When fellow OttLife Blogger Autumn asked me to create an Arabian Nights-themed card to celebrate her anniversary with her boyfriend, I was extremely flattered. It was a project with a challenge that I looked forward to.
The theme was inspired by the middle-eastern part of Nick's heritage. Autumn used a Pinterest
board to share some images that inspired her, then we got together so I could ask her some questions and get a better feel for the project. I gathered some samples of the new handmade papers I had been itching to try and asked her to choose whatever she liked. Upon reviewing her selections, I was pleased to find that we were on the same page.
We had both found the same beautiful image from the book Arabian Nights
illustrated by Virginia Frances Sterrett and let that dictate the color scheme. I felt it was equally important the card have a masculine feel as it was to follow the overall theme. From there, she left everything to me.
A selection of materials
- Kraft paper pre-folded card base and matching envelope
- Midnight blue card stock
- Handmade gold-colored silk paper
- Handmade blue paper with gold toned filigree
- Rust-colored card stock (for Happy Anniversary tag on card front)
- Chipboard (re-purposed from the back of a used-up notepad)
- Arabian Nights illustration (hi res color print)
- Rubber stamp
- Embossing powder (black) and a heat gun
- Bronze embellishments
I design my cards the same way I design for print or web as a Graphic Designer. I’ve found that for me, designing a card comes easier if I can rough draft the design on my computer using Adobe Illustrator in combination with Photoshop. This gives me the flexibility to quickly make changes to a design or color scheme without wasting any materials. It also allows me to have exacting measurements when it comes time to cut or score, also saving time and precious materials.
Here you can see how the final layering came together in Adobe Illustrator
Once I've completed my design on the computer, I'm ready to start creating and combining the elements. I've also learned that the materials I start with are almost never the ones I finish with. It's only when I see them in relation to one another that I find out what will really work. For example, the "Happy Anniversary" tag on the front was originally planned on parchment paper, but I changed it to the rust-colored paper because the richer color felt more masculine. The bronze embellishments pictured below were not my original choice either. I had picked some frosted amber-colored half-rounds that matched the rust-colored paper beautifully only to replace them with the bronze pieces after finding they also helped to make the card appear more masculine.
Upon stacking the layers I wasn't getting the sense of dimension I had hoped for. All of the layers were glued directly on top of each other, appearing rather flat, so I decided that I could easily get some dimension by building out the book illustration. I used spray glue to adhere a couple of pieces of chipboard together, then glued a layer of the gold-colored silk paper to the chipboard. I fixed the book illustration on top of that and trimmed the whole thing to leave a 1/8" border around the image. Not liking the appearance of sides of the chipboard, I painted all 4 edges with copper acrylic paint before adhering the whole thing to the front of the card.
The inside of the card and stamp/seal on the envelope flap
I was pretty happy with the end result but fairly nervous about presenting the card to Autumn. She was the first person to request a card to be given to someone else. My first card "commission" if you will. I wanted it to be perfect.
I spoke with Autumn a few days after she gave the card to Nick. My satisfaction from the project came when she told of how she and Nick had both dissected and marveled at the design and construction after being touched by the sentiment and theme.
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11 years 102 days ago
And we still absolutely love this one-of-a-kind card! Thanks, Jen, for making something so beautiful and special!