Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Stretch Your Alphabets :)

Hi, everyone! It's Mary Jo here with a post about a dilemma I came across recently.
How many of you belong to kit clubs? I know I have been a member off and on in the past for a few clubs. And now I am designing for Scrapbooking from the Inside Out.
I had a lot of fun creating layouts with the July Communication kit, but I did have one problem. If you try to create mainly with just your kits like I do, the one or two alphabets that come in a kit may not seem enough!
But they can be :)
The current kit included a package of brown American Crafts Thickers and an olive green mini circular alphabet by October Afternoon.
But as I created my layouts for the month, I realized that there were a few other "out of the box" ideas I could use to stretch my alphabet capability.

For example, an easy solution was to use the leftover alphabet from a previous kit. My "scraps".
The white letters on this page were in the June Truth kit. I had quite a few leftover and didn't feel the brown Thickers in the current kit would work. I did use the olive green circle alphabet though.
The same goes for this layout. The brown letters were just to big for the space I wanted to place them. And I didn't feel they would contrast enough with the wood grain background paper.

Another good option, is to look to your patterned papers included in the kit.
The letters from "hope it lasts" at the bottom of the page, were cut from this piece of paper...

Meeting Minutes by October Afternoon. I just used the smallest circle punch I had to cut them out, but you could hand cut as well. Another paper from the kit that would have worked in a similar fashion is this one...
by Jillibean Soup.

On the same layout, I decided I wanted to get a "cut out" alphabet look, similar to the ones I see lately made by the Silhouette Cameo electronic die cutting machine. I love the look, but just don't want to invest in such an expensive piece of equipment right now.
I was inspired to break out an old letter stencil that I have had in my stash for ages!
After tracing my title on their backwards...
I hand cut each letter out. A little time consuming, but worth it to me :) And maybe not as smooth or clean cut as the Cameo, but it worked.

My last "out of the box" example...

uses an older stamp set from my stash, that strip of teal patterned paper you can see in the photo, a red distress marker by Tim Holtz that came in the kit and scissors. Using the patterned paper allowed me to choose the color I wanted for my letters. A color that really popped on the page and also coordinated with the colors in the die cut cards and paper I used for layering.
The first step was to color the letter...
and then stamp the reverse side of the paper to avoid pen marks as much as possible from showing. Except for a few letters like "R" and "L". Those have to be stamped on the front side, or they will be backwards :)
And the result! As you can see, I also used the brown Thicker set that came with the kit for this layout.

So with a little creativity, I was able to create several different alphabet looks for my layouts this month.
My challenge to you this week, is to scrapbook using an "out of the box" alphabet. Something using more than just prepackaged alphabet letters.
When you are done, feel free to share with us on the Craft Your Nest Facebook group page. The link is up there on the right :)
Happy Crafting!


  1. What great ideas, Mary Jo!! I especially love how you punched those tiny letters out of scrap patterned paper!! I LOVE seeing "out of the box" ideas like this! Thanks for the inspiration!!

  2. Great challenge! I love to cobble together vowels from other letters when I run out. Your handcutting is impressive.


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