Tuesday 20 November 2012

It's Christmas Card Time

It's Christmas card time again.  

People are sending fewer cards than they used to and it makes me kind of sad.  I love finding a card in my mailbox.  So much more fun than the usual bills and pizza flyers!  A card not only provides something pretty to add to my holiday decor but also demonstrates that someone took the time and effort to think of me.  Cards make me smile, whenever I receive them.

If you are still sending Christmas cards, thank you.  

If you make your Christmas cards, good for you!  You'll be thinking about that project right now.  Perhaps you've already decided upon a theme and a design.  

If you'd like to make cards, but aren't sure where to begin, maybe this post will help.  I'm sharing some card making tips I've learned over the years, together with some links you will find useful.

When designing cards, first decide how many you wish to make and send. The general rule of thumb is that the more the cards you are making, the simpler the design should be.  

If you're sending just a few cards, by all means bring on the bells and whistles.  Make your card as elaborate as you wish.  (Consider it a small gift rather than simply a greeting.)  

If you're making a lot of cards, you'll want a simple design that can be put together assembly line style so that you can complete them all in a single crafting session.

Choose your envelopes before beginning work on your card.  This may seem counter-intuitive, but there's nothing more frustrating than realizing you have to hand make sixty envelopes on a deadline because your cards won't fit into any of the envelopes at the office supply store.  It's much better to buy the envelopes and then tailor your cards to fit them.

Your card might not fit through the printer by the time you're finished with it. Avoid frustration by printing or stamping the greeting on the inside of your card before you begin embellishing the outside.  

Look for found materials you can incorporate into your designs.  Illustrations cut from last year's cards, magazine photos, bits of wrapping paper and ribbon, foil wrappers from candies, sheet music, and old book pages all have potential.

If you have the time and inclination, you can even use your old magazines to make new paper.  Kids love doing this.  You'll find clear, simple instructions for making paper at

Try to keep your card design as flat as possible.  Bows and other dimensional embellishments are pretty, but they will make your card more expensive to mail. 

Hand cut snowflakes made from any of your found materials provide quick, seasonal decoration that won't add a lot of thickness to the finished card. SaiFou Images has published an excellent photo guide to snowflake patterns.

Get your kids involved.  Handprint and footprint projects are always fun, as are kids' drawings and paintings, poems, and collages.  If you pre-print a sentiment inside your cards and then let the kids work on them, they may take care of the whole project for you. Card recipients will be charmed by their work.

This owl thumbprint card from Kids Artists is a wonderful example of Christmas art children can make.

Your children will also enjoy making watercolour and salt paintings to use as background paper for your Christmas cards.  You can find instructions at Simple Kids.

You can find wonderful free printables and clip art images for card making on line.  (Please respect copyrights.) 

When choosing a printable or a photo, look for an image with lots of white space (because it'll use less ink), or choose a black and white image that can be printed on a photocopier. 

One of my favourite sites for free clip art images is Graphics Fairy.  A quick search yielded more than 200 vintage Christmas images, including this wonderful tree.

If you're looking for something more contemporary Pampers, Play Dates and Parties has compiled an excellent round-up of printables, including this subway art from Balancing Home.

If you plan to make a photo card, shop around and get your pictures printed commercially. It's almost always less expensive than printing them yourself.  

Rather than choosing a pre-printed, cut out photo frame card, choose a pretty card stock or pre-made, folded blank card, and glue your photo on the front.  Merriment Design offers a good tutorial on making photo cards, together with an A-2 size envelope template you can use if you feel inclined to make your envelopes yourself. 

Have fun making your cards! If you'd like to share your designs, send me a link in the comments.  I'd love to admire your work.  :)

Title image info:

-Red card designed by Sharon Annis, using papers, stamps and materials from Stampin’ Up
-Blue and white Christmas tree card designed by me, using paper from WalMart, a stamp from Stampin’ Up and glitter glue from the dollar store.
-“Hello Dear” card designed by me, using paper from My Mind’s Eye (


Unknown said...

I love Christmas cards also, and that's about the only way I communicate with some of my extended family who aren't online, so I'd be sad too if the cards stopped. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

Aunt B said...

It's the same with me Kim. I'd be really sad if those annual letters stopped arriving. Thanks for stopping by to check out the post.