In November I reviewed the lovely My Greeting Box, a terrific subscription box that sends you all the bits and pieces you need to make your own greetings cards! You can read the review here. (If you haven’t already read it, spoiler alert: I loved it!)
I’m also embarrassed to say that this is the first chance I’ve had to actually make one of the cards. (At least during daylight hours so I can take some nice pictures of the process. I really don’t like taking pictures at night, they always look crap.)
Anyway, enough excuses. Totally at random, I grabbed the instructions for the Holly Shaker Card.
Here are all the bits and pieces I would need from the box. The ruler wasn’t included, that’s mine, but I think it’s fair to assume that any person who is interested in cardmaking is going to own a ruler already! In fact, every home should have one (and a tape measure, but we’re getting off-topic).
The first thing to do was to cut out the green card and stamp it with the holly stamp.
I was really excited to use the acrylic stamp! I’ve always been fascinated by them, as they look so brilliant, but I had no idea how they worked. Conveniently, the box also included a leaflet explaining what to do!
As it turns out, the stamps work on the same principle as those window cling things, and stick to an acrylic block (also included). You just peel them off the block afterwards and put them back on their own protective plastic sheet. Very easy.
Applying the ink needed a little experimentation, but I worked out the most effective was to lay the stamp down and dab the inkpad on it.
When I was done the ink wiped off easily with baby wipes. (I have a child so baby wipes are a go-to in our house!)
I really appreciated how the instructions said to make the stamped design ‘random and rotate the image‘. It might seem overly detailed, but it really made me think about positioning each time.
Looks OK huh?
Now, the next step I cheated a little.
Cutting bits out of the middle of paper or card with scissors is rather awkward. There might be a trick to it, but if there is, I don’t know what it is. Instead, I decided to use my trusty craft knife. They are very useful to have around. You could probably use a sharp-pointed kitchen knife instead.
Time to make the window bit. Acetate, being clear, is rather difficult to photograph!
As per the instructions, I cut out a piece a bit bigger than the centre rectangle and stuck it down with the double sided tape. (I think you can just about see the reflection of my phone!)
I love double sided tape, it makes me think of childhood. It also made me remember how tricky it is to peel off the white strips to stick it down! But I managed it fine.
More stamping now!
I mounted and inked up the Merry Christmas stamp (I love that one, it looks fab). The print you can see there wasn’t great because I didn’t press down on it properly. You can see how the ink is a bit thin in places. I actually ended up flipping the card over and doing it again, being really careful to press down well on the block.
Putting that foam tape around the window was tricky. It needed to be doubled up too. The protective paper did not wish to peel off, and my god, that foam is sticky! It’s like marshmallow on steroids. It got on my fingers, the scissors, the mat. But it did stick extremely well!
I didn’t measure the tape strips, just kind of did it by eye, which is why it looks a bit scrappy. But I figured it wouldn’t show so didn’t really matter.
Time to add the sequins!
I was really glad I waited to take the protective strips off the foam tape, as I know that otherwise it would have been covered in impossible-to-remove sequins!
You can also see here the redone Merry Christmas stamp. Looks better, huh?
I was really nervous about the next bit, because it had to be just right.
So nervous, in fact, that this picture is blurred. Ooops, sorry.
Anyway, this was the point I had to stick the Merry Christmas image onto the acetate- and sequin-covered window of the card. I couldn’t actually see exactly where to position it (because the card is flipped over) and there are no second chances. Once that foam sticks, there’s no going back.
All that was left to do was add some more foam tape and stick the whole thing on to the front of a blank card. Individual foam tabs were also included, but the protective paper was totally impossible to remove from those, so I just cut bits of tape.
Then you took more sequins and glued them onto the holly stamps with the glue included.The bottle is amazing: it has a tiny nozzle which is perfect for this kind of precise work.
Seriously, how pretty does this look? The sequins move around as you move the card, a lovely effect.
I’m so proud of myself!
Now, here are a few thoughts.
First of all, this is brilliant. Having finished this one I immediately wanted to make another, but I had to pick up my daughter from school. However I’ll update this and post the other two cards when I make them.
The whole thing took me about 50 minutes, but a bit of that time was spent removing foam from my fingers.
The instructions are absolutely marvellous. Incredibly detailed, perfectly illustrated, and totally idiot-proof!
You did have everything you need in the box, but really you do require a ruler (seriously, who doesn’t have one?) and the craft knife was extremely useful. The scissors were included with the box, but you’re not allowed to send sharp objects through the mail (scissors are fine) so it wouldn’t be possible to include a knife in the box anyway! Craft knives and replacement blades are very inexpensive and very useful to have around. Mine came from The Works, cost about three quid, and also included that ruler, but I’m actually going to get this one to replace it.
I also used my own scissors. The ones in the box are sharp and work fine, but mine are bigger and easier to use. Again, every home should have a decent pair of scissors! I did think it was extremely thoughtful to include a pair in the box just in case.
Although this card is a Christmas design, the window card principle could be applied to lots of other themes. Multicoloured sequins and balloon stamp for a birthday perhaps? Next time I think I’ll use slightly fewer sequins, as when they were all piled at the bottom of the window you couldn’t really see the ‘new year’ part of the stamp. But it doesn’t matter, it looks gorgeous.
This was an enormous pleasure to do, and I’m really sorry I waited so long to start! It was incredibly satisfying to produce something so special, and I really feel like I’ve learned a lot. I was very impressed by My Greeting Box when I first reviewed it, and having actually made a card I’m even more happy!
If you’d like to have a go at making cards but have felt slightly intimidated at what it might require (I have!) then do try this subscription. It’s wonderful. Oh, and great gift for your crafty pals! In fact, I think teenagers would be perfectly capable of making these as well. You’ve still got time to subscribe before Christmas!
Thank you My Greeting Box, I can’t wait to make the next two!