How To Create Masks for Your Cards


Have you ever wondered how card-makers create one layer cards with perfectly inked shapes or have a patterned background that runs throughout the card but not through the main focal point?  It is easy to do with multiple layers, but it seems more difficult to achieve on the same layer. Well wonder no more – they use masks. Basically, a mask is a stencil of sorts that blocks space on your card – it could be the main image or the background or a combination of both.  I have a few examples to share with you which will make it easier to understand.

First, let’s take a look at some of the tools you can use for masking.  There are so many different tapes you could use from varying sizes of painters tape to post it masking tape in many sizes to post it notes to Inkadinkadoo masking paper or even washi tape. The most important thing to note is that none of these tapes are overly sticky.  Your best bet is to look for any low-tack tape of your choice, and that is the best tape for this technique.

For my first examples, I used the Stamps of Life circle dot die to cut a circle mask. I used the negative space to create a stencil (not the circle).  I placed the stencil on the paper and I used Crafter’s Companion Harmony Inks to blend in the circle.  I peeled off the mask, and as you can see, I was left with a beautiful, perfectly colored circle while the rest of the card remained pure white. For all of my examples, I used Ranger Tim Holtz watercolor paper. I find most types of inks blend best on this paper.

To finish the card, I used the SimonSaysStamp Good Vibes die and an Altenew Happy Birthday Builder stamp I used vellum for the shadow of the die.  I love the effect the vellum has over the inked areas. I decided to use the same stencil to create a second card, and this time I used distress oxide inks.  I used the SimonSaysStamp Vacation Time Stamp set for the main sentiment and I heat embossed a smaller sentiment from the same set onto a black strip to complete the card. On both cards I added droplets from Pretty Pink Posh and HoneyBee Stamps.

I decided to use the remaining circle mask to create the next card so there was no waste. I inked the background with distress oxides while the center was covered.  I then went back and filled in the center with Crafter’s Companion Spectrum Noir sparkle pens and a birthday sentiment from Memory Box.  I added Gina K crystalline drops over the letters for a glossy look.


For the next two cards, I simply blocked off areas of the cards with painters tape to create a space for me to ink. In the first example, I created a square and inked the inside with distress oxide ink.  I added a few spritzes of water to give it that oxidized look.  I stamped the sentiment with the Phrases4Stephanie stamp set by The Stamps Of Life. Be sure to stamp the sentiment in ink that is waterproof like the Crafter’s Companion Finesse Water Proof Ink in case the card is still wet from the first technique.  In the second image, I blocked off the top and bottom of the card and inked a MFTstamps background stamp in multiple colors for this effect. Once I peeled back the tape, there was a very crisp patterned border.

My last two examples used the Lace Leaf Stamp Set by Concord & 9th and I just love it for the fall.  I created a mask of the leaf and inked around with a MFT background stamp.  One thing to note, I did not use the die that coordinates with the leaf.  I hand-cut the leaf out of the masking paper because the die would have left a white edge around the image and I did not want that for this technique. I was able to cut out the leaf very quickly. After I inked the background, I then went over the card with various shades of blue oxide inks while the mask was still on. Once I removed the mask, I painted in the leaf with sparkle pens from Spectrum Noir and heat embossed a sentiment.


For the last example, I used the dragging technique from one of my previous blog posts to create the background with distress oxides.  I left the leaf as is without adding additional colors.  The sentiment was die cut from the same Concord & 9th Leaf set.  


I’m sorry this post was a little long, but I wanted to explain some of the different techniques used.  There are still many more masking techniques, but I will save them for another blog post.  Please give masking a try, and you will see, it is very simple to do. The most satisfying things is to peel back the mask to reveal your masterpiece.  Please share your creations – I would love to see them!  Happy Crafting!


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