28 February 2020
Only just starting out in papercraft? Don't be scared, we've got all the top card making for beginners tips you could possibly hope for!
Are you looking to get into papercrafting as a hobby? Perhaps you just want to try something new? No matter your motivation, our handy card making for beginners hints and tips will have you dying to get die-cutting.
From dabbling in decoupage to embarking on an embossing adventure, with MC&P's help you'll be a cardmaking expert in no time.
General card making for beginners advice
1. Be positive
This may seem like a bit of a wishy-washy thing to say, but bear with us. How many of you were told by an art teacher in school that they would never be an artist? Perhaps your drawing abilities have stalled at the stick figure stage? It doesn't matter whether you're a top-class portrait artist or struggle to draw basic shapes, papercraft isn't all about who can draw or colour the best.
Do you have a strong imagination? Do you like playing with colours and experimenting with style? Perhaps you've got an eye for monochromatic interior design? Everyone has a creative talent inside of them, you just need to think outside the box and figure out where your skills lie. Instead of focusing on what you think you can't do, work with what you know you can do.
2. Be kind
For anyone interested in mindfulness and positive mental health advice, the phrase 'be kind to yourself' will resonate. Whatever we do in life, as human beings we are exceptionally good at putting ourselves down. So be kind to yourself as a card making beginner - it's okay to make a project that you immediately think isn't 'perfect'.
Don't compare yourself to others, either. With so many incredible crafters out there showing off their work, it's easy to feel downhearted and doubt your own ability. Making cards and papercraft comes from the heart, so as long as you see all your projects as a chance to grow, learn and most importantly have fun, you're heading in the right direction.
3. Be inquisitive
Not everyone has a wildly creative imagination - there's nothing wrong with that, we're all wired differently after all. It just means you may need to be a little more creative with sourcing your inspiration.
While we of course would never condone copying another person's hard work, you can find inspiration in a huge variety of places. Platforms like Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram are great online sources for inspiration, or you can go down the old-fashioned route and collect magazines and even books in the library to find ideas. A simple walk in the woods can sometimes be all you need for exciting inspiration and, as well all have cameras on our phones these days, snap a shot of things you notice are beautiful or outstanding along the way and you'll have plenty of inspiration to come back to time after time.
4. Be fruitful
If you speak to any cardmaker, chances are they will at some point mention their 'stash'. It's an open secret that all papercrafters are hoarders of anything papercraft-related they can get their hands on. We firmly advocate crafty kleptomania here and it's never too early to start gathering your stash! Just remember not to go overboard and always check through your stash before purchasing something new.
Freebies and exclusive gifts with magazines are a great place to start (this card can be made with the gifts in just one issue of MC&P!), along with asking crafty friends if they have materials they no longer want, scraps from newspapers and charity shops can often have some great little knick-knacks for embellishments, such as old broaches, fabrics, charms, etc. Finding unexpected items in unusual places can also help give you truly unique inspiration to channel into your cardmaking.
5. Be open-minded
As we said before, don't negatively compare yourself to other people's work. However, always be open to advice and constructive criticism. You may be a free spirit when it comes to following instructions, however be prepared to at least try following a tutorial or two in your favourite magazine, or check out their online advice to see how you can advance your skills and learn new things along the way.
Many papercrafters all say similar things about getting into card making... once you start, you just can't stop. Be prepared for papercraft to take over your heart and your home. Embrace the joy that is making cards!
Practical card making for beginners advice
6. Storage solutions
Regardless of whether you're a flamboyant mixed-media maverick or a strict CAS card maker, we guarantee that you will 100% need storage solutions and you will want them straight away. If you start making storage a priority when card making as a beginner, you'll be set for the crafty road ahead.
We've got a super handy article with advice from card makers of all abilities on how to best store your crafty items that we highly recommend you check out before you start out. A key thing to remember is, not only do you need space for your supplies and equipment, but space for yourself to work as well.
7. Quality equipment
While it's very tempting to scrimp out and pay less for off-brand materials from super cheap websites, you must bear in mind that if something seems too good to be true, it almost certainly is. There are many important reasons that papercraft companies produce and sell their equipment at a certain price - high quality performance and durability being just two of them.
The counterfeit craft industry is still bubbling away in the background of the crafty shopping world and purchasing cheap, fake products from non-reputable sources online fuels these frauds and hurts the industry we all know and love. We're not trying to scare you off, just make you aware of the importance of quality equipment above saving a few pennies when it comes to papercraft.
8. Visit craft shows
Crafters of all ages, experiences, styles and backgrounds will all agree on one thing when it comes to card making tips for beginners... craft shows are the best. The atmosphere, the products, hundreds of like-minded people all under one roof... what more could a papercrafter wish for?
If you're looking to start up your stash, there's plenty of bargain bins and freebies to get you started on a budget. Plus, many magazines (MC&P included!) offer great subscription deals at craft shows, so always have one eye on what offers are on the market while you're there.
9. Style choices
It can be surprising for a burgeoning card maker to discover there's a whole universe of different styles and crafts within the world of making cards and papercraft. Whichever route you decide on will then lead to your choice of equipment, materials and so on. For example:
- Stamping: you may find once you try out a few different stamps on your work, you fall in love with the medium. Once you know that this is the style for you, you'll want to invest in some specific equipment, such as a stamp positioner, a decent stamp pad and a selection of good quality inks.
- Die-cutting: if die-cutting is more your style, again you'll want to give it a go perhaps at a show or at a friend's house who already owns a die-cutting machine before investing in one yourself. If you find you love this medium then a decent die-cutting machine is essential, along with a basic selection of dies (flowers, butterflies, hearts, etc.) and good storage.
- Embossing: luckily, embossing goes hand-in-hand with die-cutting, so if you find yourself loving embossing and you've already picked up a die-cutting machine, you're already part way there. You'll also want to invest in embossing folders, powders and inks to make the most of the medium,
We're not saying you have to limit yourself to one particular style, of course. Many papercraft projects benefit from being created using a wide variety of styles and mediums. We're just saying don't go overboard until you're sure you're happy with a certain medium. If you find you can't stand stamping but have gone and bought 300 stamps you'll never use, it's best to take your time and learn your own style strengths first.
10. All the essentials
Finally, it's essential for card makers of all experience levels to have a basic kit of tools and materials to fall back on at all times. This will grow and develop as you do with your style and interests, however we recommend having these essentials in your craft box at all times:
- Card blanks or card stock
- Adhesives (see our best glue for card guide)
- Decorative items like: ribbon, die-cut sentiments, adhesive pearls and gems
- Craft mat
With MC&P's top card making for beginners tips and tricks, from cardmakers of all levels of experience and styles, you'll be a papercraft expert before you know it.
Not sure where to start? Check out our helpful types of greetings card list to get tons of ideas on how and where to start crafting on your new adventure!