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The perfect card for any occasion

Do-it-yourself greeting cards

Consider the number of events for which you have to buy and send gifts - birthdays, holidays and weddings. The amount you spend on cards alone can really start to rack up. But what about making your own? If you think it sounds like something you'd do if you were in the second grade, but not as an adult, it may be time to re-think card making as you know it!

Do-it-yourself greeting cards
We're not talking about a piece of construction paper folded in half with a doily pasted on or a greeting scrawled in marker. Homemade card making can be simple, but it doesn't have to look tacky or homemade. Of course, it can also be as complicated as you want it to be. There are plenty of books, classes, magazines and blog entries on the subject to help you make a number of exquisite designs. But there are a few basic steps you can start with as any novice card maker.

First the type of card stock you buy will go a long way to the overall look of your cards. Obviously, you're not going for that construction paper look. So you want to use a basic card stock that's thick, yet can be cut easily, making it easier to etch out shapes, designs, etc. A good place to start is at a craft store with packages of white card stock. Having some basic colors – or some of your favorite shades – on hand will help determine how visually stimulating your card is. But you don't have to go overboard.

Secondly, the theme and basic design of your card, at least when it comes to more basic cards, will rely on what papers and color schemes you choose to decorate your cards. The easiest card to do – and the one I rely on in a pinch if I need something to write a last minute note on – is to cut the shape of your card out of card stock and cover it with one of your papers. Typical scrapbooking papers are the easiest to choose and provide the widest range of themes, designs and color.

Once you have the idea of basic card stock and decorative papers down, play around with additions like cutting out sections of the card to reveal pretty papers or stenciled sayings on the inside of the card. My mom lives in Japan and creates cards that could be sold at shops for double Hallmark pricing. She plays around with papers like washi (Japanese card-making papers) and embellishments (the Japanese art of twisting tiny scraps of papers into elaborate shapes). She's the prime example of how card-making can be as basic or as complicated as you want it to be!

But one thing's for sure, once you have a basic stash of card stock, paper, and a few supplies you might want to use for decoration, you can make greeting cards for a fraction of the retail price. Plus they'll be more personal, and people will be impressed with you crafty talent!

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