Christmas is a’ Comin’ and the Cards are in the Mail

November 19, 2009

It’s a little known fact that Tim Cratchett actually said: “God help us every one!”

That’s because he couldn’t just go to the local supermarket or card store or other handy dandy location and buy Christmas cards. He had to make his own.

Today, lots of us still love to give or receive handmade cards. The earlier you start, the better chance you have of getting them done on time for the current year’s festival.

I know someone who made her own cards one year in collaboration with her long-time best friend. They spent so much time, so much money and turned out such elaborate, exotic cards, that the cards ended up being their gifts!

Here are some goodies from Opus to help you get yours done by hand, in style, on time and in budget.

The Stand-bys

Do you love the traditional look? For the good ol’ deckle edged, fine stationery look, combined with ready-made convenience, I think you can’t beat the Strathmore Blank Greeting Cards with either self or contrasting coloured deckles. The lightly textured paper will accept a wide range of media, including dry brush painting, calligraphy, pen and ink and more.

If you have photos you want to incorporate, the Strathmore Photomount Cards will take a 4 x 6 inch image on a 5 x 7 card. The borders are embossed with a subtle but elegant design that sets off your photos.

Do you crave a plainer surface for a more up-to-date, edgier look? Go for the Strathmore Photoframe Cards, which have a cut-out frame for a 4 x 6 inch photo or Blank cards in Smooth White or Palm Beach White.

The New Cards on the Block:

Do you want to paint on your cards in watercolours or acrylics? Go for the Strathmore Watercolour Cards. You will find that the heavier weight and sizing of the paper in these cards allow it to accept wet media with less distortion from buckling and curling of the edges. These are also great if you like to do collage, as they will hold up to heavier use of glue and more surface additions.

Do you want to print your image the old fashioned hand-done way? I recommend the Strathmore Stamping Cards for block printing and stamping, or the Smooth White blank cards.

Do you want to print your Photoshopped holly and Santas on your home printer? Go for the range of Digital Cards, pre-scored for ease of folding after printing.

Do you want to incorporate a touch of the exotic? Make a green statement? Just try something different? You can have a wonderful time trying out the new Strathmore Blank Cards made from a variety of alternative fibre sources.

That Extra Touch

So, you’ve chosen your card base, you have your idea all worked out – how can you take your cards from good to great? Here are some things you can use to add some extra touches to your handiwork.

1. Inserts

You can make inserts to add an extra dimension, using vellum or coloured papers. Some vellum you can draw on, and some you can print on with inkjet or laser printers.

The Etrusca papers come in elegant pastel colours with deckle edges and are perfect for your greetings in fine calligraphy. You could also make inserts from any of our decorative papers, which are also fabulous for collage.

Graphix Inkjet Vellum
Etrusca Cards & Envelopes
Speedball combination baren and stamping kit is a nifty new tool for stamping or block printing small images onto your paper or card. It stores lino cutting blades in the handle, which you can use for the cutting, and then can switch to have a flat head. You can use this as a mini baren for block printing or you can attach your mini blocks to it for use as a stamp! Fun!

3. Transfers

If you have a drawing that you want to use on your cards, you can reproduce it quickly and easily without the time and effort involved in doing the same thing over and over. Get yourself a Chartpak Blender marker, and use it to transfer black-and-white photocopies of your drawing to your cards. You can then hand colour the images using watercolours, watercolour pencils, pencil crayons or markers.

The blender marker also works well for transferring a design onto a printing block before cutting. (Do remember that any text, such as in a written greeting, will be reversed!)

Don’t forget Lazertran waterslide decal sheets, available in regular, Silk and Inkjet versions.

4. Digital Additions

Use the Strathmore Digital Photo blanks with adhesive coating on the back to print up your own photos for use in the Photomount or Photoframe cards.

5. Heavy Metal

You can have fun with gold leafing, gold metallic pens of all kinds, metallic inks for use with calligraphy pens, metallic gel ink pens, (‘tis the season to be glittery!), the Staedtler Hot Foil pen and, of course, metallic paints.

6. Stick to It

Don’t forget the glue! You can stick stuff on to your cards with hot glue guns, PVA glue, spray adhesive and all sorts of different tapes and mounting adhesive strips.

So, no excuses for being a card Scrooge! Get going now and wow all your family and friends with your creativity and skill.