Welcome, CardMaker Magazine readers!

We’re so honored to be the recipient of CardMaker Magazine‘s “Readers Reach Out” cards in the current issue! We’re already seeing lots of cards coming in from that….and we want to welcome all the new folks, and invite you to learn more about the organization!


How do we know where you’re coming from, you might wonder? Well, we know that many of you get excited each time OWH is in the magazine and pack up whatever is in your craft room…yay! And those cards are sometimes, though, not ones that follow the OWH guidelines. The magazine listed the guidelines and invited folks to come to the site for more info, but I’m sure for some of you, that was too much to get in the way of your excitement to pack up a box. So…..here’s the Welcome video, just for you! It covers the basics that you need to know, and links at the end to lots and lots of resources to help you learn about the organization and how you can best serve our heroes.

So a hearty WELCOME to our new cardmakers!

And to those who have been with us a long time….what was your first “aha!” moment when you learned something about OWH that surprised you? What’s your best tip for a new OWHer? Leave a comment below!



  1. Don’t use glitter! I learned that early on. :-)

  2. Madame Wong

    No giant embellishments – big flowers, thick buttons or fat pearls are a no-no. Also, good adhesive so that all your bits and pieces stay put.

  3. Helen S.

    Just remember it’s the Quality of the card and not the Quantity. I limit my mailings to a dozen a month and those 12 are my absolute best Works of Art ^*_*^. After all these years, I finally mastered the ‘tuck’ !

  4. No glitter! We all know how glitter gets everywhere even if we are careful…just one spec of glitter will show up in night vision goggles putting our military hero at risk!

  5. My ah-ha moment was that most Stickles rub off like glitter would, so I don’t even bother with them any more. The Viva Pearl Pen provides very nice shimmer without the risk of flaking off. :) And as Helen S. said above, it is Quality, not quantity.

  6. Great that OWH is featured but sad that the top card is a get well instead of missing you. I don’t have one particular aha moment as I’m learning more everyday. I spent some time going over the guidelines before sending in my first box. I think my submissions are getting better, at least I hope so. I would tell new people to listen to as many of the OWHT episodes as they can!

  7. Penny Laschanzky

    A-ha moment for me was seeing the “comparisons” that are done by Sandy to help us improve…..the before’s and after’s of cards so to speak. From that I have learned about how important layering is and how to use a focal point. Those two things have really changed the way I make and look at cards. I’m still working on improving my quality, but I think it is slowly improving each time I send in a box to OWH.

  8. Thank you for all your efforts in your role at OWH. Such a worthy cause! I am curious…what do you do with the cards that you cannot send to our special troops? ~ Vickie

  9. Verna Angerhofer

    Well, it is a “given” that following all the guidelines is important. But I also believe that if you enjoy making those cards, then the beauty will show through and in turn bring enjoyment to the soldier and the person on the other end receiving it as well. So just think how much enjoyment making one card can bring. So have fun and follow the guidelines. It will be much appreciated by all.

  10. Cathie W.

    Good glue is your (and OWH”s) best friend. These cards get lots of handling and that is even before they get to their final destination. So make them sturdy enough to still look their best even tho they have been on deployment and back!

  11. As an “old timer” my best advise is to take advantage of all the fabulous learning opportunities OWH presents. Sign up for the emails, watch OWHtv, participate in the Our Daily Bread challenge (help get 2 boxes mailed to our Heroes for free!) play with all the free sketches. Send for and use the free OWH stamp for the back of your cards, learn the tuck, separate your cards into categories for your shipper, ALWAYS fill out your packing slip. Glitter is a big NO NO! And last but hardly least, have fun, enjoy yourself! Think of all the people who are going to smile because of your card…starting with you!

  12. As a relative “newbie”, one “aha” moment was learning how important good heavy cardstock is for your card bases. Paper that is marked “cardstock” in big packages at the craft stores is actually pretty thin when you think of someone writing in pencil leaning against his buddy’s back! Look for the heaviest-weight CS you can find – Michael’s has 110 lb. CS in the loose paper racks now, and of course there are several companies on-line that sell very sturdy stuff. Sandy has several good segments on OWHtv about paper. Not only is OWHtv informative, it’s a lot of fun! And check out the OWH blogs for Bootcamp lessons – wonderful design guidance.

  13. I’ve seen lots of newcomers make comments that they don’t think their cards are “good enough.” Some choose to make cards exclusively for AnyHero mail when they start because they are working on quality and that’s a great tip because we always need more AnyHero mail. When you’re new (especially if you’re new to making cards), don’t compare your cards to those that others make. Some of the cards you’ll see posted are made by people with years upon years of card making experience, professional careers in the arts, or a seemingly endless supply of fancy tools. Instead, compare the cards you made this week to the ones you made last week. Are they better? Did you make use of the guidelines, tutorials, OWHtv segments, Sunday sketches, before & afters, and the like to learn something and improve? If so, you’re doing an awesome job and making your cards with the love and care our heroes deserve.

  14. AHA!

    On days that require I rest, I can write Any Hero letters rather than bounce around making cards–both are needed and appreciated. Advice: find your own talent, don ‘t imitate another’s nor let limitations control you.

  15. My aha? Tape guns really were worth the investment! I put off buying one until I realized how many of my cards were falling apart, even with what I considered excellent runners. Now, I’m more choosy about adhesives to make sure the cards can make it everywhere it needs to go!

  16. My best advice that has not been mentioned is to go back and watch some old episodes of OWH – if you did not have a heart for it now you will after a few episodes where Sandy reads cards from our heros and also childrens notes to our heros… and in those videos you will learn all sorts of card making tips. And buy good paper, that is a good tip – invest less in the elements to add to the cards and instead buy good paper and stamps and ribbon.

  17. oh and watch Sandys card making thing –


    This will help any new (or experienced) card maker make great OWH cards they can be very proud to send.

  18. My big “Aha” was being reminded that a card we make may be the last one a wife, child, husband, etc. receives from our troops. That was like a slap upside the head. Being the Mom of a retired Squid (Navy for those that don’t know), I’ve started looking at every card thinking “If this were the last one I got from my son, would it hold up?”

  19. My aha: The hero who said that birthday cards are only sent once a year, but every day is a day for “missing you” and “love you” cards. It helped me to focus my card themes.
    My tip: Doing my best work – good supplies, straight clean edges, strong adhesives, and the best design and execution I can create – on each card.

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