CREATIVE FAMILY FUN: Accordion birthday card in a box

By Donna Erickson

Accordion birthday card. (Photo by Donna Erickson)

Is there a birthday in your house? Make it special with this personalized “accordion card in a box” that spills out highlights of each year of the birthday boy or girl’s life.

The fun starts with rooting around the house for a small cardboard gift box. (Or, use a clean plastic deli or margarine tub with a lid that snaps on top.) Then, choose a character or theme to decorate the outside of the box. For example, if son Nick is turning 10, you might create a “Jack and the Beanstalk”-style card in a box and call it “Nick and the Beanstalk.”

Here’s how:

  1. Paint the outside of the box green. Cut out a leaf shape to cover the lid using craft foam or colored paper. Draw details with markers and glue the leaf on top of the lid. Now create a stand-up figure with craft foam to look like the birthday child and glue it on the leaf using a glue gun. You might wish to glue a photo of the child’s face onto the head of the figure.
  2. Now comes the secret and rather clever part of your beanstalk greeting — the leaves and the stem! For the stem, cut a strip of construction paper 3/4 inch wide and about 24 inches long (tape a couple of lengths together if your paper isn’t long enough). Fold the paper accordion-style to fit perfectly inside the box (each fold should be the dimension of the base of the box). Glue the top accordion fold to the inside of the lid, and glue the bottom fold to the inside base of the box. Let dry.
  3. Cut out a leaf shape for each year of the child’s life from construction paper. Make them a bit smaller than the inside of the box. Glue the leaf shapes in the sections between the folds. With a black marker, write one event or experience that stands out for each year of the child’s life. For example, “Had a buzz cut done by Dad”; “Refused to eat vegetables”; “Won Pinewood Derby race”; etc. Gently fold the long beanstalk neatly in the box and replace the lid.

At the birthday celebration, watch the birthday kid smile when he lifts the lid to see the beanstalk grow with a delightful mix of memories.

TIP: The accordion card in a box is terrific birthday gift greeting and treasured keepsake for grandparents, aunt and uncles, too. Simply make the beanstalk a little or a lot longer!


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© 2021 Donna Erickson

Distributed by King Features Syndicate