AECP Level 1 Challenge

Two card sets in a decorative card wrap

I finished my AECP Level 1 challenge. A few days late but, life happens. We had the flu and then my husband had surgery with a recovery that was not as easy as the doctor implied it would be. I finally had time to sit down and crank this all out now that we are done with fevers and bodily fluids that make me queasy. In order to get the challenge portion of the AECP Level 1, I had to complete 10 classes. For my challenge I chose to incorporate 3 different classes, 1. Just for the Guys 2. Let it Shine 3. Clean and Simple Boutique Cards When I made my 2 sets of cards for both ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ cards, I kept my husband in mind. My husband is the type of person that is like what evil person put glitter on this card? Trash. Where I love sparkle, preferably the non shedding kind but, I love it all. When I thought about the 2 kinds of sets of cards to make, I thought about how much my son and I love getting cards. He has cards upon cards upstairs in his room. Pretty lucky for a 5 year old. Therefore, I thought about all the various events that normally happen in our life throughout the year. I thought it would be really cool to give a set of cards that that person could use throughout the year. 

Let’s start off with the ‘masculine’ cards. I tried to keep these on the simpler side. Throughout this process I’ve come to love water coloring with ink. I learned that thanks to these classes. 

4 masculine themed cards

I decided to do a repeating background on half of the card. Divide the blank space with a yellow strip of paper. Emboss the words happy birthday, stamp and emboss the present, fussy cut it, and assemble everything together. I think the blank space helps keep this card on the simpler side. 

happy birthday card. repeating hip, hip, hoorary at an angle on one half of card from corner to corner. Yellow stripe of paper dividing in the middle. Silver embossed happy birthday. Blue present with silver bow dividing the 2 sides.

I tried a lot of different techniques when I was making these cards. One of my ideas didn’t turn out the way I wanted, so I took the letters from a sheet of watercolor I did for an idea that I did not use and die cut letters and made the word thanks. I used ink refiller colors Ultramarine and Aqualicious for the watercolor. One part of this challenge was to repurpose something. I glued 2 layers to the back of the watercolor letters to give the card dimension. The backing letters I used from packaging that you would find from the back of the stamps package. I did a partial emboss with the Herringbone Tiles 3D folder. I backed this to a card base that I inked up with Persian blue dye ink.

thanks card with a blue card base and white center card. Thanks is watercolored blue tones.

Being in my upper 20s, I know at least one person a year having a baby. So, I thought a welcome baby card would be a great addition to this set. I placed drops of ink on an acrylic block and then used water to apply to a sheet of watercolor paper. Design tip: tape the pages down to the book itself. It’s one less thing you have to get out then. If you are doing multiples at a time, I recommend taping others to something hard like a clipboard. I actually colored this giraffe twice. I found the one I colored originally after I finished this card. However, it worked out for the best because I liked the added color of gray on the giraffe. I had a total of 3 layers on the giraffe to give dimension. I applied a gray and yellow strip of paper and finished it off with a sentiment. 

giraffee baby shower card that says, every child begins the world again - henry david thoreau.

I love coloring. So, I had to find a way to incorporate it into my set. I colored the tree first and used the tree from the Festive Silhouettes stamp set as an outline. After I colored it, I fussy cut it. I used G702 and G715 from the Altenew Alcohol marker collection. I found this set to be nice for layering color. I used the Storybook Frame Embossing Folder as a background because I felt like it went well with the snow feeling. I really wanted to keep the blue going in this card and have this green Christmas tree.

picturing showing how to splatter paint on card
Design Tip: Test your splatters on scrap paper by tapping the brush with your hand to get the size of the splatter you want down before adding it to your project.

I decided that making this a night scene would allow that and snow would help blend the 2 together. I splattered white paint while covering up the stamped noel on the bottom of the page. I used my Copics for the background, B34, B32, B14, B0000, C3, C1, C00, BV00.

evergreen tree in the middle of page with noel written under it. Hand colored tree and background. Edges have storybook scroll type embossing.

Now onto the more over top cards for the ‘feminine’ cards because let’s be honest, I’m a little over the top. 

four feminine themed gift set cards

Let me tell you, your acrylic block matters. I kept trying to get a repeated background with my Misti and it was too much work for me. It failed time after time. My acrylic block from my local craft store never did a good job because for some reason it wasn’t flat. I bought an acrylic block from Altenew that popped up on sale for an add-on item. Let me tell you, it came after it was a game changer. It’s nice and flat and raised up. However, I didn’t get it in the mail until right after I finished this card. So, I used a creative corner as a stamping block instead. Fun story, I meant for my color theme to be Frosty Pink. However, right before I started this card, I refilled my Frosty Pink with Pink Pearl. So that became my new theme color and I actually love that happy accident! I gold embossed words on the blank space and used a piece of gold shimmer paper from Simon Says Stamp to divide the space. I used a present stamped and embossed and fussy cut to distract from the division. I backed it onto a piece of cardstock I inked with my newly Pink Pearl ink cube. Lol.

pink and gold birthday card. one half says happy birthday, hope your day is fab with gold embossing. Divided by gold shimmer paper with repeating hip, hip, hooray on other half in pink. Pink present with gold bow on the dividing line.

I did this card a few different ways but, eventually settled on inking an embossing folder paper up and I think it turned out nicely! I found that my transparent grid is a lifesaver in more ways than just using it with my Misti. It helped me line up where I wanted to have my partial emboss begin. I would tape on the embossing folder how far I would want the embossing to go. Highly recommend trying this method!

showing transparency grid lining up partial emboss
I would remove my transparent grid before pushing it through the die cut machine.

I gold embossed congratulations from Mega Succulent stamp set. To finish it off, I then ink blended everything with pink pearl and frayed leaf. Although this was time consuming, I think it was a nice touch! I had originally tried embossing powder in the flatter parts of the embossed image but, I’m happier with this!

congratulations card with gold embossing. Embossing folder roses with blended color of pink on roses and green on leaves

I love a good sale. I bought a grit paste for super cheap a while back and decided that it would be fun to use for a gold texture on this card. I originally mixed the embossing powder with the paste hoping it would work. It doesn’t. I think if I were to try this technique again, I would use my palette knife to apply the paste and then pour the embossing powder on it and use the heat gun on it. Back to what I did this time though, after the paste air dried, I used a versa mark brush marker to go over the paste and applied embossing powder to that and then heat gunned it. I did not use any anti static powder with this because I felt like any stray embossing powder would only enhance this look. This took several attempts but I like the way it turned out. For the background, I stamped a candy cane several at different angles throughout the background. I stamped a sentiment onto the frame shape and assembled everything. Design tip: Do not apply shimmer spray to a wet watercolor background. It will move the ink you already have down. I learned this with this card because I had my paper fairly wet because I used ink refillers directly on the paper for this background. So I had to reapply quite a bit of ink to re-achieve the look I was looking for.

holiday card with pink candy canes sporadiacly and a center piece that is pink watercolor with gold flakes. Sentiment on the watercolor area in center of page, wishing you a sweet holiday season

For my final card, I had watercolored a flower several different times for a card I had in my mind but, I couldn’t get it to be the way I wanted it. So, when this flower came in the mail with my recent order, I knew this would be perfect and switched courses for this card. For this card I did do it with the Altenew inspiration challenge colors in mind. I used a burnt orange combo I made with my metallic Altenew watercolor paints. I think it really took this flower to the next level. I never would’ve thought of adding that color with the pink and green if it weren’t for this challenge.

flower with paint sample colors next to it
Design Tip: Test mixed colors next to what you are painting so you can compare easily.

I watercolored the background with my Pink Pearl ink refill. However, this time I put the ink on the acrylic block then applied it to my wet paper with more water and a little bit of ink. This allowed for the look to be more subtle. I applied a shimmer spray to the background after the watercolor dried overnight and it worked perfectly! Lesson learned.

tape pages down
Design tip: Tape the edges down to the book

I decided to separate the blank space and watercolor background with a gold shimmer paper. I added a sentiment with my acrylic block and used scraps to raise the flower up in various places. I

baby shower card, sentiment "a baby is a precious gift from above, brought down for you to care for and to love." 2/3 pink watercolor. Gold shimmer paper dividing pink watercolor and sentiment. pink with green leaves flower on right side of sentiment going up into the watercolor area.
The shimmer is fierce is person!

The final element of this challenge was to package your cards. I find card making to be a fairly wasteful thing that I love doing. I mean think about how many different times you order things or if you’re like me, you’d rather not talk about that. lol. Then, think about all the packaging that is needed to keep the stamps and inks safe. It’s needed but, a lot. I try to keep my packaging for shaker cards and the envelopes, boxes, and bubble wrap and give those to small businesses to reuse. So when it came to packaging these cards, I wanted to do something that was a little easier on the environment. Yay for repurposing. I cut the extra part off the plastic packaging stamps come in and put my cards into the plastic folder. I then trifolded it and used the adhesive that was already on there to seal it up. I really like this because it helps protect the cards from dirty fingers or inclement weather.

clear packaging cards
Shows the front of 1 set and the back of the other to show how it’s sealed.

I wanted to do something more though because I know I like things to be a surprise when I’m gifted things. So, I reused tissue paper I got from an Altenew package and bonus, it’s double sided. Perfect for the 2 sets. I had a thing of a double-sided roller tape that somehow completely unraveled. Not sure if that was from it falling out of the cabinet or if it was the doing of the toddler. Leaning towards the latter. I can’t use it on cards because it’s really messy to use and a little unpredictable. So, I felt like this was perfect to use to seal up my packaging.

tissue wrapped cards
Shows the front of black and back of the gold chevrons

Alternative Card Wrap (shown in 1st image of post)

Not wanting to reuse tissue paper? Find some scraps in your craft room and use it to wrap your card! I used 6 inch length paper for the accent color and 4 inch length and glued them together. I kept each one a total height of 1.5 inch and 1.25 inch.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read through all of this. I love making cards and I love improving and I feel like I did both of those throughout this challenge.

Until next time,


Products Used: