Steps on how I cut out and highlight images for my cardz

I’ve been asked by several people about the steps I take to both cut out my images and how the highlighting is done behind the images and on the edges of the die cut background.    Soooo, here you go!    🙂

I’m probably including too much information, but I have this ritural I follow for most of my cardz and thought I would share each step.    Hopefully, you can just skip over the unneeded info and find what you might be interested in.   AND, I’m asking Santa for a video recorder for Christmas!!   I think it will make these tutorials VERY much easier!!   

1.   The first thing I do when creating a card is to choose my papers, so I can match the colors in the DP to the Copic markers I use.   Obviously, this isn’t a necesary step for this tutorial.  

This little cutie is Vanessa from InStyle Stamps Club Anime – already colored with Copics.   I’ve printed the image twice – once to color and the other will be the mounted background shape.  

(I generally use a Spellbinders Nestabilities die  for my background shapes, but unfortunately, I really wanted to attach Vanessa to a heart shape and she was a bit too large for the Spellbinder hearts, so this heart shape will not have any embossing on the edges.)  

2.  The other supplies needed are a good pair of scissors  (these are very cool Squishy Scissors from Marvy Uchida);  Ink for highlighting – I generally use Tim Holtz Distress inks;  a small rectangle – about 1 1/2 inch by 3/4 inch piece of  Inkssential Cut-n-Dry Stamp Pad Felt from Ranger   (This really is my FAVORITE material for a smooth, even highlight); and a permanent black marker.  (Since the marker is used for the edges of the cut image, I don’t use my Copics for this part.  I’ve found out the hard way that it can damage the tips!)

3.   To make my detailed cutting a little easier to get to, I cut roughly around the image about a  1/4 to 1/2 inch.

4.   I guess  because I’m right-handed, I always begin cutting on the right side of my image, always beginning with the most difficult cuts. 


5.  I cut as close to the outside of the black line as possible, moving both the scissors and image as I’m cutting.   This always reminds me of peeling apples for PIE!   I usually end up with one long connected piece –  since you are never really taking a full cut, just moving the scissors around your image.    (Yikes!   I hope that makes sense!    Once I get a video recorder, I will try to redo this to actually show you this “in motion”!)

6.  Now, time for that black permanent marker – Carefully run the side of the marker around the edges of the entire cut image.   This just makes your cutting look cleaner –  yes, there is a word for people like me!   🙂 

7.  On to uncolored background image.   My first step is to use one of the Gray Copics to add some shading around this image.   I used W3 here.

I usually take my Colorless Blender pen to soften this line so it doesn’t appear too harsh.

8.   Since I will be attaching the cut image with Pop It!  Dots, I color the outer sections so that when the card is viewed at a side angle you will see a colored image rather than the white uncolored one.   (yep, that word again!)

9.   Finally time to sponge the background of the shaped image.  

I do this in a light circular motion – I start out directly on the image – since the first touch to the paper generally is darker.  

Just keep lightly going around the image always starting from this point – always in a circular motion, until you achieve the desired level of color.   If you need to pick up more ink on your piece of felt, start again from the center of the image.     

If you look closely, you can see the darker “starter points” on the center of the image –  Don’t worry, these will be covered with your cut image!

10.  And  to add color to the edges of your shaped image –

If I’m using a different color, I just use the other end of my piece of felt.  

It’s best to have a piece of scrap paper under your image for this step. 

This time, I begin my ink actually on the scrap paper, holding my shaped image tightly with my left hand.  

Put your inked felt straight down onto the scrap paper and pull it up and over onto your shaped image, continuing around the entire shape in this same motion.   Again, always starting lightly and going over the area again if a darker color is desired.   

I always keep turning my shaped paper rather than the inked felt around the edge, so the ink impression flows in the same direction.     (Somebody REALLY needs a manicure!) 

11.   That’s it for the highlighting!   

Now, just apply those Pop It! Dots to your cut image and stick it onto your highlighted, shaped image.

12.   And she’s ready to be made into a card!!      Pretty easy, right?!    

Here’s a link to the completed card.    Thanks for stopping by for this lonnnnnnnnnnnnng tutorial!   If you have any questions – please don’t hesitate to ask.    And, hopefully, if Santa brings me a video recorder, I can redo this whole thing and it might make more sense!!    lol


  1. GREAT!!!!! Thanks soo much Mary. You are the best and this tutorial is awesome.

  2. Nancy Stevens says:

    Great teaching skills! I love the card, even though I’m not overly fond of those stamps! Beautiful work, as always! Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

  3. Thank you SO much Mary for doing such a detailed tutorial for us! I really really appreciate it! 🙂

  4. Great tut – nice to see how others do things gives me new ideas to try 🙂

  5. Thank you so, so much for this tutorial, Mary! My images are always so “white” because I am always scared to do this not knowing how. Now I can try it using your method. Thank you!

  6. Mary this is a gorgeously colored image!
    Love your tutorial too!
    Jodi =)

  7. Hi,
    A fantastic tutorial. I sure will love to see your video’s.
    Thanks for sharing your wealth of information and creativity

  8. Thank you for doing this!! LOVE to see how others “do things”!! AWesome!

  9. As appropriate on this Thanksgiving day, I am very thankful for people like you who share their skills and talent with the rest of us!! Wonderful tutorial! Thank you so much and Happy Thanksgiving!!

  10. Thanks Mary! I will save this blog for reference…it’s a good one to keep! Your tips are always welcome. People like you help me to be better and better! Happy Thanksgiving!

  11. Mary you do such an awesome job and you are so generous to share your techniques. The image you begin with is K-Mart and the image you end up with is Neiman-Marcus! Just fabulous — makes me want to at least try it — your things are always so perfect!

  12. thanks for sharing Mary! It’s always fun to see what others do. I like the Zig calligraphy memory black pen for going around my cut out images… I use the small tip…I’ll have to try my brush tip next time!
    Pam Going Postal

  13. Thanks so much! I am a beginner with Copics and this has really helped. You are not alone in being called that name…I always clean up my cut outs with a black sharpie. I cannot stand to see those white edges!

    Thanks again,

  14. Your tutorial makes perfect sense! No video camera needed! Thank you so very much for this tutorial, it is wonderful! Maybe now my images will look a little more professional! LOL!

  15. Oh my! I LOVE THIS! THank you for sharing, Mary! I am INSPIRED now and can’t wait to get some Copics! I now feel like I can “color like the pros”, finally!

    Great tutorial!

    Thank you!

    ~Inky Smiles!

  16. Chrissy says:

    Just to say your blog site is B R I L L I A N T i am new to card making and this site is a DREAM! Thank you Chrissy. xx

  17. Hi,

    Thanks for al your great tutorials. They make a good sense. Oh yeah, I know what you mean by a word for such a person. I use 3D foam to add my picture and I color the side of the tape with an ink pen in the same color. 😉
    So it’s great to read there more girls like me.

  18. So awesome! I usually leave a white edge around my cut images, but I’m going to give this a try. Thanks!!!

  19. My husband uses that word for me!

  20. BARBARA ISERI says:

    Thank you for your great tutorial. It does make sense. You gave easy instructions. I just have to keep practicing. One day I might like what I’m doing.

    Thanks again,

  21. Thanks for the wonderful tutorial and sharing your tips on how to give images a more finished look. Your distressed wood coloring tutorial is also fabulous.

  22. Thanks for sharing. I love working with my copics and I enjoy learning how to better use them. :0)

  23. I concur, there is certainly a price to that processed meals your
    well being. You will get everything you spend for.


  1. […] had colored Vanessa awhile back for this tutorial  and thought this was the perfect time to include her on a card.   I also finally had the […]

  2. […] Now, using a small section of the stamp pad felt, I apply some Distress Ink in black soot around the image.   If you’re interested, I have more specific instructions on this technique in this previous tutorial. […]

  3. […] I also add some Distress Ink to the background after the Copic outlining.   Using a small section of the stamp pad felt, I apply some Distress Ink in black soot around the image. If you’re interested, I have more specific instructions on this technique in this previous tutorial. […]

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