Postcrossing Blog

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Annie (aka freezeframe03) is back with another great DIY tutorial, this time featuring paper postcards! She’s made dozens of beautiful papercrafted postcards over the years, and is here to guide you on how to make the postcard below. Enjoy!

A yellow and green postcard with some flowers glued to it, and the sentence Live the live you've imagined written on it.

The most important thing in making a papercrafted postcard is to make sure it is sturdy and nothing added to it will come loose in the mail.

I began with a 4”×6” (10×15cm) piece of 70lb (114 g/m2) sketch/drawing papers. I sprayed them with Distress Oxide Spray then sprayed one of them again through a stencil. I chose the one on the right to work with this time.

Crafting materials: papers, stencils and ink

Next, I’ve rubber stamped the words with a waterproof archival ink, and toned down the brightness of the background paint by rubbing the ink over it lightly and darkened the edges.

Rubberstamp being applied on the postcard

I’ve used cutting dies to cut flowers and leaves from the same 70lb sketch/drawing paper. You can also cut these by hand, if you’d like, using your drawings or a template you’ve downloaded.

Using cut dies to make the flower shapes

I’ve painted them with watercolors. (Sometimes you just have to hope your mail won’t get rained on.)

Cut out flowers, after being painted with watercolors

Before gluing the flowers to the postcard, I splattered thinned black acrylic paint to the background. I use a spray glue to adhere the flowers and leaves to the background. I then press them down firmly with a brayer. When dry, if there are any loose edges, I use a fine tip glue to get underneath the loose area and glue it down firmly.

Gluing materials

When my postcard front is finished, I glue it to a heavier paper (this Canson XL paper is 98lb, or 160 g/m2). I glue it to a piece larger than my postcard then trim around the postcard. Set the postcard under a flat weight so that it dries flat. Check the edges to make sure they are one. Any loose edges can be glued with a fine tip glue. If you don’t have a fine tip for your glue, put some on a toothpick to smear where needed.

Stucking some sturdy paper to the back of the card

It is now a sturdy piece of art that will travel through the mail easily and not get caught in any of the postal machines.

Art can sometimes leave the finished piece warped and even messy on the back. Working on one paper to create your art then adhering it to a clean paper will help to flatten the piece and you don’t have to worry about a messy backside.

The final postcard!

The back can be decorated also, just like any other postcard.

The decorated back side of the postcard

Within the United States, a papercrafted postcard can be mailed at the regular postcard rate (unless you’ve added something that will make in non-machinable — in that case, extra postage is needed.

There are so many different ways to make a papercraft art postcard. But as I mentioned previously, make sure it is glued and put together well and that it is sturdy enough to withstand the traveling it will do. Most of my handmade postcards arrive at their destinations as if they were hand delivered.

If you have any questions at all or need some further detailed info, I am more than happy to help out with both.

Thank you Annie, that was brilliant! Check out Annie’s blog for inspiration in all kinds of crafts and art projects, and also this great topic on the forum where postcrossers post their creations.

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Remember many moons ago, when we were gearing up for the 150 years of postcards exhibition at UPU? Among the many postcards we received that year was this lovely handmade piece by Annie (aka freezeframe03) from the USA:

Annie's postcard for the 150 years exhibition

Isn’t it just stunning, the way it combines the stamps with fabric, and the binding all around it? 😍 We were in awe of it!

Annie has done many fabric cards over the years and feeling inspired by them, I asked her if she could whip up a mini-tutorial to help me and other newbies get started on making one of them. She agreed, made a postcard just for it and wrote the tutorial below, which I’m happy to share with everyone. Enjoy!

"There are many ways to make a fabric postcard. I’ve made this updated tutorial to show how I make them. They are a lot simpler to make than you might think!

Selection of fabrics

The supplies you will need are as follows:

  • Fabric scraps for your postcard front design
  • 4”×6” (10×15cm) front base fabric
  • 4”×6” (10×15cm) piece of stiff Peltex
  • 4”×6” (10×15cm) light to medium weight fusible interfacing
  • 4”×6” (10×15cm) piece of paper or card stock (not too thin) for the address and message side
  • A bit of transfer webbing, if you decide on a pictorial design (I use the lightweight Wonder Under).
Traced designs on transfer webbing

Trace your design on the paper side of the transfer webbing. Loosely cut outside your traced lines. (Your design will be backwards from the way you trace it, so be sure to trace any alphabets backwards to begin with.)

Fuse your traced designs to your fabric choices

Fuse your traced designs to your fabric choices.

Then cut them out on the lines. Allow the pieces to cool until they will release from the paper easily.

Then cut them out on the lines

I press my design base fabric to the Peltex. It is not fused, but the layers will stay together better until you begin sewing on them.

Trim the interfacing a smidge before fusing it to one side of your paper. You don’t want any hanging over, it will fuse to your ironing surface. Set the paper message side aside until needed.

Fuse the interfacing to one side of your paper

With the paper removed from the back of your cutout pieces, arrange them on the base fabric and Peltex where you want them and fuse them to the base fabric. Be sure to leave 3/8” (about 1cm) around all sides as that is the space the binding will cover.

Fuse the front to the back

Now you will stitch around your design as desired. You can fuse all of your design at once or you can fuse the pieces as you are ready to sew them.

Stitch around your design

This method is raw edge appliqué, and it is my favorite to use on postcards. Pull your thread tails to the back on the Peltex side and tie them off.

Raw edge appliqué

My next pieces on this postcard I fused the webbing to the back of fabric scraps, then cut them with a cutting die through a cutting machine.

Add other pieces to the design following the same method

When the papers were ready to release, I fused the flowers where I wanted them on the base fabric. I then stitched the stems and the flowers.

Once you are finished with your postcard design, align the front and back and stitch them together roughly around the very outside edge. This will hold the loose fabric edges in place while adding the binding. It will be covered later by the binding.

Stitch front and back together

Most people will just zigzag (satin stitch) around the outside of their postcard to finish it. You can do that now, or follow my binding method that I show in detail on my blog, step by step. I like my binding method as it finishes the edges as well as giving the design a framing.

The end result will look like this:

The finished postcard!

To finish it up, I put a very tiny amount of Fray Check (glue also works) on the binding ends to keep them from raveling. Put a bit on, then wipe it with your finger. You don’t want too much, it will make the corners hard.

Adding a bit of fray check to the side corners

And, DONE! With a paper backing, adding some extra fun on the address side of the card is simple.

Back of handmade postcard

If you have any questions at all or need some further detailed info, I am more than happy to help out with both.

Happy Mail Day!
Annie"

Thank you Annie, that looks amazing… and maybe not even that complicated? I’m planning to gather the materials I need this week, dust off my sewing machine and give it a go with a simple design over the weekend. Who wants to join me in a little crafty session? 😊 Make sure to check out Annie’s blog for tons more creative inspiration and lovely handmade postcards!