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So You Want to Make Your Own Greeting Cards at Home ? - How to for Card Making Tutorial

Updated on January 24, 2019
stampinwithfab profile image

Fabrizio is an Internet midwife as well as technology enthusiast, although hooked on paper crafting his geekiness seeps through time to time

In Step by Step cardmaking, we've learnt what a base card is and how to score cardstock to create a card. In part 2 we're going to see how we can get inspired with fantastic ideas to make some cards using a coordinated paper kit (either scrapbooking or card making one) and readily available online sketches also called pagemaps for you handmade greeting cards projects.


It's all about positioning elements !

So you have your base card in front of you but don't know where to start ? Let me tell you about something that became an eye opener when I discovered it. After getting really frustrated at the look of my cards I came across sketches (pagemaps).

Sketches are a simplified drawing of element positioning on a card or scrapbook layout. The beauty of these sketches is that:

  • You can use your existing supplies ( no need to look for the same papers to get the same look )
  • You can rotate them to suit your taste
  • You can add extra layers of papers or matting as it is best called
  • You can reuse them and change a few element or even swap them
  • You get more productive as it's one less thing to think about when making greeting cards
  • You can adapt the sketch for square or rectangular cards, small cards or bigger cards, it doesn't matter
  • You can find them easily online and some blogs have weekly challenges you can join getting you inspired to create more great cards
  • Did I mention it's fun ? :)

Sketch Challenge Blogs

This is by no mean and exhaustive list of blogs/website out there but you can always google 'card sketch(s)' and see what comes up.

How do you get started using a sketch/pagemap ?

Now I can see you might feel confused as a simple drawing that looks very abstract can seem a bit daunting at first. Don't worry you'll soon get the hang of it.

First go through some sketches and look at the one that appeals the most to you. On some sketch challenge blogs (resource list on the right hand side) you can also get inspired from the samples other cardmakers made as they upload their cards for all to see and admire. You can spot some different ways of using a sketch and how the elements were picked and used with different materials as well as papers.

At times the icons with graphic used on the sketch are easy to understand, ribbons, buttons or even string/floss are noticeable so no guesses there. You're left with the various shapes to decide what to do with them.

I tend to pick three papers from the same paper pack (I really like HOTP Cardmaker's creative pack for that). I choose one heavily patterned paper and two coordinating subdued plain papers that match. At times I also use one patterned, one plain and one vellum (vellum is a almost transparent paper with opaque look). Vellums are perfect to tone down a heavily patterned paper so you can add other elements to the composition and it allows them to be 'seen'.

What I like also about sketches is that they guide you in your composition so you avoid the pitfall of cardmakers who have just started...putting too much on your card ! ;) I call it 'cover everything syndrome', you need to let the paper 'sing' especially when it has a lovely pattern and as we already know 'less is more'.

Great video from Stampinbug on how to use a sketch

  • Pick your papers from the same creative pad for colour coordination
  • Write on your printed sketch which papers you've assigned to the various sections
  • Avoid putting heavily patterned papers as the first mat behind your focal point
  • Mat your heavily patterned paper with a plain paper behind it
  • Don't hesitate to swap elements if you feel it looks're in control

Now that you have picked the sketch and the papers, let's make a handmade greeting card !

We've picked the sketch we like and the papers, now what ?

On your printed sketch/pagemap mark with a pencil what papers will go where, for example it's a good idea to have a plain paper behind a focal point (image, stamped image or chipboard element) then use the pattern paper behind the plain mat so that the focal point doesn't 'fight' with it.

A good idea is to use one of the plain paper all over the base card (you can also leave a border all around it) then add your patterned paper cut a quarter of an inch smaller. That will give you a nice frame like canvas to start from.

Add your elements as per sketch making sure you use almost all papers equally to keep a balanced look. If you have an element (such as a piece of art/image) that doesn't contain a colour from the other papers, create a 'call back' (basically adding a folded piece of that paper as a tab or making a flower out of that element close to the art/image). This trick will ensure that all elements will gel together in your handmade greeting card.

Are you going to use sketches/pagemaps in your cardmaking ?

See results

Quick tips when using sketches/pagemaps !

  1. Don't rush cutting and sticking elements on your card, position them first and see if you're happy with your composition.
  2. Don't get stressed by doing everything 'exactly' like the sketch, it's there to guide you not to burden you. If something doesn't seem right just leave it out or rotate the sketch.
  3. Do print the sketch as big as you can and put it on your workspace, it's easier to refer to it then going back and forth from your computer monitor.
  4. Feel free to modify the required element: for example if it looks like a ribbon and you don't fancy it, use a strip of paper, a border or repeat the pattern with brads, eyelets etc.
  5. Don't overdo with patterned papers use coordinating papers from the same paper pad (for example Hot Off the Press Cardmaker's series of paper pads)

In part 3 coming up soon !

In part 3 of my Cardmaking Tutorial I will explain how to use ribbons, brads and other embellishments to their best advantage, as well as using templates to create pocket, tags and FLOWERS ! :)


© 2011 Fabrizio Martellucci


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    • quilt827 profile image


      9 years ago from Tampa Bay, Florida

      Loved hub! Learned a lot and am excited to do more cards! Thanks for the tutorial, hope there's more coming.

    • viveresperando profile image


      10 years ago from A Place Where Nothing Is Real

      Totally loving this part 2!

    • Mrs. J. B. profile image

      Mrs. J. B. 

      10 years ago from Southern California

      WOW.... Can I have a job????

    • SweetiePie profile image


      10 years ago from Southern California, USA

      These is an excellent card making tutorial. You should write more hubs on this subject!

    • Jamie Brock profile image

      Jamie Brock 

      10 years ago from Texas

      I totally understand what you mean, stampin. I get nervous about my hubs measuring up because I don't put as much in them (videos, etc)like a lot of others do but they seem to be doing okay so far and it feels awesome to get a thank you from people after working so hard. That's something I've grown to love about HubPages... the support here has been amazing and I need it!

      Thank you, too for the support.. you are doing great!

    • stampinwithfab profile imageAUTHOR

      Fabrizio Martellucci 

      10 years ago from London, United Kingdom

      Thanks Jamie, I literally was agonising over this second hub of mine as I wasn't sure if I put way too much or too little on it! :) I had two people writing to me in a forum thanking me for my hub, that made so happy, I couldn't even express how good it feels. Thanks again for you constant support Jamie, I totally appreciate it.

    • Jamie Brock profile image

      Jamie Brock 

      10 years ago from Texas

      LOVE LOVE LOVE this!! Great video showing the layer process! Great information hub.. thank you for sharing!


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