Focal Panels, Layers and Little More Wildly Grateful

Yesterday I shared a pink-and-silver animal print with a pretty bow. I still don’t know what animal is represented by the print, but I know I like it.

After I had set yesterday’s blog post to go live, I noted a couple more things I wanted to share about the card. As such, I’m back today with a few more thoughts about the construction of this card.

Focal Panels

As a card designer, I rarely use the entire card front for my design. Instead, I tend to zoom in to a smaller panel where my images and sentiments reside. Not only do I find it easier to design a smaller panel, but I like the frame of cardstock around the focal panel. The focal panel is usually (but not always) proportional to the card base (I take each side in by 1/2″ or by 1″ or by 1-1/2″ to create a fun focal panel on my card). Here are some example of recent cards with smaller, framed panels (you can click on any of these images to see the original post for each):

Rain or Shine Specialty Designer Series Paper, Stampin Up!, Brian King Share a Milkshake Bundle, Stampin Up!, Brian King Decorated with Happiness, Stampin Up!, Brian King, Christmas card Best Butterflies Bundle, Stampin Up!, Brian KingWhether the smaller panels leave a large or small border around the panel, the “good stuff” is showcased on a smaller panel that’s not the base of the card. You can see the variety in the cards above (and there are three different card base shapes/sizes showcased above).

Luscious Layers

While I am drawing your eye to a smaller panel on the card, I also LOVE to add layers of cardstock or Designer Series Paper to frame the focal panel and build proportional layers to support the focal panel. I often cut several layers in several colors until I find the combination that works for me (and I won’t know what looks best until I try them out). You can see a variety of layers in the cards above, but here are a few more cards that showcase how I add papers to add layers (you can click on these photos to see the original post for each):

Santa Express Memories & More Cards, Stampin Up!, Brian King, Christmas card Big Hooray, Good Feelings, Stampin Up!, Brian King, graduation card Beautifully Happy, Sentimental Park Dies, Stampin Up!, Brian King In the Country, Soft Pastels Assortment, Stampin Up!, Brian King

When I cut thin frames around panels, the frames are cut 1/8″ longer and 1/8″ taller than the panel they are framing. That gives me a 1/16″ border around each side. To ensure I can perfectly glue the two pieces together, I apply Tombow Multipurpose Liquid Glue to the back of the smaller panel. The wet glue gives me the ability to move the panel a little bit to position it before the glue dries. I love the Multipurpose Liquid Glue!

More About Yesterday’s Card

I made a big “oops” when pulling together yesterday’s card and had to pivot to make it right. I want to show you the final card and walk you through my alternative options. Here’s the finished card:

Lovely You, Like an Animal Specialty Designer Series Paper, Stampin Up!, Brian KingAs I shared above, I set out to cut a focal panel that’s proportionate to the card base. I cut the panel from the Like an Animal Specialty Designer Series Paper and added the Polished Pink ink to the center with my Blending Brush. I planned to simply frame it with a thin frame. That’s when I realized I hadn’t cut my panel to 5″ x 3-3/4″ (1/2″ inch in from the height and width of the card base). For some reason, I had cut this panel at 5″ x 3-1/2″. How silly!

I had four conceivable options to proceed forward (without cutting a new piece and starting over):

  1. I could do nothing and allow the panel framed focal panel to be shorter along one side of the card base. Nothing wrong with that, I guess.
  2. I could cut the Basic Gray base down by 1/4″ so that each side would be equally framed by the card base.
  3. I could cut down the width of the panel from 5″ to 4-3/4″ so I’d have a proportioned panel I could frame and center. I didn’t choose this option because I had already brushed the Polished Pink ink  on the center of the animal print panel.
  4. I could add an additional panel to the shorter sides of the framed focal panel so the full panel (including the frame and added layers) are proportionate to the card base. This is the option I chose (but you already knew that!).

Here are the measurement for the base layers on my card (starting with the base and working up):

  • Basic Gray – 5-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ (scored at 4-1/4″)
  • Stampin’ Dimensionals
  • Smoky Slate – 5-1/8″ x 3-7/8″
  • Polished Pink – 5-1/8″ x 3-5/8″
  • Like an Animal Specialty Designer Series Paper – 5″ x 3-1/2″

If you’d like to see my post for this card with the Like an Animal Specialty Designer Series Paper (including all of the products I used on this card), you can see that post here.

Thanks for stopping by today!



Sale-a-Bration’s Join Promotion

There are the three join options Stampin’ Up! is offering during Sale-a-Bration:

  • OPTION 1 – For $129, you get your choice of $175 (your choice) of Stampin’ Up! products and a Boho Blue Mini Stampin’ Cut & Emboss Machine (a $63 value).
  • OPTION 2 – Not crazy for the blue machine? For $129, you get your choice of $175 (your choice) of Stampin’ Up! products and a white Mini Stampin’ Cut & Emboss Machine (a $63 value).
  • OPTION 3 – Already have a Mini Stampin’ Cut & Emboss Machine or don’t want one? For $99, you get your choice of $175 (your choice) of Stampin’ Up! products.

More Bonuses About Joining

  • Your Starter Kit is shipped with FREE SHIPPING!
  • You will earn a 20% discount on all purchases immediately after joining (and for as long as you are an active demonstrator). What an awesome benefit!
  • You have no obligation to ever sell or share with anyone (although it makes you really cool if you do) and no obligation to buy another thing if you don’t want to.
  • When you join my team today, you will receive loads of inspiration from our team – our InKing Royalty Facebook group always shares amazing, inspirational projects, but there are so many more when we get our hands on new products.
  • While Sale-a-Bration rewards don’t accrue to your Starter Kit, you will earn all the Sale-a-Bration rewards that customer earn after your starter kit with an opportunity to earn rewards available to demonstrators.
  • You earn my undying gratitude and respect. ❤️

Become a RoyalIf you have thought about joining and want to be a part of an amazing online community of stampers, please email me today. I’d love to answer your questions or set up a time to chat with you. If you are ready to join my incredible team, CLICK HERE.

Shop with Brian Host CodePlacing an order today?  Of course you are! If you are placing an order for $150 or more, I want you to enjoy all of the Host Rewards you have earned.  If your order is less than $150, I’d love for you please add this Host Code – 44F4KHZH when prompted. Thank you!


  1. You are a master of the focal point1

  2. A card parade AND a tutorial. Gonna be a good day~

  3. A tutorial from the King of Layering! Love it! Enjoy your day!

  4. Love the descriptions of your creative process. The main thing I agree on is your liking the Multipupose glue ! Your layering definitely calls for THE TOMBOW !!
    Great cards !!

    • Thanks, Sonny. I often end a post with so much more to share. This one just called out to me for more. Glad you like it – and glad you love Tombow! It’s the best (and so are you). ♥

  5. Suzanne Patt Cullen

    Dear Brian,
    I always love to read how you go about designing your cards. It really helps to have different perspectives. Thank you, Brian ♥️

  6. I always love your layers. They’re so crisp, clean and perfect. Having you explain the process is a plus. Thanks for sharing such gorgeous designs.

Leave a Reply