a close look & review of diy christmas cards

Are they worth the time and effort? What are some great starter ideas?
And are there fun ways to hand-embellish cards that I order?


It’s never too early to begin thinking about what your annual Christmas Cards will look like for 2020. As we all know, the month of December is full of holiday tasks to complete and a full month can seem to pass by in the blink of an eye if you aren’t organized. For those feeling extra crafty this year, we have reviewed the pros and cons of making DIY Christmas cards, examined some simple homemade Christmas card craft ideas, and also looked at artistic ways to enhance your professional holiday cards with some handmade touches.

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Hand-lettered Wish

Hand-lettered Wish designed by Nicole Barreto





THE PROS AND CONS OF DIY CHRISTMAS CARDS

    Making a holiday card from scratch definitely comes with its pros and cons. Before you decide on the DIY route, we encourage you to review the below considerations.

    Pros:

    • Self Satisfaction: When you envision and complete a craft project from scratch, you definitely get that feeling of satisfaction when it is all done. Showing our kids how something can be created from bits and pieces of nothing is a wonderful lesson and often makes DIY worth it. And at the end of the project, we all know how good it feels to say, “I made that!”
    • Complete Creative Freedom: You can make exactly what you want, how you want it. This will definitely be a card that is individual only to your family and the recipient.
    • Good Family Bonding: Sitting down at the kitchen table with the kids to complete a family activity is a great way to bond and enjoy each other’s company.

    Cons:

    • Scalability: With the cost of supplies and the amount of time a DIY Christmas card takes to complete by hand, this route is not ideal for a large number of cards. If your recipient list is fewer than 40 people, then it may be an option, but with 40+ cards to send to your loved ones, it may be better to start with a fully customized Minted Christmas card and do a small DIY add-on from there. (Some ideas below!)
    • Time & Cost: With the cost of materials, plus the opportunity cost of your time, starting from scratch can often be more expensive than cards you can fully customize online.
    • Quality: With the internet, the inspiration for dozens of ideas is right at our fingertips. You may be inspired by a craft someone else completed and whose picture you saw in a magazine or on Pinterest. Once you find a DIY idea you want to tackle, the end result is not always exactly what you thought it would be. Understand that it may not look as perfect or polished as the project you were inspired by. (Just search #pinterestfails.) And that is absolutely okay! But, if you are going to be disappointed that your project isn’t “perfect” and regret the time, effort, and money you put into it, then this DIY route is not worth it and may lead to some unwanted holiday stress.




OUR 7 FAVORITE DIY CHRISTMAS CARDS MADE FROM SCRATCH

There are so many beautiful DIY ideas for your Christmas cards, and those with the biggest wow factor, are often quite a time commitment. You will certainly end up with something stunning if you have the time, patience, and energy for it, just make sure committing to these DIY projects is worth it. Below are 7 of our favorite ideas to consider. Home-crafting enthusiasts may also enjoy our post on additional DIY Christmas crafts with step-by-step picture guides!

Woman making holiday card


1. Paper-Quilled Card:

Paper quilling is an art form that involves the use of strips of paper - whatever length, color, pattern, or type of paper your heart desires - and rolling, shaping, and gluing those strips down so when they are on their side, they create a design. For those that don’t consider themselves talented with a pen or pencil, this paper arrangement option is perfect for creating a stunning effect.



2. Snow Globe Christmas Card:

Search the craft store for a small plastic plate or transparent round covering that can be glued to the face of a blank card. Cut paper and sequins into small pieces and include them under the glued plastic surface to make a snow globe effect right on your holiday card. Shake your assembly to see the sequins and glitter dance before your eyes! If this sounds like too much effort, Minted has an assortment of card designs featuring a festive snow globe that you can customize with photos or a personal message.



3. Embroidered Card:

An embroidered Christmas card design will truly show off your DIY skills. Find a simple or complicated pattern and translate that onto either a piece of paper (100% cotton papers will be the easiest to pierce with an embroidery needle) or an already scored and folded card. Experiment with different colors of yarn for a dramatic look.

Snowy Scene

Snowy Scene by Leah Bisch



4. Highlight A Miniature Wreath:

Show off your green thumb! Twist fresh greens or herbs - like boxwood or a sprig of rosemary - around a circle of wire. Then punch a hole in the center of a piece of card stock and thread twine through the hole to attach your wreath to the card. Be sure to buy and use an envelope that is bigger than just the card so you have room for the three-dimensional shape of the wreath. For an even more stunning look, you can look for a holiday card design that features a wreath, and then add your home-made wreath on top of it!



5. Homemade Bunting Banner:

This is a fun way to get your family photos to literally jump off the page. Start this DIY Christmas card idea by cutting out small images of each individual in the family. Then string them all together with simple ribbon or twine and tape. You can choose to glue this bunting banner across various surfaces of your homemade holiday card, or simply include the miniature banner in the card for your recipients to hang at their leisure.

Joy Wreath

Joy Wreath by Sarah Brown



6. Collage Featuring Wrapping Paper:

Every household has wrapping paper laying around. Arm your family with scissors, glue stickers, and assortments of beautiful wrapping paper designs to choose from. Cut out various shapes and arrange them on a blank card. If you are in need of some wrapping paper, Minted has hundreds of unique patterns and designs to choose from!



7. Hand-Drawn Christmas Doodles:

Lay out the colored pencils and markers and encourage your children to draw a Christmas tree, snowflake, bells, or whatever motif they find representative of the holiday season. Once you have a collection of fun sketches, cut them out and glue them down to your handmade Christmas cards. Each card will be different!





10 WAYS TO ADD SOME DIY FLAIR TO YOUR MINTED CHRISTMAS CARDS (WITH OR WITHOUT THE KIDS HELP!)

If you don’t have the energy or skill set to create completely original DIY Christmas cards from scratch, we have a happy medium for you to consider. Look into personalizing your own beautiful Minted Christmas Cards on our site, where you can adjust color combinations, text styling, card size, border cut, and so much more. Once your cards arrive in the mail, you can add your own homemade touches for an enhanced personalized look. We encourage you to experiment with these 10 ways of adding a DIY vibe to your holiday card without the stress of starting from scratch.

Person signing holiday cards


1. Attach Ribbon Or Bows:

Punch holes or make small slits in your card and slide ribbon through the holes. Tie a bow and voila! Search for ribbon that complements the colors used in your card design. (Google the fork trick for making bows.) You can get even fancier by stringing charms or beads onto the ribbon as well.



2. Add Stickers:

We all know how much little ones love stickers. Go ahead and buy special holiday designs, or keep it simple with small glittery stars, and let them stick away. You can be as prescriptive as you want with the stickers; tell your kids exactly where they should go, marking the spot with a pencil first or let their creativity reign and let them place the stickers wherever they choose.

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Merry Christmas Sticker

Campy Little Christmas by Jen Boehler


3. Envelope Confetti:

Have fun cutting wrapping paper, ribbon, tinsel, or even aluminum foil into small pieces and adding a handful to each Christmas card envelope. It is best to stay away from actual loose glitter so the clean up for the recipient isn’t too difficult. Having slightly larger pieces of envelope confetti is a fun and festive add-on sure to bring a smile. If cutting up bits for the envelopes is too time-consuming, there are plenty of packets of premade assorted confetti that come in holiday shapes and colors.



4. Rubber Stamps:

Have your family all sign the Christmas card with a rubber stamp they picked out that they feel represents them. Then have each family member sign their name below the stamp. Don’t forget to include your pet! A paw print for your pet is sure to generate a smile or two.



5. Glitter Patterns:

Place liquid glue or glue dots in whatever pattern or design complements the Minted Christmas Card you already chose. You or your children can sprinkle the glitter in one or as many colors as you like. Once the glitter has been added to your card, be sure to let it sit for three to four hours before handling it.



6. Decorative Wax Seals:

Using wax seals to elegantly close your holiday envelope is a chic personal touch. You could drip the wax yourself and stamp it if your child is old enough to help with hot wax or buy a holiday-themed wax seal that works like a sticker, and can easily be thumbed into place. Minted sells an assortment of decorative adhesive wax seals in a wide range of colors.



7. Include Brushstrokes of Paint:

Purchase your cards on Doublethick or Triplethick paper and have fun “painting” the edges with a splash of color. You can get as creative or simple as you want depending on the number of colors you use. Use silver or gold paint for a traditional and elevated look, or color each card differently for truly personalized looks.



8. Dried Flowers:

Small dried flowers could be used to enliven an already floral-based card design or bring a floral touch to a modern design. Greenery, fresh or dried, would also look artistic layered on top of your Christmas card. Bonus points for using lovely holiday scented greenery like rosemary, spruce, or juniper that add a scented touch. Be sure to review our post on Christmas flowers and greenery for additional ideas. Lastly, small fabric or faux leaves glued on top of a card can also add some textured flair.



9. Holiday Scents:

The holiday season is full of distinct smells. Festive scents such as gingerbread, pine leaves, and peppermint can immediately drum up memories of presents under the Christmas tree and wood logs burning in the fireplace under the Christmas mantel. Order a scented spray or oil of your choosing and dab a little on your holiday greeting before putting it in the mail.



10. Custom Calligraphy:

If you pride yourself on impressive penmanship, opt to order your Christmas cards with a blank white backing. Take to the blank canvas with your favorite ink pens and compose a beautiful holiday greeting complete with custom lettering created by you! You can also experiment with beautiful address labeling on the front of your envelopes. If you don’t have the patience to address each envelope yourself, Minted does offer free styled recipient address labeling that can be printed on your envelopes before they arrive. Pick from festive styling themes that feature Christmas animals, snowflakes, candy canes, and more!





WHAT ABOUT BOXED CHRISTMAS CARDS?

If you aren’t going to make homemade Christmas cards from scratch and you also don’t want to order personalized cards online, there is a third option you can explore. Boxed Christmas cards are usually sold in bundles of 15-25 cards. Below we have outlined some pros and cons to boxed Christmas cards.

Pros:

  • You Know Exactly How They Will Look: This is the option to go with if you are looking for the old-fashioned and easy experience of buying already printed Christmas cards that you can see in person. You can simply walk into a store and select from their available sets. Or, you can buy them from online retailers if you prefer to keep your Christmas shopping socially distanced.
  • It's Fast: If you truly need to buy and mail on the same day, this is the way to go! Just don’t forget to purchase the stamps beforehand and have your address list all ready.
  • It's Inexpensive: Usually, this is the most inexpensive option for Christmas cards since they are produced in mass scale and are likely to use lower-end paper and printing techniques.

Cons

  • No Personalization: What you see is what you get with a boxed set of cards. They cannot be customized with your family photo, family name, or personal message.
  • Lack Of Variety: A store will only carry a limited number of designs to choose from. Since these cards have also been manufactured in mass quantities, you are also running the risk of sending the same card as another family.
  • Quality: The paper and printing quality can vary widely, and are typically skewed towards lower quality.
  • Whether you decide to go the DIY Christmas card route, buy a premade box of cards, or shoot for design excellence and convenience with a Minted Christmas card, we hope this article has brought some clarity to the decision making process. The holidays can be a stressful time but with Minted in your holiday-planning toolkit, they don’t have to be.