Friday, March 12, 2021

Second Thursday Tutorial: Masking For Dummies


I apologize that there will be NO Friday Smiles this week.  I won't be available to visit anyone today, so it just wouldn't be fair.

Back in May, 2011, I created a post that I never published.  It was all about masking, something I talked about yesterday when I participated in Rain's TAD this week.  Those of you who follow my blog, know I'm not a stamper. If you are a stamper, this post will probably be of no interest to you because this is really rudimentary stamping. Actually, it's masking, a stamping technique I never fully understood until I went to Roni Johnson's Ink Stains. She has the first masking tutorial that makes sense to me. She calls it "collage stamping" and you can see her tutorial here. So of course I had to try it for my Birds in Hats ATC swap. This is my first ever piece of art made entirely using rubber stamps.

I apologize if these are rather blurry, because it was late at night when I did this. And I did this more for ME than anything. At least now, when I want to mask something using rubber stamps, I can refer back to how I do it  (Remember the year I created this post too, which means these photos were taken with my old worthless camera.).

Supplies clockwise from upper left:
Acrylic blocks for UMs ((unmounted stamps)
Scratch paper
Undecorated ATC backs
Rubber stamps of your choice
Unmounted rubber (the red rubber stamp has just been treated with Wacky Tac not shown in this photo)
ATCs, cut to size with completed/colored backgrounds using Staz-on reinkers and 91% alcohol
Acrylic block and stamp
Flower petal that is not used in this technique
Various stamping inks

Following Roni's excellent tutorial, stamp your focal image first, using black ink. This is not an intuitive step to me. Seems the first thing to stamp would be the background. But that is not the case.

Stamp your first image, then stamp a second image on a sheet of scratch paper. Note: this was a scratch pad and made an excellent base for cushioning the stamps.

Stamp all focal images, then clean your stamp and return to stamp drawer.

Cut out the image you stamped and apply some kind of repositionable glue to the back. I used Wacky Tac, roll on liquid that dries after a few hours. Well worth the wait. While I had the Wacky Tac out, I did the same to a rubber stamp and a silk flower petal (EDIT: Wacky Tac is no longer sold.  My friend Sally purchased hers through QVC and she gifted me with a bottle).

Again referring to Roni, cut the mask a tiny bit smaller than the actual image. That way the next stamped image will be against the edge of the focal image. 

When your mask is dry, position it over the focal image.
Stamp your second image, once on your card, then again on your scrap paper. Cut out the second (mask) image and apply repositionable glue. Allow glue to dry before preceding.

You should leave your mask in place, but since this was my first masking attempt, I became a little kid and had to see if I did it right.

Once your second mask is dry, place it over the image.

Be sure the first mask is also in place.

Using a different color ink, stamp your next image.

Remove the masks and appreciate what you've accomplished.

I thought the hats looked a bit plain and faint, since I used some children's SU ink to stamp the hats. I got out a couple of gel pens and colored them in.

Using the same technique, once again placing the mask over the focal image, I stamped the "perch" on which the bird sat.

So when is a piece complete? Well, I should have stopped with this step, which I was very happy with.

Instead I had to take it a step further and possibly ruin the ATCs by adding that silly sentiment. At least I liked the stamping part of it. I know you probably never thought you would hear me say that, but I thought these stamps just fit the swap theme so well. And yes, this is the most stamping I have done in my life! Now why do I think I cheated when I did nothing more than stamping? Was that why I felt compelled to add the sentiment I feel ruined the piece?

I had planned to show each of the images as I copied and pasted them into this blog post.  The reason I couldn't show the original images (and the original post) is because they had been stored on my friend Scott's old server.  All you would have seen were empty boxes  (Some of you may have encountered empty boxes if you were searching for posts on my blog.  Now you know why.).  However, thanks to the "NEW" and highly UNFRIENDLY Blogger, I was unable to do that.  I had to start from scratch.  At least I found a way to save most of the words I had written in the original blog post.

Thank you ever so much for joining me today.  I greatly appreciate it and you.  Once this post goes live, you will find, and be able to access it on my Tutorials page.

20 thoughtful remarks:

Elephant's Child said...

Thank you for this.
I am an appreciator rather than a creator - but if ever I get brave I will know to visit your tutorial pages.

sheila 77 said...

That was a pretty good tutorial.
Yes, why wouldn't one make the background first - and now I know why, that's very clever. One could also use this technique with painting so long as the paint doesn't get under the mask.
The added bonus - just to the left of the comments bar is a photo of Squiggles.
Love from Sheila

kathyinozarks said...

this was interesing-thanks Elizabeth

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

I love the outcome! But, I have to say I found the process complicated. I think I'm the impatient sort when it comes to art. I want to paint on the image and be done with it. :-)

Olde Dame Holly said...

It didn't ruin it! Maybe you feel that it was "gilding the lily," as it WAS already perfect before the words were added. I used to do a tremendous amount of masking, when I was a graphic artist way back when. It is SUCH a useful technique and it is very, very strong graphically as you saw!

CJ Kennedy said...

Good to know. Thanks for sharing

David M. Gascoigne, said...

This is all quite fascinating - a window to a world I know nothing about, but have enormous respect for those who do. And who can quibble when you chose a bird as your subject!

Divers and Sundry said...

Don't you hate it when a product you like becomes unavailable :(

Such clear instructions! I was never able to do stamping so that it didn't look messy or wonky. Your tutorials would've been a help :)

Let's Art Journal said...

Wonderful ATCs! The bird designs are gorgeous and it was so much fun seeing how they came together with the stamping and masking - fabulous 😀. Happy Friday and weekend! Hugs, Jo x

Rita said...

Masking takes some time and effort but it is always worth it for the interesting depth effect. :)

RO said...

Yikes! This reminds me that I picked up what I thought were really cool stickers the other day, and when I opened the package I found out they were specialty stamps which I had no clue how to use.(lol) I always enjoy the idea of handmade cards. Hope you are doing well! Hugs, RO

aussie aNNie said...

Your masking technique is how I do it, so perfect....fabulous post and as always inspiring..hugs.

Mae Travels said...

I hope your health issues haven't recurred! You have had enough problems for one winter.

best... mae at

Iris Flavia said...

Many steps - but great outcome!

My name is Erika. said...

It's my turn to catch up today. I planned on visiting blogs last night but then got engrossed in a mystery show and never made it around. I get what you mean about understanding masking. It took me forever. And every time I go to mask, I have to figure out what I want to do all over again. I like your ATC's, and it was fun to read this post. Hope you had a nice Friday. Hugs-Erika

Sandra Cox said...

Birthday Bird! I love it!

pearshapedcrafting said...

I go through phases of masking...then don't do anything for ages and have to think very carefully to get it right! Love these ATCs! Hugs, Chrisx

Jeanie said...

What a good (and helpful) post! Well explained!

DVArtist said...

Wow what a nice tutorial. I love this.

craftytrog said...

A great set of ATCs Elizabeth.
It's been a while since I did this kind of masking.
Alison xx