Plan Ahead Card Ideas

By Stacey Kingman

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Tools used

  • Postage Stamp Border Punch - retired
  • Pink Continuous Stamp™ Wheel Ink Cartridge
  • Navy Continuous Stamp™ Wheel Ink Cartridge
  • Everywhere Punch™ Window System - Starter Set
  • Tag Lever Punch (XX-Large)
  • Three-piece Eyelet Setter Set

Supply list

  • Solid Cardstock

    Patterned Paper (Echo Park - A Walk in the Park Collection

    October Afternoon - Thrift Shop Collection)

    Adhesive Foam

    Sewing Machine


I find myself stocking up on school supplies, socks, pantry staples, and make-ahead freezer meals. There is just something that makes me feel confident and ready to face the busy new school year when I have all those items stocked, organized, and available for my family or whomever might need our hospitality.

My need to be prepared doesn't end in the kitchen or the laundry room. I also like to have thoughtful, last-minute gifts collected and special, handmade cards ready to be given with them. Having young children guarantees that we will receive multiple unexpected birthday party invitations throughout the coming months and in addition to the many upcoming family birthdays that we are already planning for. I like to design a birthday card that is unique, detailed, and easily duplicated, so that each and every one I give is custom made and conveys that feeling that it was made with thoughtfulness and love.

The idea is to stock up on handmade cards. Just like I love to open the kitchen cabinet and see fifteen rolls of paper towels neatly stacked and ready for action, I love the feeling of having a stack of cards ready to give as handmade gestures for people, especially when a birthday is being celebrated.

BDay Cards_rev

I created two samples of birthday cards, each full of fun layers, mixed colors, and thoughtful little details. The make a wish card stared with a color blocked background. I used five different patterned papers and added a stamped floral pattern to a yellow polka-dot piece. When I use several pieces on one card, I find that stitching around the border gives it a great crafty boundary.
BDay Pink Process_rev

After adding the stitching, I layered a pre-cut journaling card and more patterned paper. I created the scalloped frame by punching a scalloped square with the Scalloped Square Lever Punch, then punching a square window into the piece with the Square Everywhere Punch. The sizes of these two punches work together perfectly to create a fun frame that can be filled with just about anything! I stamped a piece of birthday cake inside this one, added ribbon, bling, and alphabet stickers to finish. This layered piece is adhered with adhesive foam to give it dimension.
BDay Pink_rev

The wish big card is masculine enough to be given to anyone who might be having a birthday. I used four patterned papers for this one, stamping a whimsical gift design onto the blue polka-dot paper with the Continuous Stamp Wheel. Before stitching around the border, I punched two inside borders with the Postage Stamp Border Punch and placed them behind the stamped piece and added a strip of striped paper. Using the XX-Large Tag Lever Punch, I created a tag for the birthday sentiment. I punched small holes in the card to thread string through for tying the tag on, and foam adhesive gave the tag an extra pop.
BDay Blue_rev

BDay Blue Detail_rev

Keep in mind that we are planning ahead so that the busy-ness of life won't keep us from being able to give thoughtfully when the special people in our lives have special celebrations, but we are also planning for the unexpected. Make a few cards that are not quite finished. Set them aside and save the sentiment and stamped image until you need the card, then finish it to match the occasion. It might be a baby's arrival, a special thank-you note, or a note of encouragement for someone who is struggling. If you have some not-quite-finished cards, you'll still be able to offer a beautifully created, thoughtfully made greeting at the last minute by just adding the finishing details.

I liked these cards so much, I decided to work on starting our holiday greetings with the same idea. I find that if I don't start making Christmas cards by September, my calendar will fill up so much with fall activities that I have a hard time getting them made at all.

Using a combination of Lever Punches and Squeeze Punches, I was able to utilize my extensive pile of patterned paper scraps to create this fun Christmas tree. I punched squares with three sizes of square punches then cut them in half diagonally to make the tree sections. By arranging the tree parts on a neutral background, the various paper patterns are easy to see. My favorite Fiskars punch is the Medium Heart Lever Punch, and I couldn't resist adding one to my tree!

Be Merry process 2_rev

Be Merry_rev

Every year on my own birthday, I am reminded how sweet it is to receive a handmade card. I love to pass on that feeling by giving handmade cards myself, but if I don't plan ahead a little, I'll end up wishing I had. It's a lot easier to make a batch of cards when I have some time carved out to do it than to try and whip something up at the last minute. I'm thinking that I might need to make a pile of thank-you cards, never hurts to be prepared!