10 Tips for Creating Cards in Bulk / Batches –How to Optimize for Holiday Efficiency
How does anyone NOT stress about creating cards in bulk?
Here’s a secret: Creating beautiful cards can be very relaxing! Sitting down, making something with your own hands, and having something beautiful to share with your loved ones are all reasons why many papercrafters (hobby and professional) enjoy what we do.
When the holidays happen, though, stress can go through the roof. There are a million things to do, and sitting down and being creative can often get pushed aside. It gets added to a long to-do list. How many cards do you have to make??
But I’m here to tell you that you can do it. This is definitely possible, and you can remain relaxed, too. And I’ll show you how here.
See below for tips on how to optimize holiday card creation and make it easier for your friends and family to think “Hmm… they definintely have their life together and got this adult thing down pat.” You can not only smile knowing you can still make your family and friends smile, while also creating something that you can be proud of.
10 Tips for Creating Cards in Bulk:
1. Determine how many cards you think you’ll need.
The most important place to start is determining how many cards you will need to make. Then add 10% to that number. Seriously. Because we all do it — we send off our beautiful cards, and then realize we forgot to send one to Aunt Martha!
I make a list by making 4 columns: Family, Friends, Crafters, and Professional Contacts. Whoa! Under each column, I just start writing out who I’d like to send a card to. Going through your address book or phone contacts can help with this.
2. Design using simpler elements.
Sometimes less is more, and I wrote a tutorial for cards using this motto. And you are creative — I know you can make a less complicated card look amazing and festive! One and two layer cards can be magnificent.
Some techniques are quick, but keep in mind what you decided from step 1: the number of cards you will need. Each step, be it 10 seconds or a few minutes per card, will add up.
I suggest limiting your fussy-cutting, or find a punch that will work well. Coloring in images can make them pop, But your time can add up with markers in hand. Therefore, keep in mind how much coloring each card will require.
Keeping a card Clean And Simple (CAS) can help you make a gorgeous winter card and make life easy for you! Your card doesn’t need to be complicated for your recipient to love it and appreciate your creation and thought.
3. Design a card that you love.
I can’t stress this one enough. If you are making a stack of these cards, LOVING the card will make it easier for you to WANT to work on them, and then you’ll feel proud to send them to your friends and family.
Make ONE of these cards. This card can be your prototype! When you create it, think about the first two steps: the time needed for each part of the card and how many you’ll additionally need to make. Now is the time to edit your pieces and which papers you’ll use, before you efficiently create your giant stack of cards!
4. Get and compile all of the supplies you’ll need.
I try to keep supplies for a specific project together in a box or on a table. A minute of organization can save you five minutes later. When you are ready to work on your cards, everything will be ready for you to start. Looking for what you need can be distracting!
Still need supplies? Please consider getting your supplies through me. I’m an independent Stampin’ Up demonstrator, and love to help people find what they need for their projects. Do you have enough adhesive? Enough bling? I got you covered!
Bonus Tip: Organizing your supplies, while it can be scary, will help save time and, additionally, will help save your supplies in the long run. When you can find what you want to work with, you can quickly get creative!
5. Do you have a single slow step? Does an element need to dry, or can it be really messy and has to be done away from your desk?
Do this slow element first! When I made these quick holiday cards, I created multiple sheets of glossy red and green with alcohol inks. This is the bottleneck for time on this card, so if making multiples, create a bunch of sheets!
That way, the bottleneck of your creation can dry while you either move on to another part of the cards, or take a break for the evening.
6. Use the right tools.
Using the right tools is the best way to make your project look good while saving you time. Do you have a Stamparatus? Or maybe a Cricut? These are REALLY amazing tools when it comes to creating multiple cards at once!
Generally, I stamp with more of a “eye-ball” precision. Specifically, I put my stamp on the block and line it up approximately where I want it. But if I am making a large stack of cards, a tool, like the stamparatus, can keep your stamping more precise (and save your hand muscles!). The right tools are always available, but when they are, they can really make your crafting time more smooth and faster.
7. Get the most out of your supplies.
Supplies can be pricey, so get the most out of each of them! Besides, us crafters can be extremely resourceful.
For instance, a cardbase is half of a 8 1/2″ x 11″ cardstock, so you can get 2 cardbases from one sheet. Do you need 50 cards for your holiday? Therefore you’ll need 50 card bases, which will require 25 sheets of cardstock. Next cut each sheet at 5 1/2” and you’ll quickly have a stack of 50 card bases! No waste!
For your layers, it’s smart to save your scraps for when you are using the same color on a different card. Punches and dies are also great to use with your leftover scraps.
Check out these tutorials where I show how to use scraps efficiently: blissful blooms, birthday cards, and Broadway Star. Or you can use your matching scraps to decorate the inside of your card, like is done in this halloween card.
Bonus Tip: Keep your scraps organized. Maybe by color, if that works with your creativity.
If you are able to quickly locate the scrap you want, you’ll be more likely to use them, and be much more efficient while creating your cards.
Stamping the same image for all of the cards? Stamp them all at once on just a few pieces of cardstock, like I did here for some baby shower invitations:
This technique will help you get the most out of your paper supplies. Not only will you get more out of every square inch fo your paper, but also make it easier to relax and spruce up your images with markers, pencils, or glitter prior to any planned fussy-cutting or die-cutting.
8. Set up an Assembly Line of your steps to save LOTS of time.
Doing one step for all of your cards at once can save you time while pulling out and putting away your tools, cleaning your stamps, etc. Cutting your ribbon all at once can make your project faster. Die-Cutting all the sentiments in one sitting can be very efficient.
Set up an assembly line plan, creating one piece of the cards at a time. Decide which step you want to do first. To make it easy on myself, I often cut the card bases first. I know for holiday cards they will all be the same size: 5 1/2” x 8 1/2” folded in half, consequently cutting the bases is something most card makers have done over and over. This step can not only be an easy decision to start your bulk holiday card assembly line, but will also give you a sense of accomplishment quickly. As a result, you’ll WANT to get back into your craft room soon to complete the NEXT step!
This assembly line can be seen in this post, where I created a stack of Happy Crafting cards:
This may be the most important step to creating cards in bulk! Like most things, taking it one step at a time is the best way.
9. Create your cards over multiple days.
In order to feel productive everytime you sit down, consider having the goal to finish ONE single step. Did you cut all your cardbases? Fantastic! Have you scored each card base in half? Awesome! Maybe tomorrow the next step can be to cut the next layer. Maybe the next day can be to stamp each card.
Are you a scheduling person who writes plans in your calendar? Definitely do that. If it’ll help keep you on track to meet your goal, you’ll get your cards done in time and subsequently be able to sit back and relax… or tackle something else on your long to-do list!
Taking your bulk cardmaking one step at a time can keep you from feeling overwhelmed, and you can enjoy your crafting and feel good about your product.
10. Cut yourself some slack.
You are doing great. Enjoying what you are doing is important. Crafting is a great therapy for yourself, as well as a fantastic way to keep in contact with family and friends.
However, doing any hobby for long periods of time may increase chances for frustration, especially when it is an artistic endeavor. Take a break if you get frustrated; get a mug of hot cocoa; and then return later for a fresh start. When your mind is relaxed, it’s easier to be creative.
You’ve got this.
How many cards do you make for the holidays? I’d love to hear the number you strive for each year, so leave a comment below! Are you already done or just getting started? Don’t worry, you have time!
The easy solution could also be as simple as a kit. Try a Paper Pumpkin kit, where everything is already cut and ready for you to get to the crafting!
If you don’t already, follow my blog! I’ll be posting holiday cards along with tutorials for the next few weeks to hopefully inspire you!
Thanks for stopping by during this busy holiday season! Happy Crafting!