Mementoes In Time

How to Get Inspired in Your Card Making and Crafts


My Top Ten Tips for finding card-making and craft ideas and inspiration

In this article, I will share my top tips for finding inspiration with card making. I usually have too many ideas in my mind to deal with but occasionally, I need to find some card making inspiration from somewhere else and these are the places I go to find it.


Old Craft Magazines



This has to be my number one place for inspiration. I am a hoarder by nature so I never like to throw anything away. I have piles and piles of old craft magazines and when I have a spare few hours,I will go through them and tear out the articles that interest me and file them in a big arch lever file.



Some of these articles will go back 5 years or more and it can be very interesting to see how styles and techniques have changed.They are also a good source of creative inspiration as you can revamp old projects, try out things that are not currently in fashion and put a new slant on them.


I also try to use projects from other craft forms and cross them over to card making. For example, I might use embroidery designs or sewing projects and try to incorporate them into the format of a card.Another example would be glass painting projects and designs which can easily be adapted to cards.


Craft Books


Just like my magazines, I have a stock of craft books too and even though I am very familiar with what is in them, it sometimes helps to go through them again and try to see things from a different perspective. I love my rubber stamping books as they always seem to generate ideas and it is amazing how you can spot things you haven’t really seen before in a familiar book.


The Library


When I am tired of my books and magazines,I will head to the library. I always have a spare half an hour waiting for one child or another to finish an activity so this can be a good use of an otherwise wasted bit of time. Many libraries have magazines and my local one has a good craft selection, dealing with all kinds of crafts and not just card making. Again,these other crafts can be really good starting points for card ideas, so it is worth having a look at them. As well as magazines, I always bring home a couple of books or card making or other paper crafts to browse through and sometimes libraries have a box of old magazines that they are throwing out, which you can help yourself to.


The Newsagents/Stationers Shop




This is definitely one of my top favourite haunts when looking for ideas. Apart from the many paper craft and card making magazines you can browse through, there are often lots of printed cards to look at. Many of the printed cards are partly hand-finished and can give you some really great ideas. I never feel guilty about this as I know that card manufacturers have turned to the handmade cards for inspiration for many of their designs and the sheer explosion in these ‘fake’ handmade cards in the shops is evidence of this.


The Bookshop




You can’t beat the book shop for a good browse of those books you can’t afford to buy yourself and which haven’t made it to the library shelves. I do like buying books from online sellers but you can’t look through them like you can in a shop, so this is definitely preferable. I never feel guilty doing this as I nearly always buy something even if it is not a craft book!


Other designed products

This one is a particularly rich source of ideas for me. I am always on the lookout for new design ideas around me. I look at all kinds of home-ware and stationery such as gift wrap, art and pictures,  home decorative pieces,printed paper bags, advertising posters, product packaging, wallpapers, book and CD covers, fabric and materials, even shop signs.



In my local shopping mall, there was a sign in the walkway advertising a new fashion shop opening and the sign had two really cute dress designs on it, which I stored away in my head. Take photos so you won’t forget (most phones now have this facility).Home décor and furniture shops are often a great source of inspiration for me and stores like IKEA are really innovative and can get you thinking in a different direction. I carry a small notebook to jot down ideas I find when I am out and about.


Other Card Making Blogs

Well this was the obvious one. There are millions of craft and card making blogs out there to browse and get ideas from.I have to admit that even though this is on my list and many people do this, I tend not to do it that often. The reason is that I am always trying to develop new and innovative ideas on my site, so looking at other card making sites doesn’t help with this.


However, I do look at websites for other types of crafts and at websites selling craft products. There is no denying that the web is an amazing resource for card makers and forums like Split Coast Stampers and other information based sites are a great source of ideas for the card maker.


Company websites and forums

There is a surprising amount of information available on company websites. For example, Hero Arts have a great site with lots of stamping techniques and ideas to try.  Ranger Ink is another one. You don’t have to use their stamps or products but you can use their techniques and this is often all you need to give you that spark.


The Craft Store



Some craft stores are a rich source of inspiration but many sadly are not and it is a matter of luck which one you have near you. I am able to travel to a few stores and can usually find something interesting in one of them. I don’t spend a huge amount of time in the shops but when I do take the time to visit, I always pay close attention to the new products the shop is trying to sell, as they will usually have demos for them. I also look around at the cards on display on the walls, or in the display books they have available. When I am in a general craft store, as opposed to a more specialist paper craft shop, I will usually look in different departments like fabrics, beads and trimmings for ideas of new materials to use on my cards.


A Craft Show or Market



This one is the ultimate idea generator for me. Sadly, I don’t get many quality craft shows where I live right now but I can’t be choosy, so I go to any that come to my neck of the woods. I always look at all the stalls, even for the crafts that don’t really interest me. In fact the major show that I can go to is mainly a quilt and sewing fair and doesn’t have much in the way of paper crafts but I still force myself to look at everything for ideas. Craft markets are another similar source of inspiration for card makers and crafters. I once saw some soap that someone wa sselling that gave me an idea for a design on a card, so don’t ever discount anything!


Well, these are my top places to look for inspiration but I tend to keep my eyes open everywhere I go. I have seen:

  • carpet patterns in an airport lounge,
  • a shower curtain in my mother’s house,
  • wallpaper in an Indian restaurant,
  • a duvet cover in a hotel bedroom,
  • a wall tile at the leisure centre and
  • a design on a tea packet that has inspired me.



There is inspiration everywhere around you and you just need to keep your eyes and your mind open!


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