When you throw a party, you have to consider a few things – the theme of the party, who to invite, the food, the drinks, the decorations, where it’s going to be held, and the activities. When all of these elements come together, people have a great time!
When creating paper crafts, cards, or scrapbook pages, there are common elements that come together to make a beautiful design and something people love. As I post projects on this site, I will try to point out the elements so that you can combine them or alter them to make your own beautifully unique projects.
Sentiments are the message of the card or to carry our Party analogy forward – the reason for the party. The sentiment is the theme – is it Happy Birthday, Baby Shower, Retirement, or something less happy? The sentiment can vary not only in the actual words but the size and the font as well. A great, big, bold sentiment can dominate a card and make a fun, dramatic statement. A small sentiment whispers the message, letting the rest of the card carry the message. The sentiment should influence the other elements to create a cohesive statement. For more examples of how the sentiment will drive your card designs, click here.
Think of colors like the guests at your party. Are you going to have a big crowd or a few intimate friends? Is this a family function, or your rowdy wine-drinking book club? Colors communicate the mood of the card, a season or personal style. Consider using one color and a neutral or up to three colors and a neutral if you use repeating layers or families of color. Using more than four colors can become tricky, like mixing work friends with your crazy in-laws. The exception would be adding a designer paper element that is particularly varied. Even if you are using a colorful DSP, select up to three colors from the palette to complete the card for the most polished look. Click here for more color theory.
Good food, the right food, is essential to any party. Is this Thanksgiving dinner or a vegetable tray? Layers add physical and visual weight to a card. They are useful for adding color or texture to a card. But, most importantly, they can be used to enhance the elements of the card, making each piece stand out instead of becoming a stew of miscellaneous papers and images. Single-layer cards can be gorgeous in their elegant simplicity. Each card will require different layers to create the finished look you want. For more details on layers including some standard measurements and layers to consider beyond just paper, click here.
No party is complete without something to drink. Does your party call for lemonade in a dixie cup, fine wine in a crystal goblet or are you going to mix it up and serve that expensive red in a solo cup? Sometimes a high contrast is just what a party needs. Textures add interest to a card. The textures can be physical, like rough burlap or smooth satin, but they can also be visual, in the case of a small image or a phrase stamped repeatedly over a piece of cardstock. Textures and layers work together. A layer can be dry embossed giving the card texture as well as another layer. Texture can be used to provide contrast. A shiny metallic element accented with a piece of burlap ribbon makes the metallic texture stand out because of the opposing embellishment. Textures should be selected to coordinate with the theme of the card, like using a graphic pattern to emboss on a masculine card rather than a floral one. For a more in-depth look at textures, click here.
Never ever put a bunch of chairs in a circle around an open space for your party. This is only appropriate for therapy. You can have seating around a table to get crafty or share a meal. You can cluster chairs for a large group to split off into smaller conversations, but you don’t want everyone seated in a circle waiting for their turn to talk – that’s not a party. Besides, then everyone will just end up in the kitchen.
Placement of the elements on the card, the layers, the sentiment, the embellishment should be carefully considered. You want to lead the view around the card, to see all the elements. The elements need to interact, be connected. The placement can influence the mood of the card, imparting a feeling of formality or playfulness just by angling a layer or not. The symmetrical placement of elements will feel formal. Visually dividing the card into thirds and placing more elements at the top or bottom or to one side can add interest to a card. Using a triangle layout is another artistic tool for card layouts. Click here to look at this topic in detail. (coming soon)
Decorations! You know you adore this part of the party. It’s so crafty. It’s the same thing with your cards. Bling, ribbons, embossing paste and oh so much more. This is the fun stuff – the sparkly stuff – the finishing touch. Don’t skip this. Yes, your card is gorgeous. It has the perfect message, inspiring colors, the right layers, and textures and is laid out perfectly. Now add the jewelry. Not to much, just the right touch. It should match the card. No pearls on the masculine birthday card with the tractor image. It should draw the eye to the important parts, the sentiment, the image or help to lead the eye around the card. The type and placement should be purposeful and coordinate with the theme. A single rhinestone or seven sequins – let’s look at what embellishments can do. (More coming soon.)
To create a handmade stamped card, there are few items you must have in your craft room to put all of these theories to work. Paper, ink, stamps, scissors, a paper trimmer, and adhesives. For more information about the supplies that are used in card making, click here.
Now that you have a grasp of the fundamentals, get out the craft supplies, select a theme – your sentiment – and use colors, layers, textures, and embellishments to design your handmade card that anyone would be happy to receive. Party invitations, perhaps?