I am sometimes asked what made me want to start a greeting card hobby. My response is that making greeting cards is such a fun and creative outlet for a hobby. It is a way to make beautiful (and sometimes sassy) cards that unleash your inner abilities to create. Starting a greeting card hobby can be inexpensive, which makes it a great choice for a hobby; but I warn you it can become quite an addiction once it picks up steam. With the information and resources found in this blog, you can get started turning a single idea into a greeting card hobby.
Greeting Card Tool and Material List
There are basic tools and materials needed to start your new hobby. This list is by no means all-inclusive, but it is a really good resource. You will quickly find that growing your stash of greeting cards will require more materials. The tools you will use should last you a while before needing to be replaced. You will also discover what tools and materials you are comfortable using and those you don’t like so much. With a greeting card hobby, the sky is the limit and materials are vast, so it is best to just jump in and start. I know when I went to make my very first card, I just stared at my tools and materials wondering what my first design would be. Like with any hobby, the more you practice and create, the more comfortable you become.
With the list given below, all you have to do is type in “greeting card …” in your search bar and you will get results of different brands that other folks have tried and like. For example, in Google I can type in “greeting card glue” and will get a list of products and articles dedicated to this particular subject. This will be helpful when getting started with this hobby.
Cards and Envelopes – I suggest starting with A2 greeting card and envelope sets since they are a very popular size with a small working area. When you are ready to expand your creativity, you may want to try different card sizes. The popular sizes are A2 (4.25 x 5.5 in.), A6 (4.5 X 6.25 in.), and A7 (5 x 7 in.) that all have corresponding envelopes. Then you have 5 x 5 in., 6 x 6 in., and the list goes on. I started with A2 cards and stuck with them simply because they suit my card styles. I rarely make any other size cards, but there are a lot of folks that make the other popular sizes. It is all a matter of what you like.
Some folks like to buy greeting card and envelope sets with the cards already scored and folded. This is the method I prefer because I just want to get to making cards right away. I use Ohuhu card sets off of Amazon. Lots of folks prefer to cut and score their own cardstock to the size they desire and buy the matching envelopes. The latter method is definitely more cost-effective.
Glue – I use Elmer’s Extra Strong glue. It works really well and doesn’t leave bumps in paper; even the thinnest paper I use, which is origami and rice paper. There are strong opinions out there about which glue works best. The long and short of it is that there is not just one glue that works well. You may want to try other brands of liquid glues, glue sticks, adhesive glue sprays, double-sided tapes with or without tape runners, etc. I know nothing is straightforward, so play around with glues until you find the one (or ones) that appeal to you.
Scissors – It is good to have at least two different type of scissors, which include regular scissors that will cut paper well and fine-tip scissors for what we card makers like to call fussy cutting. That means getting into small spaces of paper when there are fine details involved. I started out with these two types of scissors, but now have dedicated scissors to sticky things, scissors that are kept pristine and scissors with varying tip styles (probably because they were on sale and I can’t pass up a good buy).
Crease Tool – This tool is helpful with precut and scored cards to put that extra crease into the card so it stays flat. This is an essential tool if you prefer to cut and score your own cardstock. This tool is sometimes referred to as a bone folder.
Cutting Mat – There are many brands of cutting mats and this is a case where the brand does make a difference. Brands, such as Fiskars, X-Acto, etc. have a good reputation, along with other popular brands. You will want a mat that is self-healing, so your cut marks essentially disappear. Longevity of a self-healing mat is important, as you don’t want to have to replace your mat very often. I have two different cutting mats that I have used interchangeably for over 2 years and they are still going strong. Another use for the cutting mat is protect your tabletop from scratches and dents. A thick mat takes care of this problem.
Paper Cutter – A paper cutter is a huge help in making sure your papers are cut precisely how you want. I have a full-size 12×12 in. and a smaller 4×6 in. paper cutter. I can’t tell you how many times I use the 4×6 in. cutter in a day. This is one essential tool that I highly recommend.
Decorative Card Tools and Materials
Of course, decorating cards is the most fun part of this hobby. When it comes to decorating your cards, there are a vast amount of supplies you can use and it can seem overwhelming. Just start small and soon you will add more and more supplies to make cards that wow the ones you give them to.
Paper – To make your life easier when starting out, I recommend purchasing a few paper pads that contain different color cardstocks to use as a topper for your cards. A topper makes the card sturdy and gives you the working space you need to create cards. Here is what a topper looks like. Notice the yellow paper and pink/blue paper on top of the card base.
Paper comes in all weights and designs. It is like a playground for the card maker. There are smooth and textured papers and so many colors and patterns. This is why I recommend paper pads when starting out. Pads generally correspond and complement each other, so it makes it easier to design cards, especially in the beginning. I still love using paper pads for this reason.
Other types of paper include sticker sheets, vellum, and linen, among others. These papers are not necessary when starting your hobby, but are definitely something to think about as you progress.
Embellishments – These include anything you use to add a decorative element to your card. Embellishments can include brads, stickers, buttons, ribbon and ephemera. This is not an all-inclusive list of embellishments, but gives you a start on what you can look for in this category.
Die Cuts – These are made with a die-cutting machine. I have a Sizzix Big Shot, but there are many other machines to choose from. There are so many dies to choose from. I recommend starting with a set or two to get the hang of how to use a die-cutting machine (which is easy to learn). Once you are ready, the sky is the limit on buying dies for any occasion or situation you want, such as birthdays, holidays, everyday sentiments, etc.
Stamps – Just like die cuts, there are so many stamps to choose from. There are cling stamps, which are used with acrylic blocks, and rubber mounted stamps. You can find stamps for all occasions and everyday situations. Cling stamps are popular because of the vast array of designs and they are easy to clean and store. Rubber mounted stamps don’t require acrylic blocks, but they are bulky and require more space to store. But, they have their merit with the endless designs you can purchase. Each of these types of stamps do require ink. Ink comes in many different brands and colors.
There are even digital stamps that can be downloaded to your computer and printed out. Digital stamps may require some fussy cutting, which means you have to cut around the image to get the result you desire. They also work well when used with dies to create a frame around the image. Digital stamps have gained momentum and are very popular among card makers. You can find digital stamps on Etsy, Canva, Polkadoodles, Lily of the Valley Stamps, and many other places. Some images are free to download, while others can be purchased.
Greeting Card Kits – I think card kits are a great way to dive into the card making hobby. Most provide everything you need to make beautiful cards, excluding adhesives, such as glue, tape, etc. Crafter’s Companion, Anna Griffin, and Simple Stories are just a few of the makers of card kits. There are many other companies that offer card kit subscriptions, where you receive a new kit each month. These include Pink and Main, Simon Says Stamp, Spellbinders and others.
Resources for Card Makers
Facebook has many groups created for card makers. I will just quickly give the names of groups I belong to, which I believe you will find useful when starting out and use throughout your progress. I would be lost without the comradery of these groups. Folks share their creations, talk about materials used, tell what they do with their completed cards, and so much more. Here are the groups that I currently belong to:
Find me on Facebook at Handmade Greeting Card Factory.
You can glean greeting card ideas with this popular site. Just type in greeting cards in the search bar and a whole new world of card making ideas will be at your fingertips. Many card makers case cards on Pinterest and then turn those ideas into something original.
These are just some of the articles I believe will help a beginner card maker with different subjects.
Card Making Tips and Tricks that Every Card Maker Should Know – Altenew
A Beginner’s Guide to Card Making – Crafters Companion
Happy card making!