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BasicGrey Wassail Greeting Card Kit

Reported by Suzy Haghighi
In a perfect world, you know the one, that alternate universe run by Martha Stewart where we all wear lace aprons (hand sewn) and create, cook, clean, raise kids and husbands in between work time, we would have all the time in the world to make Christmas cards for every relative, friend, and co-worker. In this universe, however, we often end up in a time crunch and stressed out as we try to do everything. Enter our crafty superhero to save the day: Captain Card Kit, or as he is known to us mere mortals, the BasicGrey Wassail Greeting Card Kit (named after the traditional mulled cider drink served at Christmas time). For around $15.00 you get almost everything you need to make 8 different holiday cards in about an hour.

My assembled cards. Tacky reindeer plant not included

Included in the kit are:

  • 2 Sheets of Wassail patterned paper die-cuts
  • 8 sheets of printed and scored cardstock (2 each in 5×7, 5×5, 4×5, 9×3.5)
  • 2 sheets of BasicGrey rub-ons
  • 1 sheet of printed self-adhesive chipboard
  • Step-by-step instructions with pictures
  • 8 envelopes sized to match the cards (4 different sizes)

Not included in the kit but needed to complete the cards as instructed:

  • your adhesive of choice
  • black permanent ink pen (I used a dark brown Tombow marker)
  • white opaque pen
  • dye based inks (I used Memento in Rich Cocoa and Rhubarb Stalk)

Merry & Bright Card

I am a huge fan of BasicGrey – I have almost every pattern of paper currently in production. This Christmas I have been leaning toward non-traditional, brighter colors of pink, aqua, red and white in my card making. The Wassail collection, with its muted, warm shades of berries and olives, and vintage/country patterns did not excite me. I wasn’t sure what to do with a lot of the patterns like the Spruce Toile and French Hens. Thanks to this kit I now love the Wassail collection. The kit taught me to see the patterns in a new way, and to combine those patterns, which I found kind of tired, dark and boring on their own, into modern, fresh and cheerful cards. That pattern mixing is a lesson I will take with me beyond the kit and to my own card designs.

Each of the eight cards is layered and uses the die cuts and chipboard shapes or letters; most of them use the rub-ons as well. The cardstock, which is the card base, is scored for you and has a lovely, fine pebbled texture with patterns on one side, while the inside is smooth and white. I am guessing the weight of the cardstock to be about 110 lbs – it is nice and sturdy. I really wish BasicGrey would sell this stuff separately, it’s amazing! The size of the patterns on the cardstock are equivalent to BasicGrey’s 12×12 patterned paper. I prefer the smaller scaled size of patterns available on the 6×6 paper pads for my card making, but that is a minor detail, as the larger patterns still look great on the cards.

Normally I add bling of some sort and ribbons to my cards, so I was very hesitant to even buy this kit. I was not prepared to like how they turned out as much as I did. I kept thinking to myself, Self, am I crafting, or am I assembling a puzzle? Then I thought, shut up Self, this is fun either way!

Noel Card

The number one reason I have never bought a card kit is that I like to design my own cards. With all the inking, stitching, lining, scrunching and tearing, you will feel very actively involved in the process, and that you have created something, not just assembled it. The style of cards created is very different from my normal style – these cards are a lot “scrappier”, i.e. geared towards a scrapbooking style, with no rubber stamping involved.

The instructions were easy to follow overall, but there was one persistent frustration: the black & white photos on the Instruction Sheet were dark and very hard to see. I had to refer to the color photos on the back of the packaging (so don’t throw that out!) but cards Two
(Deck the Halls card) and Five (Noel card) are concealed by company graphics and writing.

Noel Trees Card with Optional rub-on inside

One of my favorite cards from the kit is the Merry & Bright Card (see first photo). I loved the cheerful patterns and the dimension of the fun stars that I got to stitch and line with pen. It was fun to scrunch up the strip of paper and stick it under the star. But those tiny chipboard letters *shakes fist at them*, they were a huge pain! The adhesive would not stick and I ended up having to glue each teeny tiny letter to the paper.

I was lulled back to loving this kit by the dozen or so bonus sentiments, which come in a black, casual cursive font. You get 12+ different sentiments, some of which are holiday neutral to send to those who do not celebrate Christmas.

Pros:

  • You can make 8 layered cards with chipboard and layers in under an hour – perfect for those on a time crunch who still want to hand make cards.
  • Good instructions overall that are easy to follow for all skill levels.
  • 12 extra black rub-on sentiments to add where you wish (I put mine inside the card) and a few extra white rub-on snowflakes.
  • You get to play with a different style than yours, and learn new tricks just like a card class but on your own time.
  • Good value – to buy each product separately would cost a lot more than $15. This is a nice way to try out a range of BasicGrey products.

Cons:

  • The black & white photos on the Instruction Sheet are dark and very hard to see, so you are not always sure what piece you need to use on a card.
  • The patterns for the cards are from the 12×12 larger scale print, which is more for scrapbookers. I do not care for large prints when I make my cards.
  • Some people may not like step by step directions during their creative process – but this can be said of any kit in general: it can feel like assembling rather than creating.
  • It would be nice if BasicGrey told you the extra supplies you need to create the cards on the outside of the kit’s packaging as not everyone may own what’s needed.
  • Some odd sized cards i.e. the long thin card may require extra postage.
  • The perforation marks of the die cuts show – easily remedied by sanding the paper, but this is nitpicking as when you ink the edges the perforation marks disappear for the most part.
  • The adhesive on the chipboard stickers is very weak – I recommend using additional adhesive or your tiny letters and small pieces will fall off.

One final tip: Save the leftover chipboard cutout sheet and use it to trace shapes onto patterned paper – instant tree, star and holly leaf template!

Overall, I really enjoyed the BasicGrey Wassail Holiday Card Kit. It is a great value for the money, and perfect for people who want to give hand made cards but are pressed for time. I love the modern style combined with vintage patterns and colors. The quality of the paper and rub-ons is fantastic; my only hesitancy on the chipboard is that the adhesive doesn’t stick. I would rate this product an 8 out of 10.

BasicGrey kits are kind of hard to find in general – I am not sure if that is because retailers do not order many, or that they are just in high demand and sell out quickly. Local scrapbooking and retail stores that carry BasicGrey will often carry the card kits, or be willing to order them for you. The kit is no longer posted on the BasicGrey.com website, so it may be a limited edition kit. I found a few kits still available on eBay.

As of December 15th the only on-line retailer I could find that had the kit in stock was: Embellish-Online.com – on sale for $13.50 U.S. (they do ship internationally)

So what do you think of card kits in general – are they a great time saver and a way to learn new tricks, or are they “cheating”, and just assembling someone else’s work?

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10 Responses to BasicGrey Wassail Greeting Card Kit

  1. Megan December 16, 2008 at 8:12 am #

    This is a great review!! BG is all the rage and I love the style of these cards!! 🙂

  2. "Kirby" (KrB) December 16, 2008 at 9:01 am #

    Suzy, that was a very good review. When I first saw the picture I loved the cards immediately. I appreciate your offering pros and cons, and I think I would purchase this, but it sounds like that might be hard to do. Perhaps that is the biggest con to the whole deal….unavailability. I’m like you about the size of the paper, but that’s not a biggy, as they say.
    Great job on the review and thanks for the exposure to a very cool kit.

  3. Kristine December 16, 2008 at 9:02 am #

    These cards are great! I just love them (oh….and by the way I have one of those reindeer plants too! LOL!)

  4. Tammy December 16, 2008 at 10:09 am #

    This review of the BasicGrey Wassail Card Kit hit the nail right on the head. I completed this kit and had the same issues with the weak adhesive and poor quality of photos on the instruction sheet. I had to refer to the package when putting the cards together as well. I had to readhesive each piece of chipboard as it would just fall off the paper otherwise. This was a huge pain! The cards were beautiful after I got them completed, but due to the cons listed in this review and from my own experience this will be my one and only purchase of a BasicGrey card kit!

  5. whoistracy December 16, 2008 at 1:49 pm #

    Great reviews! Love the cards you ended up with.

  6. Kathyy's Krafts December 16, 2008 at 7:05 pm #

    Thank you for the review. It sounds like an interesting kit and has some beautiful papers. I trend to not buy kits either because I don’t want to follow someone else’s idea of how to put cards together. On the other hand I can always get the kit with the beautiful papers and accessory and then assemble the card to my own desires.

  7. bsgstamps4fun: Barb Gault December 17, 2008 at 5:29 pm #

    These are such pretty cards. I love the Wassail paper and have the 6×6 pack. I like to create my own cards though, so I don’t think I would purchase a kit.

  8. avagdro December 18, 2008 at 5:36 am #

    Great looking cards indeed.Thank you and Wish you all a Happy Christmas and New year eve in advance.

    Gifts to chennai

  9. linda lum debono December 22, 2008 at 3:23 pm #

    Just found your site. The reviews are great. I like the cards.

  10. Char November 4, 2009 at 11:21 am #

    The secret to adhering chipboard pieces is to use Glue Dots. In mailing cards from this, or any) kit, be aware that any square envelope requires estra postage. ALSO…and this is a biggie…anything with chipboard will probably also need extra postage. The envelope needs to bend quite a bit to go through the sorting machines at the PO. If it is stiff or thick due to chipboard, it will have to be hand cancelled which about doubles the postage. Be sure to have your cards checked at the PO counter. I learned this lesson last year with that BG kit. I had several cards returned due to insufficient postage. All that being said, I will still buy the kit and HAND DELIVER the cards to special people.