5 Ideas For Using Transparencies

Transparencies are a versatile product that can have a big impact on your layouts. I used them the other day to print my journaling and the wheels started spinning! I started thinking about other ways to use them on my layouts.

Companies like Hambly and Maya Road create transparency products, but you can purchase blank ink-jet transparencies that work in your home printers at the local office supply store.

This is a compilation of ideas I’ve seen in magazines and online over the years. If you need more detailed instruction, just do a quick search on YouTube and you’ll find a lot of videos. I wanted to consolidate some of these different ideas into one place and show you how easy they are to recreate.

Here are 5 ideas to help you use the ink-jet transparencies from the office supply store:

1. Use stamped images in embellishment clusters

Images on transparencies are great for embellishment clusters because they do not add extra bulk. Flourishes and text work great for this technique. Simply stamp the image onto your transparency (I’ve had great results on both the smooth side and the rough side), cut around the image and use it in the first or second layer of your cluster. Because material is clear, there is no need to fussy cut and trim close to your images. If your cuts are rough, it’s OK, it won’t be seen.

Quick tip – I learned this from Jennifer McGuire. If you want to have white text on a dark cardstock, stamp it on a transparency and then overlay it on the cardstock. The white will be brighter and more vivid. Many white inks will stamp on dark backgrounds, but the color desaturates as it hits the paper.

2. Stamp images and cover with glitter glue

This is a great way to use your stickles. Try to stamp with white or a lighter ink, rather than a dark ink. You don’t want the ink to show through the dried glitter colors. I stamped a row of flowers here and I’m not sure if I will use it as a border or cut them out separately. This technique would work well with glue and loose glitter or flocking as well. If using loose glitter, work with one color at a time and allow each layer to dry before adding another color.

3. Dry emboss with an embossing folder

Transparencies will pick up the texture when you run them through an embossing folder. This is another great way to add dimension without the bulk. You can color larger transparency pieces with alcohol inks. These would be great backgrounds for cards or journaling blocks.

4. Heat emboss a stamped image and color

You can also heat emboss on transparencies, but you’ll want to hold your heat gun a little further away and move it back and forth quickly because the transparency can warp with the heat. I love how you can create stained glass looks with this technique.

For this one, I stamped a background image with VersaMark (clear) ink onto the smooth side of the transparency. I heat embossed the stamped image with black embossing powder and let it cool. I have found that when you want to color images on transparencies, it works best to color on the smooth side, not the rough side of the transparency. Copic markers work great for this, but I just used my BIC Markers.

5. Punch shapes from transparencies

I had no trouble punching through the thin layer of transparency. It doesn’t work as well if you use thicker product packaging, but thin transparency sheets won’t harm your punches. Going for more dimension, I punched some butterflies from pattern paper and a transparency. I layered the clear butterfly on top of the pattern paper, stapled it down and folded up the wings. It adds a fun, unexpected touch.

Many of these ideas can be combined. Punch a circle from a transparency and then add a flourish stamp. Take an embossed transparency and punch shapes from it. Stamp a sentiment on your transparency and then trim it into a tag shape and layer it on cardstock. Take your heat embossed image and use stickles to color it in. There are so many creative options!

Here are a few more random ideas:

  • Make use of any brushes, overlays, frames or stamps included in digital kits you have purchased. Print these elements on transparencies to use directly over photos, to dress up journaling blocks or for embellishments.
  • Use transparencies for your rub-on collection. If you want to use a rub-on but don’t want to “mess up” your photo or paper, rub them on transparencies. Add stickles or bling for added interest, roughly cut out your image and add it to your page.
  • Trace the letters of a rub-on or stamp with glue and sprinkle on glitter or flocking for a unique title.
  • Run a black or white ink pad around the outside of your transparency shapes to give them definition if you are layering them on top of pattern paper.
  • Further define the edges of transparent shapes with glitter glue.

Do you have any fun transparency tricks you like to use on your pages?


  1. tammy, these are such awesome ideas! i have never used transparencie becaue i dont know how to attach them to my layout with seeing my adhesive–do you know how to do that?

  2. Great, great ideas! I have some product packaging I saved, can’t wait to try some of these out!

  3. Great ideas – TFS – hope I can get to try some out while I am off at half term.

  4. Absolutely great ideas!

  5. LOVE the butterflies!!
    I have several transparencies that I have never used. Great way to get them out of the cabinet and into the albums and cards 🙂

  6. Thanks for sharing the great ideas!

  7. I have just started using these. I know I am slow, lol.
    I just never knew what to do with them. Thanks for posting this.
    I did think of the butterfly idea. I saw a bought one on a video and though I could do that 🙂

  8. What wonderful tips. Thanks for sharing – I’ll have to try these.

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  1. Weekend Reading for May 27, 2011 | Simple Scrapper - [...] 5 ideas for using transparencies from Your Memory Connection [...]

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