Customized Crafts using Personalized Birthday Cards

What do you do with your personalized birthday cards after you open them? Okay, you might display them for a while, but when you get tired of looking at them, or tired of picking them up when the cat knocks them over (I assume this must happen, although I’ve never actually witnessed it), you probably dispose of them. If you’re environmentally conscious, you recycle them, and if you’re not, you throw them in the trash. If you’re the sentimental type, you might store them in a box that you only open on those rare occasions when you change your place of residence, or on the even rarer occasions when you clean out your attic. Now, I admit that I immediately recycle the ones with glitter (environmentally conscious, don’t like glitter), however the non-glittery ones face a more interesting fate. I take these used birthday cards and give them another chance to make someone smile, by using them to make customized craft items.

Today I am going to tell you how to make gift boxes. Gift boxes are simple to make, and can be used for small items like jewelry, or those gift cards that are so popular these days. And since gift cards aren’t the most creative gift you can give, at least the box can be creative, right? My favorite design for gift boxes is something called a pillow box. For this project you will need birthday cards, glue, scissors, a pencil, a ruler, a butter knife or other object that you can use to score (crease) the paper to make it easier to fold, and a circular object like a plate to trace the curved ends of the box.

Step 1: Fold the birthday card along its normal crease.

Step 1

Step 2: Flip the card over so you are looking at the back of the card.

Step 3: Measure and draw a straight line along the lower (open) edge of the back of the card, approximately 1 inch from the lower edge. The 1 inch measurement here is really just a suggestion. This portion is going to be cut away from the front of the birthday card, so you may want to adjust this to control the portion of the front of the card that will appear on the completed box.

Step 3

Step 4: Holding the ruler along this line, score it using the back (non-serrated) edge of the knife. You do not want to cut the paper; you only want to make a crease.

Step 5: Fold the card, along this new crease, away from you, and toward the front of the card.

Step 5

Step 6: With the birthday card in this position, you will see a small portion of the inside edge of the front of the card. Trace a line onto the inside of the front of the card, along the folded edge you just created. Cut this edge off the front of the card.

Step 6

Step 7: Turn card over and apply a small amount of glue to the inside edge (the side facing the inside of the front of the card, outlined in red below) of the flap you created in Step 5 and spread it evenly across the entire flap.

Step 7

Step 8: Press this glued edge onto the inside of the front of the card and apply pressure. You may want to place a heavy object like a book on the card to help glue the edges firmly together.

Step 9: While you’re waiting for the glue to dry, you can perform steps 1-6 on your next couple of cards – you didn’t think we were only making one of these, did you? When the glue has dried, place the round object (plate or bowl) on the folded and glued card, so that the curved edge of the object touches the left side of the card. Trace the curve with the pencil. Repeat for the right side.

Step 9

Step 10: Cut along these lines so the birthday card is now curved on the sides, and straight on the top and bottom.

Step 10

Remember to recycle the scraps.

Step 11: Place the round object back on the card and score the curve (using the back of the knife) in the opposite direction from the curved edge to form a shape that looks like parentheses ( ). You will need to do this on both the left and right sides, on both the front and back of the card.

Step 11

Step 12: Here’s the fun part. Turn the card so that the back edge is facing you. Press the curved shape – the one that looks like parentheses ( ) – on the left side toward the front. Repeat on the right side. Flip the card over and do the same thing on the front of the card on both sides. The box should “puff” and the curved folds should hold it in place.

Step 12

You can adjust the height of the box by removing more or less than one inch from the bottom of the card. You can also adjust the portion of the card that is visible by using a fold other than the natural fold of the card. Since these are so easy to make, feel free to experiment and remember to properly recycle the scraps!