Basic Advice

Fancy having a go at making greetings cards, but not sure where to start - here are a few bits of basic equipment and materials you could make a start with that should not be too costly:

  • Card - either buy some cards or some A5 sized card (Art and craft shops) and some C6 sized envelopes, there are a variety of packs of cards and envelopes available 
  • Paper glue - eg Pritt Stick or double sided sticky tape
  • Tacky glue - something that will dry clear and is flexible, or PVA
  • Scissors - Long bladed and short bladed.
  • Scrap paper - I use this for keeping my workspace free from glue, always working on a clean sheet, save all those pieces of paper that come in the post, printed on one side only.
  • A good buy is an activity pack for children that has different card and paper, a lot of stationers and cheap shops have these.
A cheap way to get started is by buying some paper punches (as little as 2) and possibly some fancy edged scissors, deckle edged ones are good to start with as they do not need much lining up. When buying punches be aware that the more intricate designs are not suitable for card only paper.  It is amazing how much use you can get from some designs, I am still using a little teddy that I bought 4 years ago. You can always stick some on the envelope too! Don't forget there are always pieces of coloured card around ideal for punching - a chocolate box, magazine covers, old greetings cards.

Check out the 'Inspirations' section for some places to shop, that are in every High Street.  And the 'How to' section for lots of ideas on where to start.

A fairly basic card consists of a piece of card, and embellishment/motif, and something in between! I have described ways of getting card elsewhere on these pages.
Here are a few suggested embellishment/motifs:
  • Punch outs - or 'the negative' of a punch out
  • Rubber stamped image
  • Something modelled from Polymer clay
  • Something painted with 3D paints
  • Buttons
  • Bows - learn how to tie bows with ribbon (available on this site) - these will often add to any design
  • Paper roses (available on this site)
  • Something cut from fun foam
  • Other items available from this site
  • Die cuts are available from lots of craft shops and on the internet.
You can use fun foam to mount things 'off' the card, this will stick with Pritt. Or you can but 3D sticky spots/squares. Stationers have these as well as craft shops.

And now a few things ideal for 'in between':
  • Contrasting card cut with fancy edged scissors; ribbled; corners cut with a corner punch; or plain. And don't forget you can use more layers to give a 'frame'. If covering a large area of your base card use thinner card as it can make the whole thing 'front' heavy!
  • Patterned paper - there is so much about in craft shops
  • Mulberry paper (otherwise known as handmade tissue or silk paper), your desired shape can be outlined on the paper with a wet paintbrush, and then gently pulled apart.
  • Fun foam
  • Fabric, choose interesting textures/weaves
  • Felt
To glue card/paper to card I always use 'Pritt' stick or double sided tape, for most other items I used tacky glue. This glue dries clear and is flexible, so the motifs should not pop off in the post. I use Aleenes but I know this is not available in all craft shops - but I would recommend the thicker the better, as it will not run.  It is not quick drying and may take up to an hour to dry really clear. When using Pritt make sure you go right up to the edges, by having your scrap paper underneath.  Then mount on your card making sure you do not put it on top of your you gluey paper. The tricky thing that will come with practice is sticking it on straight and equal distance from the sides! In the first instance it may be best to stick at the top of the card rather than the middle, as there is less to line up.  Make sure you have compiled your card without the glue first so you know where you intend to put it.

Other card makers use double sided tape, you may find it easier to get up to the edges with this and less mess. I would start with Pritt first as it is more easily obtainable. I use double sided sticky pads a lot from Poundland that are excellent value.

Have a look at the cards in the gallery.

These ideas are just to whet your appetite - you will be able to think of lots more ideas once you get started, and you will need to extend the house to accommodate all the equipment and materials available.
Go on give it a go - see how you get on!

  Crafts by Carolyn 2005