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What is Cardmaking?

Mary McMahon
Updated Feb 17, 2024
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Cardmaking is a craft involving the production of greeting cards, either from scratch or with the use of bases and templates. People of all ages and level of craft skill can practice cardmaking, and it is a popular pastime in some parts of the world, especially during the holiday season, when it is traditional to send cards with seasonal greetings. Many craft stores have supplies for making cards at home, and people can also order supplies through catalogs and online stores.

People interested in this craft may be involved in related crafts like scrapbooking and making small books to bind at home. Cardmaking starts with a piece of cardstock or a base, with the craftsperson creating a miniature project on the card. A simple folding card may just fold in half, while more complex cards can include multiple panels, accordion folds, and other decorative elements. People may paint, collage, decoupage, and use other craft techniques to decorate their cards. Stamping and decorating with colorful papers, photographs, ribbons, stickers, and other ornaments can also be involved.

When making cards, people try to keep them within a standard size for mailing so they will fit into envelopes. Mailing handmade cards can be slightly more expensive, depending on post office policies, as they may exceed weight limits. People concerned about this can use a postal scale to weigh their cards and see if additional postage is needed. Some people also make their own envelopes, allowing them to use cards of any size, although nonstandard envelopes can require an extra handling fee because they create more work for the post office.

Customized cards created during cardmaking sessions may be made with a specific person in mind or can be produced to keep around the house for occasions when cards need to be sent. Thank yous, condolences, invitations, and seasonal greetings are commonly sent out, as some people like to send and receive physical cards rather than exchanging phone calls or greetings on the Internet. A handmade card is sometimes appreciated more than a purchased card, which is a reflection of the effort that went into producing the card.

People interested in cardmaking may be able to take classes through a community center in their area, to get familiar with the techniques and learn about common sources of supplies. It's also possible to buy books or look up cardmaking online to find tutorials. November and December are often a good time to find classes, as people are usually gearing up to send out presents for the holidays and craft stores often take advantage of this by providing opportunities to learn about handmade crafts they can give as gifts.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By Soulfox — On Jun 04, 2014

@Terrificli -- you don't even have to have software to make a custom card. There are plenty of Internet sites that let you design custom cards for free and email them to people.

That is a pretty good idea when you think about it. You get to customize something and save on postage, paper and an envelope in the process.

Of course, the U.S. Postal Service may not be wild about digital cards being sent all over the place because those cut into its business. Greeting card companies probably don't care much for them, either.

By Logicfest — On Jun 03, 2014

@Terrificli -- you had better believe that greeting card companies are well aware of that fact. That may be the reason we are seeing more pre-made cards that are designed by customers in contests. That does suggest a bit of customization and those lines have proven popular with consumers.

By Terrificli — On Jun 02, 2014

There are a lot of programs out there that can handle custom card making. In fact, there used to be specialty programs just for that purpose but those have largely been phased out by office suites that come with templates for doing just that.

Those can be a lot of fun to make and a custom card might mean more to the recipient. It is quite easy to run down to the local store and buy a card that is already made, but it shows real effort and caring to do something custom.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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