Cardmaking Glossary

Because there are always new people finding OWH, and we are all learning new techniques all the time, we thought it would be a good idea to have a place for definitions of terms that we use, and answers to questions that come up frequently.  This also serves as a kind of index for tutorials, important  posts and videos.  This page will be updated regularly, and if you have any suggestions for additions, please write kate@operationwritehome.org.



A2 - This is the preferred size for OWH cards.  An A2 card is 4.25" by 5.5" when folded.  Read more.

Adhesives - A substance used to adhere things together.  Types of adhesive include glue, glue sticks, hot glue, tape, sticky strip, glue dots, and dimensional foam adhesive.  It is important to choose the right adhesive for your embellishments, and use enough adhesive to securely hold your card together.  Insufficient adhesive (particularly when using glue sticks) is one of the biggest reasons cards end up in the card hospital.   Tutorial 1, Tutorial 2.

AnyHero cards - Most of the cards we make for OWH are meant for our heroes to write home to their loved ones.  AnyHero cards and letters are ones we write to them.  Letters are distributed to those who rarely get mail, or to those most in need of encouragement the day the box arrives.  Read moreForum Discussions. Video. Coloring Pages.

ATG - ATG stands for Adhesive Transfer Gun.  It's a tool that dispenses double-sided adhesive. 

Banners, Badges and Blinkies - Banners,  Badges and Blinkies are graphics you can use to decorate your blog and let people know you support OWH.  Stars & Stamps banners, OWH Badges

Blog - A blog or weblog is your own spot on the internet where you can share whatever you like.  Many OWHers have blogs hosted on Blogger8 Ways to Trick Out Your Blog, Blog Tips for Beginners. Blogger Basics.

Blog Hop - A Blog Hop is an online event during which a group of bloggers post links to each other's posts.  The reader starts at the first post and then hops from post to post using the links provided.  OWH Blog Hops include a featured card type, information about OWH, and inspiring stories of bloggers' personal experiences.  Blog Hop Posts

Blog Skip - A Blog Skip is like a Blog Hop, but it is limited to a small number of posters who are posting on a theme.  Blog Skip Posts

Blog Tour - A Blog Tour is a similar event, but participants do not link to each other's posts.  Instead, links are posted on one central post, and bloggers can participate multiple times or without signing up in advance. 

Bone Folder - A flat tool used for scoring and folding paper.

Bow - Tying a cute bow on a card can sometimes be a challenge. The Fork Method

Brayer - A brayer is like a paint roller for ink.  Brayer Basics.

Burnish - Burnish means to rub or smooth.  It's often used in the context of  using adhesives. When using an adhesive like glue or glue stick, it is important to rub or press to set the adhesive and keep the parts from coming apart.

Calendar - Our events calendar lists cardmaking parties and other events being held across the nation.

CAPTCHA - Stands for "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart."  CAPTCHA is available on some blogs as a test to make sure an actual person is posting a comment, and not an automated spam program.  Usually the test is a distorted picture of a word that must be typed by the commenter before the comment will be accepted. Read more.

Card Crops and Parties - Card crops and parties are a fun way to share OWH with friends or community members.  People of any number can gather to make cards and write AnyHero letters. Tutorial - Host a Cardmaking PartyTen Tips for a Community OWH Event.  More Tips, Read moreMaking Cards with Kids.

Card Hospital - The card hospital is the place where cards go when they have to be fixed in some way before being ready to go to our heroes.  To keep your cards out of the hospital, check out the Newbie Q&A and  Ten Ways to Avoid the Card Hospital

Cards for Heroes - This was the previous name of Operation Write Home.  Read more about the name change.

Cardstock - The foundation of our cards, cardstock is thicker than writing paper and comes in a variety of colors and textures.  Cardstock 101 Tutorial, Light Weight Cardstock

CAS - Abbreviation for Clean and Simple.

CASE - Stands for "Copy and Share Everything."  The best inspiration for cardmaking comes from admiring other people's cards. Sometimes also called "scraplifting."  CASE Explanation and Challenge

CHA - Craft and Hobby Association.  Among other things, CHA hosts an annual conference and  trade show.

Chalk - Chalk is not just for chalkboards or sidewalks anymore.  It can be used to color stamped or digital images, and add depth, detail, or distressing to your cards.  Tutorial

Coloring - Our cardmakers use a variety of mediums for coloring stamped or digital images. Some of these include chalk, colored pencils, watercolor pencils, markers, and copic markers.  Basic Shading Tutorial, Chalk Tutorial, Custom Embellishig ad Coloring Tips, Tulip Trio Tutorial,

Copic Markers - Copic is a brand of alcohol-based markers that are popular with stampers because they blend easily and come in a wide variety of colors. Coloring Video.

Copyrights - Please make certain you have proper permission to use someone's work of art before using it on your cards.  On Respecting Copyrights

Crimp - A crimper is a tool that operates like a clothes wringer, and wrinkles paper into a corrugated texture.  Crimped Leaves Tutorial

Crop - In photography, crop means to cut away the unwanted part of a photo.  Scrapbookers also use the word crop when cutting or punching pictures for albums.   For this reason, gatherings or parties where people come together to scrap are also called crops.    

CS  - Abbreviation for Cardstock.

Design - Creating a beautiful card is more than just sticking images on cardstock. OWH's Sketch Challenges are great inspiration for design ideas. See also Crafting for a Cause including Basic Design for Non-Crafters.

Die Cut - An image that has been cut or punched out of paper, chipboard or fabric into a desired shape.  Layering With Your Cricut Machine.

Digi StampingMany cardmakers use digital images rather than rubber stamps for their cards.    Poll, Using Microsoft Word Tutorial, Digi Stamps

Distressing - Distressing adds an aged or weathered look. There are many distressing techniques, including sanding, sponging, and tearing or roughing edges.  Video tutorial, Tutorial -Distressing.

DP or DSP - Abbreviation for Designer Paper or Designer Series Paper.

DT - Abbreviation for Design Team.

DTP - Abbreviation for Direct to Paper, meaning the ink is applied directly to the paper without using a stamp.

Embellishment - Decorative elements added to cards, such as flowers, ribbons, or brads. Please be careful that your embellishments have sufficient adhesive.  Also, avoid "lumpy" cards that might get torn up in delivery. Read more.

Embossing or Dry Embossing - Creating a raised pattern or image on paper by either rubbing with a stylus or using a tool such as a Cuttlebug or Big Shot.   Debossing is the reverse, where the image is the indented portion.  Embossed Foil Tutorial. Embossed Flower Card.


Envelopes - OWH purchases A2 envelopes in bulk, so it is not necessary to send envelopes for A2 sized cards.  Please provide envelopes for any cards that are not size A2.  Handmade envelopes are acceptable, but please be sure they are made with paper that is strong enough to travel back to the states from Iraq or Afghanistan.  Also if sending handmade envelopes, please be sure the adhesive is already attached, as our Heroes will not have access to adhesives.  All About Envelopes

Extreme Card Makeover - A regular feature of the OWH TV show.  During this segment, Sandy shows three versions of the same card, one very basic, one dressed up a bit, and one "tricked out" with more layers, embellishments, etc.  This segment is meant to give us ideas of how we can add dimension and interest to our cards.

Eyelet - A small metal ring, designed to reinforce a hole in paper or fabric.  Eyelets can also be used as a decorative element.

Flickr - Flickr is a photo-sharing website.  Cardmakers who do not have blogs of their own can use a site such as Flickr to share photos of their OWH cards, and enter challenges.  Tutorial - Using Flickr

Flyers - Printable flyers for advertising your OWH event.

Fold - The most common way to make an A2 card is to cut an 8-1/2"x11" piece of cardstock in half and then fold it in half again.  There are several other ways to fold cards or decorative elements for cards.  Dahlia FoldEasel CardGate Fold, Heart Doily PocketRecipe Card,  Trifold Shutter Card, Zig Zag Fold, Pocket Fold, Correspondence Fold, Stair-Step Fold, Z Fold.

Glitter - Do not use glitter on OWH cards.  This is a safety issue for our heroes, because glitter flakes off and gets everywhere and makes our heroes visible to night-vision equipment. The Dangers of GlitterMore information about glitter. What about Stickles?

Guidelines - Everything you need to know about making cards for OWH.  See also  Guidelines Brochure, Important Cardmaking Tips/Requests

Halloween Cards - Please do not use skulls or death imagery on cards for OWH.  Read more.

Heat Embossing - A process in which a quick-melting powder is heated to create a raised design on paper or cardstock.  Heat Embossing TutorialHeat Embossing Challenge. Faux Snake Skin Tutorial, Cracked Glass Tutorial.

Heroes - Our heroes are the reason OWH exists!  Why do we say "Hero" instead of "Soldier?"  The word soldier applies to people in the Army, but OWH sends cards people in all branches of service.  And they are all heroes!

Ink - For stamping, ink comes in a variety of types.  Dye or Classic ink is fast drying for a crisp image. Craft or Pigment ink is thicker and dries more slowly.  Distressing ink has less pigment and is designed to be easily blended and give paper an aged look.

Inlinkz - Inlinkz is an online service OWH uses so our cardmakers can submit links to photos of  their cards for challenges or tutorials.  Tips for Using Inlinkz  (See also Flickr, above)

Light Box -A light box is a tool used for viewing or tracing images.  Tutorial

Liners - Often our heroes only have a pencil to write with, so it's important to put light-colored liners inside cards made with dark cardstock.  If dark cards are sent to our shippers without liners, they will have to visit the Card Hospital.  Read more.

Masking -Using paper to cover a portion of the card and keep it from being inked. Tutorial 1, Tutorial 2, Tutorial 3

Multiples - It is fine to make multiple cards with the same design.  The only time it becomes a problem is with holiday cards.  If you are making more than thirty holiday cards of the same design, please allow at least eight weeks before the deadline for that holiday to allow the shippers time to divide the cards into multiple shipments.  Otherwise your cards will have to wait to be sent next year.  Read More.

New Cardmakers - Welcome to the OWH family!  Please visit our Welcome page.  Also check the Newbie Q&A and the posts that are tagged Cardmaker Tips. Packaging Video.

Origami - Origami is the art of folding paper into different objects. Shirt Fold, Necktie Card.

OWH Stamp -We stamp the backs of our cards with the OWH logo, to let our heroes and their family members know the card has come from OWH.  You can purchase your own OWH stamp to stamp your cards before sending them in. You can also print labels and adhere them to the backs of your cards.  This will save extra work for our shippers. Custom OWH StampsBuy Your OWH Stamp.  Read more.

OWH TV - Sandy is now hosting weekly tv shows on Ustream.tv.    Stars & Stamps OWH TV posts. Homefront Blog OWH TV posts.

Packing Slip - Please include a packing slip when sending cards to OWH.  This helps our shippers keep records of cards that are received, and lets them know how to contact you to let you know your cards have arrived.

Paper Piecing - Using cut shapes of paper to create or enhance a picture.  Tutorial and Challenge

Paper Piercing - Creating a pattern in paper or cardstock with pierced holes.  Tutorial.

Patches - OWH has a limited number of patches to sell as a fundraiser.  Read more.


Photographs - A few notes about using photographs on cards.

Poster - An 11x17 poster to print and use for your OWH event.

PP - Abbreviation for Patterned Paper.

Press Coverage - Information for Media personnel and recent coverage of OWH in the media can be found on our Press Page.

Punches -Punches are tools that cut paper into decorative shapes. Punches 101,  Paper Pansies Tutorial. Paper Punch People Tutorial, Paper Punch People - Part II.

QR Code - A QR code (Quick Response code) is a two-dimensional code that is readable by smart phones.  QR codes for the OWH web pages can be found here.

Quilling - Creating decorative designs using rolled strips of paper. 

Ribbon - Ribbon comes in a variety of textures and widths and is often used as an embellishment on cards.  Some types of ribbon are:  brocade, chiffon, grosgrain, satin, and taffeta.  Ribbon Ruffle TutorialRibbon Tying Tutorial

Scoring - Pressing a groove into paper, usually to make it easier to fold.  Tutorial

Seminars - OWH brings you Saturday Seminars on a variety of design principles to improve our card making skills.  Saturday Seminar posts.

Sentiments - The best sentiments for OWH cards include thinking of you/hello, love you, miss you, birthday, thank you, and major holidays. Please do not hand write sentiments in or on your cards. Sentiments about Sentiments

Shippers - Sandy, Dixie and Kris!  These ladies receive cards from OWH cardmakers, sort them and make sure they are stamped on the backs and ready to go, then put them in boxes and send them to our deployed heroes. They communicate with cardmakers and heroes and post Monday Mailroom and Thankful Thursday posts to let everyone know how many cards are coming and going.   Here is a list of the shippers' addressesHere is a video showing how cards are sorted and shipped.

Sketch - A sketch is a suggested design for a card, providing general elements and their placement on a card. Many cardmakers like to keep a sketchbook for inspiration and handy reference.  Using Card Sketches TutorialChallenges, Sketch Collection, Video Tutorials -  Double Embellishment Sketch, Simple Circle Sketch

Sneeze - (Bless you!) "Sticker Sneeze" or "Stamp Sneeze" describes cards with random images without design or organization. How to fix a sneeze card.

Stampamajig - A Stampamajig is a tool that allows you to line up your rubber stamps so you can precisely place the image.   Stamplighting Using a Stampamajig

Stickles - Stickles is a paint product with glitter mixed in it.  OWH doesn't accept cards with glitter on them, but one of our most frequent questions is whether Stickles is ok.  Here's the answer.

Store-Bought Cards - Please only donate handmade cards for use by our heroes.  Store-bought cards can be used for AnyHero mail.  Read more.

Stump Sandy - A regular feature of the OWH TV show, during this segment, Sandy randomly chooses three designer papers submitted by cardmakers, and combines them on the same card.

The Tuck - Our Heroes don't always have a place to display their cards, so sometimes they are spread out across a vehicle or bed so people can look through them.  We want to make sure every card has an envelope, so we tuck each card into an envelope by inserting the back of the card into the envelope and letting the front of the card hang out.  See the tuck here.  You can help our shippers by tucking your cards into envelopes before sending them, but only tuck the cards if the backs are stamped and dark cards already have liners.

Tuesday Tutorial - You can find a list of previous tutorial topics on the Cardmaking Resources page of the OWH blog, or by clicking the Tutorial tag on the S&S blog.

Unmounted Stamps - Most rubber stamps are sold already mounted on a wooden base.  Unmounted stamps are meant to be used with an acrylic block.  Tutorial - Cling Mount with Unmounted Stamps, Un-mounting Rubber Stamps.

Vellum - Semi translucent paper similar to parchment. Stamping 101 - Velum

Watermark - In the context of online photographs, a watermark is a statement of your name or web address to let viewers know that the card was created by you.  Tutorial

Read more...

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