When I first started stamping way back in 1998 I got together with my sisters and a few of my cousins for a stamping play date. We ranged in age from 5 to 23 and had very few supplies back then. We were all sitting in my parent’s kitchen making cards and I remember my mom walking in to look at what we’d made. She picked up a card that she thought my youngest sister had made and said “Hey, that’s really good for a 5 year old!” My cousin Julie who was in her early 20s at the time relates this story often because it was her card that my mom was looking at and she has now insisted for years that she can’t make cards.
So what if you really want to make cards but you feel like your finished cards look like they were made by a 5 year old? Today I want to share some basic tips with you that will move your cards from “that looks like a 5 year old made it” to “WOW! You made that?”
Tips for taking your cards to “WOW! You made that?”…
Get a good paper cutter and make sure your blades are sharp. Crooked cuts and ragged edges shout homemade in a not so nice way. Butt the edge of your card stock against the edge of your paper cutter and make the cut by starting at the top of the paper and cutting down towards the side that’s held tightly in place. This will help you get straight cuts. (Watch my paper cutter video)
Take time to mount your layers. It’s worth the extra time to be careful so that your layers are mounted with an even mat all the way around. Use a grid mat or a ruler if you need to. Make sure you have good lighting too as sometimes shadows can throw off a mat and you don’t notice until later.
Don’t be stingy with adhesive. Yeah it’s no fun to spend your hard earned money on something un-glamorous like adhesive, but there’s nothing worse than cards that fall apart. My favorite card making adhesive is SNAIL. It’s a double sided tape that’s easy to use. To make sure your layers stick, put adhesive around the edges of your paper instead of just in the middle. I do a little line in each corner and in the center of each edge.
Stamp a good image. That means your bold stamps look bold, all the detail is crisp in your detailed images and there is no smearing. If you have a hard time with this, practice on scratch paper. And I mean practice, practice, practice until you’ve got the right touch. My mom’s favorite saying when stamping was always “There are two sides to every piece of paper!” Flip it over and try again if you need to. Here are some more tips for stamping a bold image and using photopolymer stamps.
Keep it Simple. The more you add the more there is to mess up. When you are just starting out keep your cards as simple as you can. Then as your cards get better you can start to add more. I’ve been making cards for 18 years and I still prefer the clean and simple look best!
So that’s it. Give these tips a try and remember that the more you make cards the better your cards will be! Happy Stamping!!