Handmade card designs call for a certain skill level, creativity, and patience. The last is especially important since handcrafting something typically takes a lot of time. If you are new to the world of paper crafting, specifically card-making, then you will find this short guide useful. Here, we will talk about the different steps for creating good handmade greeting card designs.
If you are looking to create cards using other media like PSD templates or printables, you may check the ultimate card making guide for reference.
Now, let us get down to business and learn how to create handmade card designs. Are you ready?
Step 1 – Prepare all materials, supplies, and tools
There is a myth that is perhaps unintentionally propagated by watching DIY videos on YouTube that anyone can make creative things just by using ordinary items that they can find at home. Well, that is true to a certain extent. And you can certainly do that for your card-making project. However, this kind of approach is not what this guide recommends. Instead, we encourage you to be a planner.
As a first step in handmade card making, you should prepare all the materials and tools that you may need for the project. The physical act of gathering all your special papers, pairs of scissors, scrapbooking things, etc. lets you focus and allows you to get into the act or process of creating. Doing so will also mean that you do not have to get up and rummage through your room every time you need something for the project.
Here is a rundown of different tools and art supplies that you may need:
- Premium paper or card stock (in different colors, grades, and textures)
- Pairs of scissors
- Handwriting and lettering tools like colored markers, pens, and pencils
- Scrapbooking embellishments (stickers, stick-on letters, beads, brads, buttons, and other decorative elements)
- Adhesives (glue, paste, double-sided tape, foam tape, glue dots, mod podge, etc.) and their corresponding applicators and removers
- Page protectors
If you are not a seasoned crafter, you could take one look at this list and think that it’s all probably too much trouble than it’s worth. But fret not, you do not have to acquire all of those items immediately. As a beginner, you may start with just using card stock, glue, a pair of scissors, and a few cut-outs. You may add to the crafting supplies and tools pile you own as you advance in the card-making world.
Step 2 – Create a rough draft of the design on paper
After gathering all materials, it is time for you to create a rough sketch of the card design that you want. This sketch will give you a bird’s eye view of the different design elements and their placement on the card face. You may use it for reference as you create the card.
Aside from creating a physical sketch of the planned card design, you may also just picture the ideal card design in your mind. Decorate it as imaginatively as you can so that you will be able to recall the image at a moment’s notice while you are creating the card.
Step 3 – Draw, trace, and cut out all the card elements
Now it is time for you to create and cut out all the design elements that you wish to add to your card design. Often, these will be letters, numbers, or accents that you wish to include in the design of your card.
Step 4 – Arrange all design elements based on your rough sketch
After cutting out and/or ensuring that you have the corresponding pre-made cut-outs of all the design elements, you may now arrange them onto the card face. Check the positioning of each design element and determine if they look well or not. Rearrange things as you wish until you get the look you want for your card.
Step 5 – Start gluing these design elements
Now you may begin gluing the card elements onto the card face and the inner pages. Consult with your sketch frequently to see if you are adhering to it or not. If you want a more artistic card design, you are free to incorporate other crafting techniques at this stage of the creation process.
Step 6 – Add additional decorative elements
After you have glued all the design elements onto the card face, you may begin adding (or removing) any decorative elements if you see that your ideal card design is not yet realized. A tip: Avoid overcrowding the card face with cut-outs and embellishments. You need to carefully toe the line between creativity and gaudiness.
Step 7 – Write a short message on the card’s inner page
After finishing the design aspect of the card project, you may now write a message for the card recipient. The blank inner page is where you should usually write messages. However, if your card design does not have room for these messages, you may write on sticky notes or on any bare surface of the inner card page. This issue may usually occur if you incorporate a pop-up element in your handmade card design. That is why you should make sure to allot a space for a message while you are still planning or sketching the card template.
Step 8 – Recheck the card’s message
After writing a message for the recipient, it is now time for you to proofread any text written on the card. Look for typos or spacing issues. Rectify these issues if possible. There is no greater turn-off than a glaring typographical error found in a card’s message.
Step 9 – Give yourself a tap on the back
And voila! You now have your first handmade card design. Now wasn’t that easy?
If you wish to further develop your card-making skills, then you should start learning about the different crafting techniques as well.
As mentioned earlier, here are a few crafting techniques that you can learn in order to improve your card-making skills:
- Origami and Kirigami. By just learning these two Japanese art forms for paper folding and paper cutting, you will be able to include variety in your card designs. Mastering them will give you even greater rewards in terms of crafting since these two techniques may not only be applied to card-making.
- Add pop-ups. Pop-up greeting cards are now popularized by companies like Lovepop. If you want to create your own pop up greeting card designs, you should start understanding paper mechanics. Through this, you will be able to seamlessly create different card designs that will surprise and delight recipients.
- Paper filigree or paper quilling. Quilling paper is a crafting technique where paper strips are coiled and glued together in order to create different patterns and designs. This type of crafting technique is best used as the design focal piece in a card face. It also helps make the card face appear three-dimensional.