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I have several friends who love to send greeting cards for all occasions: thank you, thinking of you, get well, miss you, happy birthday, etc. It’s because of these thoughtful friends that I’ve begun giving sets of handmade cards as gifts. It’s a small and easy-to-make homemade gift that you can give to a friend or coworker. It shows that you took the time to create something especially for them and at the same time helps them to keep in touch with their friends and family.
However, I always run into the same problem when I’m creating a new set of cards. I never know what sentiment to add to the card. Should it say “Happy Birthday,” “Thank You,” “Thinking of You,” or something entirely different? I’ve decided that instead of choosing for them, I’ll give them the choice of what sentiment goes on each card.
I like to make “Build-a-Card” sets. I provide the base of the card, decorated with patterned paper, and then I create separate sentiments that can be added to the basic card. This way each card can be customized for the recipient. Here’s how they’re made:
2 sheets of coordinating patterned paper
sentiment stamps (or printed sentiments from the computer)
note card envelopes
double-sided tape with peel-off backing
- Cut eight rectangles from white cardstock. (8” x 5 ¼” folded in half fits into a note-card envelope)
- Fold each sheet in half to create a note card.
- Choose a coordinating set of patterned paper.
- Cut eight rectangles from the coordinating patterned paper. (5” x 3 ¾”)
- Use a glue stick to adhere a rectangle of patterned paper to the front of each note card. There will be an 1/8” border of white around the paper.
- Choose three or four sentiments that you’d like to use. I chose “Thank You,” “Thinking of You,” and “Happy Birthday” stamps. You can also use your computer and print the sentiments directly onto cardstock.
- Stamp (or print) at least four of each sentiment onto white cardstock and trim the sentiments into rectangles.
- Add double-sided tape to the back of each sentiment. Do not peel off the backing to the exposed side of the tape. This will allow your recipient to quickly peel off the backing and attach their sentiment of choice to each card.
- Cut a strip of coordinating paper about ¾” wide and 11” long. Wrap the strip around the stack of envelopes and cards and use a glue stick to create a ring around the set. You can also use coordinating ribbon or fiber to hold the set together.
- Put each set of sentiments into a small baggie (these can be found in the bead section of a craft store). I like to punch holes in the baggies and then thread a piece of decorative fiber through the holes. Then I tie the three baggies to the set of cards. It makes a nice presentation of the gift.
That’s all there is to it. Now you have a set of handmade cards that can be mixed and matched with different sentiments. My design is very basic and the look of each set varies greatly based on the patterned paper I choose. This particular set has a very calm, elegant, and serene feel to it. Using a bright, bold pattern will create a completely different mood. Choose a pattern that will reflect the person giving the cards.
Here are some additional design tips for adding some flair to your card sets:
- Ink the edges of the patterned paper and the sentiment mini-cards to add an additional colored border and special touch.
- Create each card in a different base color to create a rainbow of choices.
- Add a border of coordinating fiber to the cards to add texture.
- Use double-sided foam tape on the back of each sentiment to create even more dimension.