You are surrounded by texture. The fur of your pet, the smoothness of the sheets on your bed, the feel of grass under your bare feet. Texture makes our world physically and visually stimulating. It is no surprise then that a major element of any art project, like color and form, is texture.
Our brains catalog the texture of items. Ball. You are imagining a round object, useful possibly for a sport. Tennis ball. You are probably picturing the slightly furry felt of the ball. Beach ball – now the ball is smooth. Basketball – your mental image has orange nubs.
There are two ways you can add texture to your papercraft projects, physically or visually. Physical texture is an actual thing that you can feel with your fingers. Visual texture is implied texture. Something looks like wood but is smooth paper.
We have lots of options to add items to our projects that provide texture.
Heat embossing uses special ink, VersaMark, a stamped image, and embossing powders designed to melt under applied heat. This adds a smooth raised image to our project.
Embossing paste is a wet media, like a thick paint that can be applied over a stencil or even free form. When it dries, the raised image remains. The paste can be metallic, embedded with media like glitter, or even dyed with ink.
Specialty papers, such as metallic foil paper, glitter paper, laser cut paper, or watercolor paper, can be used to add texture.
Die-cut images can be added adhered to the card base solely for the purpose of providing texture. Here I used both Detailed Floral thinlets in Very Vanilla, layered over Very Vanilla. This is going to make a stunning card.
Distressing the edges of the paper, sculpting the paper, and layering different papers is another method you can use in your projects.
Embellishments almost always add texture. A doily, burlap or velvet ribbon. All of these are tangible touches of texture. Even a few rhinestones or pearls work to add texture. Embellishments are particularly useful for providing contrasting texture. For instance, a card done with a rustic theme embellished with pearls makes the rustic qualities stand out even more. Or burlap contrasted with metallic foil paper.
Visual texture is implied texture. Oil paintings have this type of texture. The woman in the fancy satin dress with feathers in her hair and a dog at her feet. We interpret the way the artist put oil paint on a canvas as being smooth or soft or hairy. The painting isn’t any of those things, but the idea of texture makes the painting beautiful.
Stampin Up!’s designer series paper or DSP is always changing. Each catalog there are a variety of styles to fall in love with. Some of them are photo-realistic, like the wood texture paper featured at the top of this page. Some are image-based, like coffee cups or roses and some like the image here are more graphic or abstract. Any of these papers can add visual interest to your work. The photo-realistic and the graphical tend to add a textural quality rather than a focal point that the image based papers are used for.
Background stamps are used to apply ink all over a layer of cardstock. The images tend to be more generalized than a focal point. The middle image of wood planks at the top of this page was a background stamped over the same color cardstock. Because they are stamps, you aren’t limited in your color palette like you might be with preprinted paper. And, you never run out of your favorite image. This is the Marbled background stamp inked in Coastal Cabana over retired Soft Sky cardstock.
Repeated stamped shapes
If you are new to crafting or tend toward the zen craft room (the opposite of mine) you may not have a huge stash of patterned paper lying around just waiting to be cut. You can make your own patterned paper with a stamp, ink and a piece of cardstock. There are some tricks to this. If you’re using an image, rotate the image, stamp all over the paper and even off the edge of the paper. The partial images make it look like it was cut from a bigger piece of paper – just like wallpaper, the images get cut at the end of the wall. If you’re using a word stamped over and over again, then symmetry is key. The spacing between the words needs to be right. They need to be lined up or staggered in an identical way. You could use a word like “Wow!” and stamp it all over randomly – including upside down and sideways and that works too. But if you’re going for the readable word, then I recommend using a device like the Stamparatus to get the placement perfect.
Acetate overlays are a new product to me. I hadn’t played with them before I became a demonstrator. In the current catalog, there a couple included with the Tea Room Memories & More card pack. These sheets of plastic are enhanced with images, in the card pack using copper foil and in the sample here, gold foil. They are really rather cool. They change the visual texture of the paper underneath the plastic. The extra images add more interest to the project. They are fun to play with if you haven’t tried them before.
There are all kinds of ways to get a watercolor effect on your background. I love the soft color this can add to a project. It’s easy to use ink from the refills and an aqua painter. This is a special paintbrush with a water reservoir. You can also use watercolor pencils and then use the same brush to wash the color and blend it. You can use ink with a baby wipe or even shaving cream as in the two examples here.
Aren’t they gorgeous? Don’t you want to stop reading and make your own cards and papercraft projects now? Me too. Before you go, here is some more inspiration. Cards made from some of the samples you’ve seen on this page.