Hello Crafty Friends! Welcome to part 1 (part 2 will be in a separate post) of my Level 2 Challenge for the AECP (Altenew Educator Certification Program). For this challenge we were to make 4 masculine cards with specific themes (birthday, love/thinking of you, anniversary, and encouragement) as well as upcycle an item. The upcycled item will be in a separate blog post (part 2). We also needed to use components from the 20 classes I have taken so far for the program.

The components I chose are:

However I found that many components from lots of the classes I have taken worked their way into these cards and my upcycled project. An honorable mention is the Irrestible Inking Techniques class by Sara Naumann. Also I found that I was inspired by the classes to go above by being inspired by what they presented in class. Like using an ink pad direct to an embossing folder, cutting a stenciled image to add dimension, and using the emboss resist with the embossing paste and watercolor brush markers. I absolutely loved being inspired by all the wonderful educators who put on the 20 classes I have taken as part of this program.

For my first card I used:

  • I used Crisp Dye Ink Mini Cubes in Sand Dune and Espresso for the embossing folder image. I began by adding Sand Dune to a Distress Heavystock panel with a blending brush. The ones from Altenew are awesome but I don’t have one for each color family yet. The blending wasn’t perfect and that was on purpose. Next I placed this panel in my Deck Planks 3D Embossing Folder then ran it through my die cut machine. Follow your machines instructions for embossing folders as each are different. Also you need to decide what you want raised and what you want indented. I wanted the wood texture raised so I made sure I put my panel in correctly.
  • Next I used a blending brush and applied Espresso over the raised images and pounced the brush around to add texture with darker spots randomly around the image.
  • I then die cut 6 Hugs Circled Greetings from black cardstock. I used the Nesting Circles to die cut a frame around each hugs. I did both at the same time to save steps in the process. I layered 3 of these using liquid glue (I did this twice), then glued on set to a piece of acetate from my stash. Once dry I used scissors and cut the extra acetate away and glued this to the other set of black hugs.
  • I stamped a sentiment from the Sentiments Strips stamp set in Mocha using a stamp positioner. Without removing the sentiment, I cleaned it very well. Then inked it with VersaMark and inked over the top of the Mocha image. I poured clear embossing powder over the image and heat set it. This is my all time favorite technique from the Impressive Heat Embossing class. You can emboss any dye ink this way.
  • I trimmed down the wood panel and layered it onto a black panel using foam tape. I then used liquid glue to adhere my sentiment strip to my hugs layered die image. I trimmed off the excess following the circle. I used liquid glue to adhere it to my wood panel. Make sure to use plenty of glue as it is being adhered to an embossed images with ridges and dips.
  • This entire panel was then mounted to a heavy weight top folding card base using liquid glue.

Guys love nature and this card is my husband’s favorite of the bunch! I will be using this wood panel on several more cards for men. The acetate adds a little interest to the hugs circle die cut plus we used the die cut in another way than intended which shows its versatility. So look at your dies to see if there is another way to use them. They are an investment so it is nice to get more uses with them.

For my next card I used:

  • I began by using the direct to embossing folder (instead of direct to paper) technique. This is one of my favorite ways to use an embossing folder. I used the Diamond Stars 3D Embossing folder and Crisp Dye Ink Mini Cubes in Starlight, Tide Blue, and Turquoise. Instead of blending with blending brushes I started with my lightest color (Turquoise) ink pad and went direct to embossing folder being gentle so the ink only got on the raised part that I wanted. I then did the same with the Tide Blue making sure to overlap the two colors slightly. I then followed with Starlight. You can then dab each ink pad on a paper towel or cloth to make sure there is no residual color from the blending.
  • Then I ran this through my die cutting machine following the machine’s directions for embossing folders. I trimmed this down slightly so I could layer it on a background piece of cardstock.
  • Using a Large Blending Tool I used Starlight and blended the edges of a piece of Neenah Solar White Classic Crest 80lb Cardstock. I love this idea from the Easy Ink Blending Techniques class. It is such a fast and easy way to have a layer of cardstock match perfectly with the inks used on the front panel. Make sure to keep blending until you get the color saturation you want, as ink blending lays down a soft layer of color at first.
  • Next I die cut the Fancy for You Die from a piece of Holographic Cardstock and 3 more from white cardstock. I used liquid glue to stack these together for added dimension.
  • I stamped a sentiment from the Sentiment Strips Stamp Set with VersaFine Onyx Black Ink on white cardstock then quickly poured some clear embossing powder over it. Then I used an embossing tool to heat set it. Make sure to use an antistatic powder tool so your embossing powder only sticks where you want it to.
  • Once cool I cut my long sentiment into 3 sections. I placed my holographic For You on my embossed background panel with liquid glue. Then using foam tape and liquid glue I place part of my sentiment over the bottom of the For You and used foam tape to adhere the other two sections of the senitment below.
  • I added a little bling with some Silver Lining Sequins adhered with liquid glue. Then I used more foam tape to adhere the top panel to the background panel. This was then adhered to a top folding heavy weight card base.

As I learned in the For the Guys class, geometric cards are a winner for masculine cards. This class helped me get over my hesitation about creating cards for men.

My third card used the following:

  • I used blending brushes to color the tree line of the Mountain Scene Stencil with a Crisp Dye Ink Mini Cube in Mountain Pine and Rustic Wilderness Distress Ink. Make sure to clean your blending brushes off between colors if only using one brush per color family. I then lightly blended the tree line on masking paper and cut around the image very carefully.
  • I placed the mask for the tree line carefully over the top and used Starlight and Turquoise to blend a lake. I used Turquoise toward the middle and Starlight toward the sides.
  • Next I determined where I wanted my mountain scene to began on my main panel and used Espresso for one of the stencil images and Rocky Shore for the other of the mountain images.
  • I added some clouds with the Clouds Stencil and Sea Breeze ink. I used a very light hand when blending these clouds. I love this stencil from Altenew as it has such natural looking clouds.
  • I then cut my lake/tree image to fit the space at the bottom of the mountain and cloud panel. I used foam tape to add some dimension.
  • I then used a sentiment from both the Heartfelt Sentiments Stamp Set and the Sentiment Strips Stamp Set to make one sentiment for this card. I stamped them in VersaFine Onyx Black Ink and poured clear embossing powder over it. Then heat set it with an embossing tool.
  • This was then layered on to a piece of black cardstock and adhered with liquid glue in the clouds.
  • I put some Boiled Sugar Baubles on the lake and sentiment with liquid glue.
  • I then mounted this panel on a top folding heavy weight card base.

Men tend to love the outdoors and nature cards are always a huge success. Stencils are so fun and such a budget friendly supply. I find myself reaching for them more and my collection is growing fast. They are really versatile. You don’t always have to use them to make a one layer card. Cut them part out and add some dimension for some extra interest. Ink blending and stencils go together perfectly.

My fourth and final card, I used the following:

  • I first positioned the Fine Tulle Stencil over the Watercolor Paper, using some blue tape to hold it in place. Using a palette knife I spread Embossing Paste over the entire panel. I carefully removed the stencil. Make sure to quickly wash the stencil and palette knife as well as clean off your work surface. It is easier to remove the excess embossing paste when still wet.
  • I then quickly poured Pure White Crisp Embossing Powder over the embossing paste panel. After shaking off the excess I set the panel aside to dry.
  • While the panel was drying, I used a stamp positioner and stamped the XOXO from the Sentiment Strips Stamp Set multiple times with VersaMark Ink on a thin strip of Oynx Black Cardstock. I, of course, used my antistatic tool first. Using a stamp positioner allowed me to leave my stamp in place and just move the cardstock to get the line of images I wanted. I then poured Pure White Crisp Embossing Powder over the strip and heat set it with an embossing tool.
  • When the stenciled panel was dry, I used an embossing tool to heat set the embossing powder. I usually allow the panel to dry over night so it is totally dry and the embossing paste doesn’t bubble from the heat. This also takes some time to get all the embossing powder melted.
  • I then sprayed the panel with water and went direct to paper with my Watercolor Brush Markers. I randomly applied Persian Blue, Mountain Mist, Emerald and Sea Breeze pigments. The pigments moved nicely and I didn’t need to add any more water to get them to move together.
  • After this panel was completely dry, I cut it at an angle using a paper trimmer. I also cut it down on the sides so there was a nice white border. I then mounted this to a heavy weight card base.
  • Next I adhered my XOXO strip to the bottom angled part of my embossed panel with liquid glue. I then double stamped the Love and You from Parrot Tulip: Build A Flower Set with Starlight Ink using a stamp positioner. Double stamping allows you to get a more solid and darker inked image.
  • I then quickly cleaned my stamps and inked them with VersaMark Ink. I poured clear embossing powder over the image and heat set it.

Again, a geometric design for a masculine card. I love the dimension and shine from the embossing paste and embossing powder. Pictures do not do this justice. This takes the embossed resist idea from the Impressive Heat Embossing class up a notch by combining it with a technique from the Celebration Stencil Techniques class.

I will forever be greatful for all I learned from the For the Guys class. I learned to use what they love (geometric design and nature) and not get to over the top with their cards. The Easy Ink Blending Techniques made me understand that simple techniques (like edging a card, the amount of pressure used, or layers of color) can be very effective to take a card to the next level. Who doesn’t love to heat emboss. The Impressive Heat Embossing class reminded my of my love of emboss resist and gave me an all time favorite technique to make any dye ink embossable.

I hope you enjoyed these masculine cards and that you take a moment to check out all these great classes. Be sure to read my part 2 post with my upcycled project. I also share what led me to this journey with the AECP in that blog post.

4 thoughts on “Masculine Cards: Altenew Level 2 Final Challenge

  1. Erum Tasneem says:

    These cards look absolutely fantastic, April!! LOVE the colours you have chosen!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Devera says:

    These cards are great! You did a great job of creating appealing masculine cards! Your photos really captured the details mentioned in your instructions. You got masculine cards down 🤸‍♂️🤸‍♂️
    Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Devera! I am feeling more comfortable with masculine cards!!


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