Stay eco-friendly and on a budget this holiday season starting with these homemade holiday cards that reflect the love that is put into making them
Holiday cards can be pretty generic when bought in a 12pk from the dollar store, so why not spice it up this year with unique designs, personalized messages, and handmade envelopes?
While this may seem like a daunting task for an already hectic gift-giving season, these cards take almost no time to make and are much more fun than the traffic you’ll deal with just to get identical ones in a set.
Want to make your cards match? No problem!
Coming up with ideas on what to draw out is probably the hardest part of making these cards. If you find free-hand drawing to be a challenge, try using references or taking inspiration from existing card designs. Make several of the same design or use the same art style to create a matching set for the whole family!
Now, are you up for the challenge?
Most, if not all, of the cards I make use watercolors with detailing in black pen ink. I recommend painting the watercolor shapes first and then going in for the detail with your pen. This creates a unique look while preventing the ink from smearing.
Looking for inspiration? Use the list below to generate ideas and look up graphics online if a stencil or reference is necessary!
Taking inspiration from any of the cards pictured is always welcome, too!
- Evergreen tree
- Gingerbread man
- Holly and ivy
Alright, now time for the fun part—making the cards!
The first step for those making watercolored cards is to make sure you get the right paper to hold the pigment. Thicker paper holds better and won’t get soggy from the watercolor as printer paper will.
Trust me—it’s worth the extra dollar or two to invest in watercolor paper to avoid this issue.
I recommend drawing out your design very lightly with a pencil to get a general idea of what you want the card to look like. This can be used as a sort of stencil to keep the proportions looking right.
It’s important to let all of the paper dry if you intend to add more than one layer of watercolor or if you intend to write in pen ink on top. The water base can let the ink bleed, so waiting is worth it. Once the paper is dry, make a crease so it folds to hide a personal message inside! You can also experiment with vertical and horizontal folds as needed and you’re almost done!
Intimidated by homemade envelopes? Do what I do!
I’ve found huge rolls of recycled wrapping paper that can be used to wrap gifts in a more sustainable way, and they can be re-recycled! They also double as minimalistic envelope paper, because let’s face it, the colorful paper isn’t worth the waste.
Take an envelope that fits your card and unfold it so that it lays flat on the paper you intend on folding into the new envelope. Trace the outline and then cut it out and fold it into a new envelope before sealing it with a glue stick. Once you’ve traced and made one envelope, you can make as many as you’d like.
Envelopes can seem intimidating at first, but they don’t have to be overcomplicated. If you want to try a freehand design, check out one of many YouTube tutorials that provide a variety of envelope shapes for unique card designs.
An unbelievable amount of wrapping paper isn’t recyclable for its vanity and too many presents come smothered in plastic to stay conscious during the holiday season.
I challenge you to follow along with my zero-waste posts to stay waste-conscious this season!
I’ll be covering cards, food, gifts, and more during the Zero Waste Holiday Series from now until New Year’s! I’m so excited to share the changes I’m making this year and I hope it encourages you to make a change yourself!
Going completely zero-waste overnight is nearly impossible but the little changes do add up!
Don’t be afraid to be an imperfect zero-waster, you’re part of the majority, and we’ve got to remember that all the little changes add up to something big over time.