Handmade Cards – part 1

Creating handmade greeting cards is fun (and it's easier than you think)!

Creating handmade greeting cards is fun (and it’s easier than you think)!

I had so much fun over the weekend! Inspired by Annabel at The Bluebirds are Nesting, I dug out my scrapbooking materials and my rubber stamping supplies and some odds and ends left over from making homecoming corsages for my daughter and her friends and some stuff I ran out and purchased and I made cards for the first time in years.

I used feathers on cards for the first time ever. I made a huge mess. It was fun! And after the fun was done (and the cleanup, which was not fun) I had two dozen cards and tons of leftover supplies for my next mess-making card making adventure.

I’ve seen cards like these at farmers markets and craft fairs and folks, they ain’t cheap! I already have two dozen finished cards and enough supplies to make and package two dozen more, plus plenty of extra supplies to make more cards and some cute little mini cards to put on my packages. Besides the fact that I can be in my happy, crafty place for hours (days?) it also means I’ll end up spending less than a dollar for each card. Not bad for a one-of-a-kind greeting! You may be able to make cards even less expensively if you use materials you have on hand or get your embellishments at thrift stores.

And if you, like me in many cases, have resorted to giving store or restaurant gift cards for Christmas or birthdays because you’re not sure what else to give, enclosing the gift card in a fun, unique, hand-made card makes a potentially impersonal gift so much more personal and thoughtful.

Uncrafty people, take heart! You can still make a personal greeting card. Choose your images carefully and keep the design simple. You’ll see some fussy cards in my collections and some that are just an image glued to the card. You can do this!

This fancy-looking card is made very simply with three elements: a piece of blue paper for the background, a white feather, and a carefully-trimmed image from TheGraphicsFairy.com.

This fancy-looking card is made very simply with three elements: a piece of blue paper for the background, a white feather, and a carefully-trimmed image from TheGraphicsFairy.com.

Note: The Graphics Fairy is very generous with the terms of use for her images, but she does limit the number of images that may be used in a single blog post. That limits the number of pictures I may share with you today. I’ll post additional photos on the blog tomorrow and on my Facebook and Twitter accounts so you can use them as jumping off points for your own designs.

It's not that hard to make one-of-a-kind greeting cards!

It’s not that hard to make one-of-a-kind greeting cards!

What You’ll Need:

  • Blank greeting cards with envelopes – I used 4” x 5 ½” cards with matching envelopes that I purchased on sale, 12 for $2, at the local craft store.
  • Glue sticks – Liquid glue will make your image wrinkle up but the dryer glue in the stick will adhere quickly, dry quickly, and give a neater surface.
  • Glue gun and sticks to fit it – Some elements like feathers or beads need the firmer grip of hot glue. You can also use hot glue to make some elements pop off of the surface of the card. (More on how to make your own pop-up elements tomorrow.)
  • Stickers – I had some and purchased a few more at the local dollar store.
  • Ribbon – I had some and purchased more at the local dollar store.
  • Blank card stock in various colors – I had a bunch of this left from my scrapbooking and stamping days.
  • Images to put on the card – You can cut up old books or calendars from the thrift store if you want. Magazine paper tends to be thin, hard to work with, and potentially prone to color bleed. I chose to print images from The Graphics Fairy.
  • White card stock to print images – I had some card stock but ended up purchasing more to be sure I had enough.
  • Embellishments – feathers, flowers, lace, beads or stones, and other small, eye-catching items to jazz up your design.
  • Scissors
  • A Paper Cutter – You can do it without a paper cutter but it’s easier if you have one.


  • Lay out your entire design before you glue anything! I am not kidding! Give yourself an opportunity to rearrange your elements and feel good about your design.
  • Sometimes the simplest solution is the best.
  • There are no mistakes, only opportunities to rethink your design!
An added pop-up element, like the trunks in this picture, can make a simple card special.

An added pop-up element, like the trunks in this picture, can make a simple card special.

Basic Steps:

  • Choose your main image for the card.
  • Choose any smaller images or elements you’d like to use.
  • Choose a paper for the background color, if needed, and to “frame” any images that need it.
  • Pick out stickers if you want them but don’t attach them yet!
  • Trim your background paper (if using), your main image, and your smaller images. You may want to silhouette some images and leave others with a larger background.
  • Trim paper frames for images that need it.
  • Lay out your card. Rearrange the design until you are pleased with it. You may have to remove elements if it’s too busy or add an element or two to jazz it up.
  • Glue down your elements. Do pop-up elements last.
  • Allow everything to dry thoroughly before packaging or using your card.

Start Small

If you are starting with nothing, just purchase a package of cards and matching envelopes from the craft store and a plain glue stick. Look up images online, from The Graphics Fairy or elsewhere, and print a few of your favorites on heavy paper or card stock. Dig through your kids’ craft supplies for cute stickers or maybe feathers, look in your mending basket (or the bottom of a drawer!) for buttons and beads, check your gift wrapping supplies for ribbon or fun accent papers, and give it a shot!

I’ll post more on making elements “pop” off of the face of the card (like the trunks in the photo above), some “uncrafty” simple designs, and specific how-tos on some of my cards in the next few days.

Please let me know how your cards turn out! I’d love it if you’d share photos of your cards on my Facebook page or Twitter feed!

Update: This post was shared on Inspire Me Monday #53 and Five Star Frugal.

You may also enjoy Handmade Cards – part 2 – How to Make Pop-Up Elements and Handmade Cards – part 3 – Ribbons, Stickers, and Flowers.

I moderate comments manually but will get them posted as quickly as possible. Please keep your comments kind and if you must disagree please do so without being disagreeable. Rude or inappropriate comments will obviously not be published.

21 responses to “Handmade Cards – part 1

  1. Awesome job! I love the feather and fan idea. Very pretty! Annabel has inspired many of us to do this I think. And I love her idea of gifting packs of hand made cards too. So clever. Yours are gorgeous. Thanks for sharing with me at Five Star Frugal. Love, Mimi xxx


  2. Thank you so much for showing how they turned out and for mentioning Bluebirds! I even went on Pinterest and searched cards with feathers and none of them are like yours at all, yours are miles better! Just lovely. Card making is a huge money saver. With little left overs you can make sweet little tags. I’m so glad you enjoyed it too! xxx


  3. Pingback: Handmade Cards – part 2 – How to Make Pop-Up Elements | A Chat Over Coffee·

  4. What a lovely job you have done on your cards! Love how you used the feather. Annabel inspires me too 🙂 And I found you on Mimi’s Five Star Frugal, it’s a small world x Fiona


  5. Pingback: Handmade Cards – part 3 – Ribbons, Stickers, and Flowers | A Chat Over Coffee·

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  8. Your cards are lovely. So much better than store bought. Putting a few of them in a cello bag with a beautiful ribbon tied in a bow makes a fantastic present.


  9. Great tips! I used to make handcrafted cards regularly, but haven’t made any for a few years. I used to really enjoy quilling and applying the shapes as flowers. Also bead work was really effective.
    I think I may have to dig out my craft supplies again….thanky ou for the inspiration.
    Angela x


  10. Pingback: Writing with Style: Embellished Pens & Pencils | A Chat Over Coffee·

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