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


Let Us Sit Together

My card today is my first experiment into using the Bokeh technique. My first reaction when I heard about this was, “Huh? What’s that?”

Bokeh is based on a photography technique that is slightly out of focus and shows lights as blurry blobs. Sometimes only the background is blurry and the focal point is in focus. Other times the entire photo is blurry. Cool fact, the word comes from the Japanese word for “haze”. Here’s an example in photography:


Photography Credit: Top Design Mag

Now that I know this effect exists, I also see it all the time in television shows. We’re watching Person of Interest currently and it seems like it is in almost every scene!

To create this effect in ink and paper, I started with a watercolor wash of Crushed Curry and Old Olive. While that was drying, I created a stencil by using circle dies to make some different sized circular holes in a piece of vellum. I inked up a sponge using a Whisper White Craft Stampin’ Pad and placed my vellum stencil over my watercolor washed paper. I used circular rubbing motions to apply the ink. I varied the amount of ink added; some circles had just a tiny bit of white added and some had more. I found it was easy to go overboard on the white! Bokeh effect, achieved!

Homemade Card By Natalie Lapakko Let Us Sit Together 2

Next, I embossed my paper using a grass embossing folder by Darice. I was rather impatient, so my paper was still a tiny bit wet still at this point. This was actually helpful with embossing, because this was extra thick watercolor paper! A little bit of water goes a long way in making the paper slightly more flexible for deep textured embossing folders or extra thick papers. Once I had my grass embossed, I used another sponge to add some additional Crushed Curry to the grass so it would stand out.

My sentiment comes from the Balloon Celebration stamp set from Stampin’ Up! I think it is kind of wistful, which is a perfect match for this bokeh grass scene.

Homemade Card By Natalie Lapakko Let Us Sit Together 3

Thanks for visiting and happy stamping!

Color Combo 89


Cardstock: Wild Wasabi, Very Vanilla (c) Stampin’ Up!

Paper: watercolor paper

Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black, Whisper White Craft, Old Olive, Crushed Curry (c) Stampin’ Up!

Stamps: Balloon Celebration stamp set (c) Stampin’ Up!

Other: sponge, vellum, circle dies, grass embossing folder by Darice

Cute Little Stinker

This card corresponds with two challenges. The first is What Will You Stamp Challenge #75!

wwys_75_Foxy Friends

The Second is Can You Case It Challenge #131!


When I first sat down to make this card I was feeling really uninspired. It had been a long day, we finally got our son to sleep, and we had about an hour before bed. I also hadn’t been sleeping well. I was tired, too tired even for stamping, or so I thought. My husband gave me a look and said, “You were going to make cards tonight. You would probably sleep better if you made something.”

So I went down to my office and whipped something up. Once I got working, everything came together easily. And you know what? I slept like a log afterwards.

Homemade Card By Natalie Lapakko Skunk Card 2

I combined soft yellows with bold blacks in my designer series papers from Stampin’ Up! The Daffodil Delight polka dots are from the Fruit Stand collection and the black zigzags are from the Pop of Pink collection.

The little skunk is, of course, built using the Fox Builder Punch and the Foxy Friends stamps set, both from Stampin’ Up! For the most part, my little skunk isn’t very different from the standard way many people have been creating skunks with this punch set… until you get to his tail. For my tail, I actually punched 3 tail shapes, two in black and one in white. I layered all three together, adhered them together, and trimmed the tip a bit so it was a little pointier. The result is a little wider tail with a little thinner white stripe.

Homemade Card By Natalie Lapakko Skunk Card 3

For a card I didn’t feel like making at first, this turned out pretty stinkin’ cute! My husband deserves at least half the credit for this card’s existence. It’s amazing to have such a supportive person in my life. Thanks, hubby!

Thank you readers, as well, for stopping by, reading my story and admiring my card! Happy stamping!

Color Combo 73


Cardstock: Basic Black, Whisper White, Smokey Slate (c) Stampin’ Up!

Paper: Fruit Stand, Pop of Pink Designer Series Papers (c) Stampin’ Up!

Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black

Stamps: Foxy Friends stamp set (c) Stampin’ Up!

Punch: Fox Builder (c) Stampin’ Up!

Other: Oval cut using Cricut Explore Air

For the Birds

These cards were inspired by CAS(E) This Sketch Challenge #183!

I created this card using watercolors and two bird images cut out using my Cricut Explore Air. If you have a die cutting machine, these birds are called “Flourish Bird” and “Blue Bird”.  I cut these out as one of the very first things I ever cut on the Cricut, but I didn’t make them into cards until now. I somehow knew that the perfect opportunity was on it’s way!

Both birds are cut out of paper that is very close to Island Indigo… or maybe Pacific Point… with a white background. (I sadly didn’t own very much Stampin’ Up! paper back then).

Homemade Card By Natalie Lapakko Indigo Birds 5

Both cards were created using the same watercolor technique called either the “watercolor wash” or the “wet into wet” technique.

First, I taped down the watercolor paper using washi tape; this prevents warping. Then. I painted three stripes of clear water on the card. Next, I added ink from my ink pads by squeezing the pads while the lid was shut then picking up the excess ink from the lid after I opened it. The ink colors were Watermelon Wonder, Blushing Bride, and Daffodil Delight.

I love how watercolor never turns out the same twice in a row. I did the exact same thing for both these cards and the watercolor areas still look different from each other!

I stamped my sentiments onto vellum shapes with Staz-On black ink, then adhered them to the card using glue dots carefully concealed behind the words in the sentiment.

Homemade Card By Natalie Lapakko Indigo Birds 4

Thanks for visiting and happy stamping!

Color Combo 85.png


Cardstock: Island Indigo, Whisper White (c) Stampin’ Up!

Paper: watercolor paper

Ink: Staz-On Black, Daffodil Delight, Blushing Bride, Watermelon Wonder (c) Stampin’ Up!

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

Dies and punches: circles, Tree Builder Punch (c) Stampin’ Up!

Other: paintbrush or Aquapainter, Cricut Explore Air, vellum