Once in a while you happen upon a store-bought card that perfectly captures how you feel. But let’s be honest—most often card-shopping means spending seven dollars on a lukewarm, copy-and-paste card that feels like a social necessity rather than a meaningful token of your appreciation. The sentiment is so much sweeter with a homemade card than one plucked off a shelf.
Here’s a list of ideas on how to make your homemade card extra special for that special someone. Make them one at a time as-needed, or make a batch of homemade cards that you can use for months to come.
The decorative cut-out
Fill a small, transparent bag with dried flower petals or colourful confetti. Use folded white card stock as your base, cutting out a simple shape (like a heart, star, or square that’s slightly smaller than the bag) on the front of the card. Tape or glue your bag inside the card so the confetti shows through the front. Voila—a gorgeous homemade card perfect for Mother’s Day, birthdays, or just a sweet thank-you note.
The watercolour masterpiece
Even for the DIY-challenged, a simple watercolour pattern couldn’t be easier. Buy thick, textured cardstock in a white or light hue, and a set of watercolour paints. Play with different colour combinations and patterns. Make your card extra personal by using a calligraphy pen (or get someone with great handwriting) to write a salutation or line drawing on the front of your card.
Print out some of your favourite photos of you and your giftee, and use folded cardstock to create a multi-page card. Glue your treasured memories to each page to make a mini-scrapbook using the occasion at hand as the theme. If you’re so inclined, write a simple couplet on each page, and finish the card off with well-wishes on the last page. (Bonus: bring a Polaroid camera and cut out a hole on the last page for you to add a new photo of you two together).
The design-forward Washi card
No artistic skill required (well, barely any)—just some cutting and pasting! Pick up a selection of colourful Washi tape at your local art store. If it's a birthday you're celebrating, create a layer cake out of different strips of tape, or use vertical tape strips extending from the bottom of the card, each topped with a flame doodle, to create the illusion of candles. For any other occasion, place the tape in diagonal lines or even create a plaid effect by laying strips over one another.
The funny starter pack
You’ve probably seen those memes making the rounds on social media, categorizing types of people by the objects they love (e.g. “The Moody Musician Starter Pack”). To get a few laughs, make a starter pack for your loved one using magazine cut-outs of the things that remind you of them. This one is perfect for the giftee who doesn’t take him or herself too seriously—Google “Starter Pack Memes” to get some inspiration!
The floral bouquet
Pick or purchase your loved one's favourite flowers a few weeks prior and place them, wrapped in paper towel, in between the pages of a thick, heavy book. Check on them periodically to check if they’re dried out and adequately pressed. Once you feel they’re ready, fasten them to the front of a card with a piece of Washi tape to create the illusion of a miniature bouquet. Pressed for time? Pick up heavily pigmented flowers like pansies or violas, and use a hammer to press the petals directly onto your card stock. Peel them away for a beautiful floral print.
Make them a classic mixtape
Use a streaming service to make a playlist of songs that remind you of your loved one (or if you’re feeling nostalgic, make a physical CD or tape cassette—as long as they have the appropriate player!). Inside your card, include a link to your playlist and write out the tracklist with a personal explanation for each track. Go the extra mile by using the order of the song titles to tell the story of your relationship (for example, from Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl”, to Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend”, to Ne-Yo’s “Closer”, to Rick Astley’s “Together Forever”).
Get an illustrator to draw your giftee
Hey, it’s still technically homemade even if you enlist an expert’s help. There are so many incredible local artists on Instagram: find your giftee’s favourite or one whose style you love and commission them to illustrate or paint the perfect card. If you’d like, include a cute quote or mantra that will make them smile. If they love how it turns out, they can always frame it as an art piece.
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