Some Cardmaking Basics

A simple matted and layered card.

I had no lessons when I first started.  A lot of it was copying the look from a photo or the odd You Tube video of instructions in making a particular card or using a specific product.   Here are some of the basics that I had to work out over time!

If you are folding your own cards, you can get 2 card bases from one A4 sheet.  This size will comfortably fit in a C6 envelope.  Cut along the long side at approximately 14.7cm and fold each piece in half to make your cardbase.   To get a crisp fold use a scoring or raised embossing tool (this is a rounded tool with a metal end that has a small ball on the very end).   Place your cardstock on a craft mat, measure halfway across lengthwise, place your ruler along that centre line and run the tool along the edge of the ruler.   The tool will leave a dint along the centre of the cardstock, fold the sides away from the dint.   If you have a bone folder, you can run that along the folded edge to make it super crisp.   A blunt knife (with no serrations) will work in the short term too.

Most cardstock is pretty thin - thinner than a basic 'bought' (manufactured) card in the newsagent for example.    It is made far sturdier by matting both the front and the inside that you write on.   Matting is putting a layer of cardstock or heavy paper over the front of the card, leaving a small edge all the way around (see top photo).    Measure the front of your card - and cut the next layer approx 5-10mm smaller on both the long and short sides.      You can either matt it again to give the impression of a double border, or you can stamp or decorate that top layer or add further layers.   

Matting the inside of the card where the greeting or writing will be adds a touch of luxury to the card and makes it sturdier.  You can add a flyleaf of paper or a sheet of paper a touch smaller than the open card, glued or taped along the centre line if you prefer.   If your card base is white you can leave it un-matted but be aware that it won't be as strong.

Inside matting where the writing will go.  This one has been stamped to add interest.


Decorate or stamp your top before making layering/matting secure to prevent wastage.  For example, if you mis-stamp your top layer and you make a mistake, turn it over and use the other side.  The side with the mistake will be securely taped/glued down so you won't see it.

Have an idea before you start of the colours, paper/cardstock, stamps and embellishments you are going to use.   Get the cardstock/paper and stamps out and make sure they go together before cutting.

Cut (and fold) your cardbase, cut the matting layer(s) and any other layers you will need.  Lay them out in approximate positions so you know you're happy with the look of the card.  

To stamp correctly, ink up the stamp - if the stamp is smaller than the inkpad have the inkpad on the bottom and press the stamp into it a few times.  If the stamp is larger, put the stamp with the rubber side up on the desk and ink it by dabbing the stamp pad over the stamp.  Pick up and by applying firm pressure, stamp the image where you want it to be.   Do not rock the stamp as this will give you ghosting lines.

To help with positioning the stamped image the use of a Stamp-a-ma-jig or equivalent is very useful and something I use regularly.   This is a square of clear plastic sheet and a small t-square.  You put the plastic down with the t-square in the corner of the plastic sheet and stamp in the corner of the sheet with the wooden block edges (or the acrylic block edges) against the t corner.   Place the stamped image that is on the plastic sheet where you want it on your card, put the t-square back in the corner of the sheet and then holding the t-square in place remove the plastic sheet and stamp against the t-corner again.  Please look for a you-tube video on how to use them as I am sure I have made it sound far more complex than it really is!


Stamp the top layers and when dry adhere them with double sided sticky tape or glue or equivalent to the next layer down.  The glue can leave ripples in the paper so don't use too much if you decide to use glue instead of tape.   Double sided tape is STICKY.  Position carefully because you won't be able to move it.   Snail or dotto glue is repositionable, but sometimes it doesn't always hold firm.

When the front is complete, matt or add a flyleaf etc. to your inside.

To keep nice and clean, store in a ziplock bag.  When you are making a few, buy a pack of cello bags for cards that has a small adhesive strip along the top to seal shut.

Here are some more matted cards so you get the idea :)

Matted with glittered cardstock.   Stamps from Stampin' Up! "Birthday Whimsy" & "Punch Bunch" sets.  Punches - SU small and large tags and scalloped square.

Matted with glittered cardstock, Stamps - SU "Party Hearty".  Punches - SU small and large tags.  Here I inked up the stamp with multiple ink pads dabbed onto the image.  Huff the ink (breathe a hot gust of air on to the ink to keep it wet if you're taking a while -  note that huffing won't work with alcohol based inks).

Matted. Top layer stamped with SU "Friends" and coloured with SU markers.   The flower left bottom is a brad (split pin with decorative head) - punch a small hole, put the brad in and open the split pin up before adhering it to the next layer down.





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