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How to Overcome a Creative Block in Card Making: Tips and Tricks

If you’re a card maker, you know that creating beautiful and unique cards can be both rewarding and challenging. There may be times when you experience a creative block, where you struggle to come up with new ideas or feel uninspired. This can be frustrating and discouraging, but fortunately, there are ways to overcome your creative block.

Understanding Creative Blocks

white paper on brown wooden table

As a card maker, you may experience a creative block at some point in your crafting journey. This is a common occurrence and can happen to anyone, regardless of skill level or experience. 

A creative block is a mental obstacle that prevents you from coming up with new ideas or executing existing ones. It can be frustrating and discouraging, but it’s important to remember that it’s temporary and can be overcome.

Understanding the root cause of your creative block is the first step in overcoming it. By identifying the underlying issue, you can take steps to address it and get back to your creative flow. 

This could involve taking a break, seeking inspiration from other sources, or adjusting your mindset. Remember that creativity is a process, and it’s okay to take a step back and regroup when you’re feeling stuck.

Identifying the Cause of Your Block

When you’re experiencing a creative block, it’s important to take a step back and try to identify what’s causing it. This can help you address the root of the problem and help get inspiration to strike.

Here are some common causes of creative blocks in card-making:

  • Lack of inspiration or ideas
  • Feeling overwhelmed or stressed
  • Perfectionism
  • Self-doubt or fear of failure
  • Burnout or fatigue

It’s important, to be honest with yourself about what might be causing your creative block. Take some time to reflect on your feelings and thoughts. Are you feeling stuck because you don’t have any ideas? Are you feeling anxious because you’re worried your cards won’t be good enough?

idea, empty, paper

Once you’ve identified the cause of your block, you can start to address it. For example, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, you might try breaking down your card-making process into smaller, more manageable steps. Or if you’re struggling with perfectionism, you might try giving yourself permission to make mistakes and experiment with different techniques.

When I’m having a creative block while making cards, or any project for that matter, one of the things that help me get inspiration is to walk away from the project and do a little organizing of my supplies.

For example, I’ll see how messy my DSP is and I will pull it out and go through it and reorganize into categories, color, or seasons. If it is part of a suite, I’ll make sure to add that on my label as well.

A lot of times, just simply walking away completely and catching my breathe is exactly what I needed to let more ideas flow. If the weather is nice, I’ll go outside, take a walk, catch up on housework, (if you’re like me once you are submerged into the craft area it’s hard to leave).

Remember, everyone, experiences creative blocks from time to time. The key is to be patient with yourself and keep trying different strategies until you find what works for you.

Exploring New Techniques and Materials

When you’re feeling stuck in a creative rut, it can be helpful to try out new techniques and materials in your card-making.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Experiment with different types of paper. Try using textured, patterned, or specialty papers to add interest and dimension to your cards.
  • Explore different types of ink. Consider using metallic, neon, or pastel inks to create unique effects.
  • Try out new tools. Invest in a new die-cutting machine, embossing tool, or stamp set to expand your creative options.
  • Rediscover your current tools. Haven’t used embossing folders in a while? Try playing with those, using new techniques.
  • Get inspired by other artists. I find Pinterest, YouTube and Facebook is good for this one.
  • Browse online or attend local craft fairs to see what other card makers are creating. Take note of techniques or materials that catch your eye and incorporate them into your own work.
  • Explore adding in different mediums. Watercolors, paints, flocking, foiling… Tim Holtz has a plethora of gadgets and gizmos that creators have used in card making and non-cardmaking!

While in college art classes, I had an instructor encourage us to not only doodle while he was lecturing but give us warm-up exercises. Just like in a sport, your brain sometimes needs to warm up!

flower, abstract, painting

One of those exercises was to draw several lines, say five lines, but not lifting the pencil/pen. Then we timed ourselves for like 5 mins and just do whatever came out, taking the image that you just did for the 5 lines and add to it. Reminds me of something like Zentangles.

Remember, the goal of exploring new techniques and materials is to break out of your comfort zone and try something new. Don’t worry about creating a perfect finished product – the process of experimentation is just as important as the end result.

By incorporating new techniques and materials into your card making, you’ll not only overcome creative block but also expand your skills and develop your own unique style.

Finding Inspiration in Unlikely Places

One of the biggest challenges of card-making is finding inspiration. When you hit a creative block, it can be frustrating and discouraging. However, inspiration can come from the most unlikely places.

Here are a few tips to help you find inspiration:

  • Go for a walk in nature: Take a break from your crafting space and go for a walk in a park or nature trail. The beauty of nature can be a great source of inspiration.
  • Visit a museum or art gallery: Looking at art can help you see things in a new way and spark your creativity.
  • Read a book or watch a movie: Stories can inspire new ideas and themes for your cards.
  • Look at everyday objects: Sometimes inspiration can come from the most mundane objects. Look at items around your house or office and see if they spark any ideas.
  • Try to make swatches, if you haven’t made a swatch before this could be a good time to start.

That last one, swatches, I am finding very helpful in not only inspirational, it always serves to have on hand samples of your ink colors, but you can swatch your cardstock, techniques, and other mediums you may use and not able to have around at your desk.

Blue Paint Brush Set

I tend to start by making or buying tags, I get mine from Hobby Lobby, but I’m starting to make my own with the white cardstock I use. It’s better to use the cardstock that you use regularly so you can see what the results will look like on the substrate that you use.

If you are not familiar with swatching, YouTube has a ton of samples, and Tim Holts has many videos where he swatches in his demos. I have a post coming soon about swatching!

Remember, inspiration can come from anywhere. Keep an open mind and be willing to try new things. You never know where your next great idea will come from!

Collaborating with Other Card Makers

One way to overcome a creative block in card making is to collaborate with other card makers. Collaborating with others can help to stimulate your creativity and inspire new ideas.

Here are a few ways to collaborate with other cardmakers:

  • Join a card-making group or club in your area. This will give you the opportunity to meet other cardmakers, share ideas, and learn new techniques.
  • Attend card-making workshops or classes. This is a great way to learn new techniques and meet other card makers who share your passion for card making.
  • Participate in card-making challenges. Many online communities and social media platforms offer card-making challenges that encourage participants to create cards based on a specific theme or challenge.

Collaborating with other card makers can also help to expand your knowledge and skills. By working with others, you can learn new techniques, discover new materials, and gain new insights into the world of card making.

teamwork, team, gear

Another benefit of collaborating with other card makers is the opportunity to receive feedback and constructive criticism. By sharing your work with others, you can get valuable feedback on your designs and ideas, which can help you to improve your skills and develop new ideas.

Overall, collaborating with other card makers is a great way to overcome a creative block and find new inspiration for your card-making projects. 

Whether you join a local group or participate in online challenges, working with others can help you to grow as a card maker and expand your creativity.

Taking a break and Recharging

When you’re feeling stuck and uninspired, sometimes the best thing you can do is step away from your work for a little while. Taking a break can help clear your mind and give you a fresh perspective when you return to your card-making project.

orange tabby cat sleeping on white textile

Here are a few ideas for ways to take a break and recharge:

  • Go for a walk outside and get some fresh air.
  • Do a quick yoga or stretching routine to get your blood flowing.
  • Listen to some music or a podcast to take your mind off your project.
  • Take a power nap to help refresh your brain.

It’s important to remember that taking a break doesn’t mean giving up on your project. Sometimes stepping away for a little while can help you come up with new ideas and approaches to your work.

When you’re ready to return to your card-making, try starting with a small, manageable task to get yourself back into the creative mindset. For example, you could organize your supplies, sketch out a few rough ideas, or experiment with some new techniques.

Overcoming Fear of Failure

One of the biggest reasons for creative blocks is the fear of failure. It’s easy to get stuck in the mindset that everything you create must be perfect, but this can be incredibly limiting.

Here are a few tips to help you overcome your fear of failure:

pug covered with blanket on bedspread
  • Start small: Rather than trying to tackle a big project right away, start with something small and manageable. This can help build your confidence and get you back into the creative mindset.
  • Experiment: Don’t be afraid to try new things and experiment with different techniques. You never know what might spark your creativity!
  • Embrace imperfection: Remember that not everything you create must be perfect. Sometimes imperfections can add character and charm to your work.
  • Take a break: If you’re feeling stuck, take a break and come back to your project later. Sometimes a fresh perspective can make all the difference.

By following these tips, you can start to overcome your fear of failure and get back to creating beautiful cards. Remember, creativity is all about the process, not just the result!


Cardmaking is a creative process that can be both fulfilling and challenging. Facing a creative block can be frustrating, but there are several techniques you can use to overcome it.

This post has many tips, and some tips tend to lend themselves to more than one section. Use it as a guide to find out what one or all tips help you with your creative block.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. Remember that creative blocks are a natural part of the creative process, and everyone experiences them from time to time. Be patient, take a deep breath, don’t rush yourself, and most importantly have fun! That’s why we started card-making to have fun!

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