Greeting cards are an excellent way to make a connection with someone special to you. However, finding the ideal card at a retail store can be difficult. By making your own greeting cards, you can avoid spending time looking for the perfect card that might not exist, and you will also have a way to share your creativity with others.
Greeting Cards Made of Card Stock
Most handmade greeting cards start with thick paper, such as card stock. You can find card stock at craft and business supply stores. It is available in a variety of colors and patterns, and it is sold either one sheet at a time or in packages. You can cut the card stock to any size you would like; your cards can be folded or flat. Consider the size of any envelopes you want to use and plan the size of your cards to match.
Greeting Cards Made of Photo Paper
Another option for making your own greeting cards is to use photo paper or a photo kiosk. If you want to use your own printer, you can find a variety of different pre-designed cards from companies like Kodak (see References). These cards can be easy to produce since you simply print your pictures and/or message directly onto the cards. You can potentially make your cards in just one step with this option. If you do not have a printer or do not want to use your own printer, a photo kiosk is another option. These kiosks are available in many stores, and you can produce cards quickly and easily. You can even use some of these kiosks remotely (over the Internet) and simply go to the store to pick up your cards.
Ideas for Decorating Cards
Based on the type of card you choose, you have different decorative options. Martha Stewart's website (see References) has many ideas for decorating your card stock cards; these ideas include quilling (creating 3-D shapes and decorations for your cards), paper cutting (either attaching shapes you have cut from other paper or cutting shapes from the card stock), calligraphy, hand-stitching and embossing. This website also suggests adding photos to card stock cards (rather than printing your cards directly on photo paper). You can attach the photos using tape, glue or decorative brads. Good Housekeeping (see References) also offers ideas for creating your own card stock cards; in addition to the ideas listed above, you can use decorative elements like ribbon, rub-on transfers, rubber stamps and other crafting supplies to decorate your cards. You can still use many of the above techniques if you print your cards directly onto photo paper. However, the gloss on photo paper may cause some of the techniques not to work (e.g. rubber stamps or embossing). Also, the paper may not be sturdy enough for techniques like hand-stitching.
Ideas for Adding Text to Cards
Adding text to your card is another opportunity for personalization. Consider using a special quotation or writing a personal message to your recipient. You can either write the text for your card by hand or print it. If you choose to write out your text by hand, you can use a special pen to write your ideas on the card (a permanent marker will work best on photo paper), or you can write your ideas on a separate piece of card stock or paper and attach that to the card. Another option for your text is to type and print it. You can print directly on the card, or you can print it on a separate piece of paper (including decorative papers, like vellum) to attach to the card. The benefits of printing your text are numerous. First, you can choose a font that matches the tone of your card and you can print it in a color that matches the design of your card. Also, you can format the text to fit your card perfectly and use a spelling and grammar check to eliminate errors. Finally, if you are making several cards, typing and printing the text can be a time-saver. You can then sign the cards yourself if you want your handwriting on the cards. Alternately, you can type some of the words and fill in some of the words yourself.
Greeting Card Kits
If you like the idea of making your own cards but feel anxious about choosing all of the elements to put together, another option is a greeting card kit. These kits are a happy medium between the quick convenience of photo printable cards and the crafty detail of constructing your own cards. These kits, available at many craft stores and the craft section of discount stores, are available for a variety of occasions from birth announcements to graduation parties to holidays. These greeting cards convey a personal touch but do not require you to start from scratch.
Teresa Laffin has been writing professionally since 2001. She has written for Texas A&M University press and produced instructional materials in addition to other freelance writing. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Texas A&M University, and is currently working on a Master's in teacher leadership at Lamar University.