Sunday, August 3, 2008

Getting started in card making - how I became a convert

Confession of a convert.

I confess I could never see the point of making cards, but I am a convert and I love making and receiving hand made cards now.

For a start it is very satisfying that you can start and complete a project in as little as 30 minutes, to maybe a couple of weeks of working on it in the evenings and you get the satisfaction of a great reaction from the recipient or purchaser of your work if you can bear to part with it.

How I got converted: It was a mixture of things, being invited to a wedding with simple hand made stationery, trying to find an appropriate RSPV card to reply, the matching stationery on the day and thank you cards, trying to find an appropriately themed card for the wedding from us. Then a second wedding where they did the same but different colours, and finally I was working in London staying in hotels for a few months with nothing to do and I came across a shop called Blade Rubber Stamps with wall to ceiling stamps all the way round and much more.

In the window were some toppers, and I thought that it would be a quick and easy way to make hand made cards so bought a few toppers, some sheets of peel off stickers and a magazine - no card blanks at this stage!
That was it, I became hooked, I wasn't going to stamp (ha ha, the rubber smell must be addictive and I bought my first few stamps in Blade Rubber), I wasn't ever going to use die cuts (now have two machines and a Craft Robo, more on these later), now I have more stash than the average shop in my own craft room that we built on!

Advice for beginners - or what do I need as a basic kit for card making?


To start with you can get many convenience items, just as you can get convenience food. For example you can buy ready to fold, or even ready folded card blanks with matching envelopes.

I would advise all beginners to start with a pack of card blanks and matching envelopes and just a small pack until you know you like making cards. You can get them in packs of 6, or packs of 50. It is more expensive to buy 6, but there are many different designs out there now, embossed, printed, with apertures cut in them, fancy folds etc.

Start with a plain and simple pack of cards.

You might want to buy peel off stickers which are very convenient and quick and easy to use, great for a beginner or for quick cards at any time. You can get greetings in sheets, or images.

You can also buy a variety of 3d stickers from dome stickers to paper and cloth e.g. bunches of flowers, greetings, butterflies, princess outfits, and unlimited other stickers.

You might decide to buy a rubber stamp, if you are using lots of Happy Birthday stickers it would make sense to buy a Happy Birthday stamp, and then you need the appropriate ink - dye ink is best to start. You can practice on some scrap card before ruining your expensive card blanks.

Glue of some sort is always useful, you can get glue dots which are nice and clean to use, the card maker's favourite double sided tape of which there are many varieties, glue sticks, very tacky PVA glue which can have a tendency to make the card mishappen but is good for sticking small awkward items on and double sided foam pads or tape.

Toppers, you can get all sorts of ready made toppers that usually have double sided foam pads on them ready to peel and stick.

You will eventually want to move to making your own toppers or stamping images and using embellishments.

You might have things around the home that you could use, buttons, ribbons (even cut from clothes), interesting papers or card from packaging that you could re-use, I have recycled tea bag boxes from herbal tea.

Something to cut with is useful, basic scissors will do to start but you may wish to move onto trimmers, fancy scissors, and punches.

Whatever you buy you need to make sure that if you have limited funds it is something you will be able to use for many cards, for example a stamp of flowers can be used for birthday cards, thank you cards, sympathy cards, and many more for a range of people but a stamp of a barbeque might be more limited in use. I have a stamp of an ageing fairy sprinkling embossing powder, I have only used it once!

You can use stamps to create your own backing papers, or print papers yourself from CDs you can purchase or sites that have free papers to print or you can buy many pretty and clever papers but this is the most expensive option.

If you go to a Do Craft Demo you can purchase a goodie bag which has a range of sample items in it, and enough to get started on card making.

Storage is something to think about, and you can use cheap everyday storage solutions or you can spend a lot on specialised storage, there are totes with wheels which you might be able to store your entire collection of stash in - at least to begin with! But you don't need to go to that sort of expense.

Shoe boxes, and other boxes - clean pizza boxes for 12" x 12" papers are good.

Forums and web sites and on line help.


There are a lot of card making forums "out there" and if you are reading this you are online so will be able to join the forums.
There are lots of new people and experienced people who will help you out with queries, you can show off your creations and get praise, and there are many sites with video tutorials or instructions on how to make particular projects.

What you need to bear in mind is that if you see a card in a magazine or on a demo that you want to make you don't have to buy all the things used, you may have something similar you could substitute such as a similar rubber stamp.

There are lots of magazines out there too and it is tempting to buy them all. Some now come with complete kits to make up a number of cards and these are expensive compared to the other magazines but are good value for money for beginners.

I have started collecting links to tutorials that I find and they are at the side of this blog. I hope they are useful.

I have also added links to forums, which I will also add more to.

1 comment:

Nancy in Maine said...

Cazzy, your "how to" blog is invaluable to me, as a beginner, and I thank you for taking the time to write it all out. I was wondering about all the different inks, and how they differed, and now you have helped me know the answer. I am trying to find a spot to sign up to follow this blog, as I did the other, but haven't found it yet. Thank you again! Now I don't seem so scared to start. Nancy