Sunday, 14 September 2014

Making your own greeting cards


Sending greeting cards to loved ones and friends on special occasions like Birthdays, holidays and anniversaries can give you great satisfaction and the receiver gets the great feeling that not only did you remember but you also took the time to send them a greeting card.


What could be better that that, well how about making that greeting card your self? Now before you start to put up all kinds of reasons why you could not make a greeting card stop. There are many ways to make greeting cards that are unique from you too the receiver, from embellishing bought greeting cards to making them from scratch.


Now you may have to learn new skills or adapt old ones, the thing is to play to your strengths and to slowly move out of your comfort zone and not jump right out of it. You can embellish existing greeting cards by following my earlier post at Hand made Greeting cards The next step up from this is to buy a greeting card kit. You can buy greeting card kits from many good craft stores or on line from the likes of Crafts U Print. The kits that you get from craft stores of shows might have a better finish with thicker card stock, gloss finish and metallic inks but if you make a mistake you might have to buy another kit. On the other hand the kits that you download from sites likeCrafts U Print  you can print out over and over again which makes them cost effective when making greeting cards for holidays like Christmas. You can also experiment printing the greeting card kit onto different paper, card or even photo paper for that gloss effect.


Warning; from here on out it can get very addictive! You will soon find that you are mixing and matching from different greeting card kits and from here it is only a small step before you are making your greeting cards from scratch.


You can take the elements and colour them and combine them on your computer making a greeting card ready to be printed straight onto a card blank or just plain card that you then cut to size. Or you could print out all the elements and colour and construct them by hand on your kitchen table or a combination of both. Each way has its own merits and difficulties, please keep in mind that methods that other people use to get results that they like mean nothing unless you can repeat the method and it gives you the result you want, by all means try new methods and if it works for you then great, if not let it go.

forgotten bench post cards
forgotten bench post cards by martinspaperstore
Shop for White Postcards online at Zazzle.com

You can spend a small fortune on card making equipment and supplies if you are not careful which can make you think twice about the claims that many websites say that they can save you money by creating your own greeting cards! In pure money terms you are probably better off buying your greeting cards in a job lot from a discount where house for the next ten years and do not forget to post the cards off early so that you only pay second class postage.

trees and snow postcard
trees and snow postcard by martinspaperstore
Browse Trees Postcards online at Zazzle.com

Making your own greeting cards is so much more that saving a dollar or two, it is about unleashing your creativity and putting love into the greeting cards that you send. Your loved ones and friends will know that you have put in time and effort to make their greeting card or will think that you have spent a lot of money on a unique hand crafted greeting card.


Many of the tools and supplies that you will need you may already have, epically if you have children, which by the way card making is a great activity you can do with them. Even if you do not have children shopping in the children’s section of a supermarket will get you six big tubes of different colour glitter glue for less than the cost of one small tube at a craft store. Sure the quality is less but till you have to have used both you will not know that. When you are just starting out keep the cost low till you know that this is what you like, after all most of the tools only make one particular job easy, it could sit in your tool box for years.


Below are links to sites where you can get the tools and elements you need to make greeting cards, they range from free to hundreds of dollars, I do not recommend one over another, after all what works for me might not work for you.


Computer programs to help you make greeting cars on your computer;



Sites where you can get information on making greeting cards and greeting card kits and tools, some of which may ask you for your email so that you can get the free stuff.


Here are some sites where you can get free elements to use in making greeting cards for your personal use.


And here is a site where you can enter a free draw at www.ppjump.co.uk/cc51 to get loads of goodies.


Now you may think that this is all too much trouble and you would rather just pick a greeting card and order it, well that is fine and if you are looking for a greeting card that you may not find on the high street then have a look at;



And if they do not have what you want you can always ask the artist at Hreeting Card Universe greeting card universe to make the card you want.

Sometimes making greeting cards for your loved ones and friends is all the gratification you need but sometimes your output is greater than the needs of your close ones. It would be nice if you could reduce the cost of your past time, better still if you could make a profit! Over the next couple of blog posts I will talk you through making money from your greeting card making, both hand made and digital.



Disclaimer, some of the links but not all in this blog I make money from if you click on them or purchase from the website, after all I need to feed my family. 

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Grandparents Day


8th of September is grandparents day, a day to remind us to let us show our grandparents how much we appreciate them for all that they have done for us. It is hard to put into words all what grandparents do for us and it is different for each of us even between siblings.


Their houses are adventure playgrounds filled with the coolest stuff; they seam to have a never ending supply of chocolate and candy. When you are hungry they make food that is way more tasty than what you get at home and of course there is always desert.


Grandparents know the best stories and games and will let you play all day long. They do not have silly rules like bed time, you go to bed when you are ready to sleep and if you can stay awake you can stay up. The few rules that they do have are actually fun to follow.


It is almost like grandparents are kids in grown up bodies, they are kids with power. When mum and dad say NO, grandparents will usually say YES or they will give you something better. Grandparents are the best friends you can have.


So keep them on your side and let them know that you love them on Grandparents day after all they are the only people you know that can tell mum and dad that it is their bed time.



Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Greeting Card Universe for Inspiration



 

Many artists now use print on demand sites (POD) as a great way to get their art out in front of the public. This brings many advantages to both the artist and you the buyer of art, not lest of which is the cost and access to people from around the world.

 


 

For the artist is the saving of not having to pay up front to have a selection of their art printed in different sizes and on different products so that their stall at the local craft fair will look appealing to the public. Not to mention the cost of renting the stall at the craft fair and cost, hassle of getting their work too and from the craft fair and setting up the stall. For some artists the though of selling their art or worse still being face to face with the public and having to talk about their art gives them such anxiety that they give up before they even start.

 


 

POD sites take a lot of this away for the artist, for a relatively small up front fee and or a percentage the artist can upload all of their work onto a POD site and even have their art available on products the artist had not even though of. In addition to the above the artist also has no worries about taking payment, packing & shipping, printing or returns as the POD site takes care of all of this and more.

 


 

So what about you the buyer, what do you get out of the POD site? First and foremost is a huge selection of art and artists, on a range of products, far bigger than you would get at any craft fair. You get to see and buy the art of up and coming artists from around the world that can not be found any where else. You also get to see styles and subjects of art that you like and not what is dictated by some manager whose main concern is how well the greeting card will sell!

 


 

So who are these POD sites? Well they come in all sizes and styles but two of the biggest have to be Zazzle and Cafepress they both offer art on a huge range of products as well as greeting cards. Then you get sites like Redbubble and Fine Art America that started off more focused on the artists needs but over time have grown to look after the buyer as well.

 


 

If you are looking for greeting cards then one POD site stands out from the rest, Greeting Card Universe as they only sell greeting cards, their motto is “Any greeting card imaginable” this is followed up with “if you do not see what you are looking for just ask”. If you can not find a greeting card for the occasion or with the subject or in the style you want, then you can leave a message on the site telling them what you want, this is then passed on to all the artists on the site, you will then be sent a link to where the new cards that the artists have produced. Secondly, if you find a greeting card that is almost perfect but just needs a few changes then you can contact the artist directly and ask them to make the changes, all this at no extra cost to you.

 


 

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Greeting Card Inspiration on Twitter

Cute Dazzled Bug Birthday Cards
Cute Dazzled Bug Birthday Cards by borianag
Shop for a card with zazzle.com
Following on from my last post this time I will be looking at finding inspiration on the social network site Twitter. At first look social network sites can be a bit overwhelming, from how you set up your account with followers or groups, circles of friends, family or others. Then there is how you interact on the site and what type of language is acceptable, even if upper case letters are classed as shouting. Once you have got past all the tech stuff they all break down the same way and that is the people using them.
The first type of people that use social network sites only want to interact with their friends, family and colleagues. Most of these people believe that the internet is for their own privet use and get quite upset even hostile when they find out that strangers can “listen in on their privet conversation posted on the internet!”. Avoid these people like the plague.
Happy 34th Birthday Flower Pansy Greeting Cards
Happy 34th Birthday Flower Pansy Greeting Cards by martinspaperstore
Check out more Happy 34th birthday Cards at Zazzle
The next group of people take the social network sites on face value, they accumulate friends or followers and they like to share what they have found on the internet. These people can be a great resource of inspiration but are erratic in the subject matter that they deliver, be careful some of their friends or followers will fit into the category above.
The next group are companies that are hoping to grow their brand and interaction with customers. Some companies are a source of inspiration in of them self’s, while others share inspiration of others. Companies tend to have quite a narrow area of inspiration but a very rich one as they have lots of money and people to invest in it.
The last group of people are artists; some of them only share their own art which in its self can be a great source of inspiration but many of them not only share their own art but the art of others as well. This can be a great source of inspiration on a wide number of subjects and styles. Best of all, many of the artists below are willing to share your art with their followers if only you interact with them, once you have got your inspiration back that is.
On twitter if people want others that are not following them to find their tweets (posts) they use an hash tag # like #Birthday, #art, #photo or #Christmas. If you want to find tweets on a subject then just type in what you are looking for. On twitter you only have 140 characters per tweet so the search results are targeted unlike some sites where you can add a thesaurus of tags that have nothing to do with the post.
Below are some links to people on twitter. Their art work is awesome, they are grate to interact with and they are very generous in sharing other peoples work to their followers. 
WARNING! If you follow all of the above people you could lose months of your life viewing links to great art work.
Very Red Rose White Outline "Love" Cards
Very Red Rose White Outline "Love" Cards by FloralbyFred
Look at Flower closeup Cards online at Zazzle.com
Seriously if you want to know what Twitter can do for you then following the above people will give you a great insight as to what Twitter can do and the inspiration it can bring. Do not be mislead by how many followers the above accounts have, because of the power of Re-Tweets most of the above people have their tweets seen by hundreds of thousands of people every day and some of them number in the millions.







Sunday, 13 July 2014

Ideas and Resources for Greeting Card Makes

I design and create greeting cards which I put on POD (print on demand) sites like Greeting Card Universe and Zazzle. When I have an image or a design that I like I frequently turn it into a group of greeting cards for specific people, so if it is a Birthday greeting card I will remake it for different ages and for different family members like 50th 60th Mom, Dad or Sister. I also enjoy photograph so it is no surprise that most of my greeting card a photo based or have photo elements within them, even the handmade cards that I make for friends and family usually have some photo elements in them.
When I get an idea or an image that I like I become like a dog with a bone, playing around with it till I have got a greeting card that I think will work but then there are times when nothing comes to mind and it is at times like this that I look for inspiration. The two main points you need to keep in mind is that first you have to be open to inspiration no matter where it may come from, the second is that you are looking to kick start your work and NOT COPY OTHER PEOPLES WORK. You might find that everywhere you look you see lots of images of lilies and even though you like foxgloves you should try lilies as your subject and see if it works for you. Maybe you could go monochrome to focus on form and texture instead of colour, getting out of your comfort zone and trying different subjects or styles is a great way to improve your skills and reignite your inspiration.
I have put together a list of websites and blogs to help you get your inspiration going again. The list is in no particular order and is just copied from my own list that I add to when I find a new site. Some of the sites will require your email for you to get at the good stuff.

My Grafico has lots of great templates and clip art for sale plus free graphics and tutorials.

I love
MYGRAFICO

Digi Design Resort has lots of greeting card kits for sale but also has designer classes section, it has a gallery section with photos of completed kits from members and buyers and has a forum if you have any questions.

Crafts U Print a huge site with all your crafting needs. You can buy everything you need for crafting and scrapbooking, from tools to kits and accessories. There is lots of free stuff to from tutorials and videos and graphics. Also they have free games where you can win real prizes and if you buy a kit you can upload an image of your completed greeting card and if they use it you will get paid every time some buys that kit from then on.

Craftsuprint - The Worlds
Largest Legal Craft Download Site!

Messtaken Identity has lots of kits for sale a gallery and tutorials.


Scrapbook Wonderlanda blog style site with lots of info and links to cool stuff.

Scrap Inspired a blog style site with videos, online classes and free updates.

Polka Doodles lots of great stuff for crafting from glue to stencils and digital stamps and tools. They hold regular challenges where you can show off your greeting card makes and have a chance to win some great prizes.

Daisy Trail  a print on demand (POD) site with arties from all over the world. They have free greeting card kits as well as kits to buy, regular challenges a gallery and a forum where you can get lots of information and ask questions.

Fancy Pants Designs is a nice site that has free downloads and an ideas gallery.

Peppermint Creative as well as having lots of great buys they have free downloads and a community page and a gallery where you can see what people have made with the products.
I hope that these sites give you some inspiration and next time I will be looking at some of the social network sites to find inspiration.


Some of the links are affiliate links. 

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Trick or Treat

This is the Halloween edition so be prepared to be terrified and shocked. Stop it; I am not talking about my writing and grammar, I promise to keep them horrors to a minimum. I cannot promise that there will be no tricks but if you are brave enough to look, even through your fingers there will be plenty of treats. Let the blood and guts flow as the ghouls and zombies rise.   


Some great Halloween greeting cards, yes. What too fluffy and cute for you but please this blog post is in the style of the classics, I have to get you relaxed and at ease before I can scare you out of your skins. I also have to show the sensors that this is not just another “B” rated hack and slash horror blog. If you need more scroll down, I dare you!

How was that? What! You want darker or blacker, you are starting to frighten me now. Are you sure you are human, maybe you are a ghoul or a ghost, ok give me another chance, let me give one more go.  Scroll down, I dare you!

What kind of demon are you? Ok I will give up the black arts and tell you my sources if only you will spare my sole but I warn you do not click the links unless you have the power. Scroll down, I dare you!



You must be from the Ninth Circle of hell or Hates himself to know that to make a truly horrible Halloween you need to make it yourself, so I will give you the links to the tombs that will give you the knowledge and tools to make your own horrible Halloween. All that I ask is that you forget my name and never call upon me again.  

Crafts U Print the first point of call for all your scrapbooking and card making needs. 

Mygrafico your second point of call for all your scrapbooking and card making needs.

At Digidesignresort for the cost of your email and name you get their news letter full of tips, trends and freebees. 


Happy Halloween. 

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Unique Greeting Cards

Finding unique greeting cards to send to your loved ones can be hard; having looked long and hard for a greeting card that fits them and the occasion it would not be great to know that someone has sent them the exact same greeting card, the chance of this happening can increase for holidays where card giving is popular like “Thanks Giving” or “Charismas”.
Many of the large greeting card manufactures that have stores on the high street or in shopping centres may have at what first seems like large selection of greeting cards which quickly drops down when you start to look at the individual categories. Some stores that sell lots of different goods as well as greeting cards may well have some unique greeting card produced only for their company along with a selection from a number of the large greeting card manufactures. Your next stop on your search for unique greeting cards would be small independent greeting card stores. By their very nature they will have the smallest selection of greeting cards but each one unique from the cards in the large branded stores. This is because they will be getting their greeting cards from the smaller manufactures that are unable to supply the lager branded stores and if you are lucky they will have greeting cards made by local artists.
To find the largest selection of unique greeting cards you need to venture onto the internet where you can find the work of tens of thousands of artists and designers from all over the globe. My first point of call would be Greeting Card Universe that only produces greeting cards, finding cards is easy by typing in “key words” or using their very logical categories that can be very specific “happy birthday estranged farther from daughter”. You can alter the inside verse on all the cards and on some of the cards you can alter the text on the front or even add your own photo to a section of the front of the card. You can even ask an artist to alter one of their designs for you or you can put in a request for a design you have in mind that will go out to all the artists on the site and you will get to see how artists with different styles interpret your request and all for no extra cost to you.
The next place to look would be the gift sites where you can find artists and designers work for sale on many items from clothing to clocks and puzzles to phone cases as well as greeting cards. Two of the biggest would be Zazzle and Cafepress press, the large number of products and designers on each of the sites can make it a little daunting in finding what you are looking for but is well worth the effort. Other sites are more tailored to the artists manly focusing on art prints and canvases but also include greeting cards, sites like “Red bubble” and “fine arts America”. Then there are the newer and smaller sites where the market place is not flooded with the designs of the more prolific artists like Mydoodle and Societ 6.
Renae Birthday Cavalier Spaniel Card
Renae Birthday Cavalier Spaniel Card by myshelle
Check out Spaniel Cards online at zazzle
One thing that all the websites above have in common is that once you have found and purchased your unique greeting card that design is still there for any number of people to come along and buy it, even if you have had a design changed by an artist on greeting card universe, the artist will think “one person liked the changes enough they bought it, maybe others will buy it as well” so leave for all to see and buy. The next group of websites are where you can buy handmade products only. On sites like www.Etsy.com or www.Folksy.com  you can find beautifully hand crafted greeting cards that by their nature are only produced in small numbers.
To get truly unique greeting cards for you loved ones and friends is to make them yourself. STOP, before you click away from this site thinking that it is going to be too hard or fiddly and you have no artist talent in you give me a chance, after all you have read this far why not read the rest of it. Now, I am not talking about making your unique greeting cards from scratch though I am sure that in a short time and with a little practice that is exactly what you will be doing. I am not even talking about using the wonderful kits with easy to follow instructions that you can down load and print out over and over again from great sites like Crafts U Print or My Grafico.
Embellishing greeting cards that you have acquired, I like to buy packs of holiday greeting cards from charities or thrift shops, these are not so expensive that you will worry about making mistakes and are a good starting point to hone your talents. When choosing your greeting cards try to pick a simple designs or pleasant images that have plenty of space to place you embellishments, the ideal card is one that you think is nice but just needs a little bit more decoration.
Many of the tools that you will need you may already have around your home; pens, scissors, marker pens, paper glue and if you have children you may have a lot more like paints, glitter, colouring pens, paint brushes and more. A quick visit to your local craft store or the craft section of a department store will give you an idea or the range of embellishments that you can use to decorate your cards with. You will need to have self-control not to buy everything you see, I know that I do. Buying a few stock items to get you started will do today, as you get the bug for making greeting cards you can build up your stock of what you like and know how to use and what tools will be useful to you. To start, for the price of one or two greeting cards you can get a selection of rhinestones, glitter glue and foam pads.
Taking a perfectly pleasant greeting card like the one above by adding a little embellishment you can make it uniquely your own.
tools photo tools.jpg
Above are some of the tools you might find useful when creating your greeting cards and below is a small selection of rhinestones, glitter glue and foam pads, this small selection is enough to make many cards.
glitter and rhinstones photo glitterandrindstones.jpg
By just adding a little glitter glue in different colours can make a big change to a greeting card. Using glitter glue is good for intricate work, if you want to cover larger areas it would be better to apply glue and then sprinkle on glitter, remember to put your card onto a large piece of paper or card so that you can collect the unused glitter.
silver glitter photo
cardwithsilverg-1.jpg
silver and gold photo
silverandgold.jpg
red silver and gold photo
redsilverandgold.jpg
Adding a few rhinestones to key points on your greeting card to finish off. Let the cards design or image speak to you as to where to add the glitter and rhinestones. When you first start it can be hard to know when to stop “less is more” after all you want to add to your card not overwhelm it.
close up 2 photo
Untitled-1.jpg
Try different styles and effects, do not be worried about making mistakes as you can always start again on another card and above all have fun.

Now the before and after.

snow and rhinestones
snow and rhinestones by martinspaperstore
Shop for Martinspixs Cards online at Zazzle.com