Do you ever runs short on Christmas cards? I think I do about every other year. On the opposite years I end up with too many. One day I’ll get it right! This year was a year of too few. I decided to order my cards from a Black Friday deal while doing some online shopping from the comfort of my mother-in-law’s couch. I didn’t have our Christmas card list in front of me, but I thought I had the numbers right in my mind. Wrong! I realized it this week as I was trying to get cards out. So…. I created a similar version of our cards using Picmonkey and just sent them off to be printed at my local Kinkos. I wish I would have thought of this for my first round of cards as I like the way they turned out, and they were cheaper this way.
Periodically I get questions from people who follow my blog or find me from Pinterest asking about how I make some of my photo collages. I used to make them in PhotoShop and sometimes I still do, but most of the time I use a free online tool from Picmonkey.com I first started using the site for quick photo edits and adding filters to my photos – like the ones you get using Instagram, but in this case you can create the same effects without posting all of your photos.
Picmonkey also has a collage maker which is a free option on their site. They provide you with all sorts of pre-made templates to choose from including some that are the perfect sizes for Facebook cover photos and pins on Pinterest. You can add text, embellishments and more. Recently the fine folks at Picmonkey reached out to me to see if I would write a review of their collage feature. Since I’m already a user I agreed, if I could give away a free month of their “Royale” service (which includes additional templates, embellishments, filters and more). Scroll down to the bottom of the post to enter to win (now closed).
To make the photo collage for my holiday cards, I selected the “Create a Collage” option from their homepage. With their free tool, you don’t even have to register in order to do this. You can upload photos from your computer, dropbox, Facebook or Flikr. I usually do it from my computer, but I’ve also done it from Facebook. Both are really easy.
After that I selected a collage template from the various selection options. They did have standard card sizes, but since my original holiday card was a square, I wanted to try to make something similar. You can change the size at the bottom of your collage.
Next I used their drag and drop feature to put my photos into the collage. you can move them around to different positions and zoom in/out, crop etc. to get them to your desired layout. If you decide to switch templates midway through, you’ll likely have to reposition your photos, but that doesn’t take much time. I left one box open for a holiday greeting message. I was also able to make the corners rounded instead of square which added a more premium look to my collage
Once you have your collage put together, if you want to add text or embellishments, you have to switch to the photo editing mode of the tool. this is the only part I think is a bit clunky because you have to save the file and then re-import it as a photo. It’s not hard at all and doesn’t take much time, but it just seems like an extra step. Picmonkey allows you to save in a variety of file sizes depending on what you plan to use it for. Since I wanted to print these out, I chose the highest resolution.
After saving, I re-imported the photo back in using the edit a photo feature. Once my collage was in photo edit mode, I added a square overlay in dark blue to my open space. You can adjust the colors, saturation, etc.
Then I added in my text and some embellishments. The embellishments I used were part of a new series that is in their premium (Royale) package, but they have a good selection of free embellishments as well.
Finally I saved one last time to my computer and then shipped it off to Kinkos to be printed.
All in all I really appreciate having a free tool like Picmonkey available to me. While I have started using their premium version lately for some features I want for blogging purposes, I used only the free features for at least 6 months to do basic photo edits. It’s my go to for quick photo editing and collages that used to painstakingly take forever for me in PhotoShop.
The one thing I wish I could do in Picmonkey is saving photos or projects for editing later within the tool. Maybe it exists and I just haven’t found it, but if I were working on something more involved it would be nice to save it within the tool and come back later and finish editing it. There have been a few times I’ve created something and needed to make adjustments later. I pretty much had to start all over at that point. That’s the only real downside for me so far.