Frugal Holidays: easy DIY washi tape Christmas cards


Do you ever have things that you love to do, but never get around to doing?

I feel that way about crafty & art stuff.

Art was my minor in my undergrad studies. Though I’ve mentioned before, I never quite fit in with people who could actually, you know, draw & paint–I was just attracted to the idea of creating beautiful things.

But back to the crafty & art stuff.

I think part of my excuse for not doing it more often (though I do LOVE to pin ideas & projects as evidenced by my overstuffed DIY pinterest board) is 1) money–craft supplies can add up quickly! & 2) I have to make something that has some function, otherwise I just see it as something to clutter up my house.

Which brings me to Christmas cards.

If I could make money designing & creating cards (which, I’m sure those people exist), I would. But since I can’t, the next best thing, or perhaps even better, is to make cards for our friends & family. Since this is our first year really far away from all family & many friends, we feel it important to send an extra thoughtful card with our family Christmas photo.

Also, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, & I wanted to the kids to be able to join in too.

I got a lot of inspiration from pinterest, then, with a few loose ideas of what I wanted to do, went to Micheal’s craft store with Mali & Hyrum. I haven’t been there in awhile & my brain nearly exploded with the burgeoning shelves, filled with who knows what.

Walking into a craft store like Micheal’s (at least the one I went to) was a full-on sensory experience. The smell of paper, candles, pine. Everything seemed to be covered in a thin layer of glitter.

Overwhelmed by the possibilities, as well as feeling a little claustrophobic due to the floor to ceiling cluttered shelves (it’s nothing like Target–where I feel so calm & peaceful with the wide open spaces & clean shelving), I came across some lovely natural blank cards & envelopes which were fortuitously placed next to the washi tape.

I thought–hey! washi tape cards.

Easy, frugal, & I think, quite charming.


(all items were purchased at Micheal’s)

natural cards & envelopes (got 40 for $5.99–40% off)
a non-bleed fine point black sharpie permanent marker ($1.50)
Christmas themed washi tape ($2.99 for 2 rolls–also 40% off)
fine white paint pen (pack of two for $2.99)
colored pencils
googly eyes & red/black poms (optional–for reindeer cards)

my total cost (with tax): about $15

As far as how to make, rather than tell you, I’ll just show you some examples of what we did.

Though I will add, I think the key to making these cards is to keep things simple.

The white paint pen, the fine point sharpie, the washi tape, & the natural brown paper blend together beautifully.

Not a lot of embellishment is needed!


I got inspiration for the cute little reindeer bird from this pin (which looks like they actually use fabric for the bird’s body). Love it because it’s cute & so easy to draw!


I made this card using googly eyes & poms, & my kids used it as a template to make their own.

side note: I lost my fine point sharpie pen for a moment (& nearly had a nervous breakdown), & had to resort to using a regular sharpie–wasn’t my first choice, but I made it work. I think the fine lines of the fine point sharpie pen look much more elegant.


The kid’s version…
(I love Asher’s bramble reindeer horns on the bottom.)


Mali’s reindeer & snowman using washi tape.


I just love the combo of the white paint pen & the fine point sharpie.

The fine point sharpie makes almost any handwriting look good!

More ideas–


Are you into DIY stuff? Will you be making anything this Christmas? 

Need some DIY inspiration? 

Lacy has a roundup of 30+ DIY gifts for your little ones.

& this AWESOME roundup of simple simple DIY 75 gifts under $5.

Also, check out my kids + DIY & my DIY pinterest boards.

Frugal Holidays Part 1: simple gifting
Frugal Holidays Part 2: why dejunking before the holidays is essential
Frugal Holidays Part 4: 5 of our fave Christmas traditions
Frugal Holidays Part 5: DIY clay baked ornaments


P.S. Did you enter my giveaway for a bring joy tote (winners will be announced 11/29)–I’m giving 3 away. AND it’s easy! Just leave a comment on this post.

Also, you can get 2 totes for only $16 through November 30. Just go here & enter blackFriday16 at checkout!


  1. lfwfv
    on November 29, 2013 at 8:31 am said:

    Wow, these are gorgeous!!

  2. Emma
    on November 28, 2013 at 5:43 am said:

    Love these! My favourite is the bauble one.
    I used to be craft-obsessed as a kid but lately haven’t done much other than knitting and crochet.
    I’m going to make a few Christmas cards for special people this year- I might have to copy some of your designs…!

    • Janae Wise
      on November 28, 2013 at 6:40 am said:

      “I might have to copy some of your designs…!”
      Yes please do! And I love that you knit & crochet. You are such a sweetie.

  3. stacy
    on November 26, 2013 at 7:55 pm said:

    Janae, these are adorable!! Love it

    • Janae Wise
      on November 26, 2013 at 8:28 pm said:

      Thank you Stacy!

  4. April
    on November 26, 2013 at 1:37 pm said:

    If I did these cards mine would look like my 2 yr old made them. How in the world did you make yours look so good? Are you naturally talented in drawing?

    • Janae Wise
      on November 26, 2013 at 8:28 pm said:

      Ha! You’re hilarious. I think sticking with a very simple drawing (as I did) & using a good pen (ie. the fine point sharpie) is crucial. Also, I think a “less than perfect” drawing is kinda the point–it makes it look authentic & homemade. And practicing a few times on regular paper is a good way to get the hang of it. Another thing, is you can just pick something super simple (like a Christmas tree) & just repeat that same design on all the cards.

      I’m not a natural “drawer,” believe me, which is why these designs are so rudimentary–but like I said, the simple drawings work for these cards. And as far as the lettering goes, I’m serious when I say, just about anyone’s handwriting looks good when written with a fine point sharpie. Those things are amazing!

  5. Laurie
    on November 26, 2013 at 11:21 am said:

    Your cards are beautiful! I’ve been wanting to buy washi tape for quite a while–I’ve seen such cute patterns–but I haven’t because I wasn’t sure what I could do with it besides cutely taping stuff up. This has given me some ideas. I think I see a trip to Michael’s in my future!

    • Janae Wise
      on November 26, 2013 at 11:33 am said:

      Thanks Laurie–washi tape is pretty amazing. This is my first venture with it, in all honesty, but once I got started, I realized how much you really can do with it!