May 10, 2009

Make your own greeting cards on your computer!

Here is how I make note cards from my original paintings using my computer. ( Please note: these instructions are based on the software programs I use ~ Microsoft "Picture It!" and "Word," but you should be able to do this with any photo/graphics editing and word processing software programs.)

Computer Scanner and a color printer (combo or separate devices)

Blank Greeting or Note Cards with envelopes (I use Strathmore 5"x7" Fluorescent White with Deckle Edge). These are available from art or crafts sources. Cheap Joe's ( www.cheapjoes. com ), Jerry's Artarama ( www.jerrysartarama. com ) or Art Supply Warehouse (www.aswexpress. com ) have the cheapest prices I've found. Strathmore blank cards are available in sets of 25 or 100 cards and matching envelopes.
Empty stationary boxes. I get gold 5x7 boxes with clear plastic lids from Papermart ( www.papermart. com ). Minimum order is 50 boxes.
Optional ~ Ribbon or cord to tie boxes. I use gold elastic cord.

Scan original into computer. (If the original is too large for your scanner, take a good digital photo and load photo into computer.) Save it to a file that can be accessed by your photo/graphics editing software. (I save in "My Pictures.")
Using your photo/graphics editing software (P/GES) (I use Microsoft Picture It!), adjust your image color and contrast to most closely match your original. Name and save image.
If you do not have a blank white image already saved in your P/GES, scan an image of a blank white piece of paper into your computer (see Step 1 above). Open the blank white image using your P/GES. Place it in a "Landscape" orientation.
Open and move the image you wish to use for your note card to the "filmstrip" or equivalent in you P/GES.
Drag image up to and over the right side of the blank image. Move and "stretch" the image as necessary to exactly fill the right half of your blank image.
If you want text on the back of your folded card, open "Add/Edit Text" or equivalent function. Choose "Add Text" and the text font and color you want for the text. Type the text and center it on the lower left side of the blank image. If you want text in different sizes, fonts or colors on the same card, use "Add Text" for each different text, and position it as desired.
Name and save the composite new "note card" image (ex: Note Card - Bamboo Song). I put all my note card images in "My Pictures" in a file called "Note Cards."
Repeat the above steps for each different note card you want to make.
Open Microsoft Word or equivalent word processing software program. On Tool Bar click Edit --> Page Setup, and then click on "Paper Size" tab. In Paper size dropdown menu, click on "Custom size." For 5"x7" cards, at "Width" click on the up arrow to set to 10". At "Height" click on the down arrow to set to 7". (For other size cards, set appropriate width and height, remembering to double the width of the folded card.) For "Orientation, " click "Landscape." Then click "OK."
When the blank 10"x7" document appears on the screen, move margin settings all the way to the right and left at the top margin, and all the way to the top and bottom on the left margin, so that there is no gray showing on either margin bar setting.
Save the blank 10"x7" document as "Blank Note Card." (Edit --> Save As --> file where you want to save it. I have a file in Word called "Note Cards.")
To create a note card for printing, open your "Blank Note Card." On Tool Bar click Insert --> Picture --> From File. Choose a note card previously created and saved (Steps 2 - 7 above), and double click on its name. (If a box titled "MIX and FlashPix Import/Export Filter" pops up, choose "Default Resolution" and click "OK.")
The chosen note card image should appear within the blank note card on the screen. If the note card image does not fit the 10"x7" blank, click on the image (a box should appear around it). Move and stretch the image to fit the blank. When you are satisfied, name and save this new note card (Edit --> Save As --> choose file --> File Name (type in a new name) --> Save). I save mine in my "Note Card" Word file, along with the reusable "Blank Note Card." Reminder: If you don't give the new note card a name, it will be saved as "Blank Note Card" ~ you don't want to do that!
To print a note card, insert one sheet of blank note card paper into your printer feeder (no other paper in feeder!). Depending on your printer, you may have to adjust the paper feeder to fit the size of the paper. If your paper has a fancy edge, or has a "good" and "bad" side, be sure to insert you paper so that the card prints on the correct side and oriented to the correct edge.
Click "Print." If you get a message about printing outside the margins of the printer, it is usually OK to click "Yes." If it doesn't print within the size of the paper correctly, adjust the size of your note card image (see Step 13).
If all goes well ~ voila! ~ a note card will print! If the colors don't exactly match your original, it is probably due to the color limitations of your printer ~ there is nothing you can do about that! However, if you want, you can try to redo the color of your saved note card image in your picture file using your P/GES (see Step 2 above).
Hope this is helpful!

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