Personalized Cardmaking

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A card for my friend.

Today I’m going to show you the general method I use to create personalized cards for friends and family.  I’ll have more examples of past cards I’ve made and given in a separate post.  Often the card is the gift so I like to make it special.  So here we go…

Step one – think about the person who the card is for.  How old will they be (if this is a birthday card), what are their hobbies or other interests? Favorite color or something they collect? Perhaps there is a shared moment or a running joke you share.  The point of this is to find a theme you can use throughout the process.  Disclaimer: often I’ll start with an idea or theme in mind and by the end, it has totally changed.  All good!  It doesn’t matter if you get a better idea half way through – go with it!  All you need is somewhere to start.  Happy accidents are wonderful!

Step two – gather your materials.  Gather everything you might want to use.  Half the time I don’t even use a fraction of what I gathered but it helps the process to have lots of stuff at your fingertips.  This is where having a good stash of materials comes in handy (power to the hoarders!).  Paper, tapes, bits and pieces…all good.  Don’t forget the power of the internet!  As long as you are not going to sell the item, borrow away! So the card I’m showing you is for a male friend who is having a birthday (58 years young).  He is very athletic and loves to hike and bike, among other things. So the pile I gathered is centered on muted colors, bikes, the number 58 and letters for his name…

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Gather whatever you think you may use…

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Kens card 003 Vintage bingo cards, price labels and letters are nice in most card designs. I love the tapes from Cavallini & Co too.

Step three – choose your substrate and background. You need something to give the card some rigidity so it won’t be too woobly (technical term).  Sometimes I’ll cut a piece of chipboard and then apply prettier background paper to both sides.  For this card I used the Bingo card for the substrate (it’s pretty stiff cardboard) and backside background.  For the front-side background I made a copy of some nice blue striped Tim Holtz paper because I wanted to have the monocle lens on it but I didn’t want the bulk of an actual lens.  After I copied the image I cut it to fit the Bingo card.

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Bingo card as substrate and backside, stripe paper copy as front-side background.

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Front and back sized to fit.








Step four – start layering your items.  This is a lot of trial and error.  Lay stuff down, move it around make changes.  Don’t glue until you know where you want everything generally to go.  If you are going to make holes to fasten something on one side only, do it before you glue the sides together (sounds obvious but many of my cards have suffered a lack of forethought on this point). 🙂  For this card I wanted the cyclist theme so I grabbed a vintage postcard image off the web.  When the invite was sent out it included a photo of my friend so a sized that to fit the vintage image.  I cut the vintage face out and taped my friend’s face under it – no magic required!

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I printed the vintage image and various sizes of my friend’s face (just in case).

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Using an X-acto knife I cut the vintage face out.

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New face!








Step five – When you are happy with your front and back designs, attach everything.  Now glue your sides together and clamp.  For this step I like to use Studio multi-medium matte.  It will stick anything down and it won’t ever come up again (a blessing and a curse!).  I wanted to make a feature out of the lens so I sliced around the inner and outer edges and slid the postcard I had made in between.  For a 3D effect I added a pool of Crackle accents to the middle lens area. I let that dry overnight before moving anything (see final pics to see the crackle effect).

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Clamps are so handy for this part.

Once everything is dry, un-clamp and ink the edges (Tim Holtz distress inks are perfect for this).  I always ink the edges of everything for a nice finished look.  Now step back and look at your lovely creation!  Need a little something?  Sometimes a bit of color can add a lot.  I added some red number tape after this step – made it even better!  I also added the clip and an embellishment letter.  This will make it easier to get the card in and out.

Step six – Make the envelope!  Envelopes are easy and a nice touch, since you can make them exactly the size to fit whatever weird shape your card ended up (which is somehow always non-standard, hmmm).  For this type I measured twice the length of the card and about an inch and a half wider than the width of the card (to leave room for the flaps to attach front to back). Make a notch on each side of mid-section line. Cut excess from either side on one end only, leaving flaps for gluing.

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Make a fold line on either side to the width you need the envelope to be.

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Notch and fold the flaps in, then trim the lower sides.

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I made a circular indent using my Vagabond and a round die. Alternatively, you could trace a circle and cut by hand.

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Before I glued the sides, I added a label holder by punching holes and inserting brads. I taped the inside so the brads wouldn’t catch on the card when inserted.

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Glue and clamp!





















Front of card – note the crackle on the lens. Cool.

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Front of card and envelope.

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Back of card and envelope.






Front with card inserted.

Back with card inserted.













Thanks for visiting!  Stay tuned for more examples of card making in another post.


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4 Responses to Personalized Cardmaking

  1. Noah says:

    First! NICE BLOG! CoOL cards!

  2. Dewey says:

    Nice Instructions. The card and envelope look great! I liked how you addressed copy wright.. So, may I borrow your quote: “Happy accidents are wonderful”? Way to blog!

  3. Phyll says:

    LOVE all the pictures; they make it VERY helpful if one is just starting out in the cardmaking arena.

    Now I have to go make cards…

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