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Card Making for Beginners – Start With a SIP

So you are ready to start stamping and making your own hand-made greeting cards.  But where do you start?  What do you need?  I know it can be confusing and overwhelming with so much information and so many ideas out there. It doesn’t have to be confusing and overwhelming, I want to make it easy and fun!

Creating your own greeting cards is not only a fun and relaxing hobby, it brings so much joy to those who receive them.  There is nothing better than opening the mailbox and finding a hand-made card with a special message written inside.  I am not sure who experiences more joy, the creator or the receiver.  (I love being on both sides of that equation!)  

On this page I will break it all down into simple easy steps to help you get started the smart way.  When you purchase the right “starter” products, and learn to use them correctly, you will be making cards and enjoying your new hobby in no time.  So let’s eliminate all the overwhelm and get started….. The first 3 things you need to select are Stamps, Ink & Paper.

complete guide to card making for beginners.  learn all about inks, stamps and paper to be used to create handmade cards.  This is the best cardmaking for beginners guide to help you get started step by setp

Get the Complete Guide to Card Making for Beginners

Getting started on your card making journey can be overwhelming at first.  This “Getting Started” guide will help you determine the best products to start with, as well as give you some ideas as to what you can make with those products.  Start with just a few items, then build on that as you go!

The guide focuses on three different “getting started” collection of products, as well as card ideas using the products.  Pick and choose what YOU like based on these suggestions.

And then….. watch your email for weekly card making ideas and inspiration

3 Easy Steps to Get Started – Stamps, Ink & Paper

learn card making using stamps, paper and ink

There are 3 basics to card making for beginners – stamps, ink and paper.  That really is all you need to make your first card. However, you have to select these items correctly.  

DON’T START LIKE I STARTED! When I first started making cards, I purchased a lot of random products….  A balloon stamp, a tree stamp, this greeting and that greeting.  I bought several ink pads in colors I liked, and some pretty paper that matched nothing.  And there I was – I had a box full of supplies but nothing worked together and I could not create one single finished card!

To help you select the right products to get started with, I have broken it down to a concept I call SIP STAMPING. STAMPS, INK & PAPER.  That’s what you need.  But, you need to make sure that these 3 things go together and work together so that you can start making cards. You don’t want to just make random picks!  

Step 1 – Select Your Stamps

You will want to select a stamp set or 2 that you like.

Depending on your “likes” and what type of cards you want to start making, look for something versatile and that includes “greetings.” Here are a couple of my favorites for getting started.

The options are many, these are just a few of my favorites that I have also featured in videos/blog posts. These are also stamp sets that I feel are easy to create with so I just know you will be successful as you begin your card making journey.

But don’t let these suggestions limit you, pick something YOU like! Keep reading for more information to help you select your stamps.

As you begin looking at stamps there are a couple of things to consider, or to think about, that will help you pick great stamps to get started with.  I love to teach card making for beginners and help people realize that what you pick to start matters. Don’t just start grabbing stamps you like, because you will end up like me and not be able to make any cards with the random selection you have. 

  • Coordinating Stamps – One reason why I love Stampin’ Up! Stamps is that most of them will come in a set.  It will have several images that all work together, and many even come with “greeting” stamps included in the sets.  
  • Pick 2 Stamp Sets – Another great way to start is to pick 2 stamp sets.  One set that has “pictures” that you like and the other set that has all occasion greetings.  That way when you combine the 2 stamp sets you will be able to create cards for all occasions. 
  • Line Image vs Bold Stamps – Do you want to color your images or stamp them with colored ink pads?  Some stamps are called line images which are typically stamped in a black ink and then colored – kinda like coloring in a coloring book.  Other stamps are bold images where all the color to the image comes from the ink pad that you use.

There are millions of options of stamps out there, but remember, start with just a few that allow you to easily get started making cards right away.  Don’t be like me and start by buying several random images that really don’t give you anything to make a completed card with.

Once you pick out your first stamps, you will also need to make sure you have the correct sized CLEAR BLOCKS to put them on, as well as know how to put the labels on the Cling Mount Stamps and how to clean them.

As you use your stamps it is important to get into a good habit of always cleaning them as you go.  There is nothing worse than using a stamp in blue ink, not cleaning it, then using in yellow ink.  Now you will have a nice stamped image on your yellow pad – YOU DO NOT WANT THAT.  There are several methods of cleaning your stamps, my favorite is using the Stampin’ Shammy. Just wipe the stamps off with a damp Stampin’ Shammy.

Want to learn more about selecting stamps, learn how to clean them, and everything else you need to know? Check out my COMPLETE GUIDE TO STAMPS

And that my friends is step one to think about when we talk about card making for beginners! You first need to pick the right stamp set!

A Few of Jackie’s Favorite Getting Started Stamp Sets

These 3 stamp sets are perfect ones to get started with.  They are versatile and easy to use to make several different card designs.  They are great stamp sets from Stampin’ Up! that will help the beginner card maker get started, or perfect for those of you looking to make quick and easy cards.

As we continue to pick our stamps, ink and paper, I will focus on showing you how to get started with these 3 stamp sets. If you like one (or more) of them, follow along to see my ink and paper recommendations. I will even give you card ideas that you can copy to make your first cards.

Speaking of copying…..YES – IT IS OK TO COPY! That is the best (and easiest) way to get started making cards. Find a card design you like, then COPY IT. It is still YOUR handmade card!

Ready to talk about inks….. that is next. Remember, we are taking a SIP – stamps, ink and paper.

So you’ve picked out your first stamps and you are ready to start making cards.  But now you need some ink.  Just like with stamps, there are many choices and you want to ensure you are selecting the right ones.  Different inks serve different purposes, so know what you are getting before you just start grabbing colors.

when learning to stamp hand made cards you need to select the right inks. learn all about the different types to find what is best for you

Step 2 – Select Your Ink Pads

Next, you need ink.

Depending on the stamps that you select, you will want at least 3-5 different colors + Black. If you need help deciding on what colors will work best for the stamps you select, let us know – we are happy to help. You can also refer to the samples I have created with each of the above stamp sets for color suggestions.

Again, don’t limit yourself, pick colors YOU like, but make sure you have enough colors that work together for the stamp set you select.

As you look at card making ink pads, you will find that there are 3 basic types of inks:

  • Water-based Inks
  • Permanent Inks
  • Pigment Inks

Water-based inks are the ones you will use the most.  They come in all the fun colors and are available in color collections or individually.  Stampin’ Up! is known for the their color coordination – coordinating the inks to the card stocks, papers, ribbons, and embellishments.

As a new stamper many many years ago, this is what drew me to Stampin’ Up! products.  At first I tried to match “this” ink with “that” paper – and it looked horrible.  I soon learned that not all reds were the same and not all greens were the same.  If I used “red” ink and wanted to put my stamped layer onto “red” card stock, it often looked awful.  The “reds” clashed.  

But with Stampin’ Up! coordinating products, you know that if you use REAL RED INK it will look great with REAL RED CARD STOCK!  Genius!

Above we talked about BOLD image stamps, and LINE image stamps.  If the stamps you select are bold images, you will need colored ink pads to stamp in.  The color comes from the ink pad.

If you want to color your images, you will most likely want to stamp your image in BLACK then color it.  The type of black ink pad that you will need depends on the method you will be coloring.  Again, this can be confusing, but I promise to make it easy for you to decide exactly what type of ink pad you need.  If you’re using a water-based method to color, you will need a Permanent Ink to stamp in.  

When it comes to selecting the right stamping ink pads, you will need to consider all of the above….

  • What type of image you are stamping?
  • If you are going to color your image, what method will you use?
  • Any special card making techniques you maybe be doing?

There is a right ink for everything, and if you select them correctly you will enjoy your new hobby of card making to it’s fullest. 

Ink can be confusing, so we are going to start with the 3 BASIC INKS that you will want to start with. Once you become an experienced stamper, you can then venture out to some of the others available.

When starting, you will want these basics: 

  • MEMENTO BLACK – my GO TO all purpose black ink
    • Use for all general stamping
    • Use when coloring with alcohol markers like Stampin’ Blends
  • STAZON BLACK – permanet ink
    • Use for any type of watercoloring
  • VERSAMARK – used for Heat Embossing

Card making ink can be confusing…… so let’s make it easy and help you figure out the basic inks you need to get started! Check out my COMPLETE GUIDE TO CARD MAKING INKS for everything you need to know, plus a simple CHART you can download to help remind you what ink to use when!

Jackie’s Recommended Inks to Go With Suggested Stamp Sets

To make it easy for you, I suggest selecting 2-3 colors, plus Memento Black to get started with.  The colors you select will depend on the stamps you picked out.  Let’s stick with the stamp set recommendations from above, and add in the colors that I would recommend with each of them.

So now that we have our stamps and our ink, we need to have something to stamp on. There are as many options for paper and card stock as there are for stamps and ink. Again, it can be confusing or overwhelming, so we want to start simple!

Step 3 – Select Your Paper (Card Stock)

One of my favorite recommendations for starting out is a package of Note Cards & Envelopes. These cards are 3 1/2″ x 5″ and perfect for getting started. You get 20 in a package and they include the envelopes. These are perfect for the beginner as you do not have to cut anything.

They come all ready to create a card!

Or, start with a few basis: Basic White card stock, envelopes, and an assorted pack of colored card stock.

Card stock is the heavier “paper” that is most commonly used, especially for your card base.  If you look around, you will find about as many options of card stock as you do ink pads.  So, what do you REALLY NEED to get started making cards and to get the best results?

As with stamps and ink, Stampin’ Up! carries the absolute best card stock on the market.  The BASIC WHITE cardstock is amazing and will help you make gorgeous cards.  Not all white card stock is the same, and depending on the quality it will determine the quality of your stamped card.  Cheap paper gives cheap results.  (just sayin’)

You want your images to look amazing, and when you use Stampin’ Up! high quality inks and paper, you will get great results!

When we talk “PAPER” there are 4 main categories:

  • WHITE (or VANILLA) – this is your must have.  This is what you will do the majority of your stamping on.  
  • DESIGNER SERIES PAPER – the pretty paper!  Often referred to as DSP.  Stampin’ Up! is known for their gorgeous coordinating Designer Series Paper.  I love the pretty papers and use them often as the focal point of my cards.
  • PRE-MADE NOTE CARDS & ENVELOPES – no cutting needed!  I love these and use them often in my own card making.  They are perfect for the new card maker because they are all ready to stamp on!  Just grab your stamps & inks, and in no time you will have a completed card!

Once you have your stamps, ink and paper – you are ready to start making cards!  

But wait…. How do you cut the card stock? What size do you cut it?

Once again, I’ve got you covered and will teach you everything you need to know and make it simple!  No need to stress, this new hobby of yours is fun and relaxing….  With just a couple great tools, you will be on your way to making beautiful cards to send to family and friends.

Learn to cut card stock and the different sizes needed in my CARDSTOCK CUTTING GUIDE

Jackie’s Favorite Stamps, Ink & Paper to Make Quick and Easy Cards

Now that I have suggested a few great stamp sets to start with, the colors of ink to go with them, I’d also like to share my recommendation for paper.  I love the note cards and envelopes for new card makers or anyone wanting to make quick and easy cards.  They are pre-cut and pre-scored making them easy to fold.  And they come with the envelopes!  You get 20 in a package, so they will give a nice start.

Once you get the hang of stamping and have the basics down, it will be easy to “step up” these cards by adding a little bit more card stock, colored card stock, and other embellishments.

Remember – we are starting with a SIP! Stamps, ink and paper! Here are a few SIP cards made using my recommended stamp sets, inks and the note cards. You don’t have to limit yourself to these stamps – pick things you like. Keep scrolling and I even have PDF downloads for you showing my recommended products as well as some card making ideas for you.

A Few Other Basics You Will Want

Besides stamps, ink and paper, you will want a few basic tools and supplies to get started. Just like with stamps, ink and paper, you do not need it all. Start with just the basics and you will be able to add to your crafting collection of supplies later on as you become more familiar with everything. You might even have these items already!

Make sure you at least have the recommended size blocks for the stamp set you select. The best value is to purchase the block bundle–then you will always have everything you need!

Simply Shammy makes cleaning your stamps easy.

A good paper cutter and scissors are a must, as well as adhesive. My favorite “go to” adhesives are the Multipurpose Glue & Dimensionals.

Just like with stamps, ink and paper, having the right tools that are top quality with ensure your success making cards. Don’t waste your time (or your money) on products you don’t really need, or will not use.

Check out my TOP CARD MAKING TOOLS recommendation. It includes what is shown above plus a few other items you may want to grab once you have started.

Let’s Make Some Cards

Now that you know the basics and what you need to make some cards, let’s get started! Throughout this article, I focused on 3 different stamp sets with the ink and paper to go with them to get started. Remember – start small – you don’t need it all! Don’t get overwhelmed with “all the stuff!” Follow my getting started tips and ideas and get your fingers inky making your first cards.

I will even make it super easy for you! Below you will find links to posts that show you exactly how to make 3 different cards with the stamp sets I recommended. Follow along and make a few cards. The more cards you make, the more creative you will become and soon you will be designing your own cards and venturing out to more stamps, ink, paper and fun tools!

learn card making with the Sending Smiles stamp set from Stampin' Up! and ink pads and note cards.

Learn to Make Cards with the Sending Smiles Stamp Set

One of my favorite beginning stamp sets is the Sending Smiles set. I have put together a PDF that you can download with all of the information and recommendations for getting started using this stamp set.

Check out my BLOG POST & VIDEO featuring the Sending Smiles stamp set and my recommended inks and paper. I’ve even included a few tips for how you can easily step it up by adding just a “little bit more.”

Learn to Make Cards with the Forever Fern Stamp Set

Another of my favorite beginning stamp sets is the Forever Fern set. You can download a PDF listing all of my recommended products, as well as the instructions for making a couple of cards with this stamp set.

There is also a BLOG POST & VIDEO using this stamp set, 4 ink pads and note cards, as well as a few ideas for “stepping it up.”

beginners guide to card making using the art gallery stamp set from Stampin up

Learn to Make Cards with the Art Gallery Stamp Set

The Art Gallery is another great stamp set to get started with. This stamp set, combined with just a couple ink pads and some note cards will have you stamping in no time.

Check out my BLOG POST & VIDEO using this stamp set, 4 ink pads and my favorite note cards. I also share a few tips for “stepping it up” for that extra little touch.

Now What?

If you made it all the way to the end of this pretty long card making for beginners guide, you might be wondering, what is next?

The short easy answer – MAKE SOME CARDS!!!

Probably, the better answer is to look through the STAMPIN’ UP CATALOG and select the items you want to start with. Remember, use the SIP method and follow the guidelines I shared to select the best products to get started.

As you enjoy your card making and paper crafting hobby, you will soon find your style and what you like. The ideas and possibilities are endless. My style is quick and easy cards, so if you like that make sure to follow me! I love to share ideas and help you enjoy creating. You will love the joy you feel when you bless others with your handmade cards.

You are not alone in your new hobby – I am here to help. Make sure to CONTACT me if you have questions. No question is ever silly, stupid, or a bother. I love to help you learn to enjoy card making as much as I do! Don’t be a stranger – come hang out with me, get inspired, and make lots of cards to mail to friends and family.

More SIP Card Ideas

Here are some of the card ideas/posts that I have shared in the past that focus on the SIP method of card making. Check these out for other ideas and other stamp set suggestions to get started with. Find a stamp set YOU like, then build your product order around the inks and papers you need to make some cards.

Frequently Asked Questions About Card Making

What do I need to start card making?

All you need to start is stamps, paper, and ink. Keep it simple and as you learn to make cards, you can add additional products to “step up” your cards.

How to make a card step by step?

The best way to make your first cards step by step is to follow along with my getting started guide. Each example includes a video where I create a card step by step giving you lots of tips and helpful information as I make the card.

What paper is best for DIY cards?

You will want to use card stock that is designed for card making. Stampin’ Up! is the leader in the industry and has the highest quality card stock. This matters in how your finished card will look, how well the ink stamps on it, and even the “feel” of the card. Good quality card stock is worth the price to ensure your success in making beautiful cards.


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