DIY Birthday Box

If I love you, you’ll know it. I will have cooked for you, or crafted for your or both. One of my closest friends, and former coworker, moved abroad last year to start Grad School and join her fiancé in Paris. When she was still here in DC, she practically held my hand through two of the craziest years of my life, even when she had a million other things going on in her own life. And for that, I don’t think I can ever really thank her enough.

When she left to pursue her dreams, I was torn. Of course I wanted the best for her, I wanted her to become successful and stay happy, but I was also selfish. I didn’t want my close friend to leave because that would mean I wouldn’t be able to see her whenever I wanted, or go on our crazy adventures. So I sent her off with a Paris Survival Kit, complete with a Learn French on Your Commute CD pack, a photo of the two of us, some wine accessories and a really-long letter explaining what everything meant and why she needed them.

Now, a little less than a year later, it’s her birthday. And as much as I would have loved to get on the first flight to Paris, work and other obligations were standing in the way. Instead, I gathered a few things to send over in a birthday box.

The nice thing about birthday boxes, is that you can use your creativity to make them meaningful to the receiver. I usually always include cake in a jar, a card and birthday candles. Because, really what’s a birthday without cake? And it’s always nice to include something you know they’ll love … like coffee, for example.




I started with a plain white box from Michaels. It took me a while to decide how I wanted to decorate the box, but I decided to go with simplicity. Michael’s has an entire aisle dedicated to scrapbooking stickers. It’s so great, because they have so many ready-to-use themes. I picked up a couple sticker packets and ended up using two to create a simple design on the lid.

Going back to our days in DC, I remember our Friday Dunkin Coffee treats. So, at the grocery store I found packages of ground Dunkin Coffee.

South Moon Under sells this adorable mug that I bought to include in the box, and of course bought myself a matching one to use.



The card means the most to me. As a writer, I find that I can best express myself through the written word. It’s a challenge and an adventure to search the rows of birthday cards for something that says just the right thing, just the way that I want it to. A card that is a reflection of me as the giver and a reflection of the receiver. It’s an important and meaningful process. This card had to be special. Of course, I added my own note on the inside of the card as well. I always draft my thoughts out on a separate piece of paper before committing to writing on the card. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve added things in after writing my original draft. If you’re sending candles to go with the cake, it’s safest to tape them to the inside of the card. That way, they don’t break somewhere in the box.



Last, but certainly not least, the cake. Since I was sending this box from DC to Paris, I didn’t want to run into any customs issues. I filled a pretty mason jar with funfetti cake mix and sprinkles. I layered the sprinkles between the cake mix – it didn’t quite arrive layered, but at least the cake mix wasn’t all over the box.



Finally, packing it all up. I used colored tissue paper – and lots of it – to wrap up the jar and mug. I didn’t want it to get there in pieces. And I topped it all off with multi-colored confetti.

Birthday Boxes are meant to be special and tailored to the receiver. So use your own creativity to send someone best wishes on the most important day of the year to them.