“If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older.” - Abraham Sutzkever
A birthday party is a great opportunity to practise some drawing! You can learn how to draw cakes, sweets, and decorations for a table or cupcakes. Most people celebrate their birthdays with their friends and family and in most cultures, a gift is customary.
What makes a good gift will vary, but most will appreciate something personalised and thoughtful and there are few ways to make a custom gift than by doing it yourself.
So would you like to make some homemade decorations for your child or a friend?
In this article, we're going to look at the types of drawings you can do for somebody's birthday, how you can offer them as a gift, and some birthday-themed arts and crafts projects that are good for you and the kids.
How to Draw a Birthday Cake
No two cakes are alike so you can choose to draw whichever one you fancy. However, many of us will imagine a multi-tiered chocolate cake with icing and come candles on top.
With this in mind, here’s how you draw one:
- On a landscape piece of A4 paper, start by drawing a rectangle that’s 14 by 8.5cm. From there, draw horizontal lines at the 1, 4, 8, and 11cm marks in the rectangle. Then draw a vertical line 4cm in from the edge. These rectangles will work as construction lines to help you draw.
- From the 4cm mark from the bottom, draw yourself the first tier with cream around the edges. Don’t forget some light perspective to give the cake some depth.
- The second tier will be the same but smaller than the one below it. Again, add some icing on it for effect.
- The third tier will be even smaller and just make it up to the 11cm line. Make sure you add a candle on the top.
- Once you’ve made the structure, you can erase the construction lines.
- At the base of the cake, add some little circles as cherries.
- For the very outline of the entire cake, use a thick black marker. Add a plate or base below the cake.
- Add the decorations in pencil first. Get creative! You can add stripes, ribbons, stars, fruits, sweets, a rainbow, or even a unicorn to decorate the cake. If it’s for your child, consider adding one of their favourite characters.
- You can then start colouring it in with coloured pencils or felt-tips.
Don’t hesitate to have a look for tutorials on websites and YouTube. Once you’ve got the basics down, you can redesign the cake and start adding personal touches.
Make a wish!
How to Create Birthday Cards
Would you like to make personalised birthday cards for friends and family?
Of course, you can also make invitations to birthday parties in the same way. They’ll both feature balloons, confetti, candles, birthday candles, presents, etc.
There are plenty of great YouTube tutorials on how to draw each of these things. Here’s a simple guide:
- Get a piece of A4 Clairefontaine Pollen in the colour of your choice and a sheet of kraft paper folded to A5.
- Draw a rectangle on the kraft paper 1.5cm from the edges and cut it. Take the Clairefontaine Pollen and cut out a 9.8cm by 3.5cm rectangle. On this rectangle, write “Happy Birthday” and the name of the person.
- Draw a rectangle on the kraft paper 2cm from the edges and cut it. Underneath, you can draw an arrow, some bunting, or something personal to the recipient.
- Above, take the rectangle you cut out as the base and draw a birthday cake like the one from earlier. You can add candles, sparklers, etc. Start by drawing the bunting or banner in pencil at the top of the card. You can go over the edges in black pen or felt-tip once you’re happy with it.
- Stick the Kraft paper to the Clairefontaine Pollen that’s been folded in two. Take the other sheet of Clairefontaine Pollen that you used to cut out the rectangle and create some birthday balloons in any colour you want and stick them to the birthday card. Add some bits of string for the strings on the balloon. And there you go; an original birthday card.
- Here’s another way to make a birthday card.
- Get some watercolour paper and cut it to postcard format. You can do something as simple as writing “Happy Birthday” on it if you want. Otherwise, you can write a message on it with Versamark ink. Next, add the embossing powder and wait for it to dry.
- Next, you’re going to wet the watercolour paper only in the centre. This will provide you with a guide for the colours. Take a red watercolour pencil and put the colour onto a wet brush. Make a vertical bar of colour. A few light touches will do the trick.
- If you put too much colour down, dab it with some kitchen roll. If the paper gets dry, you can dampen it again.
- Next, do the same with orange, yellow, green, and blue. Go back over the colours if you want something more vibrant. Add stars and glitter if you fancy.
With birthday cards, you can put almost any illustration on them. After all, the more personalised they are to the recipient, the better. With a custom birthday card, you may want to include something that they enjoy or evoke the notion of birthdays with typical things like flowers, chocolates, gifts, etc. if you can't think of or draw any of the things that would be personal to them.
You can also add a photo to your birthday cards if your illustration is lacking or even print out something funny. If you're taking a picture from the internet, you might want to opt for vector images as they can be resized and rescaled without losing any quality.
Making Birthday Banners
You can even make banners for the special guest and this is also something you can do with your kids.
You can have them say “Happy Birthday” or something more personalised.
- Start by creating a triangle pattern on an A4 piece of paper. Use the length of the sheet as the base of your banner or bunting. You’ll use the pattern to cut out the bunting on other sheets. If you have A3 sheets of paper, the process will be quicker. You’ll need at least 20 triangular flags for a decent banner or bunting.
- Once you’ve cut out the triangles, fold the top 1.5cm and cut.
- You can draw whatever you want on your triangles. The letters for “Happy Birthday” are probably the most obvious idea but you can also put pictures of cakes, presents, stars, whatever. In short, be creative.
- You can make the banner as long as you like. Make sure you leave some extra space to attach it to the wall, though. Make sure the string or ribbon is inside the folds. You can then use a glue stick to attach the parts. Make sure you fold the extra around the ribbon or string. Place the flags or triangles between 4 and 5cm apart until you’re done.
Much like with a birthday card, a personalised banner is better than a generic one. Of course, if you're new to drawing or art, then it might be better to go with what you know how to do rather than attempting custom banners or bunting.
Offer a Drawing as a Present
You could also offer a drawing as a birthday present. In this case, you’ll want to think of what the recipient would like.
- Would they prefer it in colour or black and white? Paint or pencil?
- What style do they like? Realism? Abstract? Portraits?
- Do they have a favourite film or TV show?
- What is the decor at home like? What are the colours and style?
- What format would they like? A5, A4, A3, bigger?
Take your skill into account and go for something quite small if you’re just a beginner. Don’t hesitate to put your drawing in a nice little frame that you can personalise and let your imagination run riot while keeping in mind what the person will like.
If you don't want to offer them drawings, you could also have your drawing transferred onto a more suitable gift. There are several websites where a company will print your art, image, or design onto things like mugs, bags, and a plethora of personalised items.
A personalised object can be cute, funny, or just useful. I enjoy thoughtful gifts that I can also use so custom mugs, bags, or even socks are always appreciated!
What will you draw?
If you need help with your drawings or your art, consider getting a hand from a private art and design tutor. Whether the lessons are for you or the kids, you can guarantee that they'll be personalised to what the student wants to learn and draw as well as being tailored to how they like to learn.
It doesn't have to be art and design, either. If there's any new skill you'd like to learn or hobby you'd like to take up, a private tutor can help you. Just search for what you want to learn on the Superprof website.
Many of the tutors on the platform offer the first hour for free so use this time to ask them about their background, how the lessons will be personalised to you or your kids, and if you can view some of their other work.