What You Said: Best Way to Make Your Own Christmas Cards

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By Jason Fitzpatrick on December 16th, 2011


Earlier this week we asked you to share your favorite tricks, tips, and techniques for creating holiday cards. Now we’re back to share your creative card constructions tips.

Image from Christmas Card Photoshop tutorial at AdobeTutorialz.

Reader Jcard21 has transitioned everyone on his list to digital cards:

I use simple HTML to create digital greeting cards (Thank You Cards, Christmas Cards, Birthday Cards): image on the left, my note on the right; 50%/50% split; nice simple borders; colored text.

Then I take a screen print, and email the *.jpg eCard.

The nice benefit of doing it this way is I have a standard HTML template. I can change the picture on the left, then just change the text on the right. Simple!

PS: for a couple of years, I sent both digital and physical cards so people could get used to receiving the digital versions. Now I just email the digital greeting cards.

We like the tandem technique to ease people into just receiving digital cards, it’s a clever way to get less tech savvy relatives on the digital Christmas band wagon.

Frikitiki has a handmade-card workflow that certainly puts anything we’ve mustered to shame:

Living in Hawaii when most of my friends and family are in the New England area, I started out finding Hawaii based cards and doctoring them, usually by gluing sand (regular sand from Waikiki Beach or black sand from the Big Island) to the card and send them out. Through a friend saying it would be “cheaper” to make, I started making cards from scratch. I’ve used rubber stamp designs, I’ve done origami aloha shirt and muu muu designs, I’ve done pop ups, a calendar, used cut and cropped photos, used the state quarter when it came out and glued on beads as part of the design. Sometimes the card is landscape or portrait folded and sometimes just a 1/4 sheet postcard design. Many years I’ve used the computer to help design the card with the layout and where folds or cuts should be. When you calculate the total cost of making the card including my time, they are WAY more expensive than if I had purchased cards.

This year’s card was almost 100% computer based using Adobe Illustrator with a landscape fold, 4 panels of a cartoon on the front in black and white and a color drawing on the inside. The back had lyrics to a song with a rubber stamp and hand signature showing the card came from me. I have to do that now to let people know that I design and hand make each card putting my effort into it after my origami card people thought I bought them. (the first batch of matching shirt and muu muu took an hour to fold but got down to 12 minutes a set at the end not including the other parts of the card so you can understand why I was upset when people asked where I purchased them.) I also decorate the envelope with either stickers or rubber stamped images.

Inside each card I write out Christmas and the year and do a personal message to the individual or family. I do about 60 cards a year.

Each year the card is different. I’ve been told that my card is the card they really look forward to receiving and the one they hold onto after the holidays are over. I shy away from ecards because the perceived value is a lot cheaper and I want to make the effort for the personal hands on touch as this might be the only communication for the year in some cases.

Sand from an exotic locale? Origami folds? You’re a Christmas card visionary.

Gin314 shared a fun idea for generating unique cards:

Try Wordle.com. It’s a great way to really personalize a card. Just type in a bunch of text pertinent to your recipient and voila! You can control background, color, etc. I downloaded a chart of HTML colors so I could have greater control. I copied and pasted into my card document.

If you’ve never played around with Wordle.com, you’re missing out. It’s a really fun word generator—you can plug in web sites, documents, a handful of words, or any other sort of word-based source and it generates a cloud of words based on frequency. You can take it for a spin here.

Hit up the original discussion thread to check out more card creation ideas; it’s not to late to jump in and share your favorite card creation tricks.

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 12/16/11
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