People always appreciate receiving a handmade greeting card. From a simple thank you note to a birthday card with a gift certificate, the DIY element makes the gesture more meaningful. Finishing a present with a homemade greeting card takes the whole gift up a notch, wowing family and friends. Learning how to make greeting cards gives you endless opportunities to show how much you care about your loved ones.
Homemade greeting cards are also an ideal item to sell on Etsy and at craft fairs. As you use up greeting cards, people are always in need of more. Developing a few signature greeting card designs and making a regular rotation of cards for thank yous, birthdays, and major holidays will help you create a steady stream of sales.
Whether you create cards for personal use, as gifts, or to sell, it’s essential to have proper basic card making supplies and tools. Having the right tools ensures you have what you need on hand and that your cards look polished and professional. I’m sharing my favorite basic card making supplies and tools and where I like to shop for these go-to craft items.
Folded card blanks and envelopes
You can create blank card templates with any type of card stock. Purchasing blank card stock and cutting it to size gives you full control over the size and color of every single greeting card you make. Personally, I don’t have any interest in cutting and folding my own card blanks. I use white and kraft card blanks in two standard sizes for over 95% of the cards I make. So I buy white and kraft card blanks and white envelopes in bulk.
I get my folded card blanks from Paper Source and my envelopes from Uline. If you don’t want to purchase envelopes in such large quantities, check out Paper Source for envelopes as well. Paper Source doesn’t have the cheapest prices. But they have high-quality products and the best range of colors and finishes in multiple card sizes that I’ve been able to find anywhere. As it’s very rare that I do much to customize my envelopes for homemade cards, white envelopes from Uline work great.
If you would prefer to purchase folded card blanks and envelopes together or are simply looking for a few more options, I highly recommend the following products.
A bone folder is a necessity if you create your own greeting card blanks. While you can use any flat object to crease paper, a bone folder does a superior job. For professional greeting cards, it’s the tool you need.
If you opt to purchase folded card blanks and envelopes, it’s still nice to keep a bone folder on hand. You never know when you’ll want a card blank in a different color or you’ll want to create a folded card component. Additionally, a bone folder can be helpful for perfecting pre-folded creases. I’ve been very happy with the vast majority of folded card blanks I’ve purchased. However, occasionally, you’ll get a fold that’s not quite right but that you can easily correct with a bone folder.
Assorted card stocks
If you create your own greeting card blanks, I highly recommend purchasing card stock in bulk for the colors you use most frequently. I use white and kraft by far the most often. I like light blue and deep red as well. Don’t feel limited to these options. Beyond greeting card blanks, you’ll use card stock for endless greeting card details.
For colored card stock, I almost always shop at Michaels. They have the lowest prices on an extensive range of colors in sizes that work well for greeting cards. Michaels frequently marks down 50-sheet packs to $2.50. You can find card stock on Amazon and elsewhere online, but you’ll pay more for it. Reserve Amazon card stock shopping for when you want specific colors you can’t get at Michaels.
I keep a bulk pack of white card stock on hand at all times for greeting cards and other DIY paper crafting. I use it for tons of greeting card components that I print out regularly, such as sheet music, vintage dictionary pages, and mason jar templates. If you do any sort of paper crafting on a regular basis, it’s well worth keeping white card stock on hand.
Assorted scrapbook papers
Beyond solid color card stock, you’ll want to add greeting card components and detail in patterned scrapbook paper. Single sheets of scrapbook paper are great for the occasional random project. If you’re serious about card making, you want to purchase scrapbook paper in bulk. Again, I almost always shop for scrapbook paper at Michaels. They have an extensive selection and the best prices I’ve been able to find. If you watch for sales and 20% off everything coupons, you can get 180-page scrapbook paper sets for as low as $8.
After Michaels, the best resource I’ve found for scrapbook paper is Oriental Trading. While the prices aren’t quite as good, they have a nice selection with colorful, interesting patterns. If you get on their mailing list, you’ll get notices of free shipping offers.
Occasionally, you do find decent deals on scrapbook paper on Amazon as well, such as the DCWV 12″ x 12″ 100-sheet scrapbook paper sets.
A paper cutter is a must-have item for handmade greeting cards. It’s impossible to cut perfectly straight lines by hand. A paper cutter makes the job so much quicker and simpler and produces superior results. I’ve been using a Fiskars model for about four years and absolutely love it. It has a big work surface, and the blade is self-sharpening, which means it never goes dull. I use my paper cutter weekly, if not daily, and have never had issues with the blade.
Set up your paper cutter on a self-healing mat to protect the surface underneath it. I love the 18″ x 24″ self-healing mat size with the above Fiskars paper cutter.
Double-sided tape allows you to adhere paper card components without any wrinkling. Even the best paper glues will produce some wrinkling when you’re gluing large paper pieces. Double-sided tape takes more time than glue, but is well worth the effort for the results it produces.
Personally, I much prefer using double-sided tape over crafter’s tape or a tape runner. Double-sided tape is a lot cheaper and doesn’t require the learning curve of a tape runner. Double-sided tape is thicker, but I’ve never had the thickness be an issue for greeting card making. If you’re taping an awkward corner or edge, simply slice down the double-sided tape to fit.
Scotch scrapbook glue
Scotch scrapbook glue has been my preferred paper glue for years now. It creates smooth thin lines and dries extremely quickly. With smaller paper scrapbook components, I’ve never had any issues with it wrinkling. The only con is that the small nozzle (which is what I use 99% of the time) get clogged easily. I keep sewing pins handy for unclogging craft glue containers.
Foam mounts add dimension to handmade greeting cards quickly and easily, creating visual interest while still fitting into an envelope. You can even stack foam mounts to make multiple layers within a single card. I prefer to use tiny square mounts, just 0.2″ x 0.2.” I would rather add more foam mounts than cut down larger mounts. I also like working with squares better than circles. This is completely my personal preference. Foam mounts are available in multiple sizes and shapes. The link below has four different foam mounts: two square and two circle.
Sharp paper and fabric scissors
Designate specific pairs of paper and fabric scissors for DIY projects. Reserving good pairs of scissors for crafting will make them last a lot longer. When you do a lot of paper crafting, it’s worth paying a little more for high-quality scissors with comfortable handles. Paper dulls scissors a lot faster than fabric. Use a separate pair of scissors for cutting fabric and ribbon detail for your greeting cards. If you cut double-sided tape or other sticky materials by hand, reserve a pair of scissors for these tasks as well.
Paper punches make it simple and stress-free to cut a wealth of different shapes quickly and accurately. They’re available in lever and squeeze varieties. I own multiple types of both punches and like both. Focus on finding the shape you want in the size you want. I use heart paper punches by far the most often for card making. I also recommend purchasing circle, triangle, and scallop punches in one or two sizes.
Rubber stamps allow you to add text and images to greeting cards for a wide variety of occasions. At a minimum, I recommend getting a few thank you and birthday stamps. Beyond these two occasions, I like having a mix of all-purpose and holiday-specific stamps.
I own a mix of wood block-mounted stamps and clear rubber stamps that I mount on acrylic blocks. Clear rubber stamps are more affordable, very high-quality, and take up a lot less storage space. You can use the same set of acrylic blocks for mounting all of your clear stamps. The quality of wood block-mounted stamps varies a lot more. Currently, I purchase the majority of my wood block-mounted stamps from the following two Etsy shops norajane and creatiate. I like wood mounted stamped from Paper Source as well.
Permanent ink pads
Buying high-quality, permanent ink pads produces richer colors that dry quickly and don’t fade over time. I tend to do the majority of my stamping in black ink and usually buy Memento ink pads, which have worked well for me. If you’re looking for specific ink colors or want ink pads with certain finishes, such as metallic, check out the StazOn and Colorbox brands.
Stencils and templates
If you’re familiar with any of my DIY greeting card tutorials, you know that I create a lot of my own stencils and templates. From clouds to butterflies to flowers, I love to find free printables and templates online and use recycled cardboard to make stencils and templates. I highly encourage you to make your own stencils and templates. It takes a little time to find and make these materials. However, once you’ve made them, you can use them over and over again. They work wonderfully for all different types of craft projects, including DIY scrapbook embellishments and canvas wall art.
My friend Natasha has a collection of free shape printables, which are perfect for creating your own shape stencils or templates in a wide range of sizes.
Plastic craft storage
Investing in a plastic drawer system and a handful of plastic containers will keep your basic card making supplies and tools safe and organized. I have a couple of rainbow 8-drawer rolling chests, which is where I store the majority of my card making supplies and tools. The drawers are wide enough to hold 12″ x 12″ scrapbook paper pads and deep enough to hold most large paper punches and mounted rubber stamps. I labeled the drawers, so I can find what I need easily. As always, watch for sales at Michaels. You can often find these sets of drawers marked down 40-50%.
I also have a handful of assorted plastic boxes that I use for my adhesives, large wood-mounted rubber stamps, and a few other items that don’t fit in my drawer system. Small boxes (6-quart or smaller) are ideal, as they keep small supplies more organized. In August, I often hit up the school supply section at Target for pencil cases (pictured above), which are perfect for craft supplies. In a pinch, old shoeboxes work well, too. I have quite a few craft supplies stored in shoeboxes. Label any boxes with greeting card supplies and other craft materials, so you can find what need when you need it.
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Seasoned greeting card makers, is there anything you would add to this list?
I’d love to hear about your favorite basic card making supplies and tools!
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Now that you’ve stocked up on basic card making supplies, you’re ready to create beautiful homemade greeting cards!
Find all of my DIY card tutorials in the greeting card section of the blog!