- 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:
- 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:
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:
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.