When you’re trying to come up with a great birthday card for someone you care about, sometimes buying a card from the store just isn’t enough. Not only is it un-personalized, it’s also just not unique.
What will really stand out and give that birthday girl/boy a card that means something special is a card that you create yourself. While this can seem a little scary or overwhelming, it’s actually really simple.
Even if you weren’t hit on the head with the creative branch when you were young, you can still create a birthday card that stands apart from the rest. Whether you’re creating a card for your significant other, your mom, your brother, your coworker, or teacher, you can use these tips and inspirations to create a truly unique card!
A Few Things to Keep in Mind
When creating the perfect birthday card for a special person in your life, there are several different things to take into consideration before you begin crafting your ideas. The last thing you want to make is a card that is underwhelmed by its lack of personality. You want the card to reflect things about yourself, as well as things about the person receiving it.
Before you start sketching ideas or buying materials, ask yourself a few questions.
How Old Is the Birthday Girl/Boy Turning?
This may seem obvious, but it’s something that a lot of people don’t take into consideration enough. The card you would make for a 5-year-old is vastly different than the birthday card you would create for someone turning 70.
If you’re making a card for your grandmother, you may want to use lighter and softer colors, maybe add some lace or yarn, something that fits their age and interests.
If you’re making a card for your 7-year-old brother, you may want to take a different route. Consider what their interests are, and use more cartoon-like images, brighter colors, and flashy designs.
What Is Your Relationship With this Person?
Like with age, your relationship to the person makes a difference in the type of card that you want to create. The biggest reason to make a DIY card rather than buy one is to create something unique and personal.
If you are making a birthday card for your wife or husband, you might consider creating a more intimate or romantic card, something that reflects the relationship you have together. You can use a phrase or quote that is full of intimate love, or something that is more private.
If you are making a card for your best friend, you may want to make a birthday card that represents the times you’ve had together, fond memories, or interests that maybe only you know they like. Use the card as a canvas to show them how much you value them and their friendship. This will mean more to them than a silly card you bought at WalMart for 6 bucks.
What Interests Does This Person Have?
It is their birthday, after all, their card should reflect things that they care about, things that they like and enjoy, things that interest them. If you’re making a card for your uncle who’s favorite pass-time is riding bikes, why not make them a card with bikes on it? Or a quote that has to do with riding bikes?
Don’t be afraid to get creative with this, it is what will set your card apart from others. If your little sister is turning 13 and loves books, you aren’t going to want to make her a card that is full of sports-themes, especially if she doesn’t really care about sports.
What makes this birthday card you’re making so special is your connection with this person and your attention to details about their lives. That’s the type of thing that makes people feel close to you.
If you are having a hard time figuring out what their latest favorite color is, or whether or not they have gotten over their obsession with a character or song or activity, reach out to others that know this person well and find out. The last thing you want to do is add something to a card that the person doesn’t want or like.
How to Get Creative With the Art and Design
Now that you have a pretty good idea about these important factors from the person who you’re making a card for, you can start creating. Before you start cutting and gluing away, you should begin getting design ideas by making a brainstorm list.
This is the time when you will take all of their likes, interests, hobbies, favorite colors, etc, into action. Pick a few things that you think will mean the most to that person, and come up with some ideas that go along with these things.
If you’re making a card for your favorite teacher at your school, and you know they are huge into typography and hearing/reading the news, you could take a bunch of cool looking news clippings and make an awesome collage. You could even have bold and important letters and words in the clippings spell out their name, or happy birthday.
There are endless possibilities to what you can make and create, especially when it comes to someone you love and or care about.
Using Materials that Reflect Their Interests
Let’s say you’re making a birthday card for your older sister who absolutely loves the color yellow, white lace, and dainty flowers. You can head to any craft store and find some awesome materials that give you many options for design ideas. Maybe you can find some small yellow bows or white lace ribbon.
These materials will make it easy to incorporate the things she loves without having to spend a bunch, and add awesome visual design and texture that can far surpass a store-bought birthday card.
Say your sister also loves Henry David Thoreau, on the front, or even the inside you can include a quote like “All good things are wild and free,” and surround it with wildflowers that you draw, or cut out of paper or felt.
Getting creative with materials will help you get more creative with your birthday card design and how you involve their interests in it.
Use Colors that They Actually Like
When it comes to DIY birthday cards, colors are huge. They can make or break your design, so it is important to make sure you are using colors that not only look great together but that they also like.
For instance, pink and brown go great together, but if your niece hates the color brown, you should find one of the other hundreds of colors that look good with pink instead.
The same thing applies vice-versa, just because they love orange and purple, doesn’t make them magically stop clashing. Just be mindful of these things.
If you are unsure of what colors go great together, consider consulting a color wheel. This will help you create a pallet that has not only colors that mesh perfectly, but also colors that make your birthday-person smile.
Keep It Simple
This is probably the most important tip out of them all. Sometimes when you are trying to incorporate all of the things this person likes, you can get a little carried away. Don’t worry, it happens to everyone.
Simple designs are something that almost all people in this world are naturally drawn to because it leaves room to breathe, and gives the person viewing the opportunity to finish the picture inside their own head.
If you are having a hard time figuring out how much is too much, consider the infamous rule of thirds. Try picking only three colors, or three fabrics, three designs on the front, etc. Once you start adding in more and more elements, it starts to get overwhelming, and the meaning behind the card starts getting drowned out by the content.
Seriously, the simpler the better. Just make sure that you do add enough to still get your personalized and unique message across, just try not to do so with seven colors, four textures, five fonts, and eight pictures. Just keep it simple.
Make the Birthday Card Show How Much You Care
Again, the biggest reason why you would want to make a DIY birthday card is that you want to give them something personal from you. More important than the colors, the design, and the art is what you have to say.
Make sure that the card reflects what you find special about this person, and how they impact you. When you make a birthday card from scratch, with your own ideas, and your own hands, it’s hard to mess that up. Don’t forget to make the card reflect how much this person means to you.
While it’s fine to look around for ideas and inspiration, make sure that what you are making is original, unique and personal. So have fun, put your heart into it, and make something special and beautiful for someone you love today. Good luck!