How to Make a Large Greeting Card
Do you like to give large expressive cards, but are you increasingly frustrated with those available in stores? Large cards are becoming more rare even in the card stores, restricting your choice of images, words and sentiments. This leaves you faced with buying an expensive card that is still not quite what you wanted. Making your own greeting cards allows you to exercise your creativity. You can also personalize the images and message, tailoring it to the intended person and. to the relevant occasion. A homemade card can be very appropriate for special family occasions such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, a birthday, Valentine’s Day, an anniversary, a graduation day, etc. Also making a large homemade card can be a rewarding and enjoyable craft project to do with your child. This hub will provide content suggestions and describe a technique for making fairly large (8½ x 11 or even 8½ x 14) cards using commonly available and inexpensive materials. If you don’t have it already, most will want to purchase an appropriate software program and possibly a clip art library package; but the moderate expense of these can be viewed as spread over many years of use. There are many software packages available to print cards, signs, banners, etc. Many of these include a lot of clip art images, but you can also buy large collections of clip art images separately. These programs also allow you to import digital photos stored on your computer. It should be noted, however, that if you are artistic, you could apply the techniques described below even without a computer.
Tools and Materials Needed
- Personal computer and printer
- Appropriate software
- Vinyl sheet protectors
- Pasteboard(light cardboard)
- String or Ribbon
Plan Your Card
The description here and below will assume you are using a computer and appropriate software; but as noted above, the images and words can certainly be drawn by hand if you desire. Think about the person and occasion for which you want to make a card. For a spouse or significant other try to think of some things that will be meaningful to that person or that you have shared together either over the years or recently. For a child’s card, consider their enthusiasms, favorite animals, cartoon characters, etc. Jot down your thoughts and look through a library of clip art and pick out some images that strike you in the context of your list, your thoughts about the person, and the occasion. Also consider importing and using digital photos that the person might like. Pick more images than you will use so that you can weed down to the best and most appropriate as you proceed and as your ideas solidify. Even though clip art is not as original as drawing your own images, the extremely large variety of images available (100’s of thousands) allows great variety and originality in how you combine them with each other and with words. It is also possible to modify clip images slightly if you wish. For example, even a simple program like Microsoft Paint can be used to obliterate one of three people in an image, to add a smile to a tiger, etc. Digital camera related software might also be useful in clipping portions of images.
Make the First and Second Page
Open your software program and put up some candidate words and images. In the program I have (older copy of Print Shop), I use the “Sign” option rather than the “Card” option because “Sign” allows me to use a full 8½ x 11 sheet for each page of the card. I simply make two or more “Signs” with each corresponding to a planned page of the card. I also use a clip art library package with 300,000 images in it as well as digital photos that I have stored on my computer. I believe that there are also public domain clip art libraries on the Internet, but I have not personally used these. Usually the first page of a card will have some large text appropriate for the occasion like "Happy Mother's Day", "Happy Father's Day", “Happy Birthday”, Happy Anniversary”, “Now That You’ve Graduated.”, etc. Choose some colors, character fonts, and effects and place this large text on the page. Then experiment with placing your candidate images around this text. Move text and images around until you have a layout and message content that you like. Then save that page and go on to the second page. Humorous cards often have a set-up line on the first page and then a punch line on the second page. This is not essential but can work well on a personalized card if there is some shared activity or sentiment that will create a smile. For example, page 1 might say “Now That the Children are Grown Up...” and then page 2 could say something like “It’s Time to Party!!!” The content of the second page can also depend a bit on whether you plan a third page (See Step 3). For example, suppose that you are doing a humorous theme, but still want some personal expressions. You could add the personal thoughts in a handwritten note on the second page or stick to the humorous content there and defer the personal to third page. Just like on the first page, experiment with word and image placement on the second page until you are happy with the layout and message and then save it. Go back and forth between the first and second page to see if there are any changes you want to make. Edit if necessary and then print both pages in color on good paper at your printer’s best quality setting.
Make a Third Page if Desired
There are several possible ways to use a third page. For a spouse or significant other or close friend, you could have a personal handwritten note on the same type of paper you will be using for pages 1 and 2. This note can express your love, your gratitude, things you look forward to together, etc. Many recipients will smile at the humor or appreciate the layout and art of a card, but still mostly want to hear your personal expression of feelings for them and your relationship. If you like to write poems, page three is a good place to type out a long poem. Probably you can think of other alternatives for a third page.
Assemble Your Card
The card pages can be printed out on ordinary printer paper or possibly on slightly better stock if you are using photographic images. The pages are then inserted into clear vinyl sheet protectors readily available from office supply stores. These sheet protectors have three ring binder type holes on the left side. The pages of the card can be bound together through these holes using short lengths of string or ribbon. The vinyl covers give the card a nice look and a substantial feel, but they are not stiff enough to stand upright if you want to leave the card on a table propped against a vase of flowers for example. A good way to stiffen the pages is to cut sheets of pasteboard to fit in the vinyl covers behind your card pages. Pasteboard is also called light cardboard. Heavier corrugated cardboard is a bit thick, but could be used if the other is not available. Possible sources of pasteboard include the backing of desk calendars or writing tablets or even the sides of light cardboard packages like large cereal boxes. For pasteboard with logos or printing on one side, hide those by covering that side with an extra sheet of blank paper. Keep some of this material stashed away rather than tossing it in recycling if you plan to make cards like this in the future. If you want to mail a card put together this way, you will need a 10 x 13 inch envelope to accommodate the size of the vinyl covers. If you just want the card in an envelope that you are handing to or setting out for the person, you can use a 9 x 11 inch envelope. Just close the end and then cut off a very thin portion of one long side and insert the card. Only a small bit of the vinyl covers will protrude. For this latter case you may want to again exercise your creativity by making a cover sheet to paste to the outside of the envelope – something like a fancy font printing of the person’s name surrounded by clip art images and/or copies of photos.
You can make your card as large as 8½ by 14 if your printer and software will accommodate legal size paper. There are also vinyl sheet protectors available for legal size paper.
When you tie the vinyl covers together, insert the sharpened end of a pencil far enough under your string or ribbon that you can make the knot tight while still leaving the sheets of vinyl connected loosely enough to open easily.