Card Making Tutorials & Projects | DIY Ideas and Designs
Homemade Card Inspiration & Free Templates
Whether you already make your own greeting cards or you are a beginner wanting to learn the basics, this page is for you!
I've listed lots of basic information on tools and materials as well as cardmaking technique tutorials and step-by-step how tos for many different styles of greeting card. You are bound to find instructions here for the perfect cards at birthdays, Christmas, Valentine's day and many other occasions.
I hope you find this resource helpful, and I hope it perhaps inspires you to start card making as a new hobby!
Best Card Making Supplies
Card is of course a very important ingredient in greeting cards (duh!) but apart from that, there is a huge number of amazing artistic media and card cutting/scoring/texturing tools to choose from. The range of products is excellent to browse for inspiration, although to get you started you can't really go wrong with card scoring boards and bone folders to create neat, crisp folds, plus a paper trimmer to help you achieve perfectly straight edges.
Hand Printed Card
Materials, Tools & Techniques You Can Use
- Handmade paper - it's thicker than normal paper and has a lovely texture. You can buy this or make your own.
- Ephemera - such as old book pages, music sheets, maps etc.
- Felt - this is good for cutting shapes out of because it doesn't fray.
- Fabric scraps.
- Machine or hand sewn stitches.
- Decoupage - this technique raises different card parts up so it looks 3D.
- Pop-up - when you open the card a 3D design pops up in the centre. This makes use of paper cutting skills.
- 2D cut-out designs - cut out shapes in the top layer of the card and then put a contrasting piece of card, paper or fabric underneath.
- Knitting - small knitted squares are great for toppers on the front of cards.
- Printing - block, screen, lino or other types of printing to add ink or paint designs to your cards.
- Stenciling - can use existing things like mesh, doilies or lace, or you can make you own stencil (if you make it in acetate rather than card, you will be able to wash and re-use it)
- Tissue paper
- Crepe paper
- Acetate - great for window/stained glass effects
- Quilling. - shaped spirals of paper strips
- Different thicknesses, colours and textures of card - my personal favourite is white hammered cardstock.
- Scrapbook papers
- Embossing stylus and stencils can be used to produce textured (raised) designs in paper or card (called dry embossing.).
- Pressed leaves, skeleton leaves and flowers.
- Ripping edges instead of cutting them with scissors can create a nice effect on some papers.
- Crimping tool can make paper crimped.
- Pre-bought, DIY or custom made rubber and foam stamps.
- Use pinking shears (for a zig-zag edge) or other types of scissors which cut non-straight lines.
- Craft punches - you can buy punching tools which cut-out a particular shape from card/paper when pressed. You can buy them in lots of different sizes and shapes, and you can also get ones which punch corner or border designs.
- Heat embossing - this adds a shiny and raised coating for a textured and professional result.
- Cut a window in your card to reveal the inside design.
- Letter transfers or greetings stickers - for adding messages to the front of cards.
- Paint - acrylic, watercolour, poster etc.
- Calligraphy (with ink) - for adding pretty writing inside or out.
- Pens (e.g. felt tip or gel) and pencils (e.g. watercolor or charcoal)
- Masking fluid to resist ink or paint.
- Wax resist technique - wax is used to draw a pattern and then paint/ink is applied over the top. The wax resists the ink so it you can see the design you drew underneath the ink.
- Things you find such as seashells, sandpaper, feathers, old train tickets, measuring tape, broken CDs etc.
- Decorative embellishments you can buy such as sequins, rhinestones, glitter, beads, eyelets, stickers etc.
Watercolor Greetings Card
Hearts Birthday Card
Useful Cardmaking Information For Beginners
- Card Thicknesses and Weights
All about the different thicknesses of card and paper.
- The Basics
Read this introduction to cutting and folding paper and card.
- Tools and Supplies
A brilliant rundown of all the materials you can use.
- Verses 4 Cards
Poems, quotes, messages and sayings for inside your cards.
- Card Making Paradise
Huge resource of templates, projects, tips and techniques.
Paper Medallion Cards
Crafty Greeting Card How-Tos
- DIY Doily Cards
Pretty cards using doilies for stenciling.
- Paper Bag Cards
How to recycle brown paper grocery bags into cards.
- Quilling Hearts
Learn how to use the technique of quilling to make a heart embellishment.
- Flower Power Card
Using paper quilling again, this time to make a flower.
- Paper Cut Silhouette
Fun and romantic idea which uses a photo to make a silhouette of yourself.
- Batik Style Prints
Using masking fluid or crayon to resist the paint.
- Four Leaf Clover Card
Lovely design using a clover craft punch.
- Block Print Cards
Versatile technique explained by Martha Stewart.
- Mini Graduate Cards
Complete with a graduation hat with tassel.
Wedding Venue Pop-Ups
More Card Making Tutorials
- Paper Craft How-Tos
Loads of brilliant step-by-step instructions for different card designs.
- Free Greeting Card Projects
3 pages of great ideas for beginners.
- 3 Paper Crafting Techniques
Machine sewing, heat embossing and paper embroidery explained.
- Lino Printed Cards
How to use lino to create charming prints.
- Speech Bubble Thank-Yous
Simple but effective thank-you note idea.
- Stencil Screen Printing
A fab technique you can use to print small designs on card.
- Stamping Technique Cards
Lots of technique-strong projects.
- Fabric Envelope
How to make your own envelope then sew on the address.
- Bunny Easter Rabbits
Simple and cute free download with a stuck-on pom-pom.
Santa Clause Xmas Card
Card Making Videos
Step-by-Step Card Projects
- Felt Bunting Design
How to make cute mini bunting.
- Colorful Christmas Trees
A fun technique using lots of glue, sequins and tissue paper.
- Light-Up Xmas Cards
Clever idea for the electronically minded.
- Santa Block Print
This print technique looks great on the brown background.
- Plantable Flower Card
Which allows the recipient to recycle the card.
- Free Ornament Card
Simple cards with salt dough heart decorations included.
- Pinprick Cards
Simple textural idea using just a pin or needle.
- Photo Thank-You Cards
I love this very personalized and creative idea.
- Snow Globe Postcards
Very pretty and fun cards.
- Embossed Metal
Embossed metal toppers look great.
- Kid's Pirate Cards
Cute pirate images with felt heart embellishments.
- Snowy Watercolours
Pretty snowflake pattern made using masking fluid.
- Petal Heart Card
Dainty card decorations made using tissue paper.
How To Make a Mini Papercut Card
This card uses simple papercutting techniques and produces an effective result. I will be using a Christmas card as an example but you could cut out any simple shapes or words you like depending on the occasion.
What You Will Need:
* An A4 sheet of card; I have used a sheet of green card as an example in the diagram above but you can use any color you like. I personally would choose white or black to make the shape 'pop' a bit more, but it's completely up to you. You will need one sheet of A4 card for each card you would like to make.
* A small piece (just under 3.5" x 4.5") of either thin fabric or paper; This will need to look nice paired with the color of your sheet of card. In this example I will use a sheet of thin red cotton, but you could use use anything flat and thin you think will look good.
* Tracing paper
* Regular sheet of paper that can go in the printer
* Double-sided tape
* A guillotine (optional)
* A craft knife and cutting mat
* Ruler (preferably a steel ruler)
* Bone folder (optional)
- First print out the design you are going to use so that it measures just under 4.5" x 3.5" (perhaps more like 4" x 3"). If you want to use the Christmas tree shape, please find the outline below.
- If you would prefer to use a different outline, draw it out within the 4" x 3" boundaries on a regular piece of paper.
- Now trace this design onto tracing paper using a pencil, and try to thicken your lines up a bit to make sure there is adequate lead on the paper - no faint lines.
- Now take your piece of A4 card and cut straight along the length of it (with a guillotine or using a craft knife, cutting mat and steel ruler), 4.5" up from the bottom edge - see diagram. You can use the excess card for other projects, or use it to make a slightly smaller card with :)
- Measure 3.5" from one end of this strip of card and fold it (valley fold) using a ruler to keep it straight and a bone folder - if you have one - to make a cleaner crease. Then measure 3.5" along from this fold and repeat the same step to make another valley fold. Then measure 3.5" along again and mark a line at this point and cut along it. You'll therefore be left with a 4.5" x 10.5" piece of card which has been folded into thirds.
- Take the piece of paper that you transferred your design onto earlier, and flip it over so that the pencil lines are underneath. Place the tracing paper over the center third of the card and line it up how you would like it to be on the finished card. Use your pencil to scribble over the back of the tracing paper using this method to transfer the pencil lines onto the card.
- Next place the card on a cutting mat again and use your craft knife to carefully follow the pencil lines and cut out the shapes. Be careful of the sharp blade and make sure you are pulling the blade towards you in order to have more control.
- Now take your fabric or paper piece and cut a rectangle out so that it covers up the cut-out design but doesn't go right up to the card edges or the folds on either side.
- Apply double-sided tape around the edges of this central section of the card, making sure that you don't put the tape over the cut-out sections. You can use glue but it's just neater with tape.
- Place the fabric/paper piece onto the tape and press down.
- Apply more double-sided tape around the edges of this section again, this time on top of the fabric/paper piece you've just attached. Then fold over the side of the card which is below your design (or to the right of your design if you are doing a portrait card). Press this card onto the tape so it is secure, and the fabric/paper is sandwiched and hidden between the card pieces.
- You should now have a folded card measuring 3.5" x 4.5", with a cut-out design on the front with fabric or paper behind it.
Christmas Tree Outline For Card Project
Fun Techniques & Ideas To Try
- Creative Pop-Ups
Free templates, videos and tutorials for making awesome pop-ups.
- Quilted Notecards
Made by sewing fabric scraps onto the cards.
- Custom Embossing
Make your own embossing stencil for a personalized detail.
- Photograph Lolly Cards
Cute kiddy photo cards with a lolly gift!
- Sushi Themed Card
With a genius chopstick opening.
- Romantic Pop-Up Card
3D 'I heart U' pattern for Valentine's day.
- Monogram Notecard
How to add a monogram logo to cards using stitches.
- Embossed Acetate Windows
Interesting technique for inking and embossing plastic.
- Quilled Cherry Blossoms
Pretty cherry blossom design made using paper spirals.
Cut-Out Graduation Cards
Beautifully presented book with 1000 illustrations and photographs. A brilliant guide for beginners to pop-up cards as well as more advanced paper crafters.
Stamping, quilling and wire work are some of the card craft methods showcased in this book, which is beginner-friendly and offers great inspiration.
Sewn Happy Birthday Card
More Creative Card Projects
- Pop-Up Cards
How to go about creating your own pop-up designs.
- Pop-Up Flowers
Check out other Martha Stewart crafts too.
- Pop-Up Words
How to design and make your own pop-up cards.
- Sewn Love Notes
Simple, quick and easy note cards.
- No-Carve Stamps
Easy silicon stamps which you can use to make lots of identical cards.
- Chalkboard Photo Card
Such a creative idea for any occasion.
- Love Bug Valentines
Fun plastic bugs on a cute card, perfect for kids.
- Paint Swirl Cards
Use a paint swirl toy to create one-off, colourful designs.
- Copper Foil Designs
An interesting idea for using a laser printer and foil to make shiny patterns.
Mixed Media Toppers
DIY Card Making Instructions
- Easel Card Tutorial
How to make a pop-up easel style card.
- Quilled Daisy Card
Flowers created with strips of paper. Nice colour combo.
- Flowery Notes
Pop-up flower shape cards.
- Painted Square Valentines
Textured paint square design with vellum envelopes.
- Quilled Gift Boxes
Brilliant paper spiral topper for a Christmas or birthday card.
- Watercolor Resist Cards
Beautiful watercolour cards using colourless pencils to resist the paint.
- Autumn Leaf Card
Simple but very effective.
- Hand-Painted Valentine
Add watercolor paint to thicker card for a pretty piece of art.
- Cake-in-a-Cup DIY
A recipe card like this is an unusual and really fun idea.
- Momma Bird Cards
Free templates for a lovely layered card, perfect for mother's day.
Valentine Heart Cards
Free Templates, Downloads & Tutorials
- Watercolour Balloon Thank-You
Free print out of a thank-you note, which you then paint a cute design on.
- Clever Mechanical Iris Card
How to make an opening mechanism on the front of a card.
- Easy Punch Dot Cards
Simple but effective circle embellishments like confetti.
- Star Wars Valentine
Clever idea for using a glow stick as a light saber!
- Ink Stains Blog Techniques
A whole list of creative techniques to try.
- Color Block Holiday Cards
Overlap tissue paper shapes to make a cool effect.
- Minimalist Rudolph Card
A classy Christmas design, free to download.
- Book Page Trees
You can tea stain the book pages before you rip them if you want an aged look.
Embossed Velvet Halloween Cards
Card Making Websites, Ideas & Inspiration
- Pop-Up Patterns
Intricate pop-up card templates you can buy here.
- Martha Stewart Cards
Index for all of Martha's card how-tos.
- Technique Tutorials
Lots of things you can try with stamps and more advanced tools.
- Polaroid Camera
Awesome 3D 'card' made from cork!
- Candle Card
Incorporate 3D objects into your card design.
- Woven Paper
Weave paper or card together in simple stripe patterns.
Photographic Father's Day Card
Top-Rated Card Making Books
Here is a selection of card making books that have received the best reviews on Amazon:
90 card making tutorials for all kinds of impressive and unique designs, including Christmas tree, luggage tag and shirt pocket shaped cards.
Step-by-steps for many different creative techniques, plus hundreds of artist's cards on display to inspire you.