Handmade with Love

14 August 2020

AECP Level 1 Challenge - Part 1 Masculine cards

Today I am back with my final challenge to pass level 1 of the AECP! I have been working away on this for the last 2 weeks and am ready to show all my hard work. The past 10 classes have been filled with a lot of great and invaluable information and lots of fabulous techniques, both new and ones I've forgotten about and I've loved all of it so far. For this challenge I was given the task of making 2 different but coordinating sets of cards...1 set of feminine and 1 set of masculine cards, to design and create packaging for each set and also somewhere throughout this project I am to use a recycled element, which I have chosen to use on the packaging.  

ETA...I have lost most of my photos for these except for a few, so I won't have many photos in this post 😞

I was also to chose 3out of the 10 class components that I have learned in level 1, so for this I decided to focus on Easy Die Cutting Techniques, Celebration: Stencil Techniques and For The Guys, although there will be techniques from other classes used as well. I first went about choosing my colour palettes. I decided to go with various shades of teal with accents of gold, as I thought that it is a perfect shade for masculine cards, it's fun and also lends a bit of a modern feel to it....and teal and gold are perfect together! By using colours in the same families throughout the set, it will help to unify them and make them a cohesive set. I will also be sharing a few tips as I go along, which hopefully may be beneficial to you. This is going to be a bit of a longer post, filled with lots of information, photos and some tips and tricks that may be a bit beneficial to you. So sit back, get comfy, grab a beverage and let's get started, so shall we.

Card #1 - Easy Die Cutting Techniques

For my first card I have chosen to use Easy Die Cutting Techniques and I also did some ink blending. I started out by trimming down a piece of white cardstock to 4.25"x5.5" for my top layer and for the bottom layer I cut a piece of mixed media paper to 4"x5.25", so it would be a bit smaller than my top layer. I then grabbed my set of Sweet Dreams ink and started blending them from light to darkest, to make an ombré effect for the bottom layer.

Once I was happy with the blending, I cut out the word happy using the Bold Alphabet die set from the slightly larger cardstock piece that was cut to 4.25x5.5'. I then stamped the word birthday from the Birthday Builder stamp set using the darkest ink, Galactic Stream from the same ink set used for the ink blending. I then adhered it to a layer of white craft fun foam, attached that to my white card base and then added back in the little centre pieces from the a and the p's. Lastly I added some clear droplets, which I coloured with my Copic markers to match the ink colours.


  • I find that the type of paper makes a big difference when ink blending. I always get better results using a mixed media or a watercolour paper.
  • When lining up individual letter dies to form a word, draw a very faint line in pencil where you want the bottom of the dies to be and also lining them up using a T-ruler will help to ensure you get straight placement of them each and every time.
  • To get custom coloured embellishments to match the colours on your card, use alcohol markers to colour them to get a perfect match.
  • Make sure to keep every piece that diecuts from the letters, as you will need to put the little pieces back in the middle of the letters, for example the a and p. When placing those little pieces back in, it's easiest to place the letters back in their spots temporarily, so you can then glue the little pieces back in exactly as they should be.

Supplies Used:
To create this card I used some embossing paste with my stencil and also incorporated some layered stamping. I started by taping my Sunburst stencil to a trimmed piece of white cardstock. I then mixed some Misty Morning ink with my opaque matte texture paste and spread that over my stencil until I had a fairly even but uneven coverage (if that makes sense). I then peeled back the stencil from my paper carefully and set that aside to dry.

While that was drying I stamped the layered cupcake from the Layered Cupcake stamp set. I first stamped the outline image using Jet Black ink and then did some layered stamping using Dew Drops, Aqualicious and Teal Cave inks for the cupcake icing, Dark Chocolate crisp dye ink for the cake and then Cloudy Sky and Dark Night for the cupcake wrapper. I felt that this card needed just a wee bit of shine, so I heat embossed the sprinkles using gold embossing powder. I grabbed a sentiment from the Birthday Builder stamp set and heat embossed that in white on a co-ordinating coloured cardstock. Once the stenciled background was dry, I trimmed it down to 4"x5.25" so it would leave a little white border around the panel. I popped both the cupcake and birthday sentiment using foam tape and then adhered it all to my cardbase.


  • Just a bit of ink added to your texture/embossing paste will give you a really nice subtle look.
  • Using a stamp positioner like the Misti, will help you to get the layers lined up perfectly and you are able to stamp out several effortlessly, in case you would like to make multiple of these cards.

Supplies Used:

Card #3 - Easy Die Cutting Techniques

For card #3 I again chose to do some die cutting. To create this card I started with an ombré background I had left over from card #1 that I had made the other day. I diecut it using the Cube Cover die and then very carefully poked every piece from it onto my work surface and made sure to keep them in their proper order. I found it was easiest to use a piece of Press 'n Seal to keep all the little pieces in their places for the next step and so they didn't move around. I smoothed the piece of Press 'n Seal over them and turned it over to add small little pieces of 3D foam tape to the back of each of them.
I then added the positive diecut main piece back onto my trimmed piece of white cardtstock temporarily while I added each little diecut piece back into their place. Once they were all back on, I added some flecks of gold metallic paint while the full diecut piece was still on there, so that the gold flecks would only end up being on the smaller pieces and not all over the card front.
Next I removed the main piece and set that aside for another day. I stamped out a sentiment from my stash using Teal Cave from the Sweet Dreams mini ink cube set, as they are the same colours as the ombré panel. I used the Misti stamp positioner so that I could stamp the sentiment twice in the exact same spot. The first stamping was using the coloured ink and the second was using VersaMark, so I could heat emboss over top of the coloured sentiment. All that was left was to trim it and adhere the sentiment onto a piece of co-ordinating teal cardstock and call it a day. Hopefully you can see the dimension of the little pieces in the second photo.


  • When using alot of little diecut pieces like this does, it is helpful to use a product like Press 'n Seal, as it keeps all of your small pieces in their place without having to worry about them moving around or second guessing where they go.
  • Keep all diecut pieces so you can use them again. For example I used the main diecut image here as a sort of a mask so I only had the gold flecks where I wanted them.
  • To get a perfectly colour coordinated heat embossed image, first stamp the sentiment or image using the colour ink you'd like and them stamp again using an ink like Versamark ink, then heat emboss with a clear heat embossing powder. This helps to make the colour of the stamped image/sentiment deeper and richer. Make sure though that you clean off your stamp after stamping the coloured ink and before the VersaMark. Also using a stamp positioner will allow you to double stamp perfectly without getting a double image.

Supplies used:

Card #4 - For the Guys
For card #4 I referred to the class For the Guys and used some geometric shapes. To create this card I got out 2 colours of alcohol ink, 96% isopropyl alcohol and started inking up a piece of trimmed 4.25"x5.5" Yupo paper. I started adding my ink and moving it around until I had a nice rich colour and was happy with it. (please ignore my well loved piece of board under the inked piece). I then took a piece of gold foil and applied it over the entire inked panel and applied even pressure to ensure that the foil would adhere to it. The foil will stick to parts of the ink that has remained a bit tacky...normally the darker parts where one bit of ink meets another, the veins if you will. After I applied the foil I wanted to add some more gold to it, so I took some Distress Paint and splattered it on the piece using a brush specially made for this purpose. I then set it aside to allow the paint time to dry.

Once it was dry, I got out 2 of the triangle stamps from the Sohcahtoa stamp set….one small and one medium. I stamped these all over the piece and then heat embossed in gold embossing powder and then fussy cut them all out. I trimmed down a piece of white cardstock and played around with the composition of the triangles until I was happy. I couldn't quite find a sentiment that was perfect for it, so I typed out on my computer and gold foiled that using my Minc machine. I wanted to add a little definition to the sentiment, so I added a little strip of a coordinating teal cardstock to the bottom of it. I added a piece of craft foam and adhered it to the back of the trimmed cardstock sentiment, added that to the card base and then popped up the sentiment and added it to the card front.


  • When using alcohol ink, make sure you are in a well ventilated area.
  • If I ever need a sentiment that I don't have I print it out on my computer. It's very handy to be able to print it out in any font you want.....given that you have it on your computer. Adding a foiled sentiment will elevate your project and give it that professional feel.

Altenew Supplies Used:

Card #5 - Easy Die Cutting Techniques

For this card, I again referred back to Easy Die Cutting for the main component of this card. To create this card I took the positive die cut piece from the ombré ink blended panel that I used for card #3. I had previously cut it out using the Cube Cover die and then proceeded to die cut out 3 more pieces in varying shades of teal. I then glued them to the main piece, placing them off kilter a bit, from lightest to darkest so that you could see the differing variations in colour. Then using some gold metallic cardstock, I cut out some frames using the Fine Frames cover die, to add a bit of a border to the card front and also to bring out the gold paint flecks. I adhered the 3 largest frames to my piece to give it a bit of a border.

Next using the Bold Alphabet die I cut out the word hi 3 times, using each of the different shades of teal cardstock and then the 4th hi was cut from a small piece of white cardstock that had some of the gold paint flecks. I then stamped out the smaller sentiment using Galactic Stream from the Wallpaper stamp set and cut the end of the white strip on an angle, added a bit of a dimensional adhesive foam to the end of it and added it to my card front.


  • Never throw out pieces from previous cards, as you may always be able to use them again.
  • Gold always makes everything feel more rich and expensive.
  • Add a bit of foam tape or a small foam adhesive to partially pop up a sentiment that is on a something a bit thicker at one end.

Altenew Supplies Used:

Bonus Card #6 - All About Layering 1 & 2

I did an additional card to make this a set of 6. I had made a similar one for the feminine set, so I wanted to as well for the masculine set, as I really loved how it turned out. However, this used a class component not included in my chosen 3 but rather the All About Layering classes. To create it I grabbed 2 alcohol inks, one of the Alloys, some alcohol blending solution, isopropyl alcohol, Yupo paper and my alcohol ink blower and got to playing. I went light handed at first and kept going until I had a blend that I liked.

Next I stamped out the cupcake from the Layered Cupcake stamp set. For the wrapper I used Morning Frost and Moon Rock, the cake is Dark Chocolate and then for the icing I used only 1 colour, Dew Drops, but for the different layers I inked and re-stamped that layer 2 more times than the previous layer. It is a bit hard to see the colour differences between the layers on it as they are a bit more subtle, but in real life you can see them better and they are so pretty! I stamped and cut out the happy birthday from the same Layered Cupcake stamp set using Jet Black ink. All that was left was to pop up the sentiment and to add a few co-ordinating teal sequins. That's it…..this completes my set of masculine cards.


  • When stamping out a sentiment, it is best to cut the paper first to your desired length and them centre the sentiment on it to stamp.
  • When using layering stamps, it's always best to take your time lining them up at first. This extra 2 or 3 minutes you take at the beginning will save you time, paper and the extra headache and frustration of having to stamp them over and over again.

Altenew Supplies Used:


For my packaging I definitely wanted to have it co-ordinate with my set. This is also where my recycled element came from. I had some thinnish chipboard that I had come with some packs of Stampin' Up 12x12 patterned paper years ago. These would be used to form the base of my box.

I kind of eyeballed my measurements for the box, as all the tutorials I found online and tried ended up being too big and the cards would move around too much in the box (trust me....I tried many different ones). So I placed one of the envelopes on the chipboard and measured how big and how tall I wanted the box to be to fit the cards and that gave just enough wiggle room inside. I then scored it all around and then trimmed it down on all 4 sides. My dimensions ended up being 7 7/8" x 9.25" for the bottom of the box and then for the lid I added 1/16" to each of the 4 sides and it ended being perfect! I scored it on all 4 sides and then on each of the 4 corners you end up with a little flap where 2 of the scored lines interlap with another. For this part you want to cut on one of the scored lines only and then cut out a little indent here, so you end up with less bulk when folding the flaps in.
I went through my hundreds of 12x12 sheets of scrapbook paper to find a few co-ordinating sheets that would suit this set of cards. I found a fabulous piece of teal corrugated thin cardboard that matched perfectly with my other 2 chosen papers that I made 2 belly bands with. I added a more masculine bow (because every gift needs a bow) using a ribbon that lent that masculine feel to it, even though it was bow lol. All that was left was to type up the A Gift For You sentiment, add some gold foil to it using my Minc machine, cut it out with a tag die and tie it on with some teal striped twine. And voila…..a beautifully wrapped and very presentable set of cards to gift to a special someone.

I've really enjoyed this assignment! It was most definitely the biggest card project I've done to date, but was really fun to do! I thought at first I may struggle to come up with that many masculine cards at a time, but they were relatively easy to do and the ideas came to me no problem. I really hope you have enjoyed this post and love this set of cards as much as I do. Please do go and check out the next post for my set of feminine cards.

As always I thank you so very much for stopping by and spending a bit of your day with me. I hope you have the most wonderful and crafty day and until next time! Thank you, Michelle :)

Other Supplies used for cards:

Neenah Classic Crest Solar White 80lb cardstock, Canson Mixed Media paper, misc. white card base, Copic markers - BG13, BG15, BG18, Pretty Pink Posh Clear Droplets, misc. teal metallic sequins, Neenah Classic Crest Solar White 80lb cardstock, Canson Mix Media paper, misc white card base, misc. teal cardstock, white craft fun foam, Ranger Multi Medium Matte, Post It tape, paper cutter, Brother Scan N Cut, Ranger Texture Paste Opaque Matte, WOW Metallic Gold Rich Pale embossing powder, Stampendous Detail White embossing powder, VersaMark watermark stamp pad, non static powder tool, 3M foam tape, MISTI stamp positioner tool, Stampendous Detail Clear Embossing powder, Gansai Tambi Starry Colours Pigment - No. 901 Blue gold, paint brush, Sentiment stamp from stash, misc. teal cardstock, Ranger Stream and Turquoise Alcohol Inks, 96% isopropyl alcohol, Ranger Tarnished Brass Distress paint, Ranger Distress Splatter brush, DecoFoil Gold Foil, Ranger Fine Gold Detail embossing powder, laser printer, Stampin' Up! dimensionals, misc. gold cardstock, Martha Stewart score board and Wplus9 Timeless Tags 2 die.

2 comments on "AECP Level 1 Challenge - Part 1 Masculine cards"
  1. I am blown away! I have no words! These cards are gorgeous!! The photos are impeccable. Your post is SO well written, I took my sweet time reading through every detail.
    I love all the cards but my favourite one has to be the geometric one with alcohol inking! So good. That one needs to be framed.
    Thank you for blessing my eyes and entering your gorgeous work to the AECP assignment gallery.

  2. Oh wow...thank you so very much Erum for such wonderful comments! I am so very happy that you love them as much as I do and as much as I enjoyed making them :)


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