Making your own greeting cards has exploded in popularity over the last few years, mainly through the advent of stamping. But we sometimes forget that making your own greeting cards has been popular for decades. As a bookseller I have the privilege of coming across a wide variety of books; my latest treasure I just discovered on my shelves is “How to Make and Have Fun with Greeting Cards” by Joseph Leeming published in 1960. Now Mr. Leeming didn’t have access to the same technology and materials that we do (computers, specialty papers and accessories, colored inks and stamps, for example), so he had to be, in my personal opinion, much more creative in his ideas.
In this article I will describe one of the easiest ways to make a greeting card, by cutting and pasting pictures to folded pieces of paper.
The most important aspect of these kinds of cards, of course, are in choosing the right kind of pictures. You can find quality pictures from commercial greeting cards, catalogs, damaged picture books, wall papers, wrapping papers, post cards, etc. If you want to make a large number of greeting cards using this technique you may want to cut out your pictures and store them in a file folder or set of envelopes for later use, to help keep things well organized.
Once you’ve chosen your picture(s), you need to choose your plain card or construction paper and decide how you wish to fold it. There are four general ways you can fold your greeting card: 1) a simple vertical fold, 2) a simple horizontal fold, 3) a vertical fold with an extended back to provide a one-sided border, or 4) a two-fold card which opens up like a shutter or door.
For cementing or adhering the pictures to the card use rubber cement or a glue stick. For adding a touch of decoration, put down a paper mat made from some other decorative paper (Japanese rice paper, silver paper or foil, or small patterned wallpaper) first, then put the picture on top.
If you want to give the greeting card a three-dimensional effect, glue your picture down on a piece of thick cardboard or matboard first. Once the glue is dried, cut around the picture’s outline with a razor blade or exacto knife, then glue this mounted picture to your card. You may like this particular effect with pictures of animals, people, or flower arrangements.
You can make your simple cut and paste picture card even more special by creating a window card. You take your simple folded undecorated cards and cut out windows in different shapes and sizes in the front so that you can view the picture or greeting inside. You can leave the windows “open” or cover them in cellophane or tissue paper. The possibilities for the pictures behind the window are endless: a birthday cake, Christmas tree, angel, children, birds, flowers, cats, etc. You may decide to have the window be like a picture frame and put a print reproduction of some beautiful art landscape on the inside. Or you can go very literal and put curtains on the window, and a flower box on the outside, and pictures of people smiling at you on the inside.
Joseph Lemming. How to Make and Have Fun with Greeting Cards