Altenew: Celebration: Stencil Techniques

The temple bell stops but I still hear the sound coming out of the flowers. – Basho

It’s a little early for peonies here where I live but all you have to do is visualize these beauties to remember the sight and smell. In April or May I like take a drive up into the nearby foothills to visit Chateau CharMarron Peony Gardens. Depending on the month and the weather conditions this location can have upwards of 1000 Peonies plants in bloom during the season. While artists flock to the site for plein air painting, I love to walk the paths where every bloom is more beautiful than the last, drink in the sweet fragrance, and watch the buds nod in the breeze. Certainly a feast for the senses!

The image of flowers against a garden wall in the almost warm Spring sunshine inspired this card. Creating the stone wall was easy using Altenew’s stencil Stone Wall , Mocha ink also by Altenew and, my now “best friends”, Picket Fence Studio’s Life Changing Brushes. I did the ink blending on Bristol paper to ensure a smooth result. I also wanted to fade out the strong wall image to almost white to ensure that the resulting background wouldn’t overpower the focal image. A light brush of the Mocha ink in the lower right corner balanced out the background.

Now the background was ready for the it’s showpiece and the Peony Dreams 3D die provided the drama. Cut from regular white card stock, each layer of the peony die was colored with 2-3 coats of alcohol ink using Altenew’s Artist Markers. Simple blending and shading add depth and dimension to the flowers while flowers with contrasting colors add interest that stands up to a somewhat busy background. A bit of Nuvo Glitter Gloss to the main flower center helps to focus the flower grouping. A triangle leaves, also colored with alcohol markers, contributes a balance and provides further grounding for a vivid focal point.

I often wait until the card is almost finished to select and add the sentiment – this card was no exception! The big flowers need a strong sentiment to balance out the design. It was stamped in black and heat embossed in clear embossing powder adding dimension and shine without overtaking the flowers.

Stamps: Altenew: Dainty Sprig
Dies: Altenew: Peony Dreams 3D
Paper: Koh-i-noor: Bristol Smooth; Neenah Crest Solar White 80lb.
Ink: Altenew: Mocha; Tsukineko: Versafine: Onyx Black
Accessories: Misti; Picket Fence Studios: Life Changing Brushes; Clear Embossing Powder, Nuvo Aqua Shimmer: Glitter Gloss
Altenew Artist Markers: Frayed Leaf, Forest Glades, Evergreen, Jet Black, Soft Lilac, Lavender Fields, Deep Iris, Midnight Violet, Rose Quartz, Puffy Heart, Purple Wine, Cosmic Berry, Mango Smoothie
Class Techniques: Add dimension with a stencil; blending for subtle background
AECP Class: Level 1: Celebration: Stencil Techniques


  1. Virginia L.

    This is so GORGEOUS, Deborah!! Love everything about this card! Your use of die and stencils are superb! I look forward to more of your projects! Thanks so much for entering your beautiful work in Altenew AECP assignment Gallery. Beautiful colors and design. Well done!

    • Deb Hurtig

      Thank you!

  2. Erum Tasneem

    Love it! Next time you take photos, please leave a little space between your project and where the photos ends. This makes the project pop and appeals the eye too!
    I am so glad that you entered your beautiful work in the AECP assignment Gallery. Awesome details and design! Super work!

    • Deb Hurtig

      Thank you! Was trying to eliminate some shadows. Will work with better lighting to have a better background.

  3. Jan Ros


    I’m a new student in the Altenew Academy and I’m just looking through some of the sites. I noticed you have two Copic certifications. Does Copoic still offer certificaitons? I can’t find anything online about it. Your response, and any info regarding Copic Certifications would be very much appreciated. Thank you in advance.

    • Deb Hurtig

      Hi – those certifications were thru the organization/company that originally distributed Copics in USA. That relationship dissolved in 2019 I believe and whatever Copic classes they offered towards certification where discontinued. Michell Houghton, who taught some certification class, still offers similar content – she also has a you tube Chanel called Copics in the Craft Room. However depending on what your goals are I.e. better blending, color choice, or even illustrative rendering there are many choices. Vanilla Arts is one that focuses on realistic renderings and can really take you to the next level … happy hunting!


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