AECP, Altenew

Masculine Cards with Shine & An Upcycled Mint Tin Mini Album: AECP Level 2 Final Challenge

In this Level 2 final challenge in the AECP progam I will be using three of the 20 class module techniques I’ve learned in my AECP journey as inspiration. I have chosen these three: Clean & Simple Boutique Cards, Polychromatic and Let it Shine and I will be creating elegant, masculine style cards with shine.

Also part of the challenge is to create an altered or upcycled project which I will feature in the second part of my blog post.

For the first part of my challenge, I have decided to create a card sharing video. If you are interested, you can view my video below. I will be sharing some tips and tricks to create beautiful clean and simple cards. I will also post a step by step process here in my blog.


As per the project brief I am creating masculine cards with the theme Love or Thinking of You, Encouragement, Anniversary and Birthday. I also wanted to add a bit of shine to each card for to make it a little more special. As for my color palette, I decided to make two cards Monochromatic and the other two, complementary colors – gold & navy highlighted with cream card base inspired by the AECP Polychromatic class.

I will be using a few Altenew stamp and die sets for my masculine card project. Here are the sets that I will use: Retro Plantines stamp set, Mega Brush Alpha set and a couple of sentiment sets of which I will indicate in my product list below.

To prepare for my set of cards, I heat embossed with Antique Gold Embossing powder several elements from the Retro Plantines Stamp set on navy and cream cardstock.  I die -cut them all using the coordinating dies and set them aside.

Creating CAS cards has always been my waterloo as I tend to do more than what is considered CAS. I have learned a lot from taking these classes and I also learned a lot by doing. As I take you through my projects below, I will share with you my top tips on design elements in creating Clean & Simple Cards.

CARD #1: Love/Thinking of You & the Rule of Thirds

This first card is a Love/Thinking of you themed card. My first tip on creating CAS cards is the Rule of Thirds. This is not a hard and fast rule, just something to keep in mind when creating a card design. On your card base, visually dissect the space into three parts.  It could be horizontally, vertically or diagonally. 

On a cream card base I adhered one strip of the Gold Stream washi tape at the bottom third of my card. Then I took a couple of elements from the heat embossed images from the Retro Plantines stamp set and arranged them on the bottom left hand side of the card. I stamped the sentiment “sending you lots of love” with gold pigment ink right below the Gold Stream washi. As you can see, for this card, I kept all my elements diagonally on the bottom one third of the card.

CARD #2: Encouragement card & Focal Point

This is also my second tip of creating a CAS card – creating a focal point. Focal point is also very important in CAS design. Having a focal point in the card draws the eye to an element – a certain subject matter, be it a stamped design or a large sentiment.

So for my second card which is an Encouragement card, I used a large sentiment as the main focal point.  Using the Mega Brush letter stamp set, I first stamped the word in a piece of scrap paper to make a template. This is is a letter stamp set, so it’s important to stamp out your sentiment so you can work on your letter spacing.

Then I placed the template in my mini Misti and lined up the stamp on top of the template.

I picked up the “U” (actually it’s a double ‘L’ not a ‘U’) stamp with the door of my Misti, removed the template and replaced it with a cream card stock base. I then applied embossing ink on the “U” and stamped it onto the paper. To create the two-tone embossed look, I first sprinkled Navy embossing powder on the top half of the letter, tapped off the excess, then sprinkled Antique Gold embossing powder on the bottom half. Then hit it with my heat gun. Here is the before and after photo.

I did the same for all the letters. To frame the sentiment, I swiped the embossing pad all around the edged of the card and then heat embossed the top half with navy and bottom half with gold.

CARD # 3: Anniversary card & “White Space”

My third tip for this anniversary card is create a lot of “white” space. This does not mean that the majority of the space in your card be the color white but that in order for your card to be called CAS, a majority of your card design background or backdrop be one color or design.

For my anniversary themed card, though it’s not necessarily white, I left a lot of space, leaving the eye to focus on the design element at the lower lefthand side. Maybe a better term for this would be “open space. To create some visual interest in the open space, I swiped gold pigment ink across the card.

To create the background, I simply swiped the gold pigment ink pad across the paper in one direction. I angled the ink pad using the edge to get a cleaner swipe.

Then I adhered a couple of elements to the left side after I heat embossed the sentiment “my best menories are the ones we made together” with Antique Gold embossing powder to match.

CARD #4: Happy Birthday & Craftmanship

My fourth and final card for this masculine card project is a birthday card. 

My CAS tip for you here is Craftmanship.  Creating a CAS card is a perfect way to highlight my skills as a card maker. I make sure my lines are straight and design elements are balanced.  Because there a few elements on a CAS card, it because more apparent if lines are crooked. By no means am I going for perfection here, just paying extra attention to detail.

For this card, I die cut a window using the Crystal Frames stamp set. I gold heat embossed a small “Happy Birthday” sentiment on the top left of the die-cut window using the Tiny Words Sentiment stamp set from Simon Says Stamp. I took the time to make sure everything was aligned and having a stamping tool made it so much easier! I placed a gold foil acetate at the back of the window before adhering it to a navy card base. I inlaid the Crystal frame die cut on the window then adhered a couple of elements on the bottom right of the window to create that balance with the sentiment.

That’s it! My four CAS masculine cards with shine! I applied all the design elements to all four cards: Rule of Thirds, Focal Point, “white space” and craftmanship.


For the second part of my Level 2 AECP project I am to create a project using recycled materials. Here are some of the materials I used for my upcycled project.

I must confess I am a mint drop addict, I have at least one mint drop a day and because of that, I have a big box full of mint tins. I didn’t want to throw them away because I repurpose them. I use them to store my die cuts, sentiments, larger embellishments like buttons or chip boards.

Then I had this wild idea, maybe not a unique one, because I’m sure someone else has done it, to turn one of this mint tins into a mini album.

Here is how I prepped my mint tin. First, I painted the top of the tin with white acrylic paint. I painted two layers so that the mint design does not show thru. Then I took the Random Dots washi and cut strips slightly wider than the sides of the rim. I wrapped the strip of washi around the rim and then made small cuts all around so that it will easily adhere to the top of the cover. I adhered the washi which is about 4.25″ wide onto some cardstock, then used a circle die that was slightly smaller that the diameter of the cover.

After I prepped the tin cover, I then adhered all my design elements which I die cut out of scrap colored cardstock. I used the Hibiscus Garden 3D die as my main design element. I also ink blended on a piece of scrap white cardstock, the inks from the Warm & Cozy crisp dye inks, starting with the lightest color Sunkissed at the top to Firebrick at the very bottom. I die cut the word “SUMMER” using the Thin Alpha die set, then also die cut it in black to make a shadow behind the letters. For the “2020” at the bottom, I just used a White Jelly Roll pen on black cardstock. After I adhered all the elements, I painted several coats of Mod Podge Satin finish all over the top of the tin – making sure to dry thoroughly between coats. This ensured that the elements will not come off.


Creating the album itself is fairly easy. I just used the circle die (same one I used for the top of the cover) and die cut several circles from an old cereal box.

I used a half inch ribbon to join the album pages together. I laid out all the circles in a row and measured my ribbon acrossto see what length I needed to join them together. For this particular album, I used six circles. I cut off more ribbon than I needed because I wanted to create a loop on either side. This will make it easier to get the album out of the can.

I adhered the ribbon in the middle of the cardboard circle cut out and looped the end. At first I cut thecircle to give space for the ribbon but then I realized it was not necessary as my ribbon was thin enough to not create a bump. So for the rest of the circles, I just adhered it straight onto the cut out.

I added another die cut circle on top to sandwich the ribbon in between.

Then I adhered a piece of white printer paper cut to the same size to hide the cereal box design.

Then I embellished each circle with elements using Dotted and Orchid Garden washi tape for the first and last circle. As for the middle circles, I printed out the photographs and adhered them. Here is a photo of the full length of the album without the photos.

My album only had 6 pages and my tin was quite deep so I adhered a circular piece of thin foam at the bottom of the tin. Then placed another washi taped die cut circle so that the album sat closer to the top of the tin. You don’t have to do this, it would all depend on how thick your album is.

I used some images from magazine cut-outs to show how you can adhere your personal photos for gift giving or even as a keepsake of a special event!

You can also use these “albums” to hang on your wall as a decorative element for a special occasion, then fold them back and place them back in the tin.

The fun part of this project is that these tin albums can have many uses! You don’t even have to put albums in them, you can use these to put other keepsakes. For the holidays, you can embellish the lids and then put goodies inside.

I hope I’ve inspired you with these projects! If you are interested in any of these Altenew Academy classes, you can click on the links below to check them out!

‘Til next time!



Thank you for visiting my blog. I truly appreciate it! You can also find me on Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and Facebook.

Materials used:

Note: I am affiliated with some online stores including Altenew, Concord & 9th, Hero Arts, Brutus Monroe and Trinity Stamps. If you use any of the links above, I get a small commission from these wonderful shops at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!

10 thoughts on “Masculine Cards with Shine & An Upcycled Mint Tin Mini Album: AECP Level 2 Final Challenge”

  1. Anna, everything is lovely! I love the navy and gold together, and using that double L as “U?” I never would have guessed it! Cute little mini album too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Marie! I wish I could claim genius credit for that “U”. The “U” was a happy little accident! I only realized what I did after I had stamped it out.. Duh 😂


  2. Love the cards, Anna! I know the feeling you must have had after making these because you like me are a cardmaker who does a LOT on her cards 🙂 So I completely understand how this was a challenge for you! I usually try my hand out CAS cards during Washi Tape release! I think it is one of the best times. I love the mini album too! Have made quite a few circular ones myself and LOVED working on them. Yours looked incredible, absolutely in contrast with the cards, so vibrant and fun. You decorated it very well too!
    Thank you for entering your work to the AECP assignment gallery. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

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