The electronic age has taken a bite out of the mail system. It seems that the majority of what we receive in the letter box is "junk mail." Occasionally, something sparkles as the piles of recyclable mail gets higher and higher. You reach for that gem and open the decorated envelope to find a special gift: A homemade card from a friend or relative. Placing it in a spot of honor, you admire the craftsmanship and the imagination it took to create this miniature piece of art. But do you realize how easy it is to design something that may become a keepsake? It's time to take a leap and try it yourself.
Things You'll Need
- Various paper, different colors, patterns, textures, etc
- Embellishments such as glitter, stickers, pre-cut shapes, etc
- Paper punches in various designs
- Rubber stamps and ink pads
- Embossing pens and powder
Choosing Your Supplies
Coordinate your paper. Some of the best cards are made with paper that coordinates. This means that somewhere in the design or color of each sheet, is something that ties them together with other pages. This could be a color that resides in each or a pattern that repeats but in different colors. Colors that are the same but in different shades also work well together.
The papers have originally been created for the scrap booking industry, and since this craft has become popular, papers in a wide range of designs, colors and sizes have become available. Visiting your local art/craft store scrap booking section will provide you with paper, stamps and embellishments.
Choose your stamps and inks. Your cards will be designed for many different occasions. Therefore, your stamps should also reflect these events. To start, consider choosing stamps that can be used for most cards. Stamps that say "Thanks" or "Congratulations" can be used on many different styles. If you are going to create only one type of card, such as a Christmas or Holiday card, choose stamps that are particular to the holiday.
Stamps also come in a wide range of designs and patterns that can be used to enhance your cards. As you choose your stamps, consider the color of ink pad you wish to use. An ink color that coordinates with the paper you will be using gives the cards a finished look. Another option using markers or colored pencils that will allow you to "color" in the stamped images for even more detail.
Consider your embellishments. Anything you add to a card as an "extra special" touch can be considered an embellishment. Glitter and glitter pens can highlight special areas. Pre-cut images can be added to give dimension to your card. Flat beads or rhinestones can give an extra bit of sparkle. Ribbon and lace can also add to the design of the card.
Paper punches are also available in many different designs and can add to your card's design. Punch your own embellishment additions from different paper and glue on to the card to mimic paper designs.
Creating Your Card
Assemble your supplies. Have everything you need to make your card close by. Cover your work surface with paper or plastic to protect the surface from glue, etc.
Design your card. Cut your paper and lay it out onto your blank card stock. Rearrange all the elements until you are happy with the result.
Practice stamping on a scrap piece of paper before imprinting your card. Ink the stamp by placing it on the ink pad and tapping gently on the stamp, making sure you ink the surface area without pressing the ink into the lower sections of the stamp. Place the stamp on the paper and again, tap it gently. Do not rock it back and forth. You want a crisp, clear imprint. Once you are comfortable with your stamp design, repeat the instructions and imprint your card or paper for the finished product.
Put together all the elements. Once you have your design laid out, you can begin assembling your card. Glue the bottom layer first, working up so that you have a layered look. Add the embellishments and stamps where appropriate.
For added flair, use the embossing pens to draw freehand designs. Cover with embossing powder and tap excess off the card. Use a dry brush to remove excess powder after it has dried. Heat with a hot air gun until the powder creates the embossing.
Tips & Warnings
- Start small. Try making one or two cards to begin with. Explore some "card" clubs that will enable you to experiment with making cards before investing in a large amount of supplies.
- Photo Credit Card designs by Lisa Crogan - Photos by author
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