Once upon a time, I wanted to work for Hallmark. I love greeting cards, yet few on the market ever “wow” me. To give something personable, I want to send greeting cards of my own making. I have used my artwork for years to create birthday cards, thank you cards, and “thinking of you” cards.

These are elementary greeting cards. My artwork goes on the front. On the back is a detail from the artwork from the front. Below that is the artwork title and my contact information. On this inside is an insert with the artwork detail and an inspiring (that I like) quote.

Greeting Card Materials

Office Depot® brand Professional Photo Paper Matte, double-sided, heavyweight inkjet 61 lb. paper. I have found this to be the best. Epson’s professional photo matte double-sided, heavyweight inkjet paper is only 48 lb., too flimsy for my taste. I sometimes have a hard time acquiring this paper at Office Depot so when it’s available, I stock up.

For a card’s inside greeting, I create an insert I print on Southworth® Resume white wove finish 32 lb. 100% cotton paper. I source this paper from my local Office Depot as well.

Recollections brand Value Pack Envelopes (Quantity 50) in Kraft heavy-weight stock. I have two envelope sizes on hand, small (4.3 x 5.75 inches) and standard A7 (5.25 x 7.25) I find these at my local Micheal’s.

Scanning Artwork

I have three that I use. My Epson WorkForce WF-7820 printer’s flatbed scanner works well for scanning small pieces, 8.5 x 11 inches and smaller.

I have two other Epson scanners that work best for scanning larger artwork, the Epson Perfection V19 (purchased via Amazon for $89) and the Epson Perfection V600 Photo Scanner (on sale at Best Buy for $325). I like these for their spot-on color quality, especially the V600. It makes funky cute little tech noises that tell me it’s working.

I scan my artwork at high resolutions, typically 800 to 600 dpi in RGB mode but really for print purposes, 300 dpi is the standard and good enough.

Designing a Greeting Card

This part assumes you have Adobe Creative Suite or at least Adobe Photoshop and you have a basic working knowledge of how to use them. (There are tons of YouTube tutorials on how to use Adobe Software programs and YouTube is the first place I search when I am trying to learn something new in any of these programs). If you have Adobe Illustrator and/or InDesign, so much the better. Your options for designing your card have increased expeditiously.

Since I started making my greeting cards, I have been using a rough template model I set up in Photoshop with no crop marks and no bleeds. Don’t do this! This is stupid. Frankly, I should know better after 25 years as a graphic designer. This artist can be lazy at times and hasn’t bothered to set up greeting card templates in either Illustrator or InDesign.

There are tons of greeting card templates out there that you can download. For the sake of convenience, I have the two greeting card sizes I use for you to download as PDFs. Open the PDF in Adobe Illustrator and save it as a .ai file. Delete the template guide text before adding your art and content.

5 x 7-inch Greeting Card Template

4.25 x 5.5-inch Greeting Card Template

Insert Template for 5 x 7-inch Greeting Card

Insert Template for 4.25 x 5.5-inch Greeting Card

Place the artwork into the template and scale it to fit the front side to your liking in any of the software programs — Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, or InDesign.

For the greeting card insert I size it to be .125 inches smaller than the card. A 5 x 7-inch card will have a 4. 75 x 6.75-inch insert. A 4.25 x 5.5-inch card will have a 4 x 5.125 insert.

Before you print your card, remove the red and blue lines by selecting and deleting or erasing them.
Leave the crop marks. Crop marks are your guide for trimming out your greeting card.

After you print your greeting card and inset, trim using the crop marks as your guide. I recommend using an X-acto knife and a straight edge for trimming out your greeting cards for a clean edge. Gently fold the card in half. With the Professional Photo Matte paper, I can get a clean crease.

To adhere the greeting insert inside the card, I use permanent double-sided Scotch tape. For a long time, I was using glue or a glue stick. The glue method always left a bit of a buckle in the paper. Using tape instead gives a clean smoothness to the adhered card insert.

Should you want to have your greeting cards professionally printed, the PDF card templates will work for this purpose as long as your artwork is at least a 300 dpi resolution. If you are using digital artwork such as an illustrator file, just place it into the template and scale it to fit.

And there you have it. A simple way to create and send something of you that is meaningful.

P.S. It is likely I left out things I felt were obvious and you need more information. Please give me a shout and I will answer any questions you have on making your own greeting cards.

If you like what you see, please be kind and share!

close detailed watercolor of autumn leaf litter in soft pinks, blues, violets, oranges and burnt sienna 20 x 20 inches unframed

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