This fish-themed DIY card is one of my favorite card concepts on the TPK blog! There’s a lot to love about the card: it’s gender-neutral, fascinating to look at, and fun to make. It’s also endlessly customizable — feel free to switch up the colors and the design to suit your personal style! You can learn how to make this card in the steps below.
1. Prepare a Piece of Watercolor Paper
To make this DIY card, you’ll want to start by cutting out a 14″ x 5″ (356 mm x 127 mm) piece of watercolor paper.
Next, fold the paper in half lengthwise. The paper’s dimensions should now be 7″ x 5″ (178 mm x 127 mm).
2. Print Out and Use the Fish Template
Once you have folded your card, print out the fish template. You can find the template available as a free download if you click here!
Open the card, and align the right half of it with the rectangle border surrounding the fish. If you’d like, you can use four small pieces of tape to affix each corner of the card to the template. Now, put the card and the template up against a light-filled window and use a pencil to trace the template through the card.
You should be able to see right through the template!
You can trace over every part of the template if you want to, or you can skip tracing over the dotted lines. The dotted lines are meant to function as guides for fin borders and the side fin, but you are welcome to customize those parts of the fish to your liking!
Once you have traced the fish, fold the card and use scissors to cut the fish out. Make absolutely sure that you do not cut on the edge of the card at the fish’s mouth. This edge will hold the two parts of the card together!
3. Add Color to Your DIY Card
If you like watercolors, you can use them to give the fish a pop of color. In the example below, I used hues of yellow, orange, and red to fill in the fish’s body, and gray for the fins. This is simply a suggested color scheme; your fish can be any color you want! Note that you don’t have to use watercolors. Colored pencils, markers, or ink would also work great. Just use whatever medium you are comfortable with!
4. Add Ink
If you have a gel pen handy, you can use it to trace over the pencil lines that you drew. I like using Pilot G2 0.5mm pens, but any black gel pen will work! If you don’t have a gel pen handy, you can use a fine-tipped black marker or a dip pen and black ink.
Next, add embellishments to your fish! You can customize this step to fit your personal style, but I made a time lapse video of my embellishments in case you’d like an example to follow. I couldn’t resist adding the surfer-themed music! If you’re at work, make sure that your speakers are off. 🙂 If you are unable to view Vimeo videos, this video is also available for viewing on YouTube.
The video goes fast, so here’s a stationary reference of the fish design:
Again, you should feel free to use any designs that you want to when embellishing this DIY card! Henna motifs, polka dots, and florals would all look very cool. Have fun and get creative!
5. Write a Message in the Card
If your card recipient isn’t a fish enthusiast (as far as you know, anyway), then you’ll need to tie the fish theme in with the occasion. I am sending this as a birthday card, so I used Kaitlin Style calligraphy to write “You’re ‘ofishally’ our favorite birthday girl.” The turquoise Bombay Ink is reminiscent of water!
Other messages that could work include:
- Good luck card – “Your (presentation, concert, etc.) will go swimmingly”, “You can accomplish any fin”, “Oppor-tuna-ty is knocking”
- Card for spouse – “I picked the best fish in the sea”, “I won’t be koi … I love you”
- Birthday – “How cod I have forgotten your birthday?” (Belated), “Wishing you a reel-y happy birthday”, “Have a fin-tastic birthday”
Your card will fit in any A7 (5.25″ x 7.25″, 133 mm x 184 mm) envelope. I created the Flourish Formal style envelope below with the fish theme in mind, including a trout-themed stamp and more turquoise ink. I used a white envelope, but if you have a blue envelope, even better!
Slip your card in the envelope and send! Your recipient will be delighted at their artistic DIY card … I promise that they’ll appreciate it so much more than a commercial card.
One of my favorite things about this card is how much you can customize it. As I mentioned above, you can change the colors and the design to suit your personal style! Kids also love making cards like these … it’s fun for them to see a fish come to life before their eyes! When I made a piece like this with my (3 year-old) niece, I cut out the fish and drew the eye for her, then she did the rest. We skipped making the fish into a card, instead keeping it a flat piece of paper. She loved it and was so proud of what she made!
Regardless of what you use this card for, I hope that you enjoyed the tutorial and the video! I really appreciate you giving me a little bit of time today, and I want to thank you for reading TPK. Have a fantastic weekend!