Simple Greeting Cards & Displays

Another stint I enjoyed a few years ago, was making and selling greeting cards. My cards sold in several shops around the county until I started doing the math and decided that wholesaling them at one buck a card it just wasn’t worth the time and energy. Now that selling online is so simple with Etsy, I might just take it back up. In the meantime, my cards still sell at my sister’s store, Red Books & Chairs in Springfield, Mo. and I love making sets to give as gifts. Even my kids have taken custom notecards as gifts to birthday parties for their friends.

Now that Christmas is over, it’s time to start writing our thank you notes. My son, Bennett, age 13, was complaining that he didn’t have anything to write on. And so a new blog post was born.

Remember, you can click on images to enlarge for better viewing.

I am lucky enough to live only a half hour away from a wholesale paper warehouse, PaperPlus in Santa Rosa, CA, that is also open to the public. This is where I buy my pre-cut, pre-scored (embossed fold line) stationery to print on my desktop ink-jet printer. I buy the 5 1/2 BAR, no panel (that means no embossed frame design as in wedding invitations) white vellum card stock and envelopes. These ran $11 per box of 250 cards and $10.50 for the same amount of envelopes. I was happy to see they also had in stock the clear PVC card boxes that I usually buy through This size card when flat measures as a half sheet of standard printer paper that will easily feed through my printer.

I asked my son what he would like on his cards and he wanted ducks, pheasants and quail. So I handed him a clip-art book and asked him to pick a few things out.

I then scanned and vector traced the artwork to place into my design software to create his cards.

Remember that there are many other ways to place your artwork onto cards, including a copy machine that will take half-size sheets of paper. I place my art at the top half of a vertical sheet in Adobe Illustrator. For the backs of the cards I sold, I would put my logo and other information including retail pricing of anywhere between $2.50 to $3.00 a card.

You can print photographs, vintage illustrations, your own artwork, backgrounds to embellish after printing, whatever!

For my sister’s shop, I have also created cards that are laid out with two of the same image per card, and then once printed, cut the cards in half to fit nicely into little manila coin envelopes as small gift cards. (You can see the tiny cards in the back of the red-lined box in the lower left corner of the display photos below.)

For Bennett’s set and for the sake of this post/demo, I printed 4 copies of 3 designs and folded them. When placing in the clear boxes, it’s nice to add a ribbon. Anything goes here, unless it’s too bulky. A great inexpensive ribbon is simple vintage seam binding you can find in the sewing section of most thrift stores. I cut string and ribbon handles from used gift and shopping bags, or in this case, found some raffia in my craft shed. It’s best to tie around the cards only and not the envelopes, as the envelopes tend to crease easily.

For displaying cards, my sister comes up with the sweetest ideas in her shop.

I used to make displays for the shops I sold in locally from kraft colored paper maché boxes from the craft store. Using 3 small narrow boxes (the smallest of the 3 shown here), I stair-stepped them into a diagonally cut larger box with hot-glue, adding a modified (shortened) box to the side for envelopes. I carefully sliced strips of extra kraft colored paper from leftover lids to use to hide raw or glued areas. I then added ID plates (off-colors found in the scrapbook section on sale then spray-painted black) and slipped a price card and “envelopes” card into them.

There are really so many ways to display cards for retail, but in the future, I think I’ll just be displaying them in boxes for my digital camera and simply sell them on Etsy.

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