* Prices may differ from that shown
I have always liked cutting up bits of paper and magazines and writing letters with glitter all over them and stickers but it really did not dawn on me that I should always have been making my own cards rather than buying them as I have done for the last 10-15 years! . I think I always thought any card that I make for anyone would look silly (despite the fact that I consider myself quite accomplished artistically and have exhibited paintings etc)- I still struggle with card making as I'm always a bit stuck for what to stick on the card!
So, in an attempt to get a clearer idea of what exactly to do to make cards that looked a bit more 'professional' just to send to family and friends, I picked up a copy of Cardmaking and Papercraft magazine. The magazine was expensive as it costs £4.99 an issue (one a month) but you do normally get a free gift or a pack of free things with each edition-the thing that convinced me to part with £4.99 for one magazine in this instance was the set of 6 unmounted ink stamps that were free plus inside were 8 A5 design sheets of decorated paper that you can cut up to use as background designs or borders for your cards.
**What to Expect**
The magazine is quite thin (not fat like Vogue or one of the other glossies!), it has a thicker card cover and is the standard A4 magazine size. It appeals to all ages from 12 to 80 as it has step by step guides with photos teaching you how to do things such as make something quilled out of strips of paper or how to make quite a complicated looking flower out of bits of folder paper to then stick onto cards.
Each edition follows a similar format, with regular 'Featured' card makers and people who write articles promoting their products. There are lots of adverts in the magazine including a lot of full page adverts for rubber stamping companies and to advertising DVDs people have made of printables and layouts along a certain theme (ie Woodland glade or fairies) that sell for £16-22 and ads for fancy £300+ machines you can buy to do posh things for cards and embossers etc so the magazine does lean towards the more serious professional card maker.
I found a lot of the articles about "what you need to make THIS card..." included a list of really expensive things- for example one lady who has regular articles in the magazine (as she has her own website and card materials company and wins lots of awards within the niche card making community and who is keen to try to sell you products with her name on), always seems to show you a picture of a card and to make it you will need to buy £280-400 of equipment! So, things like this put me off as I will not be spending several hundred pounds to make one card. I understand if you buy a pack of 5 papers for £11, and use half of one of them then you will have spare sheets to make more cards, but I am not about to fork out a fortune that will 'work out at a reasonable price per card if i were to make 500 cards from the stuff i've bought'. !
I know the idea is if you keep seeing for the cards you like the look of that you will need to buy all these machines to make them, then eventually you will buy one and you will then not need to buy it again, but for me who is more about saving up sweet wrappers and buttons and scraps of ribbon and buying budget card packs and offshoot packs from Poundland to make inexpensive cards, I dislike the blatant advertising of a 'Featured' card maker's own brand machines/ template or paper design DVDs and expensive packs of papers that you could get for cheaper elsewhere if you just used a bit of creativity.
There is a letters page and a glossary of the basic card making terms that are useful and the pictures of cards do give you some ideas for how a card should be laid out with borders and a feature picture and lettering etc., There is also a website: www.cardmakingandpapercraft.com that has free printables of papers (some you need a code for - some are free) and information about the magazine and competitions on.
Overall I am giving this 3 stars because it is expensive, it promotes the featured card maker's own brand products that are quite expensive and it tries to get you to buy expensive equipment and materials that you could get for cheaper without much indication that you can use other inexpensive things or things you have around the house. But, on the plus side, I like the step by step guides for techniques and if you just look at the pictures and don't necessarily read the 'buy this to make this!' sections, you can get some inspiration and ideas for themes for cards or for unusual things you could then take away and adapt to what you can make using the scraps and things you have in the house and to suit your budget. So, I think this is one to buy for the free stuff and just to refer to for themes and how to guides for techniques to try. Not one to buy every month.
For my birthday each year, I usually receive a annual magazine subscription to Good Food, however this year, the person who usually gets it to me, offered to get me a craft magazine instead, knowing that I love all things craft related.
I received my first issue of Cardmaking and Papercraft in September. This is a monthly magazine and retails at £3.99, although as most people know, getting it via subscription is cheaper, and using tesco clubcard tokens, reduces the cost even more.
I didn't quite know what to expect with this magazine, except some ideas for new card styles or new techniques. On this very first issue, I also received a free gift of some Christmas stamps with the magazine, which I thought were excellent.
On the the front of the magazine are some examples of some of the projects that are explained in more detail inside. There is a short note from the editor Kirstie Slieght, and she introduces some of the team that input their ideas to the magazine, including art editores, and designers.
After the editor;s note, there is a 'dear Kirstie' page where readers can send in their own examples of cards, their own tries of previous magazine projects (some of which receive prizes), as well as other photographs. I usually don't spend a lot of time on this kind of page in a magazine, but I actually found this page very very useful, as I enjoyed looking at other people's ideas, and stealing some of their ideas and card layouts etc.
In this particular edition of the magazine, there is a then a double page spread devoted to using the free Christmas stamps, giving you various card ideas. I thought this was an excellent idea, since often free gifts can go by the wayside, if you don't know what to do with them, or aren't full of inspiration.
Following this, is a page devoted to all things new in the world of cards, includign papers, buttons and otehr embellishments. There is also information about craft blogs, craft websites, and a card making challenge.
Much of this issue concentrated on Christmas cards with that time of year fast approaching. There are some beautiful card designs in the magazine, as well as tips to make your Christmas card making stress free (although I found this strange, as I do it to unwind, rather than do it because it is stressful!). There are also tips for using some recycled christmas cards.
It isn't all about Christmas however, and there are still pages about idea's for this month, especially celebrating Halloween and autumn.
Some new techniques are also explored, including using acetate. A few pages are alsp spent on some scrapbooking ideas, for those preparing that sort of craft. There is also a page especially for kids with a project for them to create.
Following the pattern of most magazines, there are a few puzzles at the end of the issue, and some advertising.
All in all, if you love making cards, scrapbooks or simply anything craft related, you will love this magazine. Even if you don;'t want to simply copy the designs and projects suggested, I found that these alone provided me with my own inspiration and ideas for cards, without having to copy anything exactly. This is very much a magazine that can be shared between a parent and child, which I think is lovely as well. At £3.99 per issue, it is very expensive, but I will certainly be keeping these magazines as I go along to refer back to when I need inspiration or ideas for a particular card. I usually recycle old magazines once I have finished reading them, however not with this one. A great magazine for crafters!