What size are your cards?

Unless I specify otherwise, all my cards are 4.25” x 5.5”. You can make two of these out of an 8.5×11” piece of cardstock. It fits an A2 envelope.

What kind of paper do you use?

Let me first say that I haven’t tried every single paper out there, but here are the ones I know and love:

  • Stampin’ Up! Whisper White Cardstock – This cardstock is perfect for Stampin’ Up! inks. The paper and inks are made to work together, so the result is much better than if you mixed brands. I stock up heavily on this white paper because I also use it for creating colored cardstock. I prefer to ink up a piece of white cardstock than buy a piece of colored cardstock… it’s a prettier, softer look. This cardstock is not for Copics.
  • Neenah Solar White Cardstock – I use this cardstock for all Copic coloring. The colors blend very well and the cardstock is sturdy (sturdier than the SU Whisper White). I use this cardstock for colored pencils as well. I also use it for distress inks… not because it looks better than the SU paper but because it’s more economical. I buy the 250 page ream! I often use this cardstock as my card base – you’ll see me create a 4.25”x5.5” panel and adhere it to the front of this same-size folded card.
  • Stampin’ Up! Basic Black Cardstock – I use black mostly for matting my card panels. So, I prefer something thick, but not too thick since it’s going to be layered with another piece of cardstock. Stampin’ Up! is the perfect thickness for this purpose.
  • Hero Arts Black Cardstock – These are folded notecards that are black on the outside and white on the inside. No need to adhere your black panel to a white card!

What type of craft mat are you using?

I use an indestructible craft sheet made by Ranger. Inks and glues wipe right off. The only damage it cannot endure is scissors. Make sure you take it off your table before wrapping a present!!

What is that thing with the wooden handle you use to apply ink?

It is a Ranger Foam Applicator. I use it for all dye inks. It’s a great way to get beautifully colored cardstock with a little visual texture. I rarely use colored cardstock anymore.

What is the difference between Stampin’ Up! markers, Distress Markers, and Copic markers?

Stampin’ Up! markers and Distress markers are both water-based dye ink. They absorb into paper and dry fairly quickly, not giving you much time to blend two colors together. Because they are water-based, they will “pill up” your paper with too much application (think about putting water on your cardstock). Both come with a broad tip and a fine tip. Once applied to your cardstock, they are permanent.

Stampin’ Up! markers come in 38 colors. They have matching cardstock, ink pads, and embellishments so they are great for beginners who want to take the thought out of color matching. You can also use them to color the back of a stamp instead of using an ink pad. You can buy them individually, by color family, or the entire set.

Distress markers come in 49 colors. The biggest difference between these markers and the Stampin’ Up! markers is their ability to blend with water. You can do all sorts of different watercoloring techniques with these markers. However, they will also pill up your cardstock faster because they contain more water. I consider these markers to be something completely different from the Stampin’ Up! markers, so I own both sets.

Copic markers are alcohol-based. They don’t absorb or dry quickly, giving you time to blend colors on your cardstock. You can actually remove color after it has been applied by using the Colorless Blender. They bleed through to the back of your paper, so you’ll often need to layer it on a card. They are more expensive than water-based markers. There are 358 colors.

I can’t really say which type of marker I like better. They are completely different products with different advantages and uses. I have, however, figured out how to get Stampin’ Up! markers to blend a little more like Copics in THIS POST. I posted a brief overview on getting started with Copics HERE, including good inks, papers, and where to buy.

I posted a video comparing all of these markers HERE.

I’m just getting started with distress inks. What colors do you recommend I purchase first?

I would purchase one of all the basics. My favorites are Barn Door (red), Picked Raspberry (pink), Spiced Marmalade (orange), Scattered Straw (yellow), Peeled Paint (green), Broken China (blue), and Dusty Concord (purple). The neutrals I use most often are Walnut Stain and Antique Linen.

Why are you not a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator?

I was a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator for 2 1/2 years. In October, 2011, Stampin’ Up! demanded that I use exclusively Stampin’ Up! products on my blog or I would be forced to resign. I resigned. But, since I love Stampin’ Up! products, I still use them and direct readers to my friend, Michelle’s, Stampin’ Up! store for purchase. She donates 25% of all orders to Foster Kids Charity, so please help her support these children in need. Thank you. 🙂

What are the best products Stampin’ Up! sells?

I created a list of what I think are the must-have, uniquely Stampin Up! products. Check it out HERE.

Sometimes my Stampin’ Up! clear-mount stamps don’t stick to the acrylic block. Why?

Stampin’ Up! uses a special patented sticker on their stamps to display the image. This sticker, if dirty, will not cling to the block very well. There are three ways to solve this problem (it’s solvable!):

  1. Use water to clean off both the stamp (the part that adheres) and the clear block. If you’re using stamp cleaner, it can sometimes create a film on these surfaces, causing the stamp to lose its clinginess.
  2. Push the stamp into the block for at least 10 seconds. Many times I’m in a hurry and I expect it to stick after just 2 seconds. It just takes longer.
  3. Don’t apply the sticker to the stamp when you receive it from Stampin’ Up!.
  4. Watch this video on how to use Tombow Mono Multi Glue – works great!!

How do you make your card photos look so clean and clear?

I simply display them in front of a piece of patterned paper and shine an OttLite® High Definition Craft Plus 24W Floor Lampon it. No flash. My camera is a Nikon D3200, and I use a Nikkor 40mm micro lens. I wrote a post about how I take pictures and photos HERE.

What is your video recording setup?

I use a Canon Vixia HF M40 video camera. Honestly, the quality is TOO good for YouTube. So, I’m having to adjust it to record in lower quality so that I can easily edit and upload it. If you are buying a camera just for YouTube videos, I would go cheap. I am also using this camera for family video, so I needed something that had the ability to record in higher quality.

As far as setup goes, I used to have a makeshift setup that I created with things around the house, but now I have a tripod that faces my camera downward toward the work surface. You can see photos and an explanation in THIS POST.

What video editing software do you use?

I am a PC person. I use Adobe Premiere Elements and I love it. It’s very easy to use and very cheap compared to other software.

My Stampin’ Up! inks don’t work that well with clear stamps. Why?

Because Stampin’ Up! inks are water-based, they tend to bead-up on clear acrylic stamps that are lower in quality. They still work fine for me on clear photopolymer stamps and high quality acrylic stamps. For more information on dye inks and how they work on different stamps, see my Dye Ink Comparison.

I don’t live in the USA. Can I order Stampin’ Up! from you/your sister?

Unfortunately, Stampin’ Up! does not allow US demonstrators to ship outside the country. The only work-around is if you know someone on a US military base in your country. Shipping to a US military base is considered domestic shipping.

Do you sell your cards?

Back in 2009, I did a few craft markets under the name OnMeadersLane. I setup a booth with lots of handmade cards. I also setup a Web site and tried to market myself on Etsy. I wasn’t able to make it work. But, that’s just me – I’m not very talented when it comes to marketing and sales. I had a hard time finding people who were willing to pay for the supplies and effort that went into each of my cards. In the end, I got frustrated and decided that I would try blogging! I mail out every card that I make.

Thanks for visiting my FAQ’s. If you have another question, email me!


  1. Vanessa Barg says:

    Is the lotus bloosum photopolymer stamp set still available with a 50$ purchase? If so, how do i apply for it?

  2. Stephanie says:

    Hi Darlene,
    Would you be able to tell me what the difference is between Versafine pigment inks and Memento Luxe pigment inks? I saw that you did a video on comparing some different dye inks. Have you done one comparing different pigment inks?? I can’t seem to find it if you did.

    • Darlene DeVries says:

      Hi Stephanie, I have not compared the various types of pigment inks. I suspect the biggest difference will be drying time. Other than that, most have very similar properties.

  3. I’ve learned a lot just by reading all the post. Than you to all of you.

  4. Jean Strachan says:

    Question. You wrote in the FAQ’s section that you use the Nikkor 40mm MACRO lens but linked it to the MICRO lens. Can you tell me which one you use? Thanks.

  5. Moons Eternity says:

    I want to get started in card making because you make it look fun. I was wondering what you use to score your cards to make folds.

  6. I know you did a comparison on dye ink, but do you have any suggestion on which pigment ink is good (ideally I want to also be able to refill the ink pad). I really love one of your butterfly cards and see that you used white pigment ink. I only have SU classic ink pads, but not the craft ink pads (I believe they no longer sell craft inks, not even white).

    • Darlene DeVries says:

      Good question Catherine! As a matter of fact, I am preparing a post for next week about Christmas gift ideas. I really want to get some pigment inks for myself too, so I spent a bunch of time researching them last night. In the end, I narrowed it down to Colorbox Pigment inks and Memento Luxe Pigment inks. I couldn’t find anything that actually compared these two specific brands, but they both looked great. In the end, I decided on the Memento Luxe because they are a “mixed media” ink, which means they are also good for techniques. You can find them at Simon Says Stamp and also Ellen Hutson. Hope this helps!

  7. Which white paper do you suggest when using the Inktense pencils and a waterbrush? Just bought the Neenah…amazing difference with Copics. Thank you!

  8. Lucinda says:

    Darlene are you on pintrest? If so how do I find you? I see a lot of others that have pinned a card from you.I am new to pintrest.

    • Darlene DeVries says:

      There is a pink “P” icon in the upper right corner of my site. It will take you to Pinterest Board.

  9. Darlene, thanks for taking the time to do this FAQ. It surely answered a lot of MY questions…especially about your light tent, the info about the cameras. I’m in the market for a video camera (for blogging, but also for a trip for our 50th). I’ll be checking out your recommendations. I’m no photographer, so I don’t want to spend a lot of $$$$ for a camera that I’m not smart enough to know how to use! I use Photoshop Elements to edit my cards after reading some instructions on ‘how-to’ at SCStampers. Love all your videos, cards, and think you do a bang-up fantastic job! I’m just grateful to have one post wkly…Again, thanks so very much.

  10. There is quite a price difference on the coloring markers. Is there a specific reason you use Copics and have you tried any others?

    • Darlene DeVries says:

      Cindi, I like Copics because of their blending capabilities. They are alcohol-based, so they are different from water-based markers, which are cheaper. You can use water-based markers for other coloring techniques, but I just love the results of Copics.

  11. Sharon Russo says:

    Thank you for the creative videos!
    I’ve been practicing blending gelatos, but I’m developing, “bald spots” while blending. (Not me personally, but the paper. 😉
    As if I’ve just blended too hard or too long, and the color starts coming up off the paper. I’ve tried Papertrey white, Georgia Pacific white, I’ve used Gesso and still, “bald spots.” Can you help?

    Thank you,

    • Darlene DeVries says:

      Sharon, I use Neenah paper, so I can’t really comment on results from other papers. You might try applying a thin layer, leave it to dry a bit (like maybe 5 minutes), then applying a second layer. I find that the second layers tend to go on smoother. Let me know if that works!

  12. Meli Isen says:

    dont think i ever saw this on the other site…but loved all the info!!! esp the thought that you did not sell out! Awesome…..what a blessing to be able to do what you love <3 ….Melinda

  13. Hi Darlene,

    I love the cards you make. They are so beautiful 🙂

    I’d like to learn how to make cards like the ones you create, but I have no idea where to begin. There are so many techniques and different tools…
    Could you please give me some suggestions or make a video for beginners?
    Thank you.

  14. Can you tell me what paper you use for watercolor markers (ex Tombows) or do you not use them? Just discovered you and are enjoying all your videos. Thank you!

  15. As I continued down the page, I noticed several people asking about buying Stampin’ Up! products outside the US. I am a demo in Canada, and I know I can’t sell to people outside the country. I am wondering, though… what if someone contacts you from a country where Stampin’ Up! is not sold?

    • Darlene DeVries says:

      Hi Sonya, unfortunately, the people in countries where SU is not sold are out of luck. There is no way I know of for them to get the products.

  16. Great page, Darlene! I love getting your card videos in my inbox every Wednesday! I appreciate your open-ness regarding different products that you use and how you share the benefits or drawbacks as you see them!

  17. Your cards are absolutely beautiful! I really admire your ability to blend with the copics. I am just starting to form my own collection or copics and Tim Holtz Distress Inks and am wondering if you have a guide of copics that best match with the distress inks…

  18. Laura Curran says:

    Hi Darlene, I was having trouble with my clear stamps and some types of ink. I came to your website here and found your list of favorite things and a paragraph about the different inks to use with the clear stamps. My question is this, do you know of a chart of all the different inks for stamping and what is the best application for that ink…i.e., Colorbox chalk and Versafine ink for clear stamps…such and such ink is best used on glossy papers etc. I thought I saw such a chart somewhere and cannot remember where I saw it or maybe I just dreamed it?!? Thank you for your beautiful card videos and taking the time to produce these each week. I have learned so very much and I actually enjoy card making again! Best Wishes, Laura Curran North Carolina

  19. Hi Darlene
    I do not live in USA, and I understand that Stampin up not send outside the U.S., but if you could order the items and I pay the courier by DHL or any courier, you could send them to me?
    Thank you!

    • Darlene DeVries says:

      Hi Marlene, unfortunately, I can’t do that. There are Stampin’ Up! demonstrators that sell within their own country, so perhaps you could find one that would ship to you. Check http://www.stampinup.com. You can also email Stampin’ Up! to find out the best option for you. Good luck!

  20. Thanks for the quick response Darlene!!! 🙂

  21. Great Ideas! And you are always so willing to share. Thanks for doing this. You answered a lot of my questions. And gave me some ideas that I hadn’t thought of. I wish you could post everyday! But I know you have a life outside of stamping and a wonderful family. We are so lucky to be able to share a bit of it.

    Will be anxious to see tomorrow’s video.

  22. Your topic on “My Stampin’ Up! inks don’t work that well with clear stamps”, I totally agree with you on this subject. It wasn’t until your last Wednesday’s post that I was able to put two and two together by what you had shared with us all regarding this issue. I thought perhaps I was using an inferior stamp as I only use SU inks.

  23. Where can you get the Neenah cardstock?

  24. Hi, i am trying to achieve an aged look on my background edges, and i noticed that you seem to be using a spongey tool with a handle to blend the ink into the paper? Could you tell me what that tool is? I just saw it on your “kissing stamp” tutorial.


  25. What is the best ink to use as a base for stamping before you start coloring in the image with other markers, such as copics.

    What is the best type of white cardstock to use for copics coloring?

  26. Irene Hagner says:

    I bought cards from Darlene years ago – I still have some. Flowers with beautiful writing (Thank you etc) . I would like to order more. Do you still carry them????
    My friend Marie LaJoie gave me your name years ago.

    • Darlene DeVries says:

      @Irene: Yes, I still have a few boxes left! I decided to discontinue selling them, so I am just selling until I finish up my inventory. You can see what I have here:
      http://onmeaderslane.etsy.com. If you click on the items for sale, you can see what exactly is included in each box. Thanks for asking!

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