Making Your Own Free Christmas Card Templates

Lucy Lediaev
Christmas card template

Making your own Christmas cards can be an enjoyable and personally satisfying project. However, it can be daunting to make a large number of cards during the already busy holiday season. One of the best ways to add your personal touches while still working efficiently is to create a template for all of your cards.

Making a Computer-Generated Template

Your computer can be a great time saver in creating a template, and you'll still be able to personalize cards for specific friends or relatives. If your computer skills are fairly sophisticated, you can even use the mail-merge feature to personalize each card to print an envelope for each recipient. Use these step-by-step instructions for setting up a template in a word-processing program:

  1. Open a blank document in your word processor. Use the page layout feature to set the size, margins, and orientation of the document, and set your background color.
  2. If the card will be folded, be sure to leave an appropriate margin (known as a gutter) along the fold.
    setting gutters in word processor
    Setting gutters for fold margins.
  3. Select a font for use in your card. As a rule of thumb, it is always best to stay with variations of one font (such as bold, italics, etc.) or with a maximum of two different, but compatible fonts.
    setting font in word processor
    Choosing a font.
  4. Use the Insert option in your program to place photos or graphics in your card and to place text boxes where desired.
    insert pictures in word processor
    Placing images into the template.
  5. If a border is desired, you can use the Design menu to access the Page Border option or you can use the Insert option to create borders by specifying outlines of un-filled shapes.
    Creating a border
    Creating a border.
    border design for card template
    Setting the border fill design.
  6. To place text on your template, use the Insert option to place text boxes wherever desired. Text boxes can be outlined, filled, or can be transparent. If you wish to personalize a text box as you make your cards, you can define the font and then use Greeking, also known as Lorem Ipsum, which is dummy text used as a space holder. In a word processing program, you can also set up the text field to accept mail merge text. Of course, if you are both skilled and ambitious, you can opt to hand-letter each card.
    insert text box
    Inserting a text box.
    styling text in a card template
    Adding style elements to a text box.
  7. Save your template with a filename that you'll remember, and in a folder that is easy to access. You can refer back to your template again and again, changing text or images to create as many cards as you need.
  8. Print the cards on cardstock for best results. If you've used Greeking in your template, make sure to go back and personalize the text before printing.
  9. After printing, you can embellish your cards further if you wish. For instance, you can give them more of a handmade feel by using water colors, colored pencil, or other media to enhance black and white graphics. You can also add glitter, embossing, ribbons, stitching, brads, eyelets, stickers, and other embellishments as desired.

Supplies Needed

Card making supplies range from simple paper to pricey designer embellishments, but you'll also need basic computer software and a few other handy tools in order to create a Christmas card template.

  • Card stock and envelopes: If you are ambitious, you can buy card stock and cut and fold your cards to the desired size. You can also make envelopes by hand. If reducing production time is important to you, you may want to purchase pre-cut, pre-scored cards, which are available in half-sheet and note size designed for use with a computer printer. You can also order large volumes of blank cards with matching envelopes from paper companies that supply commercial printers with stock for invitations and other greeting cards.
  • Word processing or publishing software: You can use any good word processing program to create a Christmas card template with your computer. Microsoft Word has options that let you define the size, margin widths, and orientation of your finished card. Microsoft Publisher makes the job even easier by providing greeting card templates you can modify to meet your own needs. There are also a number of free card-making programs available online.
  • Embellishments: Depending on your card design, you may wish to add embellishments to the cards in the form of embossing, cut paper forms, colored pencil, colored ink, or water colors. In addition, you can add a variety of decorative brads and eyelets, stickers, stamps, or stencils, all of which are available at craft and scrapbooking stores.
  • Lettering: If you wish to hand letter your cards, you will want to purchase special pens or markers depending on the style of lettering. You can also buy transfer letters at art and drafting supply stores. If want to create the lettering with your computer, your word processor will provide a large number of fonts from which to choose. The Holiday Spot also has numerous Christmas-themed fonts you can download to your computer for free.
  • Computer paper: Pre-sized and scored card stock is relatively expensive. When you are ready to print test copies of your Christmas card, you'll want to use inexpensive printer paper.
  • Photos and images: Use family photos, scanned drawings or paintings, computer generated art, or free clip art and borders: If you are skilled with a graphics program like PhotoShop or PaintShop Pro, you can create your own computer art.
  • Optional accessories for card making: Even if you are using pre-scored cards, a bone folder or other hard, straight-edged tool will help you obtain sharp folds in your cards. In addition, specialty scissors can be used to trim your cards while giving them interesting edges. You will want to have a paper cutter if you need to cut your cards to a custom size.

Make It Yours

Even though you use your computer to streamline making your Christmas card template, you can add special touches by hand that will make each card different. You can also create an assembly line for the cards, adding the same embellishments to each one. However you choose to work, you will make something unique and likely to be treasured by the recipients.

Making Your Own Free Christmas Card Templates