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Card stock for cardmaking and other craft uses comes in a wide variety of textures and colors.

Cardmaking is the craft of handmaking greeting cards. Many people with interests in allied crafts such as scrapbooking and stamping have begun to use their skills to start making handmade cards. This has contributed to cardmaking becoming a popular hobby.

Publishers have also been quick to cash in on the popularity in card making, with several monthly magazines in the US and UK devoted to the topic. There have also been over 150 books on handmade cards published (source: Amazon.com).

Traditional high street stores have begun to devote an increasing amount of their floorspace to handmade cards. Handmade products are now being seen by retailers as a way to increase margins, and handmade cards are no exception. This is particularly the case as mass produced printed greeting cards have been faced with competition from electronic greeting cards. Over seven billion greeting cards were sent in the US alone last year; greeting cards are a multi-billion dollar business.

In contrast, hundreds of small businesses have been setup by avid crafters keen to make a return on their cardmaking efforts. Many of these are taking advantages of the low setup costs of web-based selling and the wide customer-base of auction sites like eBay. Many others continue to sell their creations at craft fairs, markets and fêtes. Others use their cardmaking skills to turn a profit in the wedding planning market making handmade wedding invitations and favors.

History

The custom of sending greeting cards can be traced back to the ancient Chinese, who exchanged messages of good will to celebrate the New Year, and to the early Egyptians, who conveyed their greetings on papyrus scrolls.

By the early 1400s, handmade paper greeting cards were being exchanged in Europe. The Germans are known to have printed New Year's greetings from woodcuts as early as 1400, and handmade paper Valentines were being exchanged in various parts of Europe in the early to mid-1400s.

However, by the 1850s, the greeting card had been transformed from a relatively expensive, handmade and hand-delivered gift to a popular and affordable means of personal communication, due largely to advances in printing and mechanization.

This trend continued, followed by new trends like Christmas cards, the first of which appeared in published form in London in 1843 when Sir Henry Cole hired artist John Calcott Horsley to design a holiday card that he could send to his friends and acquaintances. Technical developments like color lithography in 1930 propelled the manufactured greeting card industry forward.

During the 1980s, the trend began to turn, with consumers increasing looking for greeting cards that were differentiated from the standard offering. In the late 1990s the market was clearly beginning to separate in to three different segments:

  • handmade and premium cards
  • mass-manufactured cards
  • e-cards

See also

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