Author Archives: Andrew Barker

Flowery Card


I wanted to make a flowery card for Brandon’s birthday so I used die cuts to cut Indian paper.

Three Flowers Card

It was the kind of die cutter that was rolled through our Sizzix embossing machine, cutting the paper as it was squeezed through.

I decided to make their stems be lines that follows the background. The background is pink and was rolled through a die plate that has straight lines, and the stems fit right between the gaps, which is hard to see in the picture.


Ribbon and Flowers


For Valentine’s Day, I found a card I liked on Pinterest and I copied it.

Little Heart Flowers

I made the ribbon into a bow instead of a flat ribbon.

I used a heart puncher to get a bunch of little hearts. Then, I arranged the hearts so they looked good, drew the stems, and attached each heart with glue. Then I drew in the leaves.

Embossed & Sanded Butterfly Card


I had to make a card for a coworker’s birthday, and I decided I wanted to make something that was blue and gold. I really like those colors together; I think they match really well. I also like butterflies, so I wanted to combine those two themes together.

Embossed and Sanded Butterfly Card

I was flipping through one of our special cardstock stacks and I saw that we had a sheet of blue cardstock with shiny silver polka-dots. I ran that through our paper embosser; I chose a floral Indian-style print, because I really like Indian designs. After that, it didn’t have quite enough edge to it. It was hard to see the embossed design because of the polka-dots. So I took some sandpaper and sanded over it, exposing the white core inside the paper, to help emphasize the embossed edges. This gave it a nice old-age look; it was kind of a secondary effect that I wasn’t intending, but I liked the rustic Indian style.

Then, I made a gold band, cut it in half, and used our corner puncher to make it curved around the edges. I wanted a butterfly, and I did the same thing with the butterfly: I took gold paper—a different style—and also embossed that with a different embossing pattern, kind of a swirly pattern. I also went over that very lightly with sandpaper. It tied it together with the blue paper it was going to sit on.

Embossed, Sanded Butterfly Card

To affix the butterfly, and to keep with my gold theme, I took a gold star brad and fixed the butterfly on with it. Then, I had to mount this panel onto a base card, because right now, I had only the embossed panel, and you can’t really write on the back of an embossed sheet of paper. I went through our paper stacks and found a lightweight, faint yellow that had little fibers in it, which I liked. It paid homage to a regal Bollywood style with some western influences. It matched the gold band I used in the middle.

Butterfly Mobile


For the baby shower that Brandon blogged about a few posts ago, I also created a butterfly mobile to gift to the expectant mother. We saw this beautiful mobile on Pinterest and I wanted to re-create it.

Butterfly Mobile

So we set out to gather materials. We already had a great butterfly punch that we use quite often. We went to Jo-Ann for over an hour to find everything needed for the mobile. I got a metal ring that was about a foot in diameter, a white feathered boa to wrap around it, two types of paper (white iridescent cardstock, and white paper with gold and silver flakes) from which to punch out butterflies, and clear thread to hang the butterflies with.

Butterfly Placement DiagramI wanted a white halo on top, so I wrapped the feathered boa around the metal ring, and then tied the ends of the feathered boa together where they met. I then created a criss-cross of the clear thread across the halo from which to hang the butterflies. Please see the figure to the right. I tied string to each of the points as illustrated by the dots in the picture. The outer edges of the mobile had strings dropping down that were shorter than the inner-most string, which was longest, at about three feet in length.

I then punched out 60 butterflies from the iridescent paper, and 60 from the white paper with gold and silver flakes. I found that the paper with the gold and silver flakes tended to tear when I tried to punch butterflies out from it, but I found that by putting the iridescent cardstock on top, the butterfly punch was able to punch through both without any tears.

Butterfly Mobile Close-up

I then used glue dots to stick one iridescent butterfly and one gold-and-silver-speckled butterfly onto the string, and I put four of them on the string for the outermost, then five for the inner-most string. I also staggered them so that they wouldn’t overlap, and it looked like there was a large group of butterflies. What made this particularly unique was Brandon’s great idea to use clear thread, which made the halo and butterflies look like they were floating in mid-air, giving it a more magical touch.

Butterfly Mobile

We hung it as a centerpiece for the dining table at the baby shower, along with the animals on sticks and pinwheels. The guests liked the mobile a lot, and we gave it to the expectant mother as a gift.

Valentine’s Shutter Card


It was the day after Valentine’s Day, the day Brandon and I celebrated Valentine’s Day because I taught piano on Valentine’s Day, and I still had not yet made him a card. I was experiencing emotional devastation that Brandon had probably spent so many hours making a card for me and it was inevitably going to be better than mine. I needed something that would be quick but would still be sufficiently good compared to what he was making for me. For weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, I’d been browsing all these different sites, from Pinterest to the Better Homes and Gardens site, for hours on end, every day, looking for ideas. I talked to my coworker, Jen, concerning what she’d made her husband, and she told me she made him an expanding Valentine’s Day card.

So, I started making prototypes of shutter cards out of scrap paper. It took me a few tries before I had a functioning prototype. The day before we would meet, I went to Jo-Ann Fabrics, and I bought all sorts of papers because I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to make yet. Now I have lots and lots of Valentine-themed paper. I was initially going to make something with kitty cats poking out of the corners, like the owls on the original card I was copying, but I decided I wanted to make it a little bit more elegant.

Expanded Valentine's Day Shutter Card

Also, I decided to use glue and make glue hearts. I used Elmer’s glue and I found a nonporous anti-stick surface that I proceeded to draw hearts onto out of glue. (A nonstick silicone baking mat or wax paper would do.) I then sprinkled hibiscus petals on top. These usually take one to two days to dry. Once they were dry, I carefully peeled them off the nonstick surface. The hibiscus petals bled into the glue, giving it an elegant red coloring. I should mention that I made these hearts before I even knew what I really wanted to do for the card. I just knew that I might want to incorporate them in some way.

So I started assembling the card, when I discovered the red hearts were a little too dark, so I didn’t use as many of them as I originally planned. But I still had some extra space. So to fill that space, I decided to make a string of hearts. I took out my trusty Swiss Army knife and I drilled holes into the hearts. I strung them and hung them up.

Valentine's Day Shutter Card

I knew Brandon might suspect that I was coming home early to finish the card, and he might swing by early just to see, because his gym is right near my house. So I parked my car inside the garage so that he wouldn’t be able to see it from the street. So then I had to park my car outside 10 minutes before he arrived, and I was afraid he might see me doing this because he might arrive early. It turns out he arrived right on time and hadn’t even gone to the gym that day anyway.

Make the card 12 inches wide by 5 inches tall. Mark the card at 2 inches, 4 inches, 8 inches, and 10 inches, and proceed to fold it vertically at those marks, as you see in the diagram below (solid lines are cuts and dashed lines are folds). All of the folds should line up on the card, but they’ll alternate in direction. Make two cuts horizontally from the 2-inch to the 10-inch folds; make sure these cuts are 1.5 inches in from the long edges of the card.

Shutter Card Diagram

I learned that this card is best suited for a die-cutter that can cut perfectly, as well as a bone folder that can fold perfectly. I made this card by hand, so it doesn’t open quite perfectly, and it doesn’t look perfect either. But at least it’s handmade (and it shows). Not only that, but I finished literally seconds before Brandon rang my doorbell.

Melty Crayons Card


Brandon always wanted to make people a card where there’s a cake or cupcake with the candles arranged like Roman numerals which represent their age. So I decided to make him one (without the cake—that would have taken too much crayon).

Brandon was turning 25, which is XXV in Roman numerals.

Melted Crayon Roman Numerals Front

So I decided to use a different medium than we’ve used before in cardmaking: crayons! Shaved, melted crayons! What I did was take a pair of scissors and shave crayons into a dish, much like how you would shave a carrot. I then used tweezers to place the shavings into the shapes of the Roman numerals on the card, using a stencil. Then, I placed the card into an oven and let it bake at a low temperature for a few minutes, watching it carefully so it wouldn’t catch fire.

The inside of the Roman numeral card.

I found out some crayons had lots of oil in them and bled through the paper, as evident in the picture above. Next time, I would test the crayons on scratch paper before doing it with a card. The card turned out okay; Brandon didn’t recognize the letters at first, thinking the V was a Y, and that’s when I realized I shouldn’t have put a giant clump of crayon shavings under it. I like that it’s festive and unique, and I would try it again with more colorful crayons.

1970s Bold


We wanted a quick and easy card for my coworker. So, we wanted a bold color to fit the recipient’s bold and exciting personality. We chose orange and put it on a green background.

The letters on this birthday card are mashed and welded together.

Brandon made the letters. He used Silhouette Studio to make the letters. He typed “Happy Bday Steph”, and ungrouped the letters so that he could move them around individually. He manually pushed the letters together and then used the weld command to fuse the letters into one shape so that the die-cutter would cut them out in one piece.