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Have you ever purchased greeting cards or stationery and found that, after writing on all the sheets of paper or sending out all the cards, you had leftover envelopes? Manufacturers very helpfully include one or two envelopes in case you make an error. But chances are good that you'll have envelopes remaining in the box with no card to go inside them.

This project is the perfect solution to making beautiful and practical use of any leftover envelopes you have. The principle of making your own cards is nothing new, of course, but here is a foolproof way to make professional-looking cards. The secret is using illustrations that have been transferred to iron-on transfer paper. Interestingly enough, iron-on transfer paper is perfect for printing on fabric and paper. It is important that the paper you use have some rag content and be of a heavy enough weight to withstand the heat of the iron without curling or scorching when transferring the illustration to the paper. But with some care, you will get perfect prints every time.

And with a little imagination, you can make greeting cards for any occasion. The illustrations featured in the cards came from "The Universal Penman." The book of fabulous engravings is available by writing Dover Books.

Of course, you can choose any other images you prefer. The important thing to remember is to go to your local copy store and have them color copy the illustrations onto the iron-on transfer paper in a mirror image. In that way, you will see the illustrations in exactly the same orientation as they appear in the original. This is particularly important when you are copying illustrations with words.

When you are ready to transfer the image to the paper, pay close attention to the following: Use a dry iron set to hot. Place the image face-down on the paper in the position you desire. Place the hot iron on the image, moving the iron in circles to prevent scorching the paper. The heat from the iron will transfer the ink and print the image, but you need to peel off the backing from the iron-on paper to see the results. As the heat releases the backing paper, pick up a corner and keep moving the hot iron until the backing paper peels away.

If all of the paper doesn't peel off, beware. Place a clean strip or piece of paper over the exposed ink, and move the iron over the backing paper that remains. The heat should allow you to peel the rest of the paper away. Then lift off the protective strip of paper and discard.

Once you have your iron-on transfer images, the next step is the making of the card, a simple case of measuring your envelope and cutting the folded heavy stock colored paper and the liner paper to fit the envelope. Take the measurements of your envelope and then reduce them by 1/8 inch all around to accommodate the thickness of the papers so that they can all slide into the envelope.

Estimated working time: 30 minutes

Estimated cost: $4.30 (to make three or four cards)

Sources: Business envelope, 10 cents ($1.59 for 50 envelopes); heavy stock paper in mustard, 8 inches wide by 9 1/4 inches high, 16 cents (pad with 40 sheets of 65-pound paper, each sheet measuring 12 by 18 inches, $6.50); liner paper in white, 8 inches wide by 9 1/4 inches high, 5 cents; 1/2 yard string in yellow, 10 cents; sharp darning needle, 20 cents; iron-on transfer paper, $1.50 (enough for six to eight images); X-acto knife, 89 cents; metal edge ruler, $1.29; pencil, 10 cents.


To make and print one greeting card with a cut-out window, you will need:

For card to fit business envelope:

Business envelope

Heavy stock paper in mustard or other color, as desired, 8 inches wide by 9 1/4 inches high

Liner paper in white, 8 inches wide by 9 1/4 inches high

1/2 yard string in yellow

Sharp darning needle

Iron-on transfer paper


X-acto knife

Metal edge ruler




1. Lay rectangle of mustard-color paper on protected work surface.

2. Fold paper in half lengthwise, so card measures 4 1/8 inches wide by 9 1/4 inches high, pressing fold down with hand.

3. Open card and lay flat.

4. To mark cut-out window (which measures 1 1/2 inches wide by 3 inches high), use pencil to lightly mark all sides of window on right panel, measuring and marking as follows: bottom border 1 inch from bottom edge; right border, 1 inch from right-hand edge; side border, 1 5/8 inches from side fold; and top border, 5 1/4 inches from top edge.

5. Cut out window along marked lines, using X-acto knife and ruler. Pop out cut-out window and discard.

6. To prepare liner, fold in half lengthwise.

7. To prepare iron-on transfer, go to a local copy store and ask the clerk to color copy the chosen illustration in a mirror image on the transfer paper.

8. Cut out iron-on transfer image from larger sheet, leaving 1/8 inch all around.

9. Lay card liner flat on protected work surface.

10 Lay card over liner, all edges even.

11 Use pencil to sketch lightly position of cut-out window.

12 Lay card aside.

13. Turn iron-on transfer image to wrong side and position within marked lines of cut-out window on liner.

14. To print image on liner paper, follow package directions to carefully iron image with hot iron.

15. Slowly peel up backing on iron-on transfer to reveal printed image; let print cool to set ink.

16. To finish card, position liner inside card so that image shows through window.

17. Thread needle with yellow string, knotting one end.

18. Open card so that folds align and mustard-colored paper is facing up.

19. Poke needle down into fold and through card and liner 3 inches from one edge.

20. Flip card over and poke needle down into fold of liner, 3 inches from opposite edge.

21. Pull string and center it across card.

22. Pull string taut and tie in knot, then bow.

23. Cut ends, then knot to secure.

24. Add personal messages, then slip into envelope and send.

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