Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Heartful Cards by Laurie Mika

There are many occasions in life where the perfect card, preferably handmade, means so much to the recipient. Oftentimes an artful (heartful) card suffices for the gift itself. I have treasured the many cards that artists have created and sent me over the years. They are mini works of art and mean so much more than a store-bought card and are keepers for sure! With this in mind, I wanted to create a few beautiful cards for those special occasions and people in my life using my StencilGirl® Mexican folk art inspired heart stencils. 

The first card combines my love of napkin collage with an embossed stenciled heart: I love the Spanish colonial art feel that this particular napkin collage evokes.

I like to use the blank note cards that are sold at craft stores with matching envelopes but any card stock that you may have will work for this project.

First cut a napkin of your choosing to roughly fit on the front side of your card.

It is important to remove the two or three backing layers of the napkin. An easy way to do this is to use a small piece of masking tape on the front of the napkin and another piece on the back of the napkin and pull the layers apart. Gently remove tape.

When using gel medium/ModPodge, I often like to tint it with acrylic paint because that color will show through the the napkin layer. I used just a touch of my favorite Golden Quin gold and mixed it with the gel medium. 

Next apply a thin layer of gel medium to the front of your card, working quickly lay down the napkin. If the edges are hanging off, that is fine. 

Use a brayer to smooth out and flatten the napkin. There will be a few wrinkles but that’s Ok!

At this point, fold the card to make sure it creases at the fold. If any of the edges are lifting, use a bit more gel medium to secure the napkin and let dry.

Use sandpaper to clean up the edges where the napkin hangs off.

I do this by placing the area to be sanded right at the edge of my table and use a downward motion to carefully remove the excess napkin.

Coat the front surface with another layer of gel medium to seal it. 

You may get creative and use various tints to alter the look of the napkin.
A word of caution, be gentle with your paint application as a little goes a long way.
Let card dry and make sure to wash the paste off the stencil.

For this card I used one of my StencilGirl® Four SacredHeart stencils

First I placed the stencil in the middle of the card and secured it with masking tape.

I then used modeling paste and a palette knife to apply a generous coating of paste over the top of the stencil.

The thicker the paste, the more embossed the heart looks.

After a minute or two I carefully lifted the stencil off the card.

Let dry.

I love the tin Mexican folk art hearts found in Mexico so wanted to simulate that look on my cards by using silver metallic paint and then silver Rub n Buff.

Use your paint-coated finger to skim over the top of the stencil but don’t worry if the paint goes beyond the stencil onto the card surface as we will repaint that area.
I also applied a bit of silver Rub n Buff to really give it a shine.
Next I used a paint brush and a bit of Payne’s Gray paint to add some shadows and make it look more like metal. 

I like to add an edging to my cards so I used a metallic silver ink pad and dragged it along the edge to give it that silver border. 

Lastly, I went back with a fine paintbrush and my favorite "Quin gold” paint and painted around the stencil to better define the heart’s detail and make it stand out.

The result is a card that could actually be framed as a small piece of original art, a gift in and of itself! 

Another similar technique is tearing tissue paper and adhering it to the front of your card using gel medium.

For this card I used a heart from my StencilGirl® ATC Mixup Mika set:

I followed the same steps as above and used modeling paste to create a raised heart design.
I then used silver paint to simulate tin on the heart.
And then outlined this heart by once again painting in between the stencil with Quin gold paint.
Finally, I used Burnt Umber paint to add a wash to the front edges of the card to give it a vintage look.

A few of the cards were made by just embossing a heart stencil onto the blank page and then painting the entire card and adding metallic silver and gold paint to highlight the hearts. On both of these cards I used a rubber stamp with StazOn ink to add the text.

These are just some of the many possibilities and techniques for taking card-making to the next level using stencils, collage and paint. These cards are keepers!

Laurie Mika
Instagram: @mikaarts
Facebook: Laurie Mika of Mikaarts


  1. Beautiful, thank you for sharing

  2. This beautiful tutorial has lifted my spirits this morning...thanks you for this.

  3. I love your Mexican folkart stencils (and your other stencils as well), and I love these cards you made with them. They are definitely extra special. Thanks for providing this tutorial!

  4. As always, wonderful and inspiring, Laurie! Thank you!😘😘

  5. Thanks everyone for the nice comments about this tutorial!


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