Making Your Own Greeting Cards - Frugal & Fun!

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Like many others - across the country and around the world - hubby and I are counting our pennies.   We’ve had some challenges thrown our way this year and are focusing on being frugal while still living a good life. Luckily, we’re both resourceful and come from pretty humble beginnings!

One of my recent exercises in frugality has to do with handcrafted greeting cards.  Though many people have done away with sending greeting cards by mail, and make do with emails or phone calls, I still send cards to friends and family on a regular basis.  Whether I’m wishing someone a happy birthday, am expressing my thanks, or am sending a card “just because”, I love sending folks a piece of snail mail in hopes of brightening their day.

And though I’ve made some of my own cards in the past, I don’t always make them.  I often purchase cards, and if you’ve turned over a greeting card to look at the price on the back lately, you may have been as surprised as I often am.  $5.00 for a card?!  Especially for a so-so card?  Yikes!  When you send as many greeting cards as I do, this particular expense adds up quickly.  All the better reason to make some.

This past weekend I sat down to make an assortment of greeting cards.  It was a great way to save some money, exercise my creativity, and use some of the art supplies I have on-hand.  I’m pleased to share the results with you, dear readers.  Perhaps you’ll be inspired to make some greeting cards of your own!

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19 Cards and Counting ...

I worked for about four hours and made nineteen greeting cards.  I didn’t photograph each and every card, but am sharing a sampling of the cards below.  I hope you like them!

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The Materials

I opted for white cards measuring 4” x 5 ½”, which I purchased at Michaels. The pack contained 25 cards/envelopes and cost $5.00, so each blank card cost a mere 20 cents.  Naturally there are other materials involved, so the per-card cost is a bit higher in the end, but because I own many art and crafting supplies already, I didn’t have to spend any more money on this particular project.

What other supplies did I use?  Here’s a list, for your reference:

Strathmore Watercolor Paper
FW Pearlescent Liquid Acrylics
Gold & Silver Schmincke Powder
Walnut Ink
An inexpensive paintbrush
Paper towels
Cardstock
Patterned paper
Fiskars Paper Trimmer
Copies of black & white family photos
Black StazOn ink
Rubber stamps
Elmer’s Glue Dots

Technique Overview

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Most of the cards I made consist of an embellished 3 ¼” x 4 ½” rectangle mounted onto the front of a blank greeting card.  Many were treated with a wash and then stamped with black ink, and some also had a heart cut out attached as well.

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I used technique number four for most of my backgrounds, but if you’d like to keep it simpler, you could use patterned scrapbook paper or a metallic cardstock instead.

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I kept my card designs simple and was able to “batch” my work - grouping similar tasks for multiple cards.  This helped reduce the amount of time I spent on each card.

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Ditch the Quilting Bee & Host a Card-Making Bee!

If you know other crafters and artists, consider hosting a card-making party.  Not only will you have a great time visiting as you create, but by pooling your supplies and resources you’ll have access to many more supplies than you might personally own.  This is a great way for folks focusing on frugality to save money and to have some fun as well!

Please let me know if you have any questions about a particular card, a technique, or about the materials. I'd be happy to answer any questions and/or to receive your feedback on this project...

Recent Posts by Melody M. Nunez

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