat width
I can make the mat width 4.5 inches

The stamped image fits on a mat that is 5.5″ L x 4.5″ W. That’s kind of a perfect measurement. It means I have a bit of room to incorporate other design elements. It also means that I have the space to create a middle mat between my image and the actual card. I love layering multiple mats on a single card because it creates depth and interest without adding a ton of weight or bulk. Aw shucks (she said sarcastically) now I have to figure out a coordinating mat as well as the cards and envelopes.

My next step is to put together some of the details. These cards are going to have a LOT of details, so I will test them out in stages. My Cuttlebug is about to get a workout! 

1 Comment

  1. 2017 Holiday Card Details - The Next Step - Kateish

    November 6, 2017 at 11:22 pm

    […] 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 […]

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