Homemade Birthday Card Ideas You’ll Love

Even the scroogiest among us have surely had our icy hearts melted in the face of a heartfelt craft from a little kid—but who says you gotta be a kid to share handcrafted joy?

Kid or adult, crafty or not, anyone can have fun with these homemade birthday card ideas! Don’t just say happy birthday. Tell them with a hand-crafted card made just for them.

What Are Handmade Cards?

Father receiving a handmade birthday card from his child
Handmade cards aren’t just for kids. Image via Evgeny Atamanenko.

Handmade cards are whatever you want them to be! They can be anything from pro-level duplications of what you might buy in a drugstore to quick ‘n easy doodles on a photo.

It doesn’t matter your artistic sensibility or your eye for design, the most important thing about a handmade card is the heart that goes into it.

Now more than ever, the definition of “handmade” is expanding, too. What once necessitated cardstock, tape and scissors, now allows for a whole lot more. 

Make your own card online, and you’ve suddenly got WAY more opportunity—more creative effects, more ways to use your card (print or digital), and more templates to help you get started.

In short, you’ve got more ways to say, “You’re awesome, and I made this just for you!” Which is exactly what a handmade card should do.

How to Sketch Online and Create Cool Hand-Drawn Effects

Handmade birthday card with sketch effects in PicMonkey
PicMonkey’s Draw tool is perfect for drafting up ideas or adding playful finishing touches.

Even if you decide to create your DIY greeting card digitally, hand-sketching can be helpful—both as part of the idea generation process and to jazz up the final design.

And, for both uses, PicMonkey’s Draw tool is a DIYer’s dream come true. It has the power of complicated design software, only without the headache of figuring out hard-to-use tools.

Here’s how to sketch online in PicMonkey:

  1. Open PicMonkey and click Create new > Templates. (Or, start with a blank canvas if you’re into that.)
  2. Type “birthday card” into the search bar and then choose your favorite birthday card template.
  3. From the side tab, click Draw. Then choose any brush and use the controls to alter the size, hardness, color, and more.
  4. Sketch out new ideas or add fun doodles directly on the canvas. (Your brush strokes will be saved to their own layer, so don’t worry about messing anything up.)
  5. Play around and have fun, adding cool effects until your DIY birthday card is perfect. Try Edge Sketch or Posterize (both under the Effects tab) for some authentic hand-illustrated looks.

Easy, right? And, in the lists of homemade birthday card ideas below, we’ll share even more ways to recreate a handcrafted vibe using digital tools.

Easy and Fun Handmade Birthday Card Ideas

These handmade birthday cards are easy to make in real life or to mimic with an online card maker like PicMonkey. Totally up to you!

1. Make It Marble

Pastel-colored marbled paper and envelopes
Marbled birthday cards are both elegant and fun. Image via Kate’s Creative Space.

For those of you who don’t mind a little colorful mess, paper marbling is surprisingly easy—and every result is truly unique. Learn how to marble your own homemade birthday cards with this tutorial from Kate’s Creative Space.

Want the marbled look without the dye? In PicMonkey, you can use the Textures tab to apply a Marbled Ink effect to any graphic, text, or photo.

2. Cute as a Button

Handmade greeting card with buttons and paper
Buttons can be used for birthday balloons, people, polka dots, and more. Image via 13Smile.

Almost everyone can find a spare button laying around, which makes this one of the easiest DIY birthday card ideas. Simply glue the button to paper and draw a little scene around it. 

3. Embroidery Card

Paper cardstock with punched holes and embroidered rose design
Making an embroidery card is easier than it looks. Image via Juliya Zotova.

If you’re skilled with needle and thread—or if you’re willing to go through some trial and error—an embroidery card will certainly stand out! Punch holes in cardstock with a needle and then thread brightly colored floss through.

For more tips, check out a tutorial from Joyous Home.

4. Pressed Flowers

Bouquet of dried flowers on colored cardstock
Dried flowers capture nature’s best. Why not pair them with heartfelt words for mom? Image via svrid79.

Dried flowers are delicate and beautiful, but they can take some time to create. Here’s a little secret if you didn’t happen to plan months in advance for your handmade birthday card—use an iron to shortcut the pressing time! Just five minutes from fresh to pressed.

5. Custom Photo Collage

Photo collage birthday card in PicMonkey with various pictures of friends having fun together
A digital photo collage can give that layered, handmade look with less work.

Dust off those old photo albums and arrange your favorite photos into a collage-style birthday card that gives the recipient warm, fuzzy feelings.

Or, if you’d rather not mess with printed photos, make a digital version in PicMonkey. Start with a birthday card template or a photo collage template and then upload your favorite shots. Add interesting filters and eye-catching frames, and you’re done!

More DIY Birthday Card Ideas for All Ages

Haven’t quite found your perfect card yet? Here are some more handmade birthday card ideas to get your creative wheels spinnin’. 

6. Paper Birthday Cake

Step-by-step process of making a handmade birthday card with paper cake
Here’s a simple homemade birthday card idea for anyone at any age. Image via Diana Memetova.

Who needs real cake when this birthday card is so cute? (Okay, let’s be real. We ALL still need real cake.) To make this cake card, you just need a few different colors of paper and some tape or glue.

7. Pawsitively Awesome Cats

Handmade birthday card with floating cats
It’s truly the purr-fect birthday card. Designed by Jessica Hamlyn-Harris via Behance

For those crazy cat people in your life, recreate this handmade birthday card with glow-in-the-dark outer space stickers and free-floating feline heads.

Make it in PicMonkey by uploading your own cat photos (or choosing from millions of feline stock assets) and then removing the backgrounds with just one click.

8. Scrapbook Details

Card that says “for you” with scrapbook details
The perfect DIY birthday card is all in the details. Image via Mostovyi Sergii Igorevich.

Paper flowers and faux pearls make for an easy and affordable DIY birthday card, perfect for family members. Check out the scrapbooking section of your local craft store for adorable miniatures of all kinds.

9. Love Grows

Handmade birthday card with a flower pot that says “I love you”
A hidden message makes this birthday card extra delightful. Image via ThirtyPlus.

The best birthday cards will contain some element of surprise, and this pop-up flower pot certainly fits the bill!

Use the tucked-away space to write your heartfelt birthday greetings or to wish the recipient an unbe-leaf-able birthday.

10. Gold Foil

Gold foil DIY birthday card with bee illustrations
Try gold foil for a golden birthday! Or for anyone who loves the luxe. Image via Dream Factory.

No one can deny the power of gold. Make your birthday greetings fit for royalty with real gold foil pressed onto the paper with either a glue stick or a laminator.

See how it’s made in this quick tutorial by Dreams Factory.

If you’re creating your birthday card digitally, you can get all the metallic looks in PicMonkey. Either start with a birthday card template that has golden details or use the Textures tab to apply Glitter or Foil to anything.

Handmade Means from the Heart

Whether you decide to create an old-school craft project or a happily-less-messy digital birthday card, the only thing that matters is the act. By taking the time to create a homemade birthday card, you’re proving to your loved one that their life is truly worth celebrating. 

There’s something to DIY for everyone in your life—just start with a birthday card template or dust off that ole craft supply box.

If you want even more inspiration, check out some birthday card ideas for friends.

Happy designing!

Cover image via SpicyTruffel.

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