The Bestest, Artsiest Halloween Cards (That I Can Afford to Make)
September 6, 2016 1:28 PM   Subscribe

I love Halloween and I love making art, so this year I'm planning to start early on a whole crop of Halloween cards that I will disperse far and wide. I'm trying to figure out a cost-effective way to make each one by hand. I don't know how many I'll need; I'm thinking of putting them in my Etsy shop for free as well as sending to friends. Info about art skills and card preferences inside.

I make a lot of abstract art, so I'm thinking that stencils or stamps may be involved. I usually do stuff with watercolor and/or ink. Those things would be hard to replicate, so I'm not sure if I want to go that route. I don't want the cards to be impersonal though. I'm leaning towards a raven stencil on black or purple glittery paper and some sort of message. However, I think better ideas are out there,

I'm having a bit of trouble deciding what kind of imagery I'd like. I really like the little kids' cartoonish ghosts and wacky skeletons. But I also love gorgeous gothic stuff. I don't want the cards to be silly;there will be no puns.

In short, what are some pretty Halloween cards that I can make without mass-producing them?
posted by mermaidcafe to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I used to make negative space smudgy "art" all the time as a kid when I was bored in class with pen and bits of paper. You can class it up several levels by actually making nice cutouts and using something other than a garden variety ballpoint.

I spent about 60 seconds making this as an example for you.

It would work for cutesy ghosts, it would work for cool skeletons, it would work for your raven idea. You could do it with a gradient of purple-black-orange ink or paint and it could look super cool.
posted by phunniemee at 1:44 PM on September 6, 2016 [6 favorites]

I've been making my family Christmas cards for the past few years - usually a production line for myself of watercolor backgrounds combined with resists or stamps. I haven't made Halloween cards before, but my head instantly went to trying to work with images on tissue paper or tracing paper for a crinkly effect.

I was at Target this weekend and they had a bunch of Halloween stuff in their dollar spot. I was very tempted by some black glassine gift bags printed with skulls, but couldn't justify them. I think they would make cool envelopes to slip a card into, though! They also had washi tape and lots of little embellishments.

Most card making blogs are not to my taste but this one has some cute, colorful ideas for Halloween. Also, non-cute Halloween cards - I like Svenja's which seem to combine printing or stamping with watercolors.

You can get good skulls and ravens from The Graphics Fairy.
posted by Squeak Attack at 2:24 PM on September 6, 2016

I don't know how much you care for the antiquey/vintage look, but I used to make and sell Halloween cards and tags (the fancy ones you tie on packages and things) on Etsy back in the ice age (circa 2008) and I sold tons. I got all of my images either from the nypl online digital gallery (search 'bats' awesome) and the most wonderful Biblioddysey (run by MeFi's own peacay), or from The Public Domain Review. I printed the images combined with words in cool fonts onto beige cardstock. There are several other good online repositories for public domain and royalty-free images, such as The Graphics Fairy, as Squeak mentioned. She has amazing vintage Halloween images. I made the edges of the cards fancy with corner paper punches. I bought crushed German glass glitter from someone on Etsy (you can get it anywhere) and accented parts of the cards with the glitter by drawing thin lines on it with a paint brush and glue - the glitter starts out silver and turns black over time. It is actually glass so you have to mention that in the listing if you use that as opposed to plain old glitter. These cards were super gorgeous and people were collecting them and framing them. Make sure you make a card that is the same size as an envelope. I put a card and an envelope into a clear cello bag. I sandwiched the card between two pieces of cardboard and shipped it in a plain regular envelope. Good luck! You can memail me if you have any other questions, like where I got the cello bags or whatnot.
posted by the webmistress at 2:41 PM on September 6, 2016 [6 favorites]

@the webmistress: your cards sound amazing! they also sound expensive to make. I'm just sending these to people (friends and customers and whoever wants one) for free, not selling them.

@phunnieme: your ghost made me giggle! Do you just make a patch of color and erase from within?
posted by mermaidcafe at 2:50 PM on September 6, 2016

Not to stray too far off topic, but these Sakura glue pens are amazing for drawing thin glue lines for glitter.

I think phunniemee used a mask? Cut the ghost out of paper, laid it down on the second paper, and then smudged the ink around and over the cut out. Remove the cut-out and you have a ghost image.

You could make your own spray inks with liquid watercolors or watered down acrylics, and cut out ravens, or other Halloween themed masks to spray over. Something like this, which was done with leaves.
posted by Squeak Attack at 3:21 PM on September 6, 2016

I think phunniemee used a mask? Cut the ghost out of paper, laid it down on the second paper, and then smudged the ink around and over the cut out. Remove the cut-out and you have a ghost image.

Sorry, yes. This is exactly what I did.
posted by phunniemee at 4:03 PM on September 6, 2016

I would do something with strips of paper. Gather all your scrap papers, cut into strips and then glue down. Then cut Halloween shapes out of the assembled strips.

Example here, slightly different than what I envision because they glued the strips down and then cut out a window.
posted by MadMadam at 4:09 PM on September 6, 2016

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