A Side Step Card Full of Color, Texture and Fun!

Front view of colorful side step card

Hello, and welcome to my Number One favorite card style – the versatile side step card.

If you’re tired of making A2 cards and want to knock the socks off of someone special, this is the card to use. The embellishment possibilities are nearly endless with so many angles and surfaces to play with. But you can keep this card as simple as a cotton ball, too. You don’t have to embellish it much, but if you like (love) that sort of thing, this is the place to do it.

In other words, this is the wedding cake of cards where you can pull out all the stops.

(Note: I cut my side step card and the decorative paper pieces with my Silhouette Cameo, but here’s a good tutorial on how to do it manually.)

Not your average card

The side step card consists of three “steps” and the side “anchor” piece. These pieces are covered with the designer paper of your choice. Once you have the basics down, it’s time to start decorating this baby.

I confess I was a little out of my comfort zone with the printed paper, and it took me a bit to find one that could stand on its own with heavy embellishing. Don’t worry if it takes you a bit, too. This isn’t your typical card.

View from above of side step card with various embellishments
Look at those “steps” and the anchor piece. Think of the possibilities!

Side step cards often overwhelm me with all the fun things I can do, and I find it a little difficult to choose my embellies. But if you prefer to go very simple, this card should be a snap to put together.

In the case of this card, I started the embellishment journey with one of my “faux glass” flowers. The photo doesn’t do it justice; however, the one I took came out blurry. By the time I discovered it, I’d already sent the card to its recipient! (Note to self: make sure all photos are in focus before mailing the card. Doh!)

Start with the greeting

It doesn’t matter where you put the greeting, but it often helps to make the greeting your first priority. Get that out of the way and the rest is gravy. In my case, I wanted to say a big, fat hello to my friend who I haven’t seen in 3 months because of the pandemic.

Since I have absolutely no greeting dies (not a single one!), I cut the “hello” on my Silhouette Cameo twice – once in yellow cardstock and the other in black. 

Close up of die cut "hello" greeting
A big hello takes up the second “step” of my side step card

I offset the black one a bit to give the greeting more weight and a slightly 3-dimensional look. Then I brushed the yellow layer with bronze Perfect Pearls for shimmer and to tone that yellow down. Then I popped it up with dimensionals for even more of a 3-D look.

This little cutie was a print-and-cut on my Cameo. That means I first printed the image then had the machine cut it out. I edged it with clear glitter.

The little tab is die cut from music-printed paper. The message is most fitting. Get it? “Just a note” on music paper?  Of course you do.

More embellishments, including a die cut bird
A little sparkle on the bird adds a pop of fun to all the patterns on the anchor piece.

There are various die cuts all over this card, including my favorite, the red Dienamics Fancy Flourish which I use more than any other “fancy” die. 

There’s also a bit of ribbon in the form of this lovely leaf ribbon (which also comes in soft pink), which I get from Amazon. I LOVE this ribbon and use it often because it goes with so many themes, mostly anything floral or “nature-ish.” They are my second-favorite ribbons, and I use them all the time.

My tiny little flowers come from Really Reasonable Ribbon.

Let each “step” continue the theme

A glittered button, a ladybug bee and a tiny glass leaf on the front "step" of my side step card
Buttons are a popular embellishment

Even though there are three “steps” and one anchor, they should all harmonize with each other, contributing to an overall theme. This gives a sense of continuity.

A lightweight corner flourish in a softly contrasting aqua adds a soft “pop” to the card. Sprinkled throughout, the aqua brightens things up.

I lightly glittered the button (embellish the embellishment is my motto) with “Shaved Ice” by Stampendous. It’s not really glitter – they call it “frantage.” I call it just right.

I rummaged through my stash of bits and bobs and found this cute ladybug bead. You can’t see the holes in her head or her bottom, and she was just the right size.

The tiny pearl was a stowaway on the bead, so I re-positioned it.

The leaf is a tiny glass bead from that same stash. Perfect!

Explore different techniques

Here’s a favorite technique of mine that I first saw on my friend Heather Hudson’s site: a tiny tag tucked into a paper element. In this case, a tiny picket fence die cut.

If this kind of thing trips your trigger, check her blog out. Here’s a sample post – she decorates EVERYTHING, including the backs of her pieces!!

The back "step," decorated with a picket fence die cut and a tiny tag
Another tiny message!

Because side step cards have very little space for messages, I tend to incorporate them into the decor instead of trying to fit a few words on the back.

This cute little white picket fence is lined with string pearls and is the perfect place for a tiny tag with a message on the front and the back!

I inked the edges of the tag with my favorite Tim Holtz Distress Ink, “Vintage Photo.”

The tiny tag with a tiny message edged with glitter
These tiny letters almost insist on being sparkled

And then I glittered the edges of these tiny letters which you can find in Heather Hudson’s Etsy shop. They are so versatile!

Oops, I take that back. These exact letters are no longer available, but here’s a set of her alphabet letters every bit as good, in five colors no less!

Sometimes side step cards need a little help

Here’s a little trick of mine – I like to stabilize this type of card with a tiny piece of seam binding. I should have done it in red to match the cardstock, but this way you can see it more easily.

Just fold each end under and attach the piece to the card at your discretion (I use glue dots). Cards with few or no embellishments don’t usually need it, but cards like mine do. Otherwise they’ll slowly fall flat under the weight of all the doodads.

A piece of ribbon acts as a stabilizer to keep the card upright
A little help for a heavily embellished card

Before you go…

Would you like to see a few of my past side step cards?

Birthday Card – I couldn’t bear to give it away and still have it. Looking at it, I see quite a few similarities to today’s card, including the pink leaf ribbon. Can you spot the others?
A Spooky Halloween
The Christmas card – my #1 fave side step card. The minute I posted it and shared it with a craft group, my closest friend asked if she could buy it. I wonder if she still has it? It was the most fun to make of them all.

Now it’s your turn

That’s it for today’s photo-heavy post. Do you think you’d like to make a side step card? If you want to really make someone’s day, try it. It might take a bit longer than your usual card types, but I guarantee the recipient will be full of ooohs and aaahs. Then come back, share a photo and let us know how it turned out!


Angled view of side step card
I hope she likes it!

You might also like…

Turning Trash Into Treasure – How to Make Faux Glass Flowers
An Easel Card with Texture
A Masculine Anniversary Card Rich with Color and Texture
Summertime Fun with Fibi and Lilly

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top