Make a special birthday card that looks like a gift

Is it a book? Is it a gift? No it’s a special birthday card for my mum’s 80th birthday. You can adapt this for any birthday or occasion for a special person in your life.

It’s actually a mini accordion-style book that I’ve adapted as a birthday card. The pages spell out ‘HAPPY 80th BIRTHDAY’ and the front and back cover are designed to look like a present. See below for a step-by-step tutorial and more pictures.

I made the gift box in a previous post and I thought it would be ideal to hold the birthday card in. The box is made with two squares of paper and is easy to make. The box measures 7.5 x 7.5 cm (3 x 3 inches) and the mini birthday book measures 6 x 6 cm (2.5 x 2.5 inches).

Tip: To make a card of a different size, I suggest you make the box first and then get the mini birthday book to fit the box rather than the other way around.

Variation: You could add photos instead of lettering to the inside pages of the mini birthday book.


Special birthday card

I bought some of my supplies from Hobbycraft and some from Paperchase

You will need:
Strips of card with a width of 6cm /just under 2.5 inches. (I recycled the bottom of a fancy shopping bag from Crabtree & Evelyn: their bags are made from paper and have lovely designs on them. It’s worth buying something just for the bag!)

Printouts of lettering on 5 different coloured papers (I downloaded a font called Apex Lake from or use rubber stamps and an ink pad instead.

Craft knife, ruler and cutting mat

Foam numbers

Alphabet stamps and inkpad

Gel medium or craft glue and an old brush

Gelatos and baby wipes

Glitter glue (optional)

Book board or any thick card (you could use the back of an old sketchbook)

Scraps of craft paper and ribbon (I used metallic peel-and-stick craft paper)

Mini tag

Distress Ink

Gold glitter pen

How to make the mini birthday book

1. Print out Happy Birthday onto several pieces of coloured paper. I downloaded a typeface that has a square border around the letters called called Apex Lake from I installed the font (type in a search on Google if you don’t know how to do this), and printed out the lettering from my computer. I printed the letters to be slightly smaller than a 6 x 6 cm (2.5 x 2.5 inch) square.

Tip: You could use alphabet stamps and an ink pad and stamp out a message, if you don’t want to do step 1. You could even hand write the letters instead.

2. Cut around each letter using a craft knife and a ruler on a cutting mat.

3. Cut out several strips of card with a width of 6cm (two and a half inches). Score the card with a craft knife at intervals of 6cm (just under two and a half inches) and then fold it to form a concertina.

4. Glue the letters in place using gel medium, alternating the colours of the background paper.

5. Add a layer of gel medium on top of the letters.

6. For ’80th’ I used foam numbers and glued them in place using gel medium, but you could use stamps or write the numbers by hand. I used alpha stamps to stamp ‘TH’ to spell ’80th’.

7. When the strips are all ready to be glued together, use gel medium to glue them together
and glue them by overlapping the strips at the back.

8. Add colour to the inside pages using Gelatos and wipe them with a baby wipe to blend the colours. I also used glitter glue (optional).

9. To create the cover, I cut out two thick pieces of card slightly larger (about 3mm or an eighth of an inch larger) all the way around than the pages inside.

10. Glue them to craft foam. Cut off the excess craft foam with a craft knife on a cutting mat.

11. Cut craft paper into two squares at least 1 cm ( half an inch) larger than the two squares of card. Use the craft paper to cover the two squares folding the edges and trimming with a craft knife.

12. Use scraps of gold ribbon to wrap around the cover and glue them at the back.

13. Write a greeting on a small tag. Use Distress Ink to go around the edges of the tag. Attach the tag to the cover using a small piece of silver ribbon, tying it in a bow.

14. Glue the inside pages to the covers using gel medium or craft glue and allow to dry under a weight, such as a pile of books.

15. Make a gift box for the book to fit inside and you’re done.

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