A greeting card insert is something that you tend to see on more traditionally styled handmade cards and you will find them in the more expensive versions bought from stores.
It is an additional sheet of folded paper left blank to write in your own message inside or it may already contain a sentiment. The greeting comes printed on to commercial cards but you can add your own messages to handmade versions with rubber stamps, peel-off stickers and other forms of lettering.
When making your own handmade designs, an insert can provide that extra finishing touch that sets your thoughtful creation apart from other cards. You can buy your own inserts to use if you know the exact size that you need but they are also easy to make yourself too. I explain how you can make your own with some photos to guide you.
Making and Buying Inserts for Greeting Cards
There are a number of ways to get traditional style inserts for your cards:
1) Purchase your own inserts. Some local craft stores sell pre-made card inserts and you can also find them on online stores and venues such as eBay. Sometimes they come with pre-printed sentiments and occasionally they have images too. I once bought some lavender-scented inserts to use from a local store.
2) Use your own computer skills to create them. It is possible to make your own inserts on your computer using just a word processing package such as Word. This of course requires you to have some computer skills but the main benefit is that you are free to type in your very own greetings and most of us already have software like this installed on our computer.
3) Use ready-made computer software. Some greeting card software and other ready-made programs for your computer can make cards and inserts as well. Even if you don’t wish to make cards with this software, it is still useful if you enjoy making inserts. Once you have the hang of inserting text and clip art which most versions come supplied with they are quite easy to use.
I use an older version of Greeting Card Factory and this handily has a huge selection of greetings supplied to choose from which is useful for when I get stuck for words. One hint if you are going to use this or some other software for making inserts, create a thin black border just around the inside edges of the insert so it is obvious where you should cut once it is all printed out.
4) Make your own by hand. This method is probably easier than you might think. It takes me around 5 minutes from start to finish to measure, cut and stick a traditional insert into place. You can use any paper you like although I prefer using lighter shades such as white, cream and pastel with smooth, matt finishes that are easy for you to write on.
How to Make Your Own DIY Card Insert
I only make the insert once my handmade card design is complete. This way I can look at the card and then use that to see what style of paper I am going to use as well as other details including the color and wording.
You can also make the insert in advance and you may prefer to do it that way round. There is no right or wrong method, it is just a case of finding what suits you. The main point to note is that these inserts tend to work better with more traditionally styled cards and not so well with modern ones.
1: Lining Up and Measuring the Paper
Open up your greeting card blank with the inside of it facing you and spread it out flat on to the work surface so you can see its full size. Select the paper that you are going to use for your insert. The paper that you choose should be larger or at least the same size as the card interior.
Line up the top left corner of the paper over the card so the paper corner is exactly over the top. Now pull the paper just slightly down and across to the right so that you expose around 0.5 cm (1/8th inch) of the card blank across the top and the left side. Over on the top right and bottom left of the paper, use a pencil to mark small lines to show where the paper meets the edge of the card. These little marks help you know where to cut the paper.
2: Cutting the Paper to Size
If you have a guillotine or a paper trimmer this makes the task of cutting much easier. Align the pencil marks you made where the blade will cut to make a perfectly sized insert. The other method is to use a ruler to extend the lines down further and then cut them off with scissors.
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3: Sticking the Insert Inside the Card
Once you have cut the paper, fold it in half across the longest side. You can stick it to the right side of the card interior using either double-sided tape or a stick glue such as Pritt stick. You only need a line of adhesive just below the fold where you are going to place the insert.
4: Adding a Greeting
Adding a greeting or message to the insert is very simple. Form smaller sentiments such as Happy Birthday or Thank You, I will often use a peel-off sticker. For longer messages or for a printed look, I will use rubber stamp greetings or rubdown transfers, also known as rub-ons. These are greetings that, as the name suggests, you rub on to your paper using a wooden popsicle stick or an embossing tool. 
5: Rubdown Words and Phrases
The benefit of using rubdowns are that they leave such a professional finish. It looks like laser printing once you've applied the wording. Letraset make handy words and phrases for your card-making but you can also purchase rubdowns from many companies now. Look out for colored varieties and images as well to match up with your handmade card design.
Inserts Finish Handmade Cards off Beautifully
I've been card making for many years so I tend to lean towards making more traditional styles and designs. Inserts work especially well with this and also with special occasion themes such as weddings. I would go as far to say that they should always be inside those types of cards. Inserts can really finish off the interior of your cards professionally.
Image Credits: The introductory image belongs to the author, Marie Williams Johnstone. All other images (unless watermarked with the author’s name) are product photos from Amazon.