Tutorial: Creating a Custom Christmas Card in Photoshop CS5 to Print At Costco

This tutorial was created at the request of my neighbor and friend, with the beginning digital scrapbooker in mind. This tutorial will work best with a layered PSD file format or layered TIFF file format.  I’m using the layered template cards by One Little Bird Designs.

The first thing you want to do is create a new, blank canvas. The size of your canvas will depend on the size you will be printing. For this tutorial, I will use the Costco Custom Card size (which comes with envelopes)

To create a new canvas go to:
File> New


The following window will open and this is where you will enter you canvas size. When creating something that will be printed, you always want to enter 300dpi as the resolution. Since this is for the custom cards (that come with envelopes) at Costco, we will use their sizes (6×7.5 OR 7.5×6) (you can do other sizes as well though). Make sure inches is selected as the measurement in the dropdown box. Your window should look like this:


Now, you will have a blank canvas that looks like this, the checkerboard tells us that area is transparent:


Now, open your layered template by going to:
File> Open
and navigating to the location on your harddrive you saved your layered template.


The file will open in a new tab in Photoshop (that is the default setting). We need to change this so we can work with all of the windows; go to:
Window>Arrange> Float All Windows


Now, it will look something like this:


Select the window with the Christmas card in it by clicking on it.  This will activate all of the layers and details for this window.

Now, we are going to grab all of the layers in the card and bring them over to the blank canvas that is sized for Costco printing. The red arrow in the image below shows where the Layers Stack is:


Here’s a close up of our layers:


The top layer is already selected because it is blue. Hold the shift key down and click on the bottom layer in your layer stack and that will select all of the layers, turning them all blue:


In the tools, we need to select the move tool. Here’s where the tools are:


The move tool is at the top and looks like this (click on it to select it):


Now, make sure that “Auto Select” option is NOT checked:


Hold down the shift key and click anywhere on the Christmas card, drag onto the new, blank canvas (while holding down the mouse button and the shift key), once on the new canvas, let go of the mouse button, then the shift key.

Holding down the shift key while moving everything will make it so it’s automatically centered on the canvas. Your canvas should look something like this:


If for some reason, everything didn’t center and you want to try again, just go to:
Edit> Undo (or Ctrl+Z) and try it again.

Let’s be sure to save (saving often is your best friend Winking smile ). Go to:
File>Save As
and navigate to where you want this file saved, it already has the name Costco Christmas Card, (if you added that in the beginning when you created the canvas).

Once it’s all centered up, then you are ready to add your photo.

We need to open a photo by going to File>Open and navigating to the location that your photo is saved. Select the photo and click OPEN. Here’s what my screen looks like now:


We are now going to move the photo on the card using the similar steps as we did before. You can see in the screen above, my photo layer is selected because it is blue. Once that layer is selected, choose the move tool by click on it:


Hold down the shift key, click on the photo, drag into the window with the card, lift off the mouse button, let go of the shift key. Here’s what it looks like now, but don’t panic if yours doesn’t look exactly the same at this point (you just want to make sure that the photo is on the canvas with the Christmas Card Layers:


Let’s do ourselves a favor and save:Go to:

The photo layer needs to be moved so it is directly above the “photo clipping mask” layer:


We do this by clicking on the photo layer, dragging it down, and dropping it right above the clipping mask layer. This is what it will look like when it’s lined up and ready to be dropped:


Here’s what it will look like in the layers stack after you drop it:


Now we are going to clip or cut the photo to the shape of the clipping mask. We do this using the keyboard shortcut:

Now, your layers stack should look like this:


Here’s what my card looks like now:


You can see that the photo isn’t lined up that well, so we can move it by selecting the move tool again and making sure that the photo layer is still selected (highlighted in blue) in the layers stack. Then, move the photo into position.

NOTE: If you need to make your photo smaller to fit, you can do that by: holding down the shift key, clicking on one of the corner transform controls, and dragging toward the center,  (see image below and see this post for more information on resizing in Photoshop, including a video). Holding down the shift key will make it so your aspect ratio of your photo stays the same (in other words, your family won’t look like they were in a funhouse mirror). After you are done resizing, hit enter to commit the changes or click on the check mark on the top menu bar:



Here’s what things are looking like now:


It’s that time again, save: Go to:

Because we are making this card to print at Costco, we need to put something in the empty, transparent area (where the checkerboard is on your canvas).

In the Layers Stack, select the bottom layer:


In the Tools (on the left side of the screen, where the move tool is), select the Foreground Color by clicking on it:


That will open the Color Picker dialogue box like this:


When you put your mouse on the canvas or Christmas card, you will see it becomes an eyedropper. This is how we will match the color. I’m going to click on the white part of the card and match it.

Now, to fill that bottom layer with this color, we will select the Paint Bucket Tool (Note: if you don’t see the Paint Bucket, it might be hiding under the Gradient Tool, just click and hold the Gradient Tool until you see the Paint Bucket and then you can select it :


Gradient Tool:


With the Paint Bucket Tool selected and the bottom layer of the stack selected, just click on the transparent part of the canvas (where the checkerboard is) and the color you selected will fill that bottom layer. Here’s what my card looks like now:


Now, save again Go to:


On the bottom of this card, there is a customizable greeting. Let’s go ahead and customize it!

Select the layer called “Family Message” (NOTE: if your card does not already have customizable text, then just select the top layer instead of the message layer):


Now, select the Text Tool:


If you don’t have text already on the card, then you will want to create a text box by clicking in the upper left corner where you want to the type to start and dragging until the box is the size you want.

Since I have text on this card, I will just click and select (by dragging) right where I want to make the edit:


Now, I’ll type over that name and add ours Winking smile and hit enter or the check mark to commit the change. You can also change the font (in the top menu bar), spacing, sizing, etc. Here’s what I have now:


Let’s save the layered PSD file one more time: Go to:

Now, we need to save a jpeg so we can upload for printing. We do this by going to File> Save As. In the drop down File Type box, select JPEG:


Now, you are ready to upload to Costco for printing.