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How to Draw the Perfect Birthday Card for a 3-Year-Old

by Kathy Gleason, studioD

For parents who are crafty, creating a one-of-a-kind birthday card for a child seems like the natural choice. But even parents who don't have a creative bone in their bodies can take up markers and glitter to impress their little sweetie. There are tons of ways to craft a unique card for a 3-year-old that will make your child think you're a genius -- and all those easy-way-out store-bought-card-giving moms and dads look lazy by comparison.

Creating a Birthday Card

Gather construction paper or card stock in your 3-year-old's favorite colors. Don't know her favorites? Take a look at the drawings she makes -- there's a good chance you'll be able to spot the theme right away. Make the card all one color or glue two sheets together so that the inside and the outside are different. Fold the card in half so you're set to start drawing and have an idea of the size you'll be working with.

Use the coloring book as a guide for drawing your kid's favorite storybook or movie character on the front or inside of the card. If you have no artistic inclination at all, you can just trace the character from the coloring book, or even color the character yourself, cut it out of the coloring book and glue it into the card. However, be advised that cutting up your 3-year-old's favorite coloring book may result in hysterics or a temper tantrum that will not make either of you feel that happy.

Decorate the homemade birthday card with a border of different shapes, if desired. Then you can have your 3-year-old explain what each shape is when he opens the card, turning the moment into an educational one. Or simply make a border of hearts or abstract designs.

Add a heartfelt message to the inside of the card, as well as your child's name and a small photo or drawing of the two of you together. Carefully lay the opened card face-down on clear contact paper. Now gently lay another sheet of contact paper on the outside of the card. Press all around to get any air bubbles out, and then trim the contact paper to the edges of the card for a neat and clean look that will last, allowing your artwork to survive your 3-year-old's rough handling. Maybe one day, she'll show your treasured creation to her own child.

Items you will need
  •  Construction paper or colored card stock
  •  Markers, crayons or colored pencils
  •  Scissors
  •  Glue or glue stick
  •  Coloring book with child's favorite characters
  •  Clear contact paper


  • Another option is to use a website or computer program that allows users to either draw artwork on a card with their mouse (or even their fingers on devices that have a touchscreen) or upload or scan existing artwork to a card that you can order online or print out on your computer.

About the Author

Kathy Gleason is a freelance writer living in rural northern New Jersey who has been writing professionally since 2010. She is a graduate of The Institute for Therapeutic Massage in Pompton Lakes, N.J. Before leaving her massage therapy career to start a family, Gleason specialized in Swedish style, pregnancy and sports massage.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images