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Posted by on Nov 18, 2013 in Bootcamp, Stars and Stamps | 6 comments

How Does It Feel (Using Texture to Add Interest)

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Hello Friends! When I first drafted an outline for the topics we’d cover this year I knew that Texture, the topic of this lesson was a must. Texture, along with color, line, shape, space and form, is one of the Elements of design. It’s easiest to think of the elements as building blocks or components. They’re like the ingredients in a recipe and the Principles are the recipes that guide us in how to mix up the ingredients for a good result.

Texture can be most simply defined as the quality of a surface. When we think of texture we might be automatically be tempted to think ‘roughness’ but of course it can also be smooth, as well as hard or soft. While texture can be used to accent an area so that it becomes more dominant than another and add a great deal of interest to a design it tends to play more of a supporting role in design, rather than being the main player. It is not a strong enough element to be useful for organizing a composition. Value and color contrasts are more efficient at that.

There are two types of texture.

Tactile means touch and tactile texture pertains to the 3-dimensional feel of a surface. The exampe that comes readily to mind is the popular emobssing folders but there are many ways to add tactile texture to a design including: glossy accents, heat embossing, brads, buttons, eyelets, ribbon and layers. Tactile texture can defined as the surface properties of a material that can be experienced through the sense of touch.

Visual texture refers to the illusion of the surface’s texture. It’s what tactile texture looks like on a flat 2-dimensional surface. Imagine for instance a printed paper that resembles denim, sand or water. No matter how dimensional objects look the surface of the photograph is smooth and flat. Visual, or simulated, texture can’t actually be felt by touch. It is texture we see rather than feel, but we perceive it in tactile way.

Let’s have a look at some samples.



Julie has put both types of texture to work in this card. The embossed woodgrain is tactile and the fabulous floral print, which the viewer perceives as fabric would be considered visual texture.



The same is true for this great card by Nancy. The denim print paper is visual texture but we all know what denim feels like so we perceive it tactiley. The real stitching, the crumples paper that mimics a worn letaher tag and the cute little red tag all add tactile texture.


Sandy has used heat embossing, her window die cut and layered her clouds and moon to again add both tactile and visual texture to this card.




The various patterns in this flower and newsprint add great visual texture to this card by Dixie. She’s also included tatcile texture. If you close your eyes holding this card in your hand you’d feel the layers of the flower as well as the leaves and the background frames.



Lee Mae

If you look closely you’ll notice that Lee Mae’s used a thick, textured cardstock as a base for this card and the floral paper as well as the layering add elements in both the tactile and visual texture categories.




Samantha did a marvelous coloring job on that grass and although it’s two-dimensional (visual texture) just looking at it, you are able to imagine what it feels like. When it comes to tactile texture, imagine again holding this card in your hands with your eyes closed. You’d feel the the layers, the popped up cat, the pennant flags and the rounded edge of the focal point coming over the top of the card.


Adding texture won’t correct the lack of a focal point or a poor composition but it can add an extra dimension (pun intended) to your work. In closing I have a few links to share with you…

  • If you’re not sure that adding texture really makes any difference be sure to check out this amazing letter from a hero. I’m betting you’ll be convinced otherwise once you do.
  • Adding layers can add a polished, professional look without adding too much bulk. It’s one of the first things I would encourage new cardmakers to explore. The Perfect Paper Crafting Blog Skip we had back in September has lots of examples to inspire you.
  • Last but certainly not least, while texture is a great tool in any designers arsenal when it comes to cards that have to be mailed you do need to remember that they have to meet USPS requirements. Even if you’ve seen it already, take a few minutes to revisit Sandy’s recent OWHtv episodes about ‘Too Much Dimension (episode 104)’ and ‘How much is too much dimension’ (episode 120).

Now go make a card that includes either tactile or visual texture (or both) and share it here!


  1. Wow! I just love them ALL!

  2. Beautiful cards! What a lovely, heartfelt hero letter too (link included in today’s Blog email).

  3. oh my that letter hit the proverbial nail on the head…Great card examples ladies. Thank you Paula for another great Boot Camp…I learn something new from each one.

  4. Love that card with the blue jeans / denim texture.

  5. Thanks, Paula, for another wonderful and inspiring Boot Camp. Great examples – I wasn’t as aware of visual texture as tactile texture, so these have really got me thinking how to add both to my cards. I only wish I could add real stitching (the denim card is SO cute!) , but I am really sewing-challenged, so faux stitching will have to do.


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