Part 1/4 – Card Basics (Cardmaking 101)

This is part of a four part series on making cards. In this part, we’re covering Card Basics…


The standard size for handmade cards in the US and Canada is one-quarter of an 8-1/2″ x 11″ sheet of card stock. 8-1/2″ x 11″ is commonly called “letter size”. You can achieve the standard size of card base by cutting a letter size piece of card stock in half, and then folding it in half.

  • Portrait cards are 4-1/4″ x 5-1/2″
  • Landscape cards are 5-1/2″ x 4-1/4″

Here are some options for creating card bases (click on the image to see larger):

  • TIP: For card makers outside the US and Canada, the same cutting in half and folding technique achieves similar results with an A4 piece of card stock. One-quarter of an A4 sheet of card stock is also considered a standard card size.


You will often hear about scoring card stock before folding. A score line is an indentation in the card stock that allows it to fold more easily. To create a score line, locate where you’d like the score line (or fold line to be), and run a scoring tool or bone folder along the area while pressing lightly. This creates the indentation which is the score line.

  • TIP: To prevent cracking of card stock while fold your card base, always score the card stock with a bone folder. I cover more about card stock in this video:

Watch video below | Watch at YouTube


While you can make handmade envelopes to fit your cards (no matter what size they are), it is easier to buy envelopes pre-made. The following envelopes fit standard size cards:

  • Cards made from letter size card stock: A2 envelope (4-3/8″ x 5-3/4″)
  • Cards made from A4 card stock:C6 envelope (114 mm x 162 mm)
  • NOTE: While it is standard among the online card making community to use Width x Height for dimensions, the dimenisions of envelopes are given as H x W on most envelope websites.

For colorful envelope options, I love Hero Arts notecards and envelopes (available here).


The standard envelopes mentioned above are large enough to go through the mail. However, sometimes handmade cards can be quite thick or heavy. If you are unsure if the standard postage price will cover mailing your card, please be sure to ask your post office, or simply add an extra postage stamp. I always keep postcard stamps on hand to add a bit extra to cards I mail.

If your card is especially thick, fragile, or has embellishments that might be troublesome for mailing, you have a few options. Personally, I tend to reserve a special card like that for times when I can hand deliver it and therefore don’t have to worry about mailing it. But if I am mailing the card, I use a photo mailer like that ones i mention in this post.

I also found this awesome video from Nancy Taylor and Hero Arts concerning mailing cards:

Watch video below | Watch at YouTube

Decorating the outside of your envelope can also be really fun! While highly decorated envelopes might take a bit longer to be processed through the post office (the automated machines sometimes have trouble “reading” the address), your card will still reach it’s destination. After all, if these cards can make it, I think anything can. :)


While some papercrafters like to stamp a message inside their cards, I generally leave mine blank so that I can write a message inside. It’s completely up to you. Whatever you’d like to do. :)


Next up in Card Making 101 is Part 2 – Gather Your Supplies/Tools. :)


Cardmaking 101

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like