Saturday, August 11, 2018

The Art of Handmade Cards

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By: Lime Green Giraffe Event Director Mimi M. and Lime Green Giraffe Copy Editor Avery B.

Handmade cards. When someone says that, usually the image that pops into your head is a folded sheet of paper with some words and a hand-drawn image. While you wouldn’t be wrong with that assumption, you wouldn’t be completely right, either. Most people also assume that only really talented people can make interactive cards that change color, spin around, or have hidden messages. Those people, however, are completely wrong. There are many ways to make interactive cards for your friends and family, and while some are harder than others, there are some that look super cool, and only take about ten minutes to make. Here are four easy, interactive card tutorials, so pull out your paper, markers, and scissors, and let’s go make some interactive cards!

One of the simplest interactive card methods is a popup card. Popup cards are quick to make, and require just an image, hand drawn or printed out, and some paper. To make a popup card, take a piece of paper and fold it in half, hamburger style. In the center of the fold, cut a tab out, about an inch wide, and a little more than an inch long. Make sure only to cut the sides, not the top, so the tab is still attached to the card. Fold the tab over in both directions. Then, open the card up and push the tab open so it now forms a small step. Glue your image onto the step, and decorate the card.

Another interactive card you can make is a spinner card. Take a piece of paper, and fold it in half hamburger style. Then, take the front half, and fold it again so that the card forms almost a ‘z’ formation. Keep the card folded, and cut a half circle on the fold so when the card is opened, it creates a full circle. Cut two slightly smaller circles out of another piece of paper, and draw an image on both. Take a piece of string, and glue it in between the two circles. Open up the card, and glue the string in the crease from the fold in the middle of the front of the card. To use the card, open the card and spin the circle around multiple times and close the card tightly without letting it spin itself out, and tie it up with a ribbon. When the card is opened, the circle should spin around for a few seconds and stop. This is a cute way to make a pretty card with a small surprise.

To make a pull tab card, draw or print an image big enough to hide a piece of paper with your message. Cut it out, and trace it onto a folded piece of paper. Next, make a ‘track’ for your message. Cut another piece of paper into folded strips about half an inch wide. Glue them in two lines on either side of your traced image on the card, but make sure that you can still fit your message in there. At the top of your track, take a tiny piece of folded paper, about half the width of the track long, and cut it in half. Glue each half at the top of the track, on either side. Next, cut a strip of paper half the width of the track and a little bit longer than the track is. Write your message on it, making sure that it can be hidden by the image. Take another tiny piece of folded paper the width of the track, and glue it to the bottom of the message. This will work as the second part of your stopper so that the message does not fully leave the card. Place the message in the track, and glue the image over top. Only glue on the track, never on the actual message, though! Finally, pull out your message using the little overhang on the paper, and use a hole punch to make a hole at the top. Thread a small ribbon through it, and tie. Write ‘Pull Here!’ below, and you are done!

A slightly more difficult card with a surprise is the Magic Color Changing Card. To make it, draw and color an image on a piece of paper. Next, cover the image with a piece of clear plastic, (I find cutting up a Ziploc bag works just as well) and trace over your image. Make sure that you do not color your tracing in, as keeping it black and white is what makes it color changing! Glue your image onto a folded piece of paper. Make a track like in the Pull Tab Card on either sides of the image. Make sure the track is about half and inch wider than the image on both sides, and cut a piece of paper as big as the image. Add a stopper half an inch wide to the top of the track, and cut a stopper as wide as the track and glue it to the bottom of the piece of paper. Place the paper in the track over the image, and cut a square out of a piece of paper slightly larger than your image, making a frame. Glue the plastic tracing over that, gluing only the track. Glue the frame over top, add a ribbon and ‘Pull Here!’ sign to the end of the blank sheet of paper, and you are done!

Even if you choose not to use one of these awesome tutorials, there are still a few general tips that can take your card to the next level. For any card, the paper makes or breaks the whole project. Whether you are using card stock, coloured paper, or anything in between, it is important to choose paper that fits the receiver. For example, you wouldn’t give your ten year old sister a card made out of black and brown paper (unless those are her favourite colours of course). As a rule of thumb, use colours and patterns that remind you of that person, such as their favourite hues. Pull out all the different sheets of paper you could possibly choose and then narrow it down based on which work best together. Usually, two to three different patterns, colours, and other designs make for an interesting but cohesive card.  

When working with handmade cards, it is not difficult to make a beautiful card that anyone will love, but the process can certainly be easier with a few tools. Some supplies that are near and dear to crafters’ hearts:

      Scissors - Having scissors that cut in patterns can add an extra element of design to your card and truly make it one of a kind
      Straight edge cutter - This tool makes cutting any kind of paper infinitely easier, and ensures straight edges every time
      Double sided tape - Instead of glue sticks or another adhesive, double sided tape is strong, easy to use, and leaves behind no mess
      Colorful pens - To decorate the card with drawings and a nice message, colorful pens will add another touch of personality
      Exacto knife - If you are cutting out small paper shapes, an exacto knife can be helpful; however this tool is very sharp and if not handled properly can cause injury - be careful!
      Stylus - A stylus is perfect for creasing the paper to create folds without making rips or tears
      Cutting board - When using an exacto knife or gluing the card together, a cutting board can ensure that the table is not damaged in the process

Remember, none of these are absolutely necessary and you will find what works for you as you experiment and grow more comfortable making cards.

Now, once the card is made, you have to fill it with a sweet message, of course! Sometimes it can be hard to know what to write, but the most important thing is to always be honest. For many occasions, especially on birthdays, it is a great time to tell the receiver of your card how much you appreciate them. Talk about important memories you’ve had together, plans for the future, well-wishes, their awesome personality traits, etc. Make sure that your message is as special as the rest of your amazing card and that it is something they will treasure forever.

With all of this card knowledge, you can impress your friends and family with handmade cards that they will absolutely love. Find an occasion, get creative, and most importantly, have fun!

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