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)
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!
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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?