Summer School – It’s Your Turn to Learn: Hard vs. Soft


We’re halfway through session three of MFT Summer School, and frankly, I’m getting a little bummed about finishing up this series. It’s so fun to learn great ways to up the wow factor when it comes to making pretty cards! Here are links to the first two lessons this week: Repetition and Symmetry/Asymmetry.

Today’s lesson about creating balance by expertly pairing hard and soft elements is very close to my heart. I not only use it in card making, but I also use it when it comes to decorating, too. Take your living room for example — you probably have hard elements like end tables, picture frames, televisions, and bookcases (there’s a piano in mine). Too much hard feels unbalanced though, so we instictively add softness with plants, pillows, and decorations with roundness (or soft edges).

The same premise can be used in creating balanced cards that are pleasing in design. So let’s begin today’s lesson, class!

Lesson #13 – Design: Hard vs. Soft

When it comes to the concept of Hard vs. Soft we can define it like this: For every hard line or edge you place on a card, the design is balanced by some softness, whether it be from a texture (like a ribbon) or a shape (like a circle); too much hard or soft might not work.

Let’s take a look at two examples from Julia Stainton and Inge Groot to get an idea of how this works.

Handmade card from Julia Stainton featuring Mini Delicate Doilies Die-namics.

Julia’s card has lots of soft circles and flowers, but the rough twine, sequins, rhinestone, and stickpins give it textural hardness.

Handmade card from Inge Groot featuring Birdie Brown's Polynesian Paradise.

Inge’s card incorporates hard elements like stripes, lines, twine, and points, but the rounded corner and polka dotted circle give the design a softness to create balance.

Today’s instructor is My Favorite Things Design Team member Julia Stainton. Click HERE or simply watch the video below to learn more about using Hard vs. Soft in your designs.

Julia shared so many great tips and tricks to achieve the perfect balance of hard and soft when creating. I especially loved where she talked about how a even a sentiment can contribute to hardness and softness.

Handmade card from Julia Stainton featuring Pierced Snowflakes Die-namics.

And here’s Julia’s oh so pretty final product. Go ahead and pin it! It’s too pretty to leave it here, am I right?

To aid in your learning, we have created a My Favorite Things Summer School Session Three Study Guide. Download it HERE, and then print it. It will be a handy tool that you can refer to as you design!

This week you’re the student, and instead of grades, we’ve got two prizes per day and two ways to win. Using today’s lesson, we’d love for you to create a project that exemplifies what you learned and upload it to the link below. Master the lesson and win a $50 voucher from My Favorite Things and be featured on the blog on August 25th. Just by participating, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a $20 voucher, so everyone has a chance!

MFT Summer School Hard vs. Soft.

All entries must be submitted by noon EDT on August 21st. Winners will be announced here on the blog on Tuesday, August 25th.

Here’s your homework for your chance to win:
  1. Create a project following the lesson you learned today.
  2. Be sure to link your project below for your chance to win!

Before you go, be sure to stop by the blogs of these members of our Creative Team for more lessons in how to use the design principle of Hard vs. Soft in your projects.


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Now make sure to do your homework! Class dismissed.