December 13, 2012

Christmas Card Photo and Sign Tutorial

Well, I finally got our Christmas cards addressed and stamped, which is late for us, but they still haven't made it to the mailbox yet. I'm hoping I can bribe the hubs into licking all the envelopes tonight. I really dislike sealing envelopes. Anyone else? After about ten, I feel as though the taste of envelope paste will be imprinted on my senses for the rest of the month.

I haven't mailed my cards yet, but I'm sharing the photo on here anyways. So if you happen to be on our mailing list and are reading this post tonight, promise me you'll feign delight when your hard copy shows up in the mailbox next week.  mmkay?

Here's our last minute Christmas card photo.

I had no idea how difficult it was to get a weekend appointment at a photo studio during the month of December. Usually we are a snapshot kind of photo card family, but this year was different. My little girl is growing up and I wanted to capture one last "baby" portrait with her curly pigtails and a tutu. We snagged this family portrait at the same session (after an outfit change for the Bean).

I should note that my father-in-law also captured some great professional quality family photos over Thanksgiving, but since I really wanted to include my "Merry Christmas" sign, (which I forgot on our 12 hour drive to the in laws) we went in to a budget chain photo studio for our Christmas cards.

Want to make your own photo card props? There's still time to replicate this look before Christmas.

Here's what you need:
Foam core board - (The nicer stuff from Hobby Lobby, not the Dollar Tree variety)
Permanent Marker
One Page Protector
Overhead Projector

What you do:
Step 1:  Use your favorite program to design and your sign. I like's font selection, but Microsoft Word has a great selection too. Print your words (in a medium size) onto regular printer paper.

Step 2:  Place inside a page protector and trace with a permanent marker. (The photo above is from a previous project. Lessons learned from that first project - use a larger font size and trace with a permanent marker)

Step 3: Using an overhead projector and a pencil, trace the typography shadow onto foam board. Keep your pencil markings on the outside of the shadow lines. This step doesn't need to be perfect.

The photo below is awful, but it better describes what I mean about tracing the outside of the shadow.

Step 4: Apply permanent marker. On solid-fill fonts you simply color in the void. On outline only type fonts (see birthday girl below) Your ink line should barely cover the pencil tracing with the majority of the ink thickness just inside the tracing, to more closely replicate your original typography.

Step 5: Cut with craft knife, leaving some white space between the words and your cutting line.

In my opinion, the best way to cut the foam board is in a series of three cutting strokes. Begin with a series of  dotted-line piercing type cuts around the perimeter. The second cutting stroke is a continuous cutting motion connecting the perforating first cuts. This will free the sign from the remainder of the foam board. The third cut is a smoothing cut motion. Angle your blade inward and smooth out any rough edges.

Step 6: Say "I'm a pretty princess." (Seriously, that's what our photographer asked.)

Honestly though, you really don't need a photographer to get a card worthy photo. This impromptu backyard snapshot taken with my cheapo camera is almost just as cute.
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  1. I love this, it's very well done and so original, I'll definitely be sharing!

  2. Darling! You have such a cute family.