Some of my favourite go-to techniques for cardmaking, scrapping or any OTP work are the ones that don't cost a fortune. Sure, you can add $10 worth of product to create visual interest (and I can and will do this!) but sometimes, all you need are a few simply tools and 30 seconds to just add a bit of "zing" to your project.
Here's a simple card I made - simple layers, a bit of a bow, not too much going on.
Here's the same card with a few added embellishments, that cost me nothing (because I had the tools already). I love the clean look sometimes, and adding all the techniques to one card might be a bit much....but don't forget these fast and mostly free techniques when you need to add a little something to your creation:
Faux Stitching. All you need is a white gel pen. Draw your "stitches" or try dots for a different look. Use a black pen on lighter colours for a dramatic look.
Sponging. My most used technique! Sponging is simple, draws all the elements of your project together, can tone down bright colours and add a vintage look - try it on modern work too, you'll love the result. I highly recommend Distress Ink and a sponge dauber for this. Distress ink stays wet a little longer than most dye inks and gives a great result. Once you have the ink and dauber, sponging is a fantastic way to add interest to your project at no extra cost.
Piercing. Try piercing a circle within a square for a different look. Pierce holes before dashing with a white gel pen for an even more authentic looking faux stitch. Try piercing the patterns on any glimmer mist masks you might have, this can be really effective. Don't have a piercing tool? Use a push pin!
Distressing. The ultimate in free techniques! Rough up the edges of your cardstock with a distressing tool or the back of your scissors (carefully! - I do recommend a purpose built tool for safety!) I especially love distressing die-cut or punched flowers before layering them together for lots of impact.
We all love expensive embellishments and fun toys - but don't forget the basics, a distressing tool, sponge and ink and a gel pen can work wonders, and won't take up too much room in your bag at crops!