What I Learned in 3 Years of Designing Projects

I have been designing cards, scrapbook pages and crafts for 3 years. It is the third anniversary of me starting this blog.  I want to share what I learned in that time. There are SO many things to consider!  Here are just a few tips.  But first, some memories from the past three years.  Click on the pictures below to enlarge them.

What I Learned Lesson 1:  Know Your Audience
When making a card or gift, think about who you are sending it to.  You would design a birthday card for a kid totally different from a card for a 40 year old.  A gift for a new mom would be different than a gift for a graduate.
Open Lady Bug Birthday Card
Lady Bug Birthday Card
The ladybug card here is definitely for a little girl.  Kids love bad jokes. puns and bright colors.  The simpler the design the better.  And since kids have a reading level that requires smaller words, keep it simple.
Altered gatefold graduation card in red and grey for Troy
Altered Gatefold Graduation Card


For this graduation card, I chose my nephew’s school colors and made it a little more complex.  The card has three flaps but basically the images stick with the theme.

What I Learned Lesson 2: Chose Colors That Work Well Together

Certian holidays have the color scheme obvious, red and green for Christmas, black and orange for Halloween, etc.  But what about get well cards or scrapbook pages or other projects?  Color Choice is very important. I have a document in the reference library for helping to choose the right colors called “Coloring Your Designs.”  It teaches the basics of the color wheel.  


Colors from the same color family always work well together.  Varieties of pink in this thank you card compliment each other nicely.

Weave Thank You Card
Weave Thank You Card
Make a multilayered mandala
Multilayered Rainbow Mandala


Hue is also important.  You would never use a plain blue with these fluorescent colors in this multilayered mandala.  Stick to pastels or primary or fluorescents together.  Don’t mix them.

What I Learned Lesson 3: Inspiration Can Come From Anywhere

Inspiration can truly come from anything.  Need is the mother of invention and can inspire.  Pinterest, Instagram or TV programs like HSN Craft Day are some of my big inspirations.  I see a card and think “I can make that.”  Find projects you really like and make it your own.

Redesigned blade caddy with all the blades in place

Working on something completely different can inspire you.  I was showing Cordelia how to make a dreamcatcher with string and had the idea that “Hey I could make this from paper.”  And this tool caddy came from the need to organize all my blades.

Paper Dream Catcher
Dream Catcher
Anniversary Easel Card

Watching HSN Craft Day inspired this slider anniversary card.  I get lots of inspiration by watching the crafters do different projects there.  But warning, it can get expensive to watch because I want to buy everything!

Pinterest is a wonderful inspiration!  I have a folder of Pinterest ideas that I look at whenever I am stuck for a new idea.  I don’t steal other peoples ideas but someone posted a circle lever type card and that inspired this star shaped lever card for Independence Day.

Home of the Free Because of the brave 4th of July Lever Card in red white and blue
4th of July Lever Card
What I Learned Lesson 4:  Design Elements Can Change the Whole Project
Little things like a pop out or slider can make a project.  Things like fill in fonts or cutting out lettering add more impact that just drawing it.  Foil and glitter add bling and interest to a project.  Sometimes you want to use a sticker but why not create the design yourself.  Layering paper adds interest too.  And lets not forget card bands!


Pop Ups and movement in a card can add so much interest.  This 3D flower card made my mother call raving about this Christmas card!  I do a lot of pop ups and movement cards.  BTW the foiling on the flowers is impressive.

Inside of pop out flower Christmas Card
Cut out birthday card


Cut outs accent the message.  I have a whole line of cut out cards and everyone loves them.  This birthday card is one of my favorites.

Winter Scene Tissue Box Side 1

Bling, like glitter paper and foiling pens and foiling equipment can draw more interest.  The Winter Scene tissue box uses a Minc to apply foil.  And these Christmas coloring with paper embellishments look so much better with glitter paper.

All three Christmas coloring with paper

Little design elements add a lot.  A little washi tape in the birthday card or a fill in font on the Halloween treat box  add interest.  Layering the overlays in the Halloween Step card make it more appealing.  Sometimes cutting out letters in the Halloween Card or Father’s Day Card is more impressive than just drawing them.  And card bands serve two purposes, they keep the card closed and add interest to the card.

What I Learned In Conclusion

Size is important.  If you make an image too small it may not cut out properly.  But always remember, if it doesn’t work at first, try something different.  Many of my projects start out one way and end up being completely different because I needed to change an image or color or paper weight.

Washi Tape, as I mentioned before, can add to the design.  It is great for filling in empty spaces on any project.  Most of the cards I make, I add washi tape to between the post and actually sending them.

I learned a lot more in three years.  Once someone gets homemade gift or card, they will expect one the next time.  Just a warning.

The last three years of making and sharing my Cricut projects has been a joy!  I love teaching and sharing my art and hope to be doing it for many years!  Thank you for your support and encouragement.

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