Sunday, July 12, 2009

Limelight Week 2 with Theresa - Sponging

Hello! It's Theresa again, for my second week as Flourishes Limelight Designer. This week I used stamps from four different Flourishes stamp sets to make my card. Creating a sponged background is one of my favorite things to do on my projects, so today I am going to show you the step by step method I use, along with some of my favorite sponging tips.

Here are the details...

I started with a piece of Flourishes Classic White cardstock and sponged the entire surface with a pale apricot color.

Tip #1 - I recommend using a very smooth cardstock, like Flourishes carries (also great for Copics, btw). A rough cardstock will grab the ink and make your sponging look splotchy. When using a smooth cardstock, like Flourishes, the ink will take just a tiny bit longer to dry and give you a little more time to blend your colors.

Next, I sponged the bottom and right side with a darker apricot ink, working my way in toward the center.

Tip #2 - Keep your sponge fairly dry to start out. If your ink pad is very juicy, you might want to ink up your sponge, then tap it off a few times on scratch paper. Then start just off the edge of your paper and work your way in, building up the color very slowly.

Then I worked on the opposite side and corner, sponging light pink ink.

Tip #3 - Use a small swirling motion to apply your color, rather that tapping or patting, working from the darkest areas toward the lightest areas. This way, as you approach the lighter areas, there will be less ink on your sponge and create a smooth transition of color.

Next, I went back to the apricot corner and applied a light caramel color, sticking pretty close to the corners.

Tip #4 - Use very soft, squishy sponges. I like the round craft sponges that you can find at craft stores, cut into wedges, or jumbo sponge daubers.

Then I finished by sponging a darker pink back in the opposite corner again.

Tip #5 Although you can use just one color to sponge, getting a dramatic gradation of color is easier if you use more than one shade of the same or similar color.

I used the same colors to sponge a second panel.

Tip #7 - Try to use an even pressure when sponging and don't press too firmly around the corners and on narrow pieces. Sometimes as you are swirling the color on, it is easy to accidentally press too hard and crinkle the paper. (I do this a lot!) If you crease your paper too much, it will take the color more deeply in the creases and only make them more obvious. If you do accidentally crease your paper, here are a few things you can do to hide it. You can hide the area with another layer or embellishment. You can trim the paper to remove the bad area or you can sponge the area very dark so that it doesn't show.

Next, I stamped the checkered lily from Spring Ephemerals on my larger sponged panel. Then I used the swirl stamp from Strut Your Stuff and stamped with pink and apricot inks. I also stamped the swirl on the vertical panel (not pictured).

I used Copic markers to color the butterflies from Butterfly Moments, starting with Y11. I knew I was going to cut out the butterfly, so I intentionally went over the lines. I like to do that when I know I am cutting out an image, so that I don't have white showing if my cutting isn't precise. Then all I have to do is going quickly along the cut line with a dark marker to hide the white edges.

I added Y17 to the centers and outer edges of the butterfly.

Used YR07 in the very deepest parts of the wings and along the outermost edges.
For the body, I added a little N5 and N3 to the yellow that was already there. I used the same colors for the second butterfly, but added some pink.

My sponged panels were layered with black cardstock and the larger butterfly was popped up using Pop Dots. The sentiment is from Siberian Iris. I stamped it in the lower corner (see top photo), then pierced on either side. I also added some piercing to the main image panel.

I also wanted to show you how I did the inside of the card. The butterfly was stamped with light pink, then the sentiment from Butterfly Moments was stamped in black, right over it, leaving space below for signing.

Thank you so much for the warm welcome last week and for letting me share my favorite technique with you today!

Happy stamping and I will see you next Sunday!


Yvette said...

Awesome! Your card is stunning and the tutorial is very appreciated! I love the glow the card has and that butterfly is gorgeous!!!

Karen W said...

Beautiful card and wonderful tutorial. Thanks so much

Our Little Inspirations said...

What a great sponging tutorial! TFS, and your card is incredibly stunning! WOW!

Jennifer said...

This is a huge WOW!! So beautiful and rich. Thank you so much for the tutorial!


JenMarie said...


NancyK said...

Wonderful!! What a great tutorial (and I now know why my sponging does not look good!). Love how you colord the butterfly - very pretty!

Michelle (sf9erfan) said...

Oh la la! This is just stunning! I read and re-read every word as I CAN'T sponge to save my life!! Great job!

Stacy aka Twinshappy on SCS said...

Beautiful! Your sponging is awesome!

Sewflake said...

This is wonderful I love how the "light" seems to shine from the card.

Julie Koerber said...

This is just amazing Theresa! You have SUCH a way with color and design. You make my jaw drop each and every time!!!

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Anonymous said...

I am such a big fan of your Theresa and this card is the reason why. I love the shading and thank you so much for the tutorial.

Deb Neerman said...

WoWzA!! I mean ... WoWZa!!

Theresa, this is just amazing! So beautiful and so beautifully colored ... you truly are the Queen O'Spongin'!!!

Marimer said...

Precioso trabajo y un tutorial muy educativo, sobre todo para las que estamos empezando. gracias.

Willow said...

What a beautiful card and clear explanation of your sponging technique!!! I love it!! Can you tell me what inks you used for the sponging?? Thanks for sharing your creativity!!!

Anonymous said...

Great tutorial!! Your card is beautiful too!! TFS!!

leenda said...

Most EXCELLENT artwork! Your sponging is flawless! Thanks so much for the tutorial & added tips!

Lois said...

Thanks for the wonderful directions, Theresa. I sometimes have lots of trouble with sponging, and the tip about the smooth cardstock is a good one. I guess I'll have to try Flourishes cardstock! LOL!

Vicki - vdutchr said...

Theresa - Excellent as always! Love the swirls on this one. Your tutorials rock!