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How To: The Ins and Outs of Thickers – Part 2

Reported by Morgan Novak
Whew! Are you still recovering from the length of The Ins and Outs of Thickers – Part 1? I think I might be, but it’s time to jump right back in. There are more than 100 sets of Thickers in American Crafts‘ most recent catalog, and that doesn’t even take into account all the previous sets that don’t happen to be in the catalog anymore! Think about all the possibilities! In part 1 of this article we covered all the chipboard based Thickers (pearl, flocked, glossy, foil, chipboard, natural chipboard, glitter, fabric covered & patterned) and now we’ll learn all about the rest of the Thickers types.

Foam Thickers are how Thickers first came onto the scene. The original Thickers release was all foam! Because of the natural give of foam they adhere amazingly well to just about any surface. They also allow a little bit of flexibility when it comes to re-shaping them a little if you are trying to make a title or word follow a curve, or if you want to squish them a little to make them fit in a smaller space! Foam Thickers currently come in two different forms, glitter-covered and basic.

1. Glitter Covered Foam Thickers are a lot like the Glitter Covered Chipboard Thickers as far as altering, but they have a little more give to them if you need to re-shape.

You won’t be able to fully change the colors of your Glitter Covered Foam Thickers with ink, but you will be able to add another color for some extra dimension. Just lightly rub each letter along the surface of your Staz On ink pad and you’ll get a pretty cool effect. And, because the glitter on these is so fantastic you won’t get any glitter shedding onto your ink pad!
2. Basic Foam Thickers come in a ton of fonts and colors and offer a whole bunch of altering possibilities if you’d like to change them up a little bit.

You can change the color of your Foam Thickers completely with a Copic Sketch Marker. Because of the porous nature of the foam you get a cool velvet kind of look when layering on the color with you marker.

Another cool way to change the color of your Foam Thickers is by carefully pressing them into a soft ink pad like Versamagic or Brilliance. Just remember to give these wet inks some time to set before you start handling them.

I find the Foam Thickers to be the easiest to draw on. You can easily use just about any fine tipped journaling pen, (I like Triplus Fineliners), to draw anything you like right on the letters.

Another fun way to add to your Foam Thickers is as easy as stamping on them, whether you are adding a pattern, a word, or a date like I did here.

Puffy Thickers bring me right back to my sticker book obsessed days in the 80’s! They come in three different forms; Glitter Puffy, Puffy and Patterned Puffy.

The best way to alter the Puffy Thickers is using rub-ons, in this case I chose Hambly rub-ons. I found that, because of the material the Puffy Thickers are made of, the rub-on sheet and subsequently the rub-ons themselves stick very nicely to them.

Vinyl Thickers are another of my favorites in the Thickers family! Just be careful of where you store them! I found that mine were a little too close to my heat register and they began to curl a little and lose the edges of their sticky. Oops! If this has happened to you too, don’t worry! Simply use some Glossy Accents on the back for some additional adhesive and you’ll be all set!

Like the plain Foam Thickers, you can draw on these as well. Just use a smudge proof pen, like the American Crafts Slick Writers, so that the ink stays on the vinyl instead of on your hands.

The same theory applies to stamping on the Vinyl Thickers! Be sure to use a Staz On pad so that you don’t get any smudge, just stamped goodness.

The Vinyl Thickers lend themselves very nicely to rub-ons also. Here I used my favorite mini alphabet rub-ons from Doodlebug to add a little message to a letter.

There are a couple types of Thickers that are no longer in the American Crafts catalog, but I’m sure they are still available here and there, and I know that I certainly still have them in my personal Thickers stash.

1. Velvet Thickers were a super lush, really cool texture. When using them you may want to add a little extra adhesive to the back of them because of the fuzz.

2. Felt Thickers were another early Thickers material, and happen to be another one of my favorites. Because of their natural give they are also really awesome on any type of surface. I’m kind of hoping that they’ll bring these guys back sometime soon!

The last type of Thickers we have to talk about are the Accent Shapes and Borders. The Accent Shapes come in a variety of materials, just like the alphabet Thickers. The Border Thickers are a relatively new addition to the Thickers family. This Winter’s CHA release is the first to feature the Borders with every new collection, but they made their real debut in American Crafts’ last Halloween collection. The Borders are all printed chipboard and a true 12″ long border.

Well, those are all the types of Thickers! I thought I’d end this 2 part how to with a few techniques you can easily use to add a little flair to just about all the types of Thickers.


Remember, Thickers do allow you to easily alter them in all kinds of fun ways, but they are also awesome just the way they are! I hope you’ve been inspired! It’s clear that I have a real Thickers addiction, and I’m sure that a lot of you are with me on that! It seems impossible to choose, but if I had to pick just one favorite Thickers font I think it would be “Platforms.” What’s your favorite Thickers font?
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How To: The Ins and Outs of Thickers – Part 1

Reported by Morgan Novak
As evidenced by my Clip It Up! Top Tier Extension review, I have quite the Thickers addiction! Thickers are dimensional alphabet stickers, made by American Crafts, that are available in a variety of materials, finishes, textures and colors. Thick + stickers = Thickers, get it? Each new paper collection release from American Crafts includes 2 or 3 brand new fonts, and sometimes shapes or borders. They also release additional fonts, or existing fonts in a different material, between larger releases. You can check out the newest editions in our coverage of American Crafts at CHA if you’d like a little sneak peek of what’s to come!
Since I find myself using Thickers on just about every project I create, I thought I’d show you the ins and outs of all the different types in this 2 part how-to! We’ll start with the many varieties of chipboard based Thickers.
The bulk of Thickers are a variation on, or a covered version of, chipboard. I find that the adhesive is more than sufficient for most traditional papercrafting bases like paper or chipboard, but when I’m using them on harder surfaces, such as acrylic, I like to add some super tape to the back for extra, extra adhesive hold, just to be safe.
There are 9 types of chipboard based Thickers, and many of them are alterable in one way or another so that you can make them fit into just about any crafty project and have even more fun with them!
1. Pearl Chipboard Thickers have a soft, pearly sheen to them and are great if you want a muted shimmer.

A great way to alter many of the types of chipboard based Thickers is to get some additional texture by using rub-ons! I used Hambly rub-ons for all of my examples because I love the thickness of their rub-ons. Once you have used your rub-on tool to apply the image there will sometimes be a little bit of leftover image hanging off the edge of the letter, to correct this I usually just lightly run my Exacto blade along the edge to shave of the excess.
2. Fabric Covered Chipboard Thickers are probably one of my favorite types of Thickers because of their texture and also because of how easy it is to make them just about any color you need!

One super easy way to change the color of Fabric Thickers is to simply color them! I usually use a the brush tip end of a Copic Sketch Marker to gently color the letter, following the grain of the fabric to avoid any fraying. Just remember, you have to factor in the current color of the letter. Some color combinations can do some funky things, so before I start I usually test out colors on punctuation or letters that I don’t often use.

Another really quick way to color match your Fabric Thickers is to give them a quick spritz with Glimmer Mist! Just remember to give them a few minutes to dry before you handle them.

The last little tip I have for the Fabric Thickers is to stamp on them! I’ll confess that I hadn’t actually tried this until I was working on this article, but I think I might be hooked! This was so simple and yet it looks so cool.
3. Flocked Chipboard Thickers have a slight fuzzy finish to them just like those fuzzy animal stickers of yesteryear. The flock makes them a little tougher to alter, but there are still some great ways to add a little extra flair to them. We’ll get to those at the end of part 2!
4. Glossy Chipboard Thickers have a really cool shiny gloss finish that’s pretty rad on it’s own, but there are still some ways to change them a little bit.

The absolute most simple way to alter these is to simply distress them with some sandpaper or a nail file. It will take the bulk of the gloss off and you can even sand down to the chipboard color underneath for a little extra grunge.

Applying rub-ons to these is a little bit of a challenge because the glossy finish causes the rub-on sheet to slip quite a bit, but it’s still do-able, I just suggest using a pattern that lends itself to a more distressed rub-on look.

Staz On ink will allow you to stamp on the glossy chipboard pretty easily and it also works it’s Staz On magic by drying just about instantly!
5. Foil Chipboard Thickers are available in shiny metallic colors like silver and gold, as well as in foiled versions of other colors. In some sort of cruel twist of fate I somehow don’t own any Foil Thickers, but I would imagine that you could easily use rub-ons or stamp on them with Staz On.
6 & 7. Both Chipboard Thickers & Natural Chipboard Thickers have a flat finish that enables many of the same altering tricks to be used on them both. However, there are a few methods that only work on either the Natural (or kraft colored) Thickers or Thickers with color. First I’ll show you the tricks that work on both.

Distress Crackle Paint adds a ton of texture to your Thickers, just be sure to lay it on in a medium to thick coat depending on how much crackle you want, and allow an appropriate amount of drying time. Once the paint has crackled you can hit them with your heat tool to speed up the drying process.

Like the Fabric Thickers, you can easily use just about any type of ink to stamp on the Chipboard Thickers.

This is another trick that I just recently added to my arsenal, but now that I have I’m sure I’ll be using it quite a bit! I just stamped the woodgrain with a clear embossing ink pad, sprinkled on some Zing! embossing powder and then carefully heated it using a heat tool. When using the heat tool, be sure to keep it moving because you don’t want the heat to sink through and heat up the adhesive on the back of the letters.

These are super easy to apply rub-ons to without much slipping! In this instance I added a little faux stitching.

How about a simple line of Stickles for a little added bling? Be sure to leave your Stickles plenty of time to dry.

On to some methods that only work with the Natural, meaning plain uncolored chipboard, Thickers.

You can easily add some color to your Natural Thickers by simply pressing them into a soft ink pad, such as Versamagic or Brilliance. Just remember that much like when you are stamping using these ink pads, you’ll want to give it a couple of minutes to set.

It doesn’t get much more basic than painting your chipboard! I suggest painting them while off the backing sheet so that you don’t accidentally end up painting more letters than you mean to.

You can also very easily use markers on these! When picking out your marker color keep in mind that you’re not coloring on white, and the natural kraft color may slightly change the color.

Glimmer Mist makes for a really striking new finish to your Natural Thickers. Simply take the letters you want to use off the backing sheet, place them lightly on a piece of wax paperor a non-stick craft sheet and spray away! After spraying I like to use my Tweezer Bees to move them onto a clean edge of the wax paper so that they don’t get overly saturated while sitting in a Glimmer Mist puddle.

Here’s a quick little trick that I used on the Glossy Thickers that can also be used on the colored Chipboard Thickers; just hit them with a nail file or sand paper for a little distressed love.
8. Patterned Chipboard Thickers are exactly what they sound like, basic Chipboard Thickers printed with different patterns like stripes, stitches, hearts and more. Even though they already have cool patterns printed right on them, you can still do a couple fun things with altering.

Pull out your sandpaper, nail file or distressing kit and lightly sand the surface just enough to distress the letters a little bit without totally getting rid of the pattern.

You could add some patterned rub-ons for an additional layer of pattern, or how about adding a word? Here I pulled out one of my favorite supplies, Doodlebug mini alpha rub-ons to spell out “one” on the number 1.
9. Glitter Covered Chipboard Thickers are pretty amazing! They have a high impact glitter finish with no shedding! That’s right, no glitter flying everywhere anytime you handle them!

A fun way to give these a cool little finish is to lightly rub them on the surface of a Staz On ink pad. Pigment will rub off on some of the surface glitter for a sweet confetti type finish.
So, that just about covers the chipboard-based Thickers, other than some basic ways to add some extra fun to just about any type of Thicker, which I’ll get to in part 2 tomorrow, along with Foam, Puffy, Vinyl and even a couple of discontinued Thicker types!
In the mean time. share some tips or tricks of your own! What other ways are you altering your chipboard based Thickers?
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