Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Step-by-Step Tutorial for Christmas Cards on a Budget

Hello, crafters!

Welcome to Day 2 of my Crafting on a Budget series. Yesterday I shared Close to my Heart's November specials with you. You definitely don't want to miss them, so be sure to check them out!

Today I'm sharing with you a step-by-step tutorial of how I made a budget-friendly Christmas card inspired by the one above, which was created by the CTMH Art Department with the Holiday Wishes stamp set (on special for $5).

I don't have the Holiday Wishes stamp set yet, so I used the tree in Happy Clusters. Any tree will work, and this set is great because it's versatile—the tree is great for Christmas or pennants and the star can be used throughout the year. (You'll be seeing lots more of this set in the future!)

  • Steps 1 & 2: To make your card base, cut a sheet of 8-1/2" x 11" card stock in half to 8-1/2" x 5-1/2". Then fold in half and you have your card base that measures the standard 5-1/2" x 4-1/4".

A ream of 150 sheets of white card stock is $5.77 at Walmart in the office section. Buy this now and you'll have enough card stock for tons of card bases and to stamp on. This is the best quality I've found at the right price...I've tried several lower-end brands. (I'd prefer using CTMH White Daisy card stock...it's heavier and better quality, but it's also more pricey. So when I am making a lot of cards at once I go with the less expensive option.)
  • Step 3: Cut your paper.
    • White card stock for tree is 2-1/2" x 3-3/4"
    • Red card stock (or other background color) for behind tree is 2-3/4" x 4"
    • Strip of card stock "ribbon" is 3/4" x 4-1/4"
    • Patterned paper is 4" x 2"
By cutting the patterned paper at 4" instead of 4-1/4" (the width of the card), you go farther with your sheet of 12" x 12" paper. This way you get 3 full strips across the page and 6 strips up (18 pieces total). And the border around the paper on the card adds some interest.
  • Step 4: Peel the stamp off the carrier sheet and place onto your acrylic block. (If you do not have any acrylic blocks I can help you choose the best size(s) to start with for the stamps you are ordering.)

  • Step 5: If your stamp is new, rub it on the back of your hand to "season" it. (I recently saw this technique on fancyMelissa's blog and it's my new favorite method!) The oils in your hand will coat the stamp and help get rid of manufacturing "gunk," giving you a clear, crisp image.

  • Step 6: Stamp your Christmas tree onto the white piece of paper in Sweet Leaf ink. Make sure the foam that comes with your stamp set is under the paper to give you extra "cush" for a more solid image.
  • Step 7: Clean your stamp. Spray Spritz cleaner on the raised side of the Double Scrubber and rub the stamp into it. Dry by rubbing on the opposite side.


If you don't have these items, baby wipes also work. (But I'd add the double scrubber and spritz cleaner to your wish list...it's the easiest and least messy way to clean your stamps!)
  • Step 8: To add some depth, rub the Holiday Red ink pad onto the edges of all paper. (Ignore that the card is already assembled in the photo for this step.) I prefer using a Sponge Dauber for this, but the direct ink-to-paper method is more budget-friendly. You may want to add Sponge Daubers to your wish list, though.
  • Step 9: Adhere the patterned paper onto the card base, followed by the strip of cardstock "ribbon." Then adhere the tree onto its card stock background, and onto the card base.

  • Step10: Following the stamping steps above, stamp the various circles from the Happy Clusters stamp set in Holiday Red ink onto the circles of the tree.

  • Step 11: Add buttons. (I secured them with glue dots.)

Budget Breakdown for 50 cards...
  • Believe paper pack: $9.95 x 3/4 = $7.50. You will use about 3/4 of the pack for 50 cards.
  • Red Buttons: $5.95/pkg x 3 pkg = $17.85 x 3/4 used = $13.38. Each package of buttons contains 72, but 1/4 of the buttons in the red package are too light a color for this paper, so that gives you 54 usable buttons. If you use 3 buttons per card you'll need 150 buttons.
  • Sweet Leaf Ink Pad: $5.95 - this is a reusable resource.
  • Holiday Red Ink Pad: $5.95 - this is a reusable resource.
  • Happy Clusters stamp set: $13.95 - this is a reusable resource.
Cost to purchase from CTMH: $56.25
Cost per card: .44 cents*
*This total includes what is actually used...you will have supplies left over. I did not include the cost of stamps and inks in the card cost because I see them as an investment that can be used again.I also assume that you already have your basic supplies such as a paper trimmer, adhesive, and acrylic blocks. If you do not have these items I can help you figure out what you need.

    Don't forget about the November specials...you can get up to 2 bonus stamp sets, too! (See this post from yesterday for the details.)

    I hope this was helpful to you and you can see that it is SO MUCH less expensive to make your own cards instead of buying them at the store. Think of all the birthdays, anniversaries, retirements, graduations, and other cards you buy and spend upwards of $4 per card. That adds up throughout the year! So, investing in your own supplies makes sense :) You can build your collection over time, but even with just a few versatile supplies you'll be whipping up your own cards in no time.

    Stay tuned for more Crafting on a Budget throughout November! I'll be posting lots more Christmas card ideas, scrapbook pages, ornaments, wreaths, and tricks of the trade. Leave a comment or email me if you have any questions.

    Happy stamping!

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    2 comments:

    Mandy Leahy {CTMH} said...

    Great post!!!!

    Tammy said...

    Awesome post!!! Adorable card and I love that tip for new stamps. I got that same tip from the consultant website on a large stamp I was having trouble with...it really works!!!