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Making Window Cards!

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Card Projects by Sharon M. Reinhart

Making window cards has never been easier. Gone are the days where using a ruler and craft knife are the only option available to accomplish this. With the variety of punches and die templates available today your options are truly endless. A craft knife and ruler are still definitely useful, but they are not the only way to get the job done. Some of us are quite competent and comfortable with using a craft knife, while others cringe at the thought. In this update we will discuss how to best use the different tools that are available. I hope that you will gain some insight and will end up feeling comfortable using any of these tools to create a window card. Let's get started!

Let's begin by discussing the use of a ruler and craft knife to make a window card. In order to make your experience a success, make sure that there is a sharp blade in the craft knife and that you have a metal-edge cork-back ruler as well as a self-healing cutting mat. A metal-edge ruler is the best style to use as craft knives can easily cut into a plastic ruler, and cork backing on the ruler helps to keep it from slipping. The cutting mat ensures that your work surface will be protected but also assists in the gliding aspect while cutting.

To keep it easy, choose a simple window shape such as a square, rectangle, diamond or triangle. I tend to stay away from intricate shapes as they can be more difficult to cut when using a craft knife. That being said, there are swivel blades available, and I have seen, on occasion, people that can cut almost any shape quite perfectly using a craft knife. That, unfortunately, is not a skill I excel at.

Choose a shape and cut a template from heavy cardstock. Place the template onto the card front in the desired location using removable adhesive to hold it in place. To ensure that the window is centered, measure carefully. Lightly trace around the outside of the template with a pencil and then remove the template. Align the ruler with the pencil line and cut along the outside of the line with the craft knife. Often, a couple of light-pressure cuts will give better results than trying to complete the cut in one pass with the knife.

Another option when it comes to cutting out a window with a craft knife is to make use of one of the many beautiful embossing-folder designs that have a plain shape -- a square, rectangle, circle or oval -- within the design. A perfect example of this is Project 1. In this design there is an empty rectangle in the middle of the flourish which could serve as a sentiment box. Or, in this case, the rectangle space can also be made into a window by cutting around the inside of the raised embossed line with a craft knife. This window is now a perfect place for a sentiment that has been stamped on vellum. This beautiful calligraphy style sentiment is from Quietfire Design.

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Project 1

Punches are also an option for creating windows. However, this method does have some drawbacks when it comes to placement unless one is using a long-reach punch or an "anywhere" style of punch. What I often do is to punch a window or windows along one edge or along the bottom of a card. Or, if I am making one larger window, I will punch near the top of a cardstock panel, centering the opening between the top, left and right sides.

One of my favorite methods though, is to use die templates to create windows on cards. Dies are truly versatile tools, allowing for intricate shapes to be created and windows to be generated on any portion of a card or card panel. Another beautiful effect can be achieved when the window is cut and then, with the die still in place, the cardstock is embossed. This leaves a beautiful embossed ridge around the opening, depending on which die template has been used.

Project 2 is a great example of using a die template to create the window, and it also takes it one step further by using a die template to create a decorative frame around the window. To create the frame, die-cut the fancy-edge circle and then use the same size circle die template as was used to create the window to complete the frame. The technique of iris folding has been used in this project where windows or apertures are necessary to accomplish and frame the iris fold.

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Project 2

Die templates are also perfect for creating windows of different shapes. In Project 3 a banner die template was used to make a window. In this project, another benefit of a window is the ability to sandwich the leaf design between the window and the printed cardstock layer behind. This results in an effect of the leaf design being woven over and under the card.

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Project 3

Lastly, die templates were also used in Project 4 to create a window. By using different sizes of a same-shape die, a layered or matted window effect is achieved. This is similar to the windows created in the free project, but it is possibly a little bit simpler here. In this project a scalloped circle was die-cut from a white cardstock panel and then stamped with the floral design. Next, the white panel was adhered to the blue card front, and a slightly smaller circle die template was used to die-cut a plain circle from the blue cardstock. Finally, a green cardstock panel was adhered to the inside front of the card, and an even smaller circle die template was used to cut a circle from the green panel. This method really takes the guesswork out of where to place the dies. I simply centered the very first scalloped circle, and then with each consecutive circle the die was centered within the previously cut shape.

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Project 4

The center sentiment in this card has been adhered using foam mounting tape; this creates a dimensional effect in which the sentiment pops through the die-cut circle window.

As you can see, window cards do not have to look like a typical multi-pane window, although they too have their own application, and there are also a variety of dies available. Windows can be made to look like an actual window by also applying clear acetate behind the opening. Windows on cards are the perfect way to frame and accentuate images, words, fabric or almost anything you can think of. I hope you have been inspired to create something today!

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