Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Making a Handmade Birthday Card: How-To

I love making my own cards for special occasions! I am not against buying a card, and nowadays there are some amazing cards out there. But there is nothing like getting a card from someone that they made and really put the time and thought into. As it is, I love working with paper and think you can create some amazing things with it, so a reason to create a cute card for a cute girl is perfect!!

My cousin's little girl, Cedar, (who I made my first growth chart for - seen here), turns 5 this year and I really wanted to make a cute, interactive birthday card for her. She is so smart and aware, she loves the outdoors, exploring, flowers, and animals. So I made her a card with growing flowers to celebrate her continual growth!

Here's a step-by-step how-to on making a handmade birthday card!!

(I'm sorry about the iPhone pictures - I am working hard at getting a better camera!!)

  Step One: I always create a drawing first and then a mock-up of how it's going to work before I start cutting up my good paper!! So here's the first one I threw together to look at placement and figure out the "mechanics" of making the flowers grow.

Step Two: Here I've started with the good paper. I find a sturdier piece of paper and fold it in half, depending on what size of the card that I want to make.
Step Three: I start cutting out my details (grasses above, flowers below). I decided to make some bunches of some of the flowers to fill in my "garden". For their stems, I first glued two pieces of the same green paper together to make it nice and sturdy. Then I cut them out long enough to leave room for their "growth". The horizontal piece is what they will all be glued on and will be attached to the pull so they will all "grow" together. I measured out how long the flowers will be, glued them and cut them to length.
Step Four: Now that I have my flowers attached and the sun cut out (sun not pictured yet!) I can get a feel for how long things are and how much space they will need to "grow", which will give me a feel for how to put together the "mechanics" of the pull.
For the pull, I took four pieces of sturdy paper and glued them all together, then cut them out into one long strip. I want it to be nice and sturdy to be able to handle being pulled on often. I also made sure to keep it the color of the background of the card (sky colored in this case) so that if it shows behind any of the details it will blend in more. The top part is another paper used to bolster the inner layers of the pull and will be glued behind the sun and not seen.
I figured out where the highest point the flowers will "grow" to and made a mark. This is where I made my horizontal slice just big enough for the pull to fit through. (The pull will not go through in this direction but this is just me making sure it fits and isn't too tight or too loose in the slot.)
I then measured out the lowest area the sun will go (which will put the flowers all the way down), and made a mark and sliced my slot in there.
Step Five: I put my pull through the two slices (leaving the edges out on the front of the card so I can glue the details to it). I glued the sun to the top of the pull and reinforced it from behind. Then pushing the sun all the way to its lowest position, I glued the flowers to the pull (cut off any excess on the bottom of the pull that extends past the bottom of the card). This makes it so that when the sun is at its lowest position the flowers are, too, and when the sun rises, the flowers "grow".  
 Step Six: The pull is still showing through on the back side of the card, which I want to be able to cover up without obstructing the movement of the pull. So I chose a cute, matching paper and glued it to the edges of the back of the card (that way it covers the pull but still allows for its movement).
Here's the back now. (Sorry for the poor photo quality again!)
Step Seven: I glued the grasses onto the bottom of the inside of the card to cover the flower stems. I glued them all the way at the bottom and taped just a tiny bit for reinforcement. The flowers go all the way to the bottom so I knew they would bump into the grasses a bit, which is ok, but I wanted to strengthen the grass's placement.
Here's the inside of the card with the sun risen and the flowers all grown up! The grasses are perfectly placed to cover up the flower base!!
Step Eight: So now for the front of the card! I had this adorable polka dot paper, which reminds me of birthday balloons. I cute out a rectangular section and attached it to the front of the card.
Looks great! Love the mix of patterns!!


Step Nine: I was going to make or trace my own letters, but it is so much easier to print them off. I cut out the letters for her name and was going to cut out the letters for the Happy Birthday but I kind of liked the way it looked all connected still. Plus it was a little easier to read.

Here's the final product of the front of the card (with better photo quality!!!)!! I love it! Personal, colorful, fun, and bubbly! 

Final Step: Step Ten: Putting a personal touch on it!
Here's the inside of the card with my little note and instructions to "Make the sun rise to see the beautiful flowers grow", although I know she'll have figured it out before being told! Little smarty pants, she is!! 

I stamped my little bird on it - if you've ever bought anything from my Esty shop MyVintageBird, this is one of the birds I use on all my thank you notes, cards, and tags!! My little signature. :)

Finally (and I am SO proud of this little feature) a video of how awesome this card turned out. I know Cedar is going to love it and I hope it brightens her 5th birthday just a little more!!!

Any comments or questions on the making of this card? Just comment below!



  1. This is so cute and thoughtful!

  2. Thanks!! I hope she enjoys it!! :) Miss you guys!