December 10, 2008

Fancy up the Gift Card

While I've been taking a break from bigger projects (read: avoiding starting the last "major" Christmas gift), I've been working on simpler things, and it has been lovely being able to start and finish something quickly. We're giving away a few gift cards this Christmas, and I wanted to package them a little more personally than with those cardboard holders they come with, so I whipped up my own design. (I mentioned in the last post I was going to use some online tutorials. I had thought about doing a few paper crafts for card holders, but eventually decided to just stick with my own plans.)

Each one is a little different, and if you want to see all of them up close and personal, they're on my Flickr site. But for this blog I've decided to do a little tutorial for one of the designs. They're very simple to make, but I know some people really like the photos and written instructions, so here they are.

First, your supplies.

You'll need some craft felt, cutting implements of choice, a needle, and some embroidery floss. I personally like to use my rotary cutter to make the rectangular pieces and then use my shears or embroidery scissors to cut out an applique, if I'm using one.

You'll want to cut two rectangles approximately 2 1/2" x 3 5/8" (or just measure around a gift card). If you want to add an applique, cut that out too.

Next you're going to do your applique and/or embroidery. Now's the time to do as much or as little embellishing as you want. If you look at the individual card holders, you'll see that I chose to only embroider some of them, but the one in this tutorial makes use of an applique as well.

Use whatever colors and variety of stitches you desire to attach your applique and make your design on one of the rectangular pieces. (Set the other piece aside for now.) The felt is not going to fray, so you can be fairly decorative with your attaching stitches without worrying about making it super tight or folding under edges. Also, don't worry too much about perfection, with the stitching or the cutting that comes later. I think imperfections give the pieces a more "folksy," homemade appearance that is quirky and fun.

And there you have the finished embellishments:

Then the cutting begins. You'll still be working with just the front rectangular piece. You can choose to skip this part if you like (and you'll see that I did so with one of the designs), but I personally much prefer seeing a bit of the card peeking through.

I used my embroidery scissors with the teeniest points so that I could make smaller, more precise cuts. Whatever you use, cut carefully and be sure to leave pieces of the center design still attached to the outer edges of the holder. I learned as I went that it's better to make sure the attached pieces are reasonably thick; otherwise the felt could get strained or tear.

This is another area where you can get as creative as you like. My favorite design just involved cutting around the center design to look like a frame, but on another holder I used the scissors to free-form cut the design itself into the felt.

Once your cutting is done, it's time to attach the two rectangular pieces with your stitch of choice. I preferred whip stitch for most of them, but you can use a blanket stitch or a straight stitch or anything else that suits your fancy. When you get to the edges where you want your opening, simply stitch on each individual layer instead of going through both at once.

And then ...

Tada! Simple and sweet, it costs almost nothing, takes no time at all, and you've got an impressive way to present your gift. Enjoy!

If you think of something I could add or change to make this tutorial more usable, please feel free to let me know!


Tweed Delights said...

How gorgeous! I love this tutorial - what a fab idea! You did really well with the instructions too :)

Denise Felton said...

Brilliant! I've scheduled a link to this post to go live on my blog tomorrow morning (Central USA time). I hope it brings you a few extra visitors.


Muddlepud said...

Thanks, Alison, for the feedback. And thanks, Denise, for the link love. ;)

Melissa said...

what a great idea! that really does make a gift card more jolly. :)
melissa - (tiny happy.) said...

This is SO cute, I love it! What a great way to make a gift card extra special. I'll be linking.