Wednesday, November 5, 2008

On the Fifth Day of Christmas...Greeting Cards!

I have written on here before about my love for paper crafting, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to share a few of my creations with you. Handmade greeting cards can be a nice gift for someone you know who doesn't have a lot of time. They will have a nice stash of classy and beautiful greeting cards to give to their friends and loved ones all year long! 

You can also choose to make them to accompany your Christmas gifts, as an extra special homemade bonus. In the past, I have even used photos to personalize a card and make it part of the gift itself. Once for a friend's wedding, I used the photo from their invitation and matted it onto a card with a quotation about love. It was an artistic memento that they could frame and keep long after the gift card inside was gone. 

If you've never tried paper crafting or cardmaking before, it is an easy craft to learn, and it is fairly inexpensive (until, of course, you get really into it and you end up wanting every supply under the sun!). The basic materials a beginner needs are:

- patterned paper
- solid paper (preferably cardstock)
- a paper cutter (quickly and accurately cuts straight lines)
- adhesive like a glue stick or double-stick tape
- embellishments such as stickers, quotations, fabric flowers, metal brads, and ribbon (sometimes I just print words or quotations onto cardstock from my computer)
- a creative imagination!

The most important thing (I think) to remember when starting card-making is to mat every element in your card. You will notice that every card and nearly every word embellishment has a thin solid-color border around it- that is called matting. Basically, all you do is glue your square of patterned paper on top of a slightly larger square of a complimentary solid-color cardstock. It gives the card a nice, finished look.

Here are a few more ideas for you:

As you can see, for this card I double-matted the quotation, using green and white to make it pop even more.

For this Thank You card, I stayed with a simple black and cream color palate.

I off-set the yellow in this card by matting it with a light blue cardstock, which matched the blue of the Happy Birthday embellishment.

For this card I used a simple and classic pattern which is great for any beginner- center the embellishment and the text, and just add a few extra touches like buttons and ribbon.

This is a box I decorated to hold the cards- when it's open, the cards can stand on end. It's not a perfect fit, but it was all I had handy and it turned out cute when I dressed it up with paper.

A few more tips:

-To save money when paper crafting, try to keep your project in mind when shopping for materials. There are a lot of pretty embellishments out there, and it's easy to get sidetracked. Choose one color palette or theme, and focus your shopping on that.

- Another great way to save money is to join forces with your friends. Often, you will purchase a pack of something, whether it be flowers or brads, and you may only need a few to complete a project. When everyone comes together and shares supplies, you can all enjoy a wide variety of items to choose from without paying for everything in bulk. Plus, you may just get the inspiration you need from someone else's stuff!

Don't be afraid to try something new! You might be surprised at what you can create...

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