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October 2016

DIY Texture Paste & Puffy Snow



I love love LOVE cards with dimensional elements and texture! When I first saw embossing paste I knew I had to try it, but it's kind of spendy and I was sure I'd use a lot. So, I wandered around cyberspace and found a recipe to try. But, I didn't have the exact ingredients and ended up experimenting with what I had on hand. The results were fabulous and came with a happy surprise... it puffs up when heated. ;) We'll cover that in part II of this tutorial.


 There are basically two ways to make the embossing paste: option 1 is to use baking soda and option 2 is to use corn starch. Baking soda has a finer texture and stays soft longer, allowing for you to add impressions from stamps or gently use a texture plate to press designs into the surface. Corn starch is slightly coarser and sets up hard rather than pliable. 


  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1 Tbs Mod Podge
  • 1 Tbs white acrylic paint



This is ridiculously fun to play with and something I discovered completely by accident! I was trying to make my own texture paste and the recipe called for PVC glue. I have no idea what that is (I'm sure a trip to the craft store would solve the mystery) but I always have Mod Podge on hand, so I figured that would be a comparable substitute. It also called for corn starch which I used for my first batch.

For some reason I decided to use baking soda for the second batch. Perhaps I was running low on corn starch, or maybe it was the Costco-sized container of baking soda begging to be used for something... ANYTHING. I was incredibly happy with both batches and began a crafting bonanza using anything even remotely resembling a stencil. Being a naturally impatient person, it didn't take long for me to reach for my heat gun to speed up the drying process. This is when the ~magic~ happened! 


I'd forgotten Mod Podge tends to expand when heated - a fact I'd learned during other grand experiments I'll save for another day. The combination of Mod Podge and baking soda made a much softer paste that puffs and expands when heated. It also lends itself nicely to being "pressed" with different texture plates and even "de-bosses" when you stamp on it. When it's wet, glitter sticks to it and refuses to come off. You can even color it with alcohol markers, pearl powder or sponge it with dye ink. Add drops of re-inking dye or mix it with colors right on your craft sheet. The sky's the limit with all the ways this stuff can be used! Without further suspense here's the magical recipe:


  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 Tbs Mod Podge
  • 1 Tbs white acrylic paint

Add more baking soda if you'd prefer it thicker (up to 1/2 cup total) or a splash of water if you'd like it thinner. I use the thinner recipe for puffy snow and the thicker recipe for texture paste. 



  • When using the baking soda recipe, give the paste a bit of time to cool off and start to stiffen before attempting to make any impressions in the surface. It stays soft on the inside for a surprising amount of time and the thicker the paste, the longer it takes for the "inside" area to dry out. If you try it too soon it will stick to your stamp or texture plate and you'll have to "patch" it with more paste (not to mention washing your impression tool.) 
  • You might think adding glitter to the medium would create "glitter paste." Yeah, I thought so too. Unfortunately it takes a huge amount of glitter as the flakes just get coated in the white paint and lose their shimmer. Just add glitter to your project while the paste is still damp and you'll be much happier!
  • If you're layering embossing paste over ink, be sure to use non-water based ink. This is especially important with the puffy snow formula since it's wetter. I learned the hard way when I layered it on top of the first Holiday Lane house I'd made and let it sit for awhile before using the heat gun on it. The ink from the roof pattern I'd stamped bled into my pristine white snow and made it look like a volcano had spewed ash all over. While this occasionally does happen in Alaska, it's not the look I was going for. :(
  • Avoid the temptation to touch the "snow" while it's warm and puffy. I made this fatal error with that sad little house that now looks like it was attacked by a marshmallow monster. Just trust me on this... or look at the photo below. ;)


Much love & happy crafting!


October 2016 PTI Blog Hop


It's been awhile since I made a "messy" project since most of my recent creations have been CAS (clean and simple.) For the Papertrey Ink October 2016 Blog Hop I decided to get my grunge on and I love the result! I thought the sequins made a nice contrast to the more rustic design. It's my first time using sequins, so I was a bit hesitant but decided to be brave! It was also my fist time using my PTI pumpkin shape die and the segment die that allows you to create a gorgeous layered look. 


This month's inspiration photo was rich with fall imagery: gourd pumpkins, music on parchment, twigs with berries and fall leaves in front of a weathered wood background. 


I love to do a little stamping around my sentiments so I threw a few of the leaves from the Turning a New Leaf set on the inside of the card for effect. I'm rather pleased at how well this card matches my vision and I believe I'll be making some more of these beauties! 



Here's the video I made showing you how to achieve the shading and blending on the pumpkin:



Much love & happy crafting,


Faux Watercoloring Technique


I received many questions about how I made the Holiday Greenery, well... greener! I used copic markers and some crafty shading to "spruce up" these die cuts and make them appear fuller and more detailed. Check out my first video tutorial and learn how to make these fun sprigs for yourself!


I used to create these tags:

Virtual Product Parade: 

Blog "Open House" Giveaway: Make it Market Post & Parcel

In celebration of my blog launch I'm hosting a virtual "open house" here at Hearstrings & Inky Things during October. I am so grateful to finally have the opportunity to share the joy of creating with others and I'd like to give a heartfelt thank you to the readers who encouraged me and made it happen!

Visitors who sign up for my email list between now and October 31st will have a chance to win one of Betsy Veldman's new Make it Market Post & Parcel Holiday Kit package, to include the Post & Parcel Main Kit, the Trimmings Kit and the Gift Card Envelope die and paper from Papertrey Ink... a $174 value! The lucky winner will be announced on my blog November 1st. 

Post & Parcel Words

Post & Parcel


Additionally, I'm going to start a tradition of giving away a brand new stamp & die set each month called the "Crafty Comments Contest." To qualify, just comment on my posts throughout the month. The October 2016 Crafty Comments winner will receive a Papertrey Ink "Holiday Greens" stamp and die set. I used this set to make the lovely green gift tag featured in my very first blog post. I can't wait to get to know you all of you and share my joy of crafting with you!


Holiday Greens 

Holiday Greens Die












Screenshot 2016-11-01 07.48.52Becky was the 18th subscriber to my list in October. 

Screenshot 2016-11-01 08.07.39 Linda posted the 59th comment on the blog last month!

Congratulations to the winners! Subscriber Beck B. is the winner of the Post & Parcel package and Linda S. is the lucky lady receiving the Holiday Greens set in my Crafty Comments Contest. I'll be emailing you ladies for shipping information. :) 

Much love & happy crafting!