You’ve been asking – so today I want to show you how to step up a quick and easy handmade card. Every so often we need a card that just knocks the ball outta the park! Maybe for a special birthday or anniversary. Or for someone who really went that extra mile to make your day special.

And while your (and my) normal motto might be “get ‘er done“, you’d like to know how to make that masterpiece without spending too much more time right? After all, who has a ton of time with work, kids, homework, laundry and all that jazz?

Well, it turns out only a few quick tricks will have you turning any simple card into a work of art!

Let me show you the card I started with…

How to Step up a Quick and Easy Handmade Card

(Hmmmmm, I must have been in a purple mood lately since last Sunday I showed you this retro looking design! 🙃)

But anyway nothing wrong with this fella I made for my Next Best Thing Catalogue Launch in June…

  • tone on tone stamping
  • just a few easy embellishments
  • a couple layers so it will fit in the mail pretty easily

But I wanted something just a bit more “showy” for a thank you I need to send out. So let me show you first what I came up with and then I’ll go over all the questions I ask myself.

Learn How to Step up a Quick and Easy Handmade Card

How to Step Up a Quick and Easy Handmade Card

Do I Want a Different Colour?

There’s nothing saying you need to keep the same colour as the original. So this is always the first question I ask myself.

And when thinking about making a different colour combo, I look at what is the main draw on the existing card. Stamped images, words, texture or embellishments?

The most eye catching element on the purple card I figured was the tri-colour ribbon. So I rifle through my ribbon choices and decided the scalloped In Colors would work really well since it was a two tone ribbon. That gave me 5 colours (6 really with the linen colour) to choose from and I liked the idea of a Rococo Rose sunflower card.

Then I needed to determine what the contrasting colours needed to be…one darker and one lighter for the card base.

After that it’s really just a process of elimination. I held up the Rococo Rose to all my colours in the pink-red family to see what works the best. For this card, I landed on Cherry Cobbler and Blushing Bride.

How to Step up a Quick and Easy Handmade Card

Do I Want a Different Layout?

Layout adds so much interest to handmade cards. You’ll notice for this one I just changed the side the flower and words are stamped on. This immediately gives a slightly varied look to the card.

I could have also stamped the flower a number of times across the bottom (or top). But I liked the simplicity of one simple flower, stamped in Versamark ink so it picked up the darker tones of the Rococo Rose cardstock.

If you wanted, you might also change from a landscape to a portrait orientation (see hints about this here). Or switched up the placement of the ribbon.

Learn How to Step up a Quick and Easy Handmade Card

What Elements Should I Add?

This is where things really start to get fun! There are soooo many ways to change up a card. These are some of the ways I start:

  • do I need to add more stamped images? Sometimes adding in more of the same or coordinating images immediately add interest
  • can I add texture to the card? Maybe with an embossing folder or a stencil and paste. Perhaps with embossing powder, textured papers, dimensional glue or 3D small embellishments (think gems, ribbons, dots, etc.)
  • should I add dimension to the design? Stampin’ dimensionals and layered elements are fabulous for this
  • are there die cuts I can add? Many stamp sets have dies that perfectly match the stamps; in other cases, there are lots of dies with smaller images that can add interest (think small hearts, stars, flowers, butterflies, shapes etc.)
  • can I add more colour somewhere? Like sponging or watercolour backgrounds, a hint of glimmer with Wink of Stella

For today’s card, the outline sunflower was just begging to become an added element for this card. I chose to crop it in Cherry Cobbler and place the entire die over the stamped sunflower. Even though some of the petal tips extend over the edge of the card, I like how this looks so I didn’t cut them off.

Want to Know How to Step up a Quick and Easy Handmade Card?

I also cut out the centre of the sunflower in Rococo Rose, sponged the bottm 2/3’s with a mix of Rococo Rose and Cherry Cobbler and popped it up on a Stampin’ Dimensional. The final touch was a swipe of Wink of Stella over the sponged area.

The final final piece was stamping an envelope to match so there’s a surprise before my friend even opens the card.

Ooops! A Word of Caution

You probably don’t want to add every single element I’ve listed above to your card. Pick and choose which ones really bring out the best in the design. In this case more is not better! Unfortunately the more you add, the more it will end up detracting from the attractiveness of your design. (yes that is the voice of experience talking!)

Over to You Stamper!

When you need to create a card with a bit more POW, there are a bunch of ways you can get creative. Try out a few at a time and see which ones you are most comfortable with. You will quickly find there are some you use more than others to add that little bit extra.

Here are the supplies I used for the stepped up version of my simple card. I would really appreciate you purchasing anything you would love to add to your own stash through my 24-7 online store. Simply click on any of them here.

Supplies to Step up a Quick and Easy Handmade Card

Which One Do You Like Better?

So today there are really three different designs I shared. I’d love it if you left me a comment with which one you find the most attractive!

Let Me Show You How to Step up a Quick and Easy Handmade Card

Now you know how to step up a quick and easy handmade card give it a try!

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