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Wednesday’s Card: Two-Step Stamping

Two Step Stamping
Hi All!

I am so incredibly excited about this week’s card! These flowers were so easy to create. I’m not kidding. Stampin’ Up! has had these two-step stamps for a long time. Here’s how it works… you get two stamps for one image. One is a solid silhouette and one adds more detail. You stamp them on top of each other in different colors to get more dimension. I never really paid much attention to them because I thought they looked a little fake because the second stamp has a lot of “dots” in it (the dots are an attempt to create a shade between the light solid and the dark solid).

Anyhoo… when I was going through the new catalog, one of these sets popped out at me (it’s not new – it’s a carryover from last year) – Stippled Blossoms (you can also get them in clear-mount for cheaper). I thought I might be able to blend the colors together to make it look more realistic. I decided to try it out. Wow, I am so surprised at how great these stamps look when blended. And it’s so easy because you don’t have to think about where the shadow areas are!!

I used distress inks on this card because they stay wet longer, allowing me to blend the colors. Spun Sugar for the base and Picked Raspberry for the second stamp.

One thing to keep in mind… when you want to blend ink that has already been laid on the paper, you really need to use watercolor paper. I did a little test to show you the difference. On the left is the flower from my card (I used watercolor paper), rotated and cropped so you can compare it. On the right is the same flower and technique on Neenah paper:

Two Step Stamping Two Step Stamping

The Neenah version is much more muted in color and kind of blurry in real life. Because of the amount of water used, the paper started pilling a bit and also curled. There are more visible dots from the second stamp because the paper absorbed the ink faster than I could blend it.

As far as the watercolor paper goes, I have been using Stampin’ Up! paper for a long time. A few months ago I purchased some Strathmore 140 lb watercolor paper just to try another brand. It seems like most card-makers on the circuit are using 140 lb watercolor paper, so I went with it. It turns out I didn’t like it as much because it was thicker and just as textured as the Stampin’ Up! watercolor paper. So, I continued using Stampin’ Up!

Last weekend I decided to look for watercolor paper that was lighter and smoother. I really don’t like a lot of texture – it’s more difficult to emboss on. Anyway, I found it! Same brand, Strathmore, but 90 lb instead of 140 lb. Obviously, it’s not quite so thick, but it’s also much smoother. Not completely smooth, but smoother. Oh, and it’s whiter in color than Stampin’ Up!. On the left is the flower from the card again (using the 90 lb Strathmore paper). On the right is the same flower and ink on Stampin’ Up! watercolor paper:

Two Step Stamping Two Step Stamping

Because the Stampin’ Up! paper is so textured, it doesn’t maintain a crisp image. I found that my colors were bleeding beyond where I wanted them to go on the paper. The coloring looks more rough than smooth. However, it did do a good job of keeping the color vibrant, and it blended out the dots from the image. I tell you, I am so thrilled with this Strathmore 90 lb paper. It doesn’t curl at all, it’s absorbant yet not too heavy, and the texture is minimal. Not to mention it’s very economical – $2.95 for 15 sheets.

Finally, I wanted to see if using Stampin’ Up! inks made a difference. I used two colors that I thought would be closest to the distress inks I used: Pink Pirouette and Melon Mambo. Here are the results:

Two Step Stamping Two Step Stamping

The colors from the Stampin’ Up! inks are definitely vibrant on both papers. I still prefer the Strathmore paper even with the Stampin’ Up! inks. However, the Stampin’ Up! inks just don’t compare to distress inks when you are blending colors that have already been laid on paper. SU inks dry a lot faster, so you have a lot less time to blend, as you can see from these photos. Now, when it comes to using SU inks for watercoloring, I still think they are great, but they must be applied to the paper with water at the same time. This card, this card, and this card are some good examples.

So there you have it.

If you’re thinking about purchasing some of this paper from Dick Blick, they have a good price on the distress marker set as well as Copics and Inktense Pencils. Notice the coupon code at the top of the page.

Enjoy the video and have a great week!!









  1. wrote on June 26th, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Jen C

    Thank you so much for your video! Also, I really appreciate your watercolor paper comparison. I will have to try your recommendation for watercolor paper. Your techniques for blending and your end results always amaze me – you are truly an artist! Jen

  2. wrote on June 26th, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Faye T.

    Thanks for the tutorial. It was extremely helpful and informative.
    Thanks for the paper comparisons, too.

  3. wrote on June 26th, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Robin in WA

    Another gorgeous creation! I’m going to give the Strathmore 90 lb. paper a try. Thanks for the comparison!!

  4. wrote on June 26th, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Robin in WA

    I was surprised when I saw the direction you stamped the leaves. I was thinking that leaves usually go up toward a flower, yet yours pointed down. But when I saw the finished card, it looked natural. So that made me look up rose images to see how the leaves go and, at least the images that I saw, they did go up. I went back to look at your card and it still looked very natural AND the leaves showed better than if you’d done them right side up! Very creative designing on your part!!

  5. wrote on June 26th, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Valerie Gee

    WOW! This card turned out absolutely stunning. I don’t have any two step stamps, but given some creativity with what I do have, I can’t wait to try this out! Thanks so much for sharing your genius with us!

  6. wrote on June 26th, 2013 at 12:18 pm


    This is really nice. Regarding the watercolor paper, I like to use hot pressed vs cold pressed for stamping. The hot pressed is a smoother surface and the cold a bumpier, more traditional watercolor paper. It’s harder to find the hot pressed in stores, but online there seems to be more of a selection. And then of course the weight of the paper makes a difference in the thickness/rigidness. I hope this helps with everyone’s watercolor paper shopping.

  7. wrote on June 26th, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Holly Saveur

    loved the video too!

  8. wrote on June 26th, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Maria Helena

    Sooo beautiful, thank you so much for the tutorial and the information on the papers and inks!!

  9. wrote on June 26th, 2013 at 1:40 pm


    Thank you for all the information. I am just starting working with stamps and I watch you videos for all the useful information that you give. I live in a very rural area with no craft stores around so by watching your videos and You Tube, I am slowly learning. Thanks again for the great videos.

  10. wrote on June 26th, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    Maria Rodriguez.

    Oh Darlene, you just took this beautiful stamp set to a whole new level!! I simply adore this two step stamp sets but it never occurred to me to blend the ink with my aqua painter so A BIG THANK YOU goes your way for sharing this fabulous idea with us. This technique totally elevates the results and the images look softer and more beautiful. I bet this works with all of the SU two step stamp sets, how fabulous is that?
    The information on all of the papers is fantastic, thank you for taking the time to try all of them for us, you are simply the best teacher.

  11. wrote on June 26th, 2013 at 3:20 pm


    Thanks Darlene for the information on the watercolor papers! As usual, another stunning card!
    I also appreciate the links to finding the products that you use, it is so very helpful.

  12. wrote on June 26th, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    Hannah Means

    Oh my goodness, how gorgeous is that card!! THank you for the comparison of papers and inks. That took a lot of time and I really appreciate your doing it!

  13. wrote on June 26th, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    Maureen Chandler

    This card is so very pretty! Thank you so much for your video and thorough explanation of different markers & watercolor papers! It is always so exciting to see a new video from you and I always learn something fabulous that I can do!

  14. wrote on June 26th, 2013 at 5:53 pm


    I’ve been thinking for ages of buying that stamp set. You may well have made my decision for me. I’ve seen some lovely examples using it. I love how you used your aqua brush to blend. It really makes a difference. I also love how you are excited over a two step stamp when it’s been out for awhile. Thanks again Darlene for a great video.

  15. wrote on June 26th, 2013 at 7:36 pm


    Just beautiful!!!!

  16. wrote on June 26th, 2013 at 8:32 pm


    What a beautiful card! LOVED it!

  17. wrote on June 26th, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    Belinda Back

    Hi Darlene. Absolutely love your card. I’ve just bought this stamp set too, and would love to give it a try. Unfortunately, I don’t think we have the same variety of products here in Australia that you guys do. And while it is often reasonably priced for international purchasers, the shipping costs have risen so much recently that it negates any savings made in the purchase price. I will have to look around for some smoother watercolour paper to try out this technique. Thanks again for your fantastic card and information.

  18. wrote on June 26th, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    Valerie Martin

    What a stunning image Darlene! Thank you for sharing your findings on WC papers. I honestly thought they were all “about” the same. I have never tried SU! but I have the Strathmore 140lb and did not have very good results. So good to know.
    BTW…I have recently made “friends” with a VERY talented card SWAP-er. She was telling me that I should check out your blog and videos b/c you were the BEST! 😉 I immediately replied and said, “YES, I KNOW!” My new friend happens to be Maria Rodriguez and we are both big fans of your creations! 😉 If you ever have a chance to see her creations she is pretty amazing as well.

  19. wrote on June 27th, 2013 at 12:00 am

    Suzanne Watanabe

    Hi Darlene!
    Wow! Thank you for sharing your GORGEOUS card! Your flowers look so AMAZING! I’ve been seeing these two step sometimes three step flowers from several stamp companies, but I don’t think I’ve seen it demonstrated using the water coloring technique to blend the colors…it’s beautiful! I learn so much from your videos….thank you! Have a wonderful day! Take care 🙂


  20. wrote on June 27th, 2013 at 1:39 pm


    Another beautiful card! I’ve looked at the Stippled Blossoms stamp before, but never really thought much of it. You made me change my mind on it and I’ve added it to my wish list. Thanks for sharing!

  21. wrote on June 27th, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    Loll Thompson

    Hi Darlene. Thank you so much for this video. What a great way to “step-up” the 2-step stamps. I’m definitely going to try this! Thanks for the inspiration! Loll xx

  22. wrote on June 27th, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    Mary H.

    Love these flowers and how you did the card. Thanks for the paper comparison and taking time to video exactly how you do these stippled flowers. I’ll be looking in the catalog for these.

  23. wrote on June 27th, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    Daniel Jensen

    That’s pretty amazing and easy too! No talent is needed just patience to stress out the dotted one, pretty cool. Thanks for the video tutorial, that’s convenient!

  24. wrote on June 27th, 2013 at 10:38 pm


    Beautiful card! It makes me want to purchase it. I hesitated because of the dots also. It takes a talented person to make it so desirable to everyone.

  25. wrote on June 28th, 2013 at 4:08 am


    Wow! Brilliant idea and gorgeous card. TFS.

  26. wrote on June 28th, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Teresa R.

    I would never have thought to blend out those dots on the 2 step stamps. I have several and that has never even crossed my mind, but wow! what a beautiful difference it makes. Thank you for another inspirational video!

  27. wrote on June 28th, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    Ruth R

    Have you looked at trying mixed media paper? It is much smoother and made for wet techniques.
    I watercolour on it and love the results.

    • wrote on June 30th, 2013 at 8:41 am

      Darlene DeVries

      Ruth, no I haven’t tried it, but it sounds interesting. I will give it a shot sometime soon.

  28. wrote on June 29th, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    Jenny Martin

    Thanks so much for sharing in this wonderful post. I am very envious of the low prices for watercolour paper – in Australia everything is more expensive. I didn’t realise Stampin up had watercolour, but I may have to investigate getting some from overseas.
    Your photos are so clear and really illustrate what you were saying. The end result is amazing!

  29. wrote on June 29th, 2013 at 8:34 pm


    Simply stunning. I have never thought to stamp two set flowers onto watercolour paper and blend them together. Will have to try this, Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  30. wrote on June 30th, 2013 at 9:10 pm


    Sooo pretty-love the vibrant colors. And I just purchased a stampamajig, I’ve never used one so again, your video is extremely helpful!

  31. wrote on July 1st, 2013 at 10:39 am


    Howdy Darlene,
    This card is sooo beauttiful. I will be trying this.. Thank-you for posting with such great directions.
    Enjoyed it. Will be supporting you through your links with Ellen Hutson , Blicks and Simon Says Stamp for Copic and various other items. Thanks again…

  32. wrote on July 2nd, 2013 at 7:57 pm


    Hi Darlene, I watched your video and had to buy that stamp set! I got it today! I’ll be playing with it tonight! Thanks so much for sharing your amazing talent! I get such inspiration from you!

  33. wrote on July 19th, 2013 at 11:00 pm


    I made a card using this technique on a scrap of SU watercolor paper with an old stipple peony SU stamp in only one pink and gumball green for the leaves. Blended beautifully. Then I cut them out and used a white cheveron embossed background on my card base. Looked modern. Added a sentiment on a white tag with white ribbon. Allowed the flower to pop as the focal point. I’ll share on my blog soon. Thanks for the inspiration.

  34. wrote on August 5th, 2013 at 8:18 pm


    Thank you so much for the tutorial. Like others, I bought the stamp and Strathmoore paper AND the Distress Inks after seeing and reading your tutorial. Since I don’t have a collection of distress inks, can you recommend a blue flower, purple flower, and fall colors distress combinations for doing this technique with this stamp?

    Thanks again,
    Faithful follower 🙂

  35. wrote on June 8th, 2014 at 4:41 am

    Kittie Caracciolo

    Hi Darlene, bensarmom created a project using your technique and posted a link to your blog on SCS this morning and I popped over to check it out. What a wonderful tutorial and such a gorgeous outcome. Your roses are wonderful. You referred to smoother watercolor paper in your post and I thought I would suggest you trying Fabriano Artistico 140 lb. Hot Press paper. It is very smooth and comes in traditional white and is much whiter than most watercolor paper. It is fabulous and wonderful to work with. I get it on 9 x 12 paper blocks at Amazon and Dick Blick. It’s a little pricey but you won’t be sorry once you try it. Kittie

    • wrote on June 10th, 2014 at 4:13 pm

      Darlene DeVries

      Thanks for the suggestion Kittie! I will put it on my list to check out. 🙂

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