Are You a Scrapbooking Cardmaker or a Cardmaking Scrapbooker?

I must admit that I’m sometimes confused myself.

If you have spent any time at all reading this blog you’ll know that I’m devoted to scrapbooking (obsessed? Moi?). In an article I wrote a couple of weeks ago I referred to cardmaking as basically miniature scrapbook layouts.

Reader Donna said in her comment “…The whole idea of a card being a mini-scrapbook is great though. My mom will love that…”

So today we’ll take a look at making cards using scrapbook techniques, both traditional and digital.

The Basic Card Structure

If you’re making your card using traditional scrapbooking techniques you can either

  1. cut the card out of a piece of cardstock, or
  2. use ready made card blanks that you buy from a store, or
  3. buy a packet of el cheapo cards that are blank inside and ‘scrapbook’ over the front of them.
  4. if you’re going digital you can design the entire card on your computer and print it out on medium weight photo paper/card (see below).

Note: if you choose to make your card from cardstock, make sure you cut it to a size that will fit in a standard envelope or else you will have to make your own envelopes too. I have done this a few times and I must confess, I reserve it only for extra special cards.

Paper and Glue

  • Cover the front of your card with the patterned paper that will be your background. Because you’re doing this in miniature, choose small patterns and textures that won’t overwhelm your card.
  • Spice it up a bit by adding a second paper as a border or using paper tearing and rolling techniques to reveal part of the first paper underneath.
  • Choose your embellishments. Cards, being much smaller than the average scrapbook layout, lend themselves to small embellishments. So brads, flowers, ribbons and beads are all perfect.
  • But don’t be afraid to lash out on one large focal embellishment, like say a monogram of the recipient’s name.
  • For birthday cards, I often like to crop a photo of the birthday boy/girl and include it in the design – just like a scrapbook layout. I find that everybody loves to see the extra personalization of having their picture on their card.
  • And don’t forget the inside. It’s always nice to open your card and find your eyes greeted with something unexpected (in a nice way of course). Just a strip of the patterned paper that you used on the front with a couple of brads for an accent or a flower really make your card something special and only take a few moments to add. And don’t forget the Scraps of Mind Word Art. Perfect for the inside of your cards.

Digital Cards

  • cardmakingYou can use any of the four card structures listed above.
  • Create a blank file in your photo editor that’s the size of your card front and 300 dpi resolution.
  • If you are using a card structure from method 4 make sure that your card will fit one half of a sheet that will fit into your printer.
  • Now design your card as you would a scrapbook layout. With digital cards you have the advantage that you can resize your paper to reduce any large patterns. That can give you a lot more choice.
  • Don’t make your cards too busy. That can easily happen with digital cards because it’s so easy to fit all your embellishments by resizing. Because you are creating this miniature scrapbook layout you need to be careful not to fall into that trap. Try to size your embellishments so that they still look like a ‘real life’ sized item.
  • And don’t forget to add dimension with drop shadows and bevels. It all helps to give depth to your card.
  • With digital scrapbooked cards it’s super easy to give them that extra personalization using photos or words that are special to the person receiving the card. Use Layer Styles on the text for the person’s name to really give it a boost.
  • When your design is complete, merge all the layers and drag your card onto a new file that is sized to fit your printer (eg. A4 or Letter) and position it so as to maximize the paper size. You can duplicate the layer and print multiple cards on the one sheet. Great for Christmas.
  • If you’re using card structure four you should adjust the size of your card a little so that it sits on the right of your paper with the side of the card where the fold goes lying in the center of the paper.
  • I usually like to print a test on plain paper to check that it is positioned correctly. Then print the real thing on glossy or satin finish photo paper (check your printer settings to get the best quality print for your chosen paper). Choose a weight of around 230 gm for your paper so your card will be robust.
  • Now just print and cut out your card. For structures 1-3 cut around your design and glue to your card front. And if you chose card structure 4, make sure you don’t cut around the edge where the fold goes because that will be the back of your card. Just fold your card and trim the edges to fit the front.
  • You can design the inside of your card as well and just print it on plain paper and glue to the inside. Don’t forget the Scraps of Mind Word Art. Perfect for the insides of cards

Hybrid Cards

  • Use the digital techniques discussed.
  • Copy some of your elements, such as your photo, and print them separately. Cut them out and adhere them on top of the elements on your card using foam tape to give them dimension.
  • After designing your card, hide some of the small elements such as brads or ribbon bows before printing it out. Now use ‘real’ brads and ribbons to replace them.

So are you a Scrapbooking Cardmaker or a Cardmaking Scrapbooker?

I think I’m a scrapbooking cardmaker.

I know I love to make cards using all three styles of scrapbooking. But when it comes to making a lot of cards, like at Christmas, nothing beats digital and hybrid cards.

Do you make cards? And what are your favorite techniques?

Do you have any extra tips and ideas to share with us?

Other Related Articles:

Christmas Card Alert

Are You a Good Photographer?

Scrapbook Your Life Story – Part 7 (Note: Part 8 will be back in this slot next Thursday)

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10 Responses to Are You a Scrapbooking Cardmaker or a Cardmaking Scrapbooker?

  1. RhondaL October 23, 2008 at 11:17 pm #

    Thanks for the instructions. Just in time for the Holidays, too. (I used to complain about all the stuff in the stores before Halloween, but now I appreciate the head-start.) Your instructions look simple enough that anyone can do this (maybe not well, but can make a special card for a special someone.) Thanks!

  2. Cheryl October 24, 2008 at 12:20 am #

    I’d have to say I’m a Scrapbooking Cardmaker since my first craft was scrapbooking. It’s only been in the last couple of years that I began stamping, which naturally led to creating cards. I hardly ever buy greeting cards anymore! I’m obsessed with making my own! Great post!

  3. Laura October 24, 2008 at 9:19 am #

    I love making cards. I have a ton of rubber stamps and several dozen paint markers. Every card is made individually. I have a special trademark stamp for the backs and also a humorous stamp for the envelopes. When I was so ill and lost my hand/eye coordination I colored in coloring books. I found it very relaxing so now I hand color my rubber stamps. I know it’s a lot of work but I do a bunch at a time. Since I don’t have a program to scrap digital I couldn’t make a whole card to reproduce. I could use some cute embellishments or graphics though. I said all that to ask a question. Do you have a source for buying cheap printer ink? I’m finding that printing digital items can be rather expensive. I’m surprised that designers don’t have a source for ink listed on their blogs. Thought you might have a place where you get your ink reasonably.

  4. karooch October 24, 2008 at 9:29 am #

    The great thing about a hand-made card Rhonda (and I include digital cards in this) is that people are so thrilled that you have made something just for them that it doesn’t need to be perfect. I bet you’ll be surprised at what you can do anyway.

    Sounds like you and I have walked the same path Cheryl. Once you start making your own cards you just can’t go back to bought ones.

    Well Laura, I live in Australia and I’m not sure where you live. I used to use an ink replacement kit that cost about $80 but it gave me many refills for my ink cartridges. I got it from a Craft show but I don’t know what it was called. The print outs were pretty good but not as good a quality as using the ‘proper’ brand inks. I stopped using this when I bought my current HP printer. I make my ink last longer by only printing in Draft mode unless I need a good quality print, such as my final print of a scrapbook layout on glossy photo paper.

  5. Antoinette October 26, 2008 at 11:43 am #

    LOL, I’m a cardmaker and a scrapbooker. Never made a card with a layout. I usually cross-stitch them or add an image that I cut out and stick parts on top of each other so it looks 3D.
    Where DS is familiar, the thought of doing a paper layout terrifies me. There’s no ‘undo’ button! :)

    Antoinettes last blog post..Disney Halloween

  6. karooch October 31, 2008 at 1:22 pm #

    I know what you mean about the undo button Antoinette. That’s such a wonderful safety net ant it frees me up to try new things. I must say that i do enjoy making cards using paper scrapbooking techniques though. The smaller format is much easier to work with I find. And the projects are completed far quicker than a full scrapbook layout too.

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