Did You Know Fantastix Picks Up Shimmer?

Fantastix are awesome! Whether you enjoy cardmaking, illustration, mixed media or home decor projects, Fantastix are a great addition to your art supplies. Fantastix measures 4.25 x 0.25 inches and contains a highly absorbent foam that responds very quickly to liquid ink. And when we say liquid ink we mean pretty much any liquid ink whether it has metallic shimmer, dark pigment colors, light pigment colors, is a water-based or solvent ink.

The barrel size fits well in the hand, comes in bullet or brush tips and can be used on paper, metal, wood, and fabric. This lightweight tool from Tsukineko performs like an empty ink marker and in today’s blog, we created a video showing off a wide range of uses for this handy little tool.

Check it out!


  • Cardstock
  • Joy Clair Stamps – Be Joyful Bird
  • Ink palette
  • Pre-made zipper pouch
  • water


Watch a Video on Easy Basics of Embossing

3 Easy Concepts with Embossing for Papercrafting

Embossing techniques

Today we are focusing on basics of embossing to help you understand a bit more why and how to use this eye-popping and useful technique in your next papercraft project.

First, let us ask the obvious…what the heck does emboss mean? Webster tells us it simply means “to ornament with raised work”. We like to emboss because it creates a dynamic look! Embossing literally takes your project from one level to another by providing shine, texture and a 3-D effect. If your project has a nice focal point with a stamped image then embossing and texture lures the eye and the hand for a tactical experience. We want to show you three ways to emboss using embossing powder, embossing paste and embossing folders.




Embossing Powder is still trending as one of the coolest things to hit the crafting world. The fine particulate powder is great for intricate details and is often used to highlight a sentiment or focal point in a design. Using embossing powder involves a heat tool to melt the fine powder and a tacky ink. VersaMark is heralded as many pro crafter’s favorite embossing ink. It is important to understand embossing powder also works on any pigment ink with a slower dry time. Other Tsukineko pigment inks are Brilliance, Delicata, VersaColor, VersaMagic and Memento Luxe. This technique creates a lower raised surface, but the techniques you can do with it are endless.

Heat Embossed Easter Bunny

The bunny in the photo above is stamped with VersaMark, embossed with Gold Embossing Powder and detailed with Angel Pink Memento Markers. The melted powders will act as a resist to most inks you lay over. Crafters have developed a variety of techniques with embossing powders. Artist in Resident Martha Lucia Gomez shares a great technique with this double embossed Believe Greeting Card in a vibrant green. We encourage experimenting!


Grid embossed with acrylic paste


Creative Medium is our premier crafting acrylic medium for mixed media. The density of Creative Medium makes it great for embossing with stencils. The use of Creative Medium is fairly straight forward, though can take some practice to master. Simply tape down the stencil and apply paste over the stencil, remove and immediately clean extra paste from the stencil. The benefit of using a paste is expanding the use of a stencil, to get a more dramatic 3-D effect, and the option to add other embellishments into the emboss. Elina Stromberg uses this embossing technique on her Bluebird handmade card and her Fireworks Mixed Media Doll. Particularly when you use a metal stencil, creating an embossed surface with paste can create quite a great depth and appeal.


Embossing folder from Kaiser Craft


Using an embossing folder allows you to use paper itself as the embossed surface. This stays in the classic tradition of embossing which is from the printing press era. Since cardstock is a heavier weight, the fibers of the paper can handle being pressed into different shapes. With the embossing powder and Creative Medium, the results will shine with the plastic-like material. With an embossing folder, the paper will maintain the original finish if you are going for a matte look. A more intermediate or advanced technique is to ink the embossing folder and use the pressure of the embossing machine like a letterpress. Jowilna Nolte used this inked emboss technique in a Butterfly handmade Card.

We hope you enjoyed this quick and easy review of embossing techniques. Watch our video below and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more inspiration.











Cutting Class

Learn some basic on cutting tools for crafters.

If you have been paper crafting for a while you have probably made quite an investment in cutting tools. When starting out one might assume that a nice pair of scissors will do. But there are many different tools that have an array of features that make paper crafting easier, and often more fun! Some devices are made out of sturdy materials so they will last a long time but also makes them expensive. We hope to provide some insight on what to buy and when in order to avoid overspending on equipment you may not need…yet.


At the beginning stage, there is a lot to learn about paper, ink, stamping techniques and adhesives used in projects. It is great to learn the basics of composition and design when starting out. Whether making a card, a banner or a paper flower arrangement, most of the learning curve is with the basic layout, color theory, and form. No matter the layout or project, you are probably going to need to cut the paper.

Drawing representing a basic paper trimmer.

Get a perfect edge of the perfect size (almost) each and every time! (User error does cause some heartaches.)

Besides a good pair of scissors, a basic paper trimmer and a few fun punches will be a great start. A trimmer allows accuracy in cutting measurements and straight clean lines. Once a few projects are made using a paper trimmer,  it is hard to go back. Many come with a slide style blade, but there also are guillotine styles. Another beginner essential is a paper punch. These heavy little devices offer basic shapes such as a circle, heart, star or a hexagon and can keep anyone busy for a long time. With a basic punch, the beginner can go crazy on creating paper garlands, adding dimension to a card design or making labels for other projects. 

They are kinda like the ole’ office supply hole punches on steroids.

$ – Paper trimmer $10-20. Do some research and go ahead and get a nice one. This device will be one of your most used tools no matter how long you’ve been playing with paper. Be sure to get one that offers replacement blades. Punches vary from $5-20 each. Beginning investment can range from $35 -$75.


Once the beginner has developed a strong foundation in layout and a working knowledge of materials then it is time to kick it up a notch with more complex designs. One way to do this is with a die cut machine. Die cuts come in basic shapes, basic words and alphabets, as well as more complex designs like flower sets, animal shapes, box templates, edge treatments, etc. The die and paper run through a die cut machine which may be manually cranked or electronic. It acts much like a punch creating perfect shapes. Die cuts can be much more delicate than punch shapes and you can find die cuts that do some really amazing tricks! Using die cuts can be quite joyful, but the price is significant. Once you are ready, invest in the machine and build your die cuts over time. As with punches, think about the variety of uses you will get out of each die when deciding on which ones to purchase.

Hand drawn image of a hand crank die cut machine.

You can get a workout while you create!

$$ – Die Cut Machine $50-$150. Again, do some research and get a nice one. One machine should last you for years. Wait for a sale or a coupon and pick one up. $15-30 for each die set. Your investment could easily reach $100-$200 quickly.


Plotting and crafting meet at last! What takes someone from an intermediate to an advanced crafter is debatable. Since the digital machines are the most expensive, we reserve the price point for the advanced level with the confidence that anyone can make millions of great projects without spending at this level. While digital cutting machines are designed for easy use, we feel the advanced crafter will have the background and experience to get the most out of the flexibility and precision the plotter style machines offer.

Hand drawn image of a digital cutting machine.

It’s like having your very own crafty robot.

$$$ – Digital Die Cut Machine $200-400.

Whether you are just starting in paper crafting or have been crafting for years, we hope this review has helped provide guidance on purchasing tools that will match your needs. Of course, buy whatever devices you wish especially if you are on a Treat Yo Self mission! We recommend the above “levels” for the amount of use one can get before moving on to the next purchase!






Paper, What is it Good for? Absolutely Everything!

Paper is complicated. Just like ink, paper is formulated to a specific end use. Whether the end use is newspaper, magazine, copy paper, business card, greeting card or paper crafting, the paper manufacturer knows the intention for how the product will be used and creates formulas to accommodate the different market needs. In this brief review of paper, we will explore the history and production of paper and how the different characteristics effect crafting and art.



Paper was invented in China around 200 BC to replace a cumbersome practice of writing on bamboo sticks and silk. Cai Lun, an official of the Han Dynasty, invented the technique of pulping by experimenting with turning fibers from hemp, fishnets, and rags into a paste, then pressing this goopy matter into a sheet form to dry. This highly praised innovation quickly became the standard in China and soon spread around the world.

In the 13th century, Spain created a leap in production with the introduction of the hydraulic paper mill which replaced traditional manual pulping. This change resulted in a significant price drop and quicker availability.

Moving on into the Industrial Revolution, paper making became even faster which enabled paper to be made in longer sheets (or rolls) with half the drying time. This is important because paper crafting would not work if paper costs remained sky high!


Talk about Steampunk!


Let’s get to the fun part and talk about characteristics and use. There are two essential characteristics to consider. First, the color of the paper is predetermined. Any bleaching or dying happens while it is still a soup. That means the color of the paper is deep in the fibers. (Unless of course you are using a patterned paper, then the colors are applied after. Papers may also be coated afterwards, to make it glossy, say.) Second, the density of the paper is also determined by the pulp type, density and thickness. Paper weight is commonly labeled in pounds. Paper weight is important because it paints a picture of how dense the paper is, and how the ink will absorb into that density. If a project requires a lot of color layering then it is best to go with a heavier paper. Fun Fact: the ‘weight’ referred to is the measurement of 500 20×26 inch sheets.


A rainbow of colors! Each fiber dyed to its core when the paper was made.

The following descriptions break down the weights of some commonly used papers:

Copy Paper (20lbs.) – Used for general printing. Thin and inexpensive. Thin density causes it to wrinkle and warp easily with most wetter inks and paints. It will have a bit of a translucent quality if the paper if held up to light.

Cardstock (80lbs.) – Stronger and yet easily creased—crafters perfect paper! Many inks can soak into paper without wrinkling and warping.

Watercolor (140lbs.) – Can be gotten quite wet without falling apart or warping. It is literally built to absorb water and pigment. Unlike most copy and cardstock papers which are made with wood pulps, watercolor paper can be made entirely out of cotton or linen pulps.

This is certainly not an complete overview of all the different papers available! Head to your local art store and peruse the paper section. There’s a lot of variety—all of it made with a specific use in mind! It’s a lot of fun to try out new papers and discover new techniques to add to your repertoire.












Check Us Out in Phoenix! Imagine at Creativation

cha creativation 2017

We think we packed everything. We got our booth, our crafting table, swatches of Memento, irRESISTibles, StazOn, VersaColor, VersaMagic, etc, etc…snacks, bottled water, pens, our business cards, catalogs and baby wipes! So we are ready, and at this year’s Creativation, we will be featuring some new products. (We think we have washed all of the shimmer off our hands in preparation.) If you are going to be at this years show, please come by booth 2801 and say hi! If not- stay tuned to the blog for new product announcements!

marcie and amanda pile into cha crate

Marcie and Amanda, aka The Marketing Department, almost got shipped off in the crate too!

Always a highlight of the CHA shows are our classes with John Creighton Petersen. When he is not creating art or touring all over the world teaching, we are delighted to hang with him as he picks up supplies for his classes.

John Petersen teaches at Creativation 2017 using StazOn

John’s Creativation Classes

John Petersen teaches at Creativation 2017 using Memento Luxe

Everyday Crafting
Friday, January 20th 6pm – 8pm

Learn how to best use Imagine products successfully on fabric as well as layering StazOn on glass with the help of GlazOn.

John Petersen teaches at Creativation 2017 using Delicata

Technique Transformation
Monday, January 23rd 10am – 12pm

See how to use Imagine’s mixed media products successfully on a variety of surfaces, including blending, texturizing and other application techniques with Delicata, Creative Medium and StazOn.

Make sure you are signed up for these classes through Creativation. We hope to see you either at a class or at our booth!











Invite the New Year, and New Beginnings!

With the start of a new year, it can often be a time for new beginnings. That is true here at Imagine! We have been busy painting at HQ to do a nice refresh to start 2017 off on the right foot. We are prepping for the big trade show Creativation in Phoenix this month. And we are starting a new program here on our blog! Each month we are going to highlight a fun color. We’ll announce it here, and you can have fun looking for it all month long in the projects we share here and on Facebook, Instagram, etc.

Maybe because we have had a nice cool winter so far in Washington, or maybe just because it is such a beautiful color, we are starting off with light wintergreen for January’s color.


Tenia got right on board with this color and made this beautiful Happy New Year card.

2017_jan_tn_cheers_step2She found light wintergreen by blending together VersaMagic in Aquatic Splash and Turquoise Gem. She really got them to blend into a beautiful color, with a wonderful eye to let the color darken and lighten on different parts of the paper. She used Memento and Fireworks! inks in Tuxedo Black to decorate the rest of the panel. She splattered the Fireworks! ink using the internal tube rather than the spray head. Since Fireworks! is a liquid ink it is really versatile. Spraying is just one way to apply it.




Elina also used Fireworks! without spraying it. She mixed a little Bahama Blue with Cottage Ivy and did a unique watercolor application over some textured watercolor paper. She achieved the texture using Creative Medium Shimmer and a leaf stencil. Here’s how she explains the watercolor process:

When painting the textured background I first misted the paper with water, and then added drops of blue and green Fireworks! craft sprays. I did not spray the colors, but unscrewed the nozzle and tapped it with my finger to drop a few splashes of ink on the wet paper. When drying I let the colors mix for creating a beautiful mint color. Such a fun project to make!

Elina also found Turquoise Gem VersaMagic to make a lovely wintergreen color. She used it to watercolor her flower image. She found VersaMagic to make for a lovely, rich, opaque watercolor paint that was really easy to work with when mixed with water. Don’t forget that you can use any water based ink to use as a watercolor ‘paint’!

We wish you a very Happy New Year, and hope you enjoy a minty month!

Supplies used in Tenia Nelson’s Card:

  • Lawn Fawn – circle stamps
  • Cardstock – white
  • Queen and Co – washi tape
  • SRM stickers – sticker stitches
  • Sequins
  • Foam tape
  • Scissors

Supplies used in Elina Stromberg’s Card:

  • Heavy watercolor paper
  • Cardstock – white, blue
  • DWC – Stencil
  • Altenew – flower stamps
  • Water brush
  • Acrylic stamping block
  • Studio Calico – ’Hello’ die
  • Blue sewing yarn
  • White and blue seed beads
  • Glue
  • Scissors