Show your spirit with personalized cards

By Jae-Ha Kim
Chicago Sun-Times
November 30, 2004

There are two types of holiday card recipients — those who display them well into the new year, and those who throw them away the second after they’ve opened the envelope. If you don’t want your card to fall into the latter category, try sending something a little different this year: cards you’ve made yourself.

While there’s certainly nothing wrong with buying a box of cards at your favorite store, there’s something to be said for creating your own unique cards. Granted, not everyone is particularly artistic, so we’re going to stick here with photo cards, which are a bit more idiot-proof to make.

For our first set of cards, we printed our own wallet-sized photos on a Lexmark PrinTrio Photo P3150 printer ($99.99) and inserted them into Kolo Mini Mini albums ($3.75 each; or a set of eight for $25) that we ordered at www.kolo.com. (They’re also sold at local stores.)         The tiny brag books come in a variety of colors such as cobalt blue, sage and mango. The beauty of these minialbums is you can fill them with any photos you want, including a picture or two of your recipient. It’s likely they won’t be as quick to throw away something that has their own face on it, right? And if your recipient chooses, he or she may even hang it on their Christmas tree.

Because we’ve always had good luck with its 4-by-6-inch prints in the past, we ordered our second set of cards online from www.photoworks.com.

Go online, set up an account and upload the digital photo you want to use in one of its many card formats. You may have to tweak your photo choices a bit, because some cards are set up for horizontal photos while others are made for vertical. But within a few minutes, you can see what your card will look like. After playing around with the various templates, we chose the classic 8-by-4-inch photo card (70 cents each) with room at the bottom for a preprinted greeting.

For our final card, we wanted to try our hand at printing our own photo and greeting onto the actual cards. For this, we used an Epson Stylus Photo R320 printer ($199).

Epson sells its own card-making kit that comes with cards and easy-to-follow software. The card printed crisply and quickly and was quite fun to make. A helpful hint: Try printing a few of these on plain paper before loading the card stock. That way, you’ll have all the kinks worked out before you use the good stuff.

If your printer isn’t compatible with any card-making software, don’t fret. You can lay out the format yourself using the dimensions you want. Again, use scratch paper with the first few cards.

And hey, if your creations don’t work out, it’s no biggie. It’s not too late to pick up a box of cards tonight at your favorite store.

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