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How to Create Greeting Cards With Original Paintings

Updated on March 7, 2017
Robie Benve profile image

Robie:an artist believing in the power of positive thinking, she paints images intended to bring joy the viewer and loves to share art tips.

Greeting Cards Have a Huge Market

Billions of greeting cards are sold and given every year for a wide range of occasions and reasons. While some cards are more affordable, the Greeting Card Association reports that cards featuring special techniques, intricate designs, and new technologies can cost up to $10 each.

You can save some money and make your cards meaningful and special by making them yourself.

When I can, I make very personal and specific cards, thinking of the recipient, but I also like to have a stash of ready-to-go cards at any time.

At some point, I started selling my handmade and hand-painted cards, and people seem to really appreciate their unique designs.

How to make greeting cards using your own small paintings.
How to make greeting cards using your own small paintings. | Source

DIY Greeting Cards Using Blank Cards and Envelopes

I like to create my cards using purchased blank cards as support. Other people make the whole card from scratch, and that's definitely a good option.

Store-bought blank cards are very convenient because they come with matching envelopes, and look professional.

They came in different sizes and colors. Pick the one that suits you.

For this project I used 5' x 7' white cards, which have the extra bonus of being an easily framable size.

Supplies and Instructions

For Each Card, You Will Need:

1 Blank greeting card (I use 5'x7' cards)

1 Matching envelope

1 Small painting on paper or canvas paper. (Or tools needed to create it, like paper, paint, brushes, etc.)

Colored paper of your choice for background/mat (optional).

Acid free glue stick

Ruler

Scissors

DIY Greeting Card Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Create small paintings or use old paintings to make cards.
  2. Create interesting edges for your painting by tearing the paper with your hands or using pattern scissors.
  3. Get some colorful background paper to mat your painting. Pick the most suitable color or pattern for the specific painting you are working on.
  4. Cut the background paper the right shape and size to support that painting. You can create some interesting textured edges on the background as well.
  5. Glue the small painting on the background paper, creating a mat effect.
  6. Glue the matted painting on the front of the blank card.
  7. If you are selling the cards, it's a good idea to protect them in clear bags. (optional)
  8. Include the information that the card is hand made. (optional)
Small watercolor paintings can be used to make cute and artsy cards.
Small watercolor paintings can be used to make cute and artsy cards. | Source

Step One

Create Small Paintings

Get some your paint and brushes out, relax, and create several small paintings without worrying about the final result.

Trust me, that's the best way to end up with cute interesting pieces that look stress free and cute.

You can also create a big abstract painting and that cut it into smaller rectangles. Pick sizes that will fit and look nice on your blank cards.

Consider that you may want to have a colored background to frame the image like a mat. In that case, make your paintings smaller that the actual cards, to leave space for the mat.

I created my watercolor mini-paintings on watercolor paper using acrylic or watercolor paint.

You can also use markers, tempera, or any other medium that won't smudge when handled.

Using Old Paintings to Make Cards

Often I go through my old paintings - on paper or canvas paper - and I cut the ones that I don't like into smaller pieces, and use them to make cards.

For example, you can take a landscape watercolor painting, tear it into several rectangles; then look at each piece, and transform it into its own little painting, adding details as needed.

Use the original painted section as starting point, then change it into something else. You can add buildings, flowers, animals, trees, or make small abstract paintings, maybe intensifying some colors.

Whatever speaks to you.

If you mess up, no worries: it's just paper and a little bit of your time.

How Many Greeting Cards Do You Buy on Average?

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Step Two

Tear the Paper to Create Some Interesting Textured Edges

Instead of cutting straight with scissors or paper cutters, consider tearing the paper by hand.

This will add some visual interest, making the edges of your paintings more organic.

For a neat tear, fold the card both ways along a line, to create a straight edge.

When you tear, pull the paper away from the front of the card, this created an irregular white edge.

Here I divided a watercolor paper sheet into rectangles and painted several little paintings from scratch.

Tearing the watercolor paper with your hands instead of cutting with scissors adds extra texture and interest.
Tearing the watercolor paper with your hands instead of cutting with scissors adds extra texture and interest. | Source

Step Three

Colorful Paper Can Be Used to Mat Your Painting

Have a wide range of possible background colored paper to choose from.
Have a wide range of possible background colored paper to choose from. | Source

Get Some Colorful Background Paper

There are many thrifty ways to get some nice colorful backgrounds to use as mats for your cards.

Here are some ideas:

- Paint samples from the paint store.

- Card-stock.

- Paper sample catalogs from the local printer shop.

- Scrap-booking paper.

It's good to have a nice variety of colors and textures to choose from.

Step Four

Cut the Colored Paper to Create a Mat

Cut the colored paper about an inch or so bigger than the painting all around,it could be more, it could be less, as long as it's not bigger that the card you are going to use as support.

Step Five

Glue the Painting to the Background

Using some acid free glue, apply the glue on the back of the little painting and stick it to the background color of your choice. Make sure you center it nicely.

Make sure you press well and get all the edges to adhere flat. I use a brayer to press well all over.

Then place it under a heavy object while it dries, to help adherence, I use a stack of thick books.

Step Six

Glue the Painting on the Blank Card

Using the acid free glue stick, glue the back of the background paper and stick it to the front of the card that you have previously bought at your local craft store.

You can placed it centered, asymmetrical, horizontal, or vertical.

Try different options before you apply the glue, and choose what looks prettier to you.

Some of my small painting greeting cards with background mat and interesting, organic edges.
Some of my small painting greeting cards with background mat and interesting, organic edges. | Source

Step Seven

Protect the Cards in a Clear Bags

If you plan to sell your cards, I strongly recommend that you protect them by inserting each card in its own clear plastic bags.

This will look very professional and protect your cards as people shuffle through them to pick the one of their choice.

Some more of my cards with original paintings. These are abstract images.
Some more of my cards with original paintings. These are abstract images. | Source

Step Eight

Let the Receiver/Buyer Know that It's a Hand-Made Card

I like to include a small sheet of paper with the card, that specifies that the front of the card is an original painting. Many people may not realize that, and the specification will make your card more valuable to the recipient, or the buyer.

Extra Tips

Sign Your Artwork

Once you are done, your card is a true piece of art.

The recipient can even choose to frame and showcase it, make sure you sign your artwork! :)

You Can Embellish Your Paintings with Handwritten Notes

Make your cards even more personalized and special writing quotes, wishes, or doodles on them.

You can use one of the many handwriting and monogram books on the market for inspiration on font style and patterns.

I like to use stencils as well.

You May Choose to Use Reproductions

Of course there is always the option of using prints of your art on the cards instead of the original paintings.

In this case you have to take good photos of your art, have them printed to size, on a good quality paper, and glue them to the cards, same way as you would do with the originals.


© 2013 Robie Benve

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    • Robie Benve profile image
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      Robie Benve 2 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks Alicia, I really enjoy making cards with original artwork. And in my experience they are much appreciated also by the recipients.

      Thank you. :)

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This sounds like a very enjoyable project. I love your examples!

    • Robie Benve profile image
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      Robie Benve 2 years ago from Ohio

      That's exactly the idea peachpurple, we can make original cards for any occasions throughout the year. In my experience it's very useful to have a stash ready, because when you need a card you may not have the time to actually make it...

      thanks for your comment and vote, appreciated! :)

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i love this simple craft, I can make them for all the occasion throughout the year, voted up

    • Robie Benve profile image
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      Robie Benve 2 years ago from Ohio

      I totally agree TolovajWordsmith, thanks a lot for your comment! :)

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 2 years ago from Ljubljana

      I like the idea of making your own cards, although the saved money is probably not so significant. After all you have to invest your time and some material as well. By the way, drawing small painting is definitely not so easy as some may think. The most important is showing how much you care and with your talent I bet your cards make precious keepsakes.

    • Robie Benve profile image
      Author

      Robie Benve 2 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks Randall! Give it a try, making greeting cards can be a lot of fun, and worst-case scenario you just waste a little time and a little paper. :) Thanks for your comment!

    • Randall Guinn profile image

      Randall Guinn 2 years ago from Pinellas Park, Florida

      Good ideas. I may try make this year. You have a lot of good hubs.

    • Robie Benve profile image
      Author

      Robie Benve 2 years ago from Ohio

      Hi ItayaLightbourne, that sound so special! I'm sure friends and loved ones would appreciate a lot cards with your original paintings as gifts. Thanks! :)

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 2 years ago from Topeka, KS

      Making small art for greeting/note cards is also a great way to practice your painting techniques. I'm exploring watercolor painting currently and have thought about sending out little paintings mounted on cards for Christmas gifts this year from my latest practice sessions. If one is even more generous, it would be great to send the recipient a set of several note cards featuring your artwork. Lovely article!

    • Robie Benve profile image
      Author

      Robie Benve 3 years ago from Ohio

      Hi randomcreative, I'm flattered you liked the tutorial! :) Have a Happy and Creative New Year!

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Greeting cards are an excellent option for artwork! I know people who make their kids' drawings/paintings/etc. into cards. No matter what type of painting you do, cards are a cool choice. Thanks for the detailed tutorial.

    • Robie Benve profile image
      Author

      Robie Benve 3 years ago from Ohio

      @theraggededge, I love your idea of scanning the images and printing on special paper. That also looks very special.

      The only prints I have ever had of my art were from FineArtAmerica and they print some good looking glossy cards for a good price (if you buy 10+). The trick is uploading a good image, the rest is piece of cake.

      http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/robie-benve.htm...

      Thanks for your comment! :)

    • Robie Benve profile image
      Author

      Robie Benve 3 years ago from Ohio

      @ Nadine May, if my hub inspires someone to create art, that's a happy day for me. Thanks a lot! :)

    • Robie Benve profile image
      Author

      Robie Benve 3 years ago from Ohio

      @ R Talloni I like "gift in an envelope", such a smart way to describe these cards! Thanks a lot for your comment. :)

    • Robie Benve profile image
      Author

      Robie Benve 3 years ago from Ohio

      Hi Prithima Sharma and Amberld,

      Making small artwork to be used for cards can be a nice way to be artistic even when you don't have a lot of time or particular artistic attitude. I hope you give it a try. Thanks a lot for your comments. :)

    • Robie Benve profile image
      Author

      Robie Benve 3 years ago from Ohio

      @ Suzanne Day making cards with reproductions is a great idea too. And the bonus is that you can \use reproduction of bigger painting, no matter the size of the original the card will be awesome. :)

      One thing I personally don't like are cards made with regular glossy photo prints of artwork. I prefer matte I guess, but that's me. Have fun with it! Thanks for the compliments. :)

    • Robie Benve profile image
      Author

      Robie Benve 3 years ago from Ohio

      @ ComfortB, using kids artwork is an excellent idea. It's cheap, it save you time, and it really boosts the self-esteem of the young artist. Thanks for your comment and votes! :)

    • Robie Benve profile image
      Author

      Robie Benve 3 years ago from Ohio

      @ Purple Perl, I agree: little pantings can surely be season or holiday related, and make wonderful Christmas cards. Thanks a lot for your comment and votes!

    • Purple Perl profile image

      Purple Perl 3 years ago from Bangalore,India

      With Christmas round the corner, this is a genuinely useful hub.Voted up and useful!

    • ComfortB profile image

      Comfort Babatola 3 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      This is a very practical and useful tutorial. I love the idea of using small paintings. Got a lot of those from my kid's kindergarten folder.

      I do buy cards sometimes when I don't have enough time to make my own. Great hub. Voted up and useful.

    • Suzanne Day profile image

      Suzanne Day 3 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      I really like your paintings! What a sweet idea. I guess for all the lazy painters like me, you could also paint one good one and then reproduce it as a photo card or something.

    • amberld profile image

      Amber Dahnke 3 years ago from New Glarus, WI

      Love this idea, have never really ever thought of using my own artwork on cards! wonderful.

    • Prithima Sharma profile image

      Prithima Sharma 3 years ago from Delhi, India

      hey its really nice, thanks for sharing this wonderful hub wid us.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

      This gift in an envelope is such a nice idea for card making and I agree that this is an activity for all ages. Your examples are delightful.

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Lovely idea, I will share it with my local painting group friends. Great hub!

    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev 3 years ago from Wales

      Fabulous hub! I made some Christmas cards once from a watercolour snow scene that I'd painted. I scanned, reduced and printed it out onto special printer watercolour paper, then did roughly what you did above. I really like the idea of mounting it on a coloured background.

    • Robie Benve profile image
      Author

      Robie Benve 3 years ago from Ohio

      Hi rebeccamealey, I got the idea from my kids, they always make cards for they friends' birthdays, and since I love to paint and draw, I thought I would do the same. It makes the card more special, and it's a great artistic practice for me! :) Thanks for your comment! :)

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      This is a great idea for those who like to draw and paint to share them with family and friends!

    • Robie Benve profile image
      Author

      Robie Benve 3 years ago from Ohio

      Hi Glimmer Twin Fan, it truly is an idea for all ages, I probably should mention that on the hub. :) Thanks a lot for your nice comment!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

      This is a lovely idea for all ages and so special for the recipient. Beautiful paintings and great hub!

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