Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Has anyone seen this idea yet -

- the new Gina K 'Wreath Builder' bundle of stamps and templates - as demonstrated by Jennifer McGuire HERE? If not, then do take a quick look before going much further with this blog post as Jennifer's video explains how such a simple, yet brilliant, idea works.

Quick word of warning, this is a long and fairly detailed post. I took as many photos as I could and (as usual) added a lot of words as well!

My interest in stamping wreaths using the Misti was triggered by the card I made HERE for Darnell's first Twofer Card Challenge. I used a feather stamp and the Misti to create a Christmas wreath by turning the card by 90 degrees to get four equal stampings on each side and then moving the stamp before repeating the process a further couple of times so that I ended up with a full circle.

But, Gina K has come out with a template which gives eight stampings in a circle, very much geared to the Misti, to make this even simpler. So, being me, I hopped around looking to see if I could buy this wonderful 'bundle' to try out. No such luck - it only seems to be available on the Gina K website or Simon Says Stamp so far and is selling out as fast as new stock arrives. It's $29.95 for two different sized star shaped plastic templates and quite a few stamps, a mix of small floral and leaves, some circles and a few sentiments. In the great scheme of things, the price isn't too bad considering all the stuff that's included in the bundle - but it's not available, even in the USA. Plus in the UK we get stung for import duty by Customs and $29.95 plus postage would take it into that level I suspect. It seems very unfair that we even have to pay duty on the postage we pay to the seller ............... as well as Royal Mail adding a further charge of around £8 to actually process the import duty! So, that could ramp up the cost to something like approaching $50 or $60.

Then I got to thinking that I have tons of sentiment stamps, some small photopolymer floral stamps and am not unduly bothered about the circle stamps (circular dies would always do to add more focus to the centre of a wreath if necessary). That left the template(s) to make - I only made the one size for now and it was an absolute walk in the park to be honest!

First of all, this is the card I made:
I used:

- 4" x 4" square white card blank

- a square of white card measuring 3 and 5/8ths of an inch square - using the same die that I created the template with (details are below). Mine happens to be from The Works 'Stitched Squares' set of dies

- an Inkylicious set of 'Mini Flowers' stamps plus a selection of ink pads (Memento dye 'Rhubarb Stalk', and 'Teal Zeal' plus VersaMagic chalks 'Pink Petunia' and Aloe Vera' )

- I just followed the process of stamping, rotating and stamping each one in turn, using the Misti and my homemade template - to be honest I could feel my right shoulder complaining at the end, gonna have to give Parsnip lessons in using the Misti!

- then stamped the word 'hugs' in the centre of the wreath using a stamp from the Paper Smooches 'Sentiment Sampler' set and Memento 'Teal Zeal' ink pad

- added the image panel to a square of blue card from the snippets folder and glued it onto the card front

- final touch - eight teeny pearls in the centres of the 'Teal Zeal' flowers


Here's the secret of how to make your very own 'star-shaped' template for mere pennies. I used 300gsm card and it works perfectly. It won't last as long as a plastic template but it's easy as pie to just make another one, and you can vary the sizes of course, within the limitations of your die cutting plates. This is my template partway through being used for the card above:
You just slot your square card panel into the template, stamp using the Misti, leave the stamp in place on the lid and re-ink it, turn the square panel by one eighth to the next slot and stamp again, all the way round. Then peel that stamp off and use a second one in a different design and colour - etc.

This is how I made my template:

- first of all, cut an exact square of card - mine is 6" x 6" - precision is absolutely key when making the template

- then, using a ruler, draw lines across the centre (at the 3" point) and from corner to corner - like this:
- then, take a square cutting die and place the corners onto the diagonal lines like this:
- I used a stitched die from a set made by The Works - it's a 3 and 5/8ths of an inch cutting size and of course the stitched lines are on the cut-out square piece of 'waste', which can be kept for future use. I've shown it with the cutting side uppermost here as I was playing around finding the maximum sized square die I could use within the confines of the Cuttlebug width

- flip the die over, hold it in place with low-tack or washi tape and run it through your die cutting machine

- then, turn the die so that the corners are positioned on the diagonal lines to help with the positioning you'll see that the little white triangles of card to be cut in the next action all look the same size as a double check. Excuse the grubby pieces of low-tack tape - I re-use them and just stick them on the handle of my Cuttlebug - but these were certainly ready to be replaced!
- run the card through your die cutting machine again - and you will end up with this, once you rub the pencil lines out:
One star shaped template, all ready to play with. As a reminder, I wrote the size of the square die I'd used onto the template 'cos the piece of card you stamp onto and keep turning when making your wreath has to be that size of course. And I just keep the template stored in the Misti for now.

I also found through trial and error that it's best to use the same square die that you created the star with to cut your 'stamping square' when you're ready to play - it slots into the apertures perfectly. You don't want the square to be able do move about within the template needless to say.

After I'd made and used this template, I was writing up the post and checked out YouTube to see if anyone else has had a similar idea. One video wasn't loading for some reason and another video showed the same process but using pencil and a ruler plus a sharp knife to cut out the shape, Very enterprising but waaay too dangerous for me to tackle - given my accident track record!

There you have it - for a bit of time I saved a small fortune. There are lots of other companies selling smaller sized 'wreath builder' stamp sets as I'm sure many of you already know - particularly those designed to go onto clear cylindrical 'pegs'. Ha, I wonder what they make of this idea?

I was limited by the platform width on my Cuttlebug plus a bigger size in the set of dies I used would have left such a narrow piece of card at the edge of the template I was afraid it would tear easily. That's one of the advantages of a plastic template of course, as well as it being washable if you go for stamping over the edge.

Jennifer has a great idea on her video where she positioned a die cut heart shape in the centre of her piece of card before doing the stamping process so she could overlap her stamping onto the masked area and also leave a nice clear shaped space to stamp a sentiment. Another idea I really like is where she sliced the finished wreath across the centre so she could position the two halves about half an inch or so apart on the card front and then add a straight sentiment across the centre. Loads of possibilites to think about!

Of course, the 'Real Gina K/McCoy' template and matching stamps would still be lovely to have, if a UK company decides to stock it - but for now, this is keeping me happy.


  1. Thank you for the tips on how to make this template Di and I adore what you did with it, just so pretty. I think this template is perfect and will be giving this a try when I have some smallish stamps that would work to make a wreath. Jennifer McGuire always seems to do such wondeful techniques and I keep promising myself to give one a try every week, but it hardly ever happens as there always seems to be something else to do x

  2. Wonderful tutorial! This is the second home made one I have seen, but the first didn’t have such a nice step by step. The other was made cutting into some graph paper. I wonder if Gina K shouldn’t have went ahead and just sold the template right away. Instead, people are just making their own! Your card is fantastic. I love the style of the sentiment inside!

  3. You may not believe this, but I've been wondering if I could figure out how to make my own template! I immediately fell in love with the idea as soon as I saw Jennifer's video, but just couldn't justify the cost. Now I see you've done it for me! I agree with Heidi--Gina K made a huge mistake not selling the templates alone. What's your price for these directions you smart lady?!

  4. Thanks for the step by step, will go and watch the video but love your fab result.x 💖 [Aussie aNNie's Blog]

  5. A fabulous wreath card Di and a great tutorial on making the template too - thank you.
    Kath x

  6. Thanks for the tutorial Di - I've just made a card with images stamped in a circle - or probably more accurately in my case an octagon, but I didn't know about the template idea so I used some basic geometry and maths, with the help of a video I had watched, to position the image. It did involve removing it from the Misti, cleaning it off and replacing it at a 45 degree angle, but as I was changing colours at that point it wasn't any great problem.

  7. I has cost a lot of thinking but the result is amazing! Thank you so much for explaning! I will print this tutorial and keep it next to me in my craftroom.
    Lia xx
    Forgot to say that your cards are super!

  8. A fantastic wreath cars Di, and a great tutorial on how to make this shaped card, will have to try this.

    Sue xx

  9. Wonderful card and ingenious use of your Misti and dies to create the template, plus it was very thrifty of you, which is ALWAYS a good thing for us crafters!

    Thanks for sharing.

    Hugs, Sarn xxx

  10. Lovely card Di!..and a fabulous post with good instructions. Certainly a thrifty option until someone at least makes these stencils here in the UK! Well done! xx

  11. You are very clever Di and your card is gorgeous! Hugs, April xx

  12. Great card and great tutorial, as always. You could make a more permanent template using the same technique with acetate and a sharpie... yes, the lines would remain but it wouldn't be an issue xoxo

    1. The loss of a couple of my fingers might be an issue but I totally agree Em - clever idea!

      Di xx

  13. Thank you so much Di!!! :D You are a genius! I have an old Inkadinkado gear acrilic block to make wreaths, but obviously I ca't use it with my stamping platform.... Your tutorial is very useful and your card is a delight!! :)

  14. Di, I love you! Watched the video and immediately thought, I could make then! Only to discover that you already did that for us. Hope to make and use one this weekend. How very fun!

  15. You are a practical genius! I love this brilliant hack!

  16. Fabulous wreath card Di, and a great tutorial. Clever girl for designing the templates, I'll definitely be giving this a try! You could always laminate them to protect them, then of course they'd wipe clean!
    Janice x

    1. Good idea Janice - might try that one. It would need to be before the cutting process - watch this space!


      Di xx

  17. Ooh what a cool idea to make your own template, thank you so much! You are sooooo clever and kind sharing your fab ideas with us - I will be giving this a try. I love your card, it's gorgeous! Hugs xxxxxxx

  18. wow, thank your for your tips for this template, so clever and such a beautiful card!
    hugs xx

  19. Thanks for all your efforts that you have put in this, It's very interesting Blog...
    I believe there are many who feel the same satisfaction as I read this article!
    I hope you will continue to have such articles to share with everyone!

  20. Thanks for the tute, Di... Clever Clogs :-)) I'll have to give it a go, REALLY need to crack my stamping platform out for something other than straight sentiments :-)


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