As I’ve told you before, I like to make handmade Christmas cards to send out each year. This year I decided to try to go “green” and create cards with minimal waste and maximum re-usability. These may be small efforts, but everything counts when working towards an eco-friendly Christmas!
I minimized waste by making the cards small and postcard-style (there is no fold). I maximized re-usability by making the main feature of the card be a removable ornament to be hung on the tree.
Print and cut the ornaments
The first thing to do is make the ornaments that will serve as the focal point of your card. I noodled around on my computer and sketched a design that I really liked. I used a classic teardrop ornament shape and colored it with fun swirled lines of red, green, and white. I’ve made this part easy for you by creating templates you can print out. Just print these pages on your color printer onto white card stock and cut them out.
Here’s my original red/green/white version as well as a few other color themes that I had fun with:
Once you’ve got the ornaments printed and cut out (a job that’s MUCH easier if you’ve got some handy-dandy Cutter Bee scissors), go ahead and use a hole punch to put a small hole at the top of the ornament.
Emboss the ornaments
What we have now is pretty, but if do some embossing, we’ll add a glossy effect which really makes the ornament pop. To do this, use a clear embossing ink pad to coat the entire front of the ornament, then sprinkle on some clear embossing powder. Gently shake off the excess and move the ornament to a clean surface, then heat the powder with an embossing heat tool. (I don’t care how many times I do this, it’s still so fascinating to watch!)
Once cooled, you’ll have a really nice glossy finish on your ornament. If you add more coats of embossing, the gloss will be smoother and shinier. The photo on the left shows the ornament after one coat, and the photo on the right shows it after two coats. You could continue with a third if you like, but I found two coats to be just right for me.
If this is going to be an ornament, it will need something to hang by! Get some very thin satin ribbon that matches your ornament and feed it through the hole in the top. Make a loop, tie a knot, and trim off the excess. Then take some wider satin ribbon (about 1/2″ inch) and tie it into a bow. We’ll be adding this to the top of the ornament a little bit later.
Make the card
Now we need a card to put our ornament on. The easiest way to do this is to start with some 8.5″ x 11″ green card stock and cut it in half, then in half again, leaving you with four pieces that are 4.25″ x 5.5″ in size. For an extra touch, use a Creative Memories corner rounder (I love this thing!) to round out the corners.
Then take a green ink pad and lightly rub it along the edges, creating an aged effect.
You need to make two tiny slits in the card so that your ornament can fit inside. For the bottom slit, measure about a half inch up from the bottom of the card and find the center. Then use a craft knife to make a slit that’s just wide enough for the bottom tip of the ornament to slip into (about 1/4 inch). Go ahead and tuck the bottom of the ornament into this slit.
Now look at where the top sits. Using the knife again, cut a tiny slit about 1/8″ down from the top end of the ornament. Tuck the top end into the slit. If the ornament doesn’t lay flat, you may need to make your slits a little wider.
Now you’re ready to add the ribbon bow onto the ornament. The easiest way to do this is to get a little glue dot (ZOTS is my favorite brand) and stick it to the bow, then stick that onto the ornament. Make sure the bow only sticks to the ornament, and not the card. You should be able to easily remove the ornament and it’s ready to put right on the tree, which is hopefully what your friends will do when they receive your card!
Sign the card
Don’t forget to sign the card! There’s plenty of room on the back of the card to write a message and sign it. You can also write something on the back of the ornament. Jo suggested that I write my husband’s and my name on the back of the ornament, along with the year, so people can remember who it came from. What a great idea!
Decorate the envelopes
A card this pretty deserves to be in a nice envelope, too. Now even though I’m writing about the envelopes last, make sure you buy your envelopes first, before you make your cards. You need to make sure they’ll fit before you spend all that time on the cards! Fortunately, it’s really easy to find regular, white invitation envelopes that are perfectly sized for a quarter-sheet of card stock.
For this simple and effective design, start by laying the envelope open (face up) onto a piece of scrap paper. Then take another piece of paper and cover the envelope part, leaving only the flap exposed (gum side down). Take a large “background” rubber stamp in a Christmas or holiday theme and ink it with a coordinating color, then stamp over the entire flap. Remove your mask layer and you have a really fun result!
Now I just need to get going and make a bunch more of these for my friends and family!