How To Make Your Own Handmade Greeting Cards

by heather

This awesome guest post comes from Jillian Mueller of The Barefoot Badger blog. The Barefoot Badger is a wonderful blog focusing on simple, sustainable living. I highly recommend you go take a look at Jillian’s blog!

Homemade Greeting Cards

Homemade Greeting Cards

If your friends and family are anything like mine, you probably spend a significant amount of money on greeting cards each year to mark special occasions, share sympathy, or simply to keep in touch. At nearly every family birthday party or holiday, one of my relatives will inevitably remark, “Gee, it looks like we’re keeping the greeting card companies in business!”

You don’t need to flip over too many birthday cards and sneak a look at the price to see why. Most greeting cards run between $1-5, and it really adds up over a few birthdays or a holiday season.

Of course, simply avoiding giving cards is not a great option. It’s just plain fun to communicate affection or congratulations through cards. We get to take a moment and express ourselves to those we care about, and it’s a joy.

A better option is to make your own handmade cards. Crafting your own handmade cards lets you release your creative juices and can be done easily with materials you likely already have lying around your home. As an added perk, you get to pen your own heartfelt note instead of a canned message from a greeting card company that can lack personalization.

Moreover, making your own greeting cards is an excellent way to re-use any magazines you have lying around your house. As an added bonus, the magazine method allows you to create visually appealing and fun cards even if you have meager natural artistic ability (like me, for instance).

Follow these simple steps to become your very own greeting card designer!

What You’ll Need
Glue (glue sticks tend to work best)
Construction or Computer Paper
Some Mood Music ☺

The Basic Handmade Card

Peruse your favorite magazines for images that appeal to you – perhaps something that reminds you of the intended recipient. Size can range from a small baseball-card sized cut-out to a full page (though the size will influence the type of card you make). When you’ve selected your favorite, cut it out…or cut out any you think would make a good card and save them for future card-making sessions.

Next, determine the type of greeting card to which your image lends itself. For any cut-outs that fall between a half page to a full page in size, I like to simply fold them in half to create a card with the image spanning the front and back. For smaller images, you may want to center them on the front side of the card, possibly using a bit of construction paper for a colored accent.

The magazine cut-out then needs to be glued to a backing in order to give it structure and create a blank space to write on the inside. If you wish your card to be the image with no frame, a piece of computer paper of equal size makes a great backing and clear, open writing space. On the other hand, if you want to have a colorful border around your picture or are using a smaller image, a larger piece of construction paper will do equally well. If you choose a color that is a bit dark to write on, simply glue another square of computer paper on the inside.

Voila! You now have a unique handmade greeting card to personalize with your message. It’s that easy! And of course, there are plenty of opportunities to let your creativity run wild and alter the basic design. Have fun with it!

Fun Ideas

Once you’ve mastered the basic card, try some of these fun varieties. They can also be helpful if you are having trouble expressing yourself via conventional notes.

I think you are more awesome than…

This trick is a great way to “write” a humorous yet oddly touching message inside your card. First, go through your handy magazines for any words or phrases that describe things which you find neat or funny and cut them out. Inside your card, begin with the phrase, “I think you are more awesome than…” and then paste the assortment of words into the end of the sentence. For humorous flare, it’s fun to end with, “and yes, even…” and then paste the most preposterous word or phrase you found. Guaranteed to get a laugh!

This is what folks had to say about you…

Another humorous message scheme. Here, go through the pages of your magazines and look for head shots of famous people and blocked quotations. Then, arrange them on the inside of the card so it looks as though you are giving quotations about the recipient said by famous people.

Vintage Magazines

If you don’t have many magazines lying around your house or are just after a little funk, visit your local scrap art and school supplies store. Local thrift stores can be gold mines as well. They often have magazines from decades ago lying around that can be purchased for less than a dollar. I found a 1954 National Geographic at a scrap store in Portland, Oregon, and some of my favorite cards have come from the vintage-looking photos.

Thanks Jillian, for this awesome post! Please head over to the Barefoot Badger if you’d love more ideas on green, healthy living.

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Living the Rural Dream May 21, 2009 at 12:56 pm

Great guest post 🙂 I have been making my own cards for ages and agree it’s a great idea. Saves money as well as injecting a bit more of a personal feel … normally I design and print myself and then embellish with lots of sparkly bits 🙂 Last year I wrapped all my Christmas presents (scarves knitted by me) in Spanish newspaper (the fashion pages of course!) tied with wool that matched the scarf. It worked really well!

PS: Hello Heather 🙂 thanks to my tooth, which has delayed our departure, I have internet for another week so have been managing to do a little blog catch-up – YAY! Love how greenestdollar is looking 🙂

heather May 21, 2009 at 1:11 pm


So good to hear from you! I’ve been checking in at Rural Dream to see how you guys are doing. 🙂

Thanks so much for the comment. That’s a great idea to use the pages from the fashion section! I regularly use newspapers to wrap presents, but never once thought of using a themed section like that. Yay! My presents will have new life from now on.

Jill May 21, 2009 at 3:39 pm

Thanks Alice. I also like to wrap presents with newspaper and magazines! Though my only attempt at knitting a scarf ended very badly… 🙂

Michele May 22, 2009 at 7:07 am

Great tutorial! I too wrap gifts in magazines and newspapers, and I also try to save pieces of cards/wrapping paper that I’ve been given for reuse, but I especially like your idea of vintage magazines. That must give your cards a special look.

One fun DIY card technique that I’ve tried recently is sewing fabric scraps directly onto paper (you can see a card in progress here: So far I’ve only used letters, but I think I’ll cut shapes next time and combine them with little drawings or paintings.

Jill May 22, 2009 at 7:17 am

Michele, that’s a great idea! Sewing is my next frontier for crafty projects.

heather May 22, 2009 at 7:28 am


I wish I lived closer to Finland so I could over and having a sewing/knitting tutorial with you! 🙂 I think I could manage those cool cards, but I have to admit I’m still day dreaming about those cool knit wristwarmers you had up on your site a few weeks ago. Those were AWESOME!

Thanks so much for sending in that great idea!

Kate Harper May 22, 2009 at 12:29 pm

Nice article! I work in the card business and finding words is the hardest. I found a great way to get advice is on Yahoo answers-it’s fun to throw out text ideas for feedback.

Annette Renee White January 25, 2010 at 11:00 pm

I just created my first handmade greetings cards (you can see them at ). It was so much fun! Now you have given me more ideas for next time! Thanks!

Sherrie March 14, 2011 at 10:13 am

Good tips here, best way to is to get stuck in and see how your ideas develop! I have been making handmade cards for a while, but only recently (feb 2011) started selling them online. I am interested in how i can make my cards greener, any good ideas i can checkout on this site?

Wilson July 17, 2013 at 5:40 am

Greeting cards are really impressive to keep in touch with our near and dear; it’s really an inexpensive way for wishing someone at any occasion like sympathy, birthday wishes, wedding, and thank you or sorry card. It will be an impressive way to express your feelings. You have shared a great post for making own handmade greeting card with the supplies but i want to say one thing that you should also add some photographs while this work, it can make this tutorial a bit of easier. 🙂
Anyway it’s really a great post keep it up.

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