Children’s handmade cards are gifts of time, effort and skill. The sender gets as much pleasure from the card as the lucky recipient.
First Things First
Before beginning, make sure kids have everything they need to complete the card. First, decide on a project. Ask the child to think about why they are making the card and how they could do it.
Devise a plan or idea to create the card but it’s really important that you don’t hijack the project. Kid’s crafts are freshest when there’s a little creative freedom. Finally, you can start to collect all the materials.
Start with the card itself. The ideal card should be stiff enough to stand neatly, yet flexible enough to cut and work with. Choose from white or coloured cards with either gloss or matt finishes.
Handmade cards don’t need to be complicated; the simplest ideas will do the job. Fold the card neatly, using a rigid edge like a ruler to create a neat central crease. You can buy packs of ‘card blanks’ which are ready folded and just need decoration. These packs have the added advantage of envelopes.
The card blanks can be decorated with stickers, feathers, rolled paper tissue balls or foam shapes. A simple drawing or painting would be lovely too. You can save mistakes by creating the design on a piece of paper which can be cropped and attached to the front of the card on a mount.
The child can write a greeting on the front of the card and a personal message inside. Mark out the words for younger children in feint pencil dots. They can then join the dots to form the words; everyone loves to see a child’s attempt at handwriting. Alternatively, very young children could sign with a cute hand or finger print.
On the reverse of the card, mark the artist’s name and the date the handmade card was created as it will become a precious keepsake.
Keep a special box in your craft store for old cards for kid’s crafts. Children love rummaging through the box looking for appealing designs. Carefully cut the images out and stick them to the new card. Use lots of different cards to create a trendy collage effect. The same principle is used by keeping scraps of patterned wrapping paper. Complete the card using words cut from other cards, newspapers or magazines. This encourages word and letter recognition in younger children.
Photos are very accessible with modern digital technology. For personal, handmade cards use a special photograph of your child or they can even take their own photograph. Crop the photo so it’s significantly smaller than the card. Mount with dots of PVA glue onto a bright and contrasting piece of card. Apply this to the front. Kids can then decorate the edge of the photo with bright, sparkly ‘gems’ or stickers.
Stained Glass Cards
These cards are most effective if you use a dark or black card blank. Sketch a simple design on the front and carefully cut it out. This is easier for grownups. On the inside left page, tightly secure a piece of bright tissue paper. This is a fabulous contrast to the card and gives a lovely ‘stained glass’ effect.
Rubber Stamp It
Use large rubber stamps to create little motifs for kid’s cards. Kids can cut the designs out, colour them and stick them onto their handmade cards.
A Simple Pop- Up card
This card delights the young maker and the person who receives it. Younger children should leave the cutting and folding to a grown up.
- Lay the card on the table with the fold to the left.
- Make a cut from the folded edge across the centre of the card until you reach the half-way point.
- Fold the two newly cut edges back on themselves, forming two small triangles. Your card will now look like you have cut a deep and wide ‘V’ shape into the folded edge.
- Ease the ‘triangles’ back to their original position.
- Open the card up flat.
- Pinch and pull the two triangles into the inside of the card and close the card, firming the folding edges.
- You have created a pop-up beak!
- Glue another card blank to the outside so you have a double layered card.
- Draw and decorate a face around the beak. It could be a bird, monster, dinosaur or strange creature. Decorate with glitter, feathers or paper scales. Add a nice greeting.
Making, designing and giving a handmade card fills a child with a real sense of achievement and self-worth. They can create something impressive and pleasing. Handmade cards are more valuable than any you can buy in a shop!