5 Ways to DIY Project Life Cards – a Photo Tutorial

Hi, Harkee from AS they grow here, back with my second PPS Design Team project for you. Last month I walked you through the basic process I use when setting up a Project Life spread using pre-designed Project Life cards. If you missed it or want a refresher,  you can read that here. This month I am having a little more fun with the December challenge theme of “Gold” and unleashing some festive creativity!

The combination of December and the Gold theme automatically says Christmas Project Life layout to me. However, while I have a number of different Project Life card kits in my stash, I don’t have any Christmas themed sets. So this month I am giving you a few ideas on how to create your own themed cards using some of my old favourite crafting techniques and also taking the opportunity to try out some new ones.

This project uses a number of different crafting techniques so I used a whole selection of materials from my PPS Design Team kit and my craft stash, including the following:

Project Life 4″X6″ White Cards 100/Pkg
Little B Decorative Foil Tape 25mmX10m – Merry Christmas Word Play
Sharpie Metallic Fine Point Permanent Marker – Gold
Apple Pie Memories Acrylic Stamp Block Rectangular
Pinkfresh Studio Oh Joy Clear Photopolymer Stamps
Deco Foil Gold Transfer Sheets
Thermoweb Deco Foil Adhesive Pen
Emboss It Pens 2/Pkg – Black & Clear

Zing!Glitter Embossing Powder 1oz – Gold
Ranger Heat It Craft Tool European Version 220V
Project Life Photo Pocket Pages 12/pkg – Small Variety Pack 4
Pentel Slicci Metallic Gel Pens .8mm 3/Pkg Gold, Silver & Bronze

To give me a white blank canvas as a starting base for each of my cards, I used the blank Project Life pack of white cards.  Using the same base and colour scheme (in this case white and gold) also helps tie the set of DIY cards together even if they are made using different techniques.

1. Washitape

I am slightly obsessed with washitape so it makes sense that I start with this technique for my first card. It is also one of the easiest ways to create a themed card so we can slowly ease our way into the project. When I saw this Little B metallic gold washitape on the PPS shop I just knew it would be perfect for the theme and would make a great filler card. The technique is very simple, you just cover the card in washitape, applying it strip by strip, paying attention to the positioning of any pattern to get the desired effect and trimming off any excess.  This makes a great background to any embellishment you may want to add on. In the final layout you will see that I added a white Christmas tree shape stuck on with a foam square (to raise it a little).

2. Lettering

I’ve been getting into lettering during the course of this year (although I don’t practice as much as I would like) so for my second filler card I used a gold sharpie pen to letter a festive slogan on the card with a little dotty decoration to make another filler card – super easy yet very effective. There is so much you can do with lettering and so many different effects you can achieve with different pens.

3. Stamping

I do a lot of stamping in my kids craft sessions with my little ones but I’ve not used this medium much in my own crafting so this month’s project was a good opportunity to give it a try. I love the concept of cling stamps which attach to an acrylic block for stamping – not only to they take up much less storage space since you can use the same acrylic block for many different clings, but they also allow for a lot of flexibility in design – you can place stamps as you wish, including combining different elements or sets into a single design.  From the cute Pinkfresh Studio “Oh Joy” Christmas themed set I chose the “Its the most Wonderful time of the year” slogan stamp which I stamped with gold ink at the top of this card, leaving room below for journalling. As I said, I’m not an expert stamper so I can’t offer tips on the best way to stamp but a couple of tips I picked up at various PPS workshops are that you get a better result if you 1) place the stamp in the middle of the acrylic block and 2) do not rock the block to transfer the ink to the surface, just press straight down.  I then finished off the edge of the card with another technique I learnt at a PPS workshop which involves rubbing the ink itself along the edge and transferring some of the ink to give an aged or distressed effect.

4. Foiling 

I have been seeing so many awesome foiled projects popping up on my instagram feed over the last few months. I knew this was something I wanted to try as soon as I heard December’s challenge theme was gold!  The effect is so striking that you might think it is difficult to achieve but in reality it is so simple. I followed the instructions clearly set out on the deco foil packaging; first I used the deco foil adhesive pen to draw the design I wanted to foil onto the card. Then, after waiting a few seconds, I cut a piece of the deco foil paper slightly bigger than my design and placed it on top, gold side up, and rubbed gently to adhere it to the adhesive.  To fully heat set it I then placed each card in between a sheet of folded parchment paper and then ran the parchment paper containing the card through my laminator. Once it had been through the heat I carefully peeled the foil paper away to leave the drawn out design foiled onto the card. I used this technique to create two filler cards, one with a loose Christmas tree design in the middle and the other loosely coloured in over most of the card. As with the washitape covered card, this second design makes a great background for embellishments and I later added a white Christmas tree just like the washitape filler card, further tying the theme together.

5. Embossing

Embossing is another technique that I’d been watching on various lettering and crafting social media accounts that I follow. The magic that happens when the embossing powders are heated up was too much to resist! I bought the supplies I needed including the powders, heat tool and adhesive pen and ink earlier this year but then haven’t had as much time to play with them as I would have liked to so I had to get them out for this project.  I decided to go freehand and keep the design loose to go with the other cards, so I drew a loose design out with pencil and then went over it with the Emboss it adhesive pen. Similar to how we use ordinary glitter, I then poured the gold glitter embossing powder over the design, shook off the excess and returned it to the tub. Don’t be afraid with this step, it might feel like you are pouring the whole tub out onto the paper but only a little actually sticks to the paper and most will be returned to the tub not be wasted.

You can also use stamps and an embossing ink stamp pad to create a design if you didn’t want to go freehand with the pen.  If your design is very detailed and you are worried about the ink drying before you finish inking out the design, then you can do it in stages. For example, for this journaling card I drew the border first and then, after applying and shaking off the powder on that, I drew over the little trees and repeated with the powder.  Once your design is all powdered up it is time to heat it up using the heat tool and that’s when the magic happens, melting the grainy powder into a smooth embossed finish.

So as you can see, it is very easy to make your own cards to use in your Project Life spreads when you either don’t have an appropriate set or you want to show off some of your other crafting pursuits. These are just some suggestions for techniques to use but the possibilities are endless, watercolour, sketching, collage, even sewing, would all make great insert and journalling cards too.

Since it is Christmas, this month I decided to do something a little different with the photos as well as the cards. Rather than use my own photos, I created a layout for a very good friend of mine who I gifted a Project Life album and supplies to earlier in this year. I know she won’t have had a chance to catch up on Christmases past so I used past Christmas photos of her two children which I know will be very special for her. Now she can just slip this layout directly into her  own album.

To prepare the layout for this project I used the same general process as I did in my last PPS Design Team Project including using the Project Life corner punch to prepare the photos and organising the photos and cards to fit the inserts. Since all the photos were in portrait orientation I used photo pocket page Design L from Small Variety Pack 4, I like buying the variety packs so I have number of different layouts on hand to choose from as needed. Of course since this lay out is for my friend, I have left the journalling cards blank for her to fill in herself with her memories of that Christmas and that day; the Pentel Slicci Metallic gold gel pen would be the perfect choice for journalling this spread!

I love how all the metallic golds have come out in this spread and I can’t wait to give it to my friend. I hope it inspires her to start creating her own personalised insert cards and I hope it has done the same for you too. Do you have any friends that would appreciate a spread made for them? Let me know what you think and any ideas you might have for DIY Project Life cards in the comments below, I would love to hear from you!


Do join the Pretty Paper Studio Monthly Challenge through the following easy steps:

1. Create a project with the theme “Gold”
2. Upload your project photo to “December 2017 Challenge: Gold” Photo Album in the Pretty Paper Studio Facebook Group.
3. All entries are due by December 31, 2017.
4. Challenge winner will receive a prize pack worth AED50.

A winner will be announced only if we have THREE new submissions.
All projects submitted for the challenge must be NEW and created AFTER the challenge went live.