Saturday, June 20, 2015

Christmas Z-Fold Card Insanity (Project 48)

Warning: this will be a really long post with lots of pictures and detailed descriptions of one card.

As promised, here is the second Z-fold card I made. And this was one of those ideas that sounded really good in my head and then about 1/3 of the way through, I realized that it was actually insane. I think I spent about 10 + hours making this card. And I'm not sure if I'm going to give it away or keep it for myself. I'm just not sure I like anyone I like enough to give this too. :-) I'm either going to put it out with my Christmas decorations or maybe add some squirrels and give it to my mom since she puts all the cards I've made for her over the years out with her Christmas decorations.

I started by drawing a triangle on each section to create a base shape for the tree. Since I improvised on the z-fold cut to make my tree base and insure that the whole tree lines up when the card is folded, I've included at the bottom of the posts photos and an explanation of how I did it.

Since I was going to use die cut pine needles to create the tree, I knew there would be gaps. So I used painter's tape to mark off the partial triangle on the front section and inked it with Distress Ink in Mowed Lawn and, what else, Pine Needles. I wished I had taken some pics while I was doing this.

 I die cut the pine needles from snippets of watercolor cardstock. It is an Impression Obsession die.  Then I colored them with Distress Ink in Mowed Lawn and Pine Needles. I know it would have been faster to color the paper first and die cut second but then the sides would still be white, which would have bugged me. I have slight crafting OCD tendencies. Then began the epic assembly process by attaching each one individually. Here's a pic of what the individual pine needles look like, with a dime for some perspective on the size. For non-Americans, a dime is about 1.8cm in diameter.

The trunk is a piece of brown floral tape attached at the top (before I added the pine needles). The bottom 2 rows of each section were attached with glossy accents and the rest were attached with rolled pieces of scor-tape to give some dimension.  There are 43 pine needle branches on the front section.

I couldn't decide if I liked the full sun or in the shade photos better, so included both.  For the garlanded, I attached pieces of ribbon that I folded the edges under the pine needles to give the illusion of it wrapping around the tree.  

Here's the middle section, with the front folded back, so you see the middle section and the bottom section.  There are 54 pine needle branches on the middle section.

And the full sun picture.

Here it is with the whole card unfolded.  This is the back of the card.  For the sentiment, I die cut the red and white cardstock with Spellbinders' nesties.  It is one of the label sets but I forget which one.  The sentiment is by Impression Obsession. I stamped with ColorBox Pigment ink in Evergreen and since it usually takes forever to dry, I heat embossed it with clear embossing powder.  I realized when I went to attach it that it was a little to big for the section, so I had to attach it at a wonky angle to fit.  I added a couple of gems.  I think that was because I smudged some ink on the white cardstock. 

Here's just the middle by itself.  I realized as I was drafting this, I didn't have a pic of just the middle without the bottom layer showing, so I took another pic but by that time the sun was hiding.

Now for the bottom section (the inside of the card), which had the full tree on it.  The star on top of the tree is a die by My Favorite Things colored with metallic watercolor paint and with a gem at the center.  And this section has 69 pine needle branches.  So that's 166 individually colored and attached pine needle branches. Yep, I'm a little crazy. In full sun:
And in the shade.  I added a dime to give perspective on the ornaments.  

The ornaments are My Favorite Thing stamps. I used the pieces of cardstock cut off from the card base for stamping them. The first batch I stamped with Versafine. Since I didn't stamp nearly enough the first time, I stamped the second batch with Versafine and embossed with clear embossing powder, because after I colored the first batch, the lines on some of the ornaments didn't show up as well. On some of them I embossed a snowflake with clear embossing powder. It was part of a three snowflake stamp also by My Favorite Things that I did surgery on. I colored them all with metallic water colors, added glossy accents, cut each out and attached with rolled pieces of scor-tape. I also added sequins with a dot of Stickles in the middle and gems for sparkle. This close-up (of the bottom section) shows the ornaments better.
You can really see the sparkle in the full sun one. Again this is the bottom section. 

When I attached the trunk, I only adhered the top down because I wanted to be able to tuck the ribbon for the tree skirt under the trunk so that it would look like the tree skirt went around the whole trunk.  It took a bit of trial and error to get the tree skirt to work.  I used a snippet of wired ribbon to create the skirt, tucking it behind the trunk and then folded over the top. The presents are My Favorite Things stamp, except the gold one, which is Hero Arts.  I stamped all but the far left one on snippets of pattern paper, embossed, used the watercolor metallic paint for the ribbons and fussy cut. The far left one was stamped on snippets of plain white cardstock and painted with metallic paints.    

In this close-up of the front section, you can see that I got better at attaching the tree skirt as I went along.  The presents were a strategic choice to hide the worst of the lumps.

Here is the card fully open to show the inside.  The inside sentiment is by Stampendous.  Oh and the green pattern paper on the 2 non-tree panels were snippets as well.
Full Sun

Partial Shade

Since this card is literally covered with snippets, I'm going to share it over at the playground.
Thanks for stopping by and please come again. 
Now for the detailed directions for creating the card base, which I figured I would put at the bottom so you didn't have to read through/ scroll through them to get to the good stuff, but you could look if you were interested.
For the Z-fold you need a piece of cardstock that is 6 inches by 12 inches (15.3 cm by 30.6 cm - I think I have conversions right).  I used a scrap piece for these pics because I forgot to take pics while I was making it and the piece was only 5.75 inches by 12 so if it looks a little off that’s why.  Here's a picture on the starting piece with all the measurements on it.  They will be explained in steps 1-3.

1) You are going to measure up 3 inches (7.6 cm) on one side and draw a diagonal line to the opposite corner.  That is your usual cut line for a z-fold line. 

2) Flip the paper over and draw the diagonal line again, making sure you measure up the 3 inches on the same side that you did on the front. This will give you a guide line for the middle section, which when the card is folded is actually the back of the piece of paper.
 3)  Then score at 4 inches (10.1 cm) and 8 inches (20.2 cm) across.  These are your fold lines.  That way each section is 4 inches wide.  Here’s a pic of the front with all the measurements and the diagonal cut line draw in.
4) Fold you card at the 4 and 8 inch score lines to make your Z. 

5) Now, on the front panel, find the center point of the top and draw a triangle with a ruler.  I also added the trunk and line for the tree skirt. The diagonal line is the cut line.  The straight line is showing that it is 4 inches wide.
6) Now cut just the front section along the cut line and then up the folded edge to the top.  That way you can see the middle section when the card is folded.
7) Line the ruler up using the edge of the tree on the front section to draw the top of the tree on the middle section.
8) Then on the front panel measure up from the bottom of the card to the bottom of the tree. 
9) Use that measurement to draw the bottom line of the tree on the middle section. 
10) Then connect the bottom of the tree to the top part you already drew. 
11) Again, cut along the cut line (for the middle section this time) and the fold.  This is where drawing the cut line on the back comes in handy.  Now you can see the bottom section when the card is folded.
12) Repeat steps 8 to 10 for the back section.  When you go to cut this time, cut along the cut line until you get to the tree top.  Then cut up the tree top then down the other side to the cut line, across the cut line to the fold and then up the fold.  Now you have a tree base.  

Now you too can join my insanity.  And I did warning at the beginning this would be a long one.  So thanks for hanging in there for all my long drawn out explanations. 


  1. WOW. I'm not surprised it took so long to make such an amazing card. You must have the patience of a saint! Thanks for the instructions. I'd say give it to your Mom. It sounds like she'd really appreciate all your hard work. xx

  2. I LOVE THIS! All those little pieces of pine needles and each one of them looks perfect. A gorgeous, gorgeous card for Christmas! WOW! Great tutorial too. I'd probably keep this one and frame it!

  3. You are one patient crafter. I vote keep it forever! It is a work of art and a work of the heart!

  4. Oh wow Sarah! What a card - and so much detailed work as well. One I need to try - err, but not with all those amazing wee branches. Yup, it should be given to your Mum - I bet she'd be delighted!


    Di xx

  5. Wow Sarah, this is one amazing card and I can see why you don't want to give this card away!! You did a fabulous job with your tree, talk about patient. lol I love all the attention to the details on this card and should you give it away, I vote to give it to your mom so she can put it out each year. This really is amazing Sarah!! Hugs, Brenda

  6. Oh my! Talk about a labour of love! Can't believe that on top of the zillion pine needles, you made all those ornaments. Well done on a truly amazing card. See you in the snippets playground xxx

  7. 'Join the site' button is not working for me, so I'll try n follow you another day :( xxx

    1. That stinkin button keeps giving everyone problems. I added a page with a work around if you want to give that a try.

  8. Hi Sarah fabulous tutorial and stunning card!!! just seen this on Di's a follower!! huggles Sue xxx

  9. What a phenomenal card you've created, and I'm not surprised that it took so long to make!! All of those snippets were put together with perfection, and I'd be tempted to keep this and use it for my own Christmas decoration every year! Thanks for the tutorial! BTW, I tried to become a follower, but it keeps giving me an error saying "we're unable to fill your request - try later." ????

    1. Carol, thanks for trying to follow. I'm sorry it is giving you trouble. I added a page with a work around one of my followers found.

  10. Your attention to detail is amazing. Wow, I can't believe you didn't cut the branches out of green paper -- sponging color probably took forever. Beautiful project -- I wouldn't give it away, either.

  11. I saw your fantastic card on The Playground and I had to visit your blog to read about how you made it. Quite a work of art! I'm a new follower. ta ta for now, Kathy

  12. My hat's off to you for this magnificent creation, Sarah, both for the mega use of snippets and for the time and care and more time that it took for you to put together the wonderful how-to instructions! Thank you so much!! Hugs, Darnell