Inexpensive Card Making 101

Perhaps you want to create a handmade card, but you don't know where to start. How about an inexpensive idea?

First of all, grab a card. Personally, Very Mary buys the premade cards at the craft store or department store (50 for about $5). You can also buy cardstock and make your own, but she likes the premade cards for a couple of basic reasons. 1) They come with the correct-sized, coordinating envelopes. 2) She's too lazy to make her own.

As far as background papers go, you don't have to buy expensive scrapbooking paper packs. You certainly may, but consider some other alternatives. Wrapping paper? Notebook paper? Graph paper? Or how about heading to your local tourist info booth or nearest rest stop for some free maps?

Here, Very Mary went with the premade card and the free map. This map happens to be courtesy of the Pennsylvania Forest Service (Thanks Pennsylvania Forest People!). She cut her map 1/2" smaller than the card front. (Remember to click on the photos to enlarge them.)

To stick all her stuff together, Very Mary prefers to use rubber cement. Why? It's super sticky, acid-free, and has a little "play" time before it dries. For best results, apply the cement to both objects, then stick it to 'em.

Personally,Very Mary likes her cards to have an aged look. Or maybe she just likes to junk things up. Whatever. Anyway, this is her favorite ink. It comes in different colors, but she's rather fond of the tea dye.

She simply turned the ink pad upside-down and smeared it all over the front of the card and map.

Since she used a map, Very Mary decided to use the word "Journey" as the focal point of the card, but you might consider adding a special quote or maybe an image. She simply cut out a piece of thin cardboard (she thinks it came in some socks or pantyhose or something). Then Very Mary wrote the word on it with a Sakura marker. Sakura is her favorite brand, but Sharpie works, too.

The word looked a little weenie, so she outlined it. A lot.

Then, are you ready for this? Yep, it's the inside of a lightbulb container.

Then, because she can't get enough of that tea dye ink, Very Mary inked up the word, the corrugated cardboard, and a piece of old letterhead.

Then she layered the corrugated cardboard onto the letterhead with rubber cement and added some string to the word card. What kind of string? Oh, just some string she'd been hoarding. (She did throw away the tag part, although she will probably dig it out of the trash by the end of the week.)

With the string tied around the word card, Very Mary attached it to the corrugated cardboard with adhesive dots to give the card a wee 3D kick. You can find those at the local craft store, too, but they're optional! She tried out some white buttons on the side, but she didn't really like 'em. They seemed a little washed out.

So, Very Mary went with black buttons instead, gluing them on with some pretty strong glue (like super glue). Then she stuck the whole kit & kaboodle onto the front of the card with rubber cement. For fun, she also inked up the envelope a little bit.

And there you have it! A quick & easy, low-cost, handmade-from-the-heart card!


Whitney said...

Awesome card! Thanks for showing how to make it :)

Jana Nielson said...

Holy-Crap, Mary Ann, you ARE the Queen of everything!!! Now I have even more reason to collect bits of boxes, string, and broken stuff! (My OCD-clean Husband will be so happy!) Thanks!

Keetha said...

WOW. You? Are so awesome! You made that look really easy AND gave me some great ideas. You rock! Thank you for this post!

Anonymous said...

You rock, Mary Ann :)

Anonymous said...

I am in awe. I think I will stick to cooking.

LeeAnn said...

Is there anything you can't do? I love how you documented your creative process.

Mrs. G. said...

You know, you've made me believe that anything is possible. And I am in awe of your recycling power.

I also enjoy the image of you rustling through the trash for a tiny piece of cardboard.

Jennifer Pearson Vanier said...

Wonderful and very effective. I like to use stuff in unique ways too. You can see some of my cords among other things on my blog under "greeting cards" and "Jenzart".

Jennifer Pearson Vanier said...

Oops, I hit the wrong key to spell "cards." Sorry.

Mama Said Sew said...

Great card Mary Ann!

I'm so glad to hear that I'm not the only one who saves all those odds bits and bobs. You just never know what they'll become. :)

Vallen said...

I am so glad everyone can see what I ahve known for a long time now -that you can make terrific things out of what most people call trash and you can do it so well.

Crafty Connie said...

What an awesome card and you are definitely the "Queen of Green". You must recycle like a pro. Great job!