One thing I have never done is purchase pre-cut card bases. They’re always the wrong size, colour, shape, weight, texture… etc. I like a nice and sturdy base (usually 300gsm) that will hold it’s shape when you stand it up and hold up when you start adding panels and layers upon layers of foam tape. Making your own card bases is easy, uses just a few tools that we as crafters will usually have in our stash and can save you money that you can spend on expanding your craft stash!
Just a note – this post is not sponsored! I am sharing my knowledge as it has taken me a while to gain it!
What card stock do I use for my card bases?
It’s taken me a while to find some good quality card stock in the colour, weight and texture I prefer. I make A6 size cards (a quarter of an A4 piece of paper) and since I started getting more serious about my card making I’ve found I need larger quantities so I purchase mine in bulk. I use Paper Mill Direct, a UK paper supplier, and their A4 Value White Card 300gsm. They offer two sizes of box (see photo below) though I now go for the larger mega box as it is more cost efficient. Be warned – this box weighs a tonne! The postie and my family members moaned at me for not warning them! The mega box usually has approximately 630 sheets for £41.25 (though if you catch them on their fairly frequent promotions, you’ll save 15% or more). At the non-discount price, these card bases work out at around 3p each!
How do I create my own card bases?
I most commonly use two types of card base, both A6, one horizontal (side folding) and one vertical (top-folding). The top folding is the one I tend to use the most as it photographs better! I’ve made two overview graphics for ease of explanation!
1. Starting with an A4 piece of card, I use a bone folder and my older Fiskar’s paper trimmer to score vertically down the centre line (105mm, though it is handily marked as A6 on the trimmer).
2. Having scored vertically, I cut horizontally down the centre line (148mm) with my Tonic/Tim Holtz Guilloutine. I find this trimmer cuts thicker cardstock more accurately.
3. I then fold along the score line with a bone folder.
The top-folding cards I do in exactly the same way, though I score on the horizontal and cut on the vertical.
Usually I do this in batch, scoring all, cutting all and then folding all. This little batch took me about half an hour to replenish my card base supply for the next six to eight months. Until the Christmas rush comes, at least!
If you don’t have the time, equipment or the patience to cut bases yourself, I know most places will cut the card stock for you so I encourage you to find out.
Tips for the perfect base
- A good quality bone folder makes all the difference on thicker card stock. I’ve used a few cheaper ones and they’ve always ended up marking the card bases or being dented through continuous use. Everyone raves about it but the Teflon Bone Folder really does make all the difference!
- I’ve found a guillotine cutter makes a cleaner cut than my older Fiskars. Also, the thicker card stock tends to blunt the blades pretty rapidly so replacements can get expensive.
- Batching the task so I only have to do this once or maybe twice a year really helps my motivation! Find a rainy day or a time when your muse is not being so creative.
- For those in the UK, Home Bargains has some really handy Fridge tidy containers at a really cheap price that fit A6 card bases perfectly.
If you’ve got any further tips I’d love to know!