9 Genius Card Making Hacks Every Paper Crafter Should Know

In a previous post, I shared some of my favorite card making tips and tricks. Since I’m a firm believer in “never too many tips and tricks,” I’ve compiled nine additional card making hacks that will help you save time, money and yes, sanity.

Card Making Hacks Collage

1. Equally divided

There’s an easy way to divide a panel of any size paper into equal panels.

Supplies for equally dividing paper

The block of patterned paper above measures 4 3/4″ x 4 3/4″. If I want to divide it into three equal panels, I can divide 4.75 by 3 with an answer of 1.583333333. Of course, I can round the number and cut as close as possible to achieve three equal panels, or I can use the simplified method below.

Steps 1, 2 and 3 -Measuring

Step 1:

Align the ruler measurement of zero at the upper left edge of the paper.

Step 2:

Holding the ruler so that the zero remains on the left edge of the paper, tip the right side of the ruler down until the end measurement is a number divisible by three (since I want three panels). Since six is divisible by three, I will stop the ruler at that point.

Step 3:

Now divide six (the measurement where I stopped the ruler) by three (columns) for an answer of two. With the ruler remaining in place, mark cut lines on paper at each 2″ increment.   

Three equally cut panels

This method is also helpful in marking equal columns on standard notebook or copy paper. Good to know for school charts and projects!

2. Faux embossing

A faux embossed look can be achieved by die-cutting and adhering elements the same color as your base cardstock.

Step 1 Faux Embossing - Cut die-cut shapes

Step 1:

Die-cut multiple elements (mustaches).

Steps 2 and 3 Faux Embossing - Adhere shapes then trim

Step 2:

Adhere each to base cardstock, hanging some off the edge of the paper.

Step 3:

Trim ends then use pieces cut from one side to fill in the other. Note that this will only work if your image has symmetrical sides.

Gift Bag using Faux Embossed Panel

For a quick and easy gift bag, cut panel to cover front of bag and attach a simple tag.

3. Rhinestones to match

Rhinestones with Copics

I rarely buy colored rhinestones as clear can easily be colored with a Copic marker.

Sample of colored rhinestones

The resulting color will be lighter than that of the actual marker, but with additional coats of ink, darker colors can be achieved.

4. Sponged blue skies

A sponged blue sky is one of my favorite techniques for creating a background scene. A multi-level scallop or wave die will provide the most realistic results, but a regular scallop shape will work too.

Steps 1 and 2 Die-cut and sponge first line of clouds

Step 1:

Die-cut one long edge of card stock.

Step 2:

Holding die-cut edge at an angle, begin to sponge light blue ink. Use small circular motions, beginning on die-cut piece and slowly moving onto cardstock. I apply a higher concentration of color at the top, applying less ink as I move down the paper toward the “ground.” 

Continued sponging of sky

Step 3:

Shift die-cut edge to the other side of the paper, angled slightly in the opposite direction of the first line of ‘clouds.’ Continue to alternate left and right sides, and adjust scallop positions so that the same exact shapes are not in alignment top to bottom.

5. DIY baker’s twine

I have quite a few colors of baker’s twine, but from time to time I inevitably need a color I don’t have. It’s easy to create a bit of your own twine in the color you need using crochet thread, a ruler and permanent marker.

Supplies for creating DIY baker's twine

If your ruler is wood, you may want to cover it first in Post-it or masking tape.

Steps 1 and 2 Baker's Twine-Wrap string and add diagonal stripes with marker

Step 1:

Wrap thread lengthwise around ruler.

Step 2: 

Use a permanent marker (i.e. Sharpie, Copic, etc.) to draw diagonal lines across strings. Be sure to color at each end of the ruler as well as the back side.

Finished baker's twine

6. Another helping “hand”

I find it helpful to use a paper piercer or straight pin to hold an object while properly aligning and placing small images, enamel dots, etc.

Steps 1, 2 and 3 - Positioning with paper piercer

Step 1:

Color and die-cut your image.

Step 2:

Place adhesive or foam tape on the back.

Step 3:

Adhere the tip of a paper piercer, pin or needle to the back corner of the adhesive then position and adhere object.  

Finished result of paper piercer positioning

Using a needle or piercer is so much easier than using fingers as fingers often block part of the view, making it difficult to correctly place/position objects.

7. Punched waves

Use a circle punch to create the appearance of die-cut waves.

Steps 1 and 2 using circle punch to create waves

Step 1:

Cut paper to size and choose size of circle punch.

Step 2:

Die-cut one edge using partial circles.

Finished punched waves, layered

Layer punched strips for a more realistic appearance.

8.  Fill it in

Sample of incomplete white embossing

From time to time, white embossing does not result in a solid appearance. With a white pen or marker, the spaces can be filled and no one will be able to tell the difference.

Close up of before and after touch-up

In the close-up on the left, you can see that the T is not completely filled. After dotting the area with a white maker (on the right), the area is perfectly covered. 

9.  Not just for Christmas

Don’t pack away your themed patterned papers once the holiday passes. While there are pages with a definite holiday theme, there are many others that don’t.

Sample of Christmas patterned paper used on non-holiday card

On the card above, I used stripes of Christmas colors, but the finished project has no holiday feel whatsoever.

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