In an effort to help all our new cardmakers, we have this series of “101” tutorials, exploring basic supplies and techniques to help new folks get started! We also have “201” ideas for intermediate cardmakers, and some “301” techniques for the advanced folks. Hopefully that means we’ll have plenty of inspiration for everyone! See a list of all tutorials here, and a great glossary of terminology here.
To make a nice card, start with nice cardstock.
Flimsy or lightweight papers can make your cardmaking process so much more challenging, so it’s important to begin with a good weight of cardstock. Some cardstock is very heavy and can be challenging to fold, others are somewhat thinner; they’re sold at paper stores, stamping stores, office supply stores, scrapbooking stores, and through “demonstrators.” (These are individuals who represent a product line—they often have parties in homes like Tupperware parties, where you can sample the company’s products and purchase them.) Be sure you can look at one of the pieces of paper inside the pack before buying it, so you know if it’s too lightweight for cards.
Some common paper texture terminology.
- Felt Rough, looks like the texture of speckled walls
- Laid Rough, linear pattern
- Linen Embossed pattern, looks like fabric
- Smooth Just what it sounds like
- Vellum Basically flat, but with a little bit of tooth
A letter-sized sheet makes two cards.
Most packs of cardstock measure 8.5 x 11, and they come in “reams” of various sizes from 50 sheets to 500 sheets. Cutting the cardstock in half on the short side makes a card of a different style than cutting it the other way. Neither is wrong—it just depends on what kind of opening you’d like for your card. Both cards, when folded, are “A2” size, which is what OWH prefers…4.25 x 5.5 cards fit perfectly into the A2 envelopes we purchase.
A tip on folding.
You might find it helpful to purchase a bone folder. These come in many shapes and sizes, but with the same purpose: to crease your fold nicely on your cardstock! You make a partial fold using your finger, and then crease it using the smooth edge of the bone folder. Some people find an object they already have in their home that has a smooth, hard edge to it to use for the same purpose, so you may not have to buy a tool to achieve a nice edge. You might also choose to purchase an inexpensive ScorBuddy to have on hand – it has measurements right on the platform and it’s easy to make crisp scores – and measure where you’re making them.
Cardstock isn’t always expensive.
There are many many places to purchase cardstock; but one of the most cost-effective white cardstock we’ve found is the Georgia-Pacific 110, sold at most Wal-Mart stores. It’s only a few dollars for a huge ream of paper—what a deal! It only comes in white. Note that it’s the THINNEST cardstock OWH recommends for card bases – heavier is better, as our heroes sometimes use the sand for a writing surface, and thin paper makes a pen or pencil poke through as they write. If you want to use colored cardstock and don’t want to sink a lot of money into it, find a cardmaking friend to split it with; then you can pick out a few colors and divide and conquer!
Check out our tutorial about PAPER WEIGHTS too.
Experienced cardmakers: Where do you purchase your cardstock? Are there types you find work best? Are there drawbacks to certain types?
New cardmakers: What other questions do you have about cardstock?