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Homemade Christmas Card Ideas: Creating a Personal Greeting for your Loved Ones

Do you recall why the Grinch stole Christmas? It was the commercialism and how he believed it was ruining Christmas. I understand the feeling. I wish we could go back to the time when Christmas was more about the time spent with family and loved ones and less about the commercial side of gift gifting, when little crafts were the most valuable gift. Sure you can think of me as being nostalgic, but I think the best part of Christmas is being with friends and baking cookies, taking time to color pictures of Santa with the children, as well as thinking about all of the Christmas crafts that I can make.

In that spirit, I've come up with some wonderful reusable patterns for a variety of holiday greeting designs. You could of course just use Christmas stencils normally to paint an image onto the card but you could also use it in many other creative ways. I took some stencils out of my other collections and tried to creatively think of how many different ways I could use them in my Christmas crafts.

I'd like to share with you some of my Christmas card ideas because the holiday season is a great time to start some projects like crafts as gifts. These crafts will make yourself and your recipient feel special.

If it's alright with you, let's first go through the basics of card making and then let's handle the creative side. Start by cutting a piece of colored construction paper into a 6x8 inch rectangle. Create a 4x6 inch card by folding it in half.

Do you have a favorite Christmas stencil? Look online or at your local arts and crafts store to find many options for stencils you'll love. They are available as plastic pre-made stencils that you can paint or you can print them online or from a book. Each type has pros and cons. There are pre-cut stencils that are ready from the get go, but you'll need to buy them first. They cost more, obviously. You can cut out the printable stencils but that means extra work. An advantage is that they are cheaper, sometimes even free, and since you can print them, you do not need to go to a store for them. As an extra bonus printable stencils can be made to be whatever size you need by using a copy machine or your computer to re-size them.

A simple way to use stencils to make cards is with paint. Place the stencil on the front of your card. Tape the stencil down, or hold it in place with your hand. Utilize the stippling method, or vertical motion, use a stencil or foam brush to place paint in the stencil design. This technique is best for keeping paint from getting under the edges of the stencil openings unlike the usual back and forth way of brushing.

Trace the stencil openings onto the colored paper, cut it out and glue the product to the front of the card. Trace the openings of the stencil design onto colored paper, clip out the design and affix it to the cover of the card. There will be no paint to deal with and you will be able to clearly create clean lines and color contrast with the paper.

You can cut out the steps necessary for getting the stencil openings ready and tracing the design onto paper if you've found a nice printable stencil instead. Put the stencil paper on top of the colored paper, and then cut it out with a craft knife. To cut through both pieces of paper you'll need to press down firmly. When you are cutting, make sure that both pages stay together. If it is hard for you, cut around the stencil and then tape it to the colored paper. Glue the picture on to the front of the card. You're done! Simple, isn't it?

I'll now give you some wonderful ideas for adding that extra creative touch: Use powerful, evocative words. Why not write some traditional holiday sayings on the card behind the stenciled image? It is so easy. Create the greeting you choose on your computer. Set the margins to allow you to print your message on your 4x6 inch card stock cover. Try out different colors and fonts to make your card stand out. Light gray is better than black as a background because it doesn't take away from the main image as much.

By using a craft knife to extract the stenciled image from the colored paper, you will have not only both the pieces needed to glue to the card, but also now a new stencil remaining in the shell. A second card can have paint applied to it by utilizing this again.

Use creativity and originality by doing the stencils in the negative. There are a variety of ways to accomplish this. Take this example - say you've cut out a snowman stencil for the first card; well, now you have a piece of colored paper that has the image of a snowman cut out of it. Cut that piece into a 4x6 rectangle with a snowman in the middle and attach it to the front of another card of a different color. Alternatively you could snip around the snowman and form an outline.

You can also flip the stencil patterns around if necessary. You can face a reindeer one way on one card, and the other way on another card.

Your cut out will still have trace marks if you use a stencil to directly create an image on your paper. Carefully remove the markings, flip the paper over and affix with the clean side up using adhesive.

Now you can add extra decorative items for some flair. Give it a glamorous look by adding some holiday patterned ribbon or using some spray-on glitter.

Using a hole punch, make some cute little circles in the construction paper and then glue the pieces on the card as a snow-ball decoration. They also look nice decorating the Christmas tree.

In order to flatten the ripples that paper tends to get from the glue, after it has dried, place the cards in a heavy book to dry.

I trust that you are very capable of creating alternative Christmas card ideas. I mean, in the end it's really that personal, individual look you're going for, right? Remember that even the Grinch realized that Christmas spirit is from the heart!

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