Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Anatomy of Shabby Chic

Don't adjust your monitors. Yes, I said shabby-chic. I have been trying to hone my shabbiness. After doing some studying of the anatomy of a shabby-chic card by way of the beautiful creations of the likes of Sarah Martina Parker and Jean Martin, just to name a few - I have come to this conclusion:

I used a ton of product on this little number and have to admit, I quite like it. It's not award-winning by any means...but it is definitely so far from my usual, that I just have to feel a little bit good about it.

So what have I learned?

  • Color - color plays a huge part here. The colors can be contrasting or similar, but you definitely need something crisp to keep the colors from becoming too muddy. Trust me, there is a fine line between shabby and dirty.
  • Soften The Edges - if the color is dark, soften it with white. If it is light, soften it with brown/tan. Use a paint brush to apply or a blending sponged, be random, no deliberate pattern here.
  • Pattern - embrace the power of a pattern. Almost any pattern can be incorporated into a shabby chic card. Even if the colors seem to bright or the pattern too bold, refer to "Soften The Edges" and take it a step further and consider a spritzing with a Glimmer Mist to tone it tone a bit.
  • Alternate Layers - layers are a huge part in shabby-chic. To keep it from becoming too busy, alternate your layers. Started with a bold tight pattern? Make your next layer a softer or lighter pattern. Or try a solid color for your next layer (but don't forget to Soften The Edges)
  • Bring It Into Focus - Create a focal point with a group of smaller items that can be viewed as a whole - A die cut with a sentiment, a die-cut embellishment, and a tag perhaps. Just like with CAS, follow the rule of thirds, guide the eye, and bring it to the focal point.
  • Embellish, Embellish, Embellish - this part can be tricky, you can quickly end up with something that looks like grandma's trunk just exploded on your card. Cluster your embellishments in groups of three to start - a ribbon, a button, and a twine bow. Or perhaps a ribbon, a flower, and a stickpin.
  • Don't Forget The Lace - yeah, I don't care how you incorporate it - with a doily, trim, fabric, stamp it...just get it on there!

So there you have my - totally amateur - break down of the anatomy of shabby chic. Just my findings...feel free to add any pointers, I will take all I can get. Learning something new is always fun!

Project Supplies

Stamps: Flora & Fauna I, Filigreed Frames, Brothers & Sisters (Wplus9); Wedding Word Print (Hero Arts
Ink: Antique Linen distress ink (Tim Holtz by Ranger); Fresh Snow, Aqua Mist (Papertrey Ink); Chocolate Chip (Stampin' Up!); Sand Glimmer Mist (Tattered Angels)
Cardstock: Vintage White, Aqua Mist (Papertrey Ink)
Patterned Paper: Portrait Collection (Crate Paper)
Fibers: Seam Binding (Hug Snug); Jute twine (Papertrey Ink); Lace Trim (Simplicity)
Dies: All Occasion Label designer die (Wplus9); Mat Stack die (Papertrey Ink); Top Note die (Stampin' Up!)
Other: Mulberry Paper Mini Roses (Recollections); Doily (Wilton)


  1. Fantastic lesson and equally gorgeous card. Hope all is well with you!

  2. Dawn, this post made me laugh! I loved your descriptions...I really struggle with shabby/chic...your card is fabulous.

  3. WOW!!!! I love your card! I love that you studied how to make it and succeeded in bounds! Amazing! :> And reading it all I've really realized that I will never be shabby! I like it clean!

  4. LOVE this post, sweetie!! You rock in my books, shabby chic or not :)

  5. Very nice! You served that style well! Love that you stamped the frame in that soft blue.

  6. I think it's wonderful! It's nice to find out that you have more than just your own style! Keep on creating such beautiful cards!

  7. LOL...I LOVE your post...especially the description of trying not to look "like grandma's trunk just exploded on your card". YOURS definitely does NOT look like that..it looks great. However, I was afraid of getting that exact same concoction. ;)


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