How to Turn Ideas into Cards

Three Christmas cards by Natalie Lapakko featuring Cookie Cutter Christmas stamps from Stampin' Up!

How to Turn Ideas into Cards

Along with today’s cards I discuss the creative process for turning an idea into an actual card, or in my case three different cards!

Three Christmas cards by Natalie Lapakko featuring Cookie Cutter Christmas stamps from Stampin' Up! #stampinup #su! #christmas #handmadechristmas #handmade #papercraftingThree Christmas cards by Natalie Lapakko featuring Cookie Cutter Christmas stamps from Stampin' Up! #stampinup #su! #christmas #handmadechristmas #handmade #papercraftingThree Christmas cards by Natalie Lapakko featuring Cookie Cutter Christmas stamps from Stampin' Up! #stampinup #su! #christmas #handmadechristmas #handmade #papercrafting

Three Christmas cards by Natalie Lapakko featuring Cookie Cutter Christmas stamps from Stampin' Up!

The Creative Process

From a blank slate to a completed card, there are a lot of different paths you can take to get inspiration and put ideas together. At the start, there are infinite different cards you could potentially make, and each design decision you make narrows down your possibilities until there in only one left – your completed card!

Along the way you’ll choose a color scheme, a layout, and a stamp set or two to use.  You’ll select techniques, gather your materials, and maybe add some DSP or embellishments.

Making all these design decisions is part of the creative process and thinking through all the choices and imagining where those choices stretches and grows your creative thinking skills. And guess what? Creative thinking is useful outside the world of art, too! Creative people are really good at imagining multiple solutions to problems, selecting one, and carrying it out.

I go about the creative process a little differently each time. You can start with any of the decisions you need to make to start narrowing down the choices!

Start with one decision (or one idea)

Here are some of the decisions or ideas you can use to give yourself a jumping off point in designing a card:

  • Specify a stamp set you want to use
  • Select a color scheme
  • Choose a DSP to use
  • Pick a technique to experiment
  • Find a favorite designer to CASE (I like to use Pinterest to save and organize cards I that like)
  • Pick a theme or upcoming holiday
  • Determine who the card is for, and select colors or stamp images they like
  • Sketch a layout

One Starting Point: Online Challenges

Online card challenges are a great way to start the process, because the parameters of the challenge usually make that first design decision for you! They are also really great because you can see how other people responded to the challenge and get ideas from the designers or other participants, too.

My favorite design challenge is the Global Design Project, because they rotate which kind of challenge they have each week and the design team is full of super talented people that really inspire me!

Coloring practice by Natalie Lapakko featuring Cookie Cutter Christmas stamps and Stampin' Blends from Stampin' Up!

My Starting Ideas

For these cards I made up my challenge for myself. I had two ideas:

  1. Use three little parka kids that I colored from the Cookie Cutter Christmas set (see them above) and…
  2. I wanted to use the same sketch for all three cards.

I started with a pretty simple sketch, so I could take some liberties with it if needed. Here is the sketch I used:

Three Christmas cards by Natalie Lapakko featuring Cookie Cutter Christmas stamps from Stampin' Up!

A sketch doesn’t have to be drawn perfectly. It can be on the corner of a napkin or a piece of scratch paper, wherever! It just needs to give you a rough idea of the layout so you can see how the shapes will balance each other. Fine tuning happens later once you add color and embellishments, so perfection is not in any way required.

The Next Steps

At this point I already had a layout and some color guidance. The next step I chose for these cards was to narrow down the supplies I wanted to use and find papers and embellishments that went with the decisions I already made.

I ask myself a lot of questions at this stage:

  • Which papers will look good with that color scheme?
  • Do I have any embellishments that could make that shape or so I want to cut something out?
  • What sentiment will fit on this design?

That last point was a little difficult for me this time around. I didn’t have a lot of options for Christmas sentiments that fit on a banner, and they didn’t look good anywhere else… so only two of my three cards actually have a sentiment!

Three Christmas cards by Natalie Lapakko featuring Cookie Cutter Christmas stamps from Stampin' Up!

Making Tough Design Decisions

The more decisions that are already made, the easier the remaining decisions become! Your earlier decisions help narrow down the later ones because you want to pick things that look good with what you already have planned.

When I have trouble making decisions, I take a photo of both options then flip back and forth between the photos to easily compare them (and sometimes get a friend to offer advice if I’m really stuck).

I sent out a more in depth email about this step earlier this week. If you want to see it, join the list and I’ll send you a copy!

ADD_THIS_TEXT

Here’s an in progress photo I took to help decide whether I wanted my first card to have a Foil Snowflake or some pine boughs to represent the circle shape in the sketch:

Creative process making decisions by Natalie Lapakko featuring Cookie Cutter Christmas stamps and Stampin' Blends from Stampin' Up!

Creative process making decisions by Natalie Lapakko featuring Cookie Cutter Christmas stamps and Stampin' Blends from Stampin' Up!

Practicing Design Decisions

Practice making decisions and it gets easier each time! Which do you like better, the pine boughs or the snowflake?

Creativity Breeds More Creativity

When you’re being creative, ideas tend to flow more quickly. I keep a sketchbook close at hand so I can write down or draw ideas to use for later. That way I don’t get sidetracked from the card I’m currently working on.

Of this card trio, I started with the Rich Razzleberry card. While I was working I got the idea to use an embossed pattern only on the bottom of the next card.

While I was embossing on the Bermuda Bay card, I thought it would be fun to emboss some mittens that matched the mittens the little parka kid is wearing for the last card.

By the time I was done making the embossed mittens, I realized I could make the parka kid into a little doll and have the mittens be hands that were giving her away as a gift. So I made a little mini gift tag to go with her.

Then I got another idea to try two tone embossing…. but that is a post for another day.

Can you see how these ideas progressed? I think that ideas tend to get better and better the longer you work:

Three Christmas cards by Natalie Lapakko featuring Cookie Cutter Christmas stamps from Stampin' Up!

Three Christmas cards by Natalie Lapakko featuring Cookie Cutter Christmas stamps from Stampin' Up!

Three Christmas cards by Natalie Lapakko featuring Cookie Cutter Christmas stamps from Stampin' Up!

Beating the Creative Block

Once ideas are flowing, more come easily. When you hit a creative block, just start making something. Make a decision, any decision, and it gets easier from there. Even an easy decision can get you started.

“I don’t know what to make,” becomes, “I guess I’ll use this stamp set I haven’t used yet,” and then, “What goes with this stamp set?” Eventually you’ll be thinking, “That gives me another idea!”

These three cards started on a day that I was feeling gloomy (I blame the weather) and didn’t feel like doing anything.  So I took the easy way out, stamped a couple images with no idea of how I would use them, and started mindlessly coloring.

Later these became the starting point for today’s three cards!

Bonus Photos

To save my cards as ideas for yourself, you can always click the Pinterest icon (the “P” button to the left on computers and below on mobile). I’ve got two bonus photos for each card, along with color schemes! These could be just the inspiring starting point you need the next time you hit a creative roadblock!

<—– PC: Try it out!

Mobile: Click ——-V

Materials

These are the materials for all three cards. Since the focus of this post is on designing your own cards (and it is already a novel), no directions for today! Leave a comment and let me know if you have any questions about techniques or measurements, though, and I’d be happy to help!

Cardstock: Rich Razzleberry, Calypso Coral, Pool Party, Basic Black, Bermuda Bay, Powder Pink, Whisper White (c) Stampin’ Up!

Paper: Merry Little Christmas Designer Series Paper, Coffee Break Designer Series Paper (c) Stampin’ Up!

Ink: VersaMark (c) Stampin’ Up!

Stamps: Cookie Cutter Christmas, Smitten Mittens, Paisleys and Posies, Snowflake Sentiments (c) Stampin’ Up!

Markers: Light & Dark Bermuda Bay, Light & Dark Calypso Coral, Light & Dark Pink Pirouette, Light & Dark Pool Party, Light & Dark Rich Razzleberry, Ivory, Bronze, Color Lifter Stampin’ Blend Markers (c) Stampin’ Up!

Dies: Stitched Shapes Framelit Dies (c) Stampin’ Up!

Other: White Embossing Powder, Heat Tool, Pick a Pattern Washi Tape, Clear Faceted Gems, Brights Enamel Shapes, Foil Snowflakes, Basic Black Baker’s Twine, dimensionals

Click on the images below to see the materials  used to make this card in my online store. Each purchase you make there helps support Stamp Witch Blog!

Thanks for visiting and happy stamping!

Stamp Witch Blog Natalie's hand painted signature

Other Projects You Might Enjoy

Click on a picture below to view the post about that individual project.

Christmas card by Natalie Lapakko featuring Smitten Mittens and Watercolor Christmas stamps from Stampin' Up!

Handmade card by Natalie Lapakko featuring Color Me Happy stamps and Stampin' Blends alcohol markers from Stampin' Up!

Mini treat bag by Natalie Lapakko featuring Pick a Pumpkin dies and Merry Little Christmas DSP from Stampin' Up!

Homemade card by Natalie Lapakko featuring Spooky Cat and Lovely Friends stamps from Stampin' Up!

7 thoughts on “How to Turn Ideas into Cards”

  1. Thanks for sharing your creative process, that has become my mayor obstacle lately, that question that takes me forever to overcome, I really like the way you share your work and your templates. The way I save complicated folds that I want to try is just taking a copy piece of paper and follow the instructions and having a sample of the final product with instructions, when there are not pictures available I make the drawings myself. Your templates are so easy to work with that all I have to do is to print and save the printing along my sample using index cards.Thank you very much for sharing your work.

    1. Nancy, thanks for sharing your thoughts! It’s so nice to know that the extra work it takes to make templates saves others time and trouble! It sounds like you’ve got a great system for trying different fancy folded cards. You’re so organized!

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