DIY Holiday Photo Cards

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Article Courtesy by Andrea Steed

For the past several years, I've been recruited by friends and family to help them make their photo holiday cards. Having done it several times over now, I have a system that seems to work pretty well. Here's how you can create your own wallet-friendly holiday photo cards:


  • digital photograph
  • photo editing software and a little bit of basic image and text editing know-how (I use Adobe Photoshop)
  • paper trimmer
  • invitation envelopes

First, of course, you need a photograph. Most people include a nice family portrait, perhaps at a pumpkin patch, on your front steps, or in front of the fireplace. You can also get creative by planning a special photograph just for the occasion, having each person hold signs that say "Merry Christmas from the Steeds." (Don't say "Steeds," of course...use YOUR last name). Or you can get really silly, like we did last year, having just moved from Minnesota to Alabama. We were totally flabbergasted with 80 degree weather on December 10th, so we took this photograph to send out as our Christmas card for the year:




Next, you can add a greeting, your names, the year, or any other text that you want over the photograph to create your card.

Here's my money-saving trick: I print my holiday photos as 4" x 5 1/2" images. Actually, I print them as 4" x 6" and then trim off a ½" strip after they are printed. That way, the photos fit perfectly inside these invitation envelopes that I can buy in bulk, and my "cards" are each only the cost of a 4" x 6" photograph...often $0.10 or less each!

Here are a few examples of cards I've sent in the past using this money-saving idea:




Instructions: Create a new 4" x 5 ½" canvas in your photo editing program. Resize your photograph to 4" tall. Copy and paste it into the right-hand portion of the new canvas. Scan a piece of scrapbook paper (mine was SEI scanned and colorized to be blue) or use any digital paper design and paste it into the left half of your image canvas. Create a border between the two sides with a thick vertical white line. Add a layer of text and a snowflake dingbat to the left side of the card. Before printing, change the canvas size from 4" x 5 ½" to 4" x 6", leaving a ½" white strip on the far left side of the image. That's the strip you can cut off later to fit your cards into the envelopes.

The instructions for the card below are very similar, but will create a vertical card instead:





Usually, I'll also include a half sheet of paper (5 ½" x 8 ½") with a short printed holiday letter. Then I just fold the letter around the photograph, slip it into the envelope, and voila-finished! Well, once you hand-address the envelope, of course.

A friend of mine took this idea and made it a little craftier. I created a photograph with a white border and holiday message to be printed as a 4" x 6" photograph for her to use in her cards. Instead of using the invitation envelopes and trimming the photograph, she decided to use standard letter-sized envelopes, and mounted her photographs on cardstock (cut to 4" x 9 ¼") and added a ribbon to the top. It turned out wonderfully, was easy and inexpensive, and had a hand-made touch.




Why pay for professionally printed photo cards and matching envelopes, when you can do it easily yourself?


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