Where can I buy cheap paper to make my own greeting cards?
August 13, 2007 8:31 PM   Subscribe

[Homemade Greeting Card Filter] I want to make greeting cards, for friends and family -- mainly for obscure holidays (and just to say hello!) But buying supplies at PaperSource is super expensive -- and stamps are not exactly cheap. Where do you buy specialty stock paper and other greeting card paraphernalia? [mi]

I'm interested in cheap stock paper that might resemble the folded cards section on Paper Source. It's heavy, and bendable -- and comes in lots of colors.

I'd rather buy sheets of thick paper in different colors and cut them -- cheaper and more variety of shapes. Is there a place to bulk order paper?

Also, if you know of any cheap decorating tips or techniques for making really awesome greeting cards, please let me know. Specifically: stamps, glitter, beads, stickers, etc.
posted by moooshy to Shopping (16 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Craft stores....
posted by jesirose at 8:50 PM on August 13, 2007

Best answer: Joann Crafts has quite a bit of papercraft supplies, and they usually have books of specialty paper that go on sale at the end of the season, but that aren't necessarily season-specific. Say, a book of cardstock in spring colors and floral prints that's packaged as a "spring paper collection", that gets marked down in May when the brighter colored "summer collection" comes into stores.
posted by padraigin at 8:54 PM on August 13, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks. I guess I am also looking for online specialty stores -- if you know of any. I live in a city and am carless, so JoAnn and AC Moore are out of the picture...
posted by moooshy at 8:58 PM on August 13, 2007

What do you consider expensive? i.e. How much do you want to pay per card? Even paying for the seemingly-expensive papers from craft stores, your cards should still cost less than buying individual ready-made greeting cards.
posted by winston at 8:58 PM on August 13, 2007

I'm not sure where you are, but you might try looking in your yellow pages for office supply stores or paper distributors. Don't bother with the Office Depots/Office Max type places, but look for places that specialize in paper. For example, here in Minneapolis we've got Anchor Paper Express. (They're a local business, though, so I suspect this is not much help.) Otherwise, try checking out the stores that handle wedding announcements, stationery, that sort of thing. If they don't have what you're looking for, they might be able to point you in the right direction.

As for stamps, here's a couple links. (I'm a novice card maker myself, and unless you're super fond of angels and hearts and kittens, you're probably best off ordering stamps online.) 100 Proof Press, Stamp Zia, Stamp Francisco. I've ordered from the first two and been happy with the products.

Hope this helps. If you've got other questions for me, feel free to contact me -- email is in my profile.
posted by Janta at 9:05 PM on August 13, 2007

Try checking out Joann.com, you can order online and they usually have some kind of sweet discount when you do.

You might check eBay, too. People buy wholesale to resell, or they buy a huge quantity thinking they'll be handmade greeting card barons only to decide they're not that into it after all, so they unload it.

And Craigslist, too, for that matter. I've bought tons of craft supplies on Craigslist.

Look for scrapbooking supplies as well, because a lot of them are designed for any type of papercraft but if you're thinking in a scrapbook context when you're listing it for sale, you might be so specific that a cardmaker won't notice your ad.
posted by padraigin at 9:05 PM on August 13, 2007

I found Envelope Mall when we were getting ready to do our own wedding invites. Some interesting envelope designs/sizes in addition to the paper. We did end up going with the local "Michael's" craft store, though.
posted by thebrokedown at 9:14 PM on August 13, 2007

How close are you to an AC Moore?
All the ones I've been to have a great selection of open stock err... solid color card stock, 20 cents per 8.5 by 11" sheet. But they often have sales where you can get them for 5-10 cents.

Here's a tutorial on how to carve your own stamps. I remember doing that for a project in middle school art class, and it wasn't hard (albeit time consuming!) and it obviously isn't worth the investment in tools if you only want to make a few. You can buy foam stamps (think cheap flip-flop material) for well... cheap. But I couldn't tell you how those hold up, or even if they stamp cleanly. /Not a paper craft kind of girl.

Oh, and for "ink" I use watered down acrylic paint and mix my own colors. The only downside is it takes slightly longer to dry.
posted by moonshine at 11:11 PM on August 13, 2007

I really don't like Joann for papercraft supplies. I have been there looking for something as simple as Christmas or Easter stickers and they didn't have any. I'm serious - none. Joann never seems to have enough variety to allow me to find exactly what I'm looking for.

As far as large chain stores go, I prefer Michael's or Hobby Lobby. Michael's has great coupons in their Sunday ads, although I think their prices are sometimes a bit too high. Hobby Lobby has all-around good prices and often has great sales (buy one, get one free) on packs of cardstock, stickers and other paper goods.

If you have an Archiver's near you, do two things:
1. Sign up for their newsletters. I think they do both paper and email versions. I get coupons for 15% off or free paper or whatever a couple of times a month.
2. Shop their clearance section. As with most clearance sections, it's a hit-or-miss deal. But their discounts are great (25% to 75%) on their clearance items.

If you have friends that are into this kind of thing too, get together with them at someone's house. Bring your supplies in a tupperware box or suitcase and share everything. It works best with non-disposable items like scissors, stencils, cutters of all sorts, sticker makers, eyelet tools. If you're willing to share what you have, they may too.

Invest in versatile, reusable supplies. My staples are: Personal Trimmer, Creative Memories Cutting System, a good corner rounder, really fine pointed scissors, and a good ruler. When picking stamps, try for a large set you'll use often.

Once you have the staples you need, try to pick paper and stickers and other tidbits a little at a time. I always pick up little things I think are cool, even if I don't have an immediate use for them. Do this often enough and you'll have a small arsenal to use whenever a new occasion arises or an idea hits you. This is also where the clearance section of any craft store comes in for me. You never know what random things you'll find there.

Check your local craft stores for classes or 'scrap sessions.' Archiver's is always offering things like this for about $10-$15 (sometimes dinner is included). They usually give you supplies to make one card or craft and guide you through the steps. You can collect a number of ideas through these small lessons - and from being around other people that are doing these crafts. Ask to see some of their album pages or cards. I know I'm always more than happy to show off my hard work!

And good luck! I got into scrapbooking when I was in high school and moved on to cards a few years ago. I made blank cards for all my co-workers one Christmas. They loved them and I had a blast doing it!
posted by youngergirl44 at 11:12 PM on August 13, 2007

Oh - and I sew on my cards and scrapbook pages. Pick some neat thread and stitch your pieces of paper together instead of gluing or using tapes. I've also sewn buttons onto paper before. You can get some really cheap, cute buttons at any fabric store. If you have a sewing machine, (carefully) experiment with your cardstock and any 'fancy' stitches your machine can do.
posted by youngergirl44 at 11:15 PM on August 13, 2007

Joann.com is good for stuff like paper punches and other things that might be a little pricey because they very frequently have 40-50% off coupon codes on their site. I've also gotten really good quality card stock (my favorite brand, Bazzill) from Joann for cheap because of this sort of discount.
posted by tastybrains at 4:43 AM on August 14, 2007

I'm an artist who makes cars and I use inexpensive watercolor paper - try looking for "student" grade.
posted by Melsky at 6:44 AM on August 14, 2007

This might not be appropriate, but...I used to make cards. I don't anymore. I have a shit-ton of card making supplies that I've been meaning to go through and get rid of.

If you're interested, email's in my profile. I can make a list of a lot of what I have and send it to you.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 7:29 AM on August 14, 2007

Sign up for email newsletters at Joann.com, hobbylobby.com and michaels.com, and they will email you coupons for special discounts.
posted by la petite marie at 8:21 AM on August 14, 2007

I bought the specialty papers for our wedding stuff from Paper.com. They were easily half the cost of Paper Source for a Bertini paper, and the service was flawless.
posted by ersatzkat at 3:41 PM on August 14, 2007

A product I really like from JoAnn is in the Scrapbook Essentials line. It's a little booklet of vellum quotes that are just the right size for the front of a greeting card. The other brand of vellum quotes (Making Memories, I think) have to be trimmed to fit on a standard card, and I'm too lazy for that.

I got a box of 250 plain white pre-folded cards from...somewhere and a box of 250 Vellum "clear" A-2 envelopes from...either the same place or somewhere else. I can't even remember what I paid for each, but I still have 2/3 of the box of envelopes. I'm not sure where the cards are at the moment. Best card making investment. I used to cut my own card and it's a pain in the behind. Spring for the box(es), it will be cheaper in the long run. I'm thinking about getting some card in a color for the upcoming wedding but haven't picked one.

Here's your next question how do I keep my beautiful cards from falling apart- there isn't really a good answer to it. I've asked around in the scrapbooking community and the agreement seems to be that things are still falling apart.

So here's what I'm doing now... 1. Sewing machine, which leaves the inside, well, with the lines of thread. So that's not 100% perfect. 2. Eyelets and brads.

If you have any questions you should email me. I love this stuff, and most people...don't
posted by bilabial at 6:53 PM on August 16, 2007

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