How many times have you gone to the store to buy a card and ended up searching for just the right one for the better part of 30 minutes? Or realized at the last second that you forgot to even buy a card? In cases like these, it would be a lot easier to make the cards yourself. And contrary to popular belief, homemade cards do not have to look homemade.
You can start with storebought blank cards, available at your local art or craft store, or you can purchase thin cardboard and cut your own. It’s difficult to cut straight lines unless you have access to a paper cutter or the patience to measure out the lines and make sure they are all perfectly straight. In this case, it might be easier to buy pre-cut cards or paper in the size you want it. However, there may be times when you want an extra-large card, in which case, you would have to cut it yourself.
Once you have the paper, you will need to have a few basic supplies on hand. I would suggest some glue, preferably stick, gold or silver pen, a black pen (preferably 2, one bold, one fine-tip), and some watercolor paints. As you go along, you can collect interesting wrapping papers and fabrics, stickers, and stamps. These will be used to decorate.
For the most basic cards, you can simply write on the front and add a couple of fancy stickers. If you tend not to be artistically inclined, don’t worry. Go with pre-cut cards and use stamps. Choose a large stamp or several small ones. Ink them well and press firmly onto the paper. You can color the stamped images in with colored pencils, markers or watercolor paints. Use brown ink for a more delicate look.
There are also embossing powders available for stamps. It comes in a wide variety of colors, from clear to silver and gold. You can use clear ink with your stamp for the best embossing results. Sprinkle the powder over freshly stamped images and shake off the excess. Hold the paper over a hot iron for a few seconds until you see the tiny powder grains melt and run into each other. This can create very beautiful images and is especially useful for wedding invitations.
There are pens with the embossing ink available in craft stores and they can be used to draw or write freehand onto the card surface and then embossed as with the stamps.
For those of you more inclined to be creative, you can scout around for fancy or whimsical wrapping papers. The pictures on these can be carefully cut out, with scissors or an X-acto knife, and glued to the card. You can then add stickers or stamps around the picture to fill out the card.
Then we have cutout cards. Trace a simple design on the front of the card and cut it out with an X-Acto knife. Glue a decorative piece of fabric or paper to the back of the flap so that it shows through the cutout. This is a great place to put photos of your family or a cute picture from a postcard.
Another fun card to make is a pop-up card. You will need to select a shape to pop up. We will begin with a simple box that you could glue a picture too. You will need to draw out a square in the size you want. Now, add a tab on two opposite sides. It should be about 1/2 an inch long.
Cut the pop-up out. Fold it in half down the middle of the square, towards you. Now fold the tabs back. Glue them into the card so that the fold in the square fits right into the fold of the card. There you have it, a pop-up card! You can try different shapes, ranging from very simple, to quite complex.
Another fun card