Make an Inspirational Card Deck Mini Art Journal

Inspirational Art Journal Card Deck

(This tutorial was previously published in the book Art Journal Art Journey by Nichole Rae, copyright 2014. It is republished here courtesy of and North Light Books.)

Cards Final 1An inspirational card deck is a fun mini project that gives you an opportunity to create fifty-two individual pieces of art. These small cards allow you to explore a smaller working space, and help take the pressure off of creating a large project. This project can be created on a daily basis, designing one to three cards at a time. Here you are able to experiment working in a nonbook-style format. I use this project to focus on positive affirmations through found text. I often keep my finished cards in various places in the house or studio to remind me of the simplicity of how meaningful creating art can be and how holding onto positive affirmations can provide inspiration, strength and motivation throughout my day.
Intention for this project:
Use your supplies to create positive affirmation cards.

Materials list

  • deck of cards with an appealing or decorative background
  • scrapbook paper
  • strong-hold tacky craft glue
  • scissors
  • alphabet stamps
  • decorative image stamps
  • black ink pad
  • Stabilo fine-point pen
  • paintbrush
  • inspirational books or magazines

You could use artist trading cards, uniformly sized greeting cards or blank business cards.

Cards step 1

1. Gather the supplies you have collected for this project and arrange them in your studio space.

•    You can create your own mini studio anywhere in your house. You can use your kitchen table, a desk or a table you have set up just for your art.
•    It is helpful to organize your supplies using boxes, jars, baskets or any other container.
•    I enjoy working on this project in the morning with a cup of coffee and music before I start the rest of the day.

Cards Step 2

2. Prep all of your playing cards with scrapbook paper. Brush a layer of craft glue on the number side of the card.
I like to use the face of the card (the side with the suit and number) for my working surface, leaving the pattern
side blank.

Using sandpaper to roughen the card will provide the texture needed to firmly adhere the paper and glue to the card.

Cards step 3

3. Place the card on a piece of scrapbook paper. Repeat until the paper has as many cards as will fit.
Repeat with the entire deck of cards. Allow the glue to dry and cut out the cards. When beginning this project, you can work with one card at a time or prepare multiple cards at once. Creating one card at a time works well for me.

Make sure to adhere your card to the side of the scrapbook paper that you want to cover, so when you cut out your card, the side you do want to see faces out.

This project is full of freedom. Embark on a creative journey; let your heart guide you and draw focus to words that inspire to you. Let your creativity flow and give yourself space to let the designs evolve. You are creating these cards for you; quiet the voices inside that may be holding you back from creating freely. Fear, perfection and worry can clutter our minds when we are working on something new. Make yourself aware of these voices and quiet them with positive affirmations.
When working on this project you can choose a theme or leave it open to evolve as you create. You can focus on the words, color or ephemera you have collected to determine your card’s theme.


  • Positive words
  • Quotes
  • Affirmations
  • Found poetry

As you find words of inspiration, mix and match the following techniques to create your inspirational card deck.

Cards step 4

4. Cut out small, rectangular pieces of paper with different designs that match the scrapbook paper backgrounds. Glue one to the center of a card or slightly to one side of a card.
Use a large rubber stamp and black ink to add another design element.

Rubber stamps with random designs such as feathers, leaves, birds and flowers add a unique touch to the card.

Cards tip

If you don’t press hard enough with the stamp, you can fill in your letter with a black pen.

Cards step 5

5. Cut out words from a book or use word stickers to add inspirational phrases along the side of the stamp. If you want one word to stand out more than the others, choose it from a sticker book with a colored background or from a book/magazine with colored fonts or paper.
If you do not have the word you are looking for, use your rubber stamp set on your card. This is a fun way to add a unique element to the card. If you make a typo using your rubber stamps, you can cut out a mini piece of paper to cover that area and then stamp again on top of it.

I use a small plate to gather together the cutout words. This helps me keep them organized and to see what words I have to choose from when designing a card.

Positive Affirmations
I am strong
I am confident
I am brave
I am beautiful
I am creative
I am an artist
I am moving forward
I am becoming
I am evolving

Cards step 6

6. Call attention to a particular word by placing it farther away from other words and drawing an arrow to it, or drawing a box around it with a black pen.

Keep these cards around your house, in your car or at work to inspire you, or carry them with you to share with others.
You can attach these cards to your business card with a paperclip, or even frame a few of them together to create a piece of wall art.

Cards Final 2

(This tutorial was previously published in the book Art Journal Art Journey by Nichole Rae, copyright 2014. It is republished here courtesy of and North Light Books.)

Art Journal Art Journey_160Find out more about Art Journal Art Journey: Collage and Storytelling for Honoring Your Creative Process by Nichole Rae here.


Click here to read Nichole Rae’s artist profile.

Visit Nichole Rae at her website.

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