This tutorial has everything you would want in a birthday card and then some! The card is super artistic because of its illustrated armoire (don’t worry; there’s a printable template for you to trace!). It’s mysterious due to its hidden message; the recipient has to open the armoire’s doors to find your birthday wishes. Finally,…
If you would like to make a one-of-a-kind, creative birthday card, then you’ll really enjoy today’s tutorial! This card is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before: it’s imaginative, interactive, and a joy to create. Every armoire will turn out differently depending on the color scheme and design elements that you add!
You will begin by cutting a piece of watercolor paper to 5″ x 7″ (127 mm x 178 mm).
Next, print out the Printable Armoire Template. The template is free and was designed to enable you to make this creative birthday card with convenience and ease!
Once the template is printed, you’ll want to trace it onto the watercolor paper. You can do this one of two ways: you can either use a light box, as I am doing below; or you can hold the template and watercolor paper up to a sunny window and use the window as a makeshift light box. The advantage of using the light box is that you can draw directly on the template with black ink. If you use the window method, you’ll more than likely need to trace the template using a pencil at the window, then go over your pencil lines with ink at your desk. That’s because most pens tend to react to gravity; their ink flow is compromised on completely vertical surfaces.
Regardless of the method you use to trace the armoire, make sure you are using a waterproof ink! I like Ziller ink because it’s impervious to water.
After you have traced the armoire outline, I encourage you to get creative! Add swirls, lines, and whatever else you want to in order to personalize the piece. You can see in the photo below that I added a few small lines here and there.
Once your ink is dry, you can paint over the armoire with watercolors. This is where your project may start to look a lot different than mine! You can use any color (or colors) that you want to; I went with an earthy blue/green color scheme using Greenleaf & Blueberry‘s Azurite, Green Earth, Turquoise, and Graphite watercolors. Shading with a color like Graphite gives the armoire a delightful antique look!
When you’re finished adding watercolor to the piece, cut around its contours. It’s a good idea to cut just shy of the outline so that you have a couple of millimeters of white paper all the way around the armoire.
Next, use a hobby knife to cut along the top, bottom, and middle of the armoire’s doors. The goal is to make doors that open and shut just like real doors! As a side note, if you don’t own a hobby knife, they are super-handy tools to have! You can purchase them fairly cheaply at any art supply shop and at many large retail stores (e.g. Walmart, Target).
After you’ve made your three slices (again, one along the top of the doors, one along the bottom of the doors, and one down the middle of the doors), line up a flat object with a straight edge — such as a ruler — with the right side of the right door. This is where hinges would be if this were a “real life” armoire. Start to gently fold the right door back toward the straight edge, as shown below.
Continue putting pressure on the door until you can fold it flat against the straight edge. Run your fingers along the seam of the fold to strengthen/reinforce it.
Repeat the folding process for the other door of the armoire, then fold both doors back in. Your armoire will now look something like this:
Next, flip the armoire around and cut out a dark piece of paper such that it’s just smaller than the armoire. This is the paper that the doors will open to reveal!
You can use your adhesive of choice to affix the dark paper to the back of the armoire. I am using glue here, but tape would also be fine!
When you turn the armoire over, the photo below shows what it will look like. Pretty cool, huh?
At this point, it’s time to write a nice little birthday message inside the armoire. In the photo below, I am using Kaitlin Style calligraphy to write “Feliz Cumpleaños” (“Happy Birthday”), but you can use any calligraphy or lettering style that appeals to you! If you are curious about which white ink to use for your calligraphy, you can check out this blog post; I am using Dr. Ph. Martin’s Pen White.
To save time, you can use a white Gellyroll pen to write your message. I love Gellyroll pens because of their opacity!
Once you’re finished writing, “close” the doors!
To finish up this creative birthday card, I like to put a small paper belly band around the armoire. The belly band pictured below is about a centimeter wide and is secured in the back with washi tape. The belly band adds some visual interest and helps to keep the armoire doors shut!
Once you make the belly band, you can slip the creative birthday card in a lovely envelope (this is “Paper Bag” from Paper Source), and send your cool little armoire to a lucky recipient. They will absolutely love it!
I hope that you decide to give this tutorial a try! Even though I am calling it a creative birthday card, it’s really a creative anything card … get well soon, congratulations, happy Mother’s Day, whatever. One thing I really love about this concept is its neutrality; it’s great for sending to both men and women, boys and girls. Anybody will be intrigued by the design and enjoy interacting with the card to reveal its message!
If you have any questions about this tutorial — or creative suggestions on what else the armoire template could be used for — please feel free to comment! It’s always great to hear from you. 🙂 Thanks so much for reading, and enjoy the rest of your day!