Make your own ugly Christmas sweater cards to send smiles across the miles this holiday season!
Christmas Spirit to the Max
If smiles, laughter, and over-the-top Christmas spirit are what you’re looking for in Christmas cards this year, then I have the perfect project for you: DIY ugly Christmas sweater cards!
Based on their wearable counterparts, ugly Christmas sweater cards practically scream Christmas spirit! They’re also a great way to use up leftover bits from other Christmas crafts. Start by making card bases that resemble real sweaters (directions below). Then, grab whatever Christmas embellishments you’ve got, and let your imagination run wild. Anything goes when it comes to ugly Christmas sweater cards, and the gaudier the better. Even the grinchiest Grinch on your holiday card list will smile when they get one of these!
How to Make Ugly Christmas Sweater Cards
- Colored Cardstock
- Patterned Christmas papers
- Stick-on jewels, small buttons, or small punched shapes
- Miscellaneous other embellishments for decorating
- Paper trimmer
- Scoring/folding tool
- Paper scissors
- Paper crimper
- 2.5-inch and 3-inch circle stencils
- Tape runner or similar adhesive
Make a Gate Fold Card Base
Ugly Christmas sweater cards use a ‘gate fold’ card base, which is one where the card opens at the center front. To make a gate fold card base:
1. With your paper trimmer, cut a piece of colored cardstock to 8-1/2 x 5-1/2 inches.
2. Place the cardstock facedown on your work surface, and then rotate it so that one of the long sides is facing you.
3. Next, with your scoring tool, score the cardstock from top to bottom along this long side at 2-1/8 and 6-3/8 inches. This will create two flaps at the sides of the card.
4. Fold each of the side flaps up towards the center of the card along the score lines, and then crease the folds with your scoring/folding tool.
You should now have one A2 card base (4-1/4 x 5-1/2 inches) that opens at the center front.
Repeat the steps above until you have the number of card bases you need for all of your Ugly Christmas sweater cards.
Add Patterned Paper
Now it’s time to add the first layer of fun to your ugly Christmas sweater cards!
1. With your paper trimmer, cut two strips of patterned paper that measure 5-1/2 x 2-1/8 inches each.
2. Apply tape runner or similar adhesive to one the front flaps of the card base, and then stick one strip of patterned paper to each taped flap.
Cut a Collar Opening
Collar openings will help your ugly Christmas sweater cards be recognizable for what they are. To cut a collar opening:
1. Align and center your 2-1/2-inch circle stencil over the top center edge of the card base. Adjust it so that only about 3/4-inch of the circle covers the card base.
TIP: If you don’t have a circle stencil, trace the base of a glass that is about the same width. Alternately, you could cut the collar opening with a 2-1/2-inch circle die and your die cutting machine.
2. With your pencil, trace the part of the circle stencil that covers the card base.
3. Use paper scissors to cut through all layers of the card along the traced lines.
Add Ribbed Edging
Cardigan sweaters typically have ribbed edgings along the bottom and collar areas, as well as on the button placket. You can easily mimic this look on your ugly Christmas sweater cards with the help of a paper crimper. First, tackle the bottom and button placket areas:
1. With your paper trimmer, cut a cardstock strip that is 3/4 inch wide and 12 inches long.
TIP: Your cardstock will lose some length in the crimping, which is why you want it to be a little longer than the area you need to cover.
2. Run the strip through your paper crimper.
TIP: If you don’t have a paper crimper, try accordion folding your cardstock instead.
3. Apply tape runner adhesive to the bottom front edges of the card flaps.
4. Align the crimped cardstock strip with the left and bottom edges of the left card flap, and then press lightly to seal the pieces together.
5. Trim the crimped paper at the right edge of this flap, and then apply the remainder in the same way to bottom of the other flap.
6. After lining the bottom edges of the card flaps, lay the crimped remainder face-down on your work surface so that one of the short sides faces you.
7. Apply tape runner adhesive, from top to bottom, only along the one half of the crimped paper strip.
8. Center the crimped strip, taped side down, along the center opening of the card, and then press to seal it into place. The taped part should adhere to one flap of the card, and the untaped part should just rest over the other flap.
9. Use paper scissors to trim away any excess crimped paper that hangs over the edges of the card.
Now it’s time to finish off the collar. Because this area of the card is rounded, you’ll need a round, crimped piece to work with.
1. With your 3-inch circle template, trace and cut a half circle from cardstock, and then feed this piece through your paper crimper.
2. With your ruler, measure about 3/4 inch down from the center of the collar opening on the card base. Mark a pencil notch at this spot.
3. On the card flaps, apply tape runner adhesive along the edges of the collar opening.
4. Open the card so that it lays flat, face-up, and then rotate it so that the collar opening faces you.
5. Center the crimped half-circle, round side facing the card, along the outside edge of one of the flaps. Be sure to align the the rounded edge of the circle with the pencil notch you made in step 2.
5. Press against the taped area of the flap to stick the crimped circle to it.
6. Flip the card over, and then use the edge of the card flap as a guide to cut away the other half of the crimped piece. Then trim away any excess ribbing around this flap.
7. Align and attach the other half of the crimped piece to the taped area on the front of the other card flap, and then trim away any excess trim.
The last step to making your ugly Christmas sweater cards recognizable is to add some ‘buttons’ down the length of the center ribbing. These can be real buttons, stick-on jewels, or even small punched shapes. Just be sure to center your ‘buttons’ along the ribbing, and space them evenly apart for a realistic look.
Embellish, Embellish, Embellish
Now that you’ve got recognizable sweaters to work with, it’s time to embellish! Remember, when it comes to ugly Christmas sweater cards, anything goes, as long as it’s festive.
Let your inner child run wild with decorating! The gaudier your ugly Christmas sweater cards are, the more smiles and laughs they’ll bring, both to you and their recipients.
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Share Your Thoughts
Will you make and send ugly Christmas sweater cards this Christmas? What fun ways will you embellish them? Are there any questions about making ugly Christmas sweater cards that I can answer for you? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts!
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