DIY Watercolour and Calligraphy Birthday Card

Oh-So-Very-Pretty-Happy-Birthday-Card-14 copy


Ever caught in a moment where you forgot to get a birthday card for the party you’re heading to? Well, it’s always healthy to keep a nice stack of cards that you can use whenever the occasion calls for it. But once in a while, you know that you just have to get that special card for that person. This card is perfect easy enough to create a couple of times to ensure you’re prepared for birthdays, and also for special ones.

Materials you’ll need:

  • Cardstock 
  • Watercolor and a variety of brushes (I used a flat brush, a round brush and a small liner brush)
  • Calligraphy pen + White ink (alternatively, you can use a sharpie or any other pen)
  • Extra sheet to use as a stencil
  • Scissors
  • Envelope
  • Twine (optional)

I started off with cutting a 4×6 card from the card stock. I love using bristol paper because it’s so smooth for calligraphy.


Then, I drew half a heart shape (lengthwise) and on another sheet that I was going to use as a stencil.


Then, I folded the sheet lengthwise and use a pair of scissors to cut the heart out. Because a heart is symmetrical, you can easily create an even heart shape stencil.


I placed the stancil onto the right side of the card stock. Then, I started to paint. I wanted to create a gradient from a rich pink-red color to a reddish purple, so I started with the pink-red.


Using a round brush, I painted the top portion of the heart.


Then, I added darker red to my watercolour to create a darker portion below the pink-red.


Then, I added some purple to complete the heart!


Then, remove the stencil and LET DRY. I can’t state the importance of this instruction any more – you must let it dry, else the colours will mix with the calligraphy ink and/or blot paint everywhere!


Once the cover is dry, you can open the card and using a liner brush, dab a little of the paint and water to write the words “Happy Birthday”. If you want, you can also add more purple as you reach the end of the words, to follow the gradient theme from the cover of the card to the inside.



When the inside text is dry (remember to let it dry!), it’s time to do the calligraphy for the front of the card. Pick a really short quote and practice writing it in a piece of scrap paper. I use Dr. Martin’s Pen White ink and I add just a touch of water to dilute the water a bit. You can definitely use a sharpie as well if you don’t have the materials for calligraphy.


Once you’re done, let it dry.


If you’re feeling extra nice and creative, you can also create an envelope liner! Depending on what your envelope is, you can either cut out a smaller, similar-shaped envelope line and do some design on it. Since I wanted to carry the watercolour hearts onto this card, I drew some hearts and lines using the same shades.


Then I slipped the liner inside the envelope and voila! You’ve got a unique, creative, and extra-special birthday card that is sure to make anyone happy on their special day. Enjoy being creative!


Love, K.


About Karla Lim

Karla Lim is a marketing gal by day and a photographer/graphic designer/blogger/webmaster/calligrapher/crafter by night. Follow her on Google+


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23 Responses to DIY Watercolour and Calligraphy Birthday Card

  1. Joanne April 9, 2013 at 10:01 am #

    This is such an awesome idea! Very simple to do too. Love the calligraphy! I wish I knew how to do that.

    • Karla Lim April 9, 2013 at 10:02 am #

      Thanks Joanne! I’ll probably create a printable version… when I have some time! :)

  2. Alex April 10, 2013 at 4:19 am #

    I was wondering what type of calligraphy pen you use? I noticed the same pen in your gift tags post, and it produces the most beautiful difference in thickness of line. Does it have a particular name or brand?


    • Karla Lim April 10, 2013 at 8:29 am #

      Hi Alex! Thanks for asking. (Btw, your site looks great, and your work does too!) I got it from John Neal Books. It’s Hunt 99. I really like it too – it’s super flexible and writes like a brush!

  3. Marian April 10, 2013 at 7:21 am #

    i love this idea. I always try to make homemade cards when I can, so I will definitely have to try this out.

    • Karla Lim April 10, 2013 at 8:29 am #

      Thanks Marian! Your blog is lovely! :) Have a great day!

  4. Bellenza Bistro April 10, 2013 at 11:26 pm #

    Watercolor cards are my dream project! This tutorial is really prodding me to go try it…thanks!

    • Karla Lim April 16, 2013 at 11:45 pm #

      I’m sure you’ll do great! I love doing watercolour cards too I think they are therapeutic :)

  5. Holly April 16, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

    This is gorgeous and your calligraphy really makes the card! Where did you learn calligraphy?

    • Karla Lim April 16, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

      Hi Holly! I’m such a fan of your quilting. I am oh-so-inspired (I follow you on Instagram :P) I learned calligraphy on my own actually! I was feeling really inspired late last year and started to practice and watch some videos online. IAMPETH is a great resource. Am actually open for some calligraphy gigs, if you know any!

      • Holly April 16, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

        Thanks, Karla! I love to quilt and to share what I make with with both the Instagram community and the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild.

        You only started calligraphy late last year?! That’s amazing! You’re so good at it and I love your style. I tried it a bit in high school (many years ago!) but maybe I should play with it again. I’ll check out the site you mentioned.

        • Karla Lim April 16, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

          Well it’s very inspiring that you do that :) It’s always fun to do something you love!

          For me, at least right now, calligraphy is my therapy. Haha! I’m glad you like it! And of course, just like quilting, practice makes perfect! I am inspired by some key calligraphers and I view their work often, until I find my own style.

  6. Kristina Anderson (@yesitskris) April 17, 2013 at 4:36 pm #

    This turned out so pretty!! Love love love.

    Kristina does the Internets

  7. Kelsey April 17, 2013 at 9:12 pm #

    This is absolutely gorgeous! I’ve always been nervous about trying my hand at watercolour…but I think that now I must give it a go!
    And I LOVE the added touch of the envelope liner, such a nice personal touch <3

    • Karla Lim April 18, 2013 at 6:08 am #

      Thanks Kelsey! Glad we’ve inspired you to try it out! It’s really relaxing honestly to do watercolor :) do it!!!

  8. Courtney Mitterando June 19, 2013 at 11:14 am #

    Hi! I was wondering what your title/scripture posts font is called–I’ve seen it on other sites and think it’s really cool.

    • Karla Lim June 19, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

      Hi Courtney, hope you’re having a great day! Did you mean the font that we use on the images? If that was the case, it’s called Miso and you can download it from Font Squirrel.

  9. ilovelettering January 31, 2014 at 8:18 am #

    What a lovely tutorial! Reading I found myself thinking “Why didn’t I think of that”?!?, but I didn’t think of it, and it’s just perfect! Thank you for sharing your lovely artwork and you clever process! I’m off to make my own version, thanks for the inspiration!!!

  10. Mandy May 23, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

    Hi Karla,

    Fabulous idea.. Trying out Dr. Martin’s and having some difficulty thinning the ink. How did you do it? Btw, I am a beginner at calligraphy – will definitely check out those sites you suggested!
    Thanks so much!

    ~ Mandy


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