Spring’s arrival brings the loveliest changes to our garden, and also a parade of holidays that stretch right into summer. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Teacher Appreciation Day…coming up with unique gift ideas year after year can feel a bit overwhelming amongst all of spring’s other activities. This week we thought we’d tackle a kid-made gift that works perfectly for any of those occasions – a handmade flower garden card that can hold a plethora of surprises!
This lovely little garden wins the blue-ribbon prize for handmade cards – and with a free printable template, it makes an absolutely perfect kid-made option for May Day, Grandparent’s Day, or a garden-lovers birthday as well. Bonus: because we’ve added a little pocket, you can tuck a little packet of native seeds inside! It’s also just the right size for a gift card from the recipient’s favorite garden center (or favorite anything, of course!).
Free-painted watercolor flowers are the stars of this showy homemade card, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to enjoy an afternoon of spring or summer art. You can grab some fresh flower examples from the garden to observe and paint, or just let your littles use their imaginations!
You can also fill your garden with flowers made of anything you like! We’ve used watercolors for our example, but you can experiment with different processes or supplies to build a garden featuring all of your favorites. Keep reading for a handful of fresh but simple ideas.
If you’ve chosen to watercolor or paint as we have, you’ll notice we made our flowers and leaves a few different ways – by creating bold outlines then filling in with color, painting colorful circles, and splattering with paint – you can visit our collection easy mixed media techniques for more ideas + tools to help you have the MOST fun painting your garden!
This card uses the same garden gate concept we used in our larger cardboard fold-out secret garden, just on a smaller scale. So if your kids enjoy this project, you can step the garden art-making up to the next level with paper collaging and landscape-building.
For more handmade card options, visit our DIY heart bouquet cards, or turn our torn paper landscape art into postcards. Gardeners might also enjoy receiving some easy kid-made goat’s milk soap along with their card!
To make your own watercolor garden card you’ll need:
Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains a few Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates, we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*
- Watercolor paper (this is the kind we use) or heavy cardstock
- Watercolors, tempera paint, crayons, or markers for coloring
- A glue stick
- Our printable secret garden template set (free until June 20th, 2021!)
- An X-Acto knife
- Markers, oil pastels, or colored pencils
- A packet of native vegetable or flower seeds (The Meadow Project or is a good way to find some local distributors – or search for packets by zone at Eden Brothers)
- An A-9 envelope (like these)
DIY Kid-Made Flower Garden Card Instructions:
- Print our template or free draw your own garden gate
Print out the card template pages from our secret garden template set, or free draw your own garden gate. We made two cards and printed the outline garden gate template onto heavy watercolor paper, and the template page that has a black garden gate card onto green cardstock. The green background added instant color and also allowed us to print on a low-quality setting to save some black ink.
There are a few simple flower shapes included in our template set in case you’d like to cut out and color – we tried both free drawing and using the templates and both have their own unique style!
- Cut out your flower garden card template pieces
Cut out the garden gate card, foliage pocket insert, and flowers if desired. We cut out the negative space on the front of our garden gate card using an X-Acto knife, but if your kids are cutting this out on their own or you want to keep it simple, you can just leave them!
- Color and decorate your templates, or free paint flowers, leaves, and stems
We used watercolors to color our garden gate, foliage pocket insert, and free-paint some flowers. But we also have more coloring and decorating ideas below if you’d like to try a different process.
Note: If you’re using watercolors as we did, you can flip the garden foliage pocket insert over to the unprinted side and color if you’d rather not have the thick decorative foliage lines showing.
- Cut out your flowers, leaves, and stems
If you free-painted your own foliage as we did, cut around your watercolor flowers and leaves. You can cut right along the watercolor lines, or roughly cut around the edge for a stylized look (faster too!).
- Glue flowers to paper or popsicle stick stems
Use a glue stick to glue flowers and leaves to stems. We used colored scraps of watercolor paper for our free paint flowers and small popsicle sticks for our cutout template flowers.
- Glue the pocket into your card and tuck in flowers, seed packets, gift cards, or a note
Fold the edges of your paper pocket insert, then use a glue stick to affix to the inside of the card where shown. Give it a few minutes to dry (especially if you’ve used heavy watercolor paper) then stuff your pocket with gorgeous flowers and any other surprises you’d like to include!
- Use a small piece of tape to hold closed, or seal in an envelope.
If you’ve used our template, your card will fit into an A-9 envelope (leaving just enough extra room for flowers that may be sticking out of the top or side of the card).
We really got into the process of painting flowers, but you definitely don’t need to make as many as we did to create a beautiful card. Even one or two lovely blooms will put a smile on the face of anyone who’s gifted this gorgeous crad.
Other ways to color or decorate the flowers for your garden card:
There are INFINITE ways to create flowers and over the years I’ve tried so many! Here are a few simple but stylish ideas to get you started if watercolors aren’t your kid’s thing…
- Make melted crayon flowers. Use our cutout templates (or freehand draw your own flower shapes), cover with crayon shavings, then iron! You can follow the very same steps we used for our melted crayon art here.
- Use colorful scraps of fabric. Glue colorful scraps of solid or patterned scrap fabric onto our templates or your own cutout paper flowers.
- Draw with oil pastels before watercoloring. You can create beautiful watercolor resist flowers by drawing the outlines of your flowers in crayon or oil pastel before adding watercolors.
- Print flowers with DIY stamps. Use recycled items like plastic lids or cardboard cutouts to make your own simple flower stamps (just as we did for our scrap stamp collages here). Or make a stamp from fruits or vegetables (as we did for our vegetable-stamped market totes here).
- Decorate with craft items or stickers. Instead of coloring, glue on small pom poms, cover with washi tape or use stickers to decorate your cut-out flower shapes.
One of the things I love about this project is that the card stands up on its own, creating a little 3D illustration of spring that can sit on a shelf or desktop. And the individual flowers can be saved and used to decorate in other ways too. Pair this card with a set of kid-decorated 5-minute stem vases that can be filled with extra watercolor flowers and lined up along a windowsill. Recycle them into a summery paper flower wreath, use them as bookmarks, or turn them into a piece of collaged flower art.
For more gift ideas your little ones can make and pair with their flower garden card, visit the tutorial for our veg-stamped parent + kid market totes, make a collection of mason jar mini terrariums, design a modern cardboard necklace, try a chalk pastel rainbow pillow, or add a few melted crayon butterflies to a special potted plant. Create an entirely different kind of flower bouquet with our tissue paper and twig spring flowers.
*A note about Amazon affiliate links: We strive to use simple, earth-friendly supplies that can be purchased locally whenever we can, but sometimes we find the best universally available options, a rare eco-friendly find, or a niche product only available on Amazon. When included in our supply list, these products are affiliate links, and if you click-through to make a purchase, we receive a small commission that helps us re-order these supplies!