Tuesday, October 20, 2015

"Spooky" Halloween Cards

October is one of my favorite times of the year. It simultaneously represents the promise of harvest season and the fun of Halloween costumes and shenanigans, while also signaling the final end of summer and the real transition into winter weather. While I always mean to start autumn or Thanksgiving cards, I pretty much always get sidetracked by the fun of Halloween cards. It’s a time of year when no one minds receiving creepy cards, and I enjoy making creepy cards! This year, I found my eye drawn both to my Oxford Impressions “Danse Macabre” stamp set and Xcut’s forest Build-A-Scene die set, neither of which had been broken in yet.
The stamp that really grabbed my eye as the inspiration for this project was a pair of violin-playing skeleton sisters. I stamped several of this image on ivory cardstock using onyx black Versafine ink, then used a sponge to rub some vintage photo Distress Ink over all of the images.

The images needed something extra, so I decided to try salting the ink for the first time. Just experimenting, I spritzed the sheet of inked images with water, then sprinkled salt over them and waited for them to dry. Once dry, I dusted off all the salt and fussy cut my musical skeleton images. Seeing the end product, I think I probably did not wet the images enough, but at the time I was concerned about ruining them with too much water. The end salt effect was subtle, but perfect for my images.

While I waited for the salted images to dry, I die cut the first layer of forest-scene using cardstock from Authentique’s “Thrilling” 6" x 6" collection and one of the DCWV Halloween mat stacks, and cut the second layer from black Darice Core’dinations cardstock. I decided to mat all my layers on a kraft card base, with a 4.25” x 5.5” black cardstock background mat to add spooky depth with the addition of pop dots.

After laying out my layers, I realized two things: I needed additional depth on my black background mat, and the front of my card needed additional embellishment. I solved the first issue by using a bare twiggy branch from the same “Danse Macabre” stamp set to watermark the image on the black background mat and the black die cut forest layer using Versamark ink. Unfortunately, this blended in too much on the background mat once it dried and didn’t give me the additional depth I was looking for. I re-stamped the branch image in Versamark ink on the background mats, but this time I wet embossed it using a black embossing powder. That did the trick!

The second issue was solved a few days later when my new pad of jet black StazOn ink arrived in the mail. After digging around in one of my random scrap stashes (yes, I have more than one), I decided to use my StazOn ink to stamp on aluminum foil to add a little sparkle to the cards without clashing with the dark forest scene. I also had some spiders and spider webs (Echo Park Paper Co.’s “Happy Halloween” dies) already sitting on my desk from an overly productive random die-cutting session from a couple weeks ago. I rubbed the die-cuts in black Colorbox pigment ink, and used a “Spooky” stamp from PinkPaislee/House of Three’s “Phantom” Halloween stamp set* to stamp on the aluminum foil.

I carefully positioned and adhered my musical skeletons behind the top die cut forest layer, then adhered it to the black second forest layer. I glued the overlapping foil sentiment and die-cut spider to the top left corner of the card front. At some point in the card-making process, I realized that these were pretty involved cards and would make rather awesome annual Halloween decorations. With that in mind, after I glued the black background mat to the kraft card base, I punched two holes about half an inch in from the top corners of the front of the card so that a ribbon hanger can easily be added later. I figure that once the recipients are done enjoying the sentiments inside the card, they can cut the back of the card off and will be left with a nice hanging decoration. After punching the future-ribbon holes, I added pop dots around the perimeter and adhered the front two cardstock layers to the background mat.

As the final touch, I cut lengths of orange ribbon as decoration hangers to include in the envelope with the cards. The ribbon is a sentimental touch, having been salvaged from table d├ęcor at a friend’s wedding.

*As a side note, this is my first and only PinkPaislee clear stamp set. This set of clear cling stamps is of very poor quality; I feel like I’m going to tear each stamp from the amount of force I have to apply to pull the stamps off the sheet for their first use. So I guess I’m saying caveat emptor and thank goodness I bought them on sale!

{Crafted while listening to my 2015 Halloween mix.}

Entered in the:
613 Avenue Create - Challenge #146 anything goes
A Bit More Time To Craft - Challenge #6 anything goes 
Artistic Inspirations - Challenge #142 anything goes/Halloween
Cardz 4 Guyz - Challenge #93 I Put A Spell On You 
Chocolate, Coffee & Cards - Challenge #102
Craft Stamper - October take a technique challenge
Craft Your Passion - Challenge #284 anything goes
Crafting By Designs - month-long October anything goes challenge
Crafting From The Heart - Challenge #82 anything goes
Crafts And Me - October Halloween challenge 
Crafts Galore Encore - October Halloween or Make A Card challenge
Crafty Catz - Challenge #297 anything goes
Crafty Girlz - Challenge #8 anything goes - Winner! 
Craftyhazelnut's Patterned Paper Challenge - October anything goes
Creative Fingers - Challenge #95 anything goes
Creative Moments - Challenge #79 anything goes
Eclectic Ellapu - Purple Team's Halloween/Dark/Horror challenge
Fantasy Stampers - Challenge #47 Fright Night!
Glitter 'N' Sparkle - Challenge #159 Halloween -Top 3! 
Haunted Design House - Holy Hell! It's Halloween challenge
Left of Center - Challenge #100 Good Old Fashioned Horror 
Lunagirl Moonbeams & Lunagirl.com - October Gothic challenge
Moving Along With The Times - Challenge #6 Halloween
Not Just Cards - Challenge #25 October anything goes
Scrapper's Delights - Challenge #49 Fall/Halloween
SimonSaysStamp.com Monday Challenge - The Monster Mash
Simply Papercraft - Challenge #15 anything goes 
Sisters of Craft - October anything goes challenge
Try it on Tuesdays - Frightening/Halloween challenge
Vintage Stamping - Challenge #37 Use a Die/Dies
Your Scrapbook Place - October anything goes challenge


  1. Wow, what an amazing set of cards! I love the image and how you've created a frightful little scene. Thanks for sharing with us at Left of Center Challenges

  2. Lovely and so creepy! Perfect for my Gothic challenge at LunagirlMoonbeams.com! Thank you so much for joining the challenge (and for sharing your creative process) ~ Karen

    1. Thank you! I love the Lunagirl vintage style and was excited to finally have a qualifying project for one of your challenges.

  3. Fabulous card's thank you for joining us over on Crafty Catz on this week's challenge
    Dianne x
    CC DT

  4. Hi this is a stunning set of cards. Thank you for joining us at Fantasy Stampers Challenge 47 “Fright Night (Halloween)” Hugs Jackie (DT)

  5. Hi I am back this time to thank-you for joining us at the Crafts Galore Encore Challenge 22 theme Halloween or make a card. Hugs Jackie DT

  6. A lovely collection of Halloween card, many thanks for joining us at FlonzCraft Vintage Stamping Challenges.

    B x

  7. Fabulous Halloween cards Judith DT Glitter n Sparkle x

  8. Nice 'Spooky' card for Halloween, thanks for joining us at MAWTT, xxxx

  9. A fantastic set of Halloween cards, thank you for sharing them with us at TioT's.

  10. Super cute!!! Thank you for joining us at MAWTT, good luck!!! Amy DT

  11. Super cute!!! Thank you for joining us at Creative Moments, good luck!!! Amy DT

  12. A spooky set of cards. Thanks for sharing with us at Cardz 4 Guyz. Caz. DT

  13. A perfect sentiment for these cards...definitely spooky! Love the diecut forest...Thanks for joining our challenge this week, at Glitter n Sparkle - Vic, DT X

    1. Thanks! The die cut forest was fun to play with, and I haven't even used the full set of dies together yet!

  14. A very cleverly made card - love it.

    Thanks for joining us at the Fantasy Stampers challenge.

    Helen x

  15. The images take me back to when I was teaching and used Dance Macabre as a writing stimulus.
    Thanks for sharing these creative cards with us at Cards4Guyz. :)

    1. Hi Julie,

      I'm really curious about your writing stimuli if you were using the Danse Macabre images! What other kinds of prompts did you use? Sounds much more interesting than the writing classes I took. :)

  16. Such an awesome project!

    Thank you for joining us in the Craft Stamper challenge!
    xxx Ellie Knol xxx

  17. Great cards!
    Thanks for sharing with us at Your Scrapbook Place
    ¸..• ´¨¨)) -:¦:-¸.•´ .•´¨¨))*((¸¸.•´ ..•´
    Shell in Alaska (DT)*

  18. Spooktacular cards. Great take on the challenge and thanks for playing with us at TIOT.
    Hugz, Z

  19. Gorgeous set of cards, thanks for joining us at Artistic Inspirations. Louise DT x

  20. The inking you did gave your cards the perfect scary touch! These are wonderful. Thank you so much for playing along with us over at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge Blog this week :)

  21. Spooky cards, love them

    Thanks for joining us at Cardz4Guyz this week


  22. Love your set of spooky cards ......Thank you for joining in with the Craft Stamper Challenge .... good luck! Linda xx

  23. Wow super spooky card. Thanks for joining us at MAWTT

  24. This is fabulous thanks for joining us at CHPPC xx Jan DT

  25. Have you tried moonshadow ink? Think you might like that or get some walnut ink crystals and mix with mica powders etc. They work really well for the salt technique or you can use drops of bleach (or spray) to lighten areas on dye ink.
    I usually make batches up then quick dry in the oven so I only have mess one day and just store the papers for a later play day :)

    Was intrigued by the write up, fab finished work x

    Thanks for joining Crafts and Me challenge, come back this month for our Autumn Colours Challenge x

    1. YES! I love the Moon Shadow sprays, but I have not tried them with salt yet.

  26. Gorgeous cards, such a "haunting" quality about them. Thanks for joining us for Get Creative Challenge #26 Halloween Colours.

  27. Fabulous spooky cards love the images and techniques especially the stamping on foil---Thank you for joining us at Crafty Girlz
    Carol GDT x