7 Creative Card Ideas

Something that I love doing for my friends and family is making them a personalized card.

Here’s why:

  1. Having made the card with your own hands gives it a more personal touch. For instance, my friend graduated from a graphic design program a couple years back, so I made him a card. He’s a very funny person, so I decided to put a sarcastic message on the front saying “Great job on that thing you did…” knowing that he would appreciate the humor. Once I settled on my message I spent probably a good hour or so just laying out the text on the front of the card so that it would appeal to his keen eye for design and kerning and leading and fonts etc. My efforts paid off immensely because he enjoyed the card, and when displayed for a party that he had that night, his fellow designers also appreciated the card. Win-win!
  2. You can find the perfect sentimental / inappropriate / sarcastic or funny remark. For example, I’m not really one to get all sappy on a card, so I usually lean to the more sarcastic side. For my sisters last birthday, I made her a card saying “CONGRATULATIONS… you’re one year closer to becoming the crazy cat lady you’ve always dreamed of” which I thought was pretty witty, and to be honest, accurate because she is obsessed with her cat.
  3. You won’t have to spend any amount of money on a generic card. I literally saw a card the other day for $13…that’s the price I would pay for a small gift if it was a person I wasn’t closely acquainted with. Absurd.
  4. You can have fun with them! Let the cards be an outlet for your creativity. Maybe do themed cards every year for a person or make them as large or small as you want - there are limitless options to how creative you can get with these. Make them as simple, or elaborate as you want! Be annoying and fill the card with glitter so it gets all over the person’s lap when they open it - totally up to you!

For me, the months of October & November are full of birthdays, so I’ve usually got my hands pretty full with the cards that I’ll be making for friends and family.

It’s fairly simple to start out making cards of your own. I usually start by looking back at my Pinterest for inspiration. I’m a pretty avid pinner, so chances are, there is a card on there, or some kind of art work that I’ve pinned that I can use as inspiration. Check out my pinterest here if you’re looking for some 😉

This past week, I made a birthday card for my friend Tash. I used watercolour for the card and just did it freehand. If you’re not comfortable doing that, start out by lightly tracing your design or image in watercolour pencil crayons so that the lines that you made will blend right in when you start to paint.

For any other type of medium, lightly trace your image or text with pencil first to make sure that you’re happy with how it looks before you move on to adding colour or tracing with a fine tip sharpie, as I often do.

For Tasha’s card, I wanted it to be a square, so I cut a 7″x14″ piece of paper and folded it in half. I used this image that I painted as inspiration:


It’s not exactly birthday themed, but I felt like she would appreciate the flowers over a painting of a cake or candles.

I started by painting the large pink flower in the bottom right corner and worked by way around the card adding different colours and shapes. With this kind of card, it’s important to wait until each individual flower dries before painting one that is going to overlap it. You want the petals to look translucent, not for them to blend together.


Once I had my base image, I went back and added detail with black India ink. We learned how to use India ink when I was at Ryerson and I don’t think I ever really appreciated how it can add to a painting until now. For these flowers, you start out by using this pen and dipping it in the ink.


Make a dot in the centre of your flower and pull the ink towards the outside of the petals. You may need a thicker bit of ink for tracing the outside of the petals. Don’t worry about making it look perfect though, have fun with it and make light carefree strokes that don’t follow the painted petals exactly- it will look more organic and whimsical that way!

Watercolour Flower Card



I also like to sign the back of my cards like this:


If you are painting your cards, MAKE SURE that you allow some time to leave it under a couple heavy books so that it can flatten out!

For more inspiration, here’s a look back at some of the other, easier to DIY cards I’ve made over the years:


Hope that gives your some inspiration to make a card instead of buying one for your next occasion! Feel free to share any that you have made!

xo, tess.


0 responses to “7 Creative Card Ideas”

  1. Marissa says:

    These are awesome. I love how you make them personal. I have a close friend who also makes homemade cards, and it’s always a special treat to receive one. It means so much more knowing she spent the time not just to write a note, but to create it.


  2. These are fantastic - you should start selling them!

  3. Julie says:

    I’ve always made cards, the problem comes when people expect this years to be better than last years - especially my kids! I made a Playstation controller card once and have not ever really been able to top that! I think you are right and people really do appreciate the effort that goes into them and it’s lovely to give something personalised without paying a lot as you can with personalised things from the shops.
    Your ideas are really cute and fun, I especially like the “face” anniversary card.

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