Introduction to Cardmaking

People who are new to scrapbooking often ask me, “Now that I’ve invested in these new tools and papers, what else can I do with them?” My answer? Cardmaking.

I love making cards—and as a scrabooker, I’ve found that cardmaking is a natural extension because you can use so many of your scrapbooking materials. It’s a great way to use your investment and create something practical and heartfelt at the same time.

Using Your Tools
I have a small box that contains my basic scrapbooking tools, all of which I also use for cardmaking. Inside I have a paper trimmer, glue sticks, scissors, chalk, foam tape, ink and a hole punch. I figure, why limit their use to just one activity?

Using Your Supplies
I save my paper scraps from my scrapbook pages. I also save lengths of ribbon or fiber, embellishments and alphabet tiles in a box marked “cardmaking”. They may be too small to use on a 12”x12” layout, but they make a great impact on a 5 1/2”x6” card. One of my favorite fast-and-easy techniques is to layer strips of paper onto a card front, then add an alphabet tile as a monogram in the center.

What You Need
I love putting my scrapbooking materials to use on cards, but of course there are also a few must-haves I count on to make my cardmaking faster and easier.
Card Quotes:
These are little books organized by theme, like Love or Friendship or Birthday. They contain 24 messages that you can cut out or tear out, then chalk or ink or just put on your card front. They make it a snap to come up with just the right message. And for each card message, there’s a coordinating message for the inside of your card. I also use these messages and quotes on my scrapbook pages!
Creative Packs:
These are thick 7”x9” tablets of paper in color sets like Earth Tones, Jewel or Icy Rainbow. Each one has patterned papers, little glassine envelopes and tags and art. The colors are beautiful and work together easily.
Accents: Clips, slide mounts, ribbons and brads are all perfect for cards—and they do double duty on my layouts, too! Blank Cards: A blank card is the surface which you’ll decorate. You can fold a piece of cardstock to a 5”x6 1/2” rectangle (the standard size of a card) or use pre-made blank cards.

Cardmaking 101
Here are a few of my cardmaking shortcuts:

scrapbook projectCover the front of the card with paper:
Covering the card front with paper gives you instant color and design. Cover the outside card front with glue stick, applying glue only around the edges—you don’t need to saturate the whole card with adhesive! Place your paper white side up on your work surface. Holding the blank card closed, place it onto the paper. Don’t put it in the center of the paper. Instead, align two straight edges—it means you have two fewer edges to cut. Smooth the paper down. Turn the card over and trim the excess paper. I save the trimmed-off paper to place as a border on the inside of the card.

scrapbook projectPersonalize your focal point:
As I mentioned earlier, I love using paper card quotes. You can cut them out or tear them out and simply place them on your paper-covered card, or you can personalize them to match the paper. My favorite ways to do this are with chalk and ink.

As seen here, a touch of purple chalk gives a pretty, colorful touch to this “thinking of you” quote. I lightly rubbed a cotton swab onto my purple chalk, then tested it onto a piece of scrap paper to see how dark it would be. Then I applied it directly onto the card quote with the swab. I applied the chalk lightly at first, then added more color as I wished. Easy!

scrapbook projectAdding ink directly from an inkpad is another great way to give some color to a card quote. Here I placed my card quote onto a piece of scrap paper, then held the inkpad face down and lightly tapped it onto the edges of the card quote. As with chalk, I like to test my inkpad onto a scrap paper first—all inkpads are different and some can be “juicier” than others. Use a light touch at first, then add color.

scrapbook projectFriendship Card
I make a lot of cards, for showers, weddings and all sorts of occasions. Of course, birthdays are a great reason for a handmade card. Take a look:

Tip: While this pink and purple card is pretty for a mother, sister or girlfriend, you could make the same card from brown or blue paper for a guy!



  1. Position the card so the fold is at the top. Cover the front with pink texture paper. Glue a 2”-wide strip of lavender words paper across the center. (Tip: I glue the strip across the center, then trim the ends rather than trying to position a perfectly-cut strip on the card.)
  2. Tear a 1 1/4”-wide piece of lavender vellum and attach it along the left side of the card, again trimming the ends. (Tip: Apply the glue to the left side of the vellum only, so it will be covered by the blue paper.) Cut a 1 1/2”-wide strip of blue paper and tear one long edge, then glue it to the left side of the card, placing it on top of the vellum. Trim the excess.
  3. Punch two holes on the blue-and-purple vellum border and thread a piece of lavender fiber through, tying in a bow on the front of the card.
  4. Chalk the center of the card quote with pink and the outer edges with blue. Mat it onto blue vellum and glue to the card center.

    Now, to decorate the inside:

  1. Line the inside back of the card with lavender words paper. (Tip: You’re not going to line the entire inside of the card, just the part you first see when you open the card. Apply glue to the inside back of the card, then position the lavender words paper just below where the card folds. Smooth the paper, then trim the excess.)
  2. Tear a 1/2”-wide strip of pink texture paper and glue it across the center.
  3. Chalk the coordinating message as you did before, with pink in the center and blue on the outer edges. Mat onto blue paper, then onto blue vellum and glue to the inside of the card. Easy!

Mailing Tips
I generally keep my scrapbook pages and cards pretty flat—meaning, I don’t use a lot of heavy metal embellishments. This is a matter of personal taste when it comes to scrapbooking, but it’s a practical decision for cardmaking. A card with paper embellishments, like tags or slide mounts, doesn’t cost extra to mail, and they’re not damaged or squashed when they reach the other end.

Foam tape can be used, but with a twist: A friend recently made baby shower invitations that had a cute embellishment attached with foam tape. However, it turned out that over half of the cards didn’t make it to their destination. Instead, they arrived back at her house a week after the event! Our lesson learned: If you’re making bulky cards, put them in a padded envelope or write “please hand cancel” on the envelope. Sometimes even a single button or embellishments can cause a problem. When in doubt, take your card to the post office and ask. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

The best part about handmade cards? The recipients will love them. It says you’ve taken the time to create something just for that person—it’s like a gift in itself!

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