Introduction: Holiday Photo Gift Tag/Ornament Card

About: Teacher, tutor, trainer, author, and creative person; if I can do it or make it myself, I will! Jewelry & websites at Oh, and I did an "instructable" on TV once, on …
Isn't it great when a project can fulfill several purposes, not just one? 

This project uses a photo to create a gift tag or card that can be used as a hanging ornament for a tree or other purpose.

Last week, I saw this project to make photo ornament cards featured in the Photojojo newsletter. While I thought it was a great project, it didn't quite fit me for a couple of reasons. I don't celebrate Christmas, I don't have ornaments to photograph, and I also wanted to make holiday cards that could be more universal and easier to make. So I changed it significantly to be more universal and versatile.

I decided to use a photo that would inspire me and could be used either as a holiday card or gift tag, and then hung as an ornament for those who choose to do so. They can even be made into coordinating tags and cards!

Unlike the Photojojo tutorial, mine does not require cutting separate photos and gluing them together. Mine uses one folded card.

I have already given a couple of these cards to my students' families, and they just love them, immediately hanging them on their trees. One allowed me to take the main photo here, since I don't have a tree to photograph it on myself.

Read on for the process of creating these.

Step 1: Materials and Supplies

You will need:
  • A photo of an ornament or something else that would make a nice ornament. I used one of a snowflake seen through a microscope.
  • Page layout or photo software
  • A color printer
  • Card stock
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Hole punch
  • Ribbon or thread
  • Envelopes (if using as a card)
  • Optional: embellishments. I used Iridescent White acrylic paint and rhinestones.
Note: the paint I used is expensive, about $15 per tube. I was able to get it 50% off with a coupon. Other options are glitter with a glue stick or translucent fabric, or that shiny powder on which you have to use a heat gun to make it stick. You can even laminate your ornaments if you want them to last a long time.

Step 2: Prepare the Photo

For my tags and cards, I did all steps in Apple's Pages, part of the iWork office suite. I found this to be the easiest and quickest way to get professional results without using a lot of processing power on my computer. You can easily adapt these steps to any page layout software, such as InDesign, Publisher, Pages, or photo software such as Photoshop or The Gimp.

Take the photo of your ornament against a white or neutral background, or find a photo that's free for non-commercial use and that you like, and that has clear edges to cut. If it has straight sides, like this one does, it will be much easier to make into a foldable card.

Step 3: Gift Tag Layout

Follow these steps (approximately, according to your software) to create 2" x 2" gift cards. 

1. Create a new landscape document.

2. Create two guides at 3" and 8". In Pages, I just created two vertical dotted lines. These will not appear on your final version; your images will go over these.

2. Import your image. For Pages, just drag and drop it from the Finder.

3. While it's still full size (or at least visible within your window), mask the photo (or crop it) to get rid of the excess part of the photo.

3. Resize to the appropriate size, about 2", with the right edge of the photo touching the left edge of the left-hand guide.

4. Duplicate the image. In Pages, the keyboard shortcut is Shift-Cmd-D.

5. Move the image next to the first image on the other side of the line. Make sure the edges touch for a card you can cut out and fold together.

6. Flip the second image horizontally. It will now be a mirror copy of the first.

7. Group the two images.

8. Duplicate the two groups until you have three doubled images vertically on the page.

9. Select all three groups and duplicate them.

10. Drag them to the other guide.

Now you should have six tags ready to print on the page. 

To make them perfect, go to the Arrange menu and make sure all the tags are truly aligned vertically and horizontally. This will make cutting them later with a cutter much easier.

Step 4: Card Layout

Making the cards is very similar to the tags, with these exceptions:

1. Make only one guide in the center of the page (5.5" on US letter paper).

2. If you want to make two cards per page, be sure to leave enough space so essential parts of the photo aren't cut off by the printer's margins.

3. Keep in mind the ornament doesn't need to be huge, so 3.5" to 5" should be about the maximum size for your card. Leave enough room to write your message, but not so much it will overwhelm a tree.

Step 5: Print and Cut

The remaining steps apply to both cards and tags, so I will write about them generally, with photos of both.

1. Print copies on white card stock.

2. Use the cutter to separate the individual rectangles.

3. Fold each card in half. If you've done a good job cutting them, the two sides of the image should match up pretty exactly.

4. Carefully cut around the edges of your image. Cutting through both sides at once means it takes less time and will match up better.

Step 6: Embellishment

Punch a hole in the top of the card or tag.

To add some shine, I used acrylic Iridescent White paint. I painted a very thin coat straight from the tube on a dry brush, and this resulted in very little ink smearing.

I allowed the paint to dry. Then I added adhesive rhinestones to the center. The tags got one rhinestone; the cards got three.

At the very end, cut some festive thread and run it through the holes, then tie it off.

Write your message, place card in an envelope or tag on a gift, and voila! You have just made a card that will outlast this Christmas!

Try this with family photos, pet photos, your favorite ornament... the possibilities are endless.
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