Pinterest Stumbleupon Whatsapp
Ads by Google

Generic Christmas cards are boring. They’re all trite messages, clichéd pictures, and cheesy greetings. If you want to have a really interesting Christmas card, you need to make your own.

Luckily, it’s never been easier to do this sort of thing yourself — and I’m here to make it even easier. In this article I’m going to walk you through making your own card.

CardOutsideH

Prerequisites

To create my Christmas card I’m using Photoshop but any good image editing app will do. PC users can try Paint.NET Paint.NET: The Best Image Editor Available That You Should Download Paint.NET: The Best Image Editor Available That You Should Download We all edit images to some degree. Whether it’s a simple crop or resize, or maybe just adding some text, it’s nice to have an image editor that is reliable, fast, easy to navigate and... Read More , while Mac users should check out Pixelmator. There are plenty of Linux alternatives 5 Photoshop Alternatives You Can Run on Linux 5 Photoshop Alternatives You Can Run on Linux it is tragic that after all these years, the open platform of Linux still has yet to produce competing software that can really match Photoshop head-to-head. But powerful options are available... Read More but I’ve never used any.

This project is really simple but the more familiar you are with Photoshop the easier you’ll find it. Our designer Bohed (who does all the wonderful article images) put together a four part Idiot’s Guide to Photoshop which you should check out first.

Step One: Decide What Kind of Card to Make

Most home printers aren’t able to print a nice Christmas card — they can’t handle heavy card and are rarely able to produce vibrant color — so the first thing to do is decide how you’re going to get your card printed; this will determine what kind of card you can make. In the past I’ve used two major options, a local printing shop to create a proper Hallmark-style, double-sided card and the FujiFilm print kiosks you find in drug stores to make postcard style cards.

Ads by Google

The proper cards require more work and take time to get printed while a postcard can be put together and printed in an afternoon. You also need to place minimum orders with print shops so if you only want a few cards, photo printing will be a lot cheaper.

Decide what kind of card you want to make. If you’re going with a professionally printed card, contact your local printer and ask them for their Photoshop templates. These will ensure that what you design will be printed correctly. For a regular card there will be two templates, one for the outside and one for the inside. Each template is different so follow the instructions that come with it.

For a postcard style card, just use a 6″x4″ Photoshop document and save the image as a JPG. You’ll be able to print it from any kiosk.

For this article, I’m using a very simple template for a double sided card. Either open your template or create a new 6″x4″ Photoshop document to begin.

1Template

Step Two: Placing Your Image

With the document open, it’s time to add the image you want to use for the card. If you’re printing a folding card half the document will be the front and half the document will be the back. You only want to place the image in the front half of the document.

Go to File > Place Embedded and then select your chosen photo to add it to the document. Position it so it covers the full front of the card. You may need to crop or mask your image for this to work.

2Picadded

And yes, I’m using a selfie. Selfies are the best Stop Hating On Selfies: 3 Reasons You Should Love Them Stop Hating On Selfies: 3 Reasons You Should Love Them Selfies are all too often written off as the egotistical masturbation of brainless teenagers, but that's a superficial take on them. Here's why. Read More .

Step Three: Adding a Border

Next, I want to add a red, Christmassy border to the image. To do that I’m going to use the Marquee tool. Create a new Layer and then select the Marquee tool from the tool bar or press the M key.

With the Marquee tool, drag a selection around the front half of the card. The marching ants will show you what has been selected. If you’re using a template, there should be a guide to help you position your selection.

3marchingants

With that done, from the menubar go to Select > Modify > Contract.

4contract

Make sure “Apply effect at canvas bounds is checked” and enter a value of around 50 pixels.

5contractsettings

Now we have selected the interior of the selection. We want to select the exterior. From the Select menu, choose Inverse to do just that. When you do, however, you’ll notice that the back of the card is now selected. To deselect the back of the card while keeping the border area selected, use the Marquee tool while holding down the Alt or Option key. Rather than selecting this removes from a selection.

6borderalmost

You should now have a crisp 50 pixel border around the edge of the front of the card. To fill it, choose a color by double clicking on the front color swatch in the bottom left corner.

6colorpicker

With the color picker, choose a nice red or green, and then select Fill from the Edit menu.

7borderandfill

Make sure Contents says Foreground Color and then press OK.

7borderfin

Step Four: Adding the Text

Your Christmas card should be beginning to take shape. Next, it’s time to add the message on the front of the card. Use the Type Tool which can be selected by pressing the T key.

Add your message. I just went with “Happy Christmas”.

8text

To position it where you want on the card use the move tool which you can grab with the V key.

Step Five: Adding Snowflakes

To finish the front of the card I want to add some snowflakes to really bring home the Christmas theme. I’m using this set from Brusheezy user hawksmont.

If you want to use them to, download the ZIP file, unzip it, and double-click on the abr file to load them into Photoshop.

9snowflakebrushpanel

Press B to select the brush and then from the Brush Presets Panel select one of your recently added snowflakes. Add a new layer and then click anywhere in the image to add them. Be careful not to paint over the important details!

10snowflakesadded

That’s the front of my card done but you can play around and at as much or as little as you want.

11finishedcard

Step Six: Finishing the Card

If you’re creating a Hallmark style card you also need to add your message to the inside.

Open the card inside template you’re using and, with the same techniques, add whatever you want.

12inside

You should also clean up any remaining template elements. If you’re using a well designed template they should be in a single group and easy to delete all at once. If not, you’ll need to delete them one by one.

When the card is ready it’s time to get it printed. If you used templates, save your work and send it off to the printers, they’ll know what to do. If you made a card you can print from a photo kiosk, save your work as a full resolution JPG and put it on a memory stick. It’ll now print like any other photo.

Wrapping Up

Creating your own Christmas card is a lot of fun. It’s a great way to send your friends and family a personalized holiday message. It doesn’t matter if you put a family photo, a picture of your dog, or just a silly message on the front, they’ll know it’s from you.

I’d love to see what kind of Christmas cards MakeUseOf’s readers can come up with. If you follow my instructions in this article, please share your results in the comments.

  1. vivian O
    December 13, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    Nice tutorial. I will try out my own card now.

    • Harry Guinness
      December 13, 2015 at 5:50 pm

      Glad you liked it! Share whatever you make here, I'd love to see it.

  2. David
    December 12, 2015 at 8:22 pm

    thnks, Harry for the tutorial was indeed very useful.

    • Harry Guinness
      December 13, 2015 at 10:56 am

      No problem dude!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *