Acrylic paint, Art Journal, Darkroom Door, Darkroom Door Stamps, Monoprinting, Tutorials

Creating Abstract Patterns with Darkroom Door Abstract Stamps


I’m back today sharing some projects featuring the new Darkroom Door Abstract stamp – Abstract 04. There are so many things you can do with these long, abstract style stamps. They can become a feature rather than just be used as part of a background and I’ve used them both ways for this post. I love the elongated, scratchy nature of this design and think it will be one I will use very often!

I love using these stamps with my Gel Press, they are perfect for removing paint from the plate and creating interesting textures. For this project, I have combined that effect with patterned paper and stamped images. The design can easily be scaled up to suit A5 or A4 size journals – just use larger Gel Press plates.

I started my art journal page by brayering over my spread with shades of pink. I left the coverage quite rough with masses of bare patches showing through.

I brayered the middle size Ranger Gel Press Plate with Dina Wakely Fuschia and removed some of paint over the whole plate using the Darkroom Door Abstract 04 stamp.

Next I ‘stamped’ the plate into my Dylusions Dyalog journal, trying to keep the outside borders about even. The idea was to create a spread with a frame in frame type effect. I repeated the process on the facing page.

I searched through some scrap patterned papers and came across some small pieces of Prima paper that suited my colour palette. I added a scrap of velvet ribbon and a torn edge to one then glued them both onto my page. 

The background needed a bit of the colour knocked back to give a good range of contrast so a few swipes of white gesso from the back of a spatula fixed the balance nicely.

A pair of blooms from Darkroom Door Beautiful Blooms stamp set were stamped onto white card with black permanent Archival ink then coloured with pencils and fussy cut. The flowers were then added to the page along with a layered quote from the same set to finish the page.

Next, I’d like to share one of my favourite ways of using clear embossing powder to give a shimmery look to an embossed image with Perfect Pearls mica powder. This technique will also work with any finely ground, coloured mica powder.

I stamped the Darkroom Door Abstract 04 stamp onto smooth black card using Versamark clear ink and embossed with clear embossing powder. The abstract nature of the stamp means that although you need to get a fair amount of the image stamped, it doesn’t need to be perfect. I did this all over three approx. A6 size pieces to allow one piece for each shimmer colour.

Once the embossing was done, I selected three colours of Ranger Perfect Pearls that would work together. Taking each colour in turn, I gently reheated the embossed piece and then dusted Perfect Pearls over the embossed area using a mop brush and set it aside to cool.

Once cool, I brushed over the cardstock and returned excess powder to my container (you don’t want to waste any!). I heated the embossing again and this allows the colour to ‘melt’ into the embossing, set aside to cool. As a final step I wiped over the surface with a tissue to reveal the shimmery embossing.

Circles of different sizes were punched from each piece to give me enough to cover my card front.

I stamped and embossed the Happy Birthday word Darkroom Door Brushed Sentiments stamp set then fussy cut around the words.

I layered the card front with circles, making sure they overlapped with the lines of the scratches running in every direction. I raised some with foam squares to give some dimension.

This is a simple card to make but looks like each piece has been foiled. Not so easy to photograph but it sure does shimmer in the light!

Supplies used:

  • Darkroom Door Abstract 04 stamp
  • Darkroom Door Brushed Sentiments stamp set
  • Darkroom Door Beautiful Blooms stamp set
  • Archival ink – Jet Black
  • Gel Press plate, brayer & acrylic paint
  • Versamark clear ink and clear embossing powder
  • Ranger Perfect Pearls mica powder 
  • Coloured pencils, circle punches

Thanks for joining me, make sure you check out the rest of the designs in the set on the Darkroom Door website. These stamps have already shipped to retailers so pop into your local store and pick one up – I’d love to see what you create so tag me on social media if you are sharing your project or leave me a link in the comments below.

Acrylic paint, Art Journal, Stencils, The Crafters Workshop, Tutorials, Uncategorized

Make Today Count

Eeep….seems my poor blog has been left neglected. Sorry readers, my year started with a bang and has continued to be busy. Time to refresh and restart this blogging habit I think!

The first half of this year has been filled with creativity in a variety of forms. In February, I started a degree in photography and took initial subjects in photography and drawing which set me up for a busy start to uni life but also gave me a pair of subjects that I was already comfortable with. Turned out to be a brilliant choice and I have loved every minute of my first semester.

It has been a little while since I sat down to play with no plan in place so I thought I’d share the results with you. Needing to concentrate on the final weeks of assessments meant only the ‘necessities’ of creative play were attended to, but teaching classes and creating design team project are luckily among the necessities! It was time to pull out my collection of The Crafters Workshop Stencils and have some playtime.

I’ve created this art journal page in my favourite Dylusions Dyalog journal which has lovely grids printed on the pages. Not sure what it is about grid paper but it has always been a go-to choice for notepaper. I started with a page that had been painted in calming blues and greens and stencilled over the top with Distress Oxide inks using the large circle stencil. 

Next I gathered a bunch of painted & Gel Press printed scraps and stencilled all over them in a random fashion using acrylic paint. I layered stencilling and painting of small areas without a lot of thought to create busy looking pieces. For a bit of cohesion, I kept my paints to warm colours plus a blue. Then I drew circles of various sizes over all the pieces. While drawing the circles, I tried to get a mix of pattern and empty space on each.

Once the circles were fussy cut I layered them onto my journal page until I had a pleasing arrangement. I decided not to use the strongly blue coloured pieces. Some circles were layered over each other and I made sure I had a couple overlapping the page edges.

Next I stencilled over several of the circles using circular stencils and black paint. This helps give a strong pop of pattern and contrast to the page.

Some circles got just a small portion stencilled in black.

I used black and white paint pens to give the circles some extra line work and edged each of them with a sponging of black paint prior to adhering them in place with Helmar Tacky Craft Glue.

I’m lucky with the variety of stencils I own, I can usually find the perfect one for a corner – like the one I’ve stencilled using texture paste.

A Tim Holtz quote finishes the page.


  • Stencils – The Crafters Workshop – 6×6: Spikey Wheels, Quattro Motifs, Screen Print, Harlequin, Kaleidoscope, Well Rounded, Circle Squares, Blazonry, Stencil Patterns | 12×12: Script Dots
  • Helmar Tacky Craft Glue
  • Journal – Dylusions Dyalog Squared
  • Ranger Ink Distress Oxide – Cracked Pistachio, Mermaid Lagoon
  • Acrylic paint, texture paste, black & white paint pens
  • Tim Holtz quote

Thanks for following along!

Acrylic paint, Stencil Girl, Stencils, Tutorials

Stencil Girl – The Plain Box Society

Ages ago I saw a call on Facebook from Tina Walker for artists to join a unique type of challenge. We were to decorate a plain box, just 3″ square, however we pleased – the only requirement was to use stencils made by Stencil Girl.

Easy! Well so I thought, seems I need slightly more direction when doing a challenge;)

But in the end I’m so happy with how my box turned out, it is a little different to my usual project but still so me. Here is how it came together –

Many participants used a pre-made box but I decided to make my own from some heavy watercolour paper. Then I painted parts of the pieces with an analogous colour scheme, I always find these more soothing than jarring colours.

Next I mixed a little colour with some water and created random drippage along the sides.

Time to stencil! But which ones? How many to fully showcase my design? I settled for just two, one for the lid (Encouraging Scribbles) and another for the sides (Mix & Match Scalloped Edges). I left the border stencil intact to emphasise the lines of the shape.

The sides looked a little plain just stencilled but a bit of doodling with a fine black pen soon fixed that!



So pleased with how it came together. A huge thanks to Tina Walker for organising the challenge! You can read more about the challenge and see all the wonderful boxes created in Tina’s article for Stencil Girl. There is a fantastic variety and so much to inspire you.