For the bored, locked-down and lonely

Activity: Making greetings cards with washi tape and recycled materials

Washi tape! The japanese rippable pretty sellotapey kind of stuff! Washi tape has a lot of uses, but I personally like to use it to make fancy, impressive looking cards with very little artistic skill involved. You can use it to make borders, segments, cute mini banners and as an alternative to plastic sticky/scotch tape to jazz up your envelopes and present wrapping. You can also make lots of shapes with strips of tape. How could you create a tree, a landscape or a pile of presents with washi tape? Below are some ideas, but the possibilities are endless! Happy taping.

First of all, you’ll need a blank card as the base. You can buy blank greetings cards for customisation at craft shops, stationery stores and online – or just buy a pack of cardstock and cut out cards in whichever size and shape you like! Scoring a line along the center with the point of a pair of scissors makes the fold especially neat and crisp.

Washi tape is also available from all kinds of craft stores, stationery shops and online, and comes in every colour and pattern imaginable. If the pattern is particularly striking, it could be the focal point of a card:

washi tape birthday card with a pinecone pattern

Combine washi tape with used wrapping paper or gift ribbon to make fun and colourful recycled designs, like this mini bunting:

congratulations card using mini bunting made with scraps of wrapping paper

You could add drawn details with coloured pencil or pen, gel pen and other kinds of artists media to make a motif that exactly fits the occasion:

a birthday card where the washi tape forms the shape of a candle on a cake, with a hand-drawn flame

Washi tape looks fabulous as a border for gift cards – it gives a really ‘premium’ appearance to the cards. You can add a matching border to the envelope for an extra special look! And of course greetings cards are a great opportunity to try out some fun calligraphy basics:

a birthday card with presents and a striped border

You don’t just have to recycle festive stuff like giftwrap and ribbon for your greetings cards:

  • Lots of cardboard packaging, such as milk cartons, has a metallic interior, so you can cut it into shapes like stars and trophies for shiny decorations.
  • Use cut-out motifs from old postcards or dried flowers from our previous tutorials to create a vintage aesthetic for your cards. Stick them onto the card with glue or with retro washi tape!
  • Cut appealing images out of old greetings cards – christmas trees, birthday cakes, party hats… – to make the most of them by giving them a second life on a new card.
  • Cut out photos of people doing cheesy poses in catalogues and magazine ads – then make speech bubbles and get them saying goofy things to make comedy cards!
  • Fold old newspaper into fans, flowers or origami cranes and stick them onto the card for a cool pop art look
  • Pierce holes in the card with a knitting needle or a compass and then thread wool, decorative thread or string through the holes to make a geometric shape with textural interest – for example, with just five holes roughly equidistant from eachother you can string a star shape together. You can secure the ends of the thread with washi tape.
  • Lightly apply glue stick to the card and then dust old eyeshadow onto the gluey parts to add a pearlescent sheen and a swoop of colour to your designs

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