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Tutorial #5

Paper Appliqué Cards

What we will be making:

In this tutorial, you'll learn how to make paper appliqué cards. Basically, these are cards decorated with cut paper arranged to mimic the look of cloth appliqué: cut cloth and embroidery often used as embellishments on clothing and quilts. There's no end to what can be done with this technique. Follow the simple steps in this tutorial to make delightful cards with shapes cut from paper.

HeartFor Valentine's Day, make cards with appliquéd hearts. See card ideas in the Appliqué Heart Valentines craft project.

This greeting card tutorial builds on the previous tutorials, especially #1: Four Patch Cards and #2: Matted Clip-art and Photo Cards. If you are new to cardmaking, review these tutorials before starting this one.

Refer to Tutorial #1: Four Patch Cards for how to make card blanks and envelopes.

Here's what you need:
  • White card blank - 4¼″ by 5½″
  • Colored paper or cardstock for mats
  • Decorative paper for appliqués
  • Fine-tip black marker
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Ruler or paper trimmer
  • Pencil and eraser
  • Colored pencils or markers
  • White computer paper for envelopes
  • Optional: Paper punches, appliqué templates.

This tutorial is the fifth of twelve cardmaking tutorials and is rated EASY to do.

How to Make Paper Appliqué Greeting Cards

Read through the tutorial before starting.
Step 1: Getting Started
Sun applique greeting card
Enlarge Sun Appliqué card

This tutorial shows step-by-step how to make this sun appliqué card. The same technique can be used to create other cards with different appliqué shapes.

Print the sun appliqué templates on cardstock and cut them out, or use Aunt Annie's heart appliqué templates to make Valentines or for any card showing your love. For a card of your own design, use any other appliqué shape that you'd like. Quilting books are a terrific source for appliqués. Just resize them to fit a greeting card.

Tip: You can also print the templates directly on colored or patterned paper instead of using them as traceable templates.

Project extra: Download, and print on paper or cardstock, Aunt Annie's printable jungle appliqués to make fun cards for children. Arrange these appliqués on your card front and add stitching accents with a fine-point marker. See Cutout Birthday Cards for Kids for more detailed instructions.

Paper sand cardstock used to make example sun applique card Step 2: Select Papers

Select papers for the appliqué pieces, the background, and the card mat. To get the look of a fabric appliqué, choose both solid color and patterned papers. The example card uses two colors of yellow cardstock and two patterned papers featuring yellows. The darker yellow cardstock is used for the sun's face, while a lighter, mottled yellow cardstock is used for the card mat.

Pick any colors and patterns that go together. To keep the focus on the sun appliqué, use yellows, oranges or reds for the sun, and a paper including cooler colors (such as blues, greens) for the background.

Make stitch marks on applique pieces Step 3: Trace and Cut Appliqué Pieces

Trace the appliqué templates on the back of the paper or cardstock. Cut out each piece.

Step 4: Make Stitch Marks

Using a fine-tip black marker, make a dashed line around each appliqué piece to resemble a running stitch. If you are an experienced sewer, making other types of stitch marks can add more interest—maybe overcast or blank stitches.

Step 5: Glue and Decorate Appliqué Assemble and decorate applique

Glue the sun appliqué pieces together. Draw a face on the sun using dashed lines to mimic running stitches. If you like, fill in the pupils of the sun's eyes with horizontal lines to resemble a satin stitch.

Step 6: Make Background and Mat Make background and mat for card

Cut the mat paper/cardstock slightly smaller than the card front, about 5 3/8" by 4 1/8". Cut the background paper a bit smaller, about 5" by 3 3/4". Cut a 3/8" strip from the mat paper/cardstock.

Glue the mat strip to the background paper, about 1/4" to 3/8" from the right side. Trim away any mat strip excess.

Glue the background to the mat, then glue the mat to the card front.

Add stitch marks around the background paper and along the edges of the mat strip.

Step 7: Glue Appliqué Glue applique to card

Glue the appliqué to the card. Give the sun a small twist to the left for a jauntier look.

That's it! Follow these simple steps to make paper appliqué cards using other shapes and themes. One of the easiest ways to get started on your own designs is with simple cutouts and paper punches.

Refer to Tutorial #1: Four Patch Cards for how to make card blanks and envelopes.

That's it! Now make an appliqué card of your own design!
Assortment of applique greeting cards

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Before you start a tutorial:
  • Make a place to work.
  • Read through the tutorial.
  • Think about what you plan to make. Imagine how you can add your own creative touch.
  • Gather the materials you will need.
Get ready, and get started!!!

ePaper Extra

Sun applique card using ePapers

Tip: A sky background works well with the sun appliqué. This card was made with two of Aunt Annie's ePapers.

Love letter card with applique heart

Tip: Make a simple love letter card by drawing lines on a white card blank that resemble a sealed envelope, and adding an appliqué heart. See more ideas in the Appliqué Heart Valentines craft project.

Pattern: Print the sun appliqué templates on cardstock and cut out.

Pattern: To use as a traceable template, print the heart appliqué templates on cardstock and cut out. Or print the templates directly on colored or patterned paper.

Add stitch to enhance cutouts and borders

Tip: Add stitching to enhance cutouts, borders, and backgrounds.

Paper applique card with blanket stitching

Tip: "Stitch" the appliqué with faux blanket stitch.

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