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Monday, October 22, 2012

Collage Christmas Cards Tutorial Part 1

Hi Bloggers!
People absolutely LOVE receiving hand-made cards.  And when those cards look as pretty as these cards do, the recipient views the card as the gift itself!  I am going to show you step-by-step how to achieve this shabby,vintage look in your handmade Christmas cards.  Let's get started, shall we?

First of all, I like to use pre-made cards and envelopes.  I use Recollections Cards &  Envelopes from Michael's in size 5" x 6.5" in the off-white and kraft colors.  There are 40 sets in these packs.
You can use card stock and make your own cards also but by using these you save a lot of time.
Both Kraft and Off-White work well for these cards.
Select your paper from paper collections that contain interesting images.  In this case I am using the Nutcracker Sweet collection by Graphic 45.  But you can use what you like.  Sometimes I make cards using floral images, and sometimes I use paper that has drawn images of people, especially vintage images.  For Christmas cards images of Santa Claus is especially cute!  For cards of a religious nature, you can use images of the Nativity.  The sky is the limit selecting paper collections.

Step 1.
Using Christmas-themed patterned paper, cut 40 rectangles measuring 4.5" x 6".  Less if you are making less than 40 cards.  (Cut one for each card you are making.)  They can be of different patterns.
I use every pattern in the paper line.  This way, when covering your cards, each one will be a little different, yet it will still coordinate with the others.  Sometimes I use glossy papers for my backgrounds. If you wish to do this, select coordinating colors of glossy paper, and cut it so it measures 4.5 x 6".
NOTE:  I cut these backgrounds from a different paper line than Nutcracker Sweet, as I had them left over from last time.  You can cut them from the same paper line, or another one, because it's the background and it won't really matter.  Just make sure it coordinates and goes with the card's theme.
These rectangles were cut from other paper than the Nutcracker paper line.  They are backgrounds, so it only needs to coordinate, not match exactly.  Also-I lined up the rectangle to show you how much of the card is covered up. 

Step 2.
Now that you have cut the rectangles, get the paper with images on it, and cut all the images apart. Most collections have one or two papers that contain separate images, rather than a repeating pattern.  Sometimes they are tags, sometimes you see 12 rectangles with images.

NOTE:  I use many different types of paper in this step.  Since these images are going to be layered on the front of your card, it is interesting to select paper with other images than just that of the paper line.  I use paper with music, toys, old newspaper, and other vintage images.  You can select chipboard images as well. Our goal is to make a collage, so variety will be pleasing to the eye.
In this photo I am showing you the image cards from last time I made these cards.  You can see that they have already been inked and stickled,  I just wanted to show them to you, so you can see that it is good to use different types of images than just the paper line.  You will be making a collage, so these images will compliment the paper line!  Again, Music, Antique Toys, and other Christmas images all work very well.
Step 3.
Using a scissors or distressing tool, rough up the edges of all the images that you cut apart in Step 2.
Of course, this is optional.  Sometimes you may opt to leave the edges plain.  Decide what "look" you want with your finished card.  If a more shabby outcome is desired, distressing is best.

Step 4.
On a craft sheet, ink all edges of the cut images and the 4.5"x 6" rectangles from Step 1. Vintage Photo Distress Ink works very well.  With an applicator such as a blending tool or sponge, ink every edge of every single image.  This is a bit messy so the craft sheet is a must!  Starting outside of the image, move your blending tool in a circular motion and move onto the paper so as not to leave a rectangle of ink on the card.  (You may want to practice on a piece of scratch paper to get the hang of it.)  If you are inking up the "distressed" image, make sure that you ink all of the white areas created by the distress tool.  Paper has layers, and when the paper is frayed it reveals white paper underneath.  So take the time to get good coverage on your image.  Once ALL images are inked up, set aside for later.  I put mine in a sandwich bag, to keep the ink from getting on anything it shouldn't!  Especially if you make these cards in stages.

Inking this is optional, but it really ads to the shabby feel of the card.
Here and below, you see one example is inked, and one is left plain.

Step 5.
Open the card package and remove all 40 of the blank cards, setting the envelopes aside.  Ink up the fronts of all the cards.  Use the same technique you did with the images--start on the craft sheet in a circular motion and work onto the card.  It is only important to ink the edges, as the center of the card will eventually be covered up with other paper.  The goal is to make this fresh clean card look old and vintage, so put ink on the front, the back, and the inside of the card.

Inside the card, you will really need to make sure you don't let your inking tool rest too long on the card or you will end up with a rectangle on your card.  The sentiment will be stamped inside in a later step, so you may want to "frame" that area with the ink.  OR you may just want to add a light layer of the ink in various places, to give it that antique feel...similar to aged paper that has been in a trunk for 50 years!

Step 6.
Ink the envelopes.  Use the same technique as above.  Set aside.

Step 7.
Emboss your glossy paper at this time.  There are many lovely embossing folders with Christmas themes.  Snowflakes, words, and other images look nice behind the collage on your card.

The glossy background will look nice against the image here!

You now should have cut out 40 rectangles, cut out Christmas images, inked up the images, rectangles, cards, and envelopes and embossed your glossy paper.  Once all these steps have been completed, you are ready to assemble your cards!
Tomorrow is the fun part!  We will be using all of these images and paper, plus the items from your supplies list. So gather up your buttons, ribbons, lace and other ephemera and we will put the card together in Part 2. (Tomorrow)

You are going to be busy preparing these cards, but it will be worth it!  So, until next time,
Happy Creating!


Connie L. Riley said...

ReNae, what a great post. I loved all the detailed steps AND the pictures. You've certainly begun the series with an excellent start that is going to be hard to top! I look forward to following along. Thanks for all the wonderful inspiration.

Little Canvases said...

Where do you find time to do these wonderful tutorials?!?!?
I agree - you are an inspiration!

ReNae Allen said...

Oh thanks Gia and Connie! I really enjoy making these cards, and wanted to show people how to do it. For me, it's fun to gather up all my ribbons, trims and buttons and doo-dads and make a pretty collage out of them! With papers as beautiful as the ones available now, you simply cannot go wrong! I can't wait for Part 2, assembly. That's where the rubber hits the road!
Also, thank you for your kind comments. It is I who find YOU inspirational. Both of you do amazing work and I am always in awe of you! Cheers!

Patty O'Malley said...

I'm enjoying this tutorial. I do have a problem with the blending tool leaving a rectangular mark~~just can't seem to get the right touch.

ReNae Allen said...

What you want to do is after you ink up your blending tool, start inking outside of the card's edge, on the craft sheet. Continue inking in a circular motion, and ease the blending tool on to the card. If you keep the circular movement going, you won't have the rectangle. When you stop inking make sure you have moved your blending tool back off of the card again.
If this does not work, try using a sponge to ink instead, or a piece of foam.

Patty O'Malley said...

Thanks, ReNae. Will try that.