Luxury Card Finishes: Foil, Leaf and Emboss

Luxury Card Finishes: Foil, Leaf and Emboss main article image
Posted on November 11, 2021 by Natalie Ballard
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Christmas is a fantastic time to pull out all the stops and use those supplies that we might be saving for a big occasion. In this project, I’ve gone all out so you can see each of these in one project. I’ll break down each technique individually before teaching the project as a whole.

Luxury Technique 1: Shaped cards

Shaped or animated cards will always have a luxurious feel as they are outside of the normal. These needn’t be overly complicated, especially if you’re a beginner; you will find it easier to start with a cut file design and work from there while you are picking up the skills.

See this blog post I did on shaped cards as a starting point.

Luxury Technique 2: Special materials

This is an easy option for beginners; start with some mirri, holographic, or glitter card as a matte for your main image. Less is more with these materials when aiming for a luxury finish. You could use them as a shadow layer for a die or for a bold sentiment design too.

If you are using these materials in your electronic cutter, go for options that do not shed and use a fresh sharp blade for the best results.

Luxury Technique 3: Foiling

There are a few different methods of foiling (see this blog post for a rundown on methods) but they all add that extra special finishing touch to your projects. Foiling looks great for sentiments and verses especially when using foiling dies or the fine tip of the We R Memory Keepers Foil Quill.

Foiling sentiments

You can also use foiling for image elements but for larger areas, leafing with work better…

Luxury Technique 4: Leafing

Leafing is ideal for bold areas of metallic pop; you can use double-sided adhesive and your cutter for bolder simpler designs or apply leafing adhesive to your stamp. You can also get sticky embossing powder for this purpose. Always prepare your surface with anti-static powder prior to stamping or applying adhesive so your foil only sticks where you want it.

Luxury Technique 5: Embossing

This is where we use pressure to manipulate the surface of the card or paper you are working with. You can do this with pre-bought folders and die-cutting machines, or create your own with your cutter. If you don’t have a die-cutting machine, you can also purchase a pre-embossed card to use in your projects. This can be a more cost-effective option if you don’t plan on using this technique often.

Close up of embossing with inking to highlight the texture

Luxury Technique 6: Minimal colour scheme

Another common feature in luxury cards is a minimal colour scheme; often featuring one metallic and one or two colours only. These can be your more traditional black & gold, gold red and green, etc. More contemporary options for 2021 include jewel colours and pinks & greys.

The Main Project

  1. Join two adaptables or similar cards so that you can fold them into three equal squares.
  2. Fold the two outer squares in half vertically, so you get an accordion-style gatefold card.
  3. Create a folding structure using a rectangle with a width equal to half of your square + 2cm. Score this down the middle and at 1cm from each end. The height can match your card or be much shorter depending on your chosen design.
    The mechanism being scored
  4. This then adheres so the folded centre line lines up with the fold in the gatefold centre. Use a good quality tape adhesive as this will be a moving part.
    Aligning the piece fold to fold
  5. Emboss a decorative panel measuring the same as the square using an embossing folder (or make one of your own using your cutter). Background or pattern designs work best for this step.
  6. Slightly trim the edges of this decorative panel. Also, now add two slits to house your mechanism. Measure this on your card for accuracy and your cut should be 1mm wide to allow the mechanism to move.
  7. Next, create decorative embossed panels for the front of your card. I used a scene-based design which I highlighted with a touch of inking. You could use a metallic ink for this if you have one. Trim in half and matte onto glitter card.
    The embossed panels
  8. Foil and cut your sentiment panels using a decorative cut file to which you can add your desired sentiment(s). You can cut shadow layers from glitter card also.
  9. Apply double-sided adhesive to some plain card. Die-cut or cut out your decorative elements.
  10. Peel the backing paper from your shapes and apply your leafing sheets or flakes. Either are a great option for this project and are readily available from art supply stores.
  11. Assemble the card using double-sided tape to avoid bulking out your card too much.
  12. Bonus (not shown): Once assembled, we are ready for the finishing touches. I decided to tie the card closed with a “bow”. Cut a strip of card matching the width of your opened card. Adhere the ends while valley folding at the gatefold centre. Mountain fold at ¼ and ¾ of the open space. Wrap another bit of strip around the centre and add one-half of a Velcro dot. Cut the other half of the dot in half and apply it inside the bow so it can still open when pulled.

The finished card


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