|The final result of my DIY photo card adventure|
What size card? I started with the assumption that the card would be 5x7 inches, but I changed my mind when I realized I only had letter envelopes (4 1/8 x 9 1/2) which wouldn't fit a 5x7 card. So, I switched to a 4x8 inch card which would fit in a letter envelope. Ultimately, the website where I ordered my prints supplied me with envelopes for free so this was all for naught, but I'm still glad I went with the 4x8 format.
What resolution? For photo prints, you need a pretty high resolution for the photo to look good. For my 4x8 card, the GIMP "canvas" was 2880x1440 pixels.
What design? I came up with a template for my card:
|General template for graduation photo card (2880x1440 px)|
You might notice a blank black area on the far left side which seems unused. This is a actually a buffer area to make sure the text won't get cut off during printing. The size of buffer you need depends on who you're ordering prints from. With pictures, having the edges cut off is not not the worst thing in the world, but text becomes unreadable with missing letters. I would say a good rule of thumb is to reserve 6% of the total width and height for a buffer. That is, 3% of the total width reserved on both the left and right and 3% of the total height reserved on both the top and bottom. Trust me, it's better to be safe than sorry (see below):
|Edge text cut off on prints=FAIL!|
|GIMP-tastic photo editing fun|
The main paragraph of text is simple - just use the text tool. One tip: make the fancy text stuff on a separate GIMP canvas and import the final product into your card canvas. I did that for the "Thank You" header and the major and school overlay at the bottom.
Where to print it? It was surprisingly hard to find a site that will make 4x8 custom prints. I finally stumbled upon artscow.com and ordered from them. They have an elaborate client card designer, but all I did was upload my image, place it on a card and select "Apply to All." I ended up ordering 30 cards and it cost about $15 including shipping.
I received my package in the mail about 2 weeks later, sent from an address in Hong Kong. The package included all of my cards, nicely wrapped and 30 envelopes to send my cards in. I was very satisfied with the whole process.
Did it save money? No.
Did it save time? No.
Was it worth it? Yes.
|Another view of the final product|