Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Basics...

Every project requires some foundational elements in addition to the glitz and glam of patterned paper and embellishments. And while choosing the glitz and glam is often more fun than choosing the basics, the latter is often what makes or breaks the finished product. It is just as important, and maybe even more so, to carefully select the unseen or accent materials for a project as it is to choose the right focal piece. So before you begin a project, take a moment to think through the details and the whole project will turn out better. Here are some things to consider:


  • What is my project built on? Is it a canvas, scrapbook page, card, mini album, altered item, or something else?
    • Carefully select your foundational item based on the type of use it's going to get, how sturdy it is, and how well suited to your project it is.
  • What size project am I working on?
    • Make sure you know the measurements of your foundational item so you can purchase the appropriate sized papers, pictures, and embellishments.
  • What am I going to do with the finished project?
    • Is it a gift? Do you know that it will be something the recipient will like or use?
    • Will it be displayed in your home, and does the project size fit the place you have in mind for it?
Color and Pattern
  • Do you have a specific color set or patterned paper to work with?
    • If you already have the patterned paper you want to work with, bring that with you when you purchase the embellishments or cardstock to finish the project. That ensures that everything matches, instead of just "eyeballing" the colors and finding out later that they do not coordinate.
  • Is it a themed project that needs to coordinate with other items?
    • If you are trying to make an album or project that matches a nursery or other coordinated room, bring an item from the room with you when you shop for project supplies.
  • Are the colors or patterns "loud" and need to be accompanied by accent piece that tone down the overall noise of the project? Or do you need to choose coordinating supplies that draw out specific colors from the palate to encourage a particular theme or mood?
Accent Papers
  • Do your accents coordinate with your focal paper?
    • Make sure your accent cardstock or patterned paper matches or coordinates exactly with the main color scheme / pattern of your project. Something that is "close, but not quite right" will be painfully obvious when the project is finished.
  • Do the textures compliment one another?
    • If you are aiming for a soft look, try softly textured accent papers such as mulberry or vellum and tear the edges for a softer feel. If you want a stronger contrast , use solid cardstock or metallic paper and trim it with straight lines.
  • Do your accents "accent" or do they overpower?
    • Make sure your accents do not stand out on their own, but that they bring out the desired aspect of the focal paper or photo.
  • What sort of adhesive is needed for this project?
    • Do you need a sheer adhesive for use under vellum and acetate?
    • Do you need a thin adhesive for detail gluing?
    • Do you need an adhesive that will cover a large area but dry flat without wrinkling paper?
  • What sort of conditions / use is this project going to have to stand up under?
    • Is the item going to be stored in a humid room (such as a nursery with a humidifier)?
    • Is the item going to be handled by many people?
    • Does the item have movable parts that will be susceptible to breakage if not adhered properly?
  • What sort of ink will you need?
    • Will you be writing names and dates or journaling and would need a fine detail pen?
    • Will you be stamping with the ink and need a pad, watercolor, or liquid ink?
    • Will you be using a distress ink to age paper or photos?
    • Will you be heat embossing with the ink?
  • What surface will you be inking?
    • Will you need a permanent ink like Staz-On for stamping on a lacquered surface?
    • Will you be inking textured paper or smooth?
  • Are your embellishments self adhesive?
    • If not, will you need special adhesives such as metal glue or glue dots?
    • Will you need special tools to set the embellishments?
  • Will your embellishments add dimension to your project?
    • Do you need to allow for extra space in your album or frame?
    • Do you need to make sure you have a page protector to keep the embellishments from damaging the facing page?
  • Have you made sure that you have all the embellishments you need and that they match or coordinate perfectly with your project?
    • Bring your project papers with your when you go to purchase your embellishments to save yourself a headache later.
  • Will your embellishments or glues take a while to set or dry?
    • Make sure you plan enough time into your project that all of the glitter glue and ink can dry and that the adhesive sets before moving the project or giving it away.
Hopefully these questions will get you thinking as you start your next project. Planning ahead really does make the whole project go smoother and faster, with better results! Now... how many of you have Christmas gifts or cards you ought to get making??

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