Three Ways to Create Backgrounds for Handmade Cards

Since backgrounds are such an important part of a handmade card design, I thought you’d like to see three ways to create them.  The important thing to remember about backgrounds is that they are meant to be just that–background.  They’re usually not the focal point, or the place you want the viewer’s eye to focus.  When the background overwhelms the focal point, you lose the harmony of the design.  If you have a bold or busy background, then you need to let that be the focal point, and add little more to the card.

1.  An obvious choice is Designer Series Paper.  However, the designs are often too bold and/or busy to work well as background, and I’ve seen many cards that are hard to look at because my eye doesn’t know where to focus.  You can see how I took a bold DSP design and set out to make it work as a background in this post:  Designing–Behind the Scenes.

I’m more drawn to subtle designs in DSP, that more easily work as background, as in this card:

Sweet Sorbet and You're Lovely from the 2014 Sale-a-Bration Catalog

In spite of the soft colors, this design from Sweet Sorbet DSP turned out to be busy enough that it took some experimenting to make the focal point stand out.  A mat and crochet trim around the tag, plus ribbons to direct the eye toward the colored flowers made it work.

2.  Another easy choice is a background stamp.  You can cover an entire card front with one stamp.  Here’s a card using the Hardwood Stamp (wood mount 133032, clear mount 133035) from the Occasions Catalog:

So Very Grateful Card for Mad Stampers Club

This card uses an even subtler background stamp, En Francais (wood 128562, clear 127790), that still manages to provide texture and interest to an otherwise plain layer.  You can click on the image for a larger version.

Bordering on Romance Card for Mad Stampers Club

3.  Embossing Folders are the third simple technique for creating an interesting background for your handmade cards.  They provide just enough texture to be interesting without being distracting.  The Pretty Print Embossing Folder was used in this card.   Unfortunately the folder retired with the 2013 Holiday Catalog.

Hearts a Flutter Valentine for Mad Stampers Club

Leave me a message and let me know if you find this post helpful.  If so, I’ll do another post on creating backgrounds next week.

By the way, all of the cards shown in this post (except for the top one) are projects from the Mad Stampers Club.  That means you could earn step by step video tutorials to make two cards of this quality each month.  Just imagine how that would elevate your cardmaking and design skills.  Learn more about the Club by using the button below:


To order cardmaking and paper crafting supplies, use this button to shop online:


Now it’s time for you to try these ideas.  Remember, they are only three examples of ways to create backgrounds for handmade cards.

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4 Responses to Three Ways to Create Backgrounds for Handmade Cards

  1. Diana Bibey March 26, 2014 at 7:03 pm #

    Oh! Yes, backgrounds are my first love for quick & beautiful @ the same time. The masculine wood is on my next wishlist !! Embossing folders & DSP can be overwhelming but I am anxious to try some of the sorbet paper. Thank you very much for all of your blogs. They are always a joy and FULL of ideas. I look forward to them.

    • Sage March 26, 2014 at 9:43 pm #

      Thanks for the feedback, Diana. I love that Hardwood stamp. I’ve done a few posts on using Sweet Sorbet DSP, and the challenges it and other DSP presents, including some ideas that worked for me. Hope you find them all helpful.

  2. Susan Arseneault-Richard March 31, 2014 at 6:46 am #

    Love your work and your tutorials. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Sage March 31, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

      Thanks for the feedback, Susan. I’m glad you love what you find here at Stamping Madly!

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