Thursday, January 30, 2014

Bethies Cards

Today, I will take you on the journey of how my animal cards are made.  Hope you enjoy!

Anyone can go out, by a Cricut machine and a cartridge and throw together a card and that's kind of how I began.  

When I first started making animal cards, all I did was cut them out, gave them a premade envelope and called it good.  They were great that way, but I wanted more.  I wanted my customer's to get the "whole package" (minus the pen...), so that's what I did.  It was just that important to me.

The first animal I made was the frog.  He was so cute, but he needed a bit of embellishment, so I added a pink bow.  He was huge though, and not really fit for mailing.  So, it was back to the drawing board to get a "better to mail" size.

After I corrected the size, I knew I needed to make the best looking card, hand make my own envelopes, line them and get it just right for my customers.

One day, it dawned on me.  What if I make a small version of the animal and make them into a sticker (because kids LOVE stickers)!  So, after purchasing a sticker making machine, I started making matching animal stickers for all my cards.  

Each animal card I make is made with a lot of thought to color combinations and what embellishments would make the card stand out from others who are making the same kind of card.  Some come with a big bow, some with flowers and others are just fine left plain.  Some are dimensional while others are best left just glued together.  I try different patterned paper on some while others I just use plain solid colored paper.  Some animals are colorful, meaning, not what you would find out in the wild, while others I tried to keep truer to their real life colors.  And, well, sometimes I just make both!

The process to make the animal cards starts right here.  This is my craft area / spare bedroom / and command center.  It too, has evolved over the years and has gone from only having 18" of work space to this.

I have two Cricut cutting machines, an embosser, paper scorer, several paper cutters, a sticker making machine, loads of embossing folders and die cuts and most importantly, TONS of paper!

The process is fairly simple.  Select the animal to make, lay the card stock out onto the cutting mat, turn on the Cricut machine, select the size the animal is to be, insert the mat into the machine, and then cut it out.  Each animal has anywhere from 3 to 5 layers.  So, with each animal, I am cutting out several different shapes to create the entire animal.  Lots of cuts!  And then there are the tiny animal stickers...well, I'll get to that in a minute.  That's a whole other thing.

So, take a look at what it looks like sometimes when I am busy making a lot at once.   The obvious first step...lots and lots of paper, hours and hours and hours of cutting and gluing and a bit of organization is a must in a small space.  These pictures were taken towards the end of a 150 card order, hence the organization statement.

Now I'll address the animal sticker side of things.

These are the tiny animal stickers.  Same exact process as the card, just A LOT SMALLER and the pieces are much harder to assemble.  I ended up having to buy what I call a "picker-upper" because the pieces are so small.  And believe you me, the smaller they are, the harder it is to glue and not get glue all over the rest of the animal!  And, then there's the other problem, where sometimes the pieces "go missing" and I have to cut more.  And don't even get me started on when the cutter starts acting up and ripping the tiny mouths or .... like I said, don't get me started.

I needed some sort of organizational plan for this.  That's when I came up with the process of keeping all the same animal pieces in exactly the order they are cut out at and in what direction they go too.  Yes, there actually are certain pieces that only together in one way.  Found that out several times...LOL  It's a challenge sometimes, but the end result is just the cutest little animal stickers!!  (It's a great plan, doesn't always work and the pieces sill go "missing".)

These are just some of the stickers all assembled and glued.

After the animal stickers are all assembled, it's time to run them through the sticker making machine.  This is very easy to do, but the sticker refills are a very costly thing, so I usually only make them into stickers when I have an order.  After they come out of the machine, I have to run a pencil around the outside edge of the animal, then peel away the top layer.  I then cut them to size and put them into a plastic sleeve.

Over the two years I have been making my animal cards, they have evolved, each having a different personality and each one still made with TLC by me:)

So, now you have a little better idea of what it's like in my animal world!  I love making these cards...they're such fun and as I said before, they each have their own unique personality.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read about my process.  As you can see, it's not just a cut and assemble's a labor of love that I know each of my customer's appreciates from the wonderful feedback I have received from them.

Again, thanks for reading :)

You can find my animal cards and lots of other different cards in my shop:
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