Week 2: Clip-art cards

Combining Colors
Some beginning card makers have a hard time combining colors in a pleasing way. One way of addressing this problem is to minimize the color choices. In week one we did this by using a single color or a single sheet of decorative paper on . This week we’ll add another color choice by matting clip art. What’s interesting about the color of a mat, is that it can both enhance the color of the clip art and set the mood of the card.

 Clip-art card - violets

 Card Mats 
A card mat is simply a piece of paper or cardstock 1/8″ to 1/4″ larger than the clip art. The mat is used to create a frame around the clip art. Its main purpose is to draw the eye to the clip art. In the greeting card class we pre-cut letter-size colored paper into quarters. We usually buy reams of colored paper in variety packs – pastels, brights and darks. That’s great for working with a group, but you may find it easier, and less expensive, to buy a pack of 6″ by 6″ or 4 1/2″ by 6 1/2″ cardstock in a variety of colors. For the best buy, look for value packs of 100 sheets.

 Clip art
Clip art is freely available on the internet. My favorite web site for downloading clip art is:  http://office.microsoft.com/clipart  

Microsoft offers thousands of files for download and makes it easy to find just the right image. To find a black and white image, enter a search term like “dragonfly” and click the Search button. On the left side of the screen, choose Filter by Type: Clip art and Filter by Category: Black & White. Select an image and download it per instructions.

Microsoft clip-art downloads

Clip art cards
Since this week is about matting and color choices, our first sample card features black and white clip art.

Clip-art card - Africa Savannah

To make a card like this featuring B&W clip-art:

  1. Select and cut a mat using a heavy paper or cardstock of any color except black or white. You might select a favorite color or just the use the paper that is most convenient. Cut the mat to about 3 3/4″ by 5″ for a 4 1/4″ by 5 1/2″ card or cut a mat 1/2″ smaller than the card blank you are using. For a 5″ by 7″ card that would be a mat 4 1/2″ by 6 1/2″. (See Week One for how to make your own card blank.)
  2. African savannah
    Download this image of an African savannah (pdf) or from Microsoft as a vector clip art file or use another black and white clip art image of your choosing (see Clip art section above.)Clip-art sample materials
  3. Print the clip art and cut to about 3 1/4″ by 4 1/2″.
  4. To add a message strip like the sample card,
    • Cut a 1/2″ by 5 1/2″ strip of the mat paper. We use the leftovers trimmed when cutting the mat to size.

    • Cut a message strip from the African savannah pdf that is about 3/8″ wide. Or make your own message strip using rubberstamps or a word processor.

    • Decorate the message strip with a small punch or stamp. (The strip mat’s color will show through any punch hole.)

    • Glue the message strip to the strip mat, then glue that to the clip art and trim

  5. Center the clip art on the mat and glue in place.
  6. Glue the mat with clip art to the card.

That’s what we will be making at the card class this week. Next, I’ll share how to mat colored clip art and let you know how the this week’s class goes.

If you give this card a try, please let me know. I’m also interested in comments and suggestions.

Week 1: The class starts

The first class of a trimester is always a bit hectic and confused. There are twenty-four students registered for the class (18 attended this first class). That’s a pretty big class, but manageable with two helpers.

For this week I provided 3 1/2″ by 2 1/4″ templates to cut the rectangles used to make the card. There were also templates for making curved and v-shaped second cuts. (See prior post for how-to make the card.) The templates make the class run more smoothly since less assistance is needed.

The templates are available for your use in a PDF file. Print the templates to cardstock and cut-out. To make things easier, always place the 3 1/2″ by 2 1/4″ templates in a corner or along an edge of your decorative paper. Trace the template on the reverse side of the paper or with very faint pencils lines that can be easily erased. Trace and cut-out two 3 1/2″ by 2 1/4″ rectangles.

Instructor note: Since it’s not unusual for people to place a template in the middle of a piece of paper, I usually provide smaller sheets of paper to reduce the waste caused by this tendency.

For the second cut trace the straight, v-shaped or curved line on the back of one of the 3 1/2″ by 2 1/4″ rectangles. Stack the two rectangles together and cut on the traced line. This ensures that the cuts are identical.

3-D Effect
Some of the students cut shapes from the decorative papers to add an embellishment to their cards. In the past we used double-side foam tape to give the embellishments a 3-D effect, but we found that a small piece of corrugated cardboard glued to the back of the embellishment worked just as well.
4-patch cardbeach print

Corner punch
I have a couple of corner punches that can be used quite effectively with 4-patch cards. The ladies loved using the flower corner punch on one or more of the patches.
4-patch card corner punch

Center messages
I’m always delighted to see the creative twists that the students put on the card projects. In this class one student decided to glue the patches in the corners of the card and to write messages in the open spaces. Another student saw this variation and stamped images in the open spaces. Here’s my take on their new idea:

4-patch card middle path

Now it’s your turn
Have you made a four-patch card or something similar? Your questions, comments and suggestions are welcome. You may also upload images of cards and post them to the Flickr group: http://www.flickr.com/groups/cardclass/ You’ll need a Flickr account, but that is free!


 Next Week
The next class features clip-art cards.

Week 1: Four-patch cards

Card Blanks
We always have a tight budget for the card classes. This trimester we will be using white cardstock and making envelopes. A 250 sheet ream of 8 1/2″ by 11″ white cardstock makes 500 cards and a 500 sheet ream of white 20# paper makes 500 envelopes. That works out to less than 4 cents for a card and envelope.

 For a card
Cut full sheet of cardstock in half to make two 8 1/2″ by 5 1/2″ card blanks.
Fold the card blank in half to make a 4 1/4″ by 5 1/2″ card

For an envelope
Trace an envelope template onto a sheet of paper
Cut, fold and glue according to instructions

 Here are some templates to use:

Four-patch Cards
When I first started the card class in 2005, my sister shared several of her cardmaking ideas. One of them was to use a single 6″ by 6″ piece of decorative paper to make two cards OR two coordinating 6″ by 6″ sheets (light and dark or plain and patterned of the same color) to make four cards. Here’s an example: 

4-patch card in green

In week one we are making monochrome four-patch cards based on this idea using coordinating papers and very basic supplies and tools. Here’s the how-to:

  1. Select two papers one light and one dark of the same color or one plain and one patterned of the same color.
  2. Cut a rectangle measuring 3 1/2″ by 2 1/4″ of each paper. (PDF showing how to make the good use of a 6″ by 6″ piece of paper.)
  3. Stack the papers and cut horizontally about 1/3 from the top. The cut can be straight, v-shaped or curved, but the cut start and end must be the same distance from the top.4-patch cut rectangles
  4. Arrange the four pieces on the card – swap tops or bottoms, separate patches with equal spacing horizontal and vertical.4-patch swap and arrange
  5. Create a medallion for the card center – cut a 1″ to 1 1/2″ square of cardstock or punch a 1″ circle. Decorate with a rubberstamp or with punched paper.
  6. Glue medallion to the center of the card.


4-patch card in brown

You’ll notice that on the brown card colored-pencil was used to outline the lighter color patches.

That’s what we will be making at the card class this week. I’ll let you know how it goes. The class always has students with varying degrees of crafting skills – from none to advanced. Some like to make cards that look exactly like the samples and others want to do their own thing.

If you give this card a try, please let me know. I’m also interested in comments and suggestions.

Images of cards can be posted to the Flickr group: http://www.flickr.com/groups/cardclass/

Fall 2008 Class is Over

The Fall 2008 greeting class is over and it’s time to start planning for the Winter 2009 term. Here are some examples of the cards made at the last class of the Fall term.

Christmas Mouse Card

It was so much fun seeing twenty different versions of this card. The mice were dressed in all different colors – red, green, turquoise, and purple. Some cards had two mice and each one had a different caption!

Gingerbreadman Christmas Card

The gingerbread man is actually made from a stencil using colored pencils. The 3-D effect is done with little bits of corrugated cardboard glued to the back of the cutout.


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