How To Get Started Making Your Own Greeting Cards

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Hey Folks!  I often get comments “How do I get started with stamping?” or “I have no idea where to start, if I wanted to make my own cards” or “It looks so hard”.  The short story is.. it’s quite easy to get started.   

I’ve been paper crafting for many years.  When I first started out, I shopped at “big box stores” like Michaels and Hobby Lobby for supplies, saving coupons so that I could buy them for 40-50% off.    But I was never completely satisfied with their variety or quality but stuck with it because I didn’t know what alternatives there were.  I also found the selection was limited and their prices so high.   About a year ago, I stumbled upon Stampin’ Up, by chance.  A friend invited me to join a Stampin’ Up class, so  I decided to give it a try.   Their products are such great quality (which means, much better results) and I found the prices very reasonable.  Since then, I’ve fallen in love with the brand and decided to become an independent Stampin’ Up demonstrator.  There is a fantastic creative community around Stampin’ Up.  

So, this article will focus on how to get started with cardmaking, using Stampin’ Up.  Trust me (from an ex-Michaels shopper), you won’t regret it.

Just Getting Started

The easiest and best way to get started is with Stampin’ Up’s Paper Pumpkin monthly kit.  Every month, you will get a kit delivered to you, with everything you need to create.  Over time, you will accumulate some stamps, leftover accessories and such.  This is a nice way to “test drive stamping”.  Learn about Paper Pumpkin here.

However, if you’re ready to get started outside of Paper Pumpkin, these are what I would call “the basics”.  Since we are talking about paper crafting, you will need some basics to get going such as paper, inks, and stamps.

Paper:  Card Stock & Envelopes

This will be the base for all your cards.  Feel free to use any colour but I find that Whisper White is the most versatile.  You can use the cardstock as a card base, or to stamp on.  Results in clear, non-bleeding images.

Adhesive:  SNAIL And Dimensionals

Snail is a glue tape adhesive that is very multi-purpose. It will be used to glue together all your “card bits” like dies, paper layers, ribbon, etc.  Dimensionals are 2-sided sticky foam dots that will add depth to your projects.  Especially useful in popping up layers.

Basic Tools:  Scissors and Stamp Block

Good quality crafting scissors are important to make sure you get precise cuts of your paper and ribbon.   Clear block E is about 3 x 4″ which is a good starter block.  It will fit most small to medium stamps (approx. 75% of all stamps).  Over time, you can look at getting different sized blocks.

Stamp Sets

Stamp designs are all personal preference and you have a lot of freedom to choose.  This is also the fun part, so browse the catalogue and see what catches your eye!  Remember that these are an investment, so if you’re starting out, choose sets that are multi-occasion and can easily be mixed and matched.  I’d like to share my recommended starter list:

Ink Pads

These are the ink pads that you will use with your stamps.  Stampin’ Up has as huge collection of wonderful colours that are fast drying and acid free.  Again, colour is also about personal preference.  I would choose a few neutral / versatile colours and at least one with a “pop of colour”.    In my example below, I choose Melon Mambo as the “pop”  but it’s totally up to you.  (For example, if you prefer yellows, “Daffodil Delight” would be a good option.)  Here is my recommended starter list.

Here are some colour combinations that are super cute, if you had this set.  Of course, any additional colours would just add to the fun!

That’s it! This would give you a very good base for stamping.  You’ll have lots of options to play around with and a multitude of card designs to create!

Ready For A Little More?

Here are some additional items that I would recommend you add, once you’re ready for a little more.  Most of these tools, either make it easier for you to create, or give you more technique options.  Of course, you always have the option of expanding your stamp sets or colours too!

Tools:  Trimmer, Bone Folder, Aqua Painters

The Trimmer is used to precisely measure and cut paper.  This is very useful in paper crafting and I use it so often, that it could be considered a “basic essential”.  The Bone folder is used to score and make crisp folds on paper.  The Aqua Painter is an easy way to turn your ink pads into watercolour – a great way to colour in stamps or create a washed out background.

Embellishments and accessories:  WINK OF STELLA, ribbon, Rhinestones

There are a lot of embellishments to choose from but a versatile set of ribbon and sparkly rhinestones are definitely going to make your cards stand out.  Wink of Stella is a glitter brush – it is totally amazing.  It adds sparkle to anything, which is great when you want a subtle “extra something” to dress up your design.

Punches:  Classic Label and Starburst

The classic label is great for sentiments (like the Thoughtful Banners stamp set).  Starburst could be used as a frame for smaller stamped images.

Cardstock Paper

I would make sure to have at least a few sheets in every ink stamp colour that you’ve collected.  You will find it very useful to have matching paper and ink.  This is also a good time to consider Designer Series Paper – beautiful patterned paper that you can incorporate in your card design.

There you have it!  I hope to get a post that introduces the Big Shot System soon.  There are a lot more creative options once you add in dies and embossing to your project.  Stay tuned!

 

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