You can make Homemade Christmas Cards with Classic Art

A couple of years ago I was having trouble finding the kind of Christmas cards that I wanted in the stores.  I was looking for a Biblical scene and Bible verse, and wanted some extraordinary art.  It was early in December, so I decided I’d try to make my own cards.  For anyone interested in doing the same, it wasn’t really hard, and it was a pleasure looking through all the breathtaking classic art available for free on the internet.

Inside of Card Front of one card

Click HERE to download (pdf file) or just to see how all of them turned out.  The first page shows the inside text used for all cards, followed by 7 different images and corresponding back covers (the first 2 are black and white images, the rest are color).  If you like them, feel free to use them!

I hope this is useful for you and that it brings to mind the true beauty of this season, and of the gift that God gave us for the taking, the gift of abundant life, knowing him, walking humbly with him.

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Here are the steps I took:

IMAGES

First, as much as I wish otherwise, I could not draw a scene myself.  So, I started looking for ideas for images to use on the cover of the card.  Initially, I tried taking photos of two manger scenes that I have, and played around with special effects on the photo editing software.  That was fun, of course, but in the end I didn’t have anything that I liked.  If you are looking for an unusual Nativity scene, you are welcome to these, 10 images in a Word document.  The ones at the bottom were my son’s favorites.

Next I looked on my clipart and Bible DVD’s for various images and photographs, and found 3 that had possibilities.  Then I Googled “copyright free nativity images” and I hit the jackpot:  THANK YOU, reusableart.com! I found exactly what I was looking for, and more.  (They have over 3,000 beautiful public domain images from old books and magazines that go far beyond holidays to birds, animals, children, seascapes, buildings, trees, flowers, patterns–a feast for the eyes!)

CARD STOCK

Then I figured out what card size I needed.  I’d bought a ton of red greeting card envelopes in the summer when the dollar store had them on sale (for 5 cents each!), so I had to make my cards so they fit in the envelopes.  I decided on a card stock size of 6” x 9″, which would fold to 4.5” x 6” to fit in a 5” x 7” envelope.

MAKING THE CARD ON THE COMPUTER

I used Open Office Impress (free presentation software) and started with a blank slide.  On the Format/Page menu, I selected a custom-sized page and set it to 6×9 inches landscape.  Then I inserted the image on the right side, and a text box full of text on the left, which, after folding in the middle, would make the front and back.  One more similar slide with text on the left and right sides made the inside of the card.  (I am sure that that there are easy templates available online, and if you’re smart you’ll avoid the “custom” card size that I did–I won’t do it that way next time!)

TEXT

Customize yours for exactly what is special and meaningful to you and your loved ones!

For the inside left side text, I chose the lyrics from the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah, a piece of music that I have loved ever since we sang it in choir in college.  For the inside right side text, I just wrote a short sentiment from the heart.

In the back cover text, I listed the title of the painting and the artist information, as well as a blurb about Handel and his work.

FINISHING

I saved my final files as pdf’s that would print on 8-1/2 x 11” card stock or paper, with the intention of using a paper cutter to trim the side and bottom to 6 x 9”.

My plan was to print onto my own card stock at the self-serve copy/print department of the office supply store, but I wasn’t allowed to do card stock on self-serve.  They had to do it themselves with their own very high quality expensive card stock, and it would be at least a week before they had time to do mine.

So I printed the black and white inside of the card at home on my laser printer, then printed the color sheets at the office supply store on regular white paper, and trimmed them using their paper cutter.  I attached the color pages to the outside of the cards with double-sided tape.

I hope this gives you some great ideas and the joy of making your own personalized cards!

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This was originally posted December 18, 2012

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