When you think of homemade gifts, what usually comes to mind? Some carefully frosted sugar cookies? Or maybe a freshly picked fruit pie? Perhaps a knitted scarf or a custom t-shirt? Well, handcrafted cards can be more than just snail mail you send, they can also be a gift, especially for the less crafty folks in your life. Read on to learn how to design your own custom stationery set for a friend, whether it be for a Hanukkah gift or any other gift-giving occasion.
If you are like me, amidst all of its chaos, 2020 has provided a great excuse to send some paper cheer! For me it’s not only the crafting of the cards but also the connection to old friends that makes postal mail so special. But for some, it’s simply the art of writing to a friend on nice stationery. Goodness knows there is lots of gorgeous stationery available but if you are a crafter like me, what could be better than making it yourself.
First things first – choose a theme that will speak to the recipient! Maybe they are an oenophile and would enjoy a wine themed set, or a gardener who would love a vibrant paper garden. Maybe they love all-things-glitter or rainbow (like me)! Or perhaps they are a birder. My mom loves sending cards but is not a crafter like, so for her birthday in August, I pulled together a bunch of my favorite bird stamps to create a bird card set for her.
Next is to create a common thread, between cards aside from the main theme. For these cards, I decided to use the same base cardstock for all the cards. As I have said before I love Fabriano cards, particularly for gifts, because they just has a luxe feel and a beautiful deckled edge. They also lend themselves well to watercolor, which is the secondary thread I wove through all of the cards using another favorite: Twinkling H2Os. Having the same base cardstock for all cards is not necessary, but for a cohesive set I prefer limiting the number of distinct colors for cardstock and envelopes.
Then, settle in on a total number of cards you’d like to create – for my mom I went with 10 cards total with 2 each of each design. Think about what you’d get if you bought a set at Paper Source so anywhere from 8-20 cards is a good number once you factor in packaging. More on that in a bit.
Here are each of the individual cards – click the image to see details on the technique, stamps, and other materials used. You’ll note some are single layer and others have a paper pieced element for a bit of interest.
Now, once the cards were done, I was quite happy with the result but sort of wanted to do some sentiments. I considered just designating some thank you notes (which everyone should always have a stash of to give old school thanks) but wanted to do something that gave my mom a bit more a choice. And, then it came to me – choose your own sentiment! It’s like a Choose Your Own Adventure Book (anyone else remember reading those as a kid?!) but for handcrafted cards! It’s also a great way to create a really user-friendly gift. So, I picked out a handful of sentiments, several with a nod to the bird theme and stamped them on a lighter weight cardstock that roughly matched my card base – I forgot to write it down but pretty sure I used Luxe White Paper from PaperSource. Then, I cut out each sentiment into a small size and turned them into stickers using my Xyron Create-A-Sticker. The beauty of this is that the Xyron creates the stickers on backing so then they can just be tucked in with the cards just like stickers you’d buy and the recipient, in this case my mom, can use them if/when she wants.
And finally, the last step to creating a stationery set is all about the packaging. I had some cute little vinyl folios (much like these), just the right size that I bought ages ago at a now defunct stamp shop so I used one of those. But other options would be: a box like these A7 ones from PaperSource depending on the total number of cards, a resealable poly envelope, or maybe even a cute little canvas pouch.
And voilà – you now have a custom stationery set made with more love and soul than anything you can find at the store. What gifts are you making (or did you make) this holiday season?