Starter Kit Challenge: Day 3

A Starter Kit Worth of Materials

I am in the midst of a personal challenge inspired by a comment I saw from a brand new Stampin’ Up demonstrator from years ago. The new demonstrator was asking for help; she had purchased a Stampin’ Up! starter kit, but didn’t have enough ideas for cards she could make with only the items in her kit. Sadly, the post was from years ago, but I’m sure there are others out there facing a similar challenge and this post is for them!

I started stamping almost exactly a year ago and all of my supplies lived in a cardboard box top on my dining room table. I remember what it was like to have very limited supplies; it can be a challenge, but it is definitely still possible to make a wide variety of different cards! This personal challenge is all about making a lot with a little.

The Stampin’ Up! Demonstrator Kit comes with $125 worth of supplies (for $99), and my personal challenge this week is to make at least half a dozen different cards using ONLY the supplies in my suggested kit.

  1. Stampin’ Trimmer – $30.00
  2. Brights Stampin’ Write Markers – $29.00
  3. Brights Designer Series Paper Stack – $22.00 OR Brights Cardstock – $8.00
  4. Whisper White Cardstock – $9.00
  5. Sprinkles of Life Photopolymer Stamp Set – $21.00
  6. Block D – $8.50
  7. Memento Tuxedo Black Inkpad – $6.00
  8. Snail Adhesive – $7.00

My total is $132.50 (it would have been $125.50, but I forgot adhesive at first). I also used a regular pair of scissors, since most people already have those, and a sponge that I think came from the dollar store.

Another Sweet Challenge

One great way to get the creative juices flowing is to participate in community challenges! You can get ideas for color combinations, design layouts, themes, and more!

This card was inspired by Paper Players Challenge #309!


Clean and simple challenges are great if you have limited supplies! Clean and simple designs often have lots of open space, limited layers, and limited embellishment, like this card:

This homemade card by Natalie Lapakko features cupcakes from the Sprinkles of Life stamp set.

How to Make a Clean and Simple Sprinkles of Life Card

This card combines two techniques; stamping directly on  designer series paper and sponging with no ink pad.

  1. Create a card base from Whisper White. I used one that was 8-1/2″ x 5-1/2″, creased and folded at 4-1/4″.
  2. Stamp cupcake bottoms from the Sprinkles of Life stamp set onto Melon Mambo, Daffodil Delight, and Bermuda Bay polka dot patterned Brights Designer Series Papers.
  3. Fussy cut the bottoms of the cupcakes, leaving an extra 1/2″ or so at the top for gluing.
  4. Stamp three cupcake tops at a slanted angle on Whisper White cardstock.
  5. With the wide end of the Daffodil Delight Stampin’ Write Marker, scribble onto a clean block until a small patch of ink is deposited.
  6. With a piece of a sponge, dab up some of the ink from the ink pad.
  7. Using small circular motions, apply Daffodil Delight down the center of the cupcake tops.
  8. Repeat 5-7 with Melon Mambo on one side and again with Bermuda Bay on the other side. Where the colors overlap slightly, they will mix to form a rainbow. See the diagram for how to apply the ink.How to make rainbow cupcake tops using sponged ink, by Natalie Lapakko.png
  9. Fussy cut out the cupcake tops.
  10. Adhere the cupcakes together in a stack on the right side of the card.
  11. Stamp the sentiment on the left side of the card.

Sponging Tips

This sponging technique may take a little practice! I found that it applies ink more slowly than traditional sponging using ink pads, so it takes a little more work, but it is much more controlled. Sometimes when you first touch the sponge to the paper, it leaves a dark splotch. To avoid this, start your sponging outside the image or off the edge of the paper and work your way inward with circular motions. This will give you a nice smooth color!

This card by Natalie Lapakko is one that can be made using limited supplies purchased with a Stampin' Up! Demonstrator Start Up Kit.

A Sweet Color Combination

This color combination is very close to a primary color scheme, so the colors mix really well to make a rainbow. Even when they aren’t mixed, they make for a cheerful combination, perfect for kids, birthdays, and celebrations of all kinds.

Color Combo: Bermuda Bay, Daffodil Delight, Melon Mambo.png

More Starter Kit Challenge Cards

Homemade Card By Natalie Lapakko A Sprinkle of Inspiration

Homemade Card By Natalie Lapakko A Bunch of Inspiriation 3

Homemade Card By Natalie Lapakko Inspiring Bluebird

Homemade Card By Natalie Lapakko Lucky Inspiriation

Homemade Card By Natalie Lapakko Ice Cream Inspiration 3

This homemade card by Natalie Lapakko features only materials that could be purchased in a Stampin' Up! demonstrator Start Up Kit.

Thank you for visiting my blog today! I appreciate all the comments and “likes” you all leave me! They cheer me through the long day. Happy stamping!

Starter Kit Challenge: Day 2

First, I’d like to give a big thanks to Jaydee and all the other designers over at the Paper Players for selecting my Parade of Primary Penguins card as one of the winners for the week! The number one benefit of participating in challenges is all the great ideas and inspiration I get from the challenges and all the sample cards… but it is also really nice to be noticed! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Starter Kit Personal Challenge

I have set a personal challenge for myself this week. I have decided to help out new Stampin’ Up! demonstrators by creating half a dozen cards made using only the materials that could be purchased with a Stampin’ Up Demonstrator Starter Kit. I’ve limited myself to using only these materials to show how many different and unique cards can be made even with only a few supplies.

Freshly Made Sketches Challenge

This particular card was also inspired by a sketch challenge! If you only have a few materials (or if you have a whole bunch, too) and are stuck on ideas, these challenges are great at getting the creative juices flowing!

This challenge comes from Freshly Made Sketches Challenge #250!

FMS Final 250-001.jpg

Here is my card for the sketch! You’ll notice that I substituted a square shape for the circle, because I didn’t include any circle dies in my suggested starter kit. Challenges are pretty flexible and most will accept substitutions if you don’t have exactly the right shape. If you have limited supplies, don’t be afraid to enter a challenge just because you don’t have the exact shape in the sketch!

Homemade Card By Natalie Lapakko: See how to make a simple card using Sprinkles of Life and other materials part of a SU! Starter Kit.

How to Make a Simple Sprinkles of Life Card

  1. Cut and score a Whisper White card base using the Stampin’ Trimmer. Side opening card: 5-1/2″ x 8-1/2″, scored and folded at 4-1/4″. Bottom opening card: 4-1/4″ x 11″, scored and folded at 5-1/2″.
  2. Cut a crooked panel out of Tangerine Tango designer series paper. I started with a rectangle that was 4″ by 5″, cut the right side at an angle, then turned my paper in the trimmer so that new angle was flat against the bottom of the trimmer and cut what is now the top at a 90 degree angle. For more details and pictures of how this is done, see my tutorial on crooked panel cards.
  3. Cut a Whisper White square at about 1-1/4″ by 1-1/4″.
  4. Stamp the top of the cupcake on Whisper White, color it in with the Tangerine Tango Stampin’ Write Marker, and fussy cut it out.
  5. Stamp the bottom of the cupcake on a piece of Bermuda Bay Designer Series Paper and fussy cut it out.
  6. Adhere everything together.
  7. Stamp the sentiment along the top angle of the crooked panel.

Stamping on designer series papers is tons of fun! I love how the cupcakes in the Sprinkles of Life stamp set look when stamped on patterned paper: it’s the reason I chose to combine them even in my very limited list of materials!

Tips for Stamping With Photopolymer Stamps

  • Put your paper on top of a somewhat cushioned surface before stamping on it. This insures that the entire image will come into contact with the paper. Rubber stamps have a built in cushion that photopolymer stamps don’t have. Examples of a cushioned surface include: an old mouse pad, a piece of craft foam, a piercing mat, or a couple layers of newspaper.
  • Check before you stamp. After inking your stamp, look at it before stamping the image. Check to make sure the entire image is covered with ink and make sure there isn’t any ink in undesirable areas.
  • Stamp a test image on scrap paper. Check what the image will look like before stamping is straight on your card. The last thing you want to do is ruin the hard work you did on the rest of your card with a stamp that is misbehaving.

Homemade Card By Natalie Lapakko, features Srpinkles of Life and uses materials that could be purchased as part of a Stampin' Up! Deonstrator Starter Up Kit.

Contrasting Colors Add Pop to a Card

All of the colors in a Stampin’ Up! color family are designed to go well with each other. Since the markers and designer series paper I selected are all “Brights” I can put any two or three together for great results.

These two colors are opposite on the color wheel, which give them a lot of contrast. On a mostly Tangerine Tango card, a little bit of Bermuda Bay really sticks out. This let’s the viewer know that the cupcake is the focal point of the card. Color contrast is like a neon sign that says “Look at me!”

Color Combo: Tangerine Tango, Bermuda Bay


This card was made using ONLY materials that could be purchased from Stampin’ Up! in a Demonstrator Starter Kit bundle. For $99, a kit comes with $125 worth of supplies. My materials cost just over $125 (because I forgot to include adhesive at first…oops).

  1. Stampin’ Trimmer – $30.00
  2. Brights Stampin’ Write Markers – $29.00
  3. Brights Designer Series Paper Stack – $22.00 OR Brights Cardstock – $8.00
  4. Whisper White Cardstock – $9.00
  5. Sprinkles of Life Photopolymer Stamp Set – $21.00
  6. Block D – $8.50
  7. Memento Tuxedo Black Inkpad – $6.00
  8. Snail Adhesive – $7.00

My total is $132.50 (or $125.50 without adhesive). I do also assume that a person probably already owns a regular pair of scissors, so they aren’t included.

More Starter Kit Challenge Cards

Homemade Card By Natalie Lapakko

Homemade Card By Natalie Lapakko

Homemade Card By Natalie Lapakko A Stack of Inspiration

Homemade Card By Natalie Lapakko Lucky Inspiriation

Homemade Card By Natalie Lapakko Ice Cream Inspiration 3

This homemade card by Natalie Lapakko features only materials that could be purchased in a Stampin' Up! demonstrator Start Up Kit.

This is now the complete list of cards made using the same supplies from during the Starter Kit Challenge!

Thanks for visiting and happy stamping!

Stampin’ Up! Demonstrator Starter Kit Challenge

The Demonstrator Starter Kit Challenge

For those of you who aren’t already familiar with Stampin’ Up, here is a tiny bit of background: for $99 you can purchase any $125 worth of Stampin’ Up products and officially join the Stampin’ Up! demonstrator team. Some people build up a whole collection of Stampin’ Up! products and then decide to become a demonstrator. Other people go to their first Stampin’ Up! party and fall in love at first sight; they sign up to be a demonstrator right away!

I was exploring the forum at Splitcoaststampers this week and saw a comment someone had left about two years ago about how she had just purchased the starter kit, but didn’t feel like she had enough supplies to make a variety of cards for a demonstration. It was too late for me to help her, but I was left with the thought that it wouldn’t be too late to help future brand new demonstrators.

I decided that, in addition to the normal challenges I participate in this week, that I would also set myself a personal challenge! My challenge was to create a list of Stampin’ Up! products that would cost approximately the amount of a starter kit and using only those supplies create at least half a dozen unique cards.

Materials on a Budget

My list of materials comes first today! These are the things that I decided would be in my suggested starter kit. Even though I have other materials, I made sure to limit myself to ONLY these items when making my cards:

  1. Stampin’ Trimmer – $30.00
  2. Brights Stampin’ Write Markers – $29.00
  3. Brights Designer Series Paper Stack – $22.00 OR Brights Cardstock – $8.00
  4. Whisper White Cardstock – $9.00
  5. Sprinkles of Life Photopolymer Stamp Set – $21.00
  6. Block D – $8.50
  7. Memento Tuxedo Black Inkpad – $6.00
  8. Snail Adhesive – $7.00

I also used post-it notes, which I got for free from work, and a bath sponge from a 4-pack that someone gave us when our son was born and probably came from the dollar store. Since these are very common and very cheap, I didn’t count them in my total price.

My total was $132.50 for the above items, so I accidentally went over my budget of $125. I was doing great; at first my items came in at $125.50 and I was so proud… then I realized I had forgotten to include adhesive. I didn’t have any way for all that paper to stick together! I could have substituted Brights Cardstock for the Designer Series Paper, but alas, I had already started making cards! Oh well.

An Additional Challenge or Two

The first card in my Starter Kit Challenge was also inspired by Pals Paper Arts Challenge 314!


Both of these first two cards were inspired by Stamp Ink Paper Challenge #61!


My first card is for the center row: Bird, Tree, and Blue. My second card follows the upward diagonal: Stripes, Tree, and Flowers.

This homemade card Bb Natalie Lapakko features only the supplies you could buy with a demonstrator starter kit.

How To Sponge With No Ink Pad

I had to get creative in order to create this sponged gradient background. I didn’t have ink pads at my disposal, due to my personal Starter Kit Challenge, so instead I used my Stampin’ Write Markers! These markers are so versatile, which is the reason I included them in my suggested kit. You can even sponge with them! Here’s how:

  1. First, stamp the clouds.
  2. Second, stamp additional clouds on post-it notes and fussy cut them out.
  3. Cover the clouds on your paper with the post-it note clouds.
  4. Scribble on a clear block (Block D) with the wide end of the Tempting Turquoise Stampin’ Write Marker.
  5. Dab up the ink from the clear block using the sponge.
  6. Rub the ink on the paper in circular motions. Repeat steps 4-6 until the color is as dark as desired.
  7. Remove post-it notes.

I discovered that this method transferred color slower than when using ink pads. While this meant that it took a little more time and effort to get the color dark enough, I had a lot more control over the ink because I was adding it only little by little. I actually liked this a lot and may use this marker technique instead of using ink pads for future projects. I never would have discovered this if not for this personal challenge!

This homemade Card by Natalie Lapakko features the Sprinkles of Life stamp set.

How to Make Your Own Brown

You may have noticed that my tree trunk is brown… or you may not have noticed, tree trunks are often brown. What makes this one special, though, is that brown was not one of the colors included in my starter kit’s marker pack. I had to make my own! I used two layers of Tangerine Tango marker ink, then added a single layer of Old Olive on top. This made a nice rich brown!

If you mix markers, always use the lighter marker first so you don’t stain it with the darker ink!

Color Combo: Tempting Turquoise, Old Olive, Tangerine Tango

Keeping it Simple for the Second Starter Kit Challenge Card

Since my first card used a more advanced technique, with masking and sponging, I decided to keep this next card simple. This one would be easy to make, even for beginning stampers and demonstrators!

This homemade card by Natalie Lapakko is part of the Starter Kit Challenge!

Here’s how to make this card, from start to finish:

  1. Cut out the pieces with the Stampin’ Trimmer.
    • The Whisper White card base is 8-1/2″ by 5-1/2″, creased at 4-1/4″ and folded in half.
    • The striped Tangerine Tango designer series paper is 4-3/4″ by 3-1/2″.
    • The front Whisper White panel is 4-1/2″ by 3-1/4″.
  2. Stamp the flowery top of the tree on the right side of the front white panel, about half way down.
  3. Stamp the tree trunk underneath the tree top. (Optional: you can use a post-it note to cover the flowery part of the tree when you stamp the trunk to avoid overlapping the images.)
  4. Color the tree using Old Olive, Daffodil Delight, and Tangerine Tango. Color the tree trunk using Tangerine Tango and then Old Olive to make brown.
  5. Add a hill at the bottom of the tree and fill in the grass with Old Olive.
  6. Stamp the sentiment to the left of the tree.
  7. Adhere the pieces to the card base.

The Starter Kit Challenge has lots of ideas for cards to make with limited supplies. Card By Natalie Lapakko.

A Note About The Stampin’ Trimmer

I think that the Stampin’ Trimmer might be the most important item I included in my sample starter kit. I use the trimmer to cut and fold every single card I make. No other tool in my arsenal is used on such a regular basis, except maybe adhesives.

Having crisp, straight edges and folds makes cards look clean and professional. If you don’t have a Stampin’ Trimmer, the next best thing would probably be to use a ruler and pencil to mark a straight line, then a pair of scissors to cut it out. It works, but it is slow and not as precise.

Homemade Card By Natalie Lapakko: Use a shirt list of supplies to make a wide variety of cards!

The Starter Kit Challenge Continues

Thanks for visiting today! Stay tuned this week for more card ideas using only the supplies you could buy with a Stampin’ Up! Demonstrator Starter Kit. As always, Happy Stamping!

Color Combo: Tangerine Tango, Daffodil Delight, Old Olive

More Starter Kit Challenge Cards

Here is the now complete list of cards created during the Starter Kit Challenge!

Homemade Card By Natalie Lapakko A Sprinkle of Inspiration

Homemade Card By Natalie Lapakko A Stack of Inspiration

Homemade Card By Natalie Lapakko Lucky Inspiriation

Homemade Card By Natalie Lapakko Ice Cream Inspiration 3

This homemade card by Natalie Lapakko features only materials that could be purchased in a Stampin' Up! demonstrator Start Up Kit.



How to Stamp with a Toddler

Stamping With a Toddler

Today I want to share a card with you that was made by my favorite artist in the whole world: my two year old son!

This is a card he made for his dad for Father’s Day almost by himself. Everything on the orange panel, from stamping, to washi tape, to drawing, to punching out and gluing on shapes was completely on his own. If I even looked like I might try to help, he immediately protested, “No! I DO IT!” When he was completely done, I did cut the orange card panel to the correct size and attach it to the lime green card, but that was it!

Homemade Card By An Enterprising Toddler 3

Teaching a Toddler to Stamp: Baby Steps

My son has wanted to make cards with me since he was 16 months old. We started with limited supplies and moved out way up gradually.

At first, he would sit next to me in his high chair while I was making a card. I would give him a piece of paper and put strips of washi tape along the edge of the high chair and he would stick them onto the paper. At this age he also loved to help me use embossing folders. He loved turning the crank on the Cuttlebug and seeing how the paper got bumpy. He learned new vocabulary words even on the first day: “paper,” “tape,” and “stamp.”

Next, we learned about glue sticks. At first, I helped add glue to shapes and let him stick it on the paper. Now he glues things down like a pro, all by himself. He also learned to use paper punches to punch out shapes to glue. These are kind of heavy duty and still a little tricky for him to use by himself, but I let him try on his own and wait until he asks for help.

In the next stage, we added pens to the supply list. My son was very interested in letters and writing at this point, so he would draw scribbles on the paper, all the while saying, “A, E, A, E.”

Finally, we moved on to stamps and ink. For a very brief period of approximately two days he was happy to let me put ink on a stamp for him and he would stamp it on the paper. That quickly evolved into wanting to handle the ink by himself, of course. He has learned to ink up a stamp and stamp it on the paper, stamp the little inkpad itself on the paper, and make finger prints! He also really enjoys sticking photopolymer stamps on clear blocks and peeling them off again.

Homemade Card By An Enterprising Toddler 2.png

Tips for Stamping with a Toddler

  1. Create an art friendly area. A low table works great, as it is easier for the toddler to stand, sit, or move around as needed while they work. Leave the kid friendly art supplies out where the toddler can reach them any time he feels inspired to do so.
  2. Don’t stress about a mess. Cover the table or floor with newspapers if needed. Dress appropriately. Have an easy-on art shirt ready to go for him AND for you. Have cleaning supplies nearby, or at least baby wipes for wiping off hands! Have bath time right after stamping.
  3. Set boundaries. Let him know what is okay to play with and what is off limits.For example my son has his own set of stamps, but is allowed to use my clear blocks and paper punches. We only stamp in the “office” and always wipe hands before playing with anything else.
  4. Introduce supplies gradually. Introduce one new art supply at a time and build on what they already know. New supplies make art novel and interesting all over again. It is also less overwhelming than introducing a bunch of new things all at once.
  5. Save “scraps” from grown up card projects. I usually stamp a couple of images, but only use the best one in a card. I spend an extra minute or so to cut out even the “scrap” ones and save them for my son to use. His “office” is right next to mine, so I just drop the extras right in the bucket of shapes for him to glue onto his cards.
  6. Make it a learning experience! Talk about stamping while you work. Learn about colors and shapes. Depending on what stamps you have, talk about animals, the alphabet,  space, or whatever!
  7. Stamp and do art projects together! Your toddler will be interested in doing what you are doing. Plus, it will keep you from hovering over and trying to control what your toddler is trying to do.
  8. Give away cards that your child made. You will melt the hearts of grandparents, aunties, and uncles everywhere.

Color Combo 98.png

Toddler Color Choices

Sometimes it seems like my son picks just any old random color, and at other times he seems to very deliberately select his color schemes. For example, he made a card recently and all the supplies he used were green or blue, from ink, to pens, to washi tape, even though there were lots of other colors to choose from.

I really like the color combination my son used on his Father’s Day card; it’s so happy and bright! I do think Stampin’ Up! might have to consider adding a lime green to their official line up. Anyone want to venture a guess as to whether it will be one of next year’s In Colors?

My son’s bright color choices also extend to his wardrobe:


Thanks for visiting and happy stamping to you and yours!

4 Split Panel Cards You Can Make Yourself

Split Panel Cards are Fun and Easy

Split panel cards are a fun and easy to make. They add dimension to your card, help draw attention to your focal point, and give you a chance to use up some of your gorgeous designer series paper stash. What’s not to love?

Split panel cards are also tie in perfectly with TGIF Challenge #68!

TGIF August 2016 Challenges_2-001.jpg

I love the diagonal line layout of this challenge and it provides the perfect opportunity to practice using split panels!

This split panel card is homemade by Natalie Lapakko.

How to Make a Split Panel Card

Here’s how you can make a split panel card:

  1. Create the card base. For these directions, we will be using a standard size card base (US: 4-1/4″ x 5-1/2″, metric: 10.6cm x 14.7cm).
  2. Cut the background designer series paper 1/8″ (0.6cm) smaller than the card base.
  3. Cut the front panel 3/8″ (1 cm) smaller than the card base.
  4. Determine how wide you would like the split in the front panel to be. Trim that amount off the top of the front panel in a straight line. I trimmed mine by 3/4″ (1.9cm).
  5. Optional: If you want to add stamping to the front panel, add it now.
  6. Place your front panel in your trimmer at the desired angle of the opening and trim!
  7. Dry fit the split panel on the card and add any additional elements to the front of the card. In my example card, I added the cupcakes.
  8. Use dimensionals to elevate the front panel. Use extra dimensionals behind any elements (such as my cupcakes in this example) that will also be elevated. Note that I layered two dimensionals together for elements that spanned the opening.
  9. Once the front panel has been adhered, your card is complete!

How to add dimensionals to a split panel card, by Natalie Lapakko.

Additional tips

I used the Sprinkles of Life stamp set from Stampin’ Up! to create this fun stack of cupcakes. I had a lot of fun stamping the cupcake bottom on fun designer series papers, like the paper seen here from the Playful Palette Designer Series Paper Stack. Try stamping on designer series papers and see what you can come up with!

The Tree Builder Punch from Stampin’ Up! makes the tops of the cupcakes really easy to punch out. I found it was easier to stamp the image onto the Rich Razzleberry paper first, then punch it out with the punch.

Sprinkles of Life cupcakes on a split panel card by Natalie Lapakko

Three More Split Panel Card Ideas

Zoo babies split panel card by Natalie Lapakko.

Learn how to make a split panel card that reveals the card’s inside!

This split panel card by Natalie Lapakko was created using the No Bones About It stamp set.

Learn to use stamps, designer series paper, and fussy cutting for a multi-dimensional split card.

Natalie Lapakko created a split panel card with balloons as the focal point.

Learn how split cards help draw attention to your focal point.

My photography assistant approves of the split panel technique. He suggests that you should go try it right now!

Natalie Lapakko's cat lies in the way of split panel card photography shoot.

A Bewitching Color Combination

I love the contrast between Peekaboo Peach and Rich Razzleberry. They are almost complementary colors, which means they are nearly opposite each other on the color wheel. All that contrast causes  these elements to really stand out!

Color Combo: Blackberry Bliss, Tip Top Taupe, and Peekaboo Peach

Thanks for visiting, my dear readers! I love and appreciate your comments, “likes”, and those notifications I get when you choose to follow my blog. Happy stamping!


Cardstock: Tip Top Taupe, Rich Razzleberry (c) Stampin’ Up!

Paper: 2016-2018 In Color Designer Series Paper, Playful Palette Designer Series Paper Stack (c) Stampin’ Up!

Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black

Stamps: Sprinkles of Life stamp set (c) Stampin’ Up!

Punch: Tree Builder Punch (c) Stampin’ Up!

Other: dimensionals