Thursday, May 10, 2012

Clean and Simple with Negative Shape Masking

Hello everyone and welcome to my Thursday "Anything" Post! I decided to bring you a fun little technique today that I've been seeing EVERYWHERE. I'm not even quite sure what to call it so I'm calling it "Negative Shape Masking". When you "mask" a stamping project, you usually use a punch or die-cut shape, lay it on your project and stamp or sponge over it so that when you pull away the "mask", that area of the paper is left blank. With negative masking, you do just the opposite. You punch or die cut a shape and then you use the outline, or negative area, to do your masking! Clear as mud, right? LOL -- let me show you what I mean!

On this first card, using the Big Shot and the Labels Collection Framelet, I cut out the label shape and then used the outline as a stencil for my sponging.

I used adhesive tape to fasten the mask to the cardstock that I was using for my project.

 Next, I used sponges and three different colors Classic ink -- Certainly Celery, Pretty in Pink and Perfect Plumb. Sponge and apply color until you are happy with the effect -- you can use as little or as much as you want. Obviously darker colors will give you more contrast and vibrancy. Once you have it the way you want it, remove the mask and this is what you have ...

 Next, you add your stamped images, color them in and add any embellishments you want to complete your project. For this card, I used Bordering on Romance and Sincere Salutations Stamp sets and positioned them just a little outside of my sponged area. I stamped with Black Stazon Ink and then colored in the flowers and leaves with Stampin' Up! Watercolor Pencils. I blended the colors with a Blender Pen and added self-adhesive Basic Pearls for embellishment. I then trimmed the stamp piece to a size of 3 x 4" and backed it with an Elegant Eggplant mat measuring 3.25 x 4.25". I adhered that to a 4 x 5.25" piece of Whisper White Cardstock that I embossed with the Elegant Bouquet Embossing Folder and attached it to a Elegant Eggplant Card Base. Once you cut your mask, it can be used for several different projects, so don't throw them away, keep them in a little file or box for later use.

Now, you can use any shape or size for your negative mask. It's fun to experiment and these cards make very fast, simple and clean cards when you need something quick or need to make multiples! Here's a couple more examples ...

For this one, I cut out the butterfly with the Beautiful Butterflies Bigz Die. I positioned the mask at a little angle and then sponged it with Marina Mist and So Saffron Inks. I stamped the flourish from Elements of Style with Marina Mist Ink. The sentiment is from Pursuit of Happiness. I also embossed the Marina Mist mat with the Big Shot and the Framed Tulips Impressions Folder. The Card Base if So Saffron.

In this final sample, I used one of the Heart Dies from the Hearts Collection Framelets. Using the Array of Sunshine Stamp Set (Hostess), I embossed the stamps with Versamark Ink and Clear Embossing Powder. I then sponged Real Red and Rich Razzleberry inks over the embossing (this is called Emboss Resist). The sentiment is stamped in Black Stazon ink and is from the set, Word Play.

I hope you will keep this technique in mind and have a little fun creating sometime soon using the Negative Mask technique. It's a great way to add extra color, depth and texture to your cards and yet it's still quick and easy to do. Feel free to leave a link to your projects below -- we would love to see your creations. You have until 8 AM next Thursday to play along!

I hope you've enjoyed today's "Anything" post on stamping 411 and hope you'll come back soon!

Happy Stamping -- blessings, Gretchen


  1. 3 beautiful cards, thanks for explaining the technique you used too!

  2. These cards are amazing and gorgeous as usual, you seem to always come up with such great ideas. I will be casing them and thanks for all you do, this blog has truly inspired me to keep stamping. I can't tell you how much that means to me.