Setting a Mood with Color

There are several factors that set the mood for a card. Image, design and… maybe most importantly … color.

Bright colors seem festive while darker colors can denote different scenes and moods. Often, when I’m playing with an image, I will stamp it over and over, trying various colors, embossing powders, papers, etc. I’m a serial stamper! The good news is, I often have a stash of cards made at one sitting. Perfect for giving as a gift set.

Today I want to show a series of cards I made using only color to change the look — and mood — of a card.

My apologies for using an image (Bamboo Lake) from Kodomo, a company that is no longer around. Sad sigh. I loved their images. But there are several similar Asian images around.

The background on this (and most of these) was brayered on glossy cardstock using Kaleidacolor Autumn rainbow inkpad. I have had my Kaleidacolor (Tsukineko) pads forever and love them because the colors are separated. To use, you simply push the little tab in and the colors come together. My Kaleidacolor pads must be at least 10 years old!

The image is black embossed.

The pretty pastel pad changes the look — and placing the panel on a white card keeps it crisp.

Now I’m ready to try gold embossing:

This one also used the Autumn Leaves inkpad, but I concentrated on the other end of the pad, giving me a slightly different color combo. (Background also Kodomo, stamped in Ancient Page Sandlewood ink.)

Mixing it up a bit, I brayered Ranger’s Adirondack Mountain Lake (another pad I’ve had for ages!). Did you notice that the color lines run vertical on this one?) Bamboo lake is embossed in copper powder.

This one photographed darker than it really is… you can’t really see the subtle silver in the background paper or clearly see the silver embossed scene. The ink is Adirondack Winter Sky.

I love embossing in white on dark backgrounds! I used Adirondack Mountain Lake again.

This last entry is called “Ghost Lake” because the image was stamped on colored cardstock using Jacquard’s Castaway pad. This is not really an ink, but a color remover — sort of like bleach but without the stink and much easier to use!

Thanks for stopping by!

Kodomo Addendum

Here is one look at the Edo Ori Bako set along with the wood tiles. The stamps are die-cut foam.

Here is one look at the Edo Ori Bako set along with the wood tiles. The stamps are die-cut foam.

Another fun product from Kodomo are the Edo Ori Bako sets. These are little boxes handmade from thin slices of spruce. The smooth surface easily takes acrylic paint, pigment and chalk inks, chalk and watercolor. And the boxes come with 20 little wood tiles, which are great fun to decorate. Because they are so lightweight, these would make great embellishments on a card or on top of the box itself.

Here are some decorated tiles:

Wood tile samples

Wood tile samples

Small VersaColor cubes were used directly on the “R” tile. (Butterfly punch, Martha Stewart.)  Twinkling H2Os were painted on the Pagoda tile. The pagoda was stamped in Ancient Page Coal, then selectively tinted with colored pencils. The brown tile was painted with Ranger Adirondack Hazelnut dabber and the flower grid stamp (Hero Arts) was embossed in white.  The pink tile was coated with Pan Pastel Magenta Tint, then stamped with Hero Arts swirl with flowers image in Prussian Blue Colorbox Chalk Ink. The tile was sprayed with a fixative, then dots of Ranger Liquid Pearls were added.

Kodomo Tiles 2

Kodomo Tiles 2

The sunset tile is more glittery in person. It was painted with USArtquest’s Sparkling Pastelles, then stamped in Ancient Page Coal using Kodomo’s Bamboo Lake. The next tile was made by rubbing Adirondack Light Cloudy Blue directly on the tile, then buffed lightly. The gingko leaf (Kodomo) was stamped in dark brown Colorbox Chalk. The Kodomo flower was stamped on the natural wood using Antique Pewter pigment ink. Frayed Burlap Stickles add dots of glitz. And last, we have a tile painted with a light wash of Adirondack white acrylic dabber, then stamped with Sakura III using Ruby Chalk Ink, with green marker on the stems. Gold Stickles was added to the centers of the flowers.

I haven’t decided yet how to decorate the box. I’m thinking pretty Asian themed paper… what do you think?

For more info on Kodomo, check out their website:

More Kodomo

I mentioned washi tape in an earlier post. Here’s a look at washi tape, and some ways to use it:

Washi tape

Washi tape

This thin, sticky backed tape comes in rolls, is easy to tear, and is sheer enough that overlapping gives you depths of color. The tape also takes heat embossing and punching.  The stamps used are all Kodomo.

Here are more samples:

Kodomo Geisha

Kodomo Geisha

kodomo dragonfly

Continuing with Kodomo

Perhaps the most beautiful stamps in the Kodomo line are those created by artist Zigen Tanabe, a Japense-born freelance illustrator. It’s not just the images that are lovely — it’s the entire stamp! The colored indexing shines through the acrylic block, making these stamps worthy of tabletop display. Take a look:

Zigen Tanabe images in beautiful color on acrylic mounts. Shown are Blooming Iris, Folded Cranes, Autumn Pagoda

Zigen Tanabe images in beautiful color on acrylic mounts. Shown are Blooming Iris, Folded Cranes, Autumn Pagoda

Here’s a sample made with the Blooming Iris, colored with Twinking H2Os:

Blooming Iris

Blooming Iris

See more of these images at

And check back later for more Kodomo info!

Kodomo means playtime!

Asian designs have a tranquil beauty and simplicity that I’ve always admired.

This week I’d like to spotlight Kodomo, which not only offers a beautiful supply of Asian images, but offers them in several styles, from wood mounted and clear to foam and acrylic mounted. 

Kodomo plum flower

You’re probabling thinking, “Foam stamps? Ew!” But these foam stamps, which use a rubber image, are firm and cut so nicely they are a delight to hold. The above card was made using Sakura III, which is a foam mounted stamp. (Sentiment by Hero Arts, border punch by Fiskars.)

Here is another:

Black Bird Wishes

Black Bird Wishes

(Same Sakura III set; bird punch by McGill; border punch Martha Stewart)

Kodomo was founded by Hisako Nakamura, who worked in the Japanese toy industry before creating her own gift company in 1983. The company name was taken from the Japanese expression “Kodomo No Kao,” which, the company says, means “the look on a young person’s face when they are absorbed in play.” What could be more suitable for a rubber stamp enterprise?

 The stamps merge traditional Japanese designs with American styles. But Kodomo is not just stamps. Their beautiful kimono fabric ribbons have a soft, textured feel, and the unique sticky-backed washi tape adds a fun accent. The tape is made from washi paper and the adhesive is not permanent, so it’s easy to reposition.  (Watch for samples later this week.)

Another fun product is the Edo Ori Bako set, which are small boxes made from thin sheets of clear spruce. The surface is smooth and readily accepts paint, ink or paper. The boxes also include wooden “tiles.” (I’ll show some samples later this week.)