Holiday Survival Tip Series Installment No. 1: Make Cards Early (Video Tutorial Blog)

Cathy ZielskeScrapbooking, Tutorials74 Comments

I know what you’re thinking.

“Cathy? What the? Halloween isn’t even here yet and you’re thinking Christmas cards already? That’s just messed up!”

Au contraire, mes petit chiens… (I think I just called all of you little doggies in French, but keep in mind: my bad French aside, I love dogs.)

Yes, I realize Halloween is just around the corner, but there’s another big holiday some of you may be familiar with. It’s called Christmas. Maybe you’ve heard of it? Baby Jesus? Trees? Presents?. Endless lines? Tangled lights?

Oh yes, and one more component that is commonly referred to as the CHRISTMAS CARD.

As creative women (and men) who have the reputation of knowing their way around a paper trimmer, the pressure to create Christmas cards is constant. Why? Because we are crafty. We have all of the stuff we need to create right here! Some of us even have ENTIRE ROOMS in which we can use our knowledge and tools to prepare messages of holiday merriment to share with our family and friends.

Now I’m going to admit something that I haven’t told anyone except my closest of friends and family (and everyone I know on the Internet): the reason you didn’t get a card from me last year is because I didn’t make any.

(And a collective GASP falls across the crafting blogosphere.)

Last year I said, rather petulantly, “Not gonna do it,” and I didn’t. And to be honest with you, I really wasn’t guilt-ridden over the decision. To me, it was one less thing to do in a season that already has an exorbitant number of things that need doing.

But inevitably, it happened: I found myself missing it. I missed the process of making cards to share with my closest family and friends, and I vowed that this year, I would not only make cards, but I’d do them in a timely, non-stressed fashion, leaving plenty of time to simply enjoy the season when it comes, and not feel the burden of 80 some odd names on a Christmas card list staring me in the face. Waiting.

In short, this year, I’ve got a plan.


It all started with a new set of word art which I designed for Designer Digitals (on sale next weekend). I dig type and words and I plan to create many more sets using fonts and phrases that I love. These sets come as PNG files, and can be used in any program. (They also come as .abr files for you Photoshop users.)


You can use them on scrapbook pages, of course, but you can also use them to make holiday cards.

Here’s a quick tutorial on how to take some word art and make multiple, colored copies on a single sheet of cardstock to use for making some easy, crafty Christmas cards.

CZ Design Word Art Card Tutorial from Cathy Zielske on Vimeo.

Supplies Ho-Ho-Holiday 1 Brushes&Stamps (coming Nov. 1 to Designer Digitals) • Dasher and Garland papers from BasicGrey • Fiskars Squeeze Punch • pop dots • kraft cardstock

Once you have your word art file ready, you simply load in a sheet of cardstock, print, and cut into strips. Then, grab your punch tool and punch away.


This is definitely a card you can do production-line style. Just punch a bunch of holiday paper swatches, and then punch a bunch of word art print outs, glue down and presto: cute holiday cards.

(Note: the patterned papers I’m using are from an older BasicGrey collection that might be hard to find online, but any holiday themed papers will work!)

And for those of you who just can’t stand the idea of holiday card making in October, I’ve got just the word art set to fit with the current season:


But at this point, there’s no pressure on anyone to make cards. I’m not THAT crazy.

Look for these new word art sets this weekend at Designer Digitals.

p.s. And to everyone on my Christmas card list, please act surprised when this design shows up in your mailbox. Thank you.

Cathy ZielskeHoliday Survival Tip Series Installment No. 1: Make Cards Early (Video Tutorial Blog)

74 Comments on “Holiday Survival Tip Series Installment No. 1: Make Cards Early (Video Tutorial Blog)”

  1. #1

    Cathy, I will NOT learn digital scrapbooking this year. Would you make the Christmas ones available as pdf as well, so the traditionalistas in the scrapuniverse could have a peaceful Christmas, too?

    merci bien
    le chien

  2. #2
    Sandi Malloy

    These are perfect for a December Daily also (well, maybe not the Halloween sentiments 😉 Now, I need to get PSE8 for my new MAC. Somehow last weekend the PSE8 money went for new UGGS for my daughter. Uggh, how does that happen???

  3. #3

    no worries Cathy, all the snow we got here in October (yes, Minnesota), got me in the Christmas card making mood and I too, have made 18 cards already!

  4. #4

    Sending cards for Christmas has never been my thing, but I might start doing it after seeing this wonderful word art. I love it!

  5. #5

    Thanks so much for this tutorial! I got PSE7 at Xmas last year and have been intimidated by it ever since – stuff like this really helps 🙂

  6. #6

    learnt something new today, those little things in PSE that I never knew what there were or how to use!! thanks for sharing – and love what you are doing for DD!

  7. #8

    Hi Cathy! Loved the tutorial and the word art. Thanks to you and MeTav, I am now up and running with PSE 8 on my new MAC. Thanks for helping us get into the holiday spirit…and BOO to you!

  8. #9

    Thanks so much. I really appreciated the video and can’t wait to get the word art. Keep them coming! I’m off to find PSE 8.0 for Mac. Didn’t know it was released yet–Adobe was supposed to send me a message!

  9. #10

    Thanks for the tutorial! Got my cards made early this year as well but would love to use it for next year. Thanks again.

  10. #15
    Kelly R.

    I started my 60+ cards about a month ago and at least 2 weeks of that was trying to get the design in my head to paper! Love the easy card and word art!

  11. #16

    Thanks for the video, Cathy! 🙂 I always learn something new from you… I didn’t know about the guides in my ruler, I think you just saved me DAYS of time. 🙂

  12. #18

    Love the digi elements!
    I to speak limited French and when I do I butcher it. Petit chiens is what I call everyone and it’s usually used in sentences like “Ou est mes petit chiens?” when I’m looking for something like my shoes or bedtime snack. Never looking for my actual small dogs.

  13. #19

    Hey Zewa, i will add this to my list of things to consider! : )

    I will be designing elements as PDF for future projects. It may not be word art collections however, because it’s difficult to guess what sizes people would need them in for different purposes.

    You can place PNG files into Microsoft Word, which doesn’t require any Photoshop know-how.

  14. #20

    Can I use this in my scrapbooking class. I don’t charge any money for it. It is just three little 7 year olds but we are going to be making Christmas cards and this looks so doable for them. Thanks for the lesson!

  15. #22

    I made cards last year for the first time. Can’t say I was in love with it, but perhaps the technique (stamp embossing) just wasn’t my thing. I need the least amount of mess.

    This year, I will confess, we bought cards at Dollar Tree. They’re cute and now DH can help out too. My justification (so I don’t feel like a bad crafter) is that I want to make some photobooks as gifts and not making cards will help give me the time for that.

  16. #23
    Karen P

    Cathy–love your card idea! Simple and elegant at the same time. I also love the font you use for your sentiments and would like to use it on some of my scrapbook pages. Could you share what font it is? Thanks for all the inspiration!

  17. #24

    I haven’t sent cards since we moved our store to the MOA, (retail life sucks in December) but I may consider it now-because that is SO DANG CUTE. I did just send out some really fun hand-crafted Halloween cards, so maybe I am off the hook?

    LOVE all of the stuff you have been putting together lately, you have been one busy lady!

  18. #25

    You are basically the awesome-est. I just learned four new things in that video. I know I emailed you and said three, but then I watched the last minute and learned another one. One question-in CS3, I can’t choose edit>fill to change the color. Do you know what the steps are in other versions of PS?

  19. #27

    THANK YOU! for remembering the ‘men’ mention. Yes, we too can be creative crafty individuals trying to stay a-top all the holiday madness. 😉

  20. #28

    Would you consider adding Chanukah or Kwanza phrases for those of us who celebrate other holidays? Or even generic phrases like “peace on earth,” or “let it snow,” etc.? I love the idea, but these phrases just won’t work for me! Thanks!

  21. #31

    J’aime bien le francais! :o)

    I also love your card. I assume you cut the actual card from a regular 8 1/2 x 11 piece of cardstock….but then what kind of envelope do you put them in? And aren’t they too small to include the annual family photo?
    I used to do all my cards from scratch, until I ran into those problems which I never could find solutions to. I’m hoping you, in all your card-making/scrapbooking wisdom DO have the answers so I can go back to making my own holiday cards. I miss it. :o)

  22. #32

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for the video tutorial! I learned something new about re-sizing images. I got so excited I paused the video and had to try it out right away. (I use PS 7). A couple of minor things were different, but it worked and I was like “No way! get OUT!” So, thanks again! Maybe with this new knowledge the holidays will be calm and bright! 🙂

  23. #33

    Cathy, Photoshop question. I’m living in the dark ages using Photoshop Elements 3. I use a PC. I think it is time to upgrade software. Should I upgrade to Elements 8 or Photoshop 8? Thanks.

  24. #34

    Hey Kristen, i have some envelopes from a local store that are slightly too big for this card. I figure if it fits, i’ll use it. It might be an A6? i’m not quite sure.

    And yes, i cut the card from half of an 8.5 x 11.

    I would do smaller photos (2 x 3s) if i decide to send a photo. I’ve done that before and it worked well!

  25. #36

    I love this card! Can you tell us what size the card is? Did you cut a 12*12 paper in half? Just want to add, stop making me want to buy everything (at Designer Digital), my DH is going to kill me. LOL.

  26. #37

    Love Love Love your new word art! Would love to see “Merry Christmas”. I love all the other sayings you have but it seems that no one likes this phrase anymore but it’s the big holiday in December so I want stamps, stickers, word art, cards, etc. to say “Merry Christmas” but they’re so hard to find. Can’t wait until this weekend!

  27. #38
    Jennifer Stewart

    K, I’m not gonna make my cards (we do photo cards) but I just watched it just to hear you teach! You are fabulous. 🙂 Very easy to understand and hey, who knows, maybe I’ll print something out just to say I did it!


  28. #39
    Elana & Roland Geyrozaga

    Thank you sooo much for this tutorial. I’ve been working on another project and been having difficulty recoloring elements. I just did it with your instructions, and it was super simple. I’m definitely picking up these word arts this weekend, and can’t wait to see what else you have in store for us. Thanks!

  29. #42

    Cathy, please share what kind of printer you use, and what it would cost the common man. I have a Kodak Easy Share but it doesn’t work worth a crap.
    How many color toner cartridges do you burn through?

  30. #43

    VERY inspiring!!! thanks for sharing with us! and dito with what tchrtiff said about having a ‘Merry Chirstmas!’ 🙂

  31. #45

    Oh Cathy,… be still my type/word are loving heart! – who needs “sugarplumbs”! A million ideas are swirling. Thanks so much.

  32. #46

    Je t’adore! I’m the worst student ever as my ADD causes me to look at your post today and say “Ugh! A video! I don’t have time for THAT!” But the reviews are making me rethink my far-too-hasty decision and I will sit down, isolate myself from distractions and soak up the learnin’.
    BTW: Please keep the occasional French coming our way. Those of us who love and live in the language get a kick out of it. It is part of your cachet! You may try “mes petits moutons” which is a sweeter term of endearment, but may prove difficult for an English person who thinks of sheep as simple-minded followers. “Chiots” is French for puppies – generally cuter than dogs – but don’t pronounce the T in public because it has a whole other meaning: as in a sh**house. Figured you might get some mileage out of that one …

  33. #48

    Kristen, i have an HP Photosmart 8750. It’s nearing 4 years old, back then it retailed for around $500 i think, but that is because it’s a large format printer.

    You can go with regular format for much cheaper. Both Epson and HP make good printers.

  34. #49

    Thank you so much for the tutorial…fantastic! Love that you put this up now so we do have time to get going. I always hope to get started in August, but that just does not happen. As it is, I am just getting out some Halloween postcards and a birthday gift for my sister Linda who’s birthday is on Halloween.
    You are terrific – love the font too!

  35. #50

    I love your card but we won’t be sending Christmas cards this year. My husband lost his job in April and we’ve been scrapping by. Just an extra expense we can’t afford.

    My idea from your inspiration is to create a cute and spirited Christmas page (scrapbook style) and send it in an email. I know it’s not as personal as the handmade touch, but the sentiment is heartfelt.

    Thanks for the inspiration Cathy. I love to read your blog. You make me smile. 🙂

  36. #51
    Jacquelin G

    Cathy you fabulous woman – Peace on Earth and Goodwill to ALL!! I finally get a piece of the peace! WOOHOO! Hurray for language that makes us all feel good! I am so buying these – thanks chickie – you rocked my day!

  37. #52

    This has to be the sweetest way of marketing a product that I’ve ever come across. You are so sweet.

  38. #53

    I didn’t send cards last year either, it was very freeing. But, some people thought we just didn’t send one to them, so back to cards this year. I am sending a photo card though, less work! Love you new brushes.

  39. #54
    Mary Mitchell

    Ok….I guess I’m totally messed up. I design my Christmas cards around February. Then I start gathering supplies from my stash and doing the pre cutting of card elements. Then at some time during the summer I attend a local weekend crop and start assembling my cards. Sometimes this carres over into a fall weekend crop too. A couple of weeks ago I was home ill with the swine flu and once I could think clear again signed and addressed my Christmas cards. Yes…they are sitting in my bedroom waiting to be mailed. Yes…feel free to hate me….I was an over achiever this year !!!

  40. #55
    Mary Mitchell

    What I think is so sad is that postage is so high and that keeps many people from continueing the tradition of sending cards. This not to mention the fact that now square cards cost even more than the basic stamp.

  41. #57

    Heh, heh, heh; I didn’t send Christmas cards either, last year. Instead, I sent Valentine’s Day cards! And if the recipient looked really, really closely, she could see a tiny banner across the photo that read “in lieu of Christmas card in lieu of Christmas card in lieu….”

  42. #59

    Cathy, I love all of these! Just a comment though…shouldn’t it be Peace on Earth good will to all instead of “goodwill” to all? (I have nothing against Goodwill, mind you!!!) or is that just how the spacing looks on my screen? And in case no one has told you this lately, you are awesome!

  43. #60
    Shawn Wenrich

    Luv this tutorial and the “Go you!” at the end. Thanks so much for sharing with us:)

  44. #62
    Petra from NL

    Cathy, thanks for the inspiration!
    I have one question though; I’m using PSE7, and I couldn’t get my rulers to stay put. I can see a line moving to the right, but it seems to go behind the background paper plus I can’t get it in place. Is this a new feature of PSE8 or am I doing something wrong?
    Thanks in advance! Or should I say Merci bien?

  45. #66

    LOVE the word art! So inspiring — I am going to use “all is calm, all is bright” as my personal theme for Christmas this year. Now I have to get crafty and figure out how to put your word art on a pendant, on the wall… Thanks for your ideas and blog!

  46. #70

    Help, Cathy! I purchased your words from Designer Digitals–love them!–and faithfully watched your wonderful video. I was able to open a new document and transfer the word, but when I clicked the move took in the ruler and scrolled over to create a column, the ruler line wouldn’t snap in place; thus, it makes it impossible for me to create a boundary to re-size the text. Am I making sense?!
    I have Elements 4.0.

  47. #71
    Margaret Paramore

    Hi Cathy, Can you say what size punch you used? I can only see 1 inch and 1 3/8 as options – I use millimetres so not really sure what 1 3/8 is (oops!).

  48. #72
    Kelly Adams

    Hi Cathy! I followed the directions in your video and bought the large Fiskars scallop punch you linked at the end. However, when I went to punch out the word art, part of the c in calm and the t in bright got cut off. I checked that I resized the png to 1.25 inches, like you said, and the same thing happened. Is it maybe the extra large Fiskars punch? Or did I screw something up? 🙂

  49. #73

    Hi Cathy, I’m currently not a photoshop user, and want to use this in Word for this year’s cards. Any special tips or how to’s on how to make the png’s work in Word? Thanks!

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