Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Shimmer Sheetz Birds By Judi Kauffman for The Queen’s Ink

I love the look of feathers and use them often for cards, gift tags, decorations and such. They’re so colorful and upbeat. If you’ve been following this blog for a while you may have noticed that my first Guest Designer project included a card with a feathered crown. If you missed it, scroll through the archive when you get a minute…

This time I’ve used 4” blunt-cut feathers for the tails on a pair of whimsical sparkly birds. The birds began, as projects often do, when I looked down at some scraps sitting on my work table and saw something other than random scraps. In this case it was embossed Black Iridescent and Basic Black Shimmer Sheetz pieces, leftovers from a mosaic I’d made.

One thing led to another. The muse whispered in my ear and said, “Make some birds!” I listened…


1. Cut a randomly-shaped wonky 4-sided shape for each bird’s body and a 4-sided wing piece with one of the long sides curved instead of straight. The curved side is the top of the wing. Adhere these layers onto the card front, adding dimension with small pieces cut from Power Tabs. Design Detour: I cut each Tab into four strips. A little goes a long way.

2. Add a glittered cardstock triangle for the beak and a button for the eye. Use a button with two holes and tie the black cord so the knot is visible on the front (top side) of the button. The cord is purely decorative. Use a snippet of a Power Tab to secure the button.

3. Create legs and feet with paper-covered wire and a teardrop-shaped bead. Design Detour: These were part of a floral pick a friend gave me – someone who knows I can’t resist a shiny object! If you can’t find paper-covered wire use knotted cord. (Knot once at the ankle to secure the bead and again to create a knee, and once more at the top where the leg gets tucked under the bird’s body.)

4. Add the tail feather using another snippet of a Power Tab to secure it behind the bird’s body.

5. To finish the card fronts, create a ground line or simply add a sentiment toward the top (or both!). I cut a leftover strip from the top of a newsprint pad for the ‘grass’ below one of the birds and put die cut wildflowers into its beak. (Both the wildflowers and the newsprint pad strip have appeared in previous projects – more leftovers put to use!) I added a glittered cardstock die cut sentiment to the other card. Design Detour: Back the cardstock with double-sided adhesive before cutting the sentiment – no wet glue needed with that method.

Design Strategies:

The cards are 6” square with a top fold. The size of your bird/feather combo will determine the dimensions of your card. Vary as you choose! Tiny birds would be great on gift tags or Artist Trading Cards. Design Detour: For these, you’ll need a larger envelope for mailing because the tails and wildflowers extend past the top edge. Protect the card with a sheet of paper so the feather and die cut pieces won’t get bent in transit.

My color choices for the birds were accidental, but it was a happy accident. Black Iridescent Shimmer Sheetz reflects various other colors including yellow, blue, pink, and purple (kind of like the feathers on a crow), while Basic Black is shiny black like patent leather. Change to any two colors you want, or make the body and wing out of the same one! Design Detour: If you want to slightly tone down the shine of the Shimmer Sheetz, lightly sand the surface. The ‘core’ color will be revealed when sanded.

Play with embossing folders. I stuck with an allover pattern because I was using scraps, but you could go for wavy lines or any other design that looks ‘birdlike’ to your eye.

Instead of a button for the eye, switch to a die cut circle with a gem in the middle, a round sticker, a rusty washer, or something else.

If you don’t have gold notary seals to cut in half and pleat for the crests, die cut a small zig-zag edge or scalloped edge circle out of lightweight gold paper, cut it in half and pleat one half for each crest.

If you don’t have the wildflower dies, use actual pressed flowers from a nature walk!

If you prefer not to use real feathers, hand- or die-cut your own or stamp some.

  • Shimmer Sheetz in one or two colors (Shown: Black Iridescent, Basic Black)
  • Embossing folder of choice
  • Embossing/die cutting machine of choice
  • 4” Feathers or feathers sized to fit the birds you create
  • Tombow Power Adhesive Tabs
  • Gold notary seals
  • Buttons, black cord (for eyes)
  • Tim Holtz Wildflowers dies
  • Die for a sentiment (Shown: Congrats by Suzanne Cannon, A Way With Words Collection)
  • Double sided adhesive sheet for backing sentiment prior to cutting
  • White cardstock for wildflowers
  • Glittered cardstock (Shown: Purple/card base; Orange/beaks; Pink/sentiment)


  1. I LOVE these; simple concept and fun.

  2. Great cards! My muse needs to get her act together. I love how you were able to envision the birds out of scraps! You've made some great wonky birds!!