I have gotten some requests for holiday card tutorials, so I thought today we could focus on one banner-focused DIY card concept. So — let’s get started! To make this holiday card, you’ll first want to print out the Hand-Drawn Banner Printable, which you can download for free by clicking here. (As a side note, I print on 70-80 lb. drawing paper that has been cut to fit my printer; you want to make sure your banner isn’t flimsy!)
Have you read the Hand-Drawn Banner Tutorial here on TPK? If so, then you’re familiar with the concept of using lines for shading in a banner. You can just whip out a regular pen and draw a series of small, short lines to signify shadows on the top banner.
If you’re not sure where to draw in the little lines, you can use the photo of the banner below as a reference! The lines appear anywhere there would be a shadow if this banner were a “real life” object and you were shining a light on it straight-on.
Once you’ve shaded your banner, it’s time to add in some hand-lettering or calligraphy. I like to draw in a couple of pencil guidelines parallel to the top and bottom lines of the banner to ensure neat calligraphy; but that’s totally optional. My guidelines here are about 0.4″ (1 cm) from the top and base of the banner.
Any calligraphy or lettering style would look good in this banner, but I like to use Kaitlin Style calligraphy because it’s nice and quick!
If you have chosen to use a dip pen to write your holiday message, wait for it to dry. At that point, you’ll want to erase the pencil guidelines (if you opted to draw them).
Next, cut out the banner. You’ll notice that I’m not cutting exactly on the line; that’s because I love the effect of leaving a little bit of space between the banner and the edge of the paper.
Of course, you can cut exactly along the edge of the banner if you want to; but if you like this look, you can follow suit and leave a little bit of space as you cut around the banner. There’s about 1/8″ (~3.5 mm) of space along the edges of the banner pictured below.
Now, you’ll want to get out an A7 watercolor card. You can easily create one by cutting a piece of watercolor paper to 10″ x 7″ (25.4 cm x 17.8 cm) and folding it in half, or you can buy them pre-made. (It’s necessary to use a watercolor paper card for this project because other papers can’t handle watercolor paints as well as specialized watercolor paper does, and you’ll be painting on this card.)
Once you have procured a watercolor card, plan out where you’d like to put your banner on the finished card. Use a pencil to trace around the banner in that position. When your tracing is finished, you can set the banner aside for the time being.
At this point, you could draw/paint a number of different designs on the card, but I love to use the “Vintage Roses” concept from the How to Draw Roses tutorial. The roses can be extremely time-consuming to freehand draw, so I always keep a little template around for the purpose of tracing. You can make your own template by following the tutorial; or you can use my printable template, which you can purchase for a nominal fee by clicking here.
Next, I use a light box or an well-lit window to trace over the rose drawing. It saves me *so* much time and energy! While I am using a crow quill pen and black Bombay (India) Ink, you could absolutely use a Micron pen or a fine-tipped Sharpie … as long as the ink is waterproof, it will work!
Notice that I did not draw roses in the area that the banner will cover; again, I’m all about saving time and energy!
Once all your ink is dry, you can start watercoloring the floral motif! Traditional holiday colors are red and green, so that’s what I’m using, but you may use the color scheme of your choice. (I, myself, wouldn’t mind seeing a tie-dye rose and/or bright yellow leaves. Why not?)
After you’ve finished painting, you’ll want to seek out some sort of cushy paper object … for example, foam board, corrugated cardboard, or a cushioned mailer like the one pictured below. Your goal is to cut whatever you find up and use it to put a cushion between the banner and the card.
I like to cut up the cushiony material as pictured below. I use double-stick tape to affix the cushiony stuff to the back of the banner; then I also put double-stick tape on the side of the cushiony material that is facing me. If you don’t have any double-stick tape around, of course glue will do the job just as well.
Flip the banner over, place it exactly where you want it to be on the card, and apply gentle pressure to make it stick.
You will be rewarded with a festive holiday card featuring intricate illustration and a 3D element!
You may have just read through those steps and come to the conclusion that I’m being ridiculous if I think you’ve got the time to draw those roses and do the 3D thing. Trust me, I know that life can be busy; but the good news is you can still use the banner printable to make a more basic card! Simply fold a piece of card stock (any color) in half to make an A7 card, then shade the cut-out banner with dark watercolor. Glue the banner directly on the card, write on it with Kaitlin Style calligraphy, and add a couple of stars. Boom! Done!
They say that behind every beautiful card is an equally lovely envelope (okay, okay … the “they” in that sentence actually refers to me), so I want to show you a quick way to craft a vessel that’s up to the job of carrying your DIY holiday card.
First, I calligraph my mail recipient’s name(s) on one of the smaller two banners in the Hand-Drawn Banner Printable. I’ve used Janet Style calligraphy here because I want to inject some elegance into the envelope, but of course you can write in whatever style you like! I’m also using watercolors to shade because it’s faster than drawing lines; you can use any dark watercolor you want to for this purpose. (I generally use Magnetite by Greenleaf & Blueberry.)
Cut out your banner when the paint and ink is dry, then choose a colored envelope to put it on. I am using an A7 envelope in “Chocolate” from envelopes.com, but whatever you have available will work. Draw a couple of wavy guidelines on the envelope à la the Envelope Calligraphy Spacing Tips and Techniques post (“Wavy Envelope”); if you’re using a dark envelope, a soapstone pencil is most helpful in this guideline-drawing endeavor!
Calligraph your address (I used Janet Style calligraphy again in order to match the banner), then collage on some stamps. These are all vintage stamps, which you can purchase off of Etsy or eBay! (You can learn more about using vintage stamps in the How to Make Deliverable Mail Art post.) I like to make sure my stamps are all properly affixed before I glue down the banner!
Once your stamps are arranged and glued, you may glue down the banner!
For a little bit of pizazz, you can quickly add some stars and dots!
And that’s it! All in all, this holiday card and envelope pair shouldn’t take you too long to make, especially if you opt to use the trace-the-roses shortcut!
I hope that this blog post helps you to put together a few holiday cards using fun, unique techniques! If you’re not feelin’ this style, though, there will be a couple more holiday-themed posts to come. Thanks so much for reading today’s tutorial, and enjoy the rest of your week!