Print and create beautiful bespoke greeting cards in six simple steps

If you have some paper, a printer and enjoy getting creative, try handmade card crafting at home with family and friends.
A collection of handmade greeting cards on a table beside a Canon printer.

Handmade greeting cards not only make thoughtful gifts, they're also a wonderful way to learn crafting skills. Whether it's a milestone family birthday, a friend's wedding, a new baby or a graduation, there are plenty of life events that warrant a keepsake card with a personal touch. And you don't have to be a fully fledged artist to make beautiful greeting cards either; simply give it a go and let your imagination run free.

After moving to the UK from Pakistan 13 years ago, crafting helped Tania Ahmed settle in. "In Pakistan, you can't easily get paper crafting supplies like you can in the UK," she says. "So I did embroidery, jewellery making, beadwork and sewing as a creative outlet. When I moved to the UK, I discovered YouTube, and through that, the world of card making and papercraft. I was really curious, found a shop near me and was able to buy some supplies online. So that was kind of my way of settling into the country as well."

Here, Tania, a crafter and creative business owner who specialises in handmade cards and teaches mixed media online classes, shares her best tips and explains how to make cards using a Canon PIXMA TS7450 Series printer.

1. Gather your kit

Before you begin your new hobby, make sure you have all your card-making equipment to hand. Here's what you'll need:

  • Stickers and gems
  • Foam dots
  • Craft knife

2. Choose your design

A woman looking at printable card templates on a smartphone.

There are hundreds of templates to try out on Creative Park, Canon's inspiration-packed free content service. From birthdays and invitations, through to thank you, Christmas and congratulations cards, there's something for every occasion.

A woman using her smartphone to print out a card on the Canon PIXMA printer.

The Canon PIXMA TS7450 Series printer is simple and quick to set up, according to Tania. "I had it up and running within 15-20 minutes. I was surprised how seamless and quick it was to connect my phone to the printer."

Once you have your tools, it's time to select a design. Canon's free Creative Park app is packed full of templates to download and print: you can choose from a wide selection of mini cards and pop-up cards, and there are also themed envelopes for every occasion. Ahead of the festive season, why not print your own Christmas cards, or even a pop-up card featuring a snowman or Santa's sleigh?

To really push your creativity, try combining designs to make a card that is completely original, or incorporate a design from the Paper Craft section of Creative Park. Tania chose the latter for her own creations. "I picked a template that was originally intended to make a flower wreath, but instead I decided to use it on a card," she explains. "I printed it out on the Canon PIXMA TS7450 Series, cut out the flowers, and used whatever components I needed.

"Think outside the box and look for different things that you might be able to use in a card," she advises. "Use the website as a starting point and be inspired – you can change the design however you like."

3. Select the best paper

A printer prints out a sheet of Creative Park designs on a table next to Canon printer paper.

It's important to choose a sturdy paper that will hold its shape, especially if, like Tania, you plan to create 3D decorations for your cards.

The perfect paper for card making is strong and sturdy, and has a matte finish for punchy colours and clear images.

Tania used Canon Double-sided Matte Paper – which comes with a centre crease and envelope – for the base of her cards and Matte Photo Paper for decoration. The paper was easy to cut out and enabled Tania to add an extra dimension to her cards. "Before I stuck the flowers down, I curled the petals," she explains. "The paper was sturdy enough so that it wasn't going to get squashed if I were to post it."

4. Print your card elements

A woman smiling, cutting out flower shapes with scissors.

It's possible to mix and match card-making methods for unique results. "There are a lot of really amazing hybrid card makers out there," says Tania.

A woman's hands cutting out pink paper flowers with scissors.

Once you've mastered the basics of card making, there's no limit to what you can create to add that special personal touch to a gift. Crafting and creating can also serve as a mindfulness exercise.

Now that you have your paper, it's time to get printing. You can use Creative Park website or the Creative Park app – and connect your Canon printer. Tania made good use of the user-friendly wireless connectivity of the Canon PIXMA TS7450 Series, which allows you to easily print directly from your computer or smartphone.

Next, print your chosen templates from the hundreds of available options. Don't have a special occasion in mind? There are plenty of 'just because' card ideas on Creative Park, which are ideal if you just want to show someone that you care.

5. Customise, customise, customise

A woman carefully holds a paper flower at a table filled with colourful handmade cards, crafting tools and a printer.

One of the best things about handcrafting your own cards is that you can customise to your heart's content, and if you're new to papercrafting, they're a fun and easy way to get started.

A woman adding silver beads to the wheels of a pram on a handmade greeting card.

Using Creative Park helped Tania to uncover a new facet of card making. "It was brilliant because I don't do that much crafting with digital designs. I usually create cards from scratch, which involves stamping and colouring in the image with pencils and markers. This forced me to think outside of the box. There are so many possibilities, and the instructions are downloadable and printable."

Once your prints are ready, and you've carefully cut out each section to glue onto your card design, it's time to get sticking and customising. From glitter and foil to coloured card and stickers, there's no limit to the number of techniques and materials you can use to take your handmade card from colourful to truly eye-catching.

"I used some additional stickers and metallic gold card to create the flower centres," says Tania. "Then I stuck them all together and added some pearl gems on top."

Tania says that creating extra depth for your card is simple once you know how. "If you want to make a flat card a little more three-dimensional, and it has a central element that can be easily cut out, you can print the same template twice," she explains. "Then you can use the base as it is, but cut up the central embellishment and layer some foam dots to give it a bit of dimension and extra interest."

6. Make it a social activity

A finished three-dimensional flower card on a table next to two boxes of Canon printer paper. A woman can be seen crafting in the background.

Tania comes from a creative family, where crafting is second nature. "Growing up, I wore dresses that my mum made and sold, and I saw people around me being really creative in one way or another. My father is a very talented carpenter, so he made a doll's house, bookshelves and furniture. We also have artists in the family, so it's just something I thought everyone did," she says.

Given that all you really need is a printer, some paper, glue and a pair of scissors, card making is a wonderful way to bring friends and families together and get involved in a creative activity as a group.

You could host Christmas card-making evenings with festive snacks and drinks or gather friends to make greeting cards ahead of a baby shower.

If you find yourself stuck for inspiration, Tania advises browsing Pinterest for ideas and colour combinations. "You can have a look at basic videos on colour theory too," she suggests.

Remember to check the #MadeWithPixma hashtag for more inspiration and to share your creations.

Written by Lorna Dockerill

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