DIY PicMonkey Gift Tags

by Kim on December 18, 2012

I don’t like wrapping gifts. It’s tedious, I’m a perfectionist about it, and it pains me to think about how soon the paper will be at the bottom of a garbage can.

But as much as I hate wrapping gifts, I love wrapped gifts. I like the fancy ones, with all the unnecessary bows and ribbons. If I can forget about what it took (and cost) to get them to look like that, I really love the final products.

The problem is, I’m usually pretty gift-wrapped-out by the time I’m shopping for next year’s Christmas wrapping supplies at Target’s 50% off week-after-Christmas sales. So when I get to the “extras” aisle, after grabbing a few standard rolls of paper, I can never seem to bring myself to buy all those silly ribbons and bows and gift tags. The overflowing trash bags in the living room are still too fresh in my mind.

But then, 12 months later, I’m all, “I didn’t even buy gift tags?? Those are USEFUL!”

So here I am…another wrapping season, and no gift tags.

Luckily: this year, we have PicMonkey.

I’ve been having a lot of fun with PicMonkey lately, but it never occurred to me to use it for gift tag making until I stumbled across PM’s Winterland Pinterest board. (I only wish I’d discovered it a little sooner-I could have used PicMonkey for our Christmas cards too!)

AND LO, several hours of tinkering later (like I said, I’m a perfectionist), I had gift tags.

Too bad I already wrapped and ghetto-labeled half our gifts with a dumb black Sharpie.

Gift Tags Intro

Disclaimer: There are tons of ways to do this, so feel free to experiment. This is just what I did.

1. Open PicMonkey and click Create a Collage.

2. Click Layouts and select any layout from the list (it doesn’t really matter because we’re going to customize it, but I think I started with a two-pane 4×8 card).

Layouts

3. Change the size of the layout to 2500 x 2000 pixels. (This allows the labels to fit nicely on an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper.)

pixels

4. Add your backgrounds. You can upload any images you want for this, or just use PicMonkey’s textures (which are really nice-the ones shown in Step 5 below are all from PM). Christmas- or winter-themed desktop backgrounds are great for this (I did a mix of backgrounds I found online and PM textures).

Once you’ve decided which images you want to use, and you’ve uploaded any non-PM images into PicMonkey from your computer, drag and drop them from the Photos tab into the boxes in your layout.

5. Add rows and columns to make a 3×3 grid. The way to do this in PicMonkey is to drag a texture or picture right outside one of the existing boxes, hover around until you see a gray bar appear (as in the picture below), and then drop it.

Add row

Repeat this drag/drop process until you have a 3×3 grid of various images, like this:

3x3

6. Click Save to save this as an image somewhere on your computer.

7. Reopen PicMonkey to get back to their homepage. (If there’s another way to do that, I don’t know what it is!)

8. This time, click Edit a Photo and open your saved 3×3 grid.

9. Decoration time! Use any of PicMonkey’s awesome tools to spruce up your backgrounds. (Or skip this step and leave the backgrounds as they are.)

You can play around with the Effects, like:

The HDR effect…

HDR

or the Cross Process effect…

Cross Process

Or, check out the Textures, like:

The Papyrus Texture…

Papyrus

or the Smudge Texture (shown here with Hardlight)…

Smudge w Hardlight

PicMonkey also has a Winterland theme, where you can find cool accents like holly, snowflakes, and wreaths (that’s where I found the snowman you’ll see in my labels below).

You can also add some solid-color shapes for writing space, if you want. These are on the Overlays tab, under the Geometric and Labels sets. When you first apply them, they’re black, but you can use the toolbox that pops up to change them to any color (or white, as I did). I left some of them opaque white, and adjusted the fade percentage on others to make them more transparent.

10. On the Text tab, pick a font and use it to add your To/From text. PicMonkey has tons of awesome fonts, including special Winter ones!

Here’s what I ended up with:Gift Tags 2

 Open a Printable Version of This

You’re welcome to print and use mine. :) If you print directly from your browser, the tags will be a little smaller (but still ok). To fill an entire 8.5 x 11, you need to save off the image and print it from elsewhere.

Also, if you have some kind of cardstock or photo paper in 8.5 x 11, that’s ideal, but regular ol’ paper works fine too!

Whitewashing

If your images are darker or you’re worried about readability, you can tone down your entire design with a whitewash. (I did this with mine at first, but ended up removing it later when I saw how much lighter the images looked when printed. I suggest doing a trial print first to see how everything looks before deciding.)

To apply the whitewash: add a rectangle from the Overlays tab (Geometric set) and resize it to fit over your entire image. Change the color to white in the pop-up toolbox and adjust the Fade to 50-80% so your images are still visible but text will be more legible. Click the merge button on the top toolbar to merge the rectangle onto your collage.

You can also apply a whitewash to individual squares by just placing a smaller rectangle over that square.

If you do any of this, I definitely recommend doing it last, because you won’t be able to reselect any of the elements on your page to move them around after you’ve put this white blanket over everything. :)

IMG_2304

It took me awhile to get comfortable with PicMonkey-it gets especially tricky when you’re layering a bunch of things on top of each other-but once you figure out its quirks, it’s a breeze.

I do think PicMonkey still has a lot of weird limitations (like, I can’t stretch a dotted circle into a dotted oval??), but it’s still a baby application and I’m excited to see what we’ll be able to do with it a year or two from now!

Happy monkeying!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenna December 18, 2012 at 12:49 pm

What an adorable idea! I love it! Wrapping gifts really is a pain!! Happy Tuesday! Spa <3

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Kim December 19, 2012 at 11:45 am

I know, I wish gift bags were cheaper! :)

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