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ARTICLES

So What Really Is A Handmade Card

The boundaries of what constitutes a Handmade card are getting more and more blurred. Time was when it was something you made at home from whatever you could muster. These days though, with Handmade meaning big business, the worlds of Crafts and Greeting Cards have merged to offer more choice to the consumer.

A Handmade Card these days could include: 1. any hand made -or rather 'home made' cards 2. hand-embellished but pre-packaged 3. a card kit that you 'hand-assembled' at home.

This makes it more difficult for retailers to know how to promote their stock but it gives more choice for the customer and crafter. Let's look at them more fully. 1. The handmade/home-made card This one gets my thumbs up or rather a thumbs on! Homemade doesn't mean cheap and tacky. With some excellent courses, books and tutorials out there, there's no excuse for half-hearted efforts. This category applies to any hand-made card made from scratch using your own ingenuity, creativity and resourcefulness.

It certainly requires the most inventiveness and the likelihood is that a handmade card - made from either casual or carefully selected materials will be truly individual. Such handmade cards are made with considerable love and attention and usually treasured by the lucky recipient. 2.

The hand-embellished card Interestingly the greeting card industry considers handmade to cover any 'hand-assisted' card, often with 'proud' features. That includes (but is not limited to) sequins, felt, glitter, ribbon, beads etc. Think base design, on a quality card stock. This background is then topped with a selection of hand-embellishments: anything from tinted photos to faceted beads. Many publishers use emotive vocabulary such as 'embossed, sophisticated and elegant' - to attract customers to purchase what they (both public and customer) consider one step above the mass market crowd. 3.

The card kit Card kits are increasingly popular with all age groups. You know the thing - a complete set of blank cards and envelopes, with inclusive, inviting little thingummies that you hand assemble to create new. You might get some templates as to layout, or be inventive in laying out your surface additions. Card kits include all the embellishments and card blanks you need to create your own handmade card.

Detailed instruction may, or may not be included. There are a number of advantages to card kits: a. everything (and sometimes this means glue too) is included, ready-to-go b. placement and assembly is directed by the materials. instructions come as standard - so no need to be inventive in your use of the materials - unless you want to.

On the other hand, whilst card kits don't give you too much freedom of choice they can give you a way into testing your creativity. With a great range of kits to choose from it shouldn't take long to find the right kind for you. A number of sites and stations have tantalising packages to buy and the immediacy of them makes card making fun.

There's no reason to lessen your sense of achievement in using card kits and they are often one move up from the hand embellished card, and a pre-cursor to going it alone - in free thinking creativity. Whatever you opt for, making or giving a handmade card shows your willingness to go the extra mile for something extra special. How much or how little you do, depends on the type of card you buy and how handmade you want your handmade card to be. Perhaps it comes down to semantics. Handmade to me often meant 'homemade' which often smacked of a cheap alternative to the bought version. What I didn't know then was that handmade really gives you a chance to shine in your particular avenue of creativity.

And if you are an aspiring free thinker then the card kit will naturally impose just one too many restrictions on your ability to go with the flow. If however it allows you, with good conscience to say 'handmade' with pride then it has great appeal. The craft market is in boom time right now and card making is enjoying a high too.

Hence the number of card making magazines available marrying these two great trends perfectly. So handmade need not mean a 'less than' card. It certainly shouldn't. Personally I'd favor handmade over bought. Where you step into the realms of making or buying a handmade card lies in your needs, abilities and pocket.

Choose what's right for you and give or make a handmade card with pride. It will always single your card giving out from the crowd and say much about how you see the act of giving as well as the art of making.

Geraldine Jozefiak has written widely on how to craft a handmade card for someone special. Greeting Card Guide gives you the latest news, trends and products to make your greeting card selection as quick, fun and painless as possible. http://greetingcardguide.com



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