I thought I might share some of my experiences and lessons learned while making cards for OWH. I have set a goal of making 100 cards a month and keeping to that schedule has allowed me to understand some simple truths for myself. In not particular order I will talk about budget, the creative process, the assembly process, and keeping up with needed stock items (papers, adhesives, inks, etc.).
How much money one chooses to spend making cards is is highly personal. Since my own goal is for 100 cards per month, I have decided to forgo lots of little bits and adornments and stay with cleaner, simpler layouts. That means I don't have to buy lots of buttons, flowers, ribbon, and bling. $$$ Savings! With the Cricut Imagine, my primary expenses are paper, cutting mats, blades, and ink (it prints and cuts). Other than my Cricut, expenses include tape, glue and envelopes. Secondary expenses include enhancements like stick-on jewels and pearls, ink pads, some rubber stamps, paper punches, corner rounders, and ribbon. Throw in craft knife blades, paper trimmer blades, markers, and a bone folder or two and you have the bare bones of what is needed.
In one months time I will go through a minimum of 80 8.5x11 sheets of paper, 100 sheets of 12x12 paper, 2 36yd rolls of 3M ATG tape, 3 cassettes of Mono tape, 2 Zig 2 Way glue pens, 15 yards of 3M foam tape, 2 Cricut cutting blades, 2 Xacto #11 blades, 2 Cricut cutting mats, 100 envelopes, and 2 paper trimmer blades.
However, money is not the only item that must be budgeted. Creating, printing, assembling, stamping, gluing, taping, and wrapping all take time. A simple card might look like it took no time at all, but it can include elements that have 4-5 small paper layers that had to be individually cut, glued, taped, and assembled. Some of these can take much more time than anticipated. If I can find a general layout that works with three or four different elements using the same color scheme, then I can produce three or four sets of ten or twelve cards without too much trouble. When I really get a rush on, like when I made a quick batch of cards for kids, I spent 4 10-12 hour days getting it all done. You wouldn't think it took that long by looking at them, but those cards had more bits and pieces and layers than my usual cards. I usually do cards several days at a time in batches and I can get twenty or thirty done in about 3 8-10 hour days.
I really enjoy that sense of satisfaction when I package up the cards for shipment. After that box goes out, I tidy up my crafting table and get ready for the month's batch of cards.