Thursday, November 30, 2017

Red Castle Texture Plate 1 and 2: Mail Art Envelopes by Judi Kauffman for The Queen’s Ink

I’m on a roll with the fabulous texture stamps from Red Castle, now available exclusively at The Queen’s Ink.

This time around it’s all about envelopes, that humble bit of paper ephemera meant to bring mail and then get tossed aside. Even as a child, no piece of mail left my hands unless it was adorned. I love sending something that feels special even before it’s opened. And like to think that the postal workers will get a kick out of Mail Art Envelopes, too.
Envelopes are such a good surface on which to experiment and play, a way to test color combinations and work out design strategies for other kinds of projects. And who cares if they’re imperfect? They’re going to get marked and bent by postal machinery along the way, becoming fodder for collage in the hands of those who like to keep unusual papers.

Care to join me?
You will need little in the way of time and supplies: Some inks, stamps, and inexpensive white envelopes; two steps, two or three minutes per envelope at most. (Shown – A7.)


1. Choose 3 inks in colors that please your eye. Stamp texture blocks, mixing and matching among the two sizes from Texture Plate 1 (smaller) and Texture Plate 2 (larger stamps). Overlap and combine as shown or as you please. Work on a BIG batch of envelopes. The goal is to end up with a dozen or so, maybe more! If you goof up, put a label over the offending area or tear it up to use for collage. Even if it ends up in the trash, at most you’ve wasted pennies and learned from what didn’t work.

TIP: Make sure to leave an area for writing the address info. You can put your return address on the back flap. Another option – decorate the back flap, too.

2. Smudge and sponge on more ink to create some soft areas of color over and around the stamping. Use ink straight from the inkpad at the edges of the envelopes to add strong streaks of bright, intense color.

You’re done! See how easy that was!

If you’ve previously worked with un-mounted rubber stamps, skip the tips that follow and scroll on down to the supply list.


Red Castle stamps are sold by the sheet and need to be trimmed apart with sharp scissors before use. I recommend KAI scissors, sold at The Queen’s Ink. They are VERY sharp and must be kept away from children and used carefully by adults!

When trimming, slightly angle the scissors away from the image so you don’t under-cut – you want to leave slanted ‘shoulders’. No need to trim too closely because the stamps are deep etched and don’t pick up excess ink at the edges.

Next, temporarily mount the stamp on an acrylic block that is as close to the size of the stamp as possible. (Don’t put a 1” stamp onto a 5” block – too large a block can wobble.) Use Scotch 3M Poster Tape or any similar low-tack double-sided tape on the block itself. Put NOTHING on the back of the stamp. (Blocks are sold at The Queen’s Ink by the set or as single blocks.)

For perfect and repeat impressions, use the same tape on the ‘clear stamp’ side of a stamp platform for temporary mounting. (The tape can be removed, stored and re-used.)

For the above two methods, stamps can be immersed in water for clean-up since nothing is on the back of the rubber.

If you prefer, back each stamp with cling foam, use acrylic blocks or the ‘rubber stamp’ side of a stamp platform for temporary mounting.

Note: Stamp platforms won’t work for oversized sheets of paper, cardstock or gift wrap, or for stamping on clay or wood or tiles and other such objects, but they’re marvelous for cards, tags, ATCs, etc.

  • Red Castle Texture Plate 1 and 2
  • Acrylic blocks
  • KAI scissors
  • 3 inkpads in coordinating colors
  • White envelopes (A7)
  • Round craft sponge

Monday, November 27, 2017

Texture Cards by Judi Kauffman for The Queen’s Inkling

Here’s an easy recipe for a big batch of fun mixed media collage cards, bookmarks, and a coil-bound notebook!


Ink-Only Backgrounds from yesterday’s post:


Stamped pieces created with rubber stamps from Red Castle sheets called Texture Plates 1 and 2 (available exclusively from The Queens Ink) shown last week:

  • Tear and/or cut assorted pieces
  • Mix in other collage papers
  • Layer, arrange and rearrange till pleased
  • Glue, sew and/or staple the layers
  • Add more stamping
  • Embellish with word stickers, paper clips, safety pins, brads, key charm, and such
  • Add details with pens
  • Add color with pencils, markers and paint pens

(Cards shown: 5 x 7, 4.25 x 5.5, 6 x 6, and ATC-size 2.5 x 3.5)


Cut strips for bookmarks, laminate
Laminate 5.5 x 11 notebook covers, punch covers and inside pages, coil-bind
Add a calendar pad and punch a hanging hole, create a ribbon loop


Dip into the photo gallery for inspiration and ideas. (The supply list follows the gallery.)

  • Red Castle Texture Plates 1 and 2
  • Stamped papers created with Red Castle Texture Plates 1 and 2
  • Solid color cardstock
  • Patterned papers and cardstock
  • Ink-Only Backgrounds from yesterday’s tutorial
  • Inks
  • Assorted rubber stamps (eyes, arrows)
  • Embossing folders with words and phrases
  • Tim Holtz idea-ology ‘Clippings’ word stickers
  • Low-relief embellishments
  • Pigma Micron pen 01 in black (Sakura)
  • Pen-touch in Gold Metallic (Sakura)
  • Colored pencils
  • Twine
  • Awl to pierce holes for sewn elements
  • Needle with large eye (to sew twine)
  • Brads (round, square, triangle, dragonfly)

New Class! Holiday Gift Tags - December 5th, 2017

I'm returning to the The Queen's Ink on Tuesday, December 5th to teach a holiday gift tag class featuring stamps and sentiments from Taylored Expressions. In this workshop, we'll make six gift tags and two gift card holders featuring the Elf Grumplings. The images are colored using a very limited set of Copic markers. Details are below. Seats are limited, so sign up today!

Tuesday, December 5th, 2017, 10:30 AM - 1:30 PM
Register online or call the Queen's Ink at (301) 497-9449

BRING TO CLASS: The list below reflects the Copic markers that I will use in class. You can follow along using the same colors OR substitute colors based upon your personal Copic collection. You will need two blendable green markers, two blendable red markers as well as a skin tone and a blush tone (optional). Please bring all your markers to class and make sure your Copics are marked with Washi tape or some other means of identification. Markers are available for purchase at The Queen’s Ink. Students will receive a 10% discount on Copic markers. I will be available prior to class to help with selection.
  • E00 - Skin White (can substitute E50 or E51)
  • YG06 - Yellowish Green
  • YG09 - Lettuce Green
  • R20 - Blush (can substitute RV10 or E93)
  • R24 - Prawn
  • R46 - Strong Red
  • 0 - Colorless Blender
OTHER SUPPLIES: Please bring scissors, foam adhesive squares (I used Scrapbook Adhesives 3D Thin Foam Squares), and a tape runner adhesive or double-sided tape.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Ink-Only Backgrounds by Judi Kauffman for The Queen’s Ink

I played with Red Castle Texture Plate stamps last week, creating backgrounds that I promised to use for projects in an upcoming post. (And some envelopes, because I love stamping envelopes so much…)

I’ll be keeping that promise in the next tutorial, but today I wanted to show backgrounds that involve no stamps at all – just INKS! In this case, Tim Holtz’s Distress, Distress Oxide, and dye inks.

See you in a day or two with a batch of projects that combine the Texture Plate pieces with the ones you see here! There will be LOTS of cards, bookmarks, and a coil-bound notebook, too…

Take digital photos of your Ink-Only Backgrounds before you cut or tear them up to use in projects! Because you created them without any rubber stamps* or other elements that are under copyright where electronic reproduction is not allowed, you can alter them in your computer and, best of all, make as many photo prints of them as you want. That way, you can use the photo prints as collage papers or backgrounds in your projects, along with – or instead of – the originals!

(*Reminder: Each rubber stamp company has an ‘Angel Policy’ outlining how its stamps can be used. Red Castle’s policy is hand-stamping only, no electronic reproduction via photos, scanner, etc., but Red Castle does allow you to sell whatever you hand-stamp! This means I could use photo prints of my ink-only creations on my cards, but the stamped elements must be hand-stamped.)

  1. Use the pads as ink applicator tools
  2. Activate the Distress Oxide Inks with a bit of water from a fine mist spray bottle.
  3. Air-dry the pieces that are on uncoated cardstock.
  4. Add clear embossing powder and use a heat tool to set the Distress Oxide Inks on coated cardstock.
  5. Use the photo gallery below to give you some ideas for color combinations and compositions.

  • Distress Oxide Inks in colors of choice
  • Distress Inks in colors of choice
  • Other dye inks in colors of choice
  • Coated and uncoated cardstock
  • Panel cards
  • Fine mist spray bottle, water
  • Heat tool

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

It’s Texture Time: Red Castle Texture Plates 1 and 2, Part 1 By Judi Kauffman for The Queen’s Ink

I’ve been in love with Red Castle Texture Plate 1 and 2 stamp sheets for almost two decades. They came out in 2000 and I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve used them for my projects.

Now that these amazing full sheets of red rubber stamps are available again, exclusively at The Queen’s Ink, perhaps you’ll fall in love with them, too…

No projects today. This time I just wanted to show a variety of ways that the stamps can be combined and layered using stamps from only one sheet, or both. I created super simple backgrounds that will be cut up and used for cards, tags and collage, plus some #10 envelopes (shown in the photo at the start of this post).

Where you see fine lines in the photos above, I used the edge of an inkpad touched against the card stock to create them. Wherever you see soft colors the inks were applied with an almost-dry round craft sponge. And where there are straight edges, I used newsprint to create a mask.

I worked on small sheets of ivory cardstock as well as full 8.5” x 11” pieces of red, rust, and mustard yellow cardstock. I chose cranberry, denim, raisin, espresso and metallic gold inks.

Texture Plate 1 includes 19 stamps – 18 different 1.5” texture squares and a 1.25” x 2.25” Celtic knot rectangle. Texture Plate 2 includes 6 stamps – four different 3.25” squares, a 2” x 3” Celtic knot rectangle and a 1.25” x 3.75” diagonal stripe rectangle.

  • Stamp big sheets of gift wrap.
  • Stamp tags, collage papers, backgrounds for cards.
  • Make texture squares to use for paper mosaics.
  • Stamp into polymer or air-dry clay. (Red Castle stamps are VERY deep etched and perfect for clay!)
  • Consider the stamps as drawing tools and create large letters, landscapes, animals, and more.
  • Putter! (The more you stamp, experiment and play without a plan, the more ideas will pop into your head…)

The remaining Red Castle inventory is quite limited, and it bears repeating: If you like something, order it right away, please, to avoid disappointment.

As of today, there are still 15 Texture Plate 1 stamp sheets available, but only half a dozen of Texture Plate 2. And when they’re gone, they’re gone forever.