Card making is an increasingly popular hobby which more and more people are starting to enjoy, not only to avoid paying for shop-bought, mass-produced cards, but also as a way to express a sentiment in an individual and personal way to a loved one. Although there are hundreds of various card making techniques, no one method is better, and half the fun is experimenting to create your own unique greetings. If you enjoy it enough, there is always the chance that you could even turn your hobby into a money-making enterprise.
There are lots of different card making techniques, from the traditional ones such as rubber stamping and quilling, to more modern ones such as teabag folding (this is not literally as it sounds, but rather a form ofpaperfolding!) to scrapbooking. But the real enjoyment of card making is designing your own cards. Whatever your crafting expertise, you can find a way to incorporate it into your cards. For example if you like taking photos you could use them on your cards, or if you like knitting then why not stick some knitted bootees onto a baby card and add some embellishments. Perhaps you love to paint, and would like to colour some intricate motifs onto your cards. Just experiment and if it goes wrong you can always throw it away!
As with any creative pastime, for card making you will need lots of ideas.
Start collecting little bits of ephemera and inspirational items to help you with your card making. Keep an ‘ideas scrapbook’ filled with torn-out samples from magazines and colours that you really love to help you on days when you get stuck. If you can sort them into themes, such as birthdays, Christmas, Valentine etc, that will help too. Sometimes even a word or picture can start thoughts forming in your mind. Also start looking at other cards you admire, or collecting bits of packaging to develop your own sense of style.
You don’t need a lot of expensive tools to make cards. Start with a basic kit and build up your materials as you become more proficient. The most important thing is card or paper. There are hundreds of varieties, from luxurious gold foil to handmade mulberry paper. To start with, collect as many different types as you can, even tiny scraps can be used in an innovative way. Save wrapping paper, packaging, newspapers, leaflets and anything which catches your eye. Another important thing is a cutting tool.
Scissors are essential, preferably a small pair and a larger pair, and never underestimate the lowly craft knife. This is a must-have for any card maker, but make sure you keep a pack of spare blades too. Other handy materials include various types of glues and adhesives, a cutting mat, a ruler and pencil, and coloured pencils/pens. From there you can start to invest in embellishments and gadgets such as rubber stamps, paper punches, glitters, stencils, peel-off stickers, die-cuts, wire, ribbons, beads, eyelets and much more. There is a whole world of ‘stuff’ to explore and play with!
Once you’ve created your masterpiece, is it protected? Well, creative works, such as books, films, songs and illustrations are protected by copyright.
This is a set of legal regulations that exist to prevent artistic works being copied or adapted without the permission of the copyright owner (usually the author). For card makers, the most relevant category under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1998 is ‘artistic work’. The author’s work is protected under this act until the end of the 70th year from the author’s death. For card makers another copyright dilemma is whether or not items like rubber stamps, punches and peel-offs, which are the work of professional designers, are protected. Many card making manufacturers, particularly those selling rubber stamps, have now come up with a policy that they are happy to allow crafters to use their products freely, even when making cards to sell, as long as all images are stamped by hand and not by any sort of machine.
Find Out More
If you would like to discover some different card making techniques then reading a few craft magazines or library books will give you hints and tips to help you with your cards. These often have patterns and templates, and sometimes even verses, to help you with your cards. There are several card making magazines and books available in newsagents.
Alternatively join a card making class or workshop, or look for a local card making club in your area. Perhaps even start up one yourself, where like-minded people can get together and swap materials and advice. Searching the internet is a good place to find online forums where you can ask questions and look for materials. Visiting a craft shop, fair or exhibition will also give you the chance to see product demonstrations and buy supplies.
Card making is a hugely rewarding pastime, and just seeing the smile on a recipient’s face when you hand them a personalised handmade greeting card is more than worth the effort.