Making a card – the base

Many years ago I used to make all my cards that I gave:  Christmas, birthday, Mother's Day, Father's Day.  You name the occasion, I made the card.  It all stopped when I went back to work after having my son.  There was just not enough time in the day and as my craft room had become a nursery, there wasn't the space.  I figured that the only one that would notice was me.  I got the "oh that is a lovely card" during these occasions but I didn't think it was that big of a deal.

Several years later, on Father's Day, my Dad was opening up the present from my son and myself.  He opened up his bought card, read it and then thanked me.  He continued to stare at it for a bit and then looked up at me and said "You know, I really do miss your handmade cards".  I think my jaw dropped.  I never thought he noticed.  Several years went by and his words would go through my head periodically.  I had mentioned it to my Mom, my Aunt and at that time found out that they had a stack of cards that I had made them over the years.

I still didn't have the time to haul everything out of my closet (and there was a lot) but I started to make very simple cards using pictures from Google Images.  It reminded me of the cards I first made. Cards where I used my own photographs or traced shapes onto cardstock and then cut it out.   I was completely in the dark about everything when it came to making cards.

This made me decide to write a series of blogs about the components and how to make a card.  I am hoping that you find this helpful and that those that receive your homemade cards start to safe them as well.


Cards are normally made out of cardstock.  Cardstock is thicker than copy paper and holds up better.  There are different weights to cardstock and the higher the weight, the thicker the cardstock.   As I have a Michael's close by I normally purchase my cardstock from them.  I started out using 65lb cardstock but now use 110lb cardstock for the base.

You have a couple of different options for your base:  premade or make you own.  There are some pros and cons to using both.

I have bought premade cards at craft stores, dollar stores or specialty stores.  When I first started out I would use premade bases and they normally came with the envelopes.  Depending upon where you get them, you can also purchase them in different colours as well.  If you are making a limited number of cards or just starting out, this might be the best option for you.  At the dollar store you can get a package of six and all you have to do is decorate the card.  The downside is that you are limited to the size of card you can find and the more specialty sized packages can be costly. 

Making your own base provides you with more flexibility in colours and sizes but it can be more costly and use up more space at home.  I purchase my cardstock in packages so have to store the leftovers.  I also have purchased boxes of different sized envelopes.  If you are making a special sized card (like a square one), you may not be able to find a matching size envelope.

When I make a base for a card, I determine what size of card I want to make and then how I want the card to open.  It can be a top fold or a side fold.  People who make cards generally make them  to be 4 1/4 inches x 5 1/2 inches.  This is due cardstock normally coming in 8 1/2 x 11 size.  You can get two card bases out of one piece of paper.  Envelopes for this size is easy to find as well.

There are two different ways that you can cut your 8 1/2 x 11 cardstock.  You can cut two long narrow rectangles (4 1/4 x 11) or two shorter wider rectangle (8 1/2 x 5 1/2)

The cards can then be folded in half so the fold is on the left side or on the top.

Here is an example of a card that Susan made where the 4 1/4 x 11 size cardstock was folded on the top.

This is an example if the 4 1/4 x 11 cardstock was folded on the left side.

This is a 8 1/x x 5 1/2 card folded on it's left side.