How to Make Uniquely Beautiful Floral Greeting Cards
Send your heartfelt wishes with your own 'gift-in-a-card'.
Floral Papercrafting for Personalized Greeting Cards
Several years ago I discovered an online advertised book about making flowers from paper. It had bright and varied descriptions of flowers, both realistic and 'other world' types. I was struck with amazement and envy, ordered the book from Australia and began perusing its contents. Its lovely bouquets were fashionable, some framed, some tiny, many large, a few huge. Everything was floral, paper, and it all was beautiful!
However, most of the required petal types had to be cut by hand, either totally or after using a type of paper punch such as a large Christmas tree punch. This did not appeal to me as I wanted a quick and easy way to form my flowers - and so began purchasing craft punches to feel my own way to this new beauty. It was about that time that craft punches for scrapbooking were becoming increasingly popular, and I was able to obtain several unique floral and leaf punches online. My determination was to birth beautiful floral greeting cards, as had been shown in the Australian book and as I experimented, I became more addicted to this new art in papercrafting.
Each type punch and each cardstock color or texture has such end result that can be totally different with switching the combinations of size and color, detailing and contouring, method of gluing, attachment of leaves - the variety is utterly endless, and always beautiful. The cards presented here will show you several types of flowers, of different leaves, of varied ways to either fill your greeting card front, or frame a single large flower.
This gift-of-a-card creation is usable for any situation. Most commonly, the birthday cards are priority, but weddings, retirement, new homes, get well, just thinking of you, **Thank-a-soldier, all may be lovingly crafted and delightedly received. It has been a happy experience to hear again and again, how the giver received such appreciative special thanks from those who had been sent one of these beautiful cards. (Simple but elegant sympathy cards can express your condolences in ways from heart to heart, that has never before been shown.) **These cards are not usually floral, but patriotic. Small flowers could be added for female soldiers.
The making of the flowers for your card is detailed but easy. Supplies needed or optional will be listed and explained, but your own personalized creativity will shine as you discover the fun in this new craft method. And it is frankly impossible (well, nearly) to mess up a flower...It does take a few moments of practice with your finding the right tool for the right cardstock or paper, but a little bit of practice does make perfect - and often brilliantly lovely!
First on your supplies list are craft punchs for floral shapes and leaves, unless you want to try firsthand to cut out similar shapes to test your mettle. These are available at varied national and local hobby craft stores, but probably many more types are found online. (Just do a search for 'craft punches' or 'papercraft punches', or even go to a scrapbooking site and look around there.) There are punches from 1/8" to about 3" in punch size, and you will want to determine your favorites for your particular projects. If you have a friendly craft club, the punches may be shared, and thus cut way down on expense. I have purchased many of my punches from dirtbikegeorge, a seller on eBay, and other unique punches from the online site, Punch Palace. I love the Fiskar embossing punches and bought them on eBay also.
Your second major supply item is the type of cardstock or paper you will use. If you are using tiny or small punches, you probably must use light weight cardstock or even 24 lb paper for some. Experimentation and experience will quickly let you know your favorite combinations of paper and punchability. Colors, whether pastels or brights, plain or prints will make a tremendous difference in the final result of your punching. Gather all the scrap paper stock you can - even using for practice some thin packaging as in cereal boxes or manila wrapping paper. Again, the company of friends is a saving grace to trade or share your papers. You can purchase scrap cardstock and paper at some print shops quite inexpensively. This is mostly smaller discard pieces but can provide many different colors and weights on which to punch or practice. Remember that the tinier punches only punch paper on light weight stock. Hobby Lobby stores in central USA have fantastic varieties of papers and cardstock as do Michael's Craft stores nationwide.
Some of the cardstock must be heavier for the actual greeting card sheet. In this How-to, the cards will be 'half-fold' and will fit in an envelope of 5 3/4" x 8 3/4". If you make larger size flowers for your card, an envelope of 6" x 9" will fit better to allow for the 3D room needed. These size envelopes are currently available at a large national department store, at office supply stores, and of course found online at eBay, scrapbooking sites, etc. Our 'half- fold' card size is quite the easiest to form because you use one full 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of cardstock folded in half. You will need to trim or punch the front decorative edge of the card before it is folded, unless you plan to leave the edge plain. I mostly use Fiskars embossing border punches here.
If you will use a computer to print a greeting headline on the front, it must be printed first, or you may use small cardlets with the greeting printed on them, and attach with glue dots to the front. I will computer print several 'greetings' at a time in columns on cardstock, then cut the sayings to fit whatever card expression I am needing. These do look classy with the 3D attaching, and in making many card-front designs you are free to 'identify it' with the proper cardlet when you choose your written insert later. (i.e. 'Happy Birthday!' or 'Thinking of You', etc.)
The finished card/envelope may or may not require extra postage, so keep that in mind when you are crafting cards to be mailed. Yes, these card-gifts do mail well as your contouring of the petals tends to hold its shape. There may be some flattening when mailed, particularly for a long distance, but I have made miniature cardlets to tuck in each card that state: 'To enhance the 3D effect, gently lift petals and leaves'.
A daisy is beautiful and easily made. Daisies may be very large, medium, or very tiny. It requires at least two identical floral punches for the bottom petals for all but the tiniest daisy. I like to also add in a smaller daisy petal center, and an even smaller tiny daisy for the middle of the flower. Some will also have the small 'sun' punched center glued over this to make the glue-sanded center easier. This middle will have a glued and raised center which will be accomplished and explained later. There are several daisy type flowers in the multi-picture above, and each can be so different even though the punch shape is the same.
Your contouring tool may be a crochet hook, a knitting needle, a plastic or glass stirrer, a cut off **toothbrush that has been sharpened and smoothed and polished. It may be a rounded-end pen of slick plastic, metal, or any other fitting found tool. If you have other crafting tools with such 'ends' anything may be tried so you can see the results as you contour the leaves and petals. You will also need a clean small pad - mine is a mouse pad - to contour upon. (**I cut a score, then break off the brush end of a cheap smooth clear toothbrush from the dollar stores - they have large rounded handles and I sharpen the broken end by scraping it vigorously on the outside bricks of my house. You'll quickly learn how not to scrape your knuckles! Then sand it smoother, finally polish to a shine by vigorously rubbing it on your jeans. It really works! Several sizes of these cheap toothbrush tools are needed - sharper and broad, small and large.) Experience will inform you what you prefer.
To contour a punched petal or leaf shape the shape is placed on your mat and with your tool of choice you press down firmly on each petal. Swirl and massage the paper until it curves up, makes tiny dimple-lines, or until you like its texture. This is a most important first step because it gives the flower/leaf its 3D shaping. Use your contouring tool with an almost level angle to press on your paper shape and mat. If you 'poke' from a high angle you will likely make holes in the paper. Practice this contouring on various types and weights of paper stock to see what your results are with varying pressure and 'twisting' of your tool as you work each shape.
A quicker way to shape leaves is with a small crochet hook or one of the smallest toothbrush tools. Just 'stroke' the center of the leaf creasing it from tip to stem. Sometimes you may then want to stroke more than once if your leaf is similar to a maple leaf. Gluing with crease up or down gives distinctive effect as you place them around your flowers. Your type and size of leaf in regard to the flower it will bless can vary greatly. You may want lots of leaves - or you may try a very few - or none. A single flower with or without leaves, is ideal for a sympathy card. I prefer a sympathy card to be done in white or very pastel and usually without leaves. When gluing the leaves around your flower, only put on dabs of glue on the stem area! This allows them to obtain the best 3D result as you place them just under the edges of your flower.
When you have contoured your shapes as desired, decide which way you want to glue them down: Simply stated, stack and turn them over to see which way you prefer. One way will make a flatter looking flower, but the same shape turned over will make a more stand-up item. Then put a tiny dab of thick paper glue in the center of your large shapes gluing them as wished. Next use your tiny dab of glue to put on your next smaller daisy shape. Finally add on your smallest flower center and allow to dry. No, leaves are not added until you glue the finished flower to your card front.
When your glued flower is dry you may color paint the center, or with this secret, make a fantastic more realistic center with craft sand. You will need a clear dimensional type glue and will place a clean circle of glue to the center of your flower. Use only the amount of glue on the center area of the size desired. Pour on an excess of craft sand of your color choice on the glue immediately and let it sit undisturbed for at least 3 minutes. Then carefully dump off the sand and 'adjust the glue' area to minimize any crooks or tails formed by the sanded glue using your fingernail or perhaps a nail file end. The center does not have to be just round, but should not look scraggly. The dark sands, especially are difficult to get perfectly correct, but small discrepancies make the flowers look real. Then the flower center must be allowed to harden completely before using it. Some glues will harden in an hour, others will need longer. It is helpful to make several centers at a go so you have them to glue on finished, when you need them. I usually make a paper plate full of matching centers by using the small 'sun punch' and gluing- sanding all at once. Another option is to use plastic rhinestones or pearls as centers. You will need a glue compatible to the plastic for these. I have recently used some carefully trimmed pom-poms and liked it very well. In the multi-picture at the top of the page, a card sporting these pom-pom centers is second row, third from left.
When you have your greeting card front printed, trimmed, folded, it is then ready for you to glue on the flowers, leaves and anything else you want to use. But first, lay your flowers on the front as you think you might like them. Leave spacing between flowers to add in leaves and use your creative eye to arrange them. When you like it, turn each flower over in place and put a small dab of glue in the center of each. Then turn and glue them in place, adjusting to your liking. Start gluing in the leaves, beginning either at very top or bottom. Then fit in the leaves for each flower filling in as much or as little as you like. If you add a small card or butterfly or other charm, it may be glued in a planned space, or even on top of a flower/leaf.
Hold your card out in front of you and A D M I R E your beautiful creation!
Next step is to glue in your inner page, which is an 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of paper that has been trimmed approximately 1/2" from front and 1/4" from bottom and folded in half. Make sure it does fit into your card front. Some crafters like to leave this page blank and script in their own thoughts or greeting. I prefer to use my original poetry, but that must be previously printed out on the half-fold paper, then trimmed to fit the card front. When ready to glue it in, use two tiny dots of white glue on the back fold, about 2 inches out from the fold and about 2 inches apart. Also put one tiny dot of glue in the front center of the card about 1 1/2" out from the crease. That is all you need! Then place the folded inner page on the back page of the card, MAKING SURE YOU FIT THE CREASES TIGHTLY TOGETHER and press it down. Then press the fronts together same way. Immediately close and open the card to make sure it is glued properly. If you do not match the creases of the outer card and the inner sheet, the card will not open/close correctly.
NOTE: When you have your card fronts trimmed and folded, it is MUCH EASIER to glue in the inner sheet before you put on the flowers/leaves. I normally do it that way, having on hand a stack of 'birthday', a separate stack of 'get well', etc. ready to glue on flowers as fitting for the occasion.
Some of the varied punches I use.
Various tools make contouring the flowers easy. Butterflies are not contoured, but only the center 'body' is glued so the wings can be lifted.
A beautiful sampling of cards YOU can make
More beautiful ideas for your creativity to bloom
Detailed views of different flower centers
See Part II hub for more technical details to make your own beautiful paper flowers
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