A Special Birthday DIY Surprise

Taking a little break from wedding planning, I’d like to share a special project that I cranked out.  For my mom’s 60th birthday, she insisted – no parties, no gifts.  So we decided what better way to honor the “no gifts” rule than to have all of my mom’s friends and family from past and present, send her surprise birthday cards spanning her birthday week?  My sister said she saw this really cool idea on Pinterest somewhere, and described it to me, but I don’t have Pinterest (I know, I sound like a broken record this week, sorry), so I had to make my own!

The idea is this… send a note to friends and family, and enclose a birthday card with a pre-addressed pre-stamped envelope, so all people have to do is sign their name and drop it in the mailbox!  I decided to go the easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy route and do pre-addressed pre-stamped postcards instead of dealing with envelopes and separate cards.

I’m crazy, so I started from scratch.  First step, find a birthday graphic off of the old Google, throw it into Microsoft Word or Powerpoint, I don’t remember which (I know, I don’t use any “real” editing software, I suck), and make my own postcard.  I put 4 of the pictures on one side to make the most of the cardstock that I would be printing the postcards on.  I went the easy route with all of the same graphic, but I very easily could have done any number of different graphics for the pretty side of the postcard.

All photos personal.


On the next page, which would be printed on the backside, I created your typical postcard layout and put in the address.  Apologies for the blurring out the address, but you can see the watermark graphic that I used as well.

ImageAfter I had my postcards made, the next step was to print them.  Originally, I had planned on buying the cardstock and printing them on my work printer, but after I procrastinated on buying the cardstock, I decided it may be easier to just take my jump drive to the UPS Store and have the postcards printed there.

I must say, if you’re doing any bulk printing like this (I think I printed somewhere around 20 sheets of these?) where you want quick printing but reasonably good print quality, this is the way to go!  It was super reasonably priced, and the service was good.  I asked them to print one copy so I could visually inspect it to make sure it came out evenly, and they very quickly merged my two pages into the right orientation to print correctly front-to-back for the postcards.  It made my life so much easier, cost me less than $20 and less than 10 minutes of time, and was totally worthwhile.  Anywho, I’m done singing praises for UPS, moving on…

I swung by the office supply store near UPS, bought a box of fun-colored envelopes, stopped at the post office (literally all of these things are 1,000 feet from each other.  I love it!) to buy cute postcard stamps, and went home to prep everything.  I was SO EXCITED to finally have an occasion to break out the papercutter that I bought for 40% off at my girl JoAnn’s months before.

ImageAll of the supplies laid out

I set to work carefully lining up the postcards and loving on my papercutter for smooth lines and easy trimming!


Sorry for the gratuitous crafting/ring shot.  Actually no, sorry, I’m not sorry at all, really.

And then I decided that that wasn’t enough.  I needed to add a cute note to the envelope to explain the process.  So back to the drawing board to whip up something cute and print some copies to insert in the envelopes.

If you’re interested, the note says:

My mom is turning 60 this year!  Please join us in making this year

truly special by sending the enclosed pre-stamped postcard with your own birthday wish.

It could be a simple ‘happy birthday’ or you could share your favorite memory.

Thanks and best wishes,

We three girls

The big day is her birthday!“*

*Names and identifying details omitted

So after all the cards were cut and envelopes and cards stamped, this is what I had.

ImageSo I got to stuffing, and even paused to take a photo of that.  I put the note on top of the postcard, so it should be fairly obvious what is going on (though I’m still some people were still confused about why they were getting a postcard in an envelope).


ImageThe final stack!

Not so bad for a few hours of crafting, but I was glad to get those puppies out into the mail.  Just as well, I hope mom enjoyed getting them more than I enjoyed putting them together!



Would you do surprise cards for someone’s birthday?  Have you seen this on Pinterest?  Do you like taking gratuitous ring shots while crafting?  I can’t seem to help myself…


2 thoughts on “A Special Birthday DIY Surprise

  1. How great! I actually work on the advertising for the The UPS Stores and have shared your blog with my team – we love to see success stories.
    Also, what a cute idea! I’m sure your mom will be incredibly touched by all the effort on your part and the kind words from your family

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