NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, February 2008
Free Help for Creating Greeting Cards
By Sandy Berger, CompuKISS
sandy(at)compukiss.com (click to email author)

Obtained from APCUG with the author's permission for publication by APCUG member groups.

A recent trip to the greeting card store left me in sticker shock. While the text with the price of the card was smaller (or is it just my aging eyes?), the price tag was definitely larger than last time I looked. Who wants to pay $3 to $5 for a greeting card? Instead, put your ink jet printer to work with free clip art and pre-designed cards.

You don't even have to be terrible crafty. Just check out these websites where you can get free templates of holiday greeting cards and holiday clip art. They also have a great selection of greeting cards that can be used with your own photos. So that personalized master piece won't cost you an arm and a leg.

The Canon Creative Park (http://cp.c-ij.com/english/index.html) is one of my favorite websites for free templates to help you create greeting cards. They have cards for everything including Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, New Year's, Easter and Birthday, to name just a few. You don't have to own a Canon printer to use these greeting cards. You can use any type of color printer. The selection is excellent, and best of all, there are detailed instructions for printing and folding. If you are adventuresome, you can even customize your envelopes. While you are at this site, check out the 3D paper craft section, the scrapbooking area, and the wonderful calendar templates. All are good-looking and free.

Not to be undone by Canon, HP (hp.com / click on Festive Greetings)) also has an Activity Center that allows you to create greeting cards and other crafty projects. They have some beautiful eclectic greeting cards as well as beautifully illustrated fantasy-inspired cards. Like the Canon site, the HP website gives full instructions. They also feature some unusual printer projects like party decorations, stickers, and puzzles.

If you use any Microsoft Office Products, especially Microsoft Word, you will find a wealth of free products in Microsoft's Celebrate Holidays with Office Clip Art and Media area (http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/clipart/default.aspx). Just about every holiday is covered, but there are also many non-holiday-related themes like flags, food, technology, and business. You will find everything from clip art to borders to music. If you click on some of their outside providers like Animation Factory or iStockphoto, there is a charge for the images, but all of the clip art and templates on the Microsoft website are free. They can, however, only be used if you have the appropriate Microsoft program installed on your computer.

Presenting your friends and relatives with a homemade, customized greeting card really shows you care. On top of that creating your own greeting cards can save you money..... And you might have some fun as well.

If you don't want to make your own cards, there is another way to create a win-win situation for obtaining greeting cards. Check out CardsThatGive.org where you can make your greeting card money to do more than just supporting the greeting card company. It's a very well compiled list of Charities that provide greeting cards, complete with pictures of their cards. You get some great cards, and your favorite charities get support.

This article has been provided to APCUG by the author solely for publication by APCUG member groups. All other uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).

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