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Getting Started With Cardmaking

Cardmaking is all about taking inspiration, and putting your own stamp on it!

I've been making handmade cards for quite a few years now, and quite often when people say to me, "that's lovely, I wish I could do that" my response is normally "why don't you have a go" but there is often some reluctance as they fear not being 'any good', and making a mess of it. I even came across a lady at a pottery painting session who was constantly seeking reassurance, and was very afraid of making a mess. It's easy to understand a lack of confidence when you are new to something, and you want it to look good, but I don't think that should stop anyone having a go!
With this thought in mind, I thought I'd blog with some tips on getting started in cardmaking, one of the crafts I do a lot. I hope you will find it useful and inspiring.  

  • Don't worry about making a mess
Every crafter, without fail, will make a mess, and while something you have toiled over ending up in the bin can be frustrating, it's part of crafting you have to get used to. You have to experiment to discover where your crafty strengths lie and which crafts are for you. Making a mess with your card making materials may seem like a waste of money, but in the long run you will get bigger and better ideas from it, so don't let it put you off having a go.
  • Shop wisely
I am just like any other crafter and have found that I'm like a kid in a sweet shop when I walk into a craft store, or spot a new selection of products in a high street shop, but I've also learned what's worth spending a bit more money on, and when cheaper products are just as good. First up, here's a few things I think it's worth spending the money on.
  1. A decent pair of scissors - I recently won a pair of Fiskars scissors for appearing on the letters page of a craft magazine, and now I've been using them for a while I wouldn't go back. Having a good quality pair of scissors, with a sharp and correctly shaped pair of blades makes such a difference to my crafting.
  2. Ink Pads - I have a Memento black ink pad that I use a lot and it is so far giving me good results every time. It cost more than own branded ink pads, but I am getting the results I need and so far the product looks to be long lasting. When I first started stamping the small ink pads I brought just weren't giving me the same results, and often came out too wet. A well-made branded ink pad has proven to be a worthwhile investment. 
  3. Nobody can cut in a straight line no matter how hard they try, so I'd definitely reccommend investing in a paper trimmer, and one aimed at crafters with all the gridlines on as well. It will become your new best friend, and my first one lasted years, so it's a good purchase too. My current one from Hobbycraft also has a handy corner rounder for a more professional finish.
  4. Christmas Paper Pads - Most of the time I don't really buy paper pads, although I've been tempted, I've just got a few from magazines. Christmas is different because I think the patterns and designs are a lot more timeless, and can be matched up with stash old and new. I don't say know to a paper pack as a free gift in a magazine though!
  • Other Tips
I'd also recommend buying quite sturdy sticky pads. If they are quite big you can cut them up if you need to, but too small and flimsy and they really don't add the right height to decoupage projects.

My other tip, is just a personal taste thing, but when a paper crafting brand brings out a new range, I stop myself from buying the whole collection of toppers, papers, and embellishments, and just buy the odd thing. I think it keeps things fresh to mix and match between collections.

But it's not all about shopping, and what to buy and not to buy. It's about getting started, having a go, and having fun. Cardmaking kits are a great way to get started, and you'll normally get an ideas sheet in with your goodies to get you started, so there's no excuse not to make. If you still need inspiration, then why not look around at a bootsale, or magazine stall at your local market, the magazines may be minus the ever handy free gifts, but it's a cheap way to get some new ideas.

I hope this post has helped encourage you to get crafting, or perhaps you already are a crafter and have some handy tips to share, as my ideas are by no means the only ones out there. Either way I'd love to hear from you, and keep it here for a make of the month post coming soon.


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