Adding shimmer to embossed backgrounds

Spectrum Noir Shimmer background tutorial 1

Create a shimmer background

This tutorial will focus on how to add shimmer to embossed backgrounds with Spectrum Noir AquaTint inks.

Gather your supplies

First, get all of the supplies you nee din one place, to make crafting easy!

You will need Gold or Silver AquaTint inks to recreate this project.

In addition to this you also need a piece of foam or a sponge of some kind. You also need an embossed piece of cardstock. If you would like to color your background like I did you can use any kind of dye inkpad with some ink blending foam.

Watch the video

Other ideas with AquaTint inks

The metallic AquaTints are favourites among the design team and many artisits & colorists. I personally use them to splatter over my cards for shimmery dots.

Spectrum Noir Shimmer background tutorial 2

I also use them to mix with different watercolour mediums to add shimmer and I sometimes like to add stripes or to dress up the edges of my cards.

Supplies: AquaTints: 70

Share your work with us on our Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest (use our #spectrumnoir or #spectrumaqua tag) – we’d love to see what you’re coloring!

Tutorial credit: Maya Isakkson

Creating Shimmer Sprays with AquaTint Inks


Stretching your craft supplies is always a great idea… everyone loves ideas to use things in an unexpected way! This video tutorial will share how to create shimmer sprays.

Tip: swap out the Christmas sentiment for a generic winter one and use these throughout the colder months!

Watch the video below showing how I make the sprays and also two cards using two different ways to use them, although there is a lot more different ways in which these can be used, and of course you can mix colors to create your own !

Don’t forget to give the sprays a good shake before using.

Share your work with us on our Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest (use our #spectrumnoir or #spectrumaqua tag) – we’d love to see what you’re coloring!

Tutorial Credit: Tracy Freeman

Making Plaid Backgrounds with AquaTints


I wanted to share a really fun and easy technique for making backgrounds. Plaid patterns are very on trend at the moment and I keep seeing them everywhere.

Making them yourself is super easy, and adding the metallics from the Essential sets makes them a bit dressed up. Perfect for the holidays.

If you want to go with another theme it’s easy to change the colors. You can make the plaid pattern with any of the Spectrum Noir pens and markers.

Use the broad tip of your alcohol markers or use the AquaBlend colored pencils to draw lines and use a wet brush to spread it out.

You can always go in on top with either the metallic AquaTints or the sparkle pens to dress it up. Have fun with it!

Tutorial credit: Maya Isaksson

Christmas Ornament Using AquaTint Inks


The Christmas is almost upon us and there is nothing more special than receiving a present that shows attitude and personal touch.
That’s why I offer you to make a traditional Christmas tree ornament by using your Specrum Noir AquaTint Inks. The theme is snowy winter night because of how much I like the color combination blue, white and gold.
It takes less than half an hour and will be fun.


Here’s the list of what you’ll need to make you Christmas ornament:


Step 1
I decided to recreate a snowy Christmas night into my ornament and I have chosen dark blues Spectrum Noir AquaTints Inks and a stamp with trees used as a foreground on my winter sky.  You have to create the background with your Spectrum Noir AquaTints Inks – I  did choose wet on wet watercolor technique.


Step 2
After making the background you need to outline the template that was into the ball.  If there’s no template, outline the half of the ornament but in this case cut inside the shape to be sure the contour will fit into the plastic ornament.


Step 3
Once you outline the shape continue and stamp the background. Make some snowy winter sky and trees. I wanted my winter night to be more realistic, so I stuck the warm yellow cardstock on the back of the wooden house. This way it looks like there’s light through the windows.

Step 4: Decorate the second background with AquaTints Inks and stamp. Use it for the back side of your ornament because it has to be perfect on both sides. You can use some sentiment like me or even put a picture of your sweetheart or a baby etc.

7_sn Front side

8_snBack side

Step 5: In the end assemble the Christmas ornament. You could insert some artificial snow or ice.

Add some embellishments – for example I put paper poinsettia and a few tiny cones.

1_snSpectrum Noir AquaTints Inks list:
02,07, 08 – Landscape & Primary sets

I hope you enjoy this and give it a try !
Share a project you make using this tutorial with us on our Facebook page, tag us on Instagram (#spectrumnoir or #spectrumaqua) or on Twitter (@SpectrumNoir)! We’re also on Pinterest so tag us there as well for a chance to get re-pinned to our Colorist Creations board!

Tutorial credit: Mila Popova

Creating a Night Sky with AquaTints

unwatermarked august

Night skies and all things outer space are quite popular in crafting at the moment. Creating a night sky/galaxy can seem a bit daunting, but it really is easy and fun!

I have found that Spectrum Noir AquaTint inks are one of the best mediums to use for this technique, along with good watercolor card stock.

step 1

The materials pictured above are what I will be using for this tutorial. The Aquatints I will be using have their numbers written on the lids and I will also list at the bottom of this tutorial the full list of colors and which set they are from.


I have cut down my watercolor card stock to 5 1/2 x 4 1/4 and using low tack tape I have adhered it too a large block that I use for watercoloring.

Doing this minimizes warping of the card and I find also allows you to be able to move your piece around if you need to.

I have also put my AquaTints into my pallet using the pipettes that come with the AquaTints. I have not done this with the White, silver or Gold as we do not need much of them.


Take a large brush and start to randomly apply your colors, for me I always go with more blue and then add small areas of the Green, Pink and Purple.


Continue to add your colors until you have covered your card stock, do not worry what it looks like at this stage this really is a technique that doesn’t come together until the end.


I now allow my piece to dry, and then take your black Aquatint and start applying over your coloured piece. For me the best way I found was to apply the black into one area (mainly a corner) and then without adding more black I pull that out around my image.


For this piece I took some kitchen towel and very lightly blotted away some of the black. I then left this to fully dry.


Once dry I took an old short bristled brush (an old toothbrush works well too) and lightly dipped the end into the white Aquatint, using my finger I then dragged across the bristles over the card stock.

You can repeat the process until you are happy with the effect.


Once you are happy and it is dry, carefully remove the tape and your Galaxy is ready to use.


I also created another, darker piece by applying another layer of color. Both the pieces below have also had a the above technique repeated but with the silver & Gold Aquatints, I did this using a very very small amount so it is hardly noticeable and is there just to give some depth.

I used both these pieces for cards and with the darker one I used Falling Stars Die from Simon Says Stamp and adhered it too some glitter cardstock. Both cards sentiments were from Avery Elle’s Written In The Stars Stamp Set. The silver star Sequins are from Pretty Pink Posh.

unwatermarked august

For the lighter card I double embossed the sentiment, once onto the card stock and then onto the Vellum, this gives a drop shadow look and in real life looks really good against the galaxy background.

I hope you have enjoyed the tutorial. Don’t forget to share your creations with us as we love to see them. Share your work with us on our Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest (use our #spectrumnoir or #spectrumaqua tag) – we’d love to see what you’re coloring!

AquaTints used-

Blue – 07 from the Primary Set

Pink – 15 Bright and Beautiful

Purple – 56 Bright and Beautiful

Green/aqua – 06 Bright and Beautiful

Black – 63 Essentials

White – 66 Essentials

Silver- 74 Essentials

Gold – 70 Essentials

Tutorial Credit – Tracy Freeman

Depth and Highlights


Here’s a quick tutorial on how to add a little depth and highlight to your colored image using two other mediums! You can really take your coloring to the next level by adding a bit of colored pencil shading on top of your markers, and then adding a bit of AquaTint ink.


Start by completely coloring your chosen image with Spectrum Noir markers. This image is from Di’s Digi images.


With your Black ColourBlend pencil, color using small circular movements. Then add some shading into your image.

Using a paper stump and some blending soloution, soften it out.


Next, with a very thin paintbrush, shake your white AquaTint ink (with the lid on!).

Remove the lid and use the paint from the inside of the lid to add some fine lines to your image


You can add more or less, once the AquaTint dries a bit you can build it up more if you want!

Share your work with us on our Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest (use our #spectrumnoir or #spectrumaqua tag) – we’d love to see what you’re coloring!

The Spectrum Noir markers I used were:

Red – DR1,5,6,7, IG9, OR3
Black – IG8,9 True Black
Blue – TB1,2,3
Aqua – IB1,2,BT1,IG3
Green – LG4,5,JG2
Floor – BG1,2,4,5,9,EB1
Hedgehogs – FS6,8,PP4,BG1,2,4,5,9,EB2
Black ColorBlend pencil
White AquaTint

Tutorial credit: Jo McKelvey

Sparkling AquaTint backgrounds

Maya Isaksson Spectrum Noir July tutorial1

Making custom backgrounds is so trendy right now in papercrafting – we’ve been showcasing different ways to make your background unique all week here on our site. This tutorial will show you another fun option to try!

One big advantage with using liquid inks like the AquaTints is that you are able to mix it with different other mediums without risking to contaminate it. I mixed mine with Sparkle pens to make then shimmer but you could also use the very pigmented gold and silver AquaTints mixed in for a similar effect. I just wanted the clear shimmer this time.

I made sure to start by scribbling my Clear Overlay Spectrum Noir Sparkle pen to make sure not to contaminate it in any way and then I added the AquaTints.

I used a wet on wet technique on watercolor paper, so I made sure the paper was taped down to prevent warping from all the water.

Here is a video explaining the process.

I added extra interest to the backgrounds by adding droplets of water on my backgrounds and lifting it off with some dry paper to make bleached spots.

I also tapped my Spectrum Noir Sparkle pens to make spots of shimmer over it. Another idea is to scribble the Sparkle pens on some slick surface and using a wet paintbrush to pick it up and splatter over the background.

In the video I also show how I store my AquaTints in an ArtBin storage box together with the pipettes and a swatch book.

Here is another card using the same technique.

Maya Isaksson Spectrum Noir July tutorial2

Colors used:
AquaTints: 08, 55.
Spectrum Noir markers(for the second card): CR4, CR5, CR6, TB8, TB9.
Spectrum Sparkle Clear Overlay.

Stamps and dies by Lawn Fawn, Winnie & Walter and Mama Elephant

Share your work with us on our Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest (use our #spectrumnoir or #spectrumaqua tag) – we’d love to see what you’re coloring!

Tutorial credit: Maya Isaksson

How To Make A Custom Stencil


I find out that almost every time when I’m starting a new project I also need to create something especially for it. That’s how I thought of making my own custom stencil and I’m going to share it with you.


Step 1: You have to create a pattern with your dies- chose the size of the dies and the distance between figures.

I decided to try a small and big pattern. For perfect stencil you’ll need to lined the dies shape with marker first.

Make it on the back side of the dies because it’s easier to stick it with tape.


Here is my acetate sheet ready for work.


Step 2: Start cut the shapes. At the end clear the acetate sheet with cloth dampened with alcohol to erase all the tracks of the marker.


And here it is your stencil in two really effortless steps!


Make a base for your card by using watercolor techniques.


After the AquaTints dry, lay the mask and make the design you like.

Use white structural paste and color it with AquaTints. That way you may have any color you like.


And after some decoration your complete card will be done !


Spectrum Noir AquaTints Inks list:
06, 21, 26, 30, 24 – Bright & Primary sets

Share a card or other project you make using this tutorial with us on our Facebook page, tag us on Instagram (#spectrumnoir or #spectrumaqua) or on Twitter (@SpectrumNoir)! We’re also on Pinterest so tag us there as well for a chance to get re-pinned to our Colorist Creations board!

Here’s the list of what you’ll need to make you stencil:

  • piece of clear or colored acetate sheet / I think colored one is much more easy to use for that purpose/
  • small dies – I choose Diamond Press dies because they are perfrect size
  • fine point permanent marker
And the rest of the list for the card:

Tutorial credit: Mila Popova