It's February 12. Two days until Valentine's Day. When it comes to greeting cards, maybe you share the sentiments of Tom, the protagonist from the 2009 motion picture "500 Days of Summer." In a cathartic juncture, he says to his boss, the head of the greeting card company where he works as a writer, "This is lies. We are liars. Think about it. Why do people buy cards? It's not because they want to say how they feel. People buy cards because they can't say how they feel or are afraid to. And we provide the service that let's them off the hook. You know what? I say to hell with it. Let's level with America. Or at least let them speak for themselves. Right?"
Right. Or maybe you don't buy Tom's spiel. Maybe you're just a conscious citizen looking for alternative ways to express your interpretation of this February 14 without the monetary and environmental costs. (I think I'm a little bit of both.)
Whatever or whoever your reason this Valentine's Day, homemade greeting cards are a creative way to share a sincere message with those you care about, and one more way to live a little more Earth friendly. In the steps below, I've provided some tips on how to make an interesting card.
Step one: GATHER YOUR MATERIALS
In the picture above, I gathered a few cards that I've received on various holidays in the past as well as some pages I tore out of some magazines. Other material ideas are candy wrappers, stickers, pictures, colorful envelopes and old bookmarks. Look around your house, and don't limit yourself! Even Kleenex boxes have designs on them.
Finally, it's important to have a base for your card. You can buy one, but I prefer to always reuse if I can. The card I chose to reuse as my base is ideal because the center part can be taken out, leaving an open canvas.
Step two: MAKE A PLAN
Generally, I find that planning ahead makes the whole process smoother and produces a neater card. If you get stuck here, it's OK. Oftentimes, I get inspiration from the very cards and other materials I'm cutting apart. This goes for both design and content. Even if it doesn't rhyme or sound eloquent, a genuine card is usually the most profound.
Step three: ASSEMBLY
Now it's time to put it all together: my favorite part. The most important tip to remember here is to let your glue dry before moving on, which takes patience. A neat card is worth it.
Below are some pictures of my finished, one-of-a-kind, recycled Valentine's Day card. I kept it simple and left the inside blank, so that I can write a personal message. I hope you have as much fun as I did!
Photos: Maria Martinez