Thursday, October 9, 2014

Fun Project for Paper Crafters

How to Create a Mandala From Used Postage Stamps

The word ‘mandala’, loosely translated from the original Sanskrit, means ‘circle’. However, a mandala is more than a simple shape; it represents wholeness and can be seen as a model for the organization structure of life itself. It reminds us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends both beyond and within our body and mind.

The mandala appears in all aspects of our life, from the celestial circles we call earth, sun and moon, to the conceptual circles of friends, family and community. I thought it would be fun to create a mandala from six or more used postage stamps to incorporate on an ATC.

We all have plenty of used postage stamps that we don’t know what to do with, right? And a lot of them are duplicates...a LOT of them. Let’s take advantage of that.


- 8 identical used postage stamps, small ones work best for ATCs
- Glue stick
- Blank 8.5” X 11” piece of paper
- Mod Podge
- Small paint brush

Step 1: Soak stamps in warm water to remove them from the paper. Lay upside down on a paper towel to air dry. If they start to curl up as they dry, carefully place another paper towel on top, making sure not to bend or crease the stamps, and put a book on top of them until they are completely dry.

Step 2: Take the piece of paper and fold in half lengthwise, then fold in half lengthwise again. Fold back the two open sides to line up with the main fold. See photos for clarification.



Step 3: Touch the top left hand corner of the first stamp on the glue stick, just the very corner, don’t go overboard. Line the stamp up to one of the lines on the paper. You don’t want your mandala to stick permanently to the paper, you are just using is as a guide. The corner of the stamp should be close to but not touching the centre point.

Step 4: Take the second stamp now. You are going to line it up with the next line on the paper. Only use the glue stick sparingly, just where the second stamp will stick to the first stamp.

Step 5: Continue with the third stamp. Line it up with the next line on the paper, using the glue stick only where the third stamp will touch the second stamp.

Step 6: Keep going in this manner until you reach the eighth stamp. You will tuck this stamp under the first stamp to complete your mandala.

Step 7: Carefully remove your mandala from the paper, so that it keeps its shape. Make any minor adjustments at this time. You want it as symmetrical as possible. Put away your perfectionism though, this is not an exact science. It will never be ‘perfect’. Each sheet of stamps the post office generates is slightly different when it comes off the printer.

Step 8: Use the small paint brush and Mod Podge (or other glue of choice) to finish gluing the stamps together. Let it dry thoroughly. Glue a paper or cardstock circle, small or large, to the centre of your mandala.

Step 9: Choose a background for your ATC, and glue your mandala onto the card. Add words and/or embellishments, as desired, to complete your ATC.

That’s it, you’re finished! Wasn’t that fun and easy?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

More Artist Trading Cards

September was a really busy month! We had vending events every single weekend, so basically I was working 7 days per week. There wasn't much time for anything else.

I did, however, still find time to create a few ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) and participate in a some swaps. I thought that I would share a selection of them with you.

For this card, the challenge was to include a happy face in the design. I used ribbon and trim to embellish it, along with some punched out flowers and letters to form the words 'BE HAPPY',. I didn't have a specific plan when I started but it seemed to develop quite nicely and I was pleased with the end result.

You had to incorporate a clock in the design for this card. I printed the clocks onto white paper, then paint washed them to get the different colours and cut them out. The butterfly was stamped onto the background first. I coated the entire card with matte Mod Podge to give it a textured look.

A rubber stamp had to be used on this card. I'd picked up this cat stamp for some Halloween ATCs I was making for another swap and it worked perfectly with this design. 

But I ended up finding a cat rubber stamp that I liked better for my Halloween ATCs. I'm sure that I will used both cats stamps again for other purposes though. They will not be a one usage only purchase.

I've received some fabulous ATCs in return. I'm amazed and quite humbled by the artistic talents of some people. I'm still learning and hope to develop new techniques from them to use for future ATCs.

Best of all, I'm having a lot of fun creating these small works of art to share with others. Fun is important. *smile*