Make Your Own Christmas Cards, Including From Kits
Making your own Christmas cards is a fun and easy for both adults and children. With virtually unlimited choices in card-making products available, you can personalise them in just about any way you can think of .
It's not difficult to make your own christmas cards and it can be a fantastically fun thing to do. You can make your own Christmas cards alone, but why not arrange a Christmas Crafts Activity Day with a few friends and come together to help each other, share ideas and enjoy a good natter.
You'll need to think about just three things initially:
- Getting the cardmaking materials
- Envelopes they will fit into - think about how much larger the envelopes need to be because of your unique design
- Setting aside a good amount of time to really do your cardmaking justice
As for tools, you could look at:
- Plain/straight scissors, or a card cutter/guillotine to cut down the card to size
- Craft scissors that give your cutting a shaped edge
- Glue. The glue you will want depends what you are trying to stick, I'll discuss this later
Buying Cardmaking Materials Online
Now we've got the Internet, you're no longer reliant upon what the local Post Office has in stock, or whether your town has any craft shop at all. Now you can go online and see what's out there and if you can't get it locally or quickly, you can simply order cardmaking materials online.
So what should you look for?
- You'll need a basic piece of card, the outer card, on which you'll be writing or sticking other parts of your card
- You might be wanting an inner sheet of paper, white or colored.
- Embellishments - these are ready made tiny letters or figures, diamante, glitter items that you can stick on
- Basic glue to stick items onto your card
- Narrow ribbon, which can be used in a variety of ways
Card for Cardmaking
One mistake that's often made by beginner cardmakers is using card that's simply not stiff enough. When you receive these cards they fold over, fall over and won't stand up.
You need to think a little bit about the weight of the card, the size you will be using it and what you are going to put on it.
- 225-250gsm card should be good for the purpose in most instances; lighter than this and it won't stand up properly.
There are literally hundreds of different colours and finish of cards you can choose from. Some are smooth, some have texture. There's matt card and glossy card, even pearlescent card.
You can even buy card that's already folded for you - ideal if you're new, or not that confident, or simply want to guarantee you have a good result from the start.
Buy a Card Kit Online
If you want the handmade look, without the time/effort, not to mention finding everything you need and then hoping you'll get it looking OK, then you can simply buy a card kit from your local shop, or buy a card kit online from thousands of online card retailers.
With a card kit you simply pick what you want ot make and you receive a kit that you put together yourself. You'll get the personalised and handmade look without the frustration and stress of trying to make it perfect when you're new to cardmaking.
Card kits come in just about every type you can imagine, with new ones arriving all the time.
The kits available will vary across the year, with more Christmas card kits being available from September to December and Easter card kits being available from December to March, but if you buy a card kit online you'll stand a better chance of getting a good selection and choice whenever you're looking.
Buying Envelopes for Your Cards
You do need to pay careful attention to the size of the envelopes you're buying. If you are buying card and cutting it yourself, then by the time you've folded it and added your extras and embellishments it can be quite thick. It'd be a shame to then find that your envelopes were bought too small because you'd clculated the envelopes based on just the folded card size alone.
You might like to check online for the sizes/prices to send cards, so you're aware if your card will end up going into a slightly higher priced band. If you plan this from the start then you won't be having to pay out extra when you come to post them.
Embellishments for Your Cards
Most cardmakers build up their card by sticking embellishments onto the basic card.
Embellishments can be tiny animals, figurines, individual letters that make up somebody's name, or the front of card message such as "HAPPY HOLIDAYS".
There are lots of shiny and luxurious elements such as diamante, pearls, appliqué and baubles too.
This is YOUR card and so you can have as much fun with it as you want.
Tip: Before sticking anything onto the card, just lay everything out on the table and experiment with some designs wtihout gluing anything down. What can be a good idea is laying out 3-4 different ideas, then leaving it on the table while you go off for a coffee. When you come back you will be able to choose which is best more easily.
The Beauty of Crafting Scissors
You can just use normal scissors, but there's a whole collection of shaped scissors that will mean as you're cutting your card out the edges will have shapes.
A simple form of this are the old pinking shears that have been used in dressmaking for decades to give a zig-zag edge so the material doesn't fray, but nowadays there are dozens of shapes that the scissors can automatically cut.
You can also get shape cutters, that will punch out specific shapes.
Both of these can be used to really make a difference to how complex your card looks.
One technique that is often used to create and decorate Christmas cards is to build up several layers of increasingly smaller pieces of paper, tissue or card; if you do this you could use the different shaped scissor technique to easily make it look even more attractive.
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Working With Shapes
If you've got specific shapes in mind, then you might need some help with those. Shapes can be two styles:
- A shape you want to cut out and stick on
- A shape of colour you want to paint or stamp on
Finding Shapes and Templates
If you want to find shapes to cut out and stick on, then why not search Google images for some templates. Simply perform a search and look through them, then download what you want and print them out.
If you are after some quite simple shapes and want a lot of them or to do it easily, then you can pick up a shape cutter, or card punch. We're all familiar with the hole punchers that we use in everyday life to punch small holes in sheets of paper for filing - well these are just a much larger variety of these. These large shape cutter card punches to cut card into shapes are common in crafting circles, so they're easy to find and pick up.
If you want to have coloured shapes easily, then what you should look into are simple rubber stamps. We're familiar with ink pad stamping kits to stamp words onto paperwork in offices such as PAID, or INVOICE. Well, it's exactly the same idea with craft stamps, except crafting stamps are shapes instead.
There's a range of literally thousands of rubber stamps to choose from. They're the perfect solution if you can't draw or just want the ease of stamping an image or pattern onto your cards. Above all, they're frustration free and ideal for kids!
Sticking It All Together
Now you've got all your basic cardmaking materials together, you're almost ready to make your own Christmas cards. There's just one final question: how do you bring it all together?
There are different glues fof different jobs. spray glue, glue dots, foam pads and PVA glue are the main ones you might need to use. Here's a quick overview of which one you'll need:
- Spray Glue: this is best used if you're using thin paper, or even tissue. It enables you to give your paper just the smallest amount of glue it needs.
- Glue Dots: these are small dots of glue, stuck onto a sheet, you simply peel them off to use them. They're ideal for lightweight embellishments and they're quick and easy to use with a minimum of mess. Glue dots come in different sizes. When you use glue dots, don't touch them with your fingers if you can help it. They work a bit like double sided tape does, so you peel them off, stick one side onto your card, then peel the other side off and stick the two surfaces together and hold them for a few seconds.
- Foam Pads: these are a little larger/thicker and are double-sided foam pads.
- PVA Glue: this is a white liquid glue that you use just like any other liquid glue.
... and That's It!
I hope the above has helped you to explore the possibilities of making your own Christmas cards. Cards that are as individual as you are.
I'm sure you'll have hours of fun making and giving your personalised Christmas cards this year - and if you're reading this a little too late, then you'll need to make your own online Christmas card and plan earlier next year :)
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