April 2001
Textures, Textures, Textures
Designed By Judi Kauffman

Texture is something that engages all the senses. You can see it with your eyes, feel it with your fingers and skin, and you can even taste it. It's the smooth velvet dress or soft fur on a kitten. It's the rough gravel path that crunches under a bicycle's wheels and makes it harder to balance. It's the raisins and rice pieces in a pudding. It's what makes an orchestra's instruments work together while each maintaining a separate sound.

In the visual arts, artists use all kinds of materials to create the illusion of textures. On flat surfaces where your eye can engage your memory to imagine a sense of touch, a simple stroke of paint or some marks made with pastels will convince you you're looking at wood or marble, thorns or bricks.

In relief or sculpture, hammered metal and chiseled stone create hair and skin and fur.

Rubber stamp artists use stamps and inks and embossing powders and clay and other materials to create textures that look like anything and everything -- from an animal's hide to leather and marble, from a polished stone to grainy sand. Texture and pattern overlap, in a sense. What is random in a single brick or tile becomes pattern when it is repeated in groups or series.

Explore textures by doing a series of experiments using your favorite rubber stamps. The results can be used as backgrounds, in collage, for layering, and more.


Textures 1 - #42731

Textures 2 - #42732
To create projects out of texture experiments -- Optional:


Step One

Assemble a variety of paper and card stock in different colors and with different surfaces. Get out your favorite dye ink pads for the first round of experiments.

After you understand the basic concepts, use pigment inks and embossing powders for even more variations. Starting with dye inks allows you to work quickly. Some dye inks are permanent (waterproof) and some will bleed. If you like the way colors blend, choose the ones that bleed. If you like colors to remain distinct, stick with those that are permanent, and let each color dry or heat set between steps.


Step Two

Stamp your favorite texture stamp a dozen or more times using a dark color ink (black, navy, chocolate brown). Use white card stock for the majority of your samples, but make a few samples on other colors, too. The size of your samples can be the same size as a large texture stamp, or you can randomly repeat a smaller texture stamp to make larger pieces.

Though I've suggested starting with a dark color, this isn't a hard and fast rule. If you prefer to start with a pastel ink and keep all of your experiments soft and light, that's a good idea -- you're the artist! Color choices are always up to you.

Step Three

Randomly stamp the same texture stamp with two more ink colors on each of the pieces you stamped in Step Two. The more samples you make from each combination, the more experiments are possible. Adding two lighter colors will give you the most contrast and will maintain a stronger pattern, while darker colors will make the texture become less distinct. This is where the fun comes in. Choose analogous, complementary, or any other combination of colors. Look at a color wheel if you need some ideas.

The additional colors used for the samples shown are butterscotch and orange.

Step Four

If you get a combination you like, make additional samples. It's easiest to make extras while the stamps and supplies are handy.

Step Five

Using a dry sponge, stippling brush, or soft cloth, apply other colors to create soft undertones or sharply contrasting splotches and streaks.

Step Six

Stamp additional textures or images over some of the pieces. Cut up the experiments and use them for layering and backgrounds.

Step Seven

Start again with a different texture stamp. Repeat the steps and see what happens with different inks as well as using the same inks with different stamps.

Step Eight

On the next round try some or all of these variations -
  • Combine two or more texture stamps
  • Use fewer inks, or use four or more
  • Use different sections of a rainbow ink pad
  • Add randomly stamped block stamps like Sand Pictures, Blackboard Butterflies & Dragonflies, or Cincinnati Sketchbook (these images can be strong and dark, or muted and shadowy)

Step Nine

Use the textures you've created for layering, collages, or as backgrounds for cards, journal covers, boxes and more. Stamp and cut out images and move them from one texture to another to see what looks right to you. Add stickers, dried flowers, small photos, and dimensional embellishments like charms, buttons, ribbon and more.


Designed By Judi Kauffman


  1. Crimp card stock with pattern crimper (shown, Diamond pattern from Paper Adventures).
  2. With a dry sponge, add soft brown and olive ink to highlight raised areas of pattern (Ranger Big & Juicy Rainbow dye ink pad - Spice).
  3. Add soft pink and lime over first two colors (Ranger Big & Juicy Rainbow dye ink pad - Tutti Fruiti).
  4. Select a small texture pattern from sheet #42731 Texture Plate 1. When stamping it in Step 5, you can stamp it once or several times depending on how much texture you want to add.
  5. Lightly buff raised areas of pattern with Krylon Copper Leafing pen. Stamp texture in Sepia ink. Press gently so texture appears on raised areas only. No ink will stamp on the areas that were colored with leafing pen.
  6. Instead of Sepia ink, use the light green section of Tutti Fruiti Rainbow ink pad to stamp texture.
  7. Instead of having the crimped card stock facing diamond side up, turn it over and let the diamonds become recessed areas. The raised areas will now be the lattice strips between them, giving an entirely different look to your texture.

Samples numbered 1 to 3 are in the top row and numbered left to right. Samples numbered 4 to 7 are in the bottom row and numbered left to right.


By using different crimpers, ink colors, and texture stamps you can create an infinite variety of finished surfaces to use for layering, collage, folded cards, frames, boxes, envelopes and more.

All brand names and product names are trademarks, registered trademarks or trade names of their respective holders.

(c) Copyright 2001 by Judi Kauffman and Red Castle, Inc.
Red Castle, Inc. - P.O. Box 39-8001 - Edina, MN 55439-8001
All Rights Reserved.