The brilliance of making our own Christmas cards hits us all at some point - usually as a cheaper alternative when queuing up to pay for several boxes. The reality is something else entirely.
For the undeterred, here are my top ten tips to successful Christmas cards:
- Don't aim too high to start with. Decide how many cards you are actually going to have time to make. Starting off with the plan to make every single one will only leave you despondent when you discover how time consuming this can be. For beginners to card making, I would suggest you aim to make 10-15 cards at most. You can always increase next year, but if you start with too high a target, your card making days may be numbered.
- Set aside time to make your cards - preferably when the kids are at school and the cat isn't jumping onto your lap. You'll enjoy card making far more if you're not trying to juggle it with other tasks - not to mention the mess you'll leave trying to cook and stick glitter to your cards at the same time!
- As with most things, planning is important in card making. Take your time to sketch out your ideas - most people find when they get going they are brimming over with concepts for beautiful cards, but if you're working to a time scale this may well be counter-productive. Try to find a design you like and can reproduce with colour/pattern variations for your first lot of cards, this will help build your confidence and competence with card making products. It will also keep costs down as you won't be buying masses of different materials only to find they don't look the way you wanted.
- Once you have your design, start by selecting the base card you want to use. Cards can be bought singly or in multi-packs. As you would expect the varieties are virtually endless, but the single most important thing to watch out for is quality. If the card is flimsy you won't be able to add very much at all to it before it won't stand up and show off your handiwork to its full glory.
- Never forget the importance of the envelope. A beautiful cannot be enjoyed properly without an envelope to "unwrap" it from. So make sure your design will fit in the envelope, otherwise you will need to consider a larger envelope or even a box to send it in. Don't leave this to the end - it will take the shine off your sense of achievement. And don't miss the last posting date!
- Remember your cards may be kept and treasured - so ensure you use products which are suitable for lasting. Using glue which is specifically acid-free is the most essential as it won't damage the components of your card.
- Consider personalising each card to the recipient by including their name in your design - whether on the outside or inside.
- Try to control your inner creative child! When we get going, most of us would love to just add bits and pieces to an otherwise simple design until it is a sea of colour, textures and patterns. While this may be satisfying for us, it does not always produce the best card for the recipient who is usually overwhelmed! Keep a note of your fantastic ideas though; they'll be a valuable resource over time when that perfect design doesn't immediately spring to mind.
- Ensure everyone knows the amount of hard work you have put into their card - not by singing it from the rooftops - by marking the back with a stamp or handwritted message stating this card was "handmade by ..."
- And by now you should have well and truly caught the crafting bug! Don't forget that Christmas is a fantastic time for stocking up with crafting goodies - not just in the January sales, but also by looking at everything we throw away in a different light. Wrapping paper is excellent for re-using on cards, as is ribbon, and even the tissue paper hats from crackers. Everywhere you look, you will see items for your crafting bits box - after all, nobody can complain, you're only recycling!!
I hope you enjoy making your cards, and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch. So we know if you found this guide helpful, please vote using the buttons below.
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