The Card Making Tips Page by


updated:  August 26, 2006            


© 2004 by GillianCards

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My Favourite Card Making Books 

I always recommend trying to borrow origami and paper art books from friends or the library before purchasing. See which ones are most suited to you first.



by Hideaki Sakata
This is the best beginners' origami book that I have come across. Very easy to follow. Lovely designs quite suitable for card making.

'Origami Made Easy' by Kunihiko Kasahara
I wouldn't recommend this as a starter book; save it for when you have a little bit of folding experience. The designs are quite clever and the opening chapter, Fundamentals is the best conceptual introduction to paper folding that I have read. It will easily help you to begin designing your own models.

'Greeting Cards'

by Annette Claxton.

The book begins with a general discussion about cardmaking supplies, types of ready cut card forms, paper types and origami envelopes. The remainder of the book displays a large variety of card designs with easy 'how to' steps.







'Cards and Collages'

 by Penny Black
An extraordinary collection of cards using dried flowers. Very useful for people with large English variety gardens!

'Fun with Paper'

by Heather Amery
A bright colourful array of paper projects - cards, friezes, paper animals, birds and people, party hats and favours. A lot of fun!

'Festive Folding'

by Paul Jackson
I enjoy this book very much for its lovely ghost and witch patterns which I make every Hallowe'en!
























The following Tips can be viewed by scrolling down:

Tip #1:     Choosing a Glue
Tip #2:     Envelope Planning
Tip #3:     Coverstock and Art Paper
Tip #4:     Scissors
Tip #5:     Starting a Decorative Paper Collection
Tip #6:     Gluing tiny pieces
Tip #7:     Keep the design simple!
Tip #8:     Gluing cleanly
Tip #9:     Cutting knives - size and safety tips
Tip #11:   Materials for making te

Click here for directions to make the

Card Making Tips ...

  • buying Supplies

  • What glues to use

  • Envelope sizes

  • Making your own envelopes

  • Scissors and cutting tools

  • Cutting mats

  • Making templates

  • So You would like to sell your cards?  Some suggestions...

  • Paper Weaving and Folding

  • Tips galore

Price: $12.00  -  includes 5 blank cards and envelopes.  SOLD OUT, SORRY!

PLEASE NOTE: The focus of this book is on technique. It is not intended as a pattern book of which there are many lovely ones available at your library. 

TIP #1:  Choosing a Glue:  Although you may want specialized glues for particular jobs, the best overall type is good old children's white glue. It is non toxic, has a reasonably quick drying time, dries clear and smooth and it's inexpensive. White glue can be watered down if you find the glue is too thick or not spreading smoothly. Just try adding a drop or two at a time though!

TIP #2: Envelope Planning:  Unless you plan to make your envelopes, it is a good idea to decide on the envelope before making your card. Invitation envelopes which commonly come in sizes called, 'A2', 'A6' or 'A7', are readily available for purchase at office supply stores and paper shops. Plan to fit your card to one of these envelope sizes so that your beautiful card will have an attractive envelope match! TIP 3: Coverstock and Art Paper: Coverstock is a light cardboard weight paper, usually described as about 65lb. weight. It can be purchased in copy stores, like Kinkos, usually by the sheet or a package of 250 sheets for the really ambitious card maker. Large sheets of art paper are available at art supply stores. I particularly like to use Canson mi tentes, Fabriano, or Strathmore papers. All three brands are resistant to sunlight damage and come in a wide variety of pastel and primary colours. Tips about cutting these sheets down to card size will be coming soon!


TIP #4: Scissors:  Try using long dress shears instead of small scissors for cutting out your paper designs. This allows you to make a long, smooth continuous cut rather than several short choppy ones giving your work a more professional looking finish!

TIP #5:  Starting a Decorative Paper Collection:  Begin saving empty kleenex boxes in which to store your collected bits of paper and decorations for your cards. Whenever you find pieces of paper, cardboard, ribbon or other materials that you like, add them to your box. You will be surprised how quickly each box fills. If you are a really ardent collector. Begin a box for each colour of the rainbow - with e.g., a 'blue' box for paper and buttons and flowers etc. This makes your searching easier when you get down to the business of creating cards! Tell your friends about your project. They will enjoy keeping an eye out for special bits and pieces for you!


TIP #6:  Gluing Tiny Pieces  Picking up and gluing the tiny pieces necessary for detail can be a challenge and take an incredible amount of time and patience. To make the job much easier use the tip of an utility knife to pick the pieces up from your work surface. Just a tiny jab! You won't want the blade to pierce your paper all the way through but just enough for the blade to 'stick' to the tiny piece. Placing a tiny dot of glue on the card where the piece is to be placed rather than gluing the piece itself will speed your work along.


20  pieces of  quality cardstock
20 envelopes
20 origami squares
    for folding, and,

printed directions for
the origami envelope PLUS a folded sample.

The Card Starter Kit-

Price:  $20.00

  TIP #7:   Keeping the Design Simple:  Learning how to 'suggest' details rather than actually drawing or pasting them on is one of the real arts of card-making! Try to imagine the outline of the main object you want to place on your card. Try a tree or an automobile or a dog. Now draw only the outline of that object. Keep it as simple as possible.

 Once you have drawn the outline, transfer the shape to the coloured paper you wish to use and then trace and cut it out. Once you place the pieces on your blank card, think to yourself, what details would help bring this outline alive or help people to recognize what it is. If you are cutting a tree limb, then perhaps add a couple of cut out leaves or use a fine black pen to suggest wood grains along the limb.

 Remember, keep it simple. Too much detail confuses the eye and makes the image appear complicated and heavy.




 TIP #8: Gluing Cleanly:  A 'cleanly' made card without tell tale shiny spots of misplaced glue will give your card a finished polish and you will be pleased and surprised at how many people will comment that they can't see the glue on your card! Here are several tips here. For small pieces (and that is just about ever piece in card-making!) hold the piece with the thumb and first finger of your left hand (if you are left handed, reverse the position). Using your thumbnail hold the piece at the extreme edge, wrong side facing you, and using a round wooden toothpick dipped in white glue cover the piece evenly using as little glue as possible. Continuing to hold the piece by a corner or edge apply it where you would like it to be on your card.  If the piece you are gluing is more than 1 square inch, glue only around its edges not over the entire surface. Too much glue on a larger piece will make it buckle once it has dried. DO NOT OVER GLUE! Use the least amount possible. Glue doesn't need much encouragement to do its job! If you are gluing tiny circles made with a whole punch for instance, you can put a dot of glue (smaller than the piece you are applying) on the card and then place the circle over the glue. If you use more than a hint of glue you will find that it oozes out from underneath and spoils your beautiful work! Try practicing with some scrap paper before using your good card stock. 






TIP #9: Cutting knives - size and safety tips: Utility knives that come with strips of thin blades which you break off one at a time to keep your edge sharp work well when you need to cut pieces with straight edges: strips or squares, for instance. Using a metal or see-through ruler (You may prefer the latter so that you can see the paper underneath and exactly where you are cutting) and holding the edge of the blade next to it, draw the knife along the edge of the ruler using it as a guide. Use small utility knives only. The blades of the larger ones are too thick to cut paper accurately. SAFETY: Always cut with the knife coming towards you, never away from you. This gives you
 better control of where the blade is going. Never ever ever! take your eyes off the knife while you are cutting. It only takes a moment of distraction for the blade to skip off your ruler and cause an accident! Always apply a slow steady pressure when you are guiding your knife. With these three simple rules you will avoid a nasty accident. Children must always be closely supervised and judgement is necessary when deciding if the child has the necessary dexterity and control to use any cutting devices.

Tip #10:  Design Inspiration:  Don't think you can draw the design you want?? (I bet you really can, you just need to try!)  But okay, maybe you just don't have the time this weekend to develop your hidden Van Gogh gifts...then, visit the Children's library in your neighbourhood.  The brightest, most cheerful, most simple designs can be found in children's literature.  (Please don't copy the artists' work though!  Let it suggest how you can draw your own design!)

Tip #11:  Materials for making templates: If you can't find any cardboard around the house for making templates, try cereal boxes or use the lids from margarine of yoghurt containers.  Making templates saves you a lot of time when you are cutting out several copies of the same pattern!

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