A Halloween Card Mixing Patterns and Textures – BOO!

Halloween card showing a mix of patterns and textures, plus a Halloween image

If you love patterned paper but mixing patterns and textures scares the pants off you, keep reading. There are a few simple tricks that will have you mixing patterns to your heart’s content.

They looked good in the store, but… now what?

Yep, you fell for it again. That pack of beautifully patterned papers lured you into buying them with the Siren’s song of creative beauty. Buy us, they sang. We’ll go together perfectly, they lulled. You’ll be known as a creative genius, they crooned.


Patterned papers, even from the same pack, don’t just magically go together. Papers sold in a pack coordinate, yes, but there’s still a bit of skill involved in putting this floral with that stripe, this scroll with that dot. While their colors blend and harmonize, they still need to learn to play nice in the sandbox. I’m going to show you how to help them do it.

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Mixing patterns starts with getting them out in the open

All of the materials needed to make this card, including the patterned papers
That’s a lot of pattern and texture. A LOT.
  1. Choose your papers. When you’re working with mixing patterns, it helps to get the papers in front of you right in the beginning. While some cards can be created by the seat of your pants, mixing patterns takes a bit of forethought. You might have 10 papers to work with. I did, and I narrowed them down to these two. While you’re at it, choose the rest of your supplies as well.
  2. Employ the “C” word. Look closely at these two papers: one is very ornate, the other is very graphic (stripes). This is what you’re looking for – contrast. I’ll say it again – CONTRAST. Papers that are similar in color need to contrast, either in pattern image or pattern size, in order to stand apart from each other. In this case, their colors are very simple: black and white, and the ornate pattern contrasts very nicely with the graphic stripes. Which brings me to my next point…
  3. Separation. When mixing patterns, separation is key. These are strong patterns and they play together the nicest when they have contrasting mats separating them, in this case, a nice Halloween orange. This gives your poor eyeballs a brief rest before moving around the card. Your brain, too. Think of these mats as referees on the playground. Or in the sandbox. By the way, notice the inked edges. Even on the orange mats. Because even here, details count.
Patterned paper plus contrasting paper to be used as mat layers to give separation when mixing patterns
Contrasting mats – the sandbox referee

In case you’re wondering what it would look like without the orange referees, here’s are before and after pictures of what could happen with two strong personalities in the sandbox together. “Put up your dukes” comes straight to mind.

And that’s basically all there is to mixing patterns! For each pattern you introduce, you’ll put a solid mat behind it to separate it from the next pattern.

Note: Before adhering these matted layers together, feel free to add stitching which adds more texture. Decorative stitching adds an exciting, unexpected element to greeting cards. (We’ll see this stitching later in this blog post.)

Now let’s explore some of the textures on this card and put it all together. Because the principles are very similar.

A little smooth, a little rough, and everybody’s happy

First things first, let’s choose the image and the sentiment. I love this cute little witch from The Graphics Fairy. There are 16 images on this page and they are FREE! Just zip on over and take a look! (TGF is a FABBY site for picking up all manner of wonderful vintage images.) I printed her on card stock and inked her edges. I then cut the sentiment from a printed sheet of mistable Tattered Angels papers and inked those edges as well. If you read any of my blog posts, I talk a lot about inking my papers and images, and this is why:

The edges of the witch image are not completely covered in black ink, but they’re covered enough to put focus on the image on not on those ghastly white edges. And that’s what inking edges does – it adds definition and corrals the view to the focal point.

Let’s look at the sentiment a little closer. (OK, a LOT closer.) These “mistable” papers are a special kind of paper that take colored spray mists (also sold by the Tattered Angels brand) beautifully, much better than regular card stock. I sprayed mine and liked the drips so much that I left it like that, which was good because there was only that one copy of the sentiment on the sheet. It’s good that I don’t require absolute perfection. If you look closely, you’ll see how I eliminated the dreadful (to me) white space at the bottom. Heh.

Close up of sentiment, colored with spray mists
The curlicues were my contribution to the artwork – had to eliminate that white space!

Just a few more additions to the card… a shrink plastic pumpkin, stamped and colored with colored pencils before heating with the heat gun and placed on top of a seam binding bow placed on top of some Tattered Angels Hemp Rope Cord that I unraveled first. Boy, a little of that stuff goes a long way. And there’s some stitching in contrasting thread on the two patterned papers.

Close up of shrink plastic and ribbon embellishment mixing textures and patterns
Mixed textures – smooth and rough + stitching all play nicely together

And last but not least, a tiny sentiment on a tiny tag with a tiny contrast tag held by a tiny orange Tattered Angels clothes pin. The clothes pin was such a bright orange that I brushed it with a little gesso to tone it down and then applied bright orange Art Glitter to make it sparkle. Because that ought to help tone it down further, yes?

A tiny, glittered orange clothespin hold a tiny tag with the word "Boo" on it. There are plenty of patterns and textures on this card.
More texture

Now it’s your turn to mix patterns and textures

Do you have some patterned papers that you’re dying to use but don’t know how? How about some embellishments that you want to put together? Make a card and share it with us on our Facebook page – we’d love to see your results!

Happy crafting!

Angled view of Halloween card showing a mix of patterns and textures
Lots of pattern and texture, but the eye travels smoothly

More Halloween projects…

How to Make Your Own Cute Halloween Garland
Halloween Herringbone Card – a Cute Way to Use Leftover Paper Scraps
Halloween Sour Cream Containers – a Tutorial
Halloween Side Step Card – Sweet Kitty

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