09 April, 2019

TTCRD 9 April DT Project and Masking Tutorial

Hi lovelies!  Today I'm coming at you with my very first design team assignment for the Through The Craft Room Door Challenge.  This is a WEEKLY "anything goes" (any type of project and any theme) challenge with 2 design teams who alternate weeks to make projects showcasing the sponsor who often offers PRIZES!

This week's sponsor is a company called The Project Bin.  Here is a little bit about them:

The Project Bin was started because its founder, Denise Storck (a long-time stamper and paper-crafter), couldn't find a stamp that said "You are awesome sauce", so she decided to make her own! One thing led to another, and now her small business fills a niche in the card making industry for unique word art sentiments in the highest quality photopolymer clear stamps, made in the U.S.A.

Now that's something I can relate to since it's a phrase we use too!  The Project Bin are offering the winner a $15 Gift Certificate to their store!

In addition, I'm going to show you two methods of masking and watercolouring using different mediums.

As soon as I saw this cat stamp set in the shop I absolutely needed to have it!  They're not just any cats either - they're curvaceous and well nourished! 😻😻😻

My inspiration came from one one the sentiments so I knew this was a job that would require a rather lot of stamping and masking if I was going to use just two stamps to get...well at least 8 cats!

The first thing I needed to do was cut down a piece of watercolour paper to 1/4" smaller than my card front to give me a border(s).  I struggle with the size of a standard card size right after finishing with a 12x12" layout because it feels so small! 🤣 I went with 5x7" finished size.

I also wanted some people and the ones of an appropriate size and style were these postage stamps from an older Penny Black stamp set.  More masking to get rid of the frames!

I got a piece of masking film (which is just medium to low take translucent plastic with a backing so you can see perfectly through it)  and stamped one of each images with a waterproof solvent based ink like StazOn.  It takes some time to dry on the plastic so either give it time or blast it with your heat gun.

Next I cut out the cats using scissors rather than the dies since I wasn't sure whether they leave a white border.  The people were a little more complicated.  I used a craft knife to slice on the inside edge of the inner frame.  Through trial and error (mostly error 🤣) I figured it was better to cut away some of the hair than cut away too little and have a line in the way.

This could happen anyway as it did with the girl if you don't position the stamp exactly, but since she has long wavy hair we can disguise it! 👍

Now for all those cats!  The way masking works is that you mask what's in front as you add images behind.  Perfect for a stack of cats!  The first cat didn't need masking.  I used my MISTI since watercolour paper doesn't always stamp cleanly.  I used the back which was very nearly smooth, but if you prefer to paint on the side with more tooth then you can still stamp on paper way bumpier than this with the help of MISTI!

Apply the matching mask over the top of the first cat and stamp the second with some overlap so it looks as though it's a little bit behind.  Wipe down the masks before proceeding or you'll get ink all over your project (ask me how I know! 🙈).

Now move the second mask to cover the second cat (you may need to leave the first one in place too) and stamp cat number 3.  If you find you need more masks because the overlapping stamping will cover more than 2 cats, you can cut more (or I use the backing paper and tape it down because I'm all for expediency!)

Then "rinse and repeat" until you have enough cats to make you happy (are there ever enough cats?)

Once your ink is dry, grab some masking liquid or rubber cement.  Make sure you check the ingredients if you have allergies since some of these products contain latex.  Mine does.  I'm not allergic but it doesn't smell so good!

Paint over every bit you don't want the background wash of watercolour to touch.  You don't need to make it really thick, just make sure you have some coverage over all the cats and people.

It goes yellow as it dries and it doesn't take long.  I wasn't sure what it would do when exposed to the heat gun so I waited!

Using painters tape, tape down all sides of the paper to a flat surface to avoid warping.  Discover you didn't leave a large margin for said tape and regroup to formulate a new plan.  😳  Remember you have Removable Glue Dots and decide to try them.  I applied a generous amount to the back and stuck it to some scrap cardboard.

I'm using my Gansai Tambi watercolour palette simply because it has a great selection of blues and purples.  I used a medium brush with natural bristles and painted the background with water before going in with the colour.  It helps the colour spread and you can experiment with different amounts of water and different shades mixing together.

It will always dry a bit lighter and once it did I decided to go back with more paint.

Once I was satisfied (and believe me my watercolouring doesn't even come close to some other crafty ladies) it was time to peel off the masking liquid (This bit is really fun!).   It may leave a feint yellowish stain, but since watercolour paper (even very light paper like mine) is generally cream rather than white, I didn't think it made any difference.

Next it was time to paint the cats using Distress Ink.  I just smear some on a waterproof surface, add varying quantities of water and paint onto the dry cats.  Make sure the brush isn't too wet or it will bleed onto neighbouring cats.  My choice of Distress Ink was mainly due to the variety of colours especially neutrals that I had and the familiarity I have with them.  Even so, I messed up some of the cats and had to disguise them with white acrylic paint or black or whatever.  Some I'm pleased with and some not at all.  I definitely need to practice different colours of cat coats!

Eventually I got down to the little people!  First I used a very fine permanent black pen to fix any hair issues and decided on Inktense pencils.  I would have gone with Distress Markers if I had them, but the next best thing to get into tiny spaces was the pencils.  Even so, trying to shade the people to make them a little more natural was difficult.

Also, once Inktense dries, it becomes permanent ink so you can't reactivate with water.  You can layer colour or blend while it's wet, but generally you have to work quite fast.

By now my project had been glued down to the scrap cardboard for at least 2 days and been subjected to multiple layers of paint and water and plenty of heat blasting (mainly when painting the cats).  I had no idea how the Removable Glue Dots would fare after these conditions.

Time to find out! 😬

Not only this, but the paper was much flatter than I ever would have gotten from painter's tape!  Any warping while wet simply vanished after it dried.  I'm awfully impressed I have to say! 👍

And the dots peel off without a trace as if they were never there!!

The finishing touches - I chose to stick the card front to a piece of black cardstock just for a very thin border.  After my success with the temporary dots, I used Permanent Glue Dots to attach it.  Even with the super strong tape I find sometimes watercolour card fronts like to pull away.  This didn't - partly due to the removable dots helping it dry flat and partly due to the super strength of Glue Dots.

Next, I use lots of foam tape to make the card front stand out a bit and stick it to the card base.  Lastly stamp the sentiment a bunch of times so you can cut each word out individually with maximum space on either side and above/below.

Foam tape to adhere the words in a wonky way to the card and add a few sequins because let's be real - considering how much I usually pile onto my projects, this one is pretty much naked in comparison!  I hate wet glue since I'm not the most co-ordinated person, so my beloved Mini Glue Dots to the rescue!

Thanks for sticking with me to the very end!  Here is the final project in it's entirety:

I Was Normal 8 Cats Ago Card

I'm also entering this project in the following challenges:
2 Crafty Critter Crazies Challenge #25
Cute Card Thursday Challenge 576
Incy Wincy Design April 1 - 13 ANIMALS
Simon Says Stamp Weds Challenge Animal Antics 
The Crafty Addicts Anything Goes/Optional - in the pink #59
Alphabet Challenge Blog A is for Animals
Penny's Challenge #424 Anything Goes 


The products I used (or similar) are listed below:
This post may contain affiliate links.  By clicking on the items or making a purchase (at NO additional cost to you) you help support this site, so a big, pink THANK YOU!  I only recommend products I personally love!

Love and Creative Cardmaking!


  1. Congratulations on a wonderful and interesting tutorial, I LOVE the finished result.
    Faith x

    1. Thank you! I figured since the liquid especially isn't used too often (mine was a bit thick and goopy after being neglected over summer) it was a goof idea to show the steps

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Fikreta! I know you love your cats like me!

  3. Adorable card. Thanks for joining us at Penny's Paper Crafty Challenge Blog. DT Kathy [myasperations.blogspot.com]

  4. First off, congratulations on becoming a design team member at TTCRD ! Gorgeous, colorful, fun pile of cute kitties (and kiddies!) card. Thanks for taking the time to write the tutorial, too.

    1. Thank you SO much! It's a pretty exciting time and has given me the boost I needed to work harder towards my goals! Thank you for the blog love!

  5. Thank you for joining in at the Alphabet Challenge with this gorgeous card, love the cats and tutorial

    1. Thanks for having me and visiting my blog. I love the concept of your Alphabet Challenge! Very clever!

  6. Your incredible patience was worth every minute - this card is wonderful! Love these pretty little kitties! Great watercoloring. Thank you for playing in my Animals challenge at the Alphabet Challenge and hope you can join us again soon.

    1. Thanks for having me! Animals make such great subjects for crafty projects!