It takes a combination of special skill and passion for a person to create beautiful handmade card designs. Card-making, after all, is just like any art form and it may take years before you can truly feel confident with your outputs. This article aims to provide actionable tips that anyone can follow in order to create a good handmade greeting card. Different handmade card designs are also included in this article to help inspire you in creating the best card of your dreams.
Why Create Handmade Cards
There are different reasons why people may want to create handmade cards. It does not matter what your reason is, as long as you have the following intentions:
- You want your gift or invitation to stand out. Handmade cards are easily distinguishable from a stack of other cards. These cards just seem to exude a different feeling and workmanship. So if for example, you want to create a birthday greeting card that stands out, it may be best to create a handmade card. Truly artistic handcrafted cards are often difficult to differentiate from printable cards that abound the market today.
- You want to express your creativity. Creating a handmade card is akin to birthing a work of art. Even if you have an idea of how your card will look like, the final product may still be different due to the various factors that can affect your output. All these things occur because you have unleashed a creative part of yourself. If you want to experience that creative part of yourself and share this part to others in the form of a creative handcrafted card, then start making one.
- You want to de-stress. Stress relief is one of the indirect effects of performing any creative pursuit like card making. Handcrafting cards allows you to tap into your creative self and helps you let go of worries at least for the duration of the crafting session. Card-making works as a stress-busting technique because your attention (and hands) are focused on cutting, gluing, designing, and other fun stuff that you do not get to do often. For this to work, it is best not to focus on creating the perfect card. Instead, just relax and enjoy the creation process.
- You want to practice your crafting skills. For those who seriously want to advance their crafting skills, creating handmade cards is one of the skills they need to practice. Once you master the art of card-making, especially handmade card-making, different opportunities will be present for. You may begin selling your art through online graphic design marketplaces or you can create custom-made cards for friends and relatives.
- For publicity purposes. Handmade cards may be used as a way to promote your business. It does not mean you have to be in the creative niche before you can apply for handmade cards as a promotion tool. For instance, you may be in the restaurant business but may use handcrafted cards. Businesses in the restaurant industry need to quickly reinvent themselves to stay relevant in the digital age. Using artistic menu cards, for example, makes them more Instagram-worthy and will likely lead to more exposure.
Tips for Creating Handmade Cards (for beginners)
If creating handmade cards is new to you, here are a few tips that you can apply right away when creating your first new handmade greeting card.
- Make use of the art materials that you have on hand. When you are just starting out as a card-crafter, you do not need to buy all the art materials and tools needed for card-making right away. You may only invest in advanced crafting tools like laser cutters, die-cut machines, etc., if and when you want to be a serious crafter. As a beginner, you only need a few pieces of card stock, pens, markers, glue, a pair of scissors, and a few design elements like buttons, thread, anything that is readily available at home. With these few materials, you will already on a head start toward your card-making goals.
- Have a design plan. When designing cards, you first need to have an idea how your card will look. You need to ask yourself what kind of card are you creating. Is it a greeting card, an invitation card, a business card, an announcement card, a menu card, a rack card, or you thinking of using thank-you card designs, or any card that you can think of? Even though you may not stick with this design plan all the way through your creative process, having a design plan helps organize your mind and actions.
- Learn other card crafting techniques. Card-making is a very dynamic field and, hence, card creations may be inspired from a variety of sources. Even as beginner card-maker, you can start incorporating other art techniques into your work. This will help you create original and appealing cards. A few handmade crafting techniques will also be discussed in the last portion of this article.
- Be patient. As with all forms of art and life, patience is an important skill that you need to learn. There is a learning curve before you can produce good handcrafted cards. And depending on your learning style, achieving this is not an issue to most people.
- Imitate other handmade cards. Handmade cards are unique since there are no other copies of these cards available unless the creator makes another kind. But often, there will be telltale signs that will differentiate an original handmade card design. If you are still learning the ropes of card-making, you can start by copying handmade card designs that you see online. This way, you do away with the design planning stage and concentrate instead on the physical act of creating the cards. It is like deconstructing a machine and learning how it works. Only, in this case, you are deconstructing a handmade card.
- Enjoy the process. Learning any art form is a process. True, card-making may seem trivial to be considered an art form. But it is. And you should treat it as such. Make sure to take pleasure in what you are doing. Not doing so will only result in burn out and no one wants that.
Owl Birthday Cake Handmade Pop-Up Card
This colorful Owl and Birthday Cake card combines two crafting techniques: paper cutting and pop-ups. The card will suit as both a birthday invitation card or as a regular birthday greeting card. It may suit those who are planning to host a children’s birthday party or those who loved Hedwig the snow-colored owl in Harry Potter.
Pig Handmade Card
This handmade card uses a pink and gray color scheme that matches with the cute hand drawing of a pig well. There is no direct header or sentiment expressed on the front cover but instead uses the quote “Don’t postpone joy.” You may create and use handmade cards like this to inspire and cheer up others. This card may also work well as a barbecue party invitation card.
The Hiking Handmade Card subtly makes uses of card stock that show different textures. This fits well with the card’s hiking or outdoors theme. It will work well as a Father’s Day greeting card or as an all-around non-specific card for male recipients.
This handmade Baby Gift Card is a card that anyone can give to a family who just had a baby, whether it’s a baby boy or baby girl. The stick-on elements on the card showing different cute animals in a crib mobile are all cheerful additions that mothers will appreciate.
This congratulatory card is made by hand using watercolor. Looking at the card gives off a summer-y and refreshing feelings—just fitting for a card that congratulates the recipient. In a way, this card follows a minimalist graphic design since it only uses watercolor in creating the card face and no other embellishments or materials were used in creating the card.
Patterned Thank-You Card
The next handmade card is an example of a creatively-designed thank-you card. On the card face, a short checklist is printed for the different character traits that the recipient possesses. The use of an ornate blue pattern combined with red flower accents helps make the card look formal. Thank-you cards both work as a generic greeting card and as a sympathy card. It is best sent to people whom you have not talked to for a long time or to people who have extended you a helping hand. Giving thank-you cards may also work as a random act of kindness.
Handmade Super Man Greeting Card
There is nothing more super than this handmade Super Man Greeting Card. Its use of high-quality card face paper is evident and the Super Man logo is also precisely drawn and cut. The card’s inside page will state, “Hope Your Birthday Is Super!” Aside from being used as a greeting card, you may also try to replicate and use this card as an invitation card design inspiration.
When used as an invitation card, you may follow through with hosting a super hero themed party and incorporate other Super Man and other super hero elements into the party planning process. If the party is for a little kid, you may enlist him or her when creating the card. This can serve both as a bonding and as a teaching moment for you and your child.
When Halloween night comes around, why not also make use of this handmade Halloween card along with Halloween decoration ideas. The maker of this card effectively uses the different textures of the ribbon and the white-and-black card stocks to create a semblance of Halloween night. This card is also easily replicable using art materials that can be easily found at home. It can help anyone who is still learning the ropes of card making.
With this card, you can answer your door and ask your costumed guests, “Trick, or Treat, or Card?”
This birthday greeting card is handmade by following a cursive typography for the Happy Birthday header and by manually hand-stamping the raindrop elements on the card face. The end result is an elegantly designed card that is hard to replicate. You can use this card both as a greeting card and as an invitation card. Small businesses like the local dentist or physician may also send birthday greeting cards like this to remind their clients of scheduling a check-up. Using handmade cards gives a personal touch to the relationship between these business owners and their customers without alienating them.
Handcrafting cards is not only limited to greeting and invitation cards. The example above shows handmade place cards that are usually used in conferences and formal dinners. In weddings, place cards may be called wedding labels. These tented place cards are available in orders of fifty. And should you want to add handwritten names in calligraphy font on the card, a fee is added. Hand-lettered signs will work well for events (especially weddings) that follow a rustic or elegant theme.
Handmade Cards Crafting Techniques
As mentioned earlier, in this portion of the article, we will talk about the different crafting techniques that you can apply to your card designs. A crafting technique may work well for a specific card design and may not work for another. It is your job as the card-maker to weigh around your options, what crafting technique to use, and create the card that will best express your goals.
- Pop-Ups. The purpose of pop-up mechanisms in a card is to surprise your recipient or anyone who unwittingly opens the card. Learning how to create a pop-up card is relatively easy and will only take a few minutes of your time. It is best to incorporate the pop-up elements in the handmade card if you want to show something unexpected to the recipient. You will also need to learn the Japanese art forms origami and kirigami if you want to take your handmade pop-up cards to the next level.
- Textures and Layers. A card’s front cover often needs to be attention-grabbing and express the exact (or close to) sentiment that you wish your card to convey. You need to learn about different artistic textures, styles, and other graphic design trends. When designing the front cover of your handmade card, make sure to incorporate different materials made from different textures. When these materials are layered and/or arranged well, the effect could be stunning.
- Calligraphy. Aside from the graphic elements of your handmade card, you should also pay attention to its lettering style that you use. Learning calligraphy may save you tons of time in trying to design the main sentiment/s’ lettering for your handmade card. Through calligraphy, you will be able to express and unite thoughts and feelings by simply learning about cursive font styles, typography, and how to execute them well.
- Minimalism. Minimalism isn’t just a movement for clean and essentials-only architectural style and visual art. This concept of maintaining and using the bare necessities in the art may also be applied in your handmade card designs. Even if you are creating handmade cards, you do not need to always conform to the ostentatious designing style that is common with most handcrafted cards. You may also combine minimalism into your handcrafted cards by using monochromatic color schemes or by limiting your card materials. It is up to you. As long as you are still able to express the necessary announcements or sentiments in your card, applying the minimalist card design techniques will still make your final outputs stand out.
- Glitter. Another lesser known card-making technique is by mixing glitter into your finished handmade card. This is especially helpful for handmade pop-up cards but will also work well with other types of card. Using glitter may come as a surprise to the recipient. It also provides a festive and celebratory atmosphere. On the other hand, combining glitter with your handmade card can be used as a prank if you include huge portions of glitter on the card since glitter can easily stick to most surfaces and is hard to remove.
- Paper Cutting. Paper cut crafting techniques is another crafting technique that will undoubtedly enrich any handmade card-making process. We are not referring to industrial paper cutters that trim paper in one direction. Instead, we are talking about cutting machines that can scan, read patterns, and cut into the paper (and other materials) that you want to use for your card. This allows you to create precise layers into your card with each layer following a different design or pattern. Paper cutting devices have built-in laser and razor sharp cutting tools that do all the work while you wait. Paper cutting really works well when it the paper cut design elements are fused with a pop-up greeting card design. Examples of paper cutting devices are CriCut™, Silhouette, Cameo, and Sizzix.
There are more art design techniques that you can incorporate into your handmade card design that is not included here. The examples listed above are the ones that can be more appealing to a lot of people. But do not limit yourself to the ones on this list. You can combine all design techniques all at once or however you like it. Just enjoy the process and keep on creating!
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