How to Get Un-Stuck When Designing Handmade Cards

An essential skill for cardmakers is learning how to get unstuck when designing handmade cards.  By now you probably know that my friend Janelle comes over about once a month for a coaching session on designing cards.  She’s taken The Art of Designing Cards classes, and she brings the outline of steps presented in Part 2 so she can follow them.

I’m fascinated to see where she gets stuck, and how hard it is for her to get unstuck.  It’s like her brain shuts down and she can’t see any way through the block.

In our session on Sunday, she decided to use the Dragonly Dreams Bundle for her card.  I don’t do a lot of coaching with her, just a suggestion now and then.  As is often the case, she got stuck right away.  She stamped two dragonflies on a piece of cardstock, but didn’t like how dark the Elegant Eggplant came out.


Here’s how the stuckness came up.  She’d used cardstock, and didn’t want to waste it.  And she didn’t know if she’d like the next thing she tried better!  OMG, if that tape was running in my head every time I made a card, it would drive me bonkers!

I showed her what I’ve been doing when I first start experimenting with a stamp set.  I use 4×6 index cards until I have a sense of where I want to go with it.  Then I’ll get out the cardstock.  Here’s what I was playing with that day:


In case you didn’t see the finished card yet, check it out in this post:  Get Wild with Avant Garden.

Janelle cut an index card down to 4″ x 5-1/4″ so that she wouldn’t get confused by the extra length, then tried Perfect Plum ink instead of Elegant Eggplant.  When she liked the color and positioning, she stamped the dragonfly wings on a new piece of cardstock. 

Then each time she wanted to try something, like adding splatters, or a sentiment, she used the two practice pieces to experiment on.


She admitted that if she’d been at home, she would have quit when she got stuck, and gone on to something else.  Here’s her finished card:


Be sure to leave a comment to let Janelle know what you think of her card!  And let me know where you get stuck when you’re designing cards!  Maybe I’ll write a post about how to deal with your stuck spots!  Meanwhile, I hope Janelle’s story inspires you.  Thank you, Janelle, for being such a willing guinea pig!

When you’re ready to learn more about the Design Classes Janelle took, use this link:  The Art of Designing Cards.

We ALL get stuck at times, myself included!  We just need a strategy for how to get unstuck when that happens so we can continue designing our handmade cards!

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7 Responses to How to Get Un-Stuck When Designing Handmade Cards

  1. Bernice Thompson January 26, 2017 at 6:41 pm #

    I had never thought of using index cards, very clever. Janelle, I love your card. Sage I’m so glad I picked you for a demo.

    • Janelle January 27, 2017 at 9:24 am #

      Bernice, thank you! I think we are always in such a rush – who thought to do a practice run?! It made such a difference. Isn’t Sage the best?!

      • Sage January 31, 2017 at 7:20 pm #

        Aww, thanks Janelle.

  2. Andrea February 2, 2017 at 2:55 pm #

    I love Janelle’s card! Thanks for sharing.

    • Sage February 2, 2017 at 8:25 pm #

      Thanks, Andrea. I’ll make sure Janelle sees your comment!

    • Janelle February 3, 2017 at 8:54 am #

      Thanks Andrea! It is so much fun when you get done and you like the end result.

      • Sage February 3, 2017 at 12:55 pm #


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