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be mine tools and tricks for DIY Valentine's Day cards by Meredith Keller | 1 2 3
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Layer, Layer, Layer | A clever trick employed by professional handmade card creators is to use layers. Let's say your main card elements are a very simple red heart paired with pink and white pinstriped paper. If you just glue your heart on the backdrop directly it's not going to look so amazing. However, if you cut out a slightly larger heart in a complimentary color -- in this case probably pink or white -- and paste your red heart onto the larger pink or white heart before applying both to the backdrop, you suddenly have a more eye-popping effect. Experiment with different possibilities by laying out potential pieces before you do any pasting or taping. For this example, you could try some text on the red heart and a piece of vellum over that, or play with adding some lace over the heart. You do not need a dozen layers to get the right look and it is definitely possible to overdo it, but having a couple of layers will give the card more depth and really bring it to life.

card by Meredith KellerTop with some texture | One year I made a card for my boyfriend that said "You make me starry eyed", and showed a clip-art picture of a young girl with her eyes covered with star-shaped sequins. Adding the sequins was a simple thing, but they made the card sparkle. Whether you use felt, fur, ribbon, beads or something else, non-paper materials are an easy way to add texture to your card and transform the final product into something really special. As with the paper layers, it's a good idea to try out a variety of textured items to find the ones that will work just right with your card. Lay out the bits and pieces that you've scrounged up and try arranging them in different ways. Once you've decided on a combination that works, you can start attaching things. Heavier textured elements like buttons and coins might require a bit of white Elmer's glue; be sure to apply the glue thinly and sparingly. For lighter materials, your double-sided tape or paste is the best adhesive.

Getting your card to look the way you want it to will take some practice, so set aside a Saturday afternoon to experiment with your materials. Let your imagination run riot, and have fun. You might even surprise yourself with what you can come up with. Best of all, you're sure to delight the card's recipient with this one-of-a-kind treasure.


Meredith Keller is an artist in Baltimore, MD. She runs an online t-shirt and accessory company called Ex-Boyfriend. She also enjoys travel and writing.

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