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DIY Keepsake Thank You Cards

DIY Keepsake Thank You Cards
By Christa Melnyk Hines

There is no such thing as gratitude unexpressed. If it is unexpressed, it is plain, old-fashioned ingratitude. ~ Robert Brault

With young children and many generous friends and relatives who send gifts over the holidays, we are frequently searching for meaningful and beautiful thank you cards. It’s a good idea to teach children to appreciate the effort and thoughtfulness that went into each of the many gifts they receive by creating thank you cards together. Through this simple project the goal is to acknowledge the generosity of our loved ones and help our kids slow down and learn to show gratitude.

Even if your children are too young to write their own cards, they can contribute their creative ability to acknowledge a gift received. If your children have grown handy with crayons, finger paints, glue sticks and watercolors, making thank you cards will turn into a fun project that ends the merriment of this season of giving and receiving on a considerate note.

In addition to costing very little to make, homemade cards featuring a special personal piece of artwork is a wonderful keepsake particularly cherished by grandparents and other relatives.

For this project, you will need:

  • Textured watercolor paper
  • Watercolors
  • 4×6 blank cards in a variety of colors
  • Matching envelopes
  • Glue stick
  • Pair of decorative, serrated craft scissors (for adult use)
  • And if the mood strikes, extra decorative notions such as stickers, beads or glitter.

(All of these items can be found at your local craft store, if not in your own home.)

Six simple steps:

1.) Have your child paint whatever he desires on the watercolor paper. Young children will often just play with the watercolors, experimenting with the paint brush and the different colors. Don’t worry, this free-form technique works especially well for this project.

2.) When the pictures are dry, use the decorative craft scissors to cut out parts of the watercolor pictures into squares, or whatever shapes you prefer. The serrated scissors not only add a pretty border to the artwork, but they are also a little more forgiving than a regular pair of scissors when it comes to cutting a straight line. Out of one sheet of watercolored paper, you can easily make several cards, which keeps this project from getting overwhelming for children of all ages.

3.) After cutting the watercolors down to size, put them onto the covers of the pre-made blank cards. The solid color of the cards provides a lovely frame around the miniature canvases and helps the watercolors pop on the page.

4.) Have your child paste his masterpiece onto the card using the glue stick. Make a variety of cards and have fun experimenting with different designs. Your child can also add glitter, beads or stickers to the card.

5.) On the back of the card, be sure to include a note or a small label indicating that the artist is your child. For example, “Artwork by Jane Smith, age 3” and the date.

6.) After you have written your thank you notes, have your child sign her name at the bottom if she’s able, or put your child’s thumbprint next to her name.

When you’re all done, enjoy a holiday cookie and cup of hot chocolate with your family to celebrate a job well-done! The recipients of your cards will appreciate this sweet expression of gratitude from your children and your children will learn a valuable, thoughtful lesson in giving thanks.


Freelance journalist, Christa Melnyk Hines, and her husband are the parents of two active boys. Her latest book is Happy, Healthy & Hyperconnected: Raise a Thoughtful Communicator in a Digital World.

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