Few of us like being held hostage for a $3 to $5 card the week before Mother’s Day, but we do it anyway because we love our moms. Sure, the crafty people get around that by making their own—and the only thing they have that you don’t are instructions. That’s about to change.
Thanks to retail creativity and marketing, it’s possible to buy a kit like the Maude Asbury Gabbie Designer Collection Card Making Kit Maude Asbury Gabbie Designer Collection Card Making Kit at HSN ($16.95) or several varieties starting at $6.99 on Overstock. The advantages are easy to see: The paper patterns and colors coordinate, the flower or ribbons are the right size, and often the pictures give examples (read: tell you) where to put each piece for the finished card. The result is a homemade gesture with a commercial appeal.
The disadvantage is that at the kit prices, you need to commit to making cards for more than a single occasion or for more than two people on the same holiday. Otherwise, Hallmark becomes the budget version.
You can make a lovely card with a few sheets of patterned or plain cardstock sold by the individual pieces at craft stores like Michaels, Jo-Ann or Hobby Lobby. (Paper is commonly on sale at all three. Check their weekly ads for guidance and coupons.) You can easily work with the less expensive, smaller 8.5 x 11 size as well. Once you’ve found a design or color that suits your personality, head over to a card-making site for basic instructions on how to cut the paper and fold to size.
For an even more involved greeting that doubles as a small album, I recommend this video by Pinterest crafter Loretta, who walks you through the process in 12 minutes. Or, for another clever but easy option, consider a pocket card that lets you tuck a gift card or tickets and other memorabilia inside. Those instructions by Jeanette Comerford are found here.
And now for the fun part: decorating. Typing “card-making” into the Pinterest search bar will give you more ideas than you can absorb just on the first page, and most involve techniques that involve the artsy fun we had in grade school with watercolors and ink pads that run $1.99 at a craft store. Among my favorites is ribbon pleating, which adds a very professional touch with no special skills needed. Origami is another way to instantly dress up a card in minutes.
The difficult part: What to say
Let’s face it: You would have jumped into card-making long ago but for one factor. American Greetings does a great job of saying what you don’t know how.
The gals at Two Peas in a Bucket scrapbooking and card-making site have found multiples ways around that. QuoteGarden is a standard reference tool to find the best way to express yourself. It has collected famous verses, sayings, poetry (all with the right credits) to let you pick and choose. ImagEnation, a British site that sells crafting supplies, offers a pulldown tab to choose quotes for multiple situations, too.
And Fairy Cardmaker (aka blogger Lisa Topps) shares original verses at no charge along with simple technique suggestions.
Looking through these sites really fires your imagination. It’s possible you may never make that midnight run to the drug store for a card again.