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be mine tools and tricks for DIY Valentine's Day cards  
by Meredith Keller
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Everyone refers to Valentine's Day as the Hallmark holiday. With that in mind the quintessential Valentine's Day gift would have to be a card. So why are all the offerings from Hallmark so disappointing? I used to spend hours in the card section looking for a card with even a hint of character -- something that fit the personality of me and the card's recipient. With the time I spent wandering the aisles of my local drug store I could have been at home, making a card that would surpass anything store-bought.

Making the perfect card might sound a little intimidating but with a few hints, the right tools and a bit of practice you'll be able to create a masterpiece in no time.

the tools
Cardstock  | Using a nice heavy base will give your handmade card a more professional look, not to mention make it more durable. Your local craft store is sure to supply card stock, and you might even be able to find it at a place like Target or an office supply store. Alternatively, if you want to save cash, look for a blank card in the dollar store. Even if it has something hideous on the front, that's okay; no one will know by the time you're done decorating it.

Adhesive  | I recommend having double-sided tape and a paste stick on hand. Both work nicely on paper without causing wrinkling and bubbling. The good old-fashioned white stuff you used in kindergarten might come into play depending on your materials, but you'll want to use it very sparingly and never to secure paper.

Decorative paper  | Get your hands on some pretty paper. The scrapbooking aisle of a Target or craft store will offer a good selection; in bigger cities, you might also have access to specialty paper stores, which stock an even more exciting range of options (like Paper Source, which has shops scattered around the country). For those operating on a shoestring budget, scour for scraps of cool paper in old magazines that you have lying around, or make use of leftover gift-wrap. Wherever you snag your materials, as you choose papers, think about what patterns and colors might look nice together as well as the overall style you are trying to achieve. Is this card going to your boyfriend? If so, you'll probably want to skip the frills and pastels in favor of simple patterns in more traditionally masculine colors, like reds and maroons. If you're making something for your mom, on the other hand, peach and pink shades might be perfectly appropriate.

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