Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Permanent Masks

I started my paper arts adventure as a stamper. I still reach back to my roots and dig out the rubber stamps. One of the stamping techniques that I most enjoy is masking. This technique creates the illusion of depth and perspective. The original stamped image is covered with a mask so subsequent stamped images can be stamped on top of one another without damaging the original.

In the past I’ve cut my stamp masks from post-it notes, copy paper, scrap paper—you name it. But I always ran into the same problem—these masks were at best temporary. It seemed that I was continually cutting masks for the same images.

Well, old soon, smart late. When I was making my last project using stamps, mica powders, and 3D Crystal Lacquer, the light bulb went on. Why couldn’t I do something similar to make permanent masks? It works!!! And it’s so easy!!

Stamp your image on cardstock. In these samples I used a paint chip!

Inked Stamps

Stamps are inked and ready

Stamped Images

Images stamped on paint chip

Apply a thin layer of 3D Crystal Lacquer to the image. You don’t need to be neat around the edges, but be sure the entire image is covered.

Images with Lacquer

Images coated with lacquer

Let the lacquer dry. I usually allow an overnight drying time. Cut the images out using scissors or a craft knife. Ta-da!! Drum roll!! There you have it—a permanent mask. Bonus: you can easily wipe off inks with a baby wipe.

Here are cards that I made using the masking technique and one of my 3D Crystal Lacquer permanent masks.

Card using mask technique

The leaves were stamped first, then masked while the strawberry was stamped.

Card using masking technique

The pear in the left was stamped first and masked, then the pear on the right was stamped.

Visit Create & Craft for more amazing projects.


  1. What a clever idea! I always end up making a new mask each time.

  2. Since my post is several weeks since your tutorial, you may not be able to respond but I have a question on this great idea! It seems like the mask you made with the crystal lacquer would have to be very thin and flat in order to use it as a mask. Is that the case? I have never used the lacquer (not yet at least) and I would have thought it would be too thick to be able to stamp on top of. But I really like the idea. Thank you.