One Layer Paper Tole

by Dina Kowal

Add dimension to stamped images without adding layers.


  • Heavy cardstock or watercolor paper
  • Outline stamp (floral images work well with this technique – Power Poppy La Vie en Rose digital stamp used here)
  • Coloring medium of your choice
  • Sharp craft knife
  • Cutting mat
  • Foam pad
  • Ball stylus or other rounded tool
  • Foam tape
  • Glue
  • Other supplies as needed to complete the project


  1. Step 1

    Stamp an outline image on cardstock or watercolor paper. Color with any medium.

  2. Step 2

    Looking at the stamp image, determine which portions of the image might project or be raised if the object were 3-dimensional. These may be objects or sections that appear to be to the foreground, or are overlapping another object.

    The areas cut on this project are indicated here.

  3. Step 3

    Lay the panel on a cutting mat and use a craft knife to cut around the outside of a few of these areas. Do not cut around the entire outline. For leaves, either cut from the midpoint of the sides down to the point, or cut along one side to emphasize the curve. Choose a few petals to accent the shape and dimension of the flower.

  4. Space cuts about 1/4" apart, and take care not to cut portions out completely.

  5. Step 4

    Turn the image panel over, and lay it on a foam mat or mouse pad.

  6. Use a ball stylus or other rounded tool (even a rounded pen cap will work) to press into the inside of each curve that you’ve created with your craft knife. Rub back and forth inside the curve, and the paper will begin to break down and curve upwards.

  7. Step 5

    When you’ve finished embossing, turn the image back over, and press gently into the flower centers to bring the embossed areas back up. The stylus can also be run along the lines of the image to increase dimension.

  8. Step 6

    If desired, turn panel over and use a smaller stylus to further define edges.

  9. Step 7 (Optional)

    To emboss areas of the image that are too small to cut out, run a stylus around the edge of the area lightly to create an outline on the back side.

  10. Turn the panel over. Press the area inside the outline into the foam mat – it will be raised on the front.

  11. Step 8

    Put a small piece of foam tape in each curve created by cutting and embossing.

  12. Step 9

    When gluing the panel to place onto a card base, be sure there is glue in all flat areas, to the inside of each piece of foam, and to the outside of each cut line.

  13. Step 10

    Adhere the panel to the card base, and press down the glued areas.

  14. Step 11

    Lift and reshape the edges of the raised areas as needed, using a craft knife.

  15. The image has dimension, but is still flat enough to mail in a standard envelope.

  16. Step 12

    Embellish and complete the card.


Your Turn

You've seen the tutorial, now you try it! We've got a section of the gallery set aside for One Layer Paper Tole. Try this technique, then upload your artwork to the gallery. Show us your creations!

***Please note - Internet Explorer/Edge is not a supported browser, and will not allow you to see the videos. Please use Chrome, Firefox or Safari to view our tutorial videos.

Questions and Comments

We'd love to get your feedback or questions. Leave your comment below.

I like this idea a lot, never thought of it before. Thanks very much for sharing.
Pat Harrison  |  Wed Mar 4, 2015 at 3:50 AM
love this - a WOW for sure!
kathy wheat  |  Wed Mar 4, 2015 at 7:04 AM
I really loved this idea. Chuckled at the comment you made "Ask me how I know this". Thanks for all the detail you put into this video. Can't wait to try it.
Arlene Paterra  |  Wed Mar 4, 2015 at 7:30 AM
Oh how SWEET, easy and beautiful. Thank you for this fun technique.
Pssequimages  |  Wed Mar 4, 2015 at 7:40 AM
A wonderful idea
Robin RI  |  Wed Mar 4, 2015 at 7:50 AM
This is fantastic!! thanks for the tutorial and I can not wait to try it!!
Julie Heyer  |  Wed Mar 4, 2015 at 7:56 AM
This is such a lovely technique. Thanks for sharing it.
Artizanne  |  Wed Mar 4, 2015 at 7:59 AM
I love this. It is the best new technique I have seen in a long time!
Mary Doerder  |  Wed Mar 4, 2015 at 8:00 AM
This is stunning! Thanks for sharing this beautiful design idea.
Dawn Lotharius  |  Wed Mar 4, 2015 at 8:05 AM
Great technique. I just have to find a stamp in my stash that will work! Will play later. Thanks for doing the video for us!
muscrat  |  Wed Mar 4, 2015 at 8:31 AM
Love the idea! I don't use my outline stamps but now I have a new technique to use and will pull them out of storage. Great way to put new "life" into them!
Patti Van Groningen  |  Wed Mar 4, 2015 at 9:10 AM
What a fun technique, I have a stamp that this will work on great, can't wait to try it. TFS
Margaret Jenks  |  Wed Mar 4, 2015 at 9:32 AM
Cool idea, I've never seen this done before!
kaycstamper  |  Wed Mar 4, 2015 at 10:07 AM
What an unusual idea...I am going to give it a try as I need to make a special card for a very special friend.
hope mitchell  |  Wed Mar 4, 2015 at 10:08 AM
What an awesome technique! Going to have to give it a try!!! Thanks for the great tutorial.
Michelle  |  Wed Mar 4, 2015 at 11:09 AM
Also wanted to tell you that your sample is beautiful!
muscrat  |  Wed Mar 4, 2015 at 2:46 PM
Oh Dina, this is just gorgeous, I've never seen this technique before, thank you for sharing it. Your video is fantastic, you give lots of fabulous tips to give this a try. Just love the results and it's not so difficult to do.
Thanks again for sharing.
Maria A. Rodriguez  |  Wed Mar 4, 2015 at 3:15 PM
Oh...I may hae found a new love. Thanks for the creative push.
Beverly Parkison  |  Wed Mar 4, 2015 at 7:39 PM
Dina, this is a stunning and wonderful technique!! Thank you for a fabulous tutorial! I absolutely have to try this soon! Hugs!!
CherylQuilts  |  Wed Mar 4, 2015 at 8:56 PM
This looks fabulous Dina!
Kathy Harrison  |  Wed Mar 4, 2015 at 9:49 PM

Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 >

You need to be logged in to comment


Splitcoaststampers's privacy policy