Handmade with Love

31 October 2021

AECP Level 2 Final Challenge


Hello crafty friends and welcome back!  I have a bit of a longer post(and quite a few photos too) to share with you all today and a very exciting one too! So sit back, relax and come along for the ride!  I have made my way through to the end of level 2 of the AECP program so I was met with the final challenge to move on to the next and final level.  I have really enjoyed this program so far and have learned so much from it!  I will definitely say that my card making skills have indeed improved with so many new skills and techniques! 

 For this challenge I was tasked with making 4 masculine cards and an upcyled item/project.  There were 4 themes given for each of the cards, which are birthday, love/thinking of you, anniversary and encouragement.  I was also to pick 3 of the classes learned thus far out of both level 1 and 2 and to use the elements learned in these particular classes for this challenge.  These are the 3 main classes that I decided to focus on, however a few more did manage to sneak their way in.
The 3 classes and their elements that I chose to refer to are:
  • Let It Shine - In this class we learned all about how adding that bit of sparkle to our projects and the best ways to do it and n fun and creative ways.   I am all about the sparkle, so of course this was one of the classes that I had to incorporate into my cards...because even guys need a bit of sparkle in their lives, although I had to really hold back on adding all the sparkle to these lol
  • Easy Ink Blending Techniques - In this class we learned how to love and really use our ink pads to step up our ink blending to elevate our cards.  A bit of ink blending can really go a long way and can definitely give your projects that WOW factor.  I do love a bit of gorgeous ink blending, so of course this was coming along on this adventure.
  • Celebration Stencil Techniques - This class focused on new and fun ways use our stencils.  Stencils are of the most versatile and cost effective tools in our crafty toolbox and can really take your cards from nice to outstanding effortlessly.  I absolutely love using stencils, as there are sooo many ways to use them!  

   Card #1 - Happy Birthday - Easy Ink Blending Techniques and Let It Shine

For this card I incorporated the ink blending into it, but not in an obvious way, but I also wanted to keep this clean and simple so to keep the focus on the ink blending.  To begin with I started to ink blend both Teal Cave and Galactic Stream in the middle of a piece of white cardstock.  I wasn't worried nor was I looking for a perfect blend, as it would be diecut and on the back, so perfection in this case was not needed.  I also ink blended around the edges of another piece of white cardstock to layer behind my diecut piece and also one for the sentiment strip.

I took the Pressed Leaf Die and diecut the first imperfect ink blended piece, but making sure that the front of the diecut was the all white uninked side.  Then I went and diecut a second one from a smaller piece of metallic silver cardstock, smaller than my main white diecut piece.  I diecut my main piece using a rectangular die.  Here is a little trick I like to use...when I have a piece of cardstock with something already done, like the leaf diecut in the middle and I want to cut it out and make sure that it is centered as good as I can possibly get it and can't guarantee that using a paper trimmer alone, I use a rectangle die to cut it out initially.  I then trim it down even further to the exact size I want, making sure that I trim it evenly on all 4 sides after with my paper trimmer.  

For my sentiment I heat embossed it in white from the Birthday Builder Stamp Set and trimmed that down.  To assemble my card, I attached the metallic silver diecut piece behind the main diecut piece.  I  bent the leaf pieces so that there was some nice dimension to it.  It was at this point that I realized that the piece that I had originally just ink blended around the edges of to layer behind...well I needed to ink up the entire panel as I wanted the blue to peek through the leaf.  

So once I had that all completely ink blended, I trimmed it down so that it measured just slightly bigger than 3.75"x5', as that was the size of my white layer on top and I only wanted a very slight border around it.  I layered the 2 leaf die cut pieces to the ink blended background and added a bit of silver metallic threads to go behind the sentiment strip, to ground it a bit.  The threads also brought in the shine factor as well.  I added it all to my cardbase using foam adhesive and that was it. 

I love the clean and simple look to this!  The peek of silver metallic or the shine is perfect, coming through the raised diecut leaf as well as the blue ink blending mirrored on the metallic.  Don't be afraid to go the simple route every now and then, as they can be just as beautiful as ones with all the things!

Card #2 - Thinking of You - Celebration Stencil Techniques, Easy Ink Blending Techniques and Let It Shine

For this card I referred to all 3 classes, however I used the stencil in a different way than you normally would.  I started blending the one side of the City Scene stencil with the taller buildings onto a piece of white cardstock.  Again with this I wasn't looking for a perfect ink blending, but needed a good black outline of the stencilled image.  Once that was done I cut it out with my Scan N Cut and then I also cut out the image a second time using a piece of silver mirror cardstock.  Next I took the black piece and heat embossed that using black embossing powder.  To do this I smooshed my VersaMark Embossing ink pad onto my image which I had temporarily adhered to a piece of copy paper to make clean up easy and so I didn't get ink all over my work surface. I did that 3x in order to get a nice embossed image.

For my night sky I did a bit of ink blending using 3 Distress Oxides, blending from pink to purple to blue and a touch of black to darken it a bit.  Right after I spritzed it with some water and blotted it away with a paper towel to remove some of the ink to make it kind of look like stars.  In addition to the water spritzed stars, I also added some flecks of white paint....I apparently didn't move my 2 diecut pieces away far enough as I got some of the white flecks on my black heat embossed image....oops.  But I kind of like the effect it gives.  It was a happy little accident lol.  I heat embossed the sentiment from the Painted Butterflies Stamp set, using white embossing powder on black cardstock and a I added a small strip of silver mirror cardstock peeking out from under it, for a bit of added shine.

To finish it I adhered the silver cardstock behind the black embossed piece but placed it a bit to the left, so you got that peek of the shine coming through from the behind the buildings.  I added that to my night sky using some foam adhesive and I also attached the sentiment to the upper right side using foam adhesive as well and then added ti all to my black cardbase using some liquid adhesive.

 I really love how this turned out...was exactly as I had envisioned!  I think the combination of the 3 different techniques makes for a beautiful card and definitely has that WOW factor that we all want.  And I love that peek of the ink blended sky all the way to the bottom of the skyline too...it keeps your eye flowing.  And don't be afraid to use your stencils in new and unexpected ways....think out of the box.  That is one of the many things this course has taught me.

Card #3 - Anniversary - Celebration Stencil Techniques, Easy Ink Blending and Let It Shine

My next card I also incorporated all 3 class elements and used the Big World Stamp Set and coordinating die.  For this I started by tracing around the circle diecut for the earth very roughly to give myself a general guideline as to where I need to keep my ink blending. I then blended a rainbow of inks somewhat within the circle die for the colour part of my world.

Next I heat embossed 2 of the 3 images for the globe using a black embossing powder and then a mixed green colour on top of the black.  I didn't do the layer that would normally be the water, as that was going to be the colour in the world.  Once my heat embossing was done I cut it out using the circle die.  Although the circle is whole and not an outline, it was very easy to line it up perfectly, as the raised heat embossing allowed me to fit the die on there perfectly.  I then cut out the globe base/holder???  (unsure of the proper term for this lol) out of some gold mirror cardstock to bring in that shine factor.  And for my background I centered the Sunburst Stencil on a piece of white cradstock trimmed  to 4"x5.25".  I started to blend the same colours as my globe in rainbow order, starting at the center and lightly blending outwards, making sure not to go to the edges.  I lost the process photos for these last few steps.  

For my sentiment I diecut the world 3x times and adhered them all together for added height and dimension.  I heat embossed the top part of the sentiment in on black cardstock and trimmed that down.  To used foam adhesive to adhere it all.  For the gold metallic globe base, I cut down very small pieces of foam adhesive and and used clear foam? tape and glue for the black diecut world.  And then added it all to my cardbase with some more foam tape.

Loving this colourful card and how the stencilling behind carries through the colours from the globe too.  If you have a solid die that you aren't quite can't see outline of the image below it, the raised edges of heat embossing below will keep the die perfectly in place, as you can feel the raised edges of it.  So always do your heat embossing first in this case.  I always like to add lots of dimension too my cards.  I find that it keeps it keeps it pleasing to the eye.

Card #4 - Encouragement - Celebration Stencil Techniques, Easy Ink Blending and Let It Shine

For my final card I combined all 3 classes again.  I used the Weave Builder stencil which is a 3D stencil, but I used it differently than intended.  To make it I placed the stencil on a piece of white cardstock and started blending on Desert Night Crisp Dye Ink.  Once that was done I removed it and cleaned off the  ink.  I then moved the stencil up so that it is lined up perfectly with the blue ink blended areas and started to blend on Moss Crisp Dye Ink.  Once that was done I made sure it was thoroughly dry with my heat embossing tool (but as the inks are dye inks they do dry very quickly) and brushed it with anti-static powder.  
For the next step I brushed my paper with some anti-static powder, as I was going to be doing some heat embossing.  The metallic gold embossing powder will bring in the shine instead of the metallic mirror cardstock as I did for the previous 3 cards.  Once you have the 2 areas inked up with the green and blue, you will be left with one empty white spot left.  This is where I lined up the stencil for the heat embossing.  I made sure to take my time and get it lined up as well as I could, so that it didn't overlap the inked areas.  I also taped down my paper to my stencil, to add insurance that wouldn't move on me.
I went direct to paper with my embossing ink pad so all of the white spots would be heat embossed, so I needed to ink up entire stencil as I would normally with ink.  I removed the stencil and added my gold embossing over the entire piece and heated up the powder.  I then trimmed it down so that it measured 3.75"x5".  Next for the sentiment I had initially heat embossed it using the same gold but then I realized that it was too much gold...if that is even possible lol.  So I stamped the sentiment using the same moss and desert night inks as I did for the stencilling.  I inked up half of the sentiment with eah colour, making sure to overlap the 2 colours in the middle.  I love the mix of the 2 colours you get when they meet.  Can you believe that this is the first time I've done this???  Crazy right!

I added my sentiment to the front of my stencilled piece and trimmed off the overhang from the back of it.  I find that trimming it down after you add it to your card is easier rather than trying to cut it down before and trying to keep it centered.  I added it all to my cardbase using foam adhesive.

When I first set out to make these cards I initially wanted them all to have a cohesive feel and flow to them.  But them I thought...nope, they all need to have their own identity (if a card can lol) and their each unique look to them.  

Don't be afraid to use your supplies in new and unexpected ways, that you wouldn't have thought of before or maybe that you haven't seen yet!  Play around with them and have fun!  There are no boundaries or limits to creativity....you are your only limit!  I have grew so much so far in this program and hope to continue growing creatively in level 3.  


Supplies Used:

  • Painted Inspiration Stamp Set
  • Birthday Builder Stamp Set
  • Big World Stamp Set
  • Painted Butterflies Stamp Set
  • Big World Die 
  • Pressed Leaf Die
  • Weave Builder Stencil 
  • Sunburst Stencil
  • City Scene Stencil
  • Moss Crisp Dye Ink
  • Desert Night Crisp Dye Ink
  • Ranger Fine Detail Gold embossing powder
  • WOW! Primary Ebony and Verdigris embossing powders
  • WOW! Heat Embossing tool
  • anti-static powder
  • Stampendous Detail White embossing powder
  • Distress Oxide Inks - Crackling Campfire, Festive Berries, Mermaid Lagoon, Pine Needles, Fossilized Amber, Seedless Preserves, Picked Raspberry and Black Soot
  • Versamark Embossing ink pad
  • black cardstock, white cardstock, gold mirror and silver mirror cardstock
  • Nuvo Deluxe Adhesive
  • foam adhesive
  • blending brushes
  • Ranger/Wendy Vecchi Make Art 6" Stay-tion
  • silver metallic thread


Upcycled Project

Now if I am to be perfectly honest, I don't really have alot of items in my house to use for upcycling.  So I really had to search high and low for this.  So much so that I made 3 small upcycled items.  

#1 - Yarn Wreath

So for the first one I had some styrofoam wreath forms laying around that have never been out to use, as well as a wall of yarn that needs to be used lol.  So I thought I would make a yarn covered wreath with my favourite Altenew floral - Wallpaper Art.  So I grabbed a ball of chunky white yarn and I started to wrap it all around the wreath until it was fully covered.  I set that aside and started to make my flowers.  

I sprinkled some pigment powders onto a piece of watercolour paper and then spritzed it with water to activate the powders.  I love how easy and effortless it is with these powders to achieve fabulous watercolour looks!  I set that aside to dry naturally but in the end I had to get in there and help it out with my heat tool, as I was too impatient lol. Once they were dry I stamped the flowers from the Wallpaper Art stamp set 5x using thw Jet Black Ink and then fussy cut them out.  

I grabbed a piece of Press N Seal so that I could arrange my flowers as I wanted and then adhere them altogether exactly as I wanted.  Press N Seal is great for floral arrangements as you can pick them up using the sticky side and keep them exactly as you want to add them to your projects.  Press N Seal is so hard to find here (I actually had to go to a specialty American Food Store here) so I try to use it sparingly so to make it last as long as I can.  I then added hot glue to back of all the flowers and added it to my wreath.  The hot glue will help to keep them nicely attached to the yarn.  

To finish it I added a rose coloured ribbon and bow so that I am able to hang it on my door.  I love how this turned out but I decided that this isn't a true upcycled project, as with upcycle projects you would normally take an item and make it much more fabulous than it originally was and use it in a different way (or at least that's how I see it).  So although this is definitely much nicer than the original styrofoam uncovered form, I thought that maybe I should do something else.  

#2 - Storage Case

So for this project I have been needing somewhere to put all of my floral diecuts and keep them in one place.  So I had an empty DVD like case that once kept some stamps.  So I decided to turn this into a very simple storage case for all of my floral diecuts.   I took out the inserts and measured and cut some pieces of white cardstock accordingly.
To start these I stamped out the florals again from the Wallpaper Art Stamp Set and used the coordinating Mask Stencil to mask off the images so I could layer them.  Once I was done with that I placed all of the masks back on so I could do some light ombré ink blending, starting at the bottom and lightly blending upwards.  I did this twice for the front and back of it, but did different arrangements for them.  Make sure when using masks that you place the mask just inside the stamped line, so the edge of the mask does not create a barrier or you will have a gap from one stamped edge to the next and it won't flow seamlessly.

Once I had my ink blending done I removed all of the masks and started to colour them in.  I used the same colours for the double flower arrangement (which will be the back of it) and then made them more colourful for the triple arrangement which will be the front.  Once I had them done I decided that I wanted to add some black ink splatters and add a bit of stencilling, so back the masks went and I added paint splatters to one and then randomly stencilled using the Tiny Bubbles Stencil.  

I also wanted to add a bit of shine to them so I used my DecoFoil Adheive Pen to dot on some glue to the centers of all the flowers so that I could then add some gold foil to them.  I make sure to use save my scraps of foil for this very putpose.....no point in using a full sheet of foil for this.  Next I needed to add the title for the spine of it, so I could easily find it on my shelf.  I used the Calligraphy Alpha for this (can you believe this si the first time I've used this gorgeous set???).  I added the word flowers vertically and then I added them all back into the case.  This turned out so pretty...simple but very pretty!  Now I have a very functional and super pretty place to keep all of my flowers!  I will definitely be making more once I empty more cases lol.  

#3 - Stencilled Ceramic Tile

For my last one I had some extra ceramic tiles that I use when I practice using my alcohol inks and had one that hadn't been used yet.  So I decided to make a simple little wall hanging with it.  I first covered it in Gesso so that the inks have something to grab onto, as they will just slide right off the smooth ceramic finish.  So I covered it in an even layer of white Gesso and let that dry for a few hours so that it was fully dry.  

Once that was dry I used my Bitterroot Flower Layering Stencil for my flowers.  For the stencilling I used the Sugarplums Crisp Dye Ink set and started going form lightest to darkest colour for the flower layers.  i did the same for the leaves using the Tropical Forest Crisp Dye Ink set, but used the lightest and second to darkest colour for these as there are only 2 layers in them.  I lost the process photos for these so unfortunately no photos of these steps.  

Once they were all done I wanted to add a bit of sparkle or shine to them, so I took the very last detail later and added some Versafine Embossing Ink using a small finger sponge dauber to add the ink and then sprinkled on some gold embossing powder.  I made sure to add some anti-static powder before the ink, so I didn't get any powder where it shouldn't be, as you can't tap the back of the tile as you would with paper to remove any excess.  So I started to them heat up the powder.  But you know what...embossing powder won't melt on a ceramic tile!  I had no idea.   But nope....I was doing it for about 2 mins (definitely longer than heat embossing should take) and nothing...a very interesting discovery.  So I then decided to use my Decofoil Adhesive pen through the stencil to add some gold foil and it worked just as hoped.  I found that the colour of the flowers changed completely from a combination of the anti static powder and the embossing powder that I ha brush off, but I kind of like the look of them
I added a simple black and white ribbon to the back of it so that I could hang it in my craft room. I don't have any photos of it hanging on the wall as no matter what i tried I could not get a good photo of it hanging.  Now I have a very pretty little wall hanging!  I tried so many rooms and on my door too, but they all just turned out so dark, that no photo editor could save the photos lol.

I hope you have enjoyed my 3 simple but so very pretty upcycled projects!  If you have made it this far....bravo and thank yous o very for sticking with me and reading to the end.  I hope that you have enjoyed my post and final project for level 2 in the AECP program.  I really had fun with this project and pushing my creativity even more!  And I cannot wait to move onto the next and final level...keep your fingers crossed for me!

Thank you so very for stopping by and I hope you all have a wonderful and crafty day!  Until next time!

Supplies Used:

  • Altenew Bitterroot Flower Layering Stencil Set
  • Altenew Tiny Bubbles Stencil
  • Altenew Wallpaper Stamp Set
  • Altenew Wallpaper Art Masking Stencil
  • Altenew Calligraphy Alpha Stamp Set
  • Altenew Jet Black Crisp Die Ink
  • Altenew Sugarpluns Crisp Dye Ink mini ink cubes
  • Altenew Tropical Forest Crisp Dye Ink mini ink cubes
  • Copic Markers - various colours
  • DecoFoil Adhesive pen
  • DecoFoil gold foil
  • blending brushes
  • 6" white ceramic tile 
  • plastic stamp case/DVDcase
  • white stryfoam wreath form
  • chunky white yarn
  • black watercolour paint
  • small fine tip paintbrush



4 comments on "AECP Level 2 Final Challenge "
  1. Your projects are amazing and the up cycle project was pure genius. Very well written tutorial. Congratulations
    Hugs, Joy

    1. Thank you so very much Joy for your kind words and for stopping by! Have a great day :)

  2. Absolutely gorgeous work!! Michelle, you have done fabulous work! Love all the project that you have created.
    Than you for your submission.

    1. Thank you so very much Erum! You kind and encouraging are always wonderful! Can't wait to get started on level 3!


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