Border design in card making can make the finished card project look fantastic, and it can also be the focus of the project itself. Just as fine artwork is enhanced by displaying it in a beautiful frame, borders can be used to put the finishing touches on a handmade card. Border punches are a quick and easy way to add interest to a card, but don’t stop there. Read on for more card making techniques to jazz up your cards with beautiful borders.
The Cutting Edge
Crafting tools for card making have come a long way from the early days. Before the advent of border punches and die-cutting machines, you simply used the handiest tool in your arsenal — your fingers — to tear the edge of a card. Some ingenious crafters then learned to create a scalloped edge with a corner- rounder punch, or how to use decorative scissors to finish off the corners on a card-stock mat. Today, we have a wide range of card making tools readily available to make creating borders a snap.
- Torn edges are still a favorite among stampers. For a smooth finish, tear the strip to be discarded away from you. For a more textured look, tear the strip to be discarded toward you, and add a touch of ink to the torn edge to highlight the exposed fibers.
- Another simple technique that doesn’t require any special tools is snipping the edge of your card stock and roughing it up. Use this approach to create a grassy edge, like the bottom of a hula skirt or fringe on a snowman’s scarf. Use decorative scissors to trim off the edge of your card or cut a strip of card stock in half and create two different borders at one time. Flip the scissors over to create yet another look. Whichever method you choose, align the blade design with a portion of the previously cut section to ensure a continuous border design.
- Border punches are available in many lovely designs, and most have grids, printed designs or registration marks to assist you with alignment. Look for the multifunction punches that cut and emboss a border design in one easy step.
- Die-cut border strips work much like border punches except that they require a die-cutting machine. The added benefit of these strips is that they can be used like a stencil to color a border design or add color to enhance the cut strip.
Crossing the Border in Card Making
Now that we’ve covered the basics of creating borders, let’s take it a step further:
- Cut two identical borders and position them back-to-back with a complementary color of card stock underneath to highlight the newly created border design.
- Run a ribbon through the holes in a border design, adding a bow or knot for more interest.
- Create a mat or decorative strip by punching or cutting both edges.
- Create a frame using border punches that have matching corner punches, or create a template to help you miter the corner using just the border punch.
Out of Bounds
Borders are most commonly found as straight lines or strips along the opening edge, but they can also be used along the fold, as an element of the overall design, or even as the focal point of a card.
- Layered border strips in three complementary colors with the same design or three different designs cut from the same color card stock can add visual interest.
- Simple scored lines on either side of a design will draw attention to it.
- Punched or die-cut shapes adhered around an image or along the edge of a card-stock strip create a unique border design.
- Row after row of borders in a monochromatic or tonal color scheme makes an elegant card front.
- Punching around all the edges of a square piece of card stock with a border punch will result in a matching medallion. Measure the length of the design and repeat to determine the size of square that will work best with your punch.
- Simple stamping or paper piercing around the edge of your border design is an easy way to make the design pop. You can also stamp a border, and then trim around the outer edge to enhance it.
- A stamped border on the inside of your card can become a hidden closure. Fold your card so that the back panel extends beyond the front panel by about an inch or so. Stamp your design on the inside of the back panel so that it is visible when the card is closed. Use a craft knife and cutting mat to cut along one portion of your stamped design and, violà, you have a hidden closure for your card!
Gather up some card stock, a few rubber stamps and punches, and give yourself permission to live life on the decorative edge of card making! Just try one or several of the border design techniques detailed above in your card making projects and explore the creative designs you can come up with.