I’ve been immersed in postcards recently, and I have a few to share, so let’s declare this Post Mail week from here on, shall we? I recently participated in Hanna’s postcard swap and it was great fun. These arty little postcards are a magnificent project — lots of room for creative juice, but accomplished in just a few manageable bytes of time. Just my style. So I thought I’d share some simple steps to making your own.
Step One: Choose a substrate (a surface to paint). For these I used 9 x 12 sheets of Bristol, but you can use anything: watercolor paper, heavy cardstock, manila file folders, even cereal boxes from the recycling bin. Once you’ve got your surface, layer on the paint! My favorite way to paint is fast and messy with 3 – 5 related colors. You can use the cheapie craft paints here. Lay down one color without thoroughly covering, then move to the next — you can even start before the first layer is dry, just keep your brush moving and don’t worry about “getting it right.”
While you’ve got the paint out, go ahead and do several substrates at once. Once you get started it doesn’t take long, and trust me, these little postcards are addicting and you’re going to need extras! Try some different colors, just moving fast from one to the next and let them pile up. Once you’ve got a nice little collection, leave them to dry.
Step Two: Once the paint is dry, create even more texture by gluing some stuff down. Bits of text, scraps from other projects, tags — anything is game, but these are still backgrounds so save your special saved ephemera for later. My favorite glue is gel medium, but you can use Elmer’s or whatever you have on hand. Once the glue is dry, add more paint and maybe do some stamping overall for a cohesive look. If you don’t have stamps, look around… your house is full of good stampers: thread spools, pencil ends, bubble wrap, rubber bands on a pill bottle, the top of a glass or the tines of a fork — even the lid on your craft paint all make nice marks with paint and add to the textural interest of your background. Gorgeous!
Step Three: On to the finish! Cut your postcards to size. I cut mine to a standard 4.5 x 6 inches and got four cards from each 9 x 12 Bristol sheet, but I received some beautiful 6 x 9 postcards in the swap and I loved the big size, so I will probably try a bigger size next time. You can find tips on postcard sizing here.
Once you have them cut it’s time to add some flair. Try doodles, magazine images, saved bits of paper, stamps, sewing, crayons, even metal tape.
Here I glued down stripes of tissue paper. The leaves were cut from junk mail.
This one simply uses weaved strips from two different colored painted backgrounds, sewn together for added interest.
Papercut from a text page, a saved piece from junk mail, and paint stamped with the end of a marker.
There are no limits here, so just let loose and play!Read More