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Using Scraps: Layered Card Design

Using Scraps: Layered Card Design main article image
Posted on August 3, 2021 by Natalie Ballard

As crafters, we naturally have a tendency to hoard pretty scraps for that mythical future project. Here’s an actual project to get you creating with your scraps. This is easiest with a ScanNCut, but on other cutters, use your grid on your cutting mat to line up your scraps for cutting.

Start by selecting a colour scheme based on the scraps you have available. The colour scheme can also suggest a topic or theme for your design. I have a bucket of scraps by my desk to encourage me to use them in my projects.

Collection of scrap pieces for project

Your scraps may have images, stamped designs, patterns, etc. but try to keep colours harmonious in your chosen gathering. If they are slightly out, you can always add a little ink blending to tone slightly.

For this project, we are going layered, so make sure you have a good range of pieces (at least 5-7 pieces are ideal but they don’t need to be big) including offcuts of die-cut images and more.

In your design software start to map out a rough layout. You don’t need to re-create die cuts or fussy cutting, just focus on the basic shapes and the elements you do want to cut out.

Screenshot of basic layered design

  1. Add a rectangle first to represent your folded card blank. I’m using a spare 7×5” kraft card blank that was in my offcut tub.
  2. You can use colour roughly to indicate your material choices so I’ve coloured this rectangle a light brown.
  3. Do the same for each of your scrap pieces to build your layout; consider your dimensions, shape, and edges you might want to add.
  4. Are you going to stamp or draw your sentiment? If you are drawing it, add this to your design too.
  5. Only group elements you want to cut out from each other (likes frames, apertures, or fussy cutting); same with drawn elements and their cut lines.
  6. Send this design to your ScanNCut machine as is and move to the ScanNCut section below; for other brands reposition your shapes in your software to match the layout of scraps on your mat – use your cutting mat grid to help you and be wary of mixing different thicknesses. Cut all your papers first, then card, etc.

Before cutting, you could add any stamped backgrounds. Leave ink blending until after you have cut out your elements.

ScanNCut users: Positioning elements on your machine

  1. Import your design onto your machine using Wi-Fi, USB cable, or memory stick.
  2. Do a background scan of your mat loaded with your scraps
  3. Use the paper-saving layout button to pull out all the elements of your design.
  4. Move these over their corresponding scraps using the positioning and rotation features as needed.

Cutting your pieces works best with a manual blade if you have lots of different thicknesses in your scraps.

    1. Cut your pieces out using the multi-thickness method (standard manual blade) setting your blade/pressure/speed for the thinnest material first. 
    2. Cut everything, readjust for the next thinnest cut and remove those pieces and elements that have cut successfully. 
    3. Repeat as required until all pieces cut.

Preparing the design to be cut

The pieces ready for cutting positioned on the cutting mat

ScanNCut users: Alternative method

You can use Direct Cut to fussy cut stamped images from your offcut selection (or those you want to add to tie in with your theme). 

  1. Stamp out your image, colour, and set aside to dry thoroughly.
  2. Add to your mat and go to [Scan]-[Direct Cut]
  3. Follow the on-screen steps to cut out your image; use colour for images on coloured card or black and white for those on white card.

Fussy cutting using Direct Cut

Assembling and finishing your project

You can now add ink toning, edging, and blending as preferred for your pieces. Heat embossing, enamelling, and foiling can also be added if it suits your design. Here are some of the techniques I used in my sample project:

Background Stamping

Background Stamping

Background stamping can add interest or tone down papers that may contrast too much in your design. For my project, I used background stamping and then inking to soften. Stamping onto textured card will never give you a perfect image, but cool with it for some interesting effects.

Ink blending

Ink Blending

Use inks to help your piece form a harmonious whole; here, I used Brushed Corduroy, Frayed Burlap, and Walnut Stain. In the image above, you can see this technique in the orange panel where it pushes the bold orange shade into the background. You don’t need to cover the whole piece, the edges will do.

Using colouring media

Colouring media

Use colouring to attract focus to a focal point; here, I used Derwent Lightfast which is oil-based to cope with the texture. These are soft and creamy, so frequent sharpening will help you to maintain detail in intricate designs.

Heat embossing

Heat embossing

I usually recommend embossing your stamped images after they have had their bases cut out. This can be a tricky proposition for rubber stamps though. With this image, I used detail embossing powder and a non-embossing ink to purposely keep the profile of the embossing low.

Attachments between layers


Layered designs and projects are ideal for hiding the backs of attachments between the layers; such as staples, eyelets, brads, and snaps. These are often frequently overlooked due to the planning involved to use them neatly. Here, I used brads to attach the sentiment panel to the card’s focal elements. These were then glued as a group to the decorated card front.

Adding a sentiment

I used a sentiment stamp and stamped it onto a scrap of card. You can then use one of the built-in designs on your ScanNCut (or create one in your design software for other cutters) to create a frame around it that you can cut from a contrasting card. Reach out to me if you would like to see how to do this.


This project is a really fun way of using up our stash, creating a quick card, and maybe looking at your supplies in a new light. While my project didn’t use dies or cut files, don’t be afraid to use them in your projects. You can always contact me for new ideas or suggestions.

Resources: All stamped images are available from Chocolate Baroque, cardstock is from American Crafts, Limetree Crafts, and Papermill Direct.

The completed project

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