How to Use Card Sketches

Use Free Sketches, Layouts, Templates and Patterns

Use Card Sketches to Make Handmade Greeting Cards
Use Card Sketches to Make Handmade Greeting Cards. Kate Pullen

Free card sketches are a great way to find ideas and designs when you are making handmade cards. Card sketches have many other names and are also known as card layouts, card patterns, card templates, and card maps. The basic principle of card sketches is very simple and that is to provide card makers with a design layout for a card. The card sketch will have basic shapes and designs drawn on the layout but no other instructions are given. Therefore you can use your favorite papers, stamps, color schemes and any other embellishments and adornments that you require to create your cards for any occasion. A single card sketch or pattern can be adapted for many different uses, simply by varying the colors of paper or the types of stamps used.

Free Card Sketches

If you are new to using card sketches then you may be interested in the free card sketches that we have listed below. These are a great way to experiment different ways of working with card sketches.

  • Really Easy Card Sketches - simple layouts with printable sentiments
  • Heart Card Sketches - card layouts that are ideal for romantic themed cards

Free card sketches are ideal for beginner card makers as well as for card makers with more experience. Beginners can use the card sketches to create cards without having to worry about the card layout and design. This gives them the opportunity to explore and learn more about different techniques, supplies and how different colors work well together. More experienced card makers enjoy the challenge of working within the constraints of a layout as they can use their own creativity to produce different results. Whatever your experience level, free card sketches can be an interesting way to produce your own handmade cards.

Materials Required

To make cards using card sketches or layouts you require a few basic materials. These materials can be mixed and matched to create your own unique cards that are tailored to specific occasions. Material required include:

  • Printer – if you want to print the sketch then you will need access to a printer. Note: The size of a sketch can be increased or decreased using the sizing option on some printers and photocopiers.
  • Card blanks - use either shop bought card blanks or create your own from folding a piece of cardstock in half. Many card sketches use cards that are created by folding pieces of standard sized paper. See Cards from Standard Size Cardstock for a break down of the different sizes and shapes of cards you can produce from standard sized paper. If you make your own card blanks make sure that you get a good crisp fold for a professional looking finish.
  • Decorative paper – one of the features of card sketches is that the card layouts typically incorporate plenty of opportunity for using decorative papers. These can be shop bought designer papers, scrapbooking paper or make your own decorative papers.
  • Rubber stamps - most card sketches have panels to feature a rubber stamped image. This could be the main focal point of the card or simply part of the decoration. Rubber stamps can also be used to decorate the background papers.
  • Embellishments - many different types of embellishments can be used to make handmade cards from sketches. Some sketches or outlines indicate a particular type or placement, however, there is nothing to stop you from adding embellishments wherever you like!
  • Glue or adhesive tape – the different elements will need to be attached to the card blanks using a suitable adhesive.
  • Other basic crafting supplies

How to Use Free Card Sketches

Card sketches come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Most will have card layouts that match standard sized cards, however, some will be custom sizes or shapes. There are no rules to follow when using card sketches, you can use them simply as a guide or follow the design rigidly. Here are some ways of using card sketches:

  • Use the card sketch as a template - print the sketch onto scrap paper and cut out the different sections as a template for cutting decorative paper, taking into account overlapping elements as required.
  • Use the card sketch as a guide – simply use the sketch as a visual guide. Instead of using the sizes and dimensions of the original, create your own layouts using the key elements shown but with your own interpretation.
  • Mix and match – use elements from different card layouts to create your own custom sketches.


  • Beginners will find it best to look for simple designs where no complicated cutting is required.
  • Keep copies of card sketches and the pieces used as a reference. Take 'before and after' photos. Many people who publish card sketches often run challenges, inviting people to submit photos of their finished cards. Even if you don't want to take part in a formal challenge, it can be interesting to look at the different ways you have used a particular sketch.
  • Check for any usage restrictions if you intend to sell cards made using a sketch or layout. Some designers make their sketches available for personal use only.