Tuesday, February 19, 2008

How to make pretty personalized cards

For a girl...

For a boy...

And a surprise!!!

  • Heavy paper (I use printmaking paper because it stands up well to the Sewing machine and other rough handling)
  • Glue, I use tacky, diluted a little Glue stick
  • Thread
  • Scrap material
  • Scrap paper

  • Ruler
  • Bone folder or chopsticks
  • Sewing machine
  • Heavy books for pressing
  • Paintbrush


When I make a card series I like to use my materials to help dictate the quantity and content of the cards. With this particular series I had a need for Three “congrats on your new baby” cards. We had one boy, one girl, and one undecided. So I decide to make them based on the classic gender color schemes. I scavenged my paper/cloth scrap boxes for three-color piles. I kept in mind to look for a large background piece of paper for each, then a swatch that was to be the focal point, and then some accents that might or might not make it into the composition.

Card size
There is nothing more frustrating then making a beautiful card to send to someone and you realize you don’t have an envelope big enough. If it is a non –traveling card this is no problem. I love making funky shaped cards for my honey. For the others I try to think before hand about how it will be delivered. All of these will be mailed. For mailing cards I almost always go with a standard card size envelope and make the card to that size or smaller. I really enjoy more creative solutions for envelopes so when it is a hand delivered card you can have more fun. Just keep in mind the postal service has gotten pickier in the last 6 years with mailed packages and you want your precious handmades to get there. So with all that said I made the cards all the same size by picking a scrap paper that would make size appropriate cards.


I like to use a heavy printmaking paper with some tooth. Printmaking papers are made to stand up to abuse and they press beautifully back into flat pieces of artwork. They also stand up really well under the sewing machine foot.

Burnishing and glue

I like to use a glue stick to secure paper that will later be sewn and really any rather thin paper or small scraps that might fall apart under glue.
The most important part of gluing is burnishing.
Use a cover sheet to protect your card and absorb any excess glue.
Be very serious with your burnishing, it will make your card look polished.
I like to use a bone folder (it is really hard)
But a chopstick will also work.

To make cards

  • Tear or cut your cards to size
  • Fold and burnish card
  • Glue your background in place (this could also be painted or stained or plain)
    burnish, burnish, burnish
  • Arrange your collage playing around with different scenarios and
    thinking about how you will eventually attach each piece
  • Attach your collage elements, burnish

  • When sewing on your card test on a scrap first
    (machine tension on paper and cloth can be tricky)

  • After the entire image has been secured cover the work on the interior of the card with a piece of paper the slightly smaller than the card itself,
    burnish, burnish, burnish.

  • Fold your card and using a cover sheet burnish entire card (lots of pressure)

  • Using heavy books press the cards for a day or so.
  • Send out your smile makers!!!


Laura said...

excellent! i felt as if you were channeling syd.
love you! (oh and btw, these are my most favorite cards to get!)

jgomula said...

I totally agree! These would be really easy to do in one of my book-making classes, and they are just beautiful!

Judy said...

How cool is this. I followed a link on Sew-Whats-New and it brought me here. You go girl! Makes me proud of you. :)

oxo Judy

Unknown said...

This is a great idea. I do not know why I didn't think of it earlier since I do fabric postcards and atc's. Thanks somuch for a great tutorial with lots of pics.....I will be making them now....

Linda said...

Oh WOW won't this be way too cool to do for Birthdays,Christmas,Easter and all those other times we send cards. I am so tired of paying those high prices for cards. Thanks for the wonderful instructions. My poems might not be as good as theirs, but it will sure cut the mustard.Thanks.Linda

LubbyGirl said...

This is a great idea - I wondered how this could be done, and since I love to sew AND make cards, what better tutorial!! Thank you for sharing. I found this through a link on Sew What's New. Great site, and so is yours.