I know it’s not even November yet, but before you know it, it will be time to send out Christmas cards. If I don’t start on things now, they will probably go out late! Besides, you don’t have to make just Christmas cards with this tutorial, you can make any card or invite or layered graphic.
My computer has Photoshop on it, but it’s on the fritz, so I have been using my husband’s computer – he doesn’t have Photoshop on his computer and I have been procrastinating on installing it. I’ve been doing all my icons and graphic layering using POWERPOINT! Microsoft does make a flyer making software, but I don’t have that on my computer, either.
Some things are actually easier to use PowerPoint than Publisher or Photoshop or any other fancy photo editing software. I’ve including the following step-by-step tutorial on how to do your own Christmas cards (or birthday, or Easter, or scrap booking or electronic invitations) using PowerPoint. I made my wedding monograms some years back with this technique.
Printing pictures as Holiday cards can be more economical and can offer you more creativity and variety. You don’t have to follow a template! You can even make your own postcards this way by gluing cardstock to the back of one of your pictures.
Now there are limitations to using an Office application when working with photos and graphics, but when you don’t have an editing software at your fingertips, it can be a great resource.
There are endless possibilities for you to create and I’m only showing you a glimpse of what you can do and outlining the basic steps. I’m not a professional, these are just things that work for me.
1. Gather photos, clip-art, graphics, and other electronic goodies
I searched for “free graphic PNG” and came up with lots of different things. PNG is the ideal graphic format to work with because it has empty space (see the red behind the holly frame in the graphic about? JPEG and GIF would have white in the empty areas). I found lots of goodies on a free digital scrapbook blog (another great search term to use “free digital scrapbook”). I downloaded frames, buttons, and backdrops from Granny Enchanted.
2. Clear out any preset layouts from your PowerPoint page and “insert picture”
You can insert multiple photos and graphics by holding down “CTRL” when you select an item. When you insert your graphics, they are all selected. You can minimize them all at the same time by dragging a corner. Move them out of the way so you have room to play.
3. Set your background and play around with “size and position”
My backdrop was a square. I want to print my holiday card as a 5×7 photo, so I right-clicked the image and selected “size and position” and put in my measurements. You want to make sure you set your background size as the photo you want to print as your holiday card. In this menu you can also “format picture” and lighten the graphic or crop. Be careful where you arrange the different elements of your picture; many photo printing places crop a bit from the sides.
4. Layer your photos and graphics
Play around with position and shapes. I had to switch out this round frame for a square one, to fit my photo. Is a graphic on top of something when it should be behind it? Right click the photo and “send to back” or “send to front” to change the layering order.
5. Insert and format a place to put text (optional)
My card’s background is pretty busy, so I want to insert a color block so that my text stands out. Here, I insert my desired shape, then I right-click and “format shape” to change the color. You can change the dimensions of the shape by clicking and dragging a corner or side. If you want it to be a certain dimension, you can find size options in the menu when you right-click the image.
6. Insert and edit your text
Insert a text box and, like the shape, drag a corner or edge to create the desired area. Type out your text first, highlight it, select a font, and then play with size and alignment. Looking for neat fonts? Click HERE for free fonts and how to install them.
7. Group your images and graphics
Hold down CTRL and click all items on your card, right-click and select “group.” If one item is the same size as another and layered on each other (like your photo and a frame) you may need to group those together first and play around with it.
8. “Save as Picture”
Your items are all grouped. Now right click some where on your image and select “save as picture.” Save as a JPEG format because some photo printing places (like Walgreens) do not accept PNG files.
9. You are done! Upload you picture to any photo printing site and order prints!