5 Cheap and Easy Ways to Add Dimension to Your Cards

5 Cheap and Easy Ways to Add Dimension to Your Cards main article image
Posted on January 26, 2022 by Joon Parker

Give your cards pizzazz by using the following FIVE cheap and easy ways to add dimension. Adding dimension will take your cards from drab to fab! For this article, I made a sympathy card showing all five ways. Your cards can never have enough pizzazz!

Graphics Used

A2 Tulip Card

#1 – Use Layered Images & Matting

Using images with multiple layers will add more dimension than a printed clipart image. The A2 Tulip card SVG pictured above has multiple layers. The tulips have two petal layers and then two layers for the leaves and stems. The bow has three layers. Multiple layers give the opportunity to add dimension by cutting different layers from specialty papers, emboss layers or even pop up some layers with adhesive foam.

Let’s talk about matting, matting is similar to an offset or shadow layer that gives a thin frame or border around the layer it is matting. The matting layer is usually 1/4” (.25”) bigger in height and width than the layer it is matting. For the tulip card above the matting layer would be the fancy shape the tulips are on. Matting helps define layers and breaks up the different patterns being used to help the patterns not blend together or be too busy. For matting use a solid dark color for a light color pattern and use a solid light color for a dark color pattern. If you’d like to learn more about choosing patterned papers and matting you can read my article: Card Making: Choosing Patterned Digital Papers Made Easy.

#2 – Adhesive Foam Dots, Squares or Tape

Adhesive foam is one of the easiest ways to add dimension to your cards. No skill required! Adhesive foam comes in different thicknesses, widths, sizes, shapes and colors. Start out with a cheap pack and then you’ll figure out what your needs are. You can cut adhesive foam to get smaller pieces to use. Don’t forget you can always stack them to give even more dimension. Black adhesive foam is great for cards with darker colors, as white adhesive foam sticks out like a sore thumb on dark colors. 

Before you apply adhesive foam to the layers plan out which layers you want to be popped up. Then you’ll need to decide which thickness of adhesive foam and if you’ll need to stack adhesive foam for some layers. You can apply the adhesive foam to the layers you want them to be popped up, but don’t take off the backing, this way you can do a bit of a mock placement of layers to see if any layers need stacked adhesive foam.

Helpful Tip: Don’t throw away the leftover punched out foam sheet after you’ve used all of the dots. You can use it as well by cutting it to the size needed. 

#3 – Specialty Papers & Cardstock

What is considered specialty papers and cardstock? Think glitter, foil, vellum, shimmer, holographic, embossed and any other that is not the usual. Paper pads that come with printed patterns that also have foil or glitter can be considered a specialty.

Specialties can be used for both layers and matting. From the image above, the silver glitter would be best used to add a bit of sparkle to a layered image or for matting. For example, the bow on the tulips. The kraft and silver foil stripes would be best for a solid shape. For example, the top layer of the fancy shape. The shimmer cardstock can be used for either, because it’s a solid color and it shimmers.

#4 – Doodling

Doodling is easy to do. It can be done with any pen or marker, but the most popular are gel pens. A white gel pen and a black gel pen are great for beginners. Good gel pen brands are Gelly Roll or Signo gel pens, but any gel pens will do. Gel pens can be found at all craft stores. There are also glitter gel pens that can add some shimmer. Use the white gel pen on dark-colored layers and the black gel pen on light-colored layers.

Doodling can be used to add details such as dots in eyes, veins in leaves, random dots of snow or stars, highlight lines, add accents around a frame, draw faux stitching and much more! In the image above I added three white dots to each corner of the card. Before I did that the corners looked a bit bare, now the corners add to the card design. 

#5 – Add Bling

In the picture above you can see the difference and added dimension to the tulip on the left that Spectrum Noir clear glitter brush pen added.

Bling gives added sparkle and shine or pops of color. Think adhesive-backed gems or pearls, sequins, metal findings, enamel dots, glitter or anything you consider bling. Add to the center of flowers or sprinkled around on the card front. A great way to get the sparkle and shimmer without all of the mess of loose glitter is glitter brush pens. The shimmer doesn’t come off once it’s dry. The most popular is Wink of Stella, but there are other brands like Spectrum Noir clear glitter and Scrapbook .com’s clear glitter brush pen. I suggest buying the clear glitter brush pen because it is clear and can be used on any color cardstock or paper and it won’t change the color. 

The image above is a side view to show the dimension that adhesive foam gives. I used several different thicknesses and both black and white. The tulip in the center has the thickest adhesive foam dot. The other two tulips have the same thickness of the adhesive foam, which is half the height of the adhesive foam dot used for the center tulip. Some of the leaves have adhesive foam that is the same thickness as the two side tulips and some leaves don’t have adhesive foam. The sentiment has the thinnest adhesive foam. The leaf below the sentiment purposely has no adhesive foam because I knew that is where I was going to put the sentiment. Then there’s the fancy shape the tulips are on that have the black adhesive foam squares which are the same thickness as the two side tulips. The bow on the stems has adhesive foam, which straddles the stem to keep the bow loops in place.

Happy crafting!

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