Stampin’ Up! paper craft terms demystified

When you’re an experienced card maker, scrapbooker, off-the-page artist or even Stampin’ Up! enthusiast, it’s easy to fall into the habit of using “craft speak” or terms that only experienced crafters would know. To help you navigate “craft speak” and “Stampin’ Up!  speak” I’ve put together a glossary of the words, terms and phrases that you will often hear me say.

Aquapainter or Water Painters

What is an Aqua Painter ? Find out the answer to this and other craft terms at www.thecreativeeclectic.com This is Stampin’ Up!’s name for their water brushes designed especially for water colouring techniques. Water Painters (previously known as Aqua painters) have a hollow refillable barrel that can fill it with water or rubbing alcohol to blend water colour ink or Brushos OR you can fill it with bleach to wash out colour from coloured cardstock and then go back in and recolour with other shades.  You can even fill it with water mixed with ink or water soluble paints to create water colour effects.

According to my friend, Meg apparently you can also use Aquapainters to paint the super handsome AquaMAN (Jason Momoa) – that might be a stretch but you have to admit he is super hot!

Batch Card

Batch cards are cards that can be made fairly quickly in large batches. They are generally a simple design that doesn’t require a lot of products. These are great for times when you want to sent a lot of cards at once for example at Christmas or as invitations to an event. They are perfect if you want to have a large number of cards on hand in your “Stash” (see “Stash Card” below) to grab, write in and send in a flash when you need them. I LOVE batch cards!


A stamping block is wood OR acrylic that stamps are mounted on that becomes their “handle”. Stampin’ Up! acrylic blocks come in a wide variety of sizes giving you more control over your stamping. When combined with “head” this term can also describe your spouse or child when they interrupt you while you’re stamping. Really???


Brushos is actually short for Brusho Crystal Colour which are watercolour ink crystals that you can sprinkle directly on water-washed paper for a colour burst!  These are heaps of fun and a little messy. Stampin’ Up! no longer sell this product but they’re available from other suppliers.


“Copy and Share” or “Copy and Share Everything” takes way too long to say and it’s much easier to say CAS or CASE.  When you see a card or project that there’s something you just love about it, copy it and share what you create!  Imitation is the best form of flattery. Chances are your creation won’t be identical.  If you are sharing your finished project on the internet or social media, it’s good manners to credit the wonderful person who inspired you.

Clear Mount Stamps

Clear mount stamps are not actually clear.  These are traditional red rubber stamps backed with foam that are designed to mount on clear acrylic blocks. The advantage to these is being able to have better placement of your images because you can see the basic shape through the block (see above) or use them with your Stamparatus. Another advantage is they take up much less valuable storage space and are generally less expensive than their wood-mount cousins.

Dimensionals and Dimensional Adhesive

Dimensional adhesive is a sticky foam adhesive, usually in very small shapes or strips, used to adhere elements to your projects adding some height or depth so to create, well, dimension! Stampin’ Up! has five varieties of dimensional adhesive:

Distinktive Stamps

This is a Stampin’ Up! range of photo-realistic style stamped images that will wow anyone. These stamps create different levels of opaqueness (opacities) in a single stamped image for realistic depth and intensity. Introduced in 2018 (patent pending).

Dry Embossing

The action of using either an embossing folder or a stencil or mask and stylus to flex and bend paper or cards stock fibres enough such that they take on a new texture.  This process adds depth and dimension with very little effort and cost – so of course one of my favorite things to do!


In the world of Stampin’ Up!, DSP is acronym (abbreviation) for  Stampin’ Up!’s “Designer Series Paper” or patterned paper. I use this a lot!!!


EP is the acronym for Embossing Powder (see “Heat Embossing” below). I don’t use this phrase much but other demonstrators use it a lot which is why I’ve included it.


From the archives - Stampin' Up!'s Lovely as a Tree is in The Creative Eclectic's Sunday showcase - There's a good reason - this set lends itself to all sorts of techniques. #rubberstamping #stampingtechniques #stampinup #sundayshowcase #lovelyasatree #TCE #theCreativeEclecticFaux (pronounced “foe”) is the French word for imitation, false or fake.  That’s exactly what it means when I say. If I talk about a Faux Something background, it means I am creating something that has the look or feel but isn’t as labour or cost intensive. Here’s an example of where I created a project using a Faux leather background. The “leather” was actually created using masking tape and ink – so much cheaper than using real leather!


Framelits and Thinlits (see below) are a stamper’s joy! These wafer-thin steel dies can be cost-effectively produced in any shape to be used with the Sizzix Big Shot by Stampin’ Up!  (or a similar die-cutting machine) to cut out stamped images with just a twirl or two of the handle. Framelits are designed to leave a small FRAME around the stamped images.

Found objects

Found objects are basically objects or products that are not normally considered art materials that are used to make art . These objects often have a non-art function. For example, in the papercraft world nails, buttons, screws and metal gears are often used.  The term “found object” originates from the French objet trouvé.

Fussy Cut

This is when you take a pair of sharp scissors like Stampin’ Up!’s Paper Snips or fine-point scissors to carefully hand-cut around a stamped image.  Thinlits and Framelits mean we don’t have to do as much fussy cutting as we used to but sometimes it’s necessary.  Some people find it really therapeutic and do a heap of fussy cutting while they binge-watch Netflix!

Heat Embossing

This is one of the most magical of techniques ever! Heat Embossing involves heating an image that has been stamped in Versamark and sprinkled with embossing powder (EP) with a heat tool. After just a few seconds, the embossing powder begins to melt together, creating a beautiful liquid that hardens to a smooth glossy surface. Just like magic! Don’t get so mesmerized by watching the transformation that you “overcook” the embossing powder causing it to lose its gloss or scorch your paper!

Kinetic Cards

Kinetic cards are the new buzz words in the crafting world and the dictionary listing says it means …. “causing motion”. So basically they are cards that are interactive and have parts that move. There are so many different types such as Shaker Cards (see below), Slider Cards, Secret Panel Cards and waterfall cards.


A mask in the traditional sense is to “cover” or “conceal” and in this technique, you cover or conceal an image with a post-it note or washi tape or masking paper then stamp over the top of the mask.  Or you may cover part of the stamp with washi tape before you ink it, ink it up, peel off the washi tape then stamp so only part of the image stamps.

Do you know what Mixed Media means? FInd out at www.TheCreativeEclectic.comMixed Media

Mixed media is a term used to describe artworks composed from a combination of different materials such as foil, texture paste, cloth, metal objects, paper, and wood.  Collages are a common example mixed medias art.  The “junk journal” pictured here is an example of mixed media – it combined household objects such as bubble wrap, velcro, metal washers, nails, cardboard, clothing tags and other “found objects” with stamps, paint and ink.


A Monochromatic project contains or uses only one colour. Creating monochromatic projects is an easy technique where you use only one color or a few shades of one color to create a beautiful, soothing, elegant looking project.  Stampin’ Up! ensures that their products coordinate beautifully. So you can stamp in your favourite ink then add matching ribbons and embelishment  to easily create a  monochromatic look!

Brusho Crystals can be used for so much more than cards - Check out this Inspire mixed media canvas by The Creative Eclectic #mixedmedia #stampinup #alteredcanvas #embossingpasteOff the Page

“Off the Page” or “Beyond the Page” is a 3-D style paper crafting.  Off the page projects are often gift bags and boxes, canvases, books, frames, shadow boxes, wall hangings or other home decor items.  Here’s one of my favourite off-the-page creations – it’s not quite monochromatic but very close.

One Sheet Wonder

While you could use this to describe the rare $100 note that you might get from the bank (I’m told they exist!) in the card making world this describes taking a single sheet of DSP, patterned paper or card stock stamped with images and cutting it up into specific shapes and sizes to create an assortment of projects to get the most out of your paper. There is no waste!  My friend Meg is the “queen’ of One Sheet Wonders, here’s here favourite template.

Photopolymer Stamps

Photopolymer stamps are completely clear and made from a photopolymer plastic. In the past ten or so years, there has been huge advances in photopolymer stamp production. Now Stampin’ Up! is comfortable that these stamps meet their high quality standards that they certain stamp sets in photopolymer. Because you can see through the stamps you can line them up easily to create layered looks.

Here’s an AWESOME tip: Photopolymer stamps stain, especially with any colors containing a red base,  but they can only absorb so much ink to stain. So when you get your new photopolymer stamps, ink them up in the versamark or the palest color you own and stamp off a couple of times. Clean as usual and when you do use them with your whole rainbow of colours, you will notice those “prestained” stamps will stain far less than the others. For more tips on using and caring for your photopolymer stamps check out these Top Five Tips.


The objects left when you punch or cut a shape from card stock.  My suggestion, especially when making very small shapes, is to lay down a sheet of Stampin’ Up! grid paper and punch over that as small shapes often disappear under your desk or workspace or even get caught up in your clothes or the dog’s fur.

Ribbon Scissors

So in our house we have a rule ONLY use Mum’s ribbon scissors for ribbon! Use them for anything other than ribbon and things could get very UGLY!  No one in our house is game enough to explore what happens when things get ugly!  You see, cutting paper is dulls the sharp scissor blades fast! To cut ribbon you need the sharpest, cleanest scissors so you don’t get jagged cuts and fraying.  I have a pair of scissors with a length of ribbon tied to the handle and they dedicated to cutting ribbon. That’s right, NOTHING but ribbons and trims. After 10 years, I haven’t had to replace or sharpen them as they’re still super sharp and cut so cleanly. They are totally worth the investment!


SAB is Stampin’ Up! demo-speak Sale-A-Bration, the annual Stampin’ Up! three month long event at the beginning of each year where you get a free item for every when you spend a certain amount. The most fun you can have stamps shopping.


The act of using a stylus or bone folder to indent your cardstock to facilitate folding OR to create a pattern as a design element. You can score your cardstock with your paper trimmer and a scoring blade quite easily. Stampin’ Up! also sells a Simply Scored scoring tool which is great for making “off the page” projects such as bags and boxes. Some dies also score for you.


A scrapbook is simply a decorated photo album or book that also preserves the stories behind the photos (called journalling), it can also hold memorabilia (tickets, certificates, letters, etc.). You might have a family album as well as smaller theme albums for vacations, home improvement or a baby’s first year. It’s important to use acid-free and lignin-free papers and adhesives, to ensure your photos are preserved beautifully and safely. Stampin’ Up! papers and adhesives are all acid and Lignin-free which means they don’t contain chemicals the would “eat away” or discolor your precious photographs

Shaker Card

Shaker cards have a window, usually an acetate, popped out from the card using Dimensional Adhesive (see above) in order to contain tiny beads, glitter, punchies (see above), sequins or other tiny objects for a snow globe effect. These are the easiest of the Kinetic cards  (see above) to make and everyone loves shaking them to see the objects in the window move.


For many years Stampin’ Up!’s standard adhesive was SNAIL, which stands for “Simple, Neat, Affordable, In Line”.  This has retired and been replaced by Stampin’ SEAL and Stampin’ SEAL+ which are fabulously strong, easy-to-use, acid-free, refillable tape runners. I have a huge stash of these and refills on hand because it’s truly awesome. It is so much easier and tidier than using paper-backed tape adhesive.


Stamp + Apparatus = Stamparatus

Stamp: To impress a pattern or mark (especially an official one) on a surface, object, or document using an engraved or inked block or die or other instrument
Apparatus: The technical equipment or machinery needed for a particular activity or purpose

This is Stampin’ Up!’s stamp positioning tool that can be used with clear-moount and wood-mount stamps. I can honestly stay it changed my stamping experience for the better. Watch this video from Stampin’ Up! with Five Things you need to know about the Stamparatus.

Stash Cards

Stash Cards are cards you have on hand for those “need a card NOW” moments. Often the result of making extra cards when in a card-making session or leftovers from a Batch Card (see above) frenzy, these are fantastic to have on hand because you will always look super organized and efficient when you can whip out a handmade card at a moment’s notice!


As I mentioned in the “Framelits” section,  Thinlits are wafer-thin steel dies that cut intricate shapes, even words. When used with the Big Shot Die Brush, (a must-have!) these incredibly detailed die-cuts can be cut out and gently rolled with the brush to create the most gorgeous details on your projects.

Two Step Stamping

Two-Step stamping is the process where you stamp an image in one colour then another stamp in a different colour or shade directly over it to create a beautifully detailed image. Lately Stampin’ Up! has been introducing stamp sets with three, four and even more stamps intended to be layered. The results are stunning!

Washi Tape

Washi Tape is basically a thin Japanese-style paper tape. The word “washi” comes from wa meaning ‘Japanese’ and shi meaning ‘paper’.  What’s to love about it? EVERYTHING! The designs and colours. Versatility. Simplicity—just tear, tape, and transform. It’s even removable (well, most of the time, there are a few exceptions!) Go basic and use single strips as accents. Or step it up and combine strips to create custom backgrounds, decorations, and more. It’s an effortless way to add colour to your projects. 

Wood Mount Stamps

These are your good old red rubber stamps still mounted on wood blocks. Wood mount stamps usually have a layer of foam between the The classics never go out of style and neither will these! I usually purchase my background stamps in wood because I like the stability they provide.

Need more information

Hopefully, this (rather long!) list will equip you with the basic terms to help you decipher what Stampin’ Up! demonstrators and other paper crafters are talking about in our posts and articles. If there are any paper crafting or card-making terms that I didn’t cover here and you would like to learn more, email me at Chrissy@TheCreativeEclectic.com or use the contact form or comment below and I will answer right here!