5 Tips Designers Know About Victorian Inspired Cards

I needed to make a bunch of cards for craft fair season last night. So what did I do? Made ONE super-fancy Christmas card! Ha!! Oh well… sometimes you just have to go where the mojo leads, right?

Here's my one super-fancy, over-the-top holiday card, anyway! Let's dissect it and learn 5 top designer tricks for getting the feel of Victorian inspiration on your cards.

Dashing Deer detailed thinlets sizzix Stampin Up christmas holiday card victorian tufted embossing folder

Designer Tip #1: Victorians loved layers of details. A lady easily wore 10-12 layers of clothing from the skin out by the time she was dressed for the day. They would layer tablecloths and mantel scarves for more lushness. Paintings were hung from floor to ceiling. Overabundance meant you were well-to do. Our sample card has 10 layers not including the card base! And the layers aren't simple cardstock, either. They are a wide variety of different textures and colors so that each one demands the attention it is due. Detail was the name of the game for these guys.

Designer Tip #2: Victorians loved their textiles. This is the era of floor-to-ceiling drapery that puddled on the floor and was held back with giant tasseled ropes. The Tufted embossing folder is perfect for this style of card because everything was tufted and tassled or skirted and shirred in that era. Adding not one but two kinds of ribbon–both of them shimmering with metallic threads–is a no-brainer. Ruching is also a great technique to add a lot of textile texture to a card. Velvet, satin, brocade, tulle–these are all perfect textures for the look.

Dashijng deer detailed thinlets holiday christmas cards cardmaking stampin up gold reindeer

Designer Tip #3: Victorians weren't afraid to flaunt it. The bolder, the better. Gold foil, gold berry sprays, gold brad, gold pearls–and all against elegant black and jewel tones to make it pop. Just like a fancy dress ball, everything is on display. It wasn't uncommon for society women to wear a choker, a necklace, drop earrings, multiple rings, two bracelets AND a brooch, all at once. When you think you're done, add at LEAST two more layers–and then shimmer spray or gild the life out of the whole thing!

Designer Tip #4: Victorians loved sentiment. From their over-the-top mourning rituals to poetry tomes and even their jewelry, they weren't afraid to wear their emotions on their sleeve. The sample card doesn't contain a flowery sentiment (it could be inside) but the elaborate framing of a portrait-style centerpiece, using a forestry theme of woodsy berries and vines, is very much up their alley. Florals were used to send messages based on their meanings. Images of cherubs, lovers, children, baby animals and angels are perfect stamp choices for this look.

Dashing Deer detailed thinlets sizzix Stampin Up christmas holiday card victorian tufted gold embossing folder

Designer Tip 5: Modify Victorian for a modern audience. The era can be a bit much for most people, so I kept the color scheme down to one color plus neutrals. The addition of a nest of gold thread also pulls focus to the deer image, which is actually pretty simple. That allows the filigree and berries and everything else to become background to the focal point. The busier the card is, the more clean the focus point needs to be. Very few people actually enjoy true Victorian style in all its gaudy splendor, so tame it with these tips so your project can be appreciated for the tiny work of art it truly is.

I hope you've enjoyed these tricks from my exclusive 5 Tips Designers Know series! If you liked it, click here to visit the blog category and read more articles. I love putting my background in design to good use helping stampers get the looks they are going for. Thanks for visiting!

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5 thoughts on “5 Tips Designers Know About Victorian Inspired Cards”

  1. Thanks for the tips, Lyssa. I found them to be interesting, although it is not likely that I will make such a beautiful, fancy, over-the-top card!

  2. What an awesome article! This detailed card is the kind I make on a regular basis – I had to laugh when I read that you set out to make several and only made one. Happens to me all the time! And I do love the Victorian opulence and style. I really enjoyed reading the reasons behind their techniques and discovering why I like it. Thank you!


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