Helpful Tips and Tricks: How to Take Amazing Photos of Craft Projects

by Martha Lucia Gomez

Helpful Tips and Tricks: How to Take Amazing Photos of Craft Projects

With the ever-growing popularity of social media platforms, particularly Instagram, crafters have been talking about how to take better photos of our projects. Since not all of us are professional photographers, and we don’t all have “the perfect tools”, I would like to talk about how to take great photos of your work without having to be a pro-photographer.

Style your photos creatively

These are important elements to focus on when taking a photo of a project:

  • the backdrop or background
  • main focus – which is always your project
  • props or supporting elements to make the focus shine
  • the camera

Backgrounds

With clear and simple photos you need to have a neutral base or background, like white, grey, ecru, cream or even brown tones like wood. Since most of us don’t have professional lighting, set your background up where it is in natural light, and make sure it is a large enough base to place your card or project. Try using dark colors in the background to help the project colors pop.

You can set up your background so that your project can be laid flat or standing up. I find that I can capture more details by taking photos of my cards flat on a surface with the camera located directly above it. Also, if you have a small space to take your photos, this option is perfect because it requires less space and can make it easier to incorporate other elements.

With flat photos, remember your backdrop is the most important part. If you are creative you don’t need to buy expensive elements, you can use everyday household items and surfaces as the background. The most important thing is to keep in mind the colors and textures. A brightly colored element next to your project can round out the scene and support the focal point, but being able to use it as the background will be trickier, tho can work on occasion.

You can use wood surfaces, floor boards, ceramic tiles or designer textured papers, as well as other supplies to add some depth to the photos. You can also use elements like designed plates, which can be easily found in home decor stores. My favorite is HomeGoods because I can buy just one plate, placemat or napkin. Neutral colored fat quarters found at the fabric store is another cheap option.

Supplies or Photo Props

With staging photos, it is nice to add a few elements alongside your card or project—but these cannot compete with the main focus object i.e. your crafting project. You can use many items as photo props. I use a lot of flowers and greenery, my favorites are made of silicone because the fabric flowers don’t look real to me. But definitely, my favorites photo props are the craft supplies. Supplies like inks, stamps, stencils, color pencils or markers, and die cuts are perfect elements to support your project. Extra embellishments like buttons, sequins, washi tape and twines are also great, but always be careful with the color combinations. My suggestion is to start with the neutral items first that won’t compete with your project. If you still aren’t finding what you like, just look around your home and you might find gorgeous elements that you can borrow for a few minutes as part of your photo.

Camera

With today’s technology, you really don’t need to have a professional camera. Cell phones like the iPhone or Samsung make it possible to take amazing photos. To make them work best, use natural light source and keep an eye out for any shadows across your photo. Also, think about a good angle to take the photo. Always start by making your lens parallel to the project front, and then play with the angle from there. My last helpful hint is very simple but important: always clean the lens of your camera or phone before taking the photos. Because we touch our phones so often it is easy for the lens to become dirty.

I hope you found these tips useful. Just remember to stay open to learning new ideas and most importantly have fun! Thank you for stopping by the Imagine blog and don’t forget to share!

Learn How to Upcycle Wine Bottles with Paper Mache

by Iris Rodriguez

Spring is coming and in some places, it’s already starting to look like spring with the beginning of sunny weather. To celebrate the change of the season, I like altering bottles of every type such as wine, liquor, and Coke bottles. Each one has it’s own potential and beauty. Today’s project is an altered wine bottle, made to look like flowers are springing out (pun intended) with a real zipper and paper mache to cover the glass. This project takes time! Paper mache takes longer to dry so to start this project please carve out a couple days for its completion. As part of my color palette, I was inspired by Pantone’s Color of the Year, Ultraviolet. For my version of Ultraviolet I used Fireworks! Shimmery Craft Spray Grape Jelly and Lulu Lavender. This altered bottle makes a beautiful home décor, centerpiece or just a nice gift.

Skill: Advanced
Time: 2.5 hours + 1 day drying time

Directions


Step 1

Select a bottle, remove labels and wash it inside and out. Dry completely.


Step 2

Measure the zipper on the bottle, determined where it should open and adjust slider accordingly.


Step 3

Glue cardstock paper on each side of the zipper, ensuring that the paper is on front facing side of the zipper. Add paper starting from the top of the zipper to where the slider is located. The paper helps to glue the zipper on the bottle and still allows for adjustments to the opening.


Step 4

Glue tissue paper around the area where the zipper will be placed. The tissue makes for a porous surface to color and to glue on the zipper. Let dry.


Step 5

Glue the zipper onto the bottle.


Step 6

Mix the Sculptamold or other paper mache product with water. Mix in small sprinkles of water at a time until the desired consistency is achieved, which should be similar to cottage cheese. Mix a small portion at a time. Be careful but quick because it sets fast.


Step 7

Apply the paper mache with a palette knife around the outside of the zipper. Work time is short—about 15 mins before it begins to set. Spray a little water to smooth the surface. (After it has set, you won’t be able to change it much.) Paper mache is very porous and takes the ink sprays very nicely. It is messy, however. It is water soluble, so clean up is fast and easy. Let the bottle dry for one day or more.


Step 8

Apply more paper mache or molding paste through stencils. The pattern will not come out crisp and clear because of the bumpy surface but that’s what makes it artsy! Let dry.


Step 9

Color the bottle with Fireworks Shimmery Craft Sprays.


Step 10

Color paper flowers with the Fireworks. If you want some dilution of color without dilution of Sparkle, add Sheer Shimmer in Sparkle. (Also, if you wanted to keep some white, make them match by just adding Sheer Shimmer.)


Step 11

Spray Fireworks onto the smooth side of the watercolor paper. Dry it completely. Stamp and emboss the butterflies with Tuxedo Black Memento Luxe and black embossing powder. Fussy cut the butterflies. For the antennas soak a piece of embroidery thread in glue. This will stiffen the thread. Cut little pieces for the antennas and glue to the back of the butterflies.


Step 12

To make a decorative bottle stopper use a dresser pull knob.


Step 13

Apply gesso to the dresser pull knob then color with the Grape Jelly Fireworks Craft Spray. Then seal the knob with the spray sealer.


Step 14

To adhere the knob to the bottle, use a natural cork and glue. The cork usually expands when it is popped out the bottle, so in essence, it’s hard to stick back in the bottle completely. However, you can shave down the cork with a serrated knife. This image shows the cork before and after.


Step 15

Screw in the dresser pull knob into the cork. Apply E-6000 adhesive. An alternative to using a cork, adhere the dresser pull knob with a two-part Epoxy clay.


Step 16

Place the corked knob in the bottle.


Step 17

Phew! Almost done. All that is left to do is to put it together. Glue the flowers in the area between the open zipper, tucking them under the edges. Glue butterflies around. Spray a little bit of sealer over the entire bottle.


Step 18

The pull knob’s neck area will need a ribbon to cover the seam and glued cork. Embellish the bottle with charms, rhinestones, chains.

Supplies

Imagine
Other
  • Glass bottle
  • Zipper
  • Paper flowers
  • Embellishments – ribbon, rhinestones, charms
  • Butterfly stamp
  • Sculptamold or other paper mache product
  • Molding paste (optional)
  • Cardstock – white
  • Watercolor paper
  • Gel Glue
  • E-6000
  • Cork
  • Dresser pull knob
  • Stencils
  • Gesso
  • Krylon – Spray Sealer
  • Embroidery thread – black

See What Craft Supplies Our Artists Recommend for Weddings

See What Craft Supplies Our Artists Recommend for Weddings

There are so many kinds of craft projects that would successfully create a DIY wedding. We see all sorts of fabulous ideas on Pinterest and highlights from crafter’s blogs that blow our minds. We decided to ask our Artists in Residence (and some members of the Imagine team) to recommend their favorite Tsukineko or Imagine products to use in wedding cardmaking and crafting. Here is what they had to say!

Product Recommendations

3 Votes for Delicata!

Steph Ackerman

I recommend Delicata in Celestial Copper and Imagine’s Embossing Powder in Clear. This metallic pigment ink creates a beautiful effect on vellum. For further detail add a touch of color with Memento Markers to coordinate with the colors of the bridal party. The full-size inkpad should be enough to create a large number of cards and this ink has an inker available. So if you are creating more than usual then purchase the inker with the large inkpad.

Nadine Carlier

Delicata in White Shimmer and Imagine’s Embossing Powder in Iridescent on black cardstock is a great combo. For a video tutorial, I created this gorgeous black and white themed wedding invitation card. If you need the extra shimmery wedding then spray some Sheer Shimmer Spritz Sparkle. Watch Nadine’s video.

Jowilna Nolte

I recommend using All-Purpose Ink Pale Mint Green and Delicata in White Shimmer on top, all on a pearly cardstock. One lovely stamping technique I recommend for making an invitation would be to use a layered stamp set like you would find in the Altenew collection.

Shop Delicata

 

3 Votes for Embossing Powders!

Jennifer Vanderbeek

Gold and silver embossing powder is the best way to bring a touch of elegance. If you don’t have time to DIY it all, a touch of gold or silver embossing on your paper goods can elevate purchased items with a bit of pizazz.

Melissa Andrew

I really love Imagine’s Embossing Powders on vellum. I love a beautiful soft look for weddings and a gorgeous embossing powder on or under vellum is simple yet stunning. The beautiful colors, gold or silver, are the perfect colors to represent long-lasting love. They seem to compliment any colors a bride would choose. VersaMark ink is a great ink for embossing because of it’s tacky qualities. 

Arjita Sepaha Singh 

For an Indian wedding, perspective red is the color! Red is considered auspicious and adding Imagine’s Embossing Powder in Gold will be like a match made in heaven.

Shop Embossing

2 Votes for Creative Medium!

Kyriakos Pachadiroglou

I recommend Creative Medium in any of the Iridescent colors as a great way to create backgrounds that are not visible at first sight, giving an elegant and festive style with a distinctive glamour.

Martha Lucia Gomez

I enjoy Creative Medium in Clear and created a floral design using a watercolor technique with Fireworks Shimmery Craft Spray and Memento dye inks. See the full tutorial for this card. 

Shop Creative Medium

2 Votes for Sheer Shimmer Spritz!

Roni Johnson

For wedding projects, there’s nothing I like more than Sheer Shimmer Spray to add a touch of elegance, sparkle, and shine. It comes in 6 different colors, perfect to match any theme the bride and groom have chosen. Sheer Shimmer Spray can make plain white sparkle and they make colored backgrounds really pop! 

Marcie McCabe

My recommendation is Sheer Shimmer Spray in Sparkle and Fireworks Craft Spray in the colors of the wedding party. 

Shop Sheer Shimmer Spray

 

1 Vote for Fireworks Sprays

Iris Rodriguez

I recommend Fireworks Shimmery Craft Sprays for crafting in wedding decor. It can be hard to match the right colors for wedding decor. Since Fireworks is available in 24 colors and is a dye-based ink, you can choose one of the colors or blend colors to make the desired color. For example, to make a simple cork place card holder (in photo above), add a paper flower embellishment and color it with Fireworks! It’s elegant, inexpensive and personal. To make a zero waste wedding, make a wreath by attaching all remaining cork place card holders and flowers to a frame.

Shop Fireworks!

2 Votes for VersaFine Clair

Kassandra Tousignant

I recommend a delicate floral background stamp on paper with Sheer Shimmer Spray in Sparkle. In the photo above, I layered the paper with an acrylic sheet on top stamped with VersaFine Clair inked “It’s Your Special Day” sentiment. 

 Amanda Harryman

For those who don’t want to emboss, but want a touch of that elegant look, I would recommend Delicata in Golden Glitz or Silvery Shimmer depending on colors or preferences. I can also say that I would recommend VersaFine Clair in Nocturne, or other wedding colors, to use for the return address stamp on invitations since it will stamp the details clearly, and be smudge-proof quickly.

Shop VersaFine Clair

Design a Beautiful Floral “Congratulations” Card for a Wedding

by Martha Lucia Gomez

Design a Beautiful Floral "Congratulations" Card for a Wedding. Using Fireworks Shimmery Craft Spray - Sweet Plum, Potter's Clay.

One of the advantages of the watercolor technique is that you will never obtain two identical pieces, but with Fireworks you can still have a lot of control and keep your design just the way that you want. Today, I will show how easy it is to use the watercolor technique to make a wedding card.

Skill: Intermediate
Time: 1 hour + dry time

Directions


Step 1

Stamp the sentiment over watercolor paper using Memento Tuxedo Black. I used a Congratulations stamp from the Every Day Sentiments stamp set by Joy Clair. Here I used my trusty Misti stamping tool to position the sentiment.


Step 2

Take a detailed stencil and secure it over your watercolor paper. I used the Glorious Petal Stencil by Hero Arts. With a palette knife apply the Creative Medium in Clear careful not to cover the “Congratulations” stamped area with the medium. As soon you finish, remove the stencil and wash it with warm water and let the Creative Medium on the paper dry.


Step 3

In a separate piece of watercolor paper stamp the flower images using VersaMark and coat with White Embossing Powder. I used one flower included on the stamp set “Love is in the Air” from Dare 2B Artzy. To decorate my project I used three flowers. Heat set embossing powder.


Step 4

Here is where the magic happens! Color the flowers using the Fireworks Shimmery Craft Spray in your favorite colors with a paint brush to obtain the watercolor effect. For me, the best way to color was creating two spots of spray ink on my mat, one mixed with water and other undiluted. I used two different colors on my flowers, Sweet Plum and Potter’s Clay. But using the two dilutions you can achieve variance and depth in your image.


Step 5

Paste the stenciled layer over a color layer and add ink splatter with the spray stick of the Fireworks directly over the stenciled design. If you want you can also use a paintbrush. Splatter the ink as little or as much as you feel.


Step 6

Finalize your card by pasting the watercolor flowers over the stenciled design using double-sided foam tape or dimensionals. Adhere the decorated layers to a card base.

Supplies

Imagine
Other
  • Cardstock – Whisper White, Pumpkin Pie
  • Watercolor Paper
  • My Sweet Petunia – MISTI Stamping Tool
  • Heat tool
  • Joy Clair – Every Day Sentiments stamp set
  • Dare 2B Artzy – Love is in the Air stamp
  • Hero Arts – Glorious Petal Stencil
  • Double sided foam tape or Dimensionals

Stamping On Acetate With StazOn

by Nadine Carlier

Wedding Card by Nadine Carlier IC

Have you ever tried to stamp onto plastic or acetate? Normally it takes close to never to dry and if you do finally get it to dry it will still smear ruining what you just stamped. Not if you use StazOn ink! I used a background stamp with some Cotton White Opaque StazOn Ink to create this pretty wedding card.

Watch my video tutorial below to see how I created my card and how amazing StazOn works on acetate. Enjoy!

Skill: Intermediate
Time: 30 min.

Supplies

Imagine
Other

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Express Love and Happiness in this Wedding Congrats Card

by Steph Ackerman

With the onset of spring, thoughts can turn towards weddings. When creating a wedding card, I love to incorporate the colors in the wedding party. Pairing the bold look of VersaFine Clair Inks with the soft shimmery look of Delicata Inks creates a bold and dramatic statement.

Skill: Beginner
Time: 1 Hour

Direction


Step 1

Cut white cardstock to fit an embossing folder and run the paper and folder through a die cut machine. Mask off the top of the panel and apply Shimmery Silver Delicata Ink across the bottom half of the embossed by skimming the inkpad over the papers surface.


Step 2

Mask the bottom of the panel and apply Fantasia VersaFine Clair Ink to the top half of the embossed panel.


Step 3

Mat embossed panel with purple cardstock. Wrap with white twine. Mat with silver cardstock.


Step 4

Stamp phrase with Fantasia VersaFine Clair and emboss with Clear Embossing Powder. Using oval nesting dies, eie cut and ink the edges with Shimmery Silver Delicata Ink. Mat with a larger die cut in purple and add to card with foam adhesives for dimension.


Step 5

Adhere the panel to a purple card with foam adhesives. Use On Point Glue to adhere half pearls to some of the flowers on the embossed panel.

Supplies

Imagine
Other
  • Cardstock – purple, silver, white
  • Embossing Folder
  • Joy Clair – Stamp
  • Spellbinders – Nesting Oval Dies
  • Die cut machine
  • Whisker Graphics – Twine
  • Pearls