Card Making Basics: Cardmaking 101
25 July 2012
Author: Holly Craft
Card Making 101: Perhaps you are a scrapbooker looking for a way to use up some of your scraps by turning them into cards, or a new crafter that has seen hand crafted cards and wants to try it yourself. No matter what day it is, let’s get started with these card making basics!
The Base for your Handmade Cards:
First, let’s talk about the cards themselves. You can purchase card sets with coordinating envelopes.
Or, if you are making your card from scratch, you can purchase envelopes and make the cards to fit inside.
Envelope Sizes for Handmade Cards:
Envelopes come in standard sizes, and the size of the envelope will determine the size of your card.
Remember that your envelope needs to be a little larger than the card.
One of the most popular sizes of cards is called an A2 card.
The front of an A2 card is 4.25 inches by 5.5 inches, or a quarter of a standard size piece of 8.5 by 11 inch cardstock.
You can get two A2 cards from a piece of cardstock.
The envelope sizes go up in size with other popular sizes being an A7 (for a 5 by 7 inch card) and an A9 (for an 8.5 x 5.5 inch card, made from a full sheet of 8.5 x 11 cardstock folded in half).
Another standard cardmaking size is A6, which is for a card that measures 4.25 x 6.25 inches.
Envelopes are also available in square sizes and in other materials like vellum or thin clear acetate, some of which will require extra postage at the post office.
Cards which do not fit the measurement for a standard thickness at the post office will also require extra postage.
Decide what size envelope you are using and that will determine the size you cut your cardstock.
If you are creating your card from scratch you should read the labels on the paper - look for something which is sturdy, preferably a cardstock weight. The package will often tell you the weight of the paper or say that it is cardstock or cover weight. There are endless selections of decorative papers to use on your card surface.
Card Making Basics: Essential Tools for Card Makers
Let’s explore the basic tools you will need for cardmaking.
Since you want the cuts of paper to be straight, a straight edge paper trimmer, like the Cutterpede is an important tool. The Cutterpede comes in two sizes, one which is small and made just for cardmakers! You will find it useful for many other projects also.
A pair of sharp scissors will often be needed for cards - it's great for fussy cutting or if you are adding embellishments like ribbon.
A ruler and scoring tool, such as a bone folder, are also basic tools that come in handy for measuring and making neat folds. Or you can add a scoring shuttle to your Cutterpede trimmer to meet two needs with one tool!
To hold it all together, you will need an adhesive. Here again, you will find many options for adhesives in the paper crafting section of your craft store or office supply store.
A dry adhesive runner, such as a HERMA Dotto, is one example of a quick and easy adhesive for a beginner. This runner is refillable, and also comes in a repositionable option which is helpful when you are laying out a card or scrapbook design!
Next, think about the embellishments you want to use to accent your cards. Embellishments can be as simple or as complex as you like. Explore the aisles of your craft store to discover many options!
In the scrapbooking aisle, you will find a large selection of grand adhesions, punches, die cuts and stickers.
A sewing section will hold simple things such as sewing notions like buttons, rick rack, ribbons etc.
You can also try the floral department and purchase silk flowers as an inexpensive accent.
Don’t forget to walk down the art supply section for coloring mediums such as markers, pencils, paints, chalks, etc. You will be need one of these color mediums if you have an image to color or a sentiment to write.
Cardmaking 101: Components of the Handmade Card
Now let’s look at some basic components of a card. It has been said that in order to look complete, a card needs a focal point or image, a background and some type of embellishment.
We briefly touched on embellishments, so let’s talk about backgrounds and images.
A card background can be as simple as the pattern of the decorative paper you are using for your card. It can be a stamped background or an intricate background created with inks and alcohol. It can be a single stamp like a flower or a word stamped randomly. Even a texture can represent your background. A photograph or clipart can also provide a background for your card.
A card needs a focal point in order to send a message. The focal point can be an image or the actual sentiment. Decorative papers feature die cuts, shapes, sentiments and quotes that are perfect for cardmaking. Stamped images are also just right for any card. You can find backgrounds, fonts, sayings and images that make creating several versions of the same card inexpensive.
Many scrapbookers that venture into cardmaking see a card as a small layout. Design principles from scrapbooking apply to cardmaking. You just have less room in which to work on a card, so simplify. Consider what your background, image and embellishment are going to be and determine how your eye will perceive the placement of the elements.
It is always better to stay simple. If you feel the layout of the card needs something more, you can add to it. Even experienced cardmakers will sometimes post a card on a message board or ask a friend the question, “What does this card need?”. If something doesn’t look right, wait until the next day and then look at it with fresh eyes.
Once you find a layout and design you like, make several of those cards. It is always nice to have a stash of cards ready made to mail. Create a basic card and wait to add the sentiment when you have a need for a card.
Welcome to the world of cardmaking 101! With a few basic tools, a little time and a lot of love, you are on your way to brightening someone else’s day as well as your own. A hand crafted card gives both in the sending and the receiving! Now that you've mastered these card making basics, don’t forget to post your new card designs in the creative gallery!