Making cards for men can be a real headache. My heart always sinks when I know I have a male birthday advancing and I have to think of something new that will do down well.
It is very tempting to give up and rush to the shops to buy a printed card but in fact, many men really enjoy receiving a handmade card, especially from someone special in their life. The fact that an effort has been made to take the time to create something for them, rather than just buying a card at the last minute, is something they appreciate.
So what do you put on a male card? With the girls, it is always easy, as you can get away with such a wide variety of techniques, themes and embellishments. For example, flowers are always a winner for all ages, cute teddies, girly fashion are all great ideas for female cards.
This article is all about trying to solve that problem and hopefully give you some tips to help with making cards for men. Here are my top five tips for male cards.
Tip 1 - Make it personal
As with cards for anyone, the winning formula is to hit the nail on the head with regard to the particular interests of the person you are making it for.
If the recipient has an interest, sport or hobby, then making a card on that theme will always go down well. For example, my husband has an interest in fish and therefore, anything with a fishy theme is popular with him. My father enjoys vintage cars and my father-in-law is interested in birds and nature in general.
A lovely simple card using little tiles showing stamped images of shells onto clear shrink plastic can be very effective.
I once made a card for a friend who supported a particular football club, it was a mini shirt in the team colours, a scarf and some appropriate wording and that was very warmly received.
Beware, getting the wrong 'male' theme can be a real disaster. My husband has received 'blokey' cards with male themes on such as beer, cricket and golf before which have not found favor at all. Also, my mother, always seems to send him cards with rather nastily drawn old cars on, which he treats with indifference but you can't really blame her as she is 80 years old!
If you are making a card for a special loved one, then a personal photo can go down well, as many men have a soft and sentimental spot, especially for past events.
Tip 2 - Go for humour
Humourous cards are usually popular with men. This can be difficult to do as a handmade card but not impossible. Look for stamps on a humorous theme or you can go for a handmade embellishment.
Cards with little polymer clay animals and objects with eyes, are always a hit with men and women and sell very well indeed. The two shown above are my top sellers for giving to men on Valentine's Day. They are cute but without being too sickly.
Tip 3 - Keep the design simple but make the embellishment interesting
When designing your male cards, keep the basic design of the card simple. Men don't tend to like busy, overdone cards and in fact, the current trend for cards covered in bits of fussy ribbon, buttons and the like will go down like the proverbial lead balloon, so avoid these like the plague.
It is much better to opt for a simple card with a clear and balanced design. Minimalistic designs with single embellishments, which focus the eye, will be appreciated, especially if the embellishment itself is interesting or made using an interesting technique.
If you are going to add lots of embellishments, try more masculine coloured metal embellishments like eyelets, brads and wire but again, don't overdo things!
With regard to interesting techniques, triple embossing with metallic embossing powders can create a striking and tactile effect. This Christmas card uses a triple embossed cardboard tile, using a mixture of gold and copper embossing powders, with a little glitter mixed in. Wire wrapped around it and a simple star brad, completes a metallic theme which appeals to men. This card was in fact used as a corporate card for executives in the mining industries and was very warmly received.
Take this a step further and sink a stamped image into the hot embossing powder like this card here, which has a fossil turtle stamp pressed into the hot embossing powder at the final layer. The result is incredibly interesting as it is very tactile and the light catches the embossing powders in different ways, which is hard to see from the photo itself.
The cards shown above use textured embellishments to add interest. If you want to add texture to the base card itself, consider using a textured card, like hammered or linen effect (as shown on the Christmas card above). This can be more expensive than smooth card but worth the extra outlay as it will showcase your embellishment and looks very classy.
Another way of adding texture easily is to use embossing folders, like those made for the Cuttlebug and there are lots of 'masculine' ones in the range. The card below is about as simple as it gets but incredibly effective. Just run a piece of pearlescent paper through a folder, this one is the 'Happy Birthday Words' Cuttlebug folder and adhere it to a co-ordinating cardstock. Instead of pearlescent paper, metal foil or foiled card works just as well when it is embossed.
Tip 4 - Keep the colours simple
Well it might be obvious but men are usually not too keen on cards that are pink, fluffy and overtly feminine. Simple colour schemes are a good safe bet and monochromatic cards can be incredibly pleasing to the eye, for example, all blues or all greens.
Most men are not very keen on bright or clashing colours either (just have a look at men's clothing), so avoid going for the bizarre, unless you know for sure that the recipient likes that kind of thing. It is much safer to stick to the calm colours. A simple black and white card, can be incredibly effective and if the card looks stylish and fits with their own colour-schemes in their house, it is much more likely that it will be left on display longer. A sleek contemporary design using muted colours is non-offensive and can be very successful, using combinations of two colours such as blue and silver, grey and black.
Tip 5 - Go for unusual shapes or movements
Men are often intrigued by things which can be moved, opened, folded or shaped in an interesting way. Just think of the little boy sitting on the floor trying to work out how one of his toys works, or the husband with his head under the bonnet of his car.
Try shaped cards, such as circles or triangles and cards which fold in interesting ways, such as concertina cards, waterfall cards, or pop-up cards which open to reveal a surprise inside.
Tip 5 - Think of the sentiment
I know most people would assume that men are unfeeling beings that absolutely don't like gushy, mushy stuff, especially on their cards. This is true to an extent but in fact many men feel that the sentiment or verses inside a card are important.
Whether you hand-write a message yourself or choose one that you find on the internet, if you get the right sentiment, then the recipient will feel that you have taken the time to find one that fits and men are no exception here. A nice card with no message will not be as well received as a card that has words with meaning.
I hope this short article has given you some suggestions for making cards for men. Many people shy away from doing them but in fact most men just appreciate the fact that you have taken the time and effort to think of them, so in some ways you can't go far wrong. Have fun with making your male cards!
I hope you have enjoyed this short article. Please be courteous and ask first if you wish to copy the content, we are always happy to have our articles used as guest posts. Thank you.
Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page comment on this article.