In a world where messages are often sent via e-mail or text, greeting cards that are handmade are actually in demand. A greeting card that is handmade is unique, rare even. So when your special someone receives a card that was created by you, it is even more appreciated. It is for this reason that many scrapbookers have made the jump over to card-making and find that it suits them splendidly. Each card you make is like a new canvas. You are able to pour all of your creativity into many different themes and occasions, and use a whole bunch of supplies, tools and techniques in the process.
Cardstock is the most fundamental product you will need if you want to make your own cards because it serves as the base. One 8 ½ by 11” sheet of cardstock can be made into one 5x7” card or two 4 ½ x 5 ¼” cards. You can create the base by scoring your cardstock at the proper length (i.e., 5” for a 5x7” card), folding it in half, and cutting off the access with your paper cutter. If you are just starting out, purchasing white and/or ivory cardstock will be your best bet, but any color cardstock can be used to create your card base.
Designer paper is essential to making beautiful cards because the paper you use will set the tone for the look and feel of your card. If you are just starting out and have very little inventory, it is best to buy designer paper stacks because they give you the most bang for your buck and are available in specific themes. They also save you the time of going up and down the aisles of single-sheet scrapbook paper trying to decide which sheets look best together.
A high-quality paper cutter is essential to making our own handmade cards, so this is the one area you do not want to skimp on. A cheap or ineffective paper-cutter will result in uneven and sloppy edges as opposed to nice, crisp lines. Paper-cutters are available in guillotine or slide-trimmer style and it is completely a personal preference as to which you decide to buy. You will also want to make sure you have replacement blades on hand as your blades will eventually dull and create rough edges.
Adhesive is another area you will not want to skimp on. Think of your handmade cards as keepsakes. Would you want them to fall apart in a few months? If you use cheap tapes or glues, you risk just that. Papers will come unglued, or will cause lumps if not adhered correctly. Many paper crafters use a form of double-stick tape for their cards as it serves as the most secure adhesive, however, many different types, brands and sizes are available, and the choice is completely up to you. Foam tape can also be used if you would like to add a little dimension to your cards.
A card made of just cardstock and designer paper would be pretty boring, right? Embellishments or “embellies” help jazz up your cards and give them a special touch. Embellishments can be anything from ribbon, to self-adhesive pearls, to glitter. To build your inventory, check out your local craft store’s clearance section. With a little creativity, you will find thousands of ideas for embellishing your cards. Once your stash has grown, consider buying spools of ribbon, rhinestones, stamps, paper punches and die-cuts.
Rubber stamps can be expensive, especially if you are just starting out, but they give your cards a truly unique, artistic touch, so you will want to buy a few sets to get you going. If you choose to use stamps on your cards, you will also need to buy a really good stamp pad (i.e., Staz-on) so that your colors do not bleed or rub off. These stamped images can be left in black and white or can be colored with colored pencils, chalks, or markers.
Other alternatives to rubber stamps are clear, acrylic stamps and/or digital or “digi” stamps. Clear, acrylic stamps are usually sold in sets and require an acrylic block in order to stamp on to your paper while digi stamps can be purchased online and printed on your own personal computer.
Once you have your card-making basics, grow your inventory by purchasing paper punches. These punches are available at any craft store and come in many, many different shapes and sizes. They can be punched on cardstock, designer paper, and even vellum and add a whole new dimension to your cards. Though they can be costly upfront, you will find that they pay for themselves in just a few cards as they can be used over and over again.
Like paper punches, die-cuts are available in many different sizes and shapes and are used to add a little special something to your cards. If you decide you like card-making and would like to invest a little extra money, it is worth buying your own die-cutting machine. Having a die-cutting machine at home will save you multiple trips to the craft store and allow you to completely customize your die-cuts by choosing their size and paper you want them to be cut out onto.
Making your own cards is addictive and will more than likely result in an addiction. Once you start you will not be able to start and will quickly find yourself overwhelmed with craft supplies. And you will love it!
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