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Letter stamps are an easy way to create homemade thank you notes or cards for any occasion. (Republican Eagle photo by Danielle Killey)
Letter stamps are an easy way to create homemade thank you notes or cards for any occasion. (Republican Eagle photo by Danielle Killey)
DIY: Thank you notes
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Red Wing, 55066
Red Wing Minnesota 2760 North Service Drive / P.O. Box 15 55066

Summer is the season for picnics, parades, pools ... and parties.

Graduation celebrations, showers and weddings are filling up calendars, and there are many details to plan -- the food, drinks and decorations. But when the cake is gone and the wrapper paper torn off the presents, it is time to say thanks to all the guests who made the party special.

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Homemade thank you cards can be a fun and creative way to show your friends and family that you appreciate the gifts they gave and taking the time to celebrate with you.

While it might look like you spent hours on them, the personalized cards also can be fairly simple.

Often all you need is some colorful cardstock and embellishments such as stamps, ribbon or paper punches to make a one-of-a-kind note that stands out.

Graduations

A graduation-themed thank you note design is as easy as cutting some paper and yarn and stamping "thanks."

Black cardstock cut in a diamond is the perfect graduation cap with a touch of ribbon or yarn for a tassel. Back that with a piece of cardstock in a school color for a simple thank you note. Stamp on "thanks" with letter or word stamps -- found at craft stores -- and sign your name inside.

This card also can be easily adjusted to give to a grad as well.

Weddings and showers

Couples spend a lot of time picking out the perfect save-the-date cards and ceremony invitations, so why not make thank you notes special too?

A paper punch can be an easy way to add some dimension and creativity to the cards. Layering on details such as ribbons, buttons and stamps also make the card more interesting and unique.

It also can be easier to incorporate wedding colors, themes or other details when cards are made at home.

Other ideas

Photo cards are another way to personalize your thank you notes.

Take a photo of your child (or pet, or self) with the gift and a sign thanking the person. If it is a gift such as an outfit or game, take a picture using it. The giver will know you enjoyed it.

A more elaborate sign also can show your personality while creating a unique card. With all the photos couples getting married will take, it is easy to snap a few shots with a homemade sign to attach to cards thanking guests for gifts and attending. Grads can do the same thing.

If you have time to go around and get a photo with the guests at your party, you also could attach that personal touch to the cards as both a keepsake and unique decoration.

But hand-making every detail of a thank you note can be a daunting if not impossible task if you have to show your appreciation to hundreds of guests.

Printers can be set up to print on different sized paper, so you can create cards on your computer. You can still personalize the notes with specific colors, themes, names and photos, but it is a quicker and simpler option if you have many to make.

Even if you print cards from your computer, you still can add details like ribbon and punched paper to personalize the notes more.

You also can decorate the envelopes with a personal stamp, pattern or address label to carry on a theme or color and the handmade vibe. You can even order personalized postage stamps with photos or themes online.

Just make sure the envelopes and stamps follow postal requirements so after so much work your creation will reach its destination.

Tips:

• Make your cards a standard size, especially if you plan on mailing them. That way you will be able to find envelopes to fit and won't have to pay extra for postage stamps.

• You can buy blank cards, often with envelopes, at many stores. Those are easy to customize while skipping the cutting and measuring steps and issues such as the envelope size.

• Layering different colors and styles of paper and adding extra touches such as buttons and ribbon make your homemade creations even more special.

• Use thick cardstock, especially if you plan to add stamps, photos or other embellishments, to make sure it can hold your decorations and ink won't bleed through.

• Decorative stamps are a quick way to make cards look homemade and personal without too much work. They are usually relatively inexpensive and easy to find at craft stores, along with ink pads in a wide array of colors. Make sure you let your stamped notes fully dry before putting in envelopes or stacking with other cards.

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