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10 Card Making Tips To Help You Create Amazing Greeting Cards

Anyone can buy a card from the store but a handmade greeting card is really something special. You have the opportunity to create something unique while getting the sentiment and look just right. More importantly, a handmade greeting card shows you care.

So whether you're a newbie card maker or have been doing it for years, check out these card making tips before starting your next project.

Card making tips #1 - Make extra die cuts

This card making tip will save both time and paper in your subsequent card making projects. Make extra die cuts when you're only using a portion of the paper for your project. This will create less paper wastage and you will be able to start stockpiling die cuts for future projects.

In the picture below, I actually only need one of these leaves for the card I'm currently working on but I've made sure to lay down a few extra dies so that I don't waste the paper. I'm sure I'll find a use for these extras later!
Die cuts for paper crafts

Card making tips #2 - Distress your edges with ink

Sometimes your letters, banners or die are just not standing out enough. They need something extra but you don't really know what! Try brushing the edges of your piece with your ink pad to give it a distressed or grunge look.

There are a few different ways of doing this but I like to hold the piece to be inked still in my left hand and using my right hand, brush the ink pad on an angle against the edges multiple times going in one smooth direction. It's a good idea to practice this technique first as you need to be fairly light handed.

In the picture below, I have brushed the edges of my leaf die cuts with dark brown ink. This will add some interest and also make them stand out just a little more once they are placed on the greeting card.
distressed ink for handmade cards

Card making tips #3 - Invest in a paper trimmer

Paper trimmers will save you a lot of time and frustration by making straight cuts super quick and spot-on perfect each and every time. Out of all the card making tips, this one is the most practical.

One of the nicest things about paper trimmers is that they're really quite affordable. I use a cheap one that I got from my local office store and although there are fancier ones out there, this one does a fantastic job. Just make sure you get one that's at least 12 inches so that your 12-inch x 12-inch paper will fit in there.
paper trimmer for handmade greeting cards

Card making tips #4 - Use card sketches to get your creative ideas flowing

Don't be discouraged if your ideas run out. I'll let you in on a little secret ... mine run out all the time. Inspiration can be found in card-making groups, Pinterest, online forums, and card sketches.

Card-making sketches are great as they give you the 'bare bones' ideas for a card and it's up to you to create the magic with color, patterns, and embellishments as you wish. Make sure to check out our book, "599 New & Inspiring Card Making Sketches" for those times when ideas are hard to come by.
599 card making sketches

Card making tips #5 - Swap your wooden stamps for clear stamps

Although wooden-backed stamps are completely and utterly charming, clear stamps are so much easier to use and position.
 
Clear stamps allow you to see through the actual pattern on the stamp so that they can be lined up precisely where you want them on your card design. This is fantastic for lettering and when you want to double stamp something with a second color.

They are usually made from either acrylic or photopolymer and unlike wooden stamps, are not mounted on a block. You position them how you please on a transparent acrylic block (this allows you to combine stamps) and then use it just like a regular stamp.
Cardmaking stamps

Card making tips #6 - Use the leftover paper from your die cuts

When using a die-cut machine, you always have a scrap leftover featuring the negative (the hole left behind) of your image or letter. Don't throw this out! While not all will be suitable for re-using, many of them make great additions to your greeting cards.

You can see from the photograph below that I've been able to use the leftover paper from my die cut for a second greeting card.
Cardmaking stencils

Card making tips #7 - Use tape for clean edges

Lay down low tack tape (like cheap washi or painters tape) that can easily be removed once you have stamped, inked or painted on your design. You then go ahead and finish your design, let it dry and then rip the tape off. This makes for amazing clean edges on your work and is ideal for stamping projects.

I bought a pack of five washi tapes from the local two dollar store recently and let's just say you get what you pay for. Not one of them are sticky enough to actually use however they are just perfect for this technique because they come off so easily.
 
In the example below I have stamped on some foliage and using an old paintbrush, dry brushed some of the ink around them for a grungy effect. When I removed the tape, the inked design had perfectly clean and straight edges.
Craft tapes

Card making tips #8 - Pre-made letters are a great way to ensure neat lettering

My handwriting is terrible. I blame it on being a lefty, which means I kind of wipeout and smudge my letters with my arm as I go along. If I'm being honest though, I just don't enjoy it and have no patience for it.
 
I admire and am inspired by anyone who can write beautiful cursive titles and sentiments however if I want my card to look good, I need to use stickers, DIY printables or pre-made letter die cuts.
 

The photo below shows a quick and easy DIY printable. I know I'm not the only one who does this!

handmade cards

Card making tips #9 - Fancy edge scissors and paper punches are an easy way to add some WOW factor

Fancy edge paper punches and scissors are a fantastic way to add a little extra wow to your card designs. I particularly like paper punches that do decorative corners as they can be used for not only the card corners, but for embellishments such as tags and scrapbooking projects as well.
Card making and Paper craft tools for card project
Fancy edge scissors and paper punches are easy to find, you can get them at your local craft store or online art supplies store.

#10 - Grab a pack of pre-made blank cards

I put off doing this for ages because I felt like I was cheating but now I wish I did it sooner. It saves so much time and I can just get straight to work on the fun creative stuff. Of course, I still handmake cards that don't fit the standard shape but if it's just a regular square card or small rectangle, I'm all for using a pre-made blank one.
Quality paper crafting card stock
It's always handy to have Pre-made blank card stock and other basic supplies ready in hand like washi tape and stamps when coming up with card making ideas!
I really hope some of these tips will help you along your card-making journey to making amazing greeting cards. Do you have any tips and tricks that are just too good not to share? Or any tips that you wish you knew when you first started out?

Happy card-making!
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