Published on June 11th, 2012 | by Julie Finn6
How-to: Make Recycled Paper Business Cards Using Your Sewing Machine
Handmade business cards stand out in a sea of cheap mass-printed Plain Jane cards. However, when you want to make a big impression, at a conference or with a potential agent or in a submission to a major periodical, you want even your handmade business card to stand out in a sea of other thoughtfully-produced cards.
That’s why, even though it’s a little more work to create these particular business cards, made from colorful paper and stamped and embellished, they offer a lot more impact than your ordinary card. And since these business cards are made entirely from recycled paper and cardstock, they’re also eco-friendly and absolutely free, two things that you’re unlikely to be able to boast about the cards you get over at the Fed Ex shop.
The most important decision that you’ll be making about these handmade business cards is the recycled paper. You’ll need three kinds:
- cardstock-weight paper: You can find cardstock-weight paper in cardboard food packaging, record album covers, paperback book covers, some kinds of junk mail, greeting cards, cardboard CD or software sleeves, photographs, or other business cards.
- visually interesting paper for the business card’s front: For this you can use comic book pages, magazine pages, children’s artwork, pages from old books (especially dictionaries or picture books), calendar pages, brochures or pamphlets (never use any image that is copyrighted, and don’t include logos or trademarked images), wrapping paper, or ephemera from your own life (worksheets, planner pages, to-do lists, grocery lists, etc.)
- blank or lightly printed paper for the business card’s back: You’ll need to be able to stamp and read your business information on this side, so stick to the blank sides of printer paper, or unused sections of notebook paper.
Cut all the layers to size, using an existing business card as a template. Cut accurately, since many people own business card holders that won’t work for cards of non-standard sizes.
Make a business card sandwich with the layers: first, the visually-interesting paper facing out, then the cardstock-weight paper in the middle, then the blank paper, also facing out.
You can, of course, simply glue the layers together, but if you sew, then you’ll find it actually much quicker and easier to simply put a sharp needle into your sewing machine and stitch all the layers together. This is a good project to use unusual colors of thread on, since the thread doesn’t have to match the paper, and it’s also a fun time to play with your machine’s novelty stitches, or at least try different widths of zigzag or overcast stitches.
When the business card’s layers are all together, stamp your business information on the back of the card. If your business includes a unique image or logo, you may want to invest in having a custom business card stamp created for you; otherwise, you may find a DIY stamp maker a useful tool. You can also embellish each business card by hand, drawing on a special image or adding extra color, etc.