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  • Writer's pictureRick Adkins

Teacher Appreciation/Thank You Cards | AECP LEVEL 1 FINAL PROJECTS

Hello and welcome back to my blog; today I am sharing my final projects for the Level One Altenew Educator Certification Program (AECP). For my final challenge I had to create two sets of cards one set for a male and one set for a female and gift packaging for each. I could pick any theme for the card sets; so since school is about to get out here in the United States I chose to create sets of teacher appreciation cards.

Teacher Appreciation Handmade Card Gift Sets


Featured Products:

My cards feature the Educators Rule Stamp Set along with the coordinating dies as the main images and sentiments. I also added in two additional sets to work with as well. I picked to work with the Simple Shapes XL Stamp Set for my masculine card set. And the Build-A-Garden Morning Glories Bundle for my feminine card set.

Getting Started:

Anytime that I start to make a card set I like to start out with by picking a theme, picking the products I'm going to use, and picking my color palette. Once I had picked these things then I start by working on my card sketches. Once I have my card sketches figured out, I can then go and start picking out my cardstock and getting my card bases ready.  When doing card sets, I like to do both top folding A2 cards and side folding A2 cards.

Teacher Appreciation Handmade Card Supplies

The my inspiration for my card sets I came from the following classes. For my masculine cards I used inspiration from the Irresistible Inking Techniques class, For The Guys class, and All About Layering 3 and All About Layering 4 classes. For my feminine set of cards I chose to use inspiration from All About Layering 3 class and All About Layering 4 classes, Let It Shine class, and the Irresistible Inking Techniques class as well as a little bit of from the Easy Ink Blending Techniques class.

Teacher Appreciation Handmade Card Geometric Stamping Step 1

At this point I could start by pulling out my Stampwheel and placing my 6” x 6” piece of cardstock into the center of the stamp wheel using the Stampwheel Guides.  Once I had my cardstock into place, I used one of the square stamps from the Simple Shapes XL Stamp Set and placed in the center of the stamp wheel platform. I used the Forest Trails Fresh Dye Ink Mini Ink Cubes to stamp the center section of my patterned paper.  Alternating the colors from the green shades in this set of dye ink.

Teacher Appreciation Handmade Card Geometric Stamping step 3

Once I had that section completed, I added the large triangle shaped stamp from Simple Shapes XL Stamp Set using the Red Sunset Fresh Dye Ink Mini Ink Cubes.  I stamped the large triangle alternating the triangles and the four shades of fresh dye inks in that set.

Once I completed this section, I finished by filling in the remaining cardstock with a rectangle stamp from that from the Simple Shapes XL Stamp Set using the four ink colors from the Seashore Fresh Dye Ink Mini Ink Cubes. Creating my first piece of pattern paper for my card sets.

Pro Tip: When you are working on card sets I find it easier to work in batches. For example If you do all the steps to create your pattern paper first then you can use those items when it comes time to create your cards. Do all your layered stamping in one step, and die cutting in another. Make all your card bases at one time. By working in batches you save time and energy and are less likely to get crafty fatigue, and get more accomplished by working in smaller batches when you have time here and there to finish each step.

Teacher Appreciation Handmade Card Plaid Pattern Paper

For my next set of pattern paper I used the ink dragging technique (or scuffling) from the Irresistible Inking Technique class to create a plaid background pattern. Basically all this is was to take your ink pads (or cubes) and drag the edge of the pad along the cardstock to apply strips of ink. I used the same color ink cubes as I did on my other pattern paper to have a cohesive look.

Teacher Appreciation Handmade Card Stamped Pattern Papers

My my pattern paper for my feminine card set I stamped the apple and pencil from the Educators Rule Stamp Set around the 6 x 6 piece of White Cardstock. I used my Stampwheel for this so that I could stamp one layer and turn and add another layer of the same image in another area. I finished this piece off my adding a little ink dragging and stamping the end of the pencil tip in random colors from my ink cubes that I used through out to create a little geometric element to the paper and to fill in a little more of the cardstock.

Teacher Appreciation Handmade Card Batching Cards Bases

Once I had all the pattern paper completed I batched all my card bases at once and then did all the scoring and folding in another step. This goes back to my Pro Tip on batching above.

World Best Teacher (Masculine Cards) Gift Set:

Now that all my prep work was done I could start concentrating on my cards. I first set down and sketched out my card sketches for each project on a piece of graph paper. I will often do this when I am wanting to create cards that are cohesive but each look different. I did use the same sketches for my other set of cards but you wouldn't be able to tell if you didn't know my little secret.

Teacher Appreciation Handmade Card Masculine Set

For these cards I did sit down and stamp all my apples and pencils during my batching session. I made some of the apples red and a few green as well. I used the Red Sunset Fresh Dye Ink Mini Ink Cubes and the Forest Trails Fresh Dye Ink Mini Ink Cubes for the apples. I then used these same inks cubes plus the Seashore Fresh Dye Ink Mini Ink Cubes to create different colors of pencils. By using the same inks that I had used for the pattern papers it allows everything to tie together.

Pro Tip: Pick a color palette and stick to it! For a completely cohesive look pick a few ink colors or cardstock colors and stick to it. This allows for a cohesive look through out your projects while also allowing you to be as creative as you want to be with each card.

World's Best Teacher Appreciation Handmade Card

For my masculine card set I cut down a piece of my stamped pattern papers to match the card sketches I had created. Each card has something from each of these stamped pattern papers on them in some way shape or form. In the For the Guys Class the first lesson was about geometric inspiration. So, by using both the geometric stamped pattern that I created using the Simple Shapes XL Stamp Set and the plaid paper with the ink dragging technique I was able to create a masculine feel for all my cards in this set.

From my Core Teacher Appreciation Handmade Card

To figure out the placement of the stamps from the Simple Shapes XL Stamp Set I did take one of the tips from the class and do a search online for geometric patterns to help get my creative juices flowing. So, if you are ever stumped on masculine cards doing a little geometric work is a big winner and will help you get that jumping off point you are searching for.

Thank You Teacher Appreciation Handmade Card

To help add a little interest to my clean and simple masculine card designs I did use the tip from the All About Layering 4 Class about adding dimension to some of the elements. I used my Instant Dimension Foam Tape to pop up the apples and to hold some of the layered elements together. For example the card with the apple and the pencils below. I used foam tape to hold pencils and the apple together to create the focal point.

Apple of my Eye Teacher Appreciation Handmade Card

I also added all my sentiments in either Jet Black Fresh Dye Ink or Obsidian Black Pigment Ink for a bold black sentiment. This allows your eye a place to land when you have a mix of patterns and texture on your cards. From the All About Layering 4 Class we learned that you could draw peoples attention by creating a peek a boo card design by cutting some of the card front away. In the opening I placed a strip of the plaid pattern paper that I created. Since most of this card was white I also used a technique I learned in the Irresistible Inking Technique class where you take the ink cube and run along the edge of your cardstock. This creates a small line of color along the edge that when placed on your card base makes it stand out and looks like a very thin mat layer without any additional cardstock.

You Deserve an A+ Teacher Appreciation Handmade Card

Teacher You Rule! (Feminine Cards) Gift Set:

Once I had all my masculine cards created I then set out working on my feminine cards. As normal I found these cards to be easier to create. But part of that was because I had already designed the card sketches. So, by having the card sketches done I was able to batch the remaining stamping do my ink blending on the morning glories to same time.

Teacher Appreciation Handmade Card Feminine Gift Set

Since I knew roughly what the pattern paper needed to be cut at I could go ahead and cut my pieces. I was okay if I had to make small adjustments to the cutting because I had already made the first set of cards. For this set of cards I used techniques that I learned from the Irresistible Inking Technique class, Easy Ink Blending Techniques Class, and the Let It Shine Class.

True Inspiration Teacher Appreciation Handmade Card

For the first card I heat embossed the morning glory from the Build-A-Garden Morning Glories Bundle in gold embossing powder. I then used the Stamp Block Inking Technique to add the color. I used my Red Sunset Fresh Dye Ink Mini Ink Cubes to apply the ink to the block in an ombre and strayed it with a little water and pressed the block onto the embossed image. This allowed the color to transfer and gave a watercolor effect without having to pull out my brushes and paints.

Above and Beyond Teacher Appreciation Handmade Card

To add the shine to this card set I used small strips of glitter cardstock to certain areas of the cards. I cut strips of the Glided Glitter Cardstock pack and cut thin strips to attach on the seam where the my stamped pattern paper met the card base (as shown above) or adding small strips attached to the sentiment strips. I also added a few embellishments that I made using a hole punch from the same piece of Glided Glitter Cardstock sprinkled around the card. Something I also learned to do during the Let It Shine Class.

Thank You for Inspiring Me Teacher Appreciation Handmade Card

For the card above I didn't have enough stamped pattern paper left to make the three strips needed for the card design. So, I used the one strip of stamped pattern paper I had left and then used the ink dragging technique with three of my ink cubes from the Forest Trail Fresh Dye Ink Cubes. I picked the lightest color, and two of the darker green shades to create the strips for this card. Even through I didn't have enough pattern paper left I was able to get the same look by using the ink dragging technique from the Irresistible Inking Techniques Class.

Just a Note Teacher Appreciation Handmade Card

On the cards that I didn't use the Glided Glitter Cardstock strips I used my gold embossing powder on the stamped images to add a little shine to all my cards. For the images that I heat embossed the morning glories I used my ink cubes and my Mini Blending Brushes to ink blend the ink onto the flowers and leaves. Since I knew I was going to do ink blending to add the color to these images I stamped the morning glories onto watercolor cardstock. This was a tip I picked up during the Easy Ink Blending Techniques Class. So, the tip here is if you struggle with ink blending try ink blending on different types of cardstock, to see which type of cardstock, watercolor paper, or bristol paper gives you the best result. For me on this day it was the watercolor cardstock. So, that was what I went with.

Thankful for you Teacher Appreciation Handmade Card

For this set of cards I also added all my sentiments with either the Jet Black Fresh Dye Ink or Obsidian Black Pigment Ink for a bold black sentiment. (Tip from All About Layering 4 Class) this way I was able to keep everything cohesive and I could batch all my sentiments that I knew I was going to be die cutting or stamp the ones I wanted to stamp on each card. That meant I had less supplies out on my desk and could concentrate on what I was doing for each card set.

Teacher Appreciation Handmade Card Gift Set Female version by Rick Adkins

Gift Packaging:

All right now that all my cards were completed it was time to work on how to package them up in gift sets. I could have created a box for each set, but I know when I am mass producing sets for gifts, I like things quick and easy to reproduce. And I like all my sets to look cohesive as well. So I pulled out some colored cardstock from my stash to matched my color palette and cut them down into a nice size belly band. I wanted to created something that was cute but easy for the recipient to take on and off.

Teacher Appreciation Handmade Card Gift Sets by Rick Adkins

To add texture and some more interest to the simple thick belly bands; I took some bubble wrap I had in my craft room from an order I had just gotten and brushed my Swap Moss Fresh Dye Ink Mini Ink Cube over the bubble wrap. I then picked up the bubble wrap and stamped it onto the pain cardstock. This allowed my to stamp some amazing texture onto the otherwise plain cardstock, but also gave the circles texture and movement as well.

Teacher Appreciation Handmade Card Gift Packaging Step 1

I then took some kraft paper that came in an order and cut into 3 - 3 1/2" strips and crumpled the paper up even more than it was already. I really wanted to embrace the texture I had already started with, and I remembered this technique back when I first started creating cards. So, I thought why not add more texture to the belly band by using this technique. You want to crumple the cardstock or Kraft paper up as much as you can to create as much texture as possible.

Teacher Appreciation Handmade Card Gift Packaging Step 2

You then take your chosen ink colors and brush your ink pads over the crumbled paper. This allows ink to brush across the crumpled areas and applies ink while leaving some of the paper untouched with the ink. What you end up with when you are done and you have smoothed out the paper, as much as possible is a beautiful faux leather look.

Teacher Appreciation Handmade Card Gift Packaging faux leather technique

I then wrapped the belly band around my cards and envelopes and secured it in the back, just tight enough to hold the card set together. Remember when doing a belly band you want to secure it tight enough to hold everything in place but not to tight that it want slide on and off with ease. Next I attached the faux leather paper around and secured it in back as well.

Teacher Appreciation Handmade Card Gift Packaging with ribbon

I then wrapped some ribbon from my stash around the belly band and tied it into a nice pretty bow. To finish off the presentation I created gift tags with the same white cardstock I had used for my cards and used scraps of my stamped pattern paper I had left over to attach to the front of my tags. I then stamped my sub-sentiments onto the tags and stamped the teacher from the Educators Rule Stamp Set and used the coordinating die to cut them out. For the female gift set I stamped the morning glory image and heat embossed it in gold embossing powder and did a little ink blending on the tag before stamping the sub-sentiment.

Teacher Appreciation Handmade Card Gift Sets Male & Female Versions by Rick Adkins

 I attached the teacher sentiment onto the tag with a little liquid glue placed just where the word touched the tag. I attached the tag to the belly bands with a little foam tape. And there you have it my friends gift set ideas for both male and female teachers that you want to show a little teacher appreciation to before school gets out for summer. I hope that you have a fabulous day.

(Wondering what I used in this video/project? Everything is linked to multiple sources in the thumbnails at the end of this post, or in the text below. Compensated affiliate links used when possible).

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Materials Used:

Here you will find the list of supplies that I used to create today's card. All supplies are linked to supply sources below. Compensated affiliate links may be used at no cost to you.

Altenew Educators Certification Program Participant Badge

Happy Stampin'

Rick Adkins

Rick Adkins


May 28

Absolutely mind blowing. You knocked this challenge out of the park! Outstanding, Rick! These are some of the most amazing cards I have ever seen. I love what you have created, from the layouts, color choice, to the packaging. Bravo! Hands down one of my favourites! This one is going on the website for sure. Thanks for blessing my eyes!


May 22

Very cool project Rick, and you nailed it!!


May 21

Your project is fantastic, Rick. I appreciate the uniformity of the colors and the teacher theme throughout both sets. Very well put together.

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