Sunday, 5 July 2015

Want an awesome and totally unique card? Let me design it for you!

Is there someone in your life who deserves an extra-special card? Maybe your best friend has a big birthday coming up, and you just can't find the perfect card? Or you'd like to give your significant other a card that reflects special memories or particular interests - things that aren't on your average store-bought card, or that you don't know where to look for? Maybe your brother is getting married, and you think he deserves so much more than the cliché wedding card that's available in stores? Or you need to say thank you for something really awesome, and flowers just won't do? Perhaps you're looking for a card with a birthday wish in German, Japanese, or Russian and can't find one where you live? I am here to help!

In addition to the card lines that I sell on Etsy and at craft shows, I create one-of-kind cards for individuals who approach me with special requests. Whether it involves merely making a small change to a card that is already in my shop - altering the colour, size, or text on the cover - or designing a completely new card from scratch, I welcome creative challenges and would be happy to design a card for you.

To give you an idea of the possibilities, let me show you a few examples of custom-design work that I have done in the past. 

1. Birthday card for a young woman

One customer asked me to make a special birthday card for a dear friend who loved bright colours, had just taken up gardening, and was proud of her first home-grown sunflowers. On the basis of this brief, I created origami sunflowers, and played around with my flower-print card stocks and my brightly coloured special papers. Once I had two basic ideas with some additional design options, I sent the following pictures to the customer for feedback. 

The first two basic suggestions to play around with
Finished result 

After emailing back and forth a little bit, and trying out a variety of small changes to the placement of the individual components of the card (always documented by photographs), the customer decided on a final version. I never glue the individual design elements of a customised card until the customer is happy with every small detail and I have received final approval.

Once the customer had approved the ultimate design, everything was glued, and the card was then placed - together with an envelope - in a plastic wrapper and passed on to the customer.    

2. Birthday card for a customer's father

First and final version of the card (before gluing)
When a customer approached me with the request to create a birthday card that would reflect the recipient's interest in playing cards and his love of whiskey, I came up with a card that combined a store-bought set of mini playing cards (from the scrapbooking section) with a whiskey glass and decanter that I made from vellum paper, golden brown layers of washi, and white paper. I placed these elements on textured Japanese card stock in a wood tone to create an overall vintage theme that would correspond to whiskey and aging. Seeing the first version of the card, the customer then expressed interest in an adding a toast to the birthday wish. The photos show the first and the final version of the card.

3. Wedding card for a gay couple

Upon browsing my Fall 2014 collection in search of a wedding card, one customer stumbled over a birthday card that featured a chain of cranes in rainbow colours and decided to request a custom-made wedding card featuring rainbow colours instead of purchasing a more conventional "Congratulations" card. The request also included tying the card to the grooms' interests in musical theatre and dance as well as books and baking, respectively. I was also aware that the couple had a connection to Jane Austen. 

Rainbow-coloured wedding card with ribbon woven through
Following this brief, I created a card that would open in the centre, with a ribbon woven through that could be tied into a bow to close the card. Each side of the card was dedicated to one of the groom's interests. The left side featured a Fosse-inspired bowler hat (card stock & satin) and tap shoes; the latter were made from black craft foam with textured silver foil for the taps and black thread sewn on to create laces. The right side featured a cake (black card stock, white paper & silver foil) as well as a handmade miniature edition of Pride and Prejudice, which contained, in still-legible mini print the first two chapters of Austen's novel. The rainbow backdrop was created with velvety momi paper from Japan.

4. Diwali card set

Set of 6 Diwali cards

The cards I design for religious holidays most often reflect my own Judaeo-Christian cultural roots. That said, I am also always happy to design cards for other religious holidays and cultural festivals.

One customer asked me to create a set of small Diwali cards that would feature a diya, and that could be distributed among friends to wish them "Diwali Mubarak". The customer picked the colour of the card, approved the design of the diya, and then received a whole range of finishing options, some of which are depicted below. I am very pleased with the final result and so were the customer and, as I was told, the recipients of the cards.  
Different design options tried out on the Diwali card before settling on the final version

5. Christmas card set with wishes in German and English

A German customer ordered Christmas cards from my 2014 Holiday Collection but wanted only three of the requested fifteen cards to contain the English Christmas wish, "Merry Christmas". The remaining twelve cards were to feature the same wish in German, "Frohe Weihnachten".

Christmas Wreath card set in two languages: English and German
The text says "happy birthday!" in German

Sometimes, custom design is as easy as switching the language! This applies, in fact, to all of my cards. Would you like one of my signature crane cards or any of my other cards with a wish in a language other than English? Let me know!  







You wonder: how do I place an order, how much does it cost, and how long does it take?

If you would like to order a custom-made card, there are several different ways to get in touch:
  • Send an email to paperturns AT
  • Send me a message through this blog (on the right)
  • Send me a message through Facebook
  • Request a custom order through the Paper Turns Etsy Shop 

Don't worry if you lack ideas for the card. We will work something out together, and I am always happy to provide a range of suggestions.

Even though my customers are receiving unique works of art that are specially designed according to their wishes, the cards are affordable, too. The cost of each individual card depends, obviously, on the materials used and the amount of time involved, but I am very aware that nobody wants to spend $20 on a card. For most of the custom-ordered cards to date, I have charged between $9 and $15 (everything included, except shipping). Small customisations of cards in my regular collection (e.g. mere language changes on text labels) are cheaper, and I also offer discounts on card sets. Once I have rough specifications for a card (size, detail, time frame), I can provide you with a quote. You can pay by credit card (through Etsy), e-transfer (Canada and Europe), cheque (Canada), or cash (Toronto).

The time frame depends primarily on four factors: how early we settle on a design; how much work the individual card details require; whether I have all the requested materials in stock; and how full my work schedule is. The turnaround is usually between 2 and 5 days, but at busy times, it can be 2-3 weeks (or longer if I need to order special supplies). This does not factor in shipping times. I therefore recommend getting in touch as early as possible, especially if you require international shipment.

Do you have any questions that I have not yet answered? If so, please write a comment below or send a message. I look forward to working with you!  

P.S.: I also design wedding invitations! A future blog post will feature this topic. In the meantime, I can provide samples and quotes for invitations upon request.  

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