It’s never been easier to remember birthdays. Thanks to social networks like facebook, we get daily reminders about all the birthdays of people in our lives.
For an acquaintance, a social media “happy birthday” is enough. For the people we feel close to it takes a little more effort. We might get them a gift or some flowers, or take them for a nice meal.
Gifts aren’t complete without a birthday card. Often we mark the day with a card only, adding a personal message, money or gift card, or note about a surprise we have in store.
A birthday card is an essential part of expressing our feelings to the birthday person. But at an average cost of $2-$4 per card it can quickly get expensive.
Look at all those birthdays coming up on your facebook feed. If you bought a card at the store for even half of them that could add up to hundreds of dollars!
Making your own cards can drastically reduce costs. Even better, personalized cards let the receiver know you put some thought into celebrating their birthday.
Read on for tips on how to make clever and sweet birthday cards people will love.
Making birthday cards
When we give or send birthday cards we are participating in a long tradition.
Written greetings have been around since ancient times when people exchanged messages on papyrus scrolls. Until printing became fast and cheap in the 1800s almost all cards were hand-made.
Through the twentieth century, pre-manufactured cards were the standard. They provided a convenient way to send a message and were often cheaper than buying materials to make your own card.
Now the reverse is true. Craft supplies can be found at your local dollar store for affordable prices. The $2-$4 you may spend on one printed card could buy you supplies to make 10 or more handmade cards.
Handmade card supplies
- Glue or hot glue gun
- Interesting paper
- Rubber stamps
- Photo prints
- Paper Doilies
Ideas for handmade cards
- Cut illustrations out of old cards you’ve received and re-purpose them
- Create a paper frame for a favorite photo
- If you can draw, use an original drawing
- If you can’t draw, use clip art, photos, or rubber stamps
- Create texture with ribbon, beads, lace, sequins…
- Natural materials such as pressed flowers or leaves can add a beautiful touch
The internet is your friend
You may be thinking: “I’m not crafty. I can’t make my own cards”.
In the age of the internet, anyone can be crafty.
There are millions of wonderful people out there sharing their knowledge with the world. They have made many step by step instructions and videos to teach you exactly how to make beautiful cards for your loved ones if you don’t know where to start.
Save time – go digital
I know. Crafts take time. You don’t always have an extra hour to shop for supplies or to sit down and put the effort into making a card that you feel is worthy of the birthday person.
If you’re reading this you probably do have the tools to make a beautiful personalized birthday card fast and for free using an online card maker.
All it takes is an internet connection. Custom made cards with professional quality design have never been easier to produce.
A good design program will have lots of options. You should be able to add and edit your own pictures, use premade themes, and have access to a wide variety of stock photos and typefaces.
Once you’ve designed your card you can either download it and print it or share it instantly with the birthday person via social media or email.
You don’t even have to leave home and you’ve just created a personalized birthday card they will love. And it was free. Awesome!
Ideas to use with online card makers
- Take a favorite photo and play with it -add a filter or switch it to black and white
- Create a magazine cover with the birthday person on it
- A photo collage can pull together different stages of the birthday person’s life
- Find a baby photo of the birthday person and include it in the card
- Experiment! Try out different color, fonts, backgrounds, etc. -the great thing about digital is that you can always change your work
- Get inspiration for funny cards from internet memes
- If possible, use photos you know the person likes such as ones they’ve chosen for their profile picture
You’ve made a card that looks great. Or if not great, it gets an “E for effort”. Well done.
Now comes the important part. Think about some of the best cards you’ve received. Were they memorable because of the artwork? Or was it the message inside? Often it is the message that will be remembered long after the card has been put away.
With a personalized card, you get to choose the message you put on it. This, as much as the card itself, lets the receiver know you are thinking of them and care about them.
The best birthday cards combine just the right amount of humor and sweetness to touch the birthday person and make them smile. You know their sense of humor -try to find something that will make them smile.
The internet is still your friend
Don’t worry if you don’t feel inspired: there are a lot of great ideas out there to help you. The hard part might be just narrowing it down to one or two cool things to include in your card. Remember to pick something which will appeal to the person you’ve made this card for.
Ideas for card inscriptions
- Be creative – write your own poem
- Use a favorite quote or song lyric
- Look up their birthday date on On this day and find fascinating facts about historical events which happened on their birthday to include in your card
- Take the letters of their name and find positive words to go with each (eg. Jack: Jovial Active Caring Knowledgeable)
- Find fun birthday jokes
Birthdays are joyful occasions. Celebrating them should be fun!
Once you try making your own cards you’ll find you’re not only saving big money, but it’s also fun for you and the birthday person!