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Card Class 2: Tutorial #9 - Card Decorating Idea

Sponged Paper Cards

What we will make:

In this tutorial, you'll see how easy it is to create custom decorative papers for use in your card making. Use colorful sponged papers in your card making as background papers, embellishments or key design elements. The beauty of sponging is the limitless range of color possibilities—make whatever color paper you desire!

This greeting card tutorial builds on previous tutorials in the original Greeting Card Class set of tutorials, especially #1: Four Patch Cards and #6: Paper Weaving Cards. If you are new to card making, review these tutorials before starting this one.

Refer to Tutorial #1: Four Patch Cards for how to make card blanks and envelopes.

Here's what you need:
  • White or colored cardstock to decorate
  • Acrylic paints
  • Plastic plate or lid
  • Sponges: new kitchen or cosmetic
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • White card blank: 4¼″ by 5½″
  • Scrap paper
  • Optional: Watercolor paper, stamps and stamp pad, stencils, markers, ruler

This is a Greeting Card Class 2 tutorial and is rated EASY to do.

Making Sponged Paper Greeting Cards

Read through the tutorial before starting.
Step 1: Sponging Basics

Sponging involves dabbing paint on paper or cardstock with a small sponge in thin layers. The effect can be bold and bright or subdued and pale. It all depends upon the colors selected and the density of the sponging. For best results, follow these basic guidelines when making sponged paper:

  • Select a sponge based on your desired result. Sponges have various textures ranging from very fine, even holes, like a cosmetic sponge, to large random holes in varying sizes, like a natural sponge. As you would expect, a cosmetic sponge produces a design that is smoother and more filled in, while a kitchen sponge or natural sponge gives a somewhat lacy feel. If you are using a kitchen sponge, cut it into several pieces. It's easy to cut the sponge when it is damp.
  • Dampen the sponges and wring them out thoroughly.
  • Sponged paper: Pour paint and dabPour a small amount of paint onto a plastic lid or plate. Dab the sponge up and down in the small puddle of paint. Test the paint on a piece of scrap paper by dabbing up and down a few times. The paint should be almost transparent on the first dab and grow darker as you dab more. If the paint doesn’t dry almost immediately, either the sponge is too wet or you are using too much paint.
  • It is best to sponge cardstock or heavier papers like watercolor paper. Thinner papers have a tendency to curl from the moisture. A good paper type and size for card making is white or colored cardstock cut into quarters.
  • On white cardstock, start with a fine sponge to lay down a base coat. Dab the sponge up and down, twisting your wrist and stamping randomly to evenly cover the surface. Allow the base coat to dry. (No base coat is needed on colored cardstock.)
  • Apply one or more colors of paint in layers. Sponge densely or sparsely, using coarse or fine sponges. Experiment to get the effect you desire. Allow each coat to dry before applying another color. Work the paint colors from light to dark or dark to light. It is especially effective to finish off with a sparse, top layer of white or black.
Step 2: Select Paint Colors Sponged paper: Three shades of green paint

The sample cards are made with sponged papers that range in color from light to dark. It is easy to make a set of coordinating sponged papers by selecting paints in three or more shades of the same color. In the sample cards, three shades of green are used along with white and black paint.

Step 3: Sponge Cardstock Sponged papers in shades of green

Starting with the lightest shade of green, use a cosmetic sponge to sponge a base coat on four quarter-sheet pieces of white cardstock.

After the base coat is dry, use a small piece of a kitchen sponge to create a medium-density layer of the next shade of green on three of the cardstock pieces. Next, apply a sparser layer of the darkest green to two of the pieces.

Finally, apply a very sparse layer of white and/or black to one piece. The result is a set of four green sponged papers that range in color from light to dark.

Step 4: Press Cardstock (optional)

Set aside the sponged papers to dry. If the dried papers curl, press them under a heavy book overnight.

Step 5: Make Cards

The four quarter-sheets of sponged cardstock will make up to four cards. Use these springtime card ideas as inspiration for your own creations.

#1: Springtime Four-Patch Card
Sponged paper 4-patch card
Materials:
  • - 2 quarter-sheets of green sponged paper, light and dark
  • - Small square of green or teal cardstock
  • - Black marker
  • - Black stamp pad
Tools:
  • - 1" circle punch
  • - ¾" to 1" butterfly rubber stamp
  • - Optional: Green and red markers

Prep work: Cut two rectangles measuring 3½" by 2¼"—one from each piece of green sponged paper. Punch a 1" circle from the lighter color of green sponged paper. Glue the punched circle in the center of the green or teal cardstock square and trim the cardstock to make a narrow border around the punched circle.

To make the card: Follow the instructions in the Four Patch Cards tutorial, steps 3 thru 5, to cut and arrange the four patches and the butterfly medallion. After these card elements are glued in place, use the black marker to write the message, "On a breeze the butterfly soars." If you like, use green and red markers to draw blades of grass and tiny flowers at the bottom of the card.

#2: Happy Day Paper Weaving Card
Paper weaving card using sponged paper
Materials:
  • - 3 shades of green sponged paper
  • - Green or teal cardstock
  • - Black marker
  • - Black stamp pad
  • - Green paint
Tools:
  • - Flying insect rubber stamps
  • - Small ladybug or caterpillar stencil
  • - Grass border stencil or paintbrush
  • - Sponges
  • - Masking tape

Prep work: Cut a 3¼" to 3½" square from the darkest shade of green sponged paper. Cut 3" squares from the other two shades of green sponged paper and the green or teal cardstock. Stamp the upper two-thirds of the white card blank with flying insects.

To make the card: Follow the instructions in the Paper Weaving Cards tutorial, steps 2 thru 5, to weave a square and glue it to the green or teal cardstock. Glue the matted weaving to the square of dark green sponged paper and glue the complete square to the card front as illustrated. Finish the bottom third of the card with a stenciled or painted border of grass. Add stenciled caterpillars or ladybugs, and write "Happy Day" and "Breezy Times" with the black marker.

That's it! Your sponged card is done!
Example sponged cards

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Before you start a tutorial:
  • Make a place to work.
  • Read through the tutorial.
  • Think about what you plan to make. Imagine how you can add your own creative touch.
  • Gather the materials you will need.
Get ready, and get started!!!

ePaper Extra

Mixed Dots Collection of digital paper downloads

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More Mixed Dots Collection of digital paper downloads

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Tip: Download and print the Mixed Dots Digital Papers and More Mixed Dots ePapers to use in your card making!

Mixed Blue Dots ePaper sponged with pink

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Tip: Lightly sponge over decorative papers, like Aunt Annie's Mixed Dots Digital Papers, to get a distressed look, or to slightly change the color scheme of the paper.

Card made with Mixed Blue Dots ePaper sponged with pink

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Examples of sponging with cosmetic and kitchen sponges

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Tip: Use different sponges for various effects. The left paper was made with a cosmetic sponge, and the one on the right was made with a kitchen sponge.

More examples of sponged paper cards

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Tip: Vary paint colors and sponge textures to make a wide variety of sponged papers.

Use colored pencils to decorate sponged papers

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Tip: Use colored pencils to decorate sponged papers.

Shamrock silhoutte card with sponged paper

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Tip: You can also use the sponged paper to make Silhouette Cards for St. Patrick's Day. Select from the four styles of shamrocks in this printable pattern.

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