How to Make a Punny Birthday Card

So you forgot. It's your ________'s birthday and you don't have that thoughtful gift you meant to get last week. Let's be honest, there's no time to get a gift. But... just enough time to make something thoughtful! In my experience, people FLIP over handmade cards. My sister-in-law has cards I have made her from over 5 years ago hanging all over her house. It's such a fun way to make someone feel special!

Today we'll be making a new fav pun of mine.. "it's sherbet day". GET IT??  I know it looks misspelled, but Google verified it for me.

It's sher (your) bet (birth) day! I don't know why but it really makes me chuckle.

What you'll need:


1. Water
2. Paintbrush (I used a size 8 round watercolor brush)
3. Watercolor Set (Mine's from Michael's)
4. Pencil
5. A black marker or pen (I used a Sharpie Brush Marker)
6. Watercolor Card and Envelope (I used Strathmore's)
7. Access to Netflix to watch an episode of Parks & Recreation

STEP ONE | Sketch out the design

make a punny birthday card outline

First up, outline your sherbet design in pencil. You're basically making a simple ice cream cone, except we are calling it sherbet. Same thing right? Ideally you'd lightly trace, but it isn't crucial since we'll be tracing over with sharpie later on.

For the "it's sherbet day" font, a normal print font will be just fine if you aren't feeling confident in your brush lettering abilities. If you have good cursive, you can do that and later, make your downstrokes extra thick to make it faux calligraphy! I opted for cursive and just an even thickness of marker to trace.

STEP TWO | Wet cone

Step 2 make a punny birthday card
step 2.2 make a punny birthday card

Let's start painting! Dip your brush in the water. Fill in the cone space with water. Make sure a thin coat fills the entire space. Look at it from different angles to double check.

STEP THREE | Add pigment

step 3 make a punny birthday card
step 3.1 make a punny birthday card

Pick two colors you think will blend well. I picked a orange and a mustard-y yellow. Wet the darkest color you chose first, and then dab that pigment within the wet cone area on your card.

STEP FOUR | Add second color

step 4.1 make a punny birthday card
step 4.2 make a punny birthday card

Clean off your brush in water by rubbing softly against the side of your jar and swishing around. Add the second, lighter color, to the wet cone area. Add until pigment covers the whole cone area. Lift your card and tilt it from side to side so colors blend. Lay the card to the side to dry.

This is where the important part comes in. Watch half of an episode of Parks & Rec while the paint on the cone dries. If you don't do something, you're going to start on the sherbet part to early and it will bleed

STEP FIVE | Wet sherbet + add pigment

step 5.1 make a punny birthday card
step 5.2 make a punny birthday card

Did Bert Macklin solve his latest crime? If you don't know what that means, please go watch Parks & Rec from start to finish so we can be friends.

So once your cone area is dry, we are going to repeat step two on the sherbet area. I used different variations of pink for this guy!

step 5.3 make a punny birthday card
step 5.4 make a punny birthday card

After some pink, I added a pretty red orange color (it's my fav right now) to give a little POP. Keep adding colors and tilting card until well blended.

STEP SIX | Add watercolor to envelope

step 6.1 make a punny birthday card

While the top of the sherbet is drying, take your envelope and add a stripe of a light pink in the center. NOTE: You want to make sure you don't have too much water and/or pigment on your brush or it will severely warp your paper! Take your brush and add that pretty red orange color stripe right underneath (slightly overlapping) the pink stripe. Hopefully they will both be wet enough to slightly blend.

STEP SEVEN | Wet sherbet + add pigment


After your sherbet cone is COMPLETELY dry, take your sharpie outline the design. I personally like it when it's not perfect (aka the watercolor is outside the lines). After you've outlined your pencil marks, add X's inside the cone part to give the design some texture and interest.

STEP EIGHT | Trace over pencil lettering


We're getting close!  Trace over your pencil lettering. If you didn't trace over exactly, no worries! Take an eraser once it is dry and erase any stray marks.

STEP NINE | Letter envelope


Once your watercolor strips on your envelope are dry, it's time to letter on top! Pro tip: Use the same font you used on the card to create a cohesive pairing.

STEP TEN | Write a note


You did it!! The card and envelope look awesome, now fill the inside with a thoughtful message. I know they will love it!