The Craft room 25th April 2015 – Retiform revisited

A few weeks ago The Craft Barn’s weekly challenge was the “Retiform” technique (some may remember it as the “grid” technique).

Up till then, although I am taking part in their monthly Calendar challenge, I had not joined in with the weekly ones but this one intrigued me and I just had to have a go.

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Apparently this technique was very popular about ten years ago, which is probably why I had not heard of it before. Having just got into card making back then, I had not progressed  into stamping and inks etc. Luckily what goes around comes around and this time we get to play.

After the challenge I wanted to have another go and started to do some research and collected a few different ideas  and styles (some from the challenge as the entries were fab) which I have saved onto a board on my Pinterest.

The basic technique is simply to mark out grid lines on your card and then mask off each section and stamp/ colour that section only and then move onto the next. To make the grid lines most of the step by steps said just to use a piece of scrap paper and a blending tool, which is how I made the card above.

After having a play with different methods I found that some of Barbara Gray’s tools, tips and techniques came in really handy.

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Using paper and blending tool

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Using blending mat, Clarity brushes and make up sponge.


This is a quick step by step of how I introduced the craft group to “Retiform”

Tools and materials we used ( I restricted the group to 2 ink colours and 1 stamp set only for their first attempt)

piece of card (5 x7 or 6×6), blending mat, Clarity brushes, make up sponge, mini blending tool, Distress inks (2 colours) Archival/Versafine ink (or any permanent ink), low tack tape, post it notes.

We mainly used Sheena Douglas’s stamp sets as each set has a good selection of stamps that can be used, but any stamp combinations can be used.

Take your piece of card and attach a piece of low tack tape to the back of left side (sticky side up and leave a bit over the edge of the card. This is just to stop the card from slipping when the mat is placed on top). Place blending mat over the left side card with edge at a slight angle.

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Using one of the Distress inks and a Clarity brush, ink along the edge of the mat (half on mat half on card) in nice long strokes up and down the edge to lay down some colour. then before removing the mat take the make-up sponge and pull the colour off the mat onto the card. This gives a lovely crisp dark edge to your line when you take the mat away.

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Turn your card clockwise(or anti-clockwise), remove your piece of low tack tape and replace on the left side of the card again and repeat the above steps. Do this until you have done all 4 sides

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This will give you you basic grid. Now the fun begins, before you start the next step you may want to think about what stamps you want to use and where. Bear in mind that in most cases you will not be using the whole stamp. It makes you look at your stamps in a different way too.

We started with the central panel. using the post its mask off around the edges of the panel using the dark lines as a guide.

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Using a Clarity brush brush over the second colour distress ink, then stamp your image with Archival/Versafine ink.

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Remove post its, mask off another panel and repeat above step until all panels are complete.

Take your mini blending tool and your first distress ink colour (the one you used for the grid lines) and ink all around the edges.

You will find that it takes a bit of practice and concentration to get this technique right and errors/ mishaps will happen, for example – image doesn’t stamp properly, image/text stamped upside down, forgot to brush backgroud with ink before stamping etc. Luckily the technique is very forgiving and most mistakes are easily rectified.

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed playing with this technique, and although there were a “few” mistakes the end results were pretty amazing for first attempts. Well done Ladies

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Jackie managed to take her first card home with before I got chance to take a picture, it was fab too. This one caused her a few problems as the elephant being a large stamp kept falling off the block before she could stamp it properly. Problem solved by re stamping onto another piece of card and decoupaging on.

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Diane had a few issues with the stamps not stamping out properly, again easily solved by stamping out some extra flowers and leaves and decoupaging on.

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Margery (who is not normally a fan of stamping, mainly, I think,due to dexterity problems the her hands) managed 2 pieces which she just wants to finish off with a bit of colouring next week. I had given  her a new stamp block to try as I had finally managed to get hold of a Fiskers stamp press from Oyster stamps and she  loved it.

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Lisa’s, this is gorgeous, love this stamp set of Sheena’s. Its a brilliant first attempt, though the concentration did keep her quiet for quite a while, worth it though lol.

And they all want to have another go next week, not sure if it is the technique or this card they are wanting do though

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#Tim Holtz Crazy birds (had to have a go with these stamps) coloured with Spectrum Noir pencils (still have a lot to learn about using these too but have to agree  fabulous to work with)

You have to have a go at , or re visit  this technique, there are so many variations, styles, ideas you  to can do with it especially for male cards , we have only touched on the basics so far, just have a play 🙂


1 Comment

  1. lisa

    You know it’s good if it keeps me from talking lol, really enjoyed this technique, so much scope to play with, thanks Julie, fantastic samples and inspiration x

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