Cardmaking is a hobby, beloved by so many thousands of mostly women (and a few men) who have discovered its many benefits. From the benefits to the crafter, to the benefits to the recipient, this art therapy activity is making the world a more positive place. Below I’ll be sharing all about cardmaking, how to get started, recommended products for beginners, options for saving money, beginning card design ideas, and more. Please read along!
Cardmaking For Beginners Video
Watch along here as I share some of my tips and resources for learning to make cards online. Make sure to keep reading below for lots more ideas and info!
What is Cardmaking?
Cardmaking is a hobby in which stamps, ink, and paper are used to create handmade greeting cards. Many different products can be used to do this, from kits in which all needed products are included, to standalone products which can be mixed, matched, and used in many creative ways. The end result is a greeting card that can be shared with a friend or loved one.
Why Make Cards?
There are so many reasons! I’ll share a few in the following section.
Benefits To The Creator
Here are some of the more common reasons that cardmakers love to make cards:
- A way to relax
- A creative outlet
- A sense of satisfaction upon finishing a beautiful card
- A reason to spend time with friends or loved ones
- Feeling good about helping others feel good
Benefits to the Recipient
While there are many benefits to the creator, the recipients of these handmade treasures receive benefits too!
- A wonderful surprise – happy mail
- Knowing they are loved
- Knowing someone cares about them and their life
- They now have a beautiful treasure to display on their desk or refrigerator
Styles of Cardmaking For Beginners
There are many styles of cardmaking, from simple to elaborate. Here I’ll share just a few samples of cards for you to understand the creative possibilities.
Simple Designs With Stamps, Ink, and Paper
These designs use just stamps, ink, and paper to create quick and simple projects.
Simple Designs With Embellishments
These designs, while simple, include some added ribbons or embellishments to add that special touch to your projects.
These card projects include more, or more creative, elements. These may include more layers on the card, elements that are cut out with tools or by hand, or any number of techniques as described below.
Many cardmakers discover a love for trying new techniques. Just a few cardmaking for beginners techniques are listed below.
Using different coloring tools is fun, and also gives different effects to a project. I’ll share a few of my favorites below.
Water-based markers are a standard marker with a traditional look.
Alcohol markers give a very smooth and blended appearance, with realistic shading and vibrant colors.
Soft pastels are a type of chalk that can be used in many ways to add color to projects.
Other Coloring Tools Such As Watercolor Pencils Or Water Painters
Other coloring tools exist. Here are a few projects I’ve created with other coloring tools.
Another popular technique for beginning cardmakers is watercoloring. This technique involves using water, ink, and sometimes special papers to achieve a watercolor effect.
Texture can be added to cards with embossed paper or materials like embossing paste.
Special Card Folds
Often called fun folds, or fancy folds, cards with special card folds are so much fun to create. While they look complicated, often they are easier to create than one might expect, and they give an added delight when the recipient opens them. You can find the tutorial for the fun fold card below here, and many other fun fold cards using this link.
Slimline cards are one example of a different size and shape of card. Many card makers begin with A2 size cards, which measure 4 1/4” x 5 1/2” when folded. An A2 card is simple to create by cutting a piece of 8 1/2” x 11” cardstock in half.
Slimline cards measure 3 1/2” x 8 1/2” when folded, and they fit into a standard business size envelope. This change in dimensions adds a creative element that card makers often enjoy.
Next, let’s talk about how to get started cardmaking!
How To Get Started Cardmaking
Getting started making cards can be very simple. It can also be very overwhelming without the right resources! Below I’ll share some helpful links for learning how to make cards, as well as recommendations for products to build your collection.
Cardmaking For Beginners Resources
You don’t have to figure out how to make cards all by yourself, because there are tons of resources on the web to help you learn. My website is full of ideas and there are many other sources as well. Visit the home page of my website Scrapping, Stamping & Stuff and browse the menu options to learn about products and projects. I have tons of ideas and and helpful information to get you started.
Many beginning cardmakers absolutely love to watch cardmaking tutorials on YouTube. Most likely, this is because watching someone create a project while explaining it, is by far the easiest way to learn. Take a look at my YouTube channel here, and make sure to hit the Subscribe button while you’re there.
Cardmaking For Beginners Video Series
I created a video series to walk beginning cardmakers through the steps to learn the basics and get started. Here are links to these videos:
Written tutorials are also a great way to learn to make cards. Just browse through my website and you’ll find loads of tutorials for different projects. Here is one of my favorites, even though it isn’t a card!
Products To Get Started
Figuring out what products to purchase can be challenging when you’re a beginner cardmaker. Here are some ideas that will help you decide which products are the best options for you.
Cardmaking for beginners doesn’t have to be hard. Kits are my biggest recommendation for those looking to start making cards. The reason is that kits often come with all or most of the products needed to complete a project, along with photos and instructions for how to complete it. This is a wonderful way for beginners to get started and learn to use products, without having to cut pieces or design projects on your own. Below are two types of kits that are perfect cardmaking for beginners ideas.
Paper Pumpkin Subscription Kit
Paper Pumpkin is a monthly subscription kit that includes the stamps, ink, paper, adhesive, and embellishments to complete a neat project, along with photo instructions and a video link with more information. This kit is a lot of fun, because it arrives in your mailbox and the project inside is always a fun surprise. Many stampers find they like to subscribe with a friend or family member, and use the kit’s arrival as an excuse to get together and stamp (in person or virtually).
Learn more about Paper Pumpkin, and subscribe here. Paper Pumpkin Kits
Standalone kits are very similar to Paper Pumpkin, but the main difference is you are able to pick and choose which kits you would like to receive. This is another great option for beginning cardmakers because all materials needed are included, with the exception of scissors. These kits are simple to create with, and while many crafters choose to create the projects as they are designed, others like to use the kit contents to create different projects.
Cards & Envelopes
I remember when I started making cards, I didn’t know how to create a card base. If I didn’t know how to do this, I’m sure I’m not the only one! To create a standard A2 size card, which measures 4 1/4” x 5 1/2” you simply need to cut a piece of 8 1/2” x 11” cardstock in half.
Typically, a piece of cardstock laid horizontally is cut in half at the 5 1/2” mark, but you can also lay the cardstock vertically and cut it in half at 4 1/4”.
Would you like a simpler option than cutting your own card bases? Purchase them already prepared! This set of cards and envelopes is perfect to get started with.
Recommended Products For Beginner Cardmakers
The following products are my top recommendations for products to add to your beginning cardmaking collection.
I recommend that beginning cardmakers purchase at least two stamp sets if your budget allows. These sets should include basic greetings such as happy birthday, thank you, thinking of you, congrats, and definitely the types of greetings that you’ll use most often. You also want them to include basic images that you can use on an assortment of cards such as leaves, flowers, or geometric designs. Want to know the differences between photopolymer and rubber stamps? Use the link above for more information.
You’ll need at least one acrylic block to mount your stamps to, unless you’re starting with wood-mount stamps which are fairly uncommon these days. You’ll need a block that’s as large or larger than the biggest stamp you purchase. I do recommend having several sizes for ease of use, and being able to have several stamps mounted and ready to use at one time.
Cardstock or Pre-Cut Card Bases
Choose a pack of 8 1/2″ x 11″ cardstock with a color assortment or use already prepared card bases. If you choose cardstock, you’ll also need to get some A2 envelopes.
A Few Colors of Ink
Look at the stamps and cardstock colors you chose, and add two or three colors of ink that will coordinate well.
A good trimmer may not be on your first purchase, but you’ll need to do any cutting with scissors until you get one. I love this trimmer, and highly recommend it because it allows you to both cut the paper, and score it for your card fold.
Good Pair of Scissors
Good scissors are worth a minimal investment, because you can use them forever.
Adhesives, aka tape and glue, can make or break your crafting experience! Don’t use cheap adhesive that will only hold temporarily, and when your card arrives to the recipient it falls apart! I recommend a good tape runner, a high quality glue, foam dimensionals, and glue dots.
Optional, But Highly Recommended:
Designer papers are a wonderful way to create pretty backgrounds with no work at all. Cut a small or large piece, add it to your card base, and you just need to add a greeting to complete it!
If your budget allows, you’ll want to add some rhinestones, pearls, ribbons, or other embellishments to your collection. Just a few gems added to a simple project are the perfect finishing touch!
Options For Saving Money On Your Products
Are you interested in getting started with making cards, but your budget is limited? If so, here are a few ideas for you…
Cardmaking for beginners doesn’t have to be expensive. Remember above I discussed using kits to get started? For just $22 per month, you can subscribe to Paper Pumpkin, and each month you’ll get new stamps and ink to build up your collection. You can also choose standalone kits for a similar price point, and you can slowly add in papers, tools, and embellishments as your budget allows.
You’ve probably seen online parties for Pampered Chef, wellness companies, makeup, and more. Now you can sign up to host a stamping party! All you have to do is invite your friends and I’ll do the rest. Don’t worry – they don’t have to be crafters! In these parties, I share information similar to what’s included in this blog post (plus more hands-on demonstrations), to help beginners learn how to get started making cards. The best part – in addition to learning, you get hostess credit to spend on any products you choose!
Sip & Stamp Girls Nights
Does getting together in person or virtually with your friends sound more fun than hosting a Facebook party? Well yeah! Invite over your friends for a themed stamping party of your choice. Call it Sip & Stamp, Cards & Coffee, Crafts & Craziness, or whatever you like. I’ll help you order a kit for each of your friends, you can watch a quick video from me to get the night started, and then you’re free to craft! The best part – you earn hostess rewards on the kit purchases and any other orders placed.
Starter Kit & A Forever Discount
Does a permanent discount on your products sound like it might be for you? Many cardmakers decide that signing up with Stampin Up is a great way to save money on their supplies. The discount starts at 20% and increases from there. When you sign up you are welcome to sell products or hold classes, but many who sign up simply order their own products at the discount with no pressure to do more. Learn more about signing up here! The best part is, there’s nothing to lose. If you try it and don’t continue, you can go back to being a regular customer at any time with no penalty.
Ok, we’ve discussed what cardmaking is, it’s benefits, how to get started, and how to save money. Let’s look at some fantastic card designs for beginners.
#simplestamping – Perfect for Cardmaking For Beginners
The hashtag ‘#simplestamping’ was started as a way to encourage cardmakers to share simple cardmaking ideas instead of the complicated and elaborate ones that many of us grow to love! We need to help others learn, and you can’t learn if cards are super complicated. Below are some simple stamping card ideas that show that beautiful cards don’t have to use a lot of products or take a lot of time to create. For more ideas, you can search your favorite social media platform for #simplestamping and you’ll find tons of them.
Cardmaking For Beginners Project Ideas
Some other ideas to get you started include the following. Just search my site or online for:
- Card Sketches
- Scrap Card Ideas
- Simple Card Designs
A Note About Mailing Cards
Keep in mind that odd envelope sizes or thick/bumpy cards might be charged extra postage. If you mail a card that needs extra postage, the recipient may receive a note when the card is delivered that postage is due. My experience is this – if I put a bumpy card in my mailbox to go out, it usually arrives perfectly fine with no additional postage due. If I take it to the post office and ask, they charge extra.
Finding Ideas For Specific Products
One of the best ways to get ideas for cards is to search on Google, Pinterest, or Instagram for the name of the stamp set you’re using. For example, search for “Stampin Up Sweet Ice Cream” and you may receive the results showing below. You can get hundreds of ideas for how to use that particular stamp set in your collection.
Last, but not least, it’s so much fun to connect with other crafters. Let’s talk about it!
Connecting With Other Crafters
I truly encourage you to connect with other crafters – it makes the experience so much more fun! Please join my Facebook group and if you decide you want to step it up a notch and get a permanent discount on your supplies, I would love to welcome you into my special group of crafters known as the Sassy Stampers!
There you have it – my guide for Cardmaking For Beginners!