Easy Photoshop Birthday Card Tutorial & 20 Creative Gift Ideas

Every day, millions of people celebrate their birthdays! Isn’t that fascinating? With the world’s various cultures and nearly infinite ways to celebrate, it is quite interesting to reflect on one’s own celebratory practices. How do you celebrate your birthday? Are you surrounded by people or enjoying a moment of quiet solitude? Are there streamers, cakes, gifts, dancing, or just a short walk to an ice cream shop for a sprinkled-covered cone? And what about the people you love? How do wish them a happy birthday? There are so many ways to do so.

In this post, we’ll review an easy birthday card tutorial and 20 creative gift ideas so you can celebrate those you love.

Easy Birthday Card Tutorial [Photoshop]

Step 1: Select a high-quality free stock photo from StockVault. For this project, we recommend using a colorful image, abstract background, or a paper texture. For this tutorial, we’re using this vibrant free stock photo of balloons.

Step 2: Open a Photoshop document that is your desired birthday card size. For this tutorial, we’re using a document that is 6x4inches 300 PPI. Once the document is created, place the image you downloaded by going to file > place embedded > then selecting the file from your computer.

Step 3: Add a celebratory message using a fun font. For this tutorial, we’re using Azo Sans Uber font at 36.29pt in white. But feel free to use whatever font you like and whatever colors you like!

Step 4: Experiment with font colors, filters, and effects. For this tutorial, we added a pink drop shadow to the text by clicking the FX button in the layer’s panel. We also duplicated the text and nudged it to the left to offset it and create a 3D look. Lastly, we used the color picker to select a yellow hue from the balloons then we used the rectangle tool to draw a large yellow rectangle over the image. Lastly, we selected the multiply blending mode from the layer’s panel and set the opacity to 83%- transforming the rectangle into a filter.

Step 5: Save the file and send as an e-card or print it out to give to the birthday person.

Pro-Tip: Save a copy of this file as a PSD and a copy as a TIFF file with layers. If you need a jpeg or png file for an e-card, export it using the file menu. If the file is too large, compress the layers and go to file > save as to save your png or jpg. Do not save over your PSD or Tiff files.

5 Free Stock Birthday Images

1. Birthday Cake Vector Icon

vector illustration of a cake with five colorful candles and green icing

2. Pink Background with Birthday Balloons

pink starry background with green, red and blue balloons

3. Colorful Birthday Background

young boy stick figure holding 8 balloons spelling out the word birthday

4. Image of Birthday Balloons in Pool of Water

birthday balloons in a variety of colors floating on a pool of water

5. 3D Birthday Gifts Background

3d rendering of two presents with arms and legs jumping in the air

20 Creative Birthday Gift Ideas

Sometimes the best gifts are the ones that are handmade, sentimental, or edible. Are you unsure of what to get a loved one for an upcoming birthday? Consider getting craft by making something, sourcing gifts locally, or baking up a delicious treat for those you care about. Need ideas? Below you’ll find 20!

1. Homemade Cookies

close up of cookies in various shapes
Download this free stock image here.

Looking for a simple way to celebrate someone’s birthday? Consider baking them a delicious treat!

2. A Playlist

Sheet music and headphones
Download this free stock image here.

Music is the key for many people’s hearts. So, make a playlist or compose an original song for your loved one’s next birthday.

3. Handmade Candle

three burning candles in a tiered candle holder
Download this free stock image here.

Handmade gifts are always full of so much sentiment. So, consider crafting your friend, colleague, or classmate a set of handmade candles as a gift.

4. Letter of Appreciation or Love Letter

a woman in a green polka dot blouse sits at a type writer to draft a love letter
Download this free stock image here.

Sometimes, a letter is the best way to express your feelings for someone. Celebrating your spouse’s birthday soon? Write them a letter to tell them how much you care!

5. A Video Reel of Memorable Moments

a still shot of a video camera recording a young girl sitting at a table
Download this free stock image here.

Want to capture the birthday person’s personality with your gift? Consider creating a video highlight reel featuring memorable moments you’ve shared together! These days, we document everything so finding content may be as easy as looking through your phone.

6. A Piece of Jewelry with Their Birth Month Gemstone

Download this free stock photo here.

Jewelry can be a sentimental gift that people cherish for many years. So, find out your loved one’s birth month gemstone and snag them a piece that is as precious as they are.

7. A Bouquet of Flowers

Download this free stock photo here.

Flowers are a simple but timeless gift that can inspire joy in the recipient. Pick some from your garden or source them for a local florist the next time you need a birthday gift.

8. Chocolate and Wine

Download this free stock photo here.

Searching for a sweet gift? Chocolate and wine make excellent gifts that folks can enjoy alone or with others.

9. A Home-cooked Meal

Download this free stock photo here.

There’s nothing quite like a home-cooked meal! The next time you need to think of a birthday gift, consider cooking a delicious meal for your loved one.

10. Terrarium

six terrariums on a wooden table in a hotel lobby
Download this free stock photo here.

Terrariums can be a cool way to liven up a space and they make excellent gifts for anniversaries, birthdays, or other celebratory moments.

11. A Knitted Blanket

Download this free stock photo here.

Can you knit or know someone who can? Consider gifting a cozy knitted blanket to the birthday person in your life.

12. Pottery (hand-made or sourced from a local artist)

Download this free stock photo here.

Pottery can be functional or just ornamental but it makes a great gift either way. So, craft a piece of pottery for the one you love, or source ceramics from a local artist.

13. A Painting (original or sourced from an artist)

Download this free stock photo here.

Paintings can be awe-inspiring, thus, they make excellent gifts for the people you love. Grab a canvas and create your own or purchase a painting from a local artist! Either way, the gift of art will be sentimental and special to the recipient.

14. Coffee Beans or Grounds

Download this free stock photo here.

Is the birthday person a coffee lover? If so, local or ethical internationally-sourced coffee beans can be a birthday gift they enjoy for many mornings to come.

15. A Potted Plant

Download this free stock photo here.

Looking for a sustainable birthday gift that encourages the recipient to slow down and connect with nature? Gift a potted plant!

16. A Book of Poetry

Download this free stock photo here.

If the birthday person in your life likes poetry, snag them a book they haven’t read yet. Or, write them an original poem and recite it for them!

17. A Photo Album

Download this free stock photo here.

Sentimental gifts are the ones that stand the test of time. Want to give a birthday gift that the recipient can enjoy year after year? Put together a photo album! The memories encapsulated can be shared with others and enjoyed for years to come.

18. A Cookbook

Download this free stock photo here.

If your loved one, colleagues, classmate, or friend likes to cook, grab them an interesting cookbook for their next birthday. If you noticed they eat the same thing often, consider a cookbook title that will push them outside of their comfort zone or inspire new dishes!

19. A Self-Care Kit or Trip to A Local Spa

Download this free stock photo here.

Self-care is absolutely important. So, encourage your loved ones to practice self-care on their birthday by gifting them a self-care kit (aka gift basket with self-care items) or a trip to a local spa.

20. Hot Air Balloon Ride

Download this free stock photo here.

Looking for a birthday gift that’s a bit more adventurous than most? Book a hot air balloon ride for yourself and the birthday person to enjoy.

Need more photography resources than StockVault has to offer?

Head to Shutterstock and use promo code STV15 to receive 15% off your order!