It seems as if the holiday greeting cards you find lately are so generic. Relieve the boredom, and learn to make handwoven greeting cards!
According to the Smithsonian Magazine, it is believed that in 1843, Sir Henry Cole devised a ‘Christmas’ card to help alleviate the burden of the then famous holiday letter. In 1875, Louis Prang designed a similar one, but this one was decorated with a Poinsettia and a simple ‘Merry Christmas’.
From that point, manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon, and today, we all receive anywhere from three to thirty Christmas cards each year. And with very few exceptions, they all seem similar.
Instead of sending the same cards that everyone else does, delight the people on your Christmas card list this year with ones that are made by hand.
Handwoven Greeting Cards
You don’t have to be an artist to create these. With a few sheets of craft paper and some supplies, you can create handwoven greeting cards in a matter of minutes. In a single day, you can have as many as 10 to 30 ready to add a personal note, signed and slipped into an envelope!
If you are looking for a simple gift or stocking stuffer, you can make a set of handwoven greeting cards easily. Just find a box to hold them, wrap them up, and you have a beautiful, unique gift.
You can also create handwoven greeting cards for any occasion. Congratulate someone on an anniversary, birthday, or for the birth of a new child. All you have to do is choose a craft paper that works for the occasion.
Although handwoven greeting cards are beautiful as is, you can take your creativity a step further and add a bit of flair through buttons, charms, stickers and more.
Creating Handwoven Greeting Cards
To get started on your handwoven greeting cards, you need a few things – (See notes below the directions!)
- Craft Paper (I use the preprinted scrapbook paper)*
- Piece of scrap copy paper
- Crafting Knife**
- Glue (I use a Glue Stick)
- Blank Photo Frame Greeting Cards
- Heavyweight sheet of cardstock, or a sheet of poster board (used as a stabilizer)
- Accessories*** – Buttons, stickers, charms, etc.
1) Measure the cutout in your photo frame greeting card. Most of them measure 4-5/8” x 3”, but you still need to measure to be certain.
2) An easy way to make sure your handwoven piece will fit properly, is to use a template. Using a piece of copy paper, measure a rectangle that is 5-1/2” x 4”. Using scissors, cut out the rectangle. Slip the rectangle into the card, and check to make certain it is wider and longer than the opening by at least 1/2″. Less than that your woven edges may show; larger and the final woven piece may not fit smoothly.
3) Once you are certain of the size, use the copy paper rectangle as a template. Flip a sheet of your craft paper face down. Using a ruler and pencil, mark lines around the template. Using a crafting knife, cut the rectangle out. Cut a second rectangle out of a piece of heavier weight paper (either scrapbook paper or poster board). Set aside.
4) Continue working on the back side of the scrap paper. Using a ruler and pencil, draw lines to create 1/2″ strips. Cut along these lines using a ruler and craft knife.
5) Set the strips aside. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the remaining sheets of scrapbook paper.
6) Once all the strips are cut, lay a strip horizontal on your workspace. Top that one with a strip that is centered and vertical.
7) Lay one strip under the horizontal strip on each side.
8) From here on out, you will be weaving your strips together. Work from all sides, weaving in strips in an over/under pattern. Start with one side, move to the bottom, on to the next side and finish with the top.
As you weave, you may have to tap strips together, as they have a tendency to slide as you weave in each strip. Be patient – especially if you are new to the weaving process. The first handwoven greeting card you create may take a little more time as you learn. Your handwoven piece will begin to hold together the more strips you have, but until it is glued in place, it will still be a little loose.
However – DO NOT GLUE your pieces in place until you have finished your weaving. Trying to do this may prevent you from straightening your final woven piece!
9) Once all the strips are woven together, gently lift the edges of the strips and add a touch of glue – straightening your piece as needed. Once the strips are glued in place, flip the piece over and add glue over the entire back.
Place the cardstock or poster board rectangle on top. Align the stabilizer with the long sides. Keep in mind, your ‘short’ sides will overlap your stabilizer piece. Using your craft knife and ruler, trim the edges to fit flush with the stabilizer. Flip over and allow to dry for at least 10 minutes (more if necessary).
10) Add a thin line of glue around the edges of your handwoven piece. Gently slide into the photo frame card until it is evenly spaced in the opening. Press to glue in place. Allow to dry for at least 10 minutes.
11) If using, decorate the front of your card by strategically gluing buttons, stickers, charms, etc. in place. (Buttons or heavier objects may require craft glue. For charms, I used rubber cement so they could easily be removed and added to a bracelet or necklace.
* When designing your handwoven greeting card, choose colors and designs that will blend well together. If possible, choose smaller designs, as larger ones will become distorted when cut and woven together.
Printed words can be tricky, but I did use a paper that had ‘Merry Christmas’ written on it. I matched it with a paper that was red and white diagonally striped to resemble candy canes. Enough of the words showed through the finished project, leaving an illusion of the words.
Choose your paper carefully. Paper thin versions can be difficult to work with. Heavy gauge can be too bulky to fit into your photo frame card. I couldn’t find any reference to paper weight, so any scrap paper that is heavier than copy paper, but is still flexible will work.
**You can use scissors, but by using a crafting knife and a ruler, your edges will be straighter. Straight edges will allow your woven piece to fit tightly.
*** If you are using accessories, keep in mind that bulky pieces may tear the envelope in the mail. Try to keep to the flatter pieces if at all possible. If you just have to use that button, cut the back piece off. Metal buttons may need tin snips and file to smooth it out. Plastic buttons may need a pair of pliers to break it off. Just be careful when removing the back pieces, as doing so may damage the button!
Would you like a printed copy of these directions? Just download it HERE!
Woo Hoo! Look at you GO!
Handwoven greeting cards are easy, but they are time consuming. But look at you! You just created a one-of-a-kind design! Now that you are familiar with the process, creating the next one will be easier. And before you know it, everyone who gets one will be exclaiming how beautiful they are and how talented you are!
If you have a long list of holiday greeting cards you send out and don’t want to make one for every person, still make a few to send to the most special people on your list.
This year I plan on making them to add to gifts I take to my neighbors and friends who no longer have family to share the holidays with. This adds an extra personal touch to the gift, and makes a perfect conversation piece while we sit and visit for a moment.
If you created your own handwoven greeting cards, please snap a photo of them and share! You can drop your photo into the comments below, or send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to see how creative you are!
Want Even More Creative Ideas for Christmas in August?