This post is part of Microsoft’s #WorkWonders program.
Immy recently turned 7 and even though her party has been and gone, I am still in shock. 7??? How is that even possible? This year we went back and forth on ideas for birthday party themes before finally settling on what quickly became one of my favourites – FAIRY TALES! We really needed to keep to a slim budget this year so creating and printing our own party invitations was definitely the way to go. Not only did it save us money but it also meant that we could create something completely unique and personalized, which was lots of fun and so easy to do with Microsoft PowerPoint.
Here’s how I designed and made our invitations;
Step One: Create Your ‘Canvas’
To begin, open PowerPoint and choose to start a Blank Presentation then,
1. Set Your Invitation Size: You will need to begin by setting the size of the PowerPoint slide to the size of the paper you will be printing on. To do this, choose the Design tab and navigate along to the Slide Size button. Click on the drop down arrow and select Custom Slide Size (1). Check the Orientation and Slide Sized for setting (2).
I was planning to print on A4 sized photo paper and so I selected Portrait and then A4 Paper. You will notice that PowerPoint automatically allows a generous margin and so I actually manually changed the cm height and width to be that of an actual A4 page as my printer does not need much in the way of margin allowance. Once you have adjusted your settings, select OK.
2. Start with a Blank Slate: I like to use a Blank slide layout so that I have a nice clean canvas to work on. To do this, choose the Home tab and navigate to the Layout button. Select the drop down arrow and scroll through the slide types, selecting Blank.
Now you are ready to start being creative!
Step Two: Arrange Your Images
Before we began making our invitation, I thought about the images that we would need. Here’s how I sourced the various image layers featured in our invitation;
- I knew I needed Immy dressed as Little Red Riding Hood and so one afternoon she dressed up and we took a quick snapshot with my phone. I uploaded the photo to OneDrive and will share how I manipulated it in Powerpoint to work with the other images below.
- The wolf I created myself in Photoshop. I have uploaded it to a shared file in OneDrive so that readers who are interested can download and use it (personal, non commercial use only). You can find it here.
- The house and forest are both drawings Immy made. She drew them with lead pencil on white paper and then I scanned them and coloured them in Photoshop. I have uploaded these to OneDrive also and you are welcome to use them (personal, non commercial use only). You can download them here.
You can use photos and images that you have taken or created yourself, images purchased online from sites like Etsy and free clip art images. Once you have the images that you wish to use ready and saved in a central location you are ready to load and edit them in PowerPoint.
1. Add an Image: To add an image to your invitation, select the Insert tab and click on the Pictures button (4). The Insert Picture box will open. Choose your image by clicking on the empty checkbox then select Insert (5).
I first added the Little Red Riding Hood photo as I knew that it needed editing – I wanted to remove the background from the image (6). I used the instructions found here to remove the background directly in PowerPoint.
2. Move and Resize an Image: I then added the forest picture as the backdrop for all of the other images to sit upon (7). To move an image, click on it and a small white box will appear on each corner of the image to show that it is selected. Hover over cursor over the image until a small set of crossed arrows appears and then click and hold your mouse button and drag the image into place.
To resize an image, again click on it and a small white box will appear on each corner of the image to show that it is selected. Hover the cursor over the small white box at one corner of the image (I generally use the bottom right) and a small two pointed arrow will appear. Hold down the shift key (to maintain the image’s height to width ratio) and then click and hold your mouse button and drag the corner of the image in or out to shrink or enlarge.
More photo formatting options: Selecting an image and right clicking on your mouse or touchpad will open a range of picture formatting tools for you to use to manipulate your image as well. Alternatively, selecting an image and then selecting the Format tab from the top menu bar will also show a range of picture tools, including a range of fun options that allow you to re-colour your images and add a range of artistic effects. You really can get as creative as you wish to!
3. Ordering Images: I went on to add the cottage and wolf images as well (8). To re-order images so that they sit in front of or behind other images (for example, I wanted the wolf to be peeking out from behind the cottage), select the image and right click on your mouse or touchpad. Scroll the arrow down to select either of the Bring to Front (Bring to Front – in front of everything else or Bring Forward – bring forward one layer) or Send to Back (Send to Back – behind everything else or Send Backward – send back by one layer) options (9).
4. Cropping Images: You can see in the image above (10) that part of the cottage fence hung outside of the invitation’s printable area. To crop this excess, select the image and then select the Format tab in the top toolbar. Choose the Crop drop down button and then Crop. A series of small black bars will appear at each corner and at the centre of each side of the image. Hover over one of these bars until a matching bar appears then click and hold with your mouse as you drag the bar in. As you do this the portion of the image to be removed will be greyed out (11). Click off the picture to confirm the crop change. You will no longer be able to see the removed part of the image until you again choose the Crop option.
Step Three: Add Text
Once your images are all added, re-sized, re-ordered and cropped as necessary, it is time to add your text.
I decided to use a coloured text box that would blend with the grass area at the bottom of the invitation with white text.
1. To Create a Text Box: Select the Insert tab and the Text Box button (12). Your cursor will be replaced by a small crossbar. Move the crossbar as you would your cursor, and once it is in the position that you would like your text box to be in, click and hold your mouse button and drag your mouse until the box is the width you would like it to be. Release the mouse button. To format your text box’s colour select the Format tab in the top toolbar or right click on the text box and select Format Shape. A sidebar of formatting options will open to the right of your screen.
To change the box colour, I selected Fill, then Solid Fill and then chose the colour using the Eyedropper tool located under the Colour drop down (13). You will also find options for changing the shape and size of your text box in the Format Shape sidebar.
2. To Add and Format Text: To add text to your text box, right click with the text box selected and choose Edit Text from the dropdown menu. Type your text. You may find that the height of your text box changes as you type. Don’t be alarmed. If you want to fix the height of your text box to a particular size, you will find the sizing options in the Format Shape sidebar.
To change the font, colour, size and justification of your text, highlight the text you wish to change and a small edit toolbar will appear (14.)
Our fairy tale inspired text read, “Once upon a time in a not-too-faraway land, Little Red Riding Immy was soon to be turning 7. Celebrate with us on …” I have removed these details from the invitation shown here for privacy reasons.
Step Four: Print!
Once I was happy with the layout of our invitation, I grouped all of the elements so that I could easily duplicate them and print two to one A4 sized page. To group your images and text boxes into one, move your cursor to the top right of your slide. Click and hold your mouse button and drag the mouse until the grey box that appears covers all of the elements of your invitation. Select the Format tab and choose Group. Right click on the group and choose Copy. Move your cursor off the group, right click again and choose Paste to paste a second copy of the group.
Our invitations were printed onto Semi Gloss Photo Paper and trimmed to size by hand.
We love how they turned out and Immy was so excited to share them with her friends!
Have you ever tried creating your own invitations digitally? What program do you like to use?