How to make cards from pre-made kits look more handmade

Card kits are a life saver for cardmakers like me cause they contain so many supplies + tools to make cards quickly. But, sometimes they get a bad wrap though because it takes away the art of creating a card from scratch. However, I love card kits and I have a few tricks to share how to make these cards look more handmade!

I subscribe to Simon Says Stamp’s monthly card kits and the contents in it usually are a 6″ x 8″ exclusive SSS stamp set, pattern paper pack, cardstock sheets + various tools which changes every month. I’ve also purchased other card kits like in my post about Spellbinder’s “Merry Everything” Christmas Kit. It contains more than 600 pieces to make a bunch of cards. Card kits do save time and are great for quick cards or if you mass produce cards like I do. Now, let’s talk about how you can add your own special touches to make them stand out:

  • Use embellishments. I like to use Nuvo Drops, Wink of Stella pens, or Aqua Shimmer pens to add sparkle and glittery effects to pattern paper designs or pre-die cut images.
  • Stamp images. Using a stamp set to add sentiments or images like “snowmen” or “critters” adds a special touch, also stamping a sentiment on the inside of a card and to the flap of the envelope can really make a card stand out more (at the bottom of this post, I’ll have a link to some great stamp sets for envelopes).
  • Adding dimension. I love to use fun foam, double-sided tape or 3D foam squares to prop up pre-die cut images. There’s many techniques that you can do like inlay effects or a shadow box look.
How to make cards from pre-made kits look more handmade
How to make cards from pre-made kits look more handmade

To add a special touch with these two cards, I used white and clear pearls on the snowflake and on the top of the card and 3D Foam squares to prop up the Christmas bells. Finally, I used a stamp seal by the “Stamping Village” to add the “Share Handmade Kindness” to the envelope!

  • Use gems, pearls, enamel dots and sequins. These are so fun to add to a card. They come in many different shapes, sizes, colors and some with or without the center opening. They can be added easily to any card to adorn it. You can even make your own enamel dots, there’s YT videos on how to do that.
  • Placing and arranging the design. In photography, we call it creating a cohesive composition. Sometimes, I don’t know how the card will look until I get all the pieces together and begin placing each one on the card to play with the design. I don’t glue anything down until I like the overall layout.
  • Use twine, bows, ribbons or buttons. These extras give any card a handmade feel. I personally love rustic, vintage and distressed looks so these items work really well for that look. Also, stitching with embroidery floss is a great option to add more homemade touch.
  • Heat embossing. This is terrific technique for a stamped image for die cutting or sentiment and added to a card. There’s so many colored embossing powders and matching them to the card base can make any card look really pretty.
  • Add a large die cut sentiment. This can make a big impact on a card. I think die cutting a large one word sentiment like “Joy” or “Love” in fun foam or on heavyweight cardstock several times to add dimension and placing it in the middle of the card design can really make the layout pop.
How to make cards from pre-made kits look more handmade
How to make cards from pre-made kits look more handmade
How to make cards from pre-made kits look more handmade

With the card above, I created a “card within a card“! The outside is a side folding portrait card with enamel dots and embellishments placed on top of a circle die cut patterned paper. But, there’s also another pattern paper underneath that so mixing patterns is another way to make your cards from kits stand out.

The inside is a top folding card that I stamped a sentiment on the front and inside it is where you would write your message to the recipient. So a card in a card is another cool technique to try that makes a card pop!


How to make cards from pre-made kits look more handmade
How to make cards from pre-made kits look more handmade

For the two green Merry Christmas cards above, I added die cuts from several kits, I die cut some pattern paper and propped it up with fun foam. The “Merry” part are gold sticker labels that came in the November Simon Says Stamp card kit. For the background paper, I drew snowflakes all over with 2 white gel pens. I think that method can completely change how the pattern paper looks. This is especially visible on that top green card.

I also added twine to the tag underneath. Another thing I did was cut the pattern paper to 4″ x 5-1/2″ just shy of A2 so to show a bit of the cardstock underneath. I also could have added a small narrow strip right next to pattern paper, but I didn’t think to do that, Next time! But

I think you get the message, there’s many things we can do to embellish a card made from a kit to make it our own.

How to make cards from pre-made kits look more handmade

This card uses the same materials as the one above except it doesn’t have an inside card but I added the same types of embellishments to make it a bright encouraging card! All these cards came together so easily and I loved crafting with them filling up all the space on my table yesterday! I hope my tips will help you, especially if you’re thinking about subscribing to a kit or if you’re not sure how to customize a kit for a more handmade feel. I also wrote this post about subscribing to card kits, check it out if you’re interested!

Below are the list of supplies I used, thanks for reading!

Below are links to the products I used and some of them are affiliate links meaning if you purchase through them, I’ll earn a small commission and it is no extra cost to you. Your purchasing helps support our small business and we appreciate that so much! – Kim

How to make cards from pre-made kits look more handmade

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