Unfold a nautical birthday surprise

A few weeks back for my boyfriend’s birthday I decided to treat him to a day of seaside-fueled fun. I find that the problem with buying non-material things or experiences as presents is that it becomes really hard when it comes to the act of giving that present to someone. There is nothing to physically give so I feel the person that is receiving it is missing out on that special moment of getting a present. This is the solution that I came up with.

Since it was a day of seaside-fueled fun, I made this little sea themed token. What better way to give a message than “in a bottle”?

I have seen paper boats mainly used before as place names at weddings. Like this cutie from Love my dress, used as a wedding favor as well as place name, which was my inspiration for my tiny boat in a bottle.

The point of this little boat is that it’s made with the paper carrying the message you want to give, in my case I wanted to tell my other half he was gonna spend the best day ever by the sea, so he got to keep the boat and have his nautical birthday fun day – I call that a WIN-WIN! You will need a few pieces of color cardboard in different shades of blue, some plain white paper, blue colored pencils or pens, Decadry rub-on transfers for the letters, one toothpick, one spice jar (or any jar really but if it’s long and thin it works best), a hole punch and, if you want to wrap it up, string and tissue paper.

Cut the paper in order to write the message on the right size. I used a piece of paper of 4 by 3 inches, which makes a small boat but big enough to be able to be handled easily. Write your message on one side and draw a simple pattern on the other. If you decorate both sides the paper boat will always look colorful instead of having white patches like it would look if you left the back of the message blank.

Make your little boat. If you don’t know how to make one, you can find a tutorial for an origami boat and plenty of other shapes here.

Next, the flag. I thought that the message on the boat might go unnoticed so I decided to make a little flag with the simple instruction of “unfold me” plus it looks super cute. Use your Decadry transfer to create the message you would like on a piece of cardboard. Remember to keep it short as the boat and the flag must fit inside the jar when they are attached. Once you’ve got the message cut the cardboard in the shape of a flag but leave a space on the left hand side to insert the toothpick.

Insert the toothpick from the bottom of the boat carefully through the highest point. Make two horizontal cuts on the left hand side of the flag and insert the toothpick through.

Punch a bunch of holes on the blue colored cardboard and some white paper to create a private ocean for your boat – waves and foam included.

Add the sea of little cardboard circles to the jar and slide in your boat. I put some of the circles inside the boat as if it were water on board – and because it looks nice. Finally put the lid on and you now have a message in a bottle!

I decided to wrap it up to make it more exciting. Keeping it horizontally I wrapped white tissue paper around it, made a little birthday tag and tied it all up with some gorgeous butcher’s twine. I hope you find an excuse to make one too! It certainly did impress my other half! : )


3 thoughts on “Unfold a nautical birthday surprise

  1. What a cute idea! If I received it, I’d ask you to fold it back up for me to keep once I’d read the message. 🙂

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