make your own holiday cards | Teaching in the Tongass

Saturday, December 12, 2015

make your own holiday cards

In a few instances, I like to save money. Okaaaay, in almost all instances. You too? I thought so. If you're a teacherpreneur, well, heck, even if you're not, this is something you can do. I've even made it a tutorial you might want to send to your mom (you're welcome Mom!) so she can quit with the awful comic-sans-on-premade-holiday-letterhead-printer-paper holiday card (and yes, Mom, it's time to stop doing that).
First, a word of caution: If you don't have Powerpoint or it looks different, I'm sorry. This tutorial may not be for you :( But, if you do, please feel free to read on!

A few weeks ago I realized it was a beautiful (albeit overcast) day here in Juneau, Alaska, so I knew I had to take advantage of the light. We loaded up the car and headed to our favorite camping spot out the road to take some Christmas photos. I brought my tripod, set my camera timer to 10 seconds and ran back and forth (with the toddler often chasing me and me having to grab him on the way back--which resulted in happy giggling all around anway). Sidenote: if your camera has the capability of using a remote (mine does not, but I have used them and they make it easier for family portraits!), you can grab a cheap one for less than $10 from Amazon here. All in all it was actually pretty fun and I have some frame-worthy photos that really capture both my kids' personalities. So, after you get your photos taken (if you haven't already), you'll be all ready for making the cards!

Open Powerpoint and go to File--->New Presentation
 Go to File--->Page Setup
Change the page to the size you'll be printing your photos (you'll need to decide whether they'll be 4x6 or 6x4 (landscape or portrait).
 Select and delete these default text boxes.
 Drag and drop (or Insert--->Picture) your background and photos. I pay for an annual subscription to stock photos, so that's where I found the background I used. If you don't subscribe to a stock photo club for commercial purposes like I do, you can probably find a free holiday background with a quick Google search.
 If you want to crop them, look for the square "Crop" button (you have to click the photo first) and crop the photo as you see fit by dragging the corners inward and clicking "Crop" again.
 Now that you've cropped your photos, you might want to add a border so they "pop" out a bit more. When you click on the photo, you'll see some formatting options above. I used the "Simple Frame, White" option. However, I didn't like how thick the border was, so I needed to change the border size.
 Go to Format--->Picture.
 In the "Line" options, go to the Weights & Arrows tab and change as you see fit (I changed mine from a "7" to a "4").
 Drag and rotate to where you'd like. Have fun playing around!
 Now for the words! Go to Insert--->Text Box.
 Type what you want and if you want to change your font, select your font and then use the dropdown font menu in the upper left.
 See how my font doesn't stand out very well against that wood background?
 Go to Format--->Font.
 In the "Text Glow & Soft Edges" option, I change the color to white and play with the size and transparency until I think it looks okay.
 I also like to add a "Text Shadow" to make it stand away from the background.
 See how a few formatting changes to font can really make a difference?
 Add some more photos or text...
 When you've finished your card, you'll need to save it as an image. Go to File--->Save as Pictures.
 When you save it, make sure you are saving it as a TIFF file (you'll change it later, but this is for anyone that wants better clarity---raise your hand teacherpreneurs!).
 Open that file up after you've saved it. Go to File--->Export.
 Change the format from TIFF to JPEG.
 Slide the Quality bar all the way to Best.
 Ta-da! A high-quality holiday card you can be proud of!!! Upload to your favorite photo print place and order just like you would your regular photo prints (Shutterfly often has 101 FREE 4x6 promo deals--you just pay shipping--so I subscribe to their emails and pay close attention around November/December) to save BIG on this year's holiday cards. Or you could fork over a few bucks and just order them, too. I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial! Happy holidays!!!
And if you're in need of a Powerpoint template for address labels (yes, I hate MS Word that much), you can grab one below. 
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5 comments

  1. I love this! I created mine the other day but couldn't use bc it kept saying it wasn't sharp/ or clarity. I ordered mine after 3 hours of trying! This is great for next time! What did you open it to Change to JPEG? Thanks again!

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  2. This is a fabulous idea! I was just ordering ours from Costco this afternoon and lamenting about the cost and just so-so designs. So smart to use the free prints deal! Thank you. :)

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  3. I love this tutorial! I also just ordered from Costco but I never thought of using my knowledge of Power Point for holiday cards! I'll keep this in mind for other things like invitations or announcements too! Thanks!

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  4. Wonderful tutorial! I've done this several times, and it always works out great. But thank you for putting this down so I can share the link with others when they ask me what I did. :) I WILL be sharing!!
    ~Heather aka HoJo~

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  5. What a great tutorial! Thanks for sharing, Jen! I especially love the tidbit about saving as a TIFF first to preserve quality - since switching to Mac I have been struggling with fuzzy JPEG slide pictures - no more! You are truly a lifesaver :)

    ~Jessica
    Joy in the Journey

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