Getting started with card making
Handmade cards are always a pleasure to receive. By Kirsty Robertson
Making your own cards is now so easy for both adults and children. The wealth of card-making products available means you can personalise them in any way you like. To get started you will need just a few basic tools and materials, and soon you'll be creating cards for every occasion; along with other card items such as gift tags, party invitations, notecards, place settings and wedding stationery.
Card making is the perfect craft to suit all abilities as you can make the designs as simple or as complex as you like. You don't need to be able to draw, simply putting things together will create pleasing designs. Before you start, get everything together that you are likely to use.
There is a huge range of cards to choose from including matt, glossy, textured (ribbed, bumpy), pearlescent, glitter.
The ideal card weight to use is between 225-250gsm (grams per square metre) - any lighter and the card will not be strong enough to stand up.
Pre-folded card blanks are also widely available in an array of colours, textures, shapes and finishes and come with matching envelopes.
Card kits are a great way to get started and are available in a variety of formats. Choose from ‘create your own' kits containing cards and decorative items to create your own unique design or kits containing a design, the instructions and all the things you will need to make that exact design - it couldn't be easier!
Tip: If you are cutting and folding your own cards, always ensure you have envelopes to fit them - there is nothing more frustrating than having made a beautiful card and then not having an envelope to fit it! Bear in mind that envelopes larger than 16.5x24cm will incur extra postage.
You can buy paper in a spectrum of colours, textures and designs:
There is a huge selection of designed papers available from craft shops including checks, stripes, spots, florals and geometrics. Intricately patterned origami papers are handy as they can be bought in packs of assorted small squares.
Paper made with fine fibres running through which can be torn to create feathered edges.
Tip: As an alternative to buying decorative papers, you can also use wrapping paper which often comes in more up to date designs and on-trend colours. You could also use fabric swatches (available to buy in small pieces from fabric shops selling patchwork squares) or even wallpaper swatches.
Decorative items add detail and are the finishing touch to any card. To make your card extra special you could try adding any of the following: artificial flowers, foam, beads, goggle eyes, buttons, ribbons, crystals, stickers, feathers, sequins, felt threads
There are a number of different adhesives available for different uses:
Spray glue - gives a flat smooth finish, great for sticking fine paper
PVA glue - multi-purpose white glue perfect for sticking decorative items like beads, crystals and sequins as it dries clear and can be used on paper, card, fabric, wood and metal.
Glue dots - small dots of glue ready to peel off and use to stick small items.
Foam pads - adhesive on both sides, perfect for creating a raised design.
Tip: If you need a really small dot of glue to stick on tiny items like beads and crystals, use a matchstick or cocktail stick to pick up a tiny amount of PVA glue.
Craft knife - essential for accurate cutting.
Metal ruler - not only for drawing straight lines, but also to use as a straight edge when cutting - a plastic or wooden ruler could get chipped by the knife.
Scissors - don't use your best dressmaking scissors as these could be blunted if used too often for cutting card.
Punches - available in a huge variety of shapes and sizes from decorative punches (flowers, stars, hearts, etc...) to border punches to add fancy edging to your card.
Rubber stamps - ideal if you can't draw, they create an outline that can be coloured or embellished and are available in many different designs.
Templates - most card making articles and card making books have simple design templates that you can trace or photocopy and enlarge to the size you require for your design. You can also download images from the internet to print out and use too. Try www.images.google.co.uk and search for a template by typing in, for example, ‘flower template'.
Tip: Use a soft leaded pencil such as 2B to trace designs as it is easier to rub out afterwards.
All the above mentioned materials and tools should be available in your local art and craft shops. You can also order these items online, please see the list of suggested websites at the end of the page.
Easy ideas for beginners
Generally, the more simple and uncluttered the card, the more stylish the result. For some beautiful but simple card ideas to get you started click on the links below:
Make handmade birthday cards
Make handmade wedding or engagement cards
Easy-to-make new baby card
Tip: Try a trial of the design with scrap paper first to avoid any mistakes with the real thing! When you come to making the final card, place your design on the card without sticking it down to check that it looks correct. Make any adjustments before finally sticking in place.
If you can't find the right words to personalise your card, you can find inspiration from the following books:
Fast, Fun Cards by Emma Hardy
The Ultimate Cardmaker by Sally Southern and Sharon Bennett
The Complete Practical Guide to Card Making by Cheryl Owen
Quick & Clever Christmas cards by Elizabeth Moad
Designing Handcrafted Cards by Claire Sunok Choi
Finding The Right Words by Beverly J Daniel
You could also try websites such as www.verses4cards.co.uk for some fun messages!
There are many card making classes running throughout the country. To find your nearest class visit www.hotcourses.com and www.hobbycraft.co.uk. Both sites list cardmaking classes in your area. Alternatively, ask at your local art and craft shop - many even run classes themselves.
Where to buy supplies
Local art and craft shops are good sources of supplies. Visit:
Paperchase for funky papers, card blanks, card kits and decorative items.
Hobbycraft for everything you could possibly need and more!
Lakeland for card making tools and materials.
Confetti for wedding decorative items.
There are so many websites selling card making supplies so it is definitely worth having a search around for the best prices.
bakerross.co.uk - great for children's card supplies
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