Thursday, January 3, 2013

Crafting | Our 2012 Holiday Cards


I wanted to share my process of creating our handmade 2012 holiday cards with you. It probably would have been more helpful if I had shared it earlier in the holiday season. But I barely finished these on Saturday Dec. 22 to get them into the post office, so that wasn’t really an option, LOL!

After my super labor-intensive holiday cards from last year, I decided to go with a more simple design this year. No more trifold cards! I love the look of cutout windows, so I decided to cut some very simple holiday shapes with my Silhouette digital cutter. I knew I wanted my card size to be 5.5x4.25 so that I could make two cards out of a piece of 8.5x11 cardstock. I placed the shapes in the Silhouette Studio software so that they are where I want the windows to be when I cut the cardstock in half to make two cards. Then I cut them out with the Silhouette.  I used Papertrey Ink’s heavy cardstock, along with a tan woodgrain cardstock.

The woodgrain cardstock was not easy to cut in the Silhouette at all. Too thick and fibrous. I had to use my craft knife to extract the shape. I didn’t realize it at the time, but stamping on woodgrain textured cardstock will also prove to be a problem later on.

I took my supplies to my friend Cassi’s place for a crafternoon. After trimming each cardstock in half with my paper trimmer, I scored each card in half for the fold.


Next I stamped greetings onto the front of the card, below the cutout window. I forgot to take photos of the stamping though. I used some stamps from Papertrey Ink that I had purchased to make Christmas cards in 2011.

The next step was to sew some colored shimmer cardstock to fill the cutout window. I only changed the top thread color and just used white thread for the bobbin, because nobody will see the stitching on the other side. I planned to cover the other side up with stamped sentiments on white cardstock.

Once I finished sewing, I was left with the beginning and end thread tails on the front of the card.

I saw this trick somewhere on the internet, but now I forgot where. Anyways, you flip to the backside of your sewing and pull slightly on the loose tails on that side (in this case my white threads on the back). When you pull gently, the thread on the front of the card (red) will pull through!

Here’s another look at a different card using the same method. When I finished sewing the star, I had two loose tails of thread on the front.

I went to the back and pulled them through.

Now the front is clean and neat! No more loose thread tails.

Next, I stamped the back of each card with the handmade card seal stamp from Catslife Press, and signed my name.

But what about stamping the greetings onto the red cardstock and the woodgrain cardstock? The red was too dark for ink to show well. The woodgrain was too uneven to stamp on it. So… embossing to the rescue!

First I wiped the front of the card with dryer sheet to prevent embossing powder from sticking to where it shouldn’t be.

Then I stamped the sentiments onto the card using Versamark Ink. The image looks like a watermark at this point.

Then I sprinkled the embossing powder onto the card to cover the area where I stamped with Versamark Ink.

This is what it looked like after I shook the excess embossing powder off.

Then I heated the embossed sentiment with a heat gun for about 20-30 seconds. The powder melted into solid raised shiny sentiment!

I did the same thing on this one, but with white embossing powder.

Then I did it four times with the gold embossing powder.

I cut each one into a banner shape and adhered it to the woodgrain cardstock cards.

For the inside sentiments on the left(the back of the cutout windows), I cut 8.5x11 white cardstock into quarters and stamped the sentiments on them.

On the inside right, I trimmed my 4x6 photo I designed with graphics in Photoshop and had printed at Costco. Since the photo was 6” height, I had to cut 1/2 inch off in order to fit into the 5.5” height card.

Once I adhered the sentiment on the left and the photo on the right, this is what the inside of the cards looked like.

I had a hard time sewing the ornament shape because of the curves. So I decided to draw the stitching on the other one, LOL.

All the different cards lined up. I also drew the stitching on the snowflakes. No way I was going to try to sew that shape!

Here are my cards all done and ready to go into their envelopes.

I only made 26 handmade cards this year. I just could not handle doing more with what time I had. I had all the recipients’ addresses in an Excel spreadsheet. I used the Avery address label template in Word and mail merged with my Excel addresses to print out labels. It was very fast and easy. Then I stamped our addresses on the back with some silver ink (on red envelopes) and red ink (on white envelopes). I used pigment ink and they took very long to dry on these shiny envelopes, so I had to heat-set them with the heat gun.

Todd made it to the post office just in time on Saturday night 12/22!  Hope you enjoyed a look at the making of our holiday cards. I didn’t have time to link up to my supplies, but if you have any questions I’ll be happy to answer them in the comments. :)


  1. Your cards turned out wonderfully [again!], Christine. I love that you went "old school" with the heat embossed greeting too ... makes me want to dig out my old heat gun!!! ;-)

  2. You did a fantastic job, love your Christmas cards!! I use to stamp and make my own cards but haven't done it in years. After seeing what you did and loving your idea maybe it's time I went back to making my own cards. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Your cards are simple and beautiful. Thanks for sharing. Happy New Year!

  4. Those are so, so, so cute, Christine!

  5. "More simple designs this year?" Perhaps the design may be more simple than last year but still looks very labor intensive. They turned out beautifully.

    1. Ha ha, June, it's true! I'm just not good at doing simple I guess. :) My plans are always bigger than time allows!

  6. How appropriate that you are wearing a tee that says OVER ACHIEVER! These cards are outstanding!

  7. Love the T-shirt! Love the cards!! Love the tutorial!

  8. This was my first year to do handmade cards and I can't wait to try another design next year! Yours are lovely! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Your cards are absolutely amazing, I love them!! Thanks for sharing everything you did :)

    I've been wanting to use embossing powder because it always comes out so amazing, but I've never bought any of the things for it...what do you need? Do you think it's worth the investment?

    1. Hi Linda - to heat emboss, you would need a sticky ink pad like Versamark, embossing powders, and a heat gun. I've tried the Michaels Recollections brand embossing powders and they are not good. I now only use American Crafts Zing, which works really well, like this one I have the Martha Stewart heat gun

      As far as if it's worth the investment... I don't know? I've had the heat gun and embossing powders for about a year and I've used it maybe 4-5 times?

  10. Loved the card! Wow, crazy to see how much work went into each one!

  11. Loved the card! Even down to the star tape on the was perfect. And thanks for the tip on pulling the thread through.

  12. I kinda had to smile when I saw your "easy" cards, all that stitching!!! Even if it is with a machine that certainly seems super time consuming to me. Everyone on your Christmas card list is very lucky to get such a beautiful card. I would be very impressed and think THIS was the labor intensive card, just fabulous work!


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