The Handmade Card category is a current hot trend in the Greeting Card industry right now. There's some debate on what exactly constitutes a 'handmade card' in card circles and this category still includes "the look of a hand-assembled - yet manufactured" card. The degree to which the handmade card has actually had mechanical manipulation is of course down to the nature of the card and its selling points. There's no doubt though, that handmade is big business.
And the more frippery, glittery and feathery you can make it - the better it is for business. There seem to be a number of key words in the handmade category if you're trawling around looking for inspiration. The main keyword is "embellishment". Most of us know this to mean some extra facet added to the front of the card, often giving a 3D quality. That could be anything from beads, buttons, paper, fabric to wire or metal, to name a few. That list is by no means exhaustive, and any crafter worth their salt will know just how tempting it is to add any bit of dazzling finery to their card.
Often though, less is best. What seems to be catching the public's eye this end of 2007 are cards incorporating glued or stitched on fabric. The card front though is only half the story. One of the UK's leading card industry magazines carries regular reports on best selling products in the handmade categories. Whilst smaller independent stores often speak of cards being 'subtly sparkly' they also mention the 'beautiful board' (or card stock).
They talk of 'delicate and feminine' being in vogue too. So, whether you're being drawn to purchasing 'handmade' or creating your own handmade, if you want to be up to the mark look out for all things glittery and embellished. There's sure to be a great range in your local stores to meet demand, and as craft retailers know, if its in demand in the card shops, then their craft buying public will want to purchase similar boards and bags of embellishments. Just take a look at the QVC shopping channel - or any one of the craft channels to check out what's sizzling right now.
Trends include mixes of materials, metal, all things fluffy and glittery. Check out the better card shelves for ideas. See what workshops are being held locally and read magazines to get up-to-the-minute ideas for all things current. As in any market, things are always on the change but as magazines are planned up to several months in advance you've got comfort in knowing that trends will stay around for a little while. Craft stores will always carry a wide selection of card embellishments and if you're canny you'll also include flea markets, bargain stores and charity shops in your trawl for all things that could loosely be described as 'surface decoration'.
Make sure you store your favorite bits carefully so that you'll be able to find them again when you need them. There's nothing worse than tracking down the perfect addition to your handmade card, only to find yourself hunting feverishly for it, just when you've found the perfect place to use it! Handmade cards are certainly hot news right now! Pull apart worn out dresses for fab buttons, look at old watches with a new eye, and start to hoard interesting paper textures, fabrics and fluff. Maybe you've some fellow crafters who would welcome a 'swap shop' event or a workshop where you can pool ideas and learn from each other. Craft is definitely one area where it pays to share your enthusiasm, skills and resources.
You never know who might have just the perfect piece to lift your current project. Jumble sales can be great sources of card ephemera if you look beyond what you see. Imagine how fabric flowers may look separated into individual petals.
What could you do with that feather duster? How could you make the most of those military tunic buttons? How could you weave that line of thin coated wire into your next card project? Which bits of fabric and paper could you stitch or glue together to create a new base material? Learn to look at things from different view points and keep abreast of colors, textures and trends to make the most of your current and future projects. The time you spend collecting and storing will never be wasted. You're building up a supply of exciting embellishments to adorn your lovingly planned and assembled card. If you want to ride the trends in handmade greeting cards just keep an eye on the market.
Geraldine Jozefiak has written widely on how to craft a handmade card for someone special. Greeting Card Guide gives you the latest news, trends and products to make your greeting card selection as quick, fun and painless as possible. http://greetingcardguide.com