How to Create Greeting Cards With Original Paintings
Hand-Made Greeting Cards Are Very Appreciated
Billions of greeting cards are sold and given every year for a wide range of occasions and reasons.
Not only you can save quite a bit of money by making your own cards, but they'll be most meaningful and appreciated by the recipient.
Make extra and have a stash of ready-to-go cards at any time.
You can sell them too. At some point, I started selling my handmade and hand-painted cards, and people seem to really appreciate their unique designs.
I sell them out of my studio and at art events.
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' Strathmore 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
DIY Greeting Card Step-by-Step Instructions
- Create small paintings or use old paintings to make cards.
- Create interesting edges for your painting by tearing the paper with your hands or using pattern scissors.
- Get some colorful background paper to mat your painting. Pick the most suitable color or pattern for the specific painting you are working on.
- 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.
- Glue the small painting on the background paper, creating a mat effect.
- Glue the matted painting on the front of the blank card.
- If you are selling the cards, it's a good idea to protect them in clear bags. (optional)
- Include the information that the card is handmade. (optional)
Create Small Paintings
Get some of 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 than 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 each painted section as a 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?
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.
Colorful Paper Can Be Used to Mat Your Painting
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.
- 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.
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 fits inside the card you are going to use as support.
The purpose of the colored paper is to create a colored background that gives a more finished look and complements the colors of the small painting.
Avoid busy patterns or intricate designs for the background, you want something that makes the main image pop, not that fights with it.
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.
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 the image centered, asymmetrical, horizontal, or vertical.
Try different options before you apply the glue, and choose what looks prettier to you.
Protect the Cards in 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.
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.
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, the same way as you would do with the originals.
Questions & Answers
© 2013 Robie Benve