Friday, January 11, 2013

Birthday Cards for Men

Many cardmakers find that making cards for men is more difficult than making "female" cards.  There are so many beautiful floral papers, lace trims and ribbons, fancy die cut shapes and other blingy things that appeal to women but don't really "work" for many men.

My husband has two brothers with January birthdays and the colors for their cards were inspired by the national-home-improvement-store-with-the-orange-logo gift cards that will be inside the cards (hint, hint...).  I  was feeling a bit lazy and a bit guilty about the number of Cricut cartridges I own that I haven't used so I went to the "Birthday Bash" cartridge to find a sentiment.

This is another one of the "cute" cartridges and it contains lots of whimsical animals celebrating birthdays.  I was just looking for a quick sentiment and settled on "Happy Happy Birthday" on page 41.

 I have taken to using the Cricut machines primarily for plug and play cutting of images - I rarely use any of the Cricut Design tools these days.  I have found that other software programs give me much more freedom to create what I want but if I just want to cut out something quickly, I can usually find a cut that will work in my (too large) collection of cartridges. 

This phrase was meant to be used on the flag so I had to think about the sizing.  I was making a regular A2 card so I used "fit to length" and set the dial for 4 1/4 inches.  I had to make it longer to compensate for the flag pole being part of the image on that key.  The machine calculated a size of 5 3/4 inches for the cut.

I cut two mat layers for the card.  The base layer is orange cardstock and the top layer is a lighter gray.  I recently bought this embossing folder with the hexagon pattern.  I thought it would be suitably "hardware-like" since the shapes reminded me of nuts and bolts.

Whenever you use an embossing folder, you "emboss" one side (raise up the pattern) and "deboss" the other (press the pattern down into the cardstock).  The look can be very different.  In this case the debossed side (on the left) looked more like hardware nuts to me so I chose to place that side up one the card.

One problem with the sentiment I chose was the lack of a shadow layer.  In the Silhouette software I can add a shadow or offset of any shape or group of shapes with a quick click.  Despite years of requests, this is not possible with the Cricut software.  If there is not a true shadow, you can cut the same image twice and glue the two cuts together slightly off center to give a "sun shadow" effect.

You can see the dark gray shadow layer on the orange word cuts here.  I wanted the card to be more rugged and grungy so I used some Pumice Stone Distress Ink to ink the sentiment edges and the embossed hexagon layer.

 Here is a closer view of the "shadow" layer and the inking.

I didn't want to pretty up the card with ribbon but I remembered that there was an interesting trim in my last Webster's Pages warehouse sale box (the one at the top of this card of trims).

I cut a short length of the trim to fit the card front and clipped one row to make a three row stripe.  This width fit in the hexagon pattern more neatly and odd numbers are always better, right?

I had saved the dot for the exclamation point but I decided to cut just one shiny "rivet" from the extra trim and use it to make a more noticeable dot.

I needed a pocket to hold the gift card inside so I cut a strip of the orange cardstock at 2 x 5 inches and punched one edge with a deep edge punch.

The punch I used is from the Martha Stewart line and it is called "Triple Chain."  I think it looks like a chain link fence.  I am not sure if this is in stores yet, I fell for the HSN sales pitch and bought it as part of a multi shipment plan (as if I needed any more punches...)!

I used Scor-Tape on the bottom and sides of the pocket to hold the card securely.  On the top edges of the punched area I used a glue pen to hold the corners flat.

I keep this cardboard credit card from a mailing on my craft island so it is handy to test sizing for any gift card holders I want to put inside my cards.

I inked up the edges of the pocket with the same Pumice Stone distress ink.

I don't usually make two of the same card but since the birthdays are less than a week apart and the same gift was going to be inside each card it seemed like a good plan to make duplicates.  One card has a little extra decoration inside to mark a "milestone" birthday.

I was motivated to try to use a Cricut cartridge that I hadn't tried before but, in hindsight, I think I might have preferred to make my own sentiment using a stencil font from my computer and cutting it with the Cameo to get a better match for the "look" of the national-home-improvement-store-with-the orange-logo...  yup, totally wishing I had done it that way now(!)

Do you find it difficult to make cards for men?  What are some of your tips and tricks for keeping the cards from getting too frilly?

Thank you all so much for the kind words and prayers for my Dad.  He has improved considerably and we are hoping for a full recovery.  Please be careful and try to avoid catching this flu.  There are a lot of people affected and the germs can last for more than a day on surfaces so be sure to wipe things down and use hand sanitizer!

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  1. This is a great guys card! I love the colors and the embossing folder is perfect. Thanks for sharing. Happy Friday. :)

  2. I think it's a perfect match for the home-improvement gift card; you could do one in blue for the other store! It's wonderful that your Dad is improving. BethAnn M.

  3. Awesome guy card! Love the embossing folder and the happy, happy birthday cut!

    Have a great Friday!
    Sherrie K

  4. Great man cards. I have got to show thes to my daughter since she happens to work for the store your gift cards came from.

  5. Great cards! Thanks for sharing. I'm so glad to hear that your dad is improving, he's been in my thoughts.

  6. Great cards I have that same Webster's trip and haven't used it yet. That warehouse sale was great and I will be purchasing that again for sure!. Wonderful cards and I am one of those people that always have a hard time making boy cards! Going to have to make one for my honey for Valentines Day though! I might try these free cuts that are available this week in the craft room.

  7. Making male cards is truly a challenge. One can only make so many golfing cards especially if they aren't golfers ! Have not seen the Universal embossing folders before. Have often wondered which die cuts, etc. will work in the Cuttlebug. Glad your dad is improving. Pam

  8. great idea!!
    DIANA L.

  9. You made such awesome guy cards. Guy's cards are really a challenge to make. I usually try to make as simple as possible ones without to many decorations they won't mind or notice anyway.

  10. I'm glad you decided to do a Cricut cut for these great cards. I know I'll never be getting a Cameo so I look to you for Cricut inspiration. I love to do masculine cards. Maybe because I'm not much of a frilly, bling kind of girl I find it easy to distress, ink, use twine and darker colors. Glad to hear your dad is doing better. It's difficult watching them struggle. I know.

  11. Great Card and I really like your embossing folder!



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