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Masking with Stamps

Written and Created by PaperCraftCentral Susan

Masking is a cardmaking technique that allows you to protect a desired area from change while you are stamping over it.

"Clowns wear a face that's painted intentionally on them so they appear to be happy or sad. What kind of mask are you wearing today?"


This stamping technique allows you to add a three dimensional or depth effect to your images as it can appear that the images overlap. All you need is an image that you want to show repeatedly, such as would happen with a bouquet of flowers like this:

masking technique cards

Follow my easy step-by-step tutorial for how to create masked images for your handmade cards, just using stamps, ink and of course, your hand created mask.

You will need:

  • A flower stamp or other stamp of choice
  • Some cardstock
  • Some ink
  • Post-It notes
  • A pair of scissors
  • A Stamp-A-Ma-Jig or Stamparatus (stamp positioner) of any kind can help

Stamp Masking Tutorial:


  • First, stamp your image onto a Post-It Note. Post-It notes are thinner than cardstock which helps with this technique. Make sure some sticky glue is on the back of your stamped image so you can anchor it easily on your cardstock.
  • Next, cut out your stamped image from the Post It note carefully with your paper snips. Try to get as close to the stamped outline as you can, not leaving any white space around it as you would for an embellishment.

  • masking technique cards

  • Next, stamp your image onto the cardstock. Make sure this is where you want an entire image to show. The other images you stamp will be partial images. I think of this first whole stamped image as being my focal point for my card. All other masked images will look as though they are behind this first image, peeking out from behind it.
  • Carefully place the Post-It note cutout over your full stamped image on the cardstock. It must hide all of the stamped image and be aligned with the original image to work well.
  • masking technique cards

  • Now stamp over the original image that you covered up, overlapping your image onto the post it note shape, and continue to do this until you have the number of images showing behind the original image that you desire. This is where the use of the Stamp-A-Ma-Jig or Stamparatus could come in handy, but for this project I just used my own judgement since it was a fairly free-form effect I wanted.
  • Once you have the number of images stamped out that you desire, carefully peel up the cut out
  • A handy tip: Once you have completed your cardmaking project, keep your cut out! Attach it to the stamp itself or to the inside of your stamp storage case and the next time you want to use this stamp and this technique, some of the preparation will already be done.
  • masking technique cards
    masking technique cards

    Here's an example using the Stampin' Up! By the Tide stamp set (retired). The background fish have been stamped then blocked off with a Post-It note fish cutout to allow the sea fans to be stamped on top of them, thus making it look as though the fish are swimming in front of the sea fans.

    Masking technique

    More Masking Tips

    Create Blank Spaces with a Mask

    Masking With Shape

    Now stamp leaves or branches, dots, whatever you want to choose, over the mask(s). I chose little stamped butterfly shapes with lace and roses here.

    I also left an unmasked blank space on the lower right so I could sign my card.

    Masking With Ovals

    When you lift the yellow masks up, the stamped images will surround your masked shape but not be IN the blank space. 

    Now you can stamp your sentiment in the space you created.

    This is nice to do if you want a wreath effect on your cards at Christmas, for a sympathy card, or just want a burst of colour that doesn't interfere with your sentiment space. I chose to use this technique on a Mother's Day card though.

    Here is my finished card:

    Masking For Sentiment

    Note: I placed Designer Series Paper beneath my stamped layer.

    Masking with Blending Brushes

    You can also use a mask to protect a spot on your card from blended ink. Make a mask, place it on your card, then blend ink over it with blending brushes to create a soft cloud of colour behind the shape.

    I used strips of paper as my masks to make this card, creating strips in different colours as a background with my blending brushes.

    Then I stamped the dandelions in Memento Tuxedo Black Ink on the blue strips. Tuxedo Black ink won't run on top of the pigment inks that I used for blending.

    They look like they are another layer in front of the coloured stripes, right?

    Blending Brush Technique

    If you have a handmade greeting card or scrapbook layout you have stamped using this technique, I would love to see it.

    You can have your work displayed here on by posting it here:

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    If you liked this technique, you might like to try the stamping with bleach technique, or you might like to find out how to CASE projects and fire up your mojo!

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