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Bokeh Inspired Stamping...

A technique that's been around in photography circles for years is starting to pop up everywhere.  It's called bokeh.  By definition, bokeh (boh-kay) is the blur, or the aesthetic quality of the blur, in out-of-focus areas of an image. Bokeh has been defined as "the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light".  It's a look I noticed popping up in paper crafting products released at the CHA show this past January.  I thought I'd play around with trying to mimic the look with stamps.  I had so much fun with it!  It's a super easy technique, uses the most basic stamps the acheive the effect, and can be combined with lots of different stamp sets in your collection.

Here are a few great examples of bokeh in photography...

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Now, obviously I can't actually duplicate this effect with my's all based on how the camera captures light, but I was inspired to try to incorporate the look and feel of it in a few cards for you today.  I wanted to let the stamping shine, so I kept the cards themselves nice and simple today.  I created these all in a matter of just a few hours, so they're great for quick and easy cards.  

Since bokeh is really a photographic effect, I couldn't resist pairing it with the camera from the Shutterbug Special set for my first card.  I was inspired by the soft, dreamy look in the ferris wheel photo at the beginning of this post, with the spots of aqua, pink and yellow.  


I added some sponging of Aqua Mist ink, then just used the large single polka dot from the Polka Dot Basics stamp set to add the spots of "light".  


Let me show you step-by-step how I created this card.  Like I said, I started by sponging Aqua Mist ink onto Vintage Cream cardstock with my Ink Blending tool (from Ranger).   I conentrated the ink in the lower left and upper right corners.


Then I took the large single polka dot from Polka Dot Basics and stamped some circles using Aqua Mist ink.  I stamped the circle three times before re-inking.  And you'll notice that the first time I stamped it (the darkest) is in the lower left and upper right corners (areas with more sponged ink).  Without re-inking I stamped twice more, working up and out towards the lighter areas (less sponged ink).  If you don't have the polka dot set, any circular stamp will work - you can just flip them upside down on your block and use the backside of the stamp.


I then repeated this process with Hibiscus Burst and Harvest Gold inks.  The Hibiscus ink is pretty bright, so I stamped off once onto scrap paper before stamping on my cardstock, then stamped a couple more times before re-inking.  The images are very light, but I think that's the key to re-creating this look.  It's very subtle!  There's also a happy medium between stamping enough circles to make it effective, but not stamping so many that it just looks busy.  It's a happy balance.  :-)



I actually have four more cards and the photos that inspired them to share with you.  Each of these was created with basically the same technique I just showed.  



How fun to use this with Friendship Jar...


I used a tiny star from Super Stars as well as the dotted lines/swirls from Super Star.  The sentiment is from Daydreamer.



Bokeh cupcade
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Who can resist a sweet cupcake a sparkles?  So perfect with the Cupcake Collection set and coordinating dies.  


This time I used a colored cardstock background (Sweet Blush) and also added a few hearts stamped with my Essential Glue pad and sprinkled with glitter.



Cup bokeh

How about the cute little cup from Warm Happiness Too?


I used Hibiscus Burst, Spring Rain, and Melon Berry Inks.




How about a mono-chromatic take?  


I just used a piece of solid/texture patterned paper (this was from a Basic Grey 6x6 pad) and stamped various circles in shades of aqua using Aqua Mist, Hawaiian Shores and Ocean Tides inks.  The sentiment is from the Wonderful Words: Hello stamps and dies, diecut from a metallic gold cardstock.



That's all for projects today, but if you're in the mood for more inspiring photos, you can check out my Pinterest board full of gorgeous photos featuring the bokeh effect HERE!

Oh, and I'll be back tomorrow for a fun giveaway, so be on the lookout for that!