Back to Basics

If you’ve never made cards before then you don’t know what you’re missing!  Making your own greeting cards is a wonderful hobby that you can enjoy either on your own or with family and friends.  I find that card making is becoming more and more popular as time goes by.  Once a novelty, hand made greeting cards are becoming more and more mainstream.

Why pay $5 or more for a card (and that’s considered cheap now-a-days) when you can make a card for less than $0.50?  Besides, cost-savings aside, in this era of instant messaging, emails and text, people really appreciate the fact that someone took the time to make them a card. It’s more personal, it’s more individualized and it really shows someone you care.  And guess what?  It’s also incredibly easy to make your own cards.  You don’t have to be creative and you don’t have to have a lot of time.  You also don’t need a whole lot of supplies.  You can start making cards with a few basic things, then add to your supplies as time goes on. So, now that you know all the reasons why you should start making your own cards, what next?

How do you actually get started card making?

That’s where this series of tutorials comes in! I’ve designed these card making tutorials to help beginner or “wannabe” card makers get started.

During my workshops, I find that first time rubber stampers and card makers often feel overwhelmed at the thought of making their own cards.  Common questions are

“Do my card kits come pre-cut for me?”
“How do I cut my cardstock?”
“How do I decide what size to cut my mats?”
“Where do you get your ideas for your cards?”, etc. etc.

One of the things that I discovered as I’ve been surfing the web is that although there are a ton of phenomenal tutorials out there on blogs and websites that showcase awesome techniques and 3D projects, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot on how you actually get started making cards, and basic stamping techniques.

So it is my intention to attempt to fill that need.

My tutorials will  provide step-by-step directions and video tutoriala, and will cover all aspects of card making using rubber stamps.  It’s my plan to add segments weekly which will link off of this page.  All products used in the tutorials and on the projects are from Stampin’ Up!.   While there are many awesome products on the market, as a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator, these are the products that I represent and hence specialize in.  Besides, regardless of the fact that I am a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator, I find that Stampin’ Up!’s products are extremely high quality, and I’m always pleased with how my projects turn out.

If you’ve found these tutorials helpful, be sure to check out the rest of my blog and my personal website ( for more project ideas and for the latest information on Stampin’ Up! customer classes & specials.

Back to Basics

Whether you’ve just ventured into the wonderful world of card making or you’re a seasoned crafter who has amassed more paper and tools than you know what to do with, understanding and reviewing basics of tools and terminology will ensure years of successful card making

For many experienced card makers, browsing through your current Stampin’ Up! catalogue or wandering the isles of the craft store is the equivalent of a child walking through a lolly aisle in the supermarket .  The beautiful papers, glittery embellishments and the latest must-have tools are all tempting us to add them to our shopping basket.  However, for the beginner card maker, deciding where to begin and what to buy can be overwhelming.  Learning the basics of any craft and establishing a strong foundation is essential to achieving success and alleviating frustration – after all, creating should be an enjoyable experience  Let us help you build that foundation here with Back to Basics.

The Tool Kit

As a new card maker, one of the first things to put together is a basic paper- and card crafting tool kit.  Key items to include are;

  • Paper Trimmer
  • Bone Folder
  • Scissors
  • Adhesive (variety)

Your kit will evolve according to the interests that you develop, adding tools that may not necessarily be the bare-bones basics, yet making creating easier.  Some suggestions are

  • Punches
  • Tweezers


Various styles of paper are available for your to choose from – plain, printed, textured, mat, glossy single and double-sided.  The weight of the papers will vary from heavier, sturdier card stock ideal for use as a card base, to lighter-weight papers such as Designer Series Paper in a rainbow of colours and textures which are more commonly used to add layers or embellish.  Vellum and window sheets and can be available with coloured, plain, printed, textured and iridescent effects.


There are so many adhesives as types of paper.  It is important to choose an adhesive that works well with your paper.  For example, vellum is translucent and may adhesives will show through.  Always read the packaging and look for an adhesive designed for use with the product you are using.

  • Glue dots- good for hard embellishments such as buttons, ribbon, wooden elements
  • Stampin’ Dimentionals – use to raise or lift elements to create dimension
  • Tear & Tape Adhesive – Great for off the page projects, 3D items
  • Fast Fuse or SNAIL – quick to use, come in a hard case, and refillable
  • Glue Stick – great for large coverage
  • Glue Pen – good for tiny areas

Card size & Style

Any size of shape that you can think of is possible when it comes to creating cards.  Some of the most common sizes are:

  • 4 ¼” x 5 ½” (11 x 14cm)
  • 6” x  6” square (15 x 15cm)
  • 3”x 3” note card  (7.6 x 7.6cm)

Create a card in a top, side or gatefold orientation to best fit the design you’ve chosen.  Accordion-style cards, window cards and shaped cards are further options to consider and are an easy way to add interest to your project.

If stock envelopes are not available for a particular card size, simply modify a large envelope, design a custom one using the envelope punch board, or use a small paper bag as a creative alternative.

To create a clean professional base from which to begin, score your card stock before folding.  Several tools and methods are available to assist you with this, the most basic being a bone folder or stylus, either of which can be used with a ruler or create a smooth straight score line.  Stampin’ Up! Paper Trimmer includes a score blade designed to be used just like the cutting blade.  There are also boards that measure groves and a scoring tool, like the Simply Scored tool from Stampin’ Up!.  Whichever method you choose, practice first, as each will react differently depending on the paper and the amount of pressure that you use.

The Language

Understanding what people and instructions are saying is important.  Like the langue of e-mail and text messaging, there is also a language of crafting.  Some common terms are:

  • Score – create an indentation in the paper in order to have  a crisp fold
  • Burnish – reference to the use of a bone folder on the score line when folding, or to rub the surface to secure when adhering
  • Mountain Fold – upward fold like a mountain
  • Valley Fold – downward fold like a valley
  • Portrait – card orientation similar to a portrait of a person, longest measurement being vertical
  • Landscape – card orientation similar to a picture of a landscape or the horizon, longest measurement being horizontal
  • Gatefold – Style of card with a right and left flap that join in the middle like a gate
  • Accordion – Style of card where vertical score lines create panes resembling an accordion, or scoring a strip to create accordion pleats
  • Die cut – a shape cut use a die and Big Shot machine
  • Pressure Emboss – texture or designs created with embossing folders, dies, stencils, stylus, with and or machine pressure
  • Heat Emboss – created with inks, embossing powders and a heat tool
  • Direct to Paper (DTP) – technique where inks are applied directly to the paper from the ink pad
  • Dashed line – usually refers to fold line
  • Solid Line – usually refers to cut line


A vast amount of techniques exist, you may find yourself drawn to one or more so, than another.  Combine techniques to create further visual interest.  There are no set rules or limitations to card making, so jump right in and enjoy getting back to the basics with your card making.