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Number Shaped Envelope Surprise

I love surprising people on their birthdays with special notes written by their friends and family. With email it is so easy to do a project like this last minute. You just ask everyone to email a note or memory and photos. Then you put them in envelopes and surprise the person. I’ve done a few versions of this over the years see here and here. This presentation works great for a birthday or anniversary because you can put the envelopes in the shape of the birthday or anniversary year. It’s easy as pie. See full instructions below.

Click through for photos and instructions

Materials: Envelopes of Various Sizes and Colors, Painter’s Tape, Emails and notes from several people, A Blank Wall

Step 1: Place the envelopes on the floor in the shape of the number you want. Adjust them until you like the way it looks.
Step 2: Take a picture of your number.
Step 3: Referring to your picture of the number shape, place the envelopes on the wall using tape.
Step 4: Put the birthday notes inside the envelope. Et voila! You’ve got a birthday surprise!

Photography by  Heather Zweig for Oh Happy Day
Art Direction by Jordan Ferney
Produced by Stacy Wichelhaus
Crafting and styling by Caitlin Barker
Assisted by Harper Casimiro

  1. meg

    April 9, 2013

    Love the color combination.
    What a unique way to say “Happy Birthday!”

  2. Bri

    April 9, 2013

    what a fantastic idea! i’ll try with with my mom’s 50th birthday this summer!

  3. Becky Loose From The Zoo

    April 9, 2013

    oh this is such a lovely idea.
    my boyfriend has been having a rough few days and i think something like this would definitely help cheer him up… his bday isn’t anytime soon so maybe i’ll arrange them as a smiley face instead!


  4. Laura Trevey

    April 9, 2013

    Brilliant! I am doing this for my daughter’s Sweet Sixteenth!!

    Thanks for the inspiration ~

  5. Shelby

    April 9, 2013

    I love love love this! I must do this next year for my boyfriends “golden” birthday!

  6. Allie

    April 9, 2013

    Aw, this is such a cute idea! This would also be adorable for an anniversary surprise — maybe with love letters?!

  7. Paula

    April 9, 2013

    I love it! It’s my husbands 40th birthday this year and I will be doing something like this! Thanks a lot!

  8. GumShoe Blog

    April 9, 2013

    I ADORE this idea!! So fantastic!

  9. Kirsty

    April 9, 2013

    Oh em gee! I JUST did this for my husband’s 40th last week or a version thereof and the envelope idea would have saved me a ton of time. I superimposed letters people sent me about him onto colourful backgrounds and had them printed as photos at my local one hour place. You can see it here (the tape idea would have been helpful too-my 40 was a bit lopsided-it was somewhat hurriedly assembled 😉

  10. robyn

    April 9, 2013

    This idea is amazingly

  11. Cristina

    April 9, 2013

    Lovely idea! Love love love

  12. laure

    April 9, 2013

    Bonne idée !!!!!!

  13. uncustomary

    April 9, 2013

    Absolutely fantastic!

  14. Maggie Zam

    April 9, 2013

    What an awesome idea! 😀

  15. regina umali

    April 9, 2013

    such an

  16. Carrie // cue the confetti

    April 9, 2013

    What a great idea!!! My friends and I love sharing words of encouragement at birthday parties, Totally going to do this!

  17. mina

    April 9, 2013

    Hi, i’m from Iran but i love your website , your ideas are so fantastic.
    be successful;-)

  18. Anna of Green Gable

    April 9, 2013

    Great idea! Especially for a turning point birthday like 30 or 40. I love that you chose 37 as the year, btw! Makes me feel less old! 🙂

    xo green gable

  19. lyndsay

    April 9, 2013

    crazy cute and love the simplicity! would be so cute even just using regular old paper, instead of envelopes as an adorable decor for a birthday party…

  20. Renuka

    April 9, 2013

    what a thoughtful idea! such a personal way to say happy birthday!

  21. Chelsey

    April 9, 2013

    This is such a sweet idea especially when loved ones a far away. I will be using this this to help mediate my man with Peter-Pan syndrome through his big day.

  22. sarah

    April 9, 2013

  23. Kate

    April 9, 2013

    I LOVE THIS IDEA. That’s genius.

  24. Melissa

    April 10, 2013

    I love this! You’ve just given me some wonderful inspiration for my anniversary gift to my husband. Thank you 🙂

  25. Danette

    April 10, 2013

    What a fun way to wish someone happy birthday. Really like that.

  26. Lisette

    April 10, 2013

    Fun idea for any occasion!

  27. Sophie

    April 10, 2013

    This is brilliant!

  28. Ana

    April 10, 2013

    This is a cute idea! I used envelopes to create an advent calendar for my friend who lives in Germany. So it was easier to ship it. Envelopes are such a great DIY supply.

  29. Mags @ From the Mind of Mags

    April 10, 2013

    What a great idea! I love it!


  30. Christy

    April 11, 2013

    Very cute but where do you get all the different size/colored envelopes?

      • jordan
      • April 12, 2013


  31. Melyssa

    April 13, 2013

    AWESOME idea!! I wish I’d known about it before my boyfriend’s b-day in a few days, but I can’t wait for the next big birthday coming up! Definitely going to try this 🙂 Thanks!

  32. ashley rachelle

    April 13, 2013

    seriously love this idea! what a fun way to share some birthday love!

  33. Lina / Keeping Creativity Alive

    April 18, 2013

    I absolutely LOVE this idea! The presentation seriously rocks! I want to do this for no reason.. tonight!

  34. Paulette Leto

    April 18, 2013

    That’s very clever. I’ve never seen anybody do something like that before. I might have to think about trying that out sometime!

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