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Card Making Tutorials & Projects | DIY Ideas and Designs

Updated on February 17, 2016
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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!

Easter Card

I like the sewn layers of this card, plus the use of tracing paper to print the lamb drawing onto so that the pattern behind can show through.
I like the sewn layers of this card, plus the use of tracing paper to print the lamb drawing onto so that the pattern behind can show through. | Source

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

A tree has been printed onto an old book page - and I think the fancy German print makes the card extra pretty and interesting.
A tree has been printed onto an old book page - and I think the fancy German print makes the card extra pretty and interesting. | Source

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.

- Embroidered 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.

- Buttons

- Lace

- 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)

- Ribbon

- Tissue paper

- Crepe paper

- Acetate - great for window/stained glass effects

- Cellophane

- Photographs

- 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.

- Vellum

- 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.

- Wax seals.

- 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

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Embroidered Cards

Adding embroidery stitches to the card is an effective way of adding designs and words as well as texture.
Adding embroidery stitches to the card is an effective way of adding designs and words as well as texture. | Source

Paper Medallion Cards

Geometric Blocks

Very fun and modern design created by just cutting out different size paper squares and rectangles.
Very fun and modern design created by just cutting out different size paper squares and rectangles. | Source

Wedding Venue Pop-Ups

I think these are really elegant pop-up invitations and they are so unique - the silhouette is of the wedding venue, Kenilworth Castle.

They may take a while to design and cut-out, but I think they're worth it.

CLICK HERE for advice on making your own pop-up buildings.

Photo by Laura Clempson.

Santa Clause Xmas Card

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Card Making Videos

How To Make a Mini Papercut Card

papercut christmas card tutorial
papercut christmas card tutorial

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

* Pencil

* 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.

- Finished!

Christmas Tree Outline For Card Project

7-Flower Pop-Up

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Cut-Out Graduation Cards

I love the contrasting colours of these modern graduation cards - the simple design is really effective.
I love the contrasting colours of these modern graduation cards - the simple design is really effective. | Source
The Practical Step-by-Step Guide to Making Pop-Ups & Novelty Cards: A how-to guide to the art of paper engineering, featuring over 100 techniques and ... 1000 fantastic photographs and illustrations
The Practical Step-by-Step Guide to Making Pop-Ups & Novelty Cards: A how-to guide to the art of paper engineering, featuring over 100 techniques and ... 1000 fantastic photographs and illustrations

Beautifully presented book with 1000 illustrations and photographs. A brilliant guide for beginners to pop-up cards as well as more advanced paper crafters.

 
The Ultimate Cardmaker: 180 Card Ideas and 20 Essential Techniques for the Ultimate Papercrafter
The Ultimate Cardmaker: 180 Card Ideas and 20 Essential Techniques for the Ultimate Papercrafter

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

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Mixed Media Toppers

Really interesting designs can be created by mixing media and techniques together to create textile toppers. The ones above use combinations of knitting, felting, paper, fabric, felt, machine stitches and even burnt holes!
Really interesting designs can be created by mixing media and techniques together to create textile toppers. The ones above use combinations of knitting, felting, paper, fabric, felt, machine stitches and even burnt holes! | Source

Valentine Heart Cards

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Embossed Velvet Halloween Cards

Photographic Father's Day Card

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Top-Rated Card Making Books

Here is a selection of card making books that have received the best reviews on Amazon:

Joy of Cardmaking, Collector's Edition  (Leisure Arts #4606) (Paper Crafts)
Joy of Cardmaking, Collector's Edition (Leisure Arts #4606) (Paper Crafts)

90 card making tutorials for all kinds of impressive and unique designs, including Christmas tree, luggage tag and shirt pocket shaped cards.

 
The Encyclopedia of Greeting Card Tools & Techniques
The Encyclopedia of Greeting Card Tools & Techniques

Step-by-steps for many different creative techniques, plus hundreds of artist's cards on display to inspire you.

 

3D Fabric & Bead Embellishment

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DIY Christmas Cards

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Have you ever given homemade cards?

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    • profile image

      shirley-elliott-12 3 years ago

      I am always searching for free templates and ideas for making cards and have found this site very useful. Thank you.

    • teelover profile image

      teelover 3 years ago

      Really nice and useful tips!

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      nice and great as visit I appreciate you on your skills shows here.

    • wellingtonboot profile image
      Author

      wellingtonboot 4 years ago from U.K.

      @anonymous: Hi...no, just from Amazon :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      hi...can books be odered from u ?

    • jlshernandez profile image

      jlshernandez 4 years ago

      Fabulous ideas for DIY cards. I will definitely be making some of these for the holidays. Blessed ****

    • rockingretro2 profile image

      rockingretro2 4 years ago

      Great lens! I will be making all our Christmas cards next year after reading this.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I love your every lens, thank your for sharing them God bless

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 4 years ago

      I love the whole lens, for all the super ideas.

    • profile image

      mouse1996 lm 4 years ago

      I love handmade items. These cards are just stunning.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      its soo lovely..n cute..tq for a wonderful tips and techniques...thank u for sharing...

    • psiloveyou1 profile image

      psiloveyou1 5 years ago

      I love making cards. Lots of great ideas!!!

    • Caromite profile image

      Caromite 5 years ago

      There are many great ideas for card making, thank you for sharing them :)

    • slackira profile image

      slackira 5 years ago

      Lovely ideas..I'll use some of these techniques to create my sister's wedding invites.Thanks

    • Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 5 years ago from Kansas

      These are great ideas for card making. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • IYenForZen profile image

      IYenForZen 5 years ago

      Love, love, LOVE the Santa card!

    • profile image

      jimmyworldstar 5 years ago

      These are some creative cards, I think they would make great custom wedding invitations. I like the variation between self photographed pictures and even the embroidered cards too.

    • profile image

      jimmyworldstar 5 years ago

      These are some creative cards, I think they would make great custom wedding invitations. I like the variation between self photographed pictures and even the embroidered cards too.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Another really good lens I hope everybody that loves DIY projects appreciates all of the trouble that you have gone to will be coming back for more ideas

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 6 years ago from Ljubljana

      Looks cool, thanks for your effort!

    • Shanir LM profile image

      Shanir LM 6 years ago

      I love the fabric cards idea, I might try that! :) great lens

    • FunkyJewelleryUK profile image

      FunkyJewelleryUK 6 years ago

      Some really cute ideas! Adding to my favourites so I can make my friends some fab cards! Nice lens :)