Adventures in Card-Making · Tutorial


Dear Fellow Crafters,

Card sketches are blueprints for greeting card designs. That being said, paper crafters always ask the inevitable questions: ” How do I use them?” and “What’s the point?”

Here are some of my thoughts:

  • The background of the card sketch is usually the largest part of the design that is laid down first. Sometimes that’s the card stock itself! The background sets the tone so if you’re creating a birthday card, using a festive background is appropriate.

  • The focal point of a card sketch is sometimes a larger shape or design that reflects the nature of the holiday or design.
  • Accent embellishments are the accent pieces -gems, buttons and the like. Oftentimes, paper crafters go overboard with these elements.

How to begin?

  1. The largest design element in a card sketch is usually the first step in creating the card, so if the card sketch has a large background then that’s the first piece that goes down.
  2. Layering card stock comes next.
  3. The embellishments come last.

**Sometimes a paper crafter will gather all the elements together and stray from the original sketch. This happens to me a lot. Something doesn’t look right, so I ‘re-arrange the elements. How, you ask? Ask yourself:

  • Would the horizontal card work as a vertical one?
  • Could the horizontal or vertical work as a square card?
  • Could you add a sentiment on the front?
  • How many accents are right?

In the example above, the festive paper was glued down first. I cut the banner next and then die-cut the sentiment and glued it onto the banner. The 3D embellishment was last.

~Happy crafting,







How I solved _______________

Ooops! I made a mistake

Dear Fellow Crafters,

‘Come on, admit it. You’ve done it too. That perfect card with the un-expected ink smudge, the background paper that was uneven, the card sketch or colors that just didn’t “sing” and finally, the card that was hurriedly made and not your best.

We’ve all got card fronts or stamped images hidden away in a “junk drawer”. So what’s a crafter to do? Make new creations!

Back in the early summer, before it got hot, I started making my craft/card inventory. I started with what I had in stock and organized my card needs by category ie: Baby, birthday, get well, holiday etc. (more about this next week). I pulled out my paper stash and sketch books. I had ideas of cards I wanted to make and needed to see what I need to make. I found a un-labeled (the horror, the horror!) box and in it was a stash of my mistakes by category, no less. Wow! I was really happy. It was like getting a brand new collection of stuff. The smudged card fronts were salvageable after all. It turns out that “fussy cutting” really does work. All I had to do was find cardstock, paper and glue and voila, new cards!

Next I tackled the un-even paper. I cut the card in half and after assembling some embellishments and die cuts made collaged holiday cards. Only I knew what the original card looked like and I wasn’t telling!

The cards that didn’t “sing” turned out to be the hardest to figure out what to do with them. I wasn’t going to throw them out. My hubby suggested putting a frame around some of the images and that worked. I had forgotten some color schemes and had originally relied on “What always worked before”.

Now, I know that not every one has a mistake drawer but I’m sure glad I kept mine!

‘Til next time,


PaperCrafting 101

Paper Crafting 101- Themes and Sketches

Dear Friends,
Just as the theme of the card project determines the type of the paper so to does the composition or sketch of the card. Most of the card themes can be found on my page “Sentiments” so I won’t repeat the list here.
The Basic elements of composition are:
• Focus: Establish a focal point or main element, and balance it with other elements.
• Direction: Create a path of vision that leads the viewer’s eyes to the focal point.
• Balance: Establish balance among the sizes, colors, values and relationships of the design elements.
Sketches are tools that allow card makers to see the design beyond colors and themes. The sketches are basically card patterns. The artist designs the sketch with geometric shapes and usually a color design is included for visual purposes. Two of my favorite sketch books are: “Card Maker’s Sketch Book” edited by Tanya Fox and “Go To Sketches” produced by PaperCrafts. You can also find sketches in Cardmaker magazine.
In summary, the first step in creating a card is to choose the theme. The second is to have a sketch in mind. The third is to gather all the papers together.
In the coming weeks we’ll explore the making of a Christmas card, but unlike some tutorials, we’ll take one element and make several cards using that element.
Next time, we will discuss basic tools and supplies.