Sunday, March 22, 2009

DIY Sunday - Homemade Greeting Cards

Homemade birthday cards (yes, more birthdays!) are one of the easiest crafts, and yet, one of the easiest to make look like they came out of the elementary school art room. That's fine if you're actually in elementary school, but sort of disheartening when you're trying to make something beautiful and it turns out differently than you'd hoped.

Here, therefore, are a few pointers to turn your kitchen table into your own personal Hallmark studios:
1) Layering is key. A colleague of mine is a big fan of the "Rule of 3". Stuff just looks better in threes. So start with a base layer (that's the plain light-blue paper on the left) and a second layer (that's patterned craft paper on the right). Cut the second layer a little smaller than the base.

2) Get rustic by artfully tearing your second layer: There's a little trick to getting a cool, rustic looking edge (I tore one rough edge on the second layer -- you'll see the finished result below on the completed card). Take the paper and hold it in both hands, with the side you want showing facing toward you. Then pinch the top edge of the paper where you want the torn edge, and tear it quickly away from you. It sounds silly, but you'll keep the patterned/colored side cleaner if you do it this way.

3) Use stamps sparingly to create your third layer. Stamps can make a big mess if you're not careful. I never stamp directly onto my base layer or my second layer, because then if I make a mistake I have to start over. I stamp onto some heavy paper or cardboard (that's the back of a Christmas card below - recycling, you know) and then cut around the stamped image. I like to use double-sided adhesive dots to attach the stamped image, which raises it up a little, giving the card texture.

4) Voila! The finished card: You can see the base layer, the second layer with the rough edge, and the accents used for the third layer, including the bird stamp.

If that's all a bit complicated or time-consuming, we're lucky to live in an era of awesome internet clip art. Below is a card I made by simply printing clip art on a color printer and gluing the image onto cardstock. The clipart came with all the detail; all I did was write the message on it.

Next week: DIY Sunday will most likely be on hiatus, as I will be traveling. But as always in my travels, I'll be on the look-out for signs of our greener times. Coming up this week, more ecologically friendly celebrating.