A Way With Words

You Are…Perfect, Brave, Unforgettable (and Creative!)

January 13, 2018

By Judi Kauffman

What do you do with pieces of cardstock and paper filled with random brushstrokes, sheets used to wipe excess paint off of brushes before washing them? What do you do with the little bits and pieces of cardstock that fall out of die cut words (the negative pieces), and what do you do with the larger pieces that surrounded the words?

Make CARDS, that’s what! Care to join me?


One of my favorite things about Suzanne Cannon’s A Way With Words collection is the way the words mix and match! For today’s tutorial, I’ve created five cards. The first one uses both dies in the set called ‘You Are Perfect’ for one card – shown above. (‘You Are’ is one die.)


Then I used ‘You Are’ from that set with ‘Brave’ (from the ‘Be Brave, Be Bold, Be Yourself’ set) for a second card – shown above.

‘You Are’ appears on a third card, this time with ‘Unforgettable’ (a die sold as a single) – shown below.

If you’re wondering how I created the little characters, look closely and you’ll see that they are made with the small bits and pieces that fell out of the negative spaces within the letters in the die cut words!

But what about the leftovers that were AROUND the words rather than within the letters? Not to worry, they went to good use, too…two more cards, each with a totally abstract composition that has the look of mixed media – shown below.


Have you noticed that the words get partially lost in the backgrounds? This is intentional! I’m channeling my inner abstract artist. Don’t forget that cards are viewed at arm’s length and my goal is to engage and challenge the recipient’s eye.

Beginners: You can’t precisely duplicate my cards because no two people will clean their brushes in precisely the same way (so the cardstock you’ll start with will not match mine), but if you’ll follow the instructions you can come close.

Others: Use the photos to kick-start your own projects, skip the instructions and head straight to the supply list.



  1. Wipe an almost-dry 3” wide paint brush onto sheets of white and black cardstock or paper using paint colors of choice. Go in all directions to create random streaks. (Shown: Bronze, black, white, teal acrylics.) Alternatively, use paint-crusted papers leftover from other projects, making sure that some are very dark, and some are lighter.
  2. Back the dark cardstock with Clear Double Sided Adhesive Sheet and die cut ‘You Are’ once for each card. Also die cut one additional word for each card (Brave, Unforgettable, or other). Keep he little pieces that poke out from the words, as well as the pieces that surrounded the words – in other words…don’t throw away any of the leftovers!

  1. Arrange and adhere the words onto rectangles cut from the lighter paint-streaked cardstock.
  2. Layer onto solid color cardstock and trim, leaving a narrow border. Then layer onto embossed and lightly sanded Shimmer Sheetz, then onto a card base, OR directly onto a card base.
  3. Using white cardstock as the background, create imaginary characters from the small leftovers. (Arrange and rearrange before adhering in place.) Add Glitter Dots peel-offs for eyes! Place characters on a card front along with a sentiment, or create a card, ATC or other project using only the characters.


  1. Cut the large leftovers from die cutting into random sections and use the pieces to create abstract rectangular compositions. Add a narrow solid color border and adhere to a card base. Accent with small pieces below the rectangle as shown in one of the photos below.

  1. Embellish with brads, spiral paperclips, die-cut embossed Shimmer Sheetz and cardstock circles, or other low-relief elements.



  1. More options: Create Artist Trading Cards, tags, art journal pages or other projects.


Elizabeth Craft Designs:


Cardstock in black and white

3” wide paintbrush

Embossing folders of choice

Foam tape

Star-shaped brads in copper or other metal finish

Spiral paperclips in copper or other metal finish


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  • Reply Judi kauffman January 14, 2018 at 6:24 pm

    What a treat to come to the screen tonight and find such positive comments! I am glad to know that this project was a hit and seems to be sparkiing so many ideas. That’s always been my goal as a designer and teacher because I believe people are inherently creative!

  • Reply Debbie DeCamp January 14, 2018 at 7:32 am

    Very unique! It’s always neat to see some ideas for some more masculine cards. My mind runs on blank when it comes to cards for men. Thanks for the ideas!!

  • Reply Kathleen Adams January 13, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    Judi, I love this post so very much. I have been thinking about the negative pcs. for years. Mainly because I just think a lot of the shapes are interesting. But I’ve never done anything really with them. I’m going to post on the ECD FB page a picture to prove to you how much I needed this tutorial. You will get such a laugh!

    • Reply Judi kauffman January 14, 2018 at 6:18 pm

      Karhleen, believe it or not I’m not on Facebook or other social media. I wonder how I can see the project you make. I would really LOVE to see what you end up doing! Any ideas???

  • Reply LouAnn January 13, 2018 at 9:01 pm

    Looks like a fun project. Love the word stamps and love the idea of the paintbrush background and the figures.

  • Reply Paula Lewis January 13, 2018 at 4:45 pm

    oh, my heck! These are amazing. So many possibilities. once you are done dry-brushing; I love that technique and haven’t done it in years. Also, the creatures are amazing and fun. sigh. need to find my supplies.

  • Reply jean marmo January 13, 2018 at 10:43 am

    Such interesting cards! Love how used everything up!

  • Reply Quietfire January 13, 2018 at 10:27 am

    It’s amazing what you do with scraps! Awesome projects!

  • Reply Lagene January 13, 2018 at 9:21 am

    WOW I love these projects! I love how you used the negative pieces from die cuts!

  • Reply Susan Rossman January 13, 2018 at 7:49 am

    Wow, very cool….something to think about doing

  • Reply Esther Elliott January 13, 2018 at 7:13 am

    Amazing!!! What great ideas!! I always hate throwing the cutouts scraps away!!😃

  • Reply Joanna Mackintosh January 13, 2018 at 5:49 am

    Very cool ideas Judi, I may just have to give it a go!

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