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Making a Birthday Card

By Wendy Williams  ·  July 18th, 2008

I enjoy making birthday cards for family and friends so I thought that I would share with you some of the techniques that I use. In this tutorial I will show you how to make the outside of the card and then in a later tutorial I will show you how to make the inside. I hope that you enjoy the tutorial and also enjoy making your own cards.

1. First create a new File. File > New > Blank File, 3300 pixels x 2550 pixels, resolution 300, RGB with a white background.

2. Next open up a suitable scrapbook paper or background and add it to your card. An easy way of doing that it to open up the image do Select > All, then Edit > Copy. Next, click back on your card image and do Edit > Paste. I find that it works best if you keep this layer fairly plain and simple as that gives you the opportunity to add other matching things to it.

3. Select white as your foreground colour, create a new layer and call it “Centre” Layer.

4. Switch on the rulers. View > Rulers to help you find the centre of the page. Select a hard brush at 15 pixels click once at the point I have marked A and then shift click at the point I have marked B. Elements will fill in the line for you and you will then be sure that it is straight.

5. Next create a new layer and call it “Lines” then using the Rectangular Marquee make a selection like the one in the next image.

6. Do Edit > Stroke Selection choosing 15 pixels inside. Once you have done that then your image should look something like mine.

7. Create another new layer and call it “Band” then open up a suitable paper and do Select > All, followed by Edit > Copy.

8. Then using the Rectangular Marquee make a selection like the one in the next image.

9. Click back on your card and do Edit > Paste Into

10. Then add a drop shadow Layer Style to the “Band” Layer. I choose the High shadow but then went to the Layers Palette, double clicked on the style icon next to the thumbnail and changed the settings to Size: 37 Distance: 1 Opacity: 30 as that gives a much softer shadow.

11. Create another new layer and call it “Photo.” Next, using the Elliptical Marquee tool, make a selection something like mine.

12. Fill this selection with black by doing Edit > Fill Selection.

13. Now open up a suitable photograph and add this to your card, the simplest way to do that is just to drag and drop it over onto the card.

14. Group this photograph with the “Photo” layer, by choosing Layer > Group with Previous. [called Create Clipping Mask in later versions of Elements] This will mean that your photo now takes on the oval shape of the previous layer. I then added an inner shadow to the “Photo” layer.

15. Create another new layer and call it “Stroke.” Go to the layers palette and Control-click (Mac: Command-click) on the “Photo” layer to regain the selection and then do Edit > Stroke Selection. I used White, 15 pixels, Centre.

16. Then I added a little text.

17. Finally I added my signature logo on the back of the card and that completes the outside of the card.

There is so much more that you can do with cards, try out different coloured papers and use different shapes for the “Photo” layer. Have fun, try things out and most of all do remember to experiment and enjoy.


4 Replies to Making a Birthday Card:

  1. Mark Clifton

    April 8, 2010 at 8:15 am

    Thanks for the tutorial, what font are you using there? I like it.

  2. Abel

    July 18, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    great tutorial, but I am using elements 9 and don’t have the “group with previous” in the layers palette. How do I get the same results with elements 9. Thanks

    • Rick

      July 18, 2012 at 12:32 pm

      It’s the same command, just renamed Create Clipping Mask in Elements 8 and up. Ctrl-G (Mac: Command-G) will also do it. (I updated the tutorial to reflect that.)

  3. Darlene

    January 14, 2013 at 6:23 am

    Loved this tutorial and I was able to figure it out using Elements 10. I put a pic of my card in the Gallery on the Elements Community. I was very happy with the results as it was my first card. But I would not have been able to do it without these wonderful tutorials. Theonly request that I would have would be to ask what settings to use for printing on Avery Halff Fold Cards. It still printed OK but was a little off.
    Thank you so much Wendy and the PET team

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