Saturday, January 14, 2006

Handcrafting Cards with Torn Paper

By Christina VanGinkel

With many paper-oriented crafts so hot these days, such as scrapbooking, people are also rediscovering other types of paper crafts, such as card making. With nothing more than a few sheets of cardstock, maybe a paper punch and a pair of scissors, and a few embellishments borrowed from the scrapbook bag, you can be quickly making cards for any occasion you might need.

Creating cards is also a great way to try out techniques that you might wish to incorporate into a larger project, but you first want to try on a smaller scale. Paper ripping for example sounds straightforward enough, but can produce many different results depending on the paper you use, how you might layer it, and if you use any tools while tearing it or just do it free hand.

Cardstock and some thin papers sometimes come in designs that have both sides of a single sheet a different color. These papers make great torn projects, as they provide different looks when tearing other than just a single color with a white interior showing. Because these are craft papers, the sizes they come in can range from smaller than typical eight and a half by eleven-inch sheet sizes, to a twelve by twelve inch sheet size. Start by deciding if you are going to use this paper for the stock of the card, or just the decoration. I like using it for both. That way, when the card is begun, it already has the design element of two different main colors, one for the outside of the card, and one for the inside, all from a single sheet of paper. It in turn opens up the range of colors you can incorporate with your other embellishments.

Begin your project by cutting the card itself out. You can find patterns in numerous paper crafting magazines, or by tracing an old card. If you plan to mail the card, stick to a standard size, note card size, so that envelopes will be easy to obtain. You can make your own, but that is another craft all by itself!

Once your card shape is cut, lightly score the fold so that when folded, it is smooth. I use a Wishblade cutter, which connects to my computer and cuts out various die cut shapes, for making my cards, and this actually scores the card for me when it cuts it, making for a perfect fold each time! Once I have the card, I begin by hand tearing whatever shapes I am interested in creating. I also use the edge of my heavy orange colored Fiskars plastic stencils for creating more uniform tears. Each stencil sheet actually has a different edge perfect for this purpose, and the different designs you can create with these alone are simply amazing.

A fan of incorporating found embellishments into many of my crafts, I will also add items such as buttons and small wire shapes. My one restriction when making a torn paper card, or any handcrafted card for that matter, is to keep the designs relatively flat if I plan to mail them in a basic envelope. I also use paper punches, stamps and inks, chalks, watercolors, paints, brads, eyelets, glitter, and any other embellishment I can think of. Whatever I think might fit the theme of the card. A recent card for a friend who is a coffee lover consisted of a two-tone paper that was brown on one side and yellow on the other. I used the brown for the exterior of the card and hand tore a yellow sun from the scraps left after I cut out the shape of the card. This was applied top the exterior of the card with copper wire hand twisted around a pencil and flattened to add some dimension and pizzazz to the areas around the sun. On the inside of the card, on the yellow, I cut out lettering using the brown side of the paper, stating that It was a Coffee Kind of Morning, and included an invitation to meet for coffee soon. I also decorated the inside of the card on the page facing the text with a hand torn coffee cup shape. The complete card only took me a few minutes to make and cost me nothing more than a single sheet of two-tone paper and some snips of wire.

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