DIY cards and handwritten messages make a comeback

For many making DIY cards this year, it began as an attempt to make their own to send to friends and family

Tired of emojis, abrupt texts and banal printed messages, Mumbai-based Sonal Shah (@calligraphersonalshah) began making personalised cards for different occasions. “There is something personal about handwritten cards and although we have mails and lovely online cards, I have been making my own since 2013,” says Sonal.

Seeing the popularity, she now sells customised handmade cards with messages in calligraphy to corporates, young couples, families and friends.

Handmade, personalised cards made by Mumbai-based Sonal Shah, who has turned it into a business venture  | Photo Credit: special arrangement

For many making DIY cards this year, it began as an attempt to make their own to send to friends and family. When appreciation began to flow , it encouraged a clutch of small business ventures.

This is how Shraddha Rajani in Panaji began Meraki (, which has a portfolio of handmade cards, ribbons, presentation boxes, hair accessories and so on. So popular were her products that she began collaborating with boutiques in different cities. In November, she started showcasing her products at Fiore in Alwarpet, Chennai.

Tags made by Panaji-based Shraddha Rajani, which she sells under her brandname, Meraki | Photo Credit: special arrangement

“I wanted a card to announce the birth of my nephew and I could not find one in Panaji. So I made some for the occasion and everyone liked it. I did the same when my niece was born and then people began approaching me to do personalised cards for functions in their families. Eventually, Meraki was born,” says Shraddha. Each card is still handmade by her with some help from her family, she says.

Alfa Zareena Hisham | Photo Credit: special arrangement

In the case of Alfa Zareena Hisham, a software engineer in Thiruvananthapuram, it is a family tradition that she is continuing.

“We always used to give or send cards for birthdays, New Year, Christmas… and they were all made by us at home. I still have all the cards I have been sent over the years,” she says.

Alfa adds, “My sister, Amiya Jemeemah Hisham, an architect in Bengaluru, is better than me. She made cards with pressed flowers. Last year, we had participated in a flea sale in Bengaluru with memory books, handmade cards, etc and everything was sold out.”

Although Alfa knows a fair bit of calligraphy, she encourages customers to write their own words.

This year, she has again made cards to be sent to family and friends “but there is no sale. I don’t have the time for that, this time around. It takes a lot of effort. I make them for my mother and might give some to my friends,” she adds.

Architect-artist Maya Gomez with her range of handmade cards for the season | Photo Credit: special arrangement

Architect-artist Maya Gomez has made handpainted cards for her mother, Daphne Gomez. “She sends cards by post even now to our relatives and friends. So she had been pestering me to make cards for her and that is how I designed and made cards for Christmas and New Year,” says Maya, a resident of Thiruvananthapuram.

For M Ashi Jamir , a social science teacher in Dimapur, her love for the crafts is manifested in her cards.

Alfa believes that the lockdown, has prompted more people to started making their DIY cards. Maya insists that nothing beats handmade cards with handwritten messages.

Handmade cards and envelopes made by Dimapur-based M Ashi Jamir, a social science teacher  | Photo Credit: special arrangement

“Even in olden times, there were people who used to type letters if they did not have a good hand. I feel when you write, no matter how good or bad your writing is, it is a part of you that comes through, in that letter,” says Maya. She adds, “I enjoy looking at old letters, the lettering, the ink…there are so many sentiments attached to it.”

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