Tips & Tricks: Evenly Aligning Layers On A Card

Trying to make cards with a vision loss definitely introduces a new level of frustration about things that SHOULD be simple, becomming anything but.  Aligning layers is one of those issues.

I have tried so many potential options along the way, from using wet glue and ‘sliding’ the layer around until it looked OK, to buying tools designed to let you align the layers.  There was always something lacking though.  The wet glue would leave residue around the outside, or it would be impossible to see the markings on the special tool.  I have spent a lot of time trying to come up with a solution that would allow me to sort this rather basic, but vital, problem.  It is arguably one of the first rules of card making: get your layers straight, and even.  It has always bothered me that i couldn’t achieve this, as I am ever the perfectionist.

It dawned on me that the answer to this issue is SO simple it is rather embarrassing that I didn’t think of it sooner: Washi Tape!  Well, I guess masking tape in general, but Washi Tape is so much prettier to look at.

This new method allows me to manipulate the layers at my leisure, then add the glue later.

Below is a tutorial on how I do this.  These instructions are quite detailed so that anyone can follow them.   This may sound like quite a lot of work, but once you get the hang of it, which doesn’t take long, then it is VERY simple.  I have chosen a pre-made image for this tutorial as I wanted to concentrate on the technique at hand.

Firstly, I align the two pieces of paper EXACTLY how I want them to look in the end.  I can take my time over this, and really make sure I am happy with the placement.  I have, for simplicity, cut out an image from a piece of ‘Designstax’ paper (Forever Friends, Kraft Notes).  However, this will work with ANY layers you want to add.

Image Description: A card base, with an image of a bear on a piece of paper being held in the exact place I want it.

Image Description: A card base, with an image of a bear on a piece of paper being held in the exact place I want it with my hand (excuse the non-existence of a manicure, I’m a nail biter)

Secondly, once I am happy with the placement, it is time to add the Washi Tape to hold things in place.  I use 2 pieces.  If they are quite sticky then ‘stick’ them your forearm, or some clothes that wont leave marks on the tape, and then remove them.  Do this a few times to remove some of the stickiness.  Attach these 2 pieces of tape to BOTH sheets of paper (which are still being held in place), and then with the ‘overhang’ of Washi Tape, attach it to your work-surface.  In this example, I added the Washi Tape to the top left and top right of the project.

Image Description: The two pieces of card are in exactly the same position as the previous image, but now, along the top side of the work, there are 2 pieces of Washi Tape temporarily adhering the two layers together and adhering them to the work--surface.The tapes are located on the upper left and upper right side of the project, and are pointing upwards.

Image Description: The two pieces of card are in exactly the same position as the previous image, but now, along the top side of the work, there are 2 pieces of Washi Tape temporarily adhering the two layers together and adhering them to the work–surface.The tapes are located on the upper left and upper right side of the project, and are pointing upwards.

Thirdly, flip the top piece of paper upwards.  If you have chosen to add your Washi Tape on a different side than the top, then obviously you would flip the paper in the appropriate direction.

Image Description: The top layer of the 2 being adhered together has been flipped over to expose the back side of the top layer.  The Washi Tape is holding these 2 layers in perfect position.

Image Description: The top layer of the 2 being adhered together has been flipped over to expose the back side of the top layer. The Washi Tape is still holding these 2 layers in perfect position.

You are then ready to add your adhesive to the ‘back’ side of the top layer.

Image Description: The two layers are in the same position as the previous image (with the top layer flipped up to expose it's back side), but now the 'back' side of the top layer has dry adhesive on it.  In the top right of the image is my Scotch ATG gun.

Image Description: The two layers are in the same position as the previous image (with the top layer flipped up to expose it’s back side), but now the ‘back’ side of the top layer has dry adhesive on it. In the top right of the image is my Scotch ATG gun.

Now, flip the top layer gently down into place.  I find it useful to gently slide my fingers under the top layer, once it is lifted a little, to hold the Washi Tape in place, while I use my other hand to flip it downwards.  I start adding pressure to the top layer when putting it back in place from the Washi Tape end and work slowly outwards to ensure there are no air bubbles or bumps.

Image Description: The 2 layers adhered together, with the Washi Tape still in place.

Image Description: The 2 layers adhered together, with the Washi Tape still in place.

Finally, remove the Washi Tape.  Gently!  I’ll admit that when I did that, I pulled a bit too quickly, so there is a bit of a rip on the card base at the very top.  I’ll just cover that up with glitter :-).

This technique will work equally as well on any subsequent layers you wish to add.  Just make sure that any ‘wet’ elements on the project are completely dry before you start.

Image Description: Finished card, with slight blemish in top left where I got a little over-zealous and pulled a little too quickly.

Image Description: Finished card, with slight blemish in top left where I got a little over-zealous and pulled a little too quickly.

It really is as simple as that.  I cannot believe that after all the attempts I have made at finding a way to align my layers, it has come down to such a simple and easy to carry out method.

I really hope you all find this tip as useful as I have.    It has transformed my crafting and card making.  It may also do some good for the economy surrounding Washi Tape as I may be going through quite a lot of it!

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