Friday, July 6, 2012

Lots and lots of stenciled Christmas cards

The idea of handmade Christmas cards appeals to me. They tell the recipient "You are worth my time." That's what I think, anyway.

I found a great stag stencil in Dover Publication's 300 Art Nouveau Designs and Motifs in Full Color, but it was entirely too complicated to turn into a card stencil, especially since I was planning a quarter–fold card.

A quick scan into my Make the Cut software program for electronic cutters allowed me to simplify and eliminate shapes. (I didn't want my Christmas stag to be so male.) Using my cutter, I cut a different stencil for each color out of overhead transparencies. I'd use real stencil material next time. The overhead transparencies are great for about 5–10 stencils before they get too built up with paint. The material is not quite strong enough for scrubbing.
And now for the magic. I found instructions that made bulk stenciling easier in one of my library sale books (The Art of Decorative Stenciling). If you set up a square guide and tape the stencils onto the guides, adjusting the register of each stencil based on the first print, you can set up a stencil assembly line where multiple people can quickly and accurately produce posters, cards, etc.

I set up a square edge of cereal cardboard for each color. I was able to butt each quarter fold card up into the corner of each guide, flip the stencil down, stencil the color, flip the stencil up, and move on to the next color. I chose to do each color in its entirety. I could have had a different person at each color station for blazing fast stenciling. I used white card stock cut 5½ by 8½ in.

Thirty–three cards later... I decided to cut a candy cane strip stencil for the bottom of the cards. I also cut a sentiment for inside each card. All I had to do was tape the new stencils to my prepared square guides. I stenciled off and on over the course of about three days.

I added some bling with liquid pearls onto the yellow areas. I think it adds a nice touch and blends with the pearly candy cane stripe I added as an afterthought.

I'm going to pick up a box of A2 envelopes at the office supply store. While I could make envelopes, really, why should I? No need to go handmade crazy.

Thirty–three friends are getting an extra gift from me this year. Finally, I made time in July to get my cards designed and made.

Are you working on your Christmas in July projects? What are you making, baking, or buying?


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  1. Your cards came out great - lucky people who will be receiving these! I agree, the handmade card does tell someone they're special. Last year I only had time to make @ 7 (waited too long to get started) so only close family received those, everyone else got a store-bought card. Now you've given me an idea. . . even though it's July, I should think about getting those cards made! Have a great day!

    1. Thanks, Cynthia! I think I got 7 cards made last year too. I'd love to see your finished cards. There are going to be lots of lucky people this Christmas. :)


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