DIY: Christmas cards, tags simple and quick to make

Horizontal-striped and patterned paper, a computer-generated greeting and the cutout of a simple...

Story by Valerie Parsons
Tue, Dec 13, 2011
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Who has time to make Christmas cards and tags?!?

YOU do! Here are some quick and easy designs to inspire you. They take little time and pack a big punch. And speaking of big punches, you’ll need a circular one for the wreath design.

These designs are basic and have a minimum of steps. Experiment with the basic concepts and make them uniquely yours.

Contemporary wreath: Use a large circle punch to punch out the wreath, the smaller circle to punch the inside hole. It’s OK if it’s off-center. Cut a bow out of a contrasting color. Don’t worry about making the bow symmetrical. Position and stamp your greeting. Use decorative scissors to cut a strip of patterned paper. Adhere it to one side of the card. Adhere the wreath and bow. Decorate the wreath with stick-on jewels so you don’t have to mess with gluing them on.

Horizontal stripes: Cut a piece of patterned paper slightly smaller than your card. I used striped paper for the horizontal stripe and pasted my computer-generated greeting on the white stripe. You could just use red paper and paste the whole white strip with the greeting in the middle of the solid red and create your own stripe. Stamp your picture, cut it into a square or rectangle with decorative scissors and adhere to a contrasting color. I stick the picture down and then cut the backing piece around it. Angle this piece and stick it down with foam tape or a pop dot. The deer was a 99-cent stamp — you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get cute holiday-themed stamps.

Paint chip trees: Using paint chip samples (the kind with at least three graduated colors) from your local home improvement store, cut them into triangular tree shapes, big or small. Use them on your cards or tags as shown.

Birch trees: Position and stamp greeting. Cut strips of patterned birch tree (or other winter-themed) paper. Adhere to the bottom of the card. (I turn the card over and trim the paper even to the card with my scissors) Adhere a strip of colored paper at the top of the winter paper. Add stick-on jewel, if desired.


I use a punch system called Tonic. This makes spacing the punch-outs easier, but individual punches can be used to create the same look. Cut a strip of paper the entire width, about 3 3/4 inches wide, depending on the depth of your punch. You can decorate the strip with swirls or a pattern before you punch as shown with the blue deer tags. Score the paper at about

1 3/4 inches. This will help make the crease crisp when you fold the paper. If you don’t have a stylus or bone folder, you can use a ball-point pen tip (with the ink tip retracted). Run it along a straight edge the full length of the paper. Fold. Punch your design, leaving enough room to cut between each design; for the design shown, I used two deer and either a tree or a snowflake in the middle.

Using a glue stick on the INSIDE punched-out portion of the tag, adhere contrasting paper to the inside of the tag. (If you use the glue stick on the contrasting paper, the glue will show through the punched out portion.)

Use contrasting paper on the bottom of the tag and/or cut with decorative scissors. Cut apart, into individual tags. Adhere double sticky tape to the back of the tag to stick to your packages. (I use the red-backed double sticky tape and leave the backing on until I’m ready to use the tag.)

My thanks to PaperCraft Magazine for inspiring the birch-tree design.

Have the happiest of holidays!


• For most of these cards, I have used pre-scored purchased blank card and envelope sets. They can help you save time and money.

• When designing your card, try to keep coloring and cutting things out to a minimum. Consider using just a pop of color instead of coloring an entire stamped image.

• Use pre-printed sticker greetings, stamped greetings or print out your greeting on your computer. If you’re using a stamped greeting, figure out the position and stamp first. This way, if you mess it up, you can use a different card design and cover the mess-up with paper, salvaging the card.

• Instead of tying ribbon on your card, try a paper strip instead to add interest and color. Tying takes time!

• Use glue dots and pop dots or foam tape. A simple snowman can be popped off the page to help the design look more dynamic.

• Use an assembly line. Enlist your friends’ and children’s help in cutting, pasting and assembling.

• Angle your designs so you don’t have to worry about keeping things square.

• You don’t have to purchase “Christmas” stamps or paper — use nontraditional designs and add a holiday-themed greeting. Not all your cards have to be the same; use scraps of paper you may have on hand for your cards and tags.

• When stamping a whole page of one design, leave enough room between the images to cut or tear them apart. I use a Xyron, which applies adhesive in even sheets, but a glue stick will work as well, just not as quickly. Keep a heavy catalog or book nearby to weigh down your paper when using a glue stick; this will keep the paper nice and flat and keep the card from warping.

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