Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Word Search Birthday Card -- Tutorial

Hey everyone!

I just wanted to share a quick little project with you guys.  The other night I made a birthday card to give to my pastor for his birthday (today).  There are a few reasons why I like to make cards.  First, it's cheaper.  Does that sound bad?  Cards are kind of expensive...$4 bucks a pop, sometimes, or more if you buy those annoying ones with music inside (which I would never buy, for the record.  Just stating a fact).  Secondly, it satisfies my desire to make something.  And the great thing about making cards for people is that it's almost instant satisfaction -- they really don't take that long to make.  And thirdly, I love receiving hand made cards myself.  To me, it says that the person took just a little extra care, thought just a little more about you when giving you a gift.  It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.  So I like to do that for others, too.

The problem with making cards sometimes is that there's a time limit.  You have to have this card done by a certain date -- pressure, man.  And it can be hard to think of a really neat design in the allotted amount of time.  Enter Pinterest.  What an awesome website.

I did a search on Pinterest earlier this week and ran across this little guy.  The idea comes from a website called Better Living Through Design:

I thought the idea was really cool, had some amazing potential and possibilities, and super simple.  Jackpot.

So I made my own version.  The longest part of this project, and the least fun (isn't that how it always works out?) was typing out the word search.  I did this on my computer, and just added the birthday message inside.  I considered adding other words, but in the end decided to just stick with the message at hand.  I also considered adding a word list and making my pastor search for the words himself, but I nixed that idea too, because I wanted to give him a finished piece of art.

After typing out the word search, I scrolled down a few lines and typed out, "We love you!"  all in caps.  Then I printed and cut both pieces out.

I liked the idea above, but thought it was a little boring.  And I also thought it would be cool if it looked like a word search from a newspaper; all old, perhaps with a coffee mug ring, something that someone had been working on.  So I found my coffee grounds from that morning and rubbed a few of them across my paper.  I've done this before with other projects, and the result is a pretty stained up piece of paper.  Then I spilled some coffee around a clean mug and sat it on top of the paper, making the coffee mug ring.  I apologize for not having pictures of this fascinating process... I totally forgot about the blog -- I was so enthused by the art. ;)

After doctoring up my picture, I Mod Podged it onto a piece of thick sketch paper.  I didn't happen to have a large enough piece of cardstock at the house, but if you do, I would use that instead.  My card ended up being a little flimsier than I would have liked. 

By the way, if you've never used Mod Podge (or your own version of it), the key to a really nice finish is making sure that you press out all the air bubbles after laying your art down.  I learned this the hard way -- my first few pieces were all wrinkly.

Anyway, here's the finished card:

I stained up the, "We Love You!" piece and Mod Podged that on the back.  So this birthday card won't open up like a book -- just one piece with the word search on the front and the message on the back.

Oh, and I realized as I was editing these photos that I totally forgot a letter somewhere in the word search -- there's just an empty spot.  It was late when I was typing this up, and I guess I was tired.  But that's part of the appeal of hand made stuff, in my opinion -- the quirkiness.  Can you find the blank spot?  

Here's another view:

I like the way it turned out.  Except the coffee mug ring.  In retrospect, I think I ought to have used less coffee because I would have liked the ring to be more defined... good to know for the next time I need to fake a coffee mug ring.

Anyway, have you guys been working on anything small?  Does anyone else like to give hand made cards?

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Thanks for reading!


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