I remember making cards already from my childhood. During crafting lessons in basic school, it was custom to make your own creations for holidays and I still have it in my blood. Right now, I enjoy watching my little one developing the same enthusiasm.
Since I wasn’t crafting for some time, I loved observing other crafters and when I had enough time until holidays or events, I also placed orders. When I started my big “vacation”, I decided to explore the paper world along with crocheting.
I don’t know anymore, how I came across this information, but with great excitement I rolled myself into a workshop, which was also a machine introduction. The trainer’s own machines and cutting blades could be used there. This was my first contact with paper cutting machines. In this workshop we used machines where you had to roll the paper with a cutting die and handle through the machine and had a separate die for each image. The photo shows my favorite card from this workshop. I really enjoyed working there and was considering buying a machine myself, but since I didn’t make cards very often and I found it too expensive to find and buy cutting dies, I abandoned the idea.
My other half, however, did not leave the matter and continued research. I got such a gorgeous instrument for my birthday that I had tears in my eyes. I didn’t even know that this type of machine can be so advanced, but my technical enthusiast found the highest level. I now have a yellow Cricut Explore Air 2 on the table. Compared to what I tried in the card workshop, this machine is electronic, and the cut shapes can be set in the software. This means that one blade is installed on the machine and you can determine which image and in what size to cut. The software offers projects itself and allows you to import images yourself.
I do not mean to say that a big machine is absolutely necessary to make cards – that has been my journey. If you are interested in guided activities, I also recommend finding some workshops – these offer the equipment and experienced people who share good tips. Nowadays, you can also find a lot of video tutorials on Youtube, which you can try at home. When you find a good video, it usually shows what you need in the beginning – you can get the equipment from the store and then craft along with the video. Well-stocked handicraft shops sell ready-made cutouts. If you want to make cards only for personal use to give to loved ones, it is not necessary to buy a machine, but instead to find a good store that offers you exciting things.
One great helper, which I was also very happy to find, is a paper trimmer, which can also be used to draw scoring lines. A guillotine is probably familiar from school or the office – I would call the trimmer its little brother. There you can cut straight lines on cardstock with a sharp sliding blade. In addition, the base table has grooves and comes with a tool to draw a nice straight scoring line by pressing on the paper above the groove. The base table also has a ruler (in inches and centimeters) that can be used to measure a cut section or line spacing.
The discovery of design paper also became a great inspiration for me. I still visit this nice craft shop quite often, because they have all the thinkable and unthinkable tools for paper art. On one sale I was blown away by design papers and thanks to them I discovered a whole new world and style for myself. These papers have a decent thickness and beautiful pictures, and you can already make beautiful cards with them alone. I started researching them on social media and found groups and channels where crafters shared their work for inspiration. Thanks to them, I have learned new techniques again.
Paper is a very simple tool, but it can be used to do mystical things. I have to admit that I am not very brave about this yet. One of the biggest things I’ve learned is that the thickness of the paper is important. In the beginning I bought regular colour papers for testing, but with glue they wrinkle and get wavy, even when they are put under a press (read: under a pile of books). The measure you should pay attention to in stores is gsm – grams per square meter. For example, printer paper is 80 gsm. The colour paper that is bought for school art classes is 120 gsm – it can already be used to make 3D flowers. The paper to be used as a base and to which everything is glued should be at least 200 gsm. Design papers are also usually 240-250 gsm and are very suitable for making a strong card.
I have already mentioned making flowers – they can also be bought in different sizes for a start. They are mainly made of paper, fabric and foamiran. Recently, I did such a trick that I bought an artificial hyacinth from an interior store and pulled the blossoms from it.
You can also find beautiful stickers – pearls and crystals – to add some effect. If interested, you can add a beautiful ribbon or even lace. Our local crafting shop often sells ribbon or lace scraps on site. These are nice short strips that can be bought for twenty cents and added to a card for decoration.
What to glue it all with? Nowadays you can get crafting or PVA glue in every retail chain. It is an ordinary white glue that dries to a clear finish. At this point, I recommend observing the bottle cap or hole size. I currently have a bottle with a thinner hole for gluing small things and a larger nozzle to cover a larger area faster. If you do not have the time or patience to wait for the glue to dry, double-sided tape is a good help. I have to admit that I have been using just that lately. There are thin tapes that look like straight strips of glue. Thicker tapes or stickers can be used to raise layers or images.
Since I started paper crafts rather recently, I still do a lot of discovery work here, and there is so much information that it can’t be put together. I also want to write about these wonderful design papers and about different card trends. Since I really like functional things, I have found different styles that go beyond beautiful papers and flowers. In my opinion, Estonia also has its own style.
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