Are you ready to Liberate Your Art? Creating postcards from your artwork can be very easy!
Professional Printing Options
There are many professional services where you can upload an image file and have your postcards printed by a third party. After many years and a lot of postcards, I can recommend these three as the best sources, for both image quality and sturdiness in the mail:
- moo – My very favorite place to order postcards! Their quality is excellent and each postcard can have a different image. Use this link for $15 off your first order.
- Artifact Uprising – A luxurious, heavyweight matte cardstock. Matte finish works well with some imagery but is not as vibrant as a glossy finish.
- Vistaprint – I use Vistaprint for larger quantities, such as promotional cards or the quantity I need for the postcard swap. Sign up for their newsletter and then wait for one of their frequent sales.
Depending on the option you choose, you may end up with more than the 5 postcards needed for the swap. What should you do with them? Why, liberate them, of course! Send them to friends and family. Participate in side swaps through the Facebook Group. Sell them on Etsy. Whatever – get that art out there!
If you need to do simple editing to your image prior to uploading to a printing site, search for a free online photo editor or use an app like Snapseed.
Making Your Own Postcards
There are a number of options to make your own postcards:
- Turn any photo print into a postcard with a postcard backing sticker from The 2 Buds. This is a fabulous, simple idea to quickly make your own postcards!
- Inkjet postcard paper, special paper you can print directly on, is available from Red River Paper and Avery. Avery also has postcard papers for laser printers.
These are all US-based companies but most businesses will ship internationally. You can also search for similar options closer to home if you live abroad, now that you have the ideas.
Capture Your Art Tutorial
If you need to photograph your art to get a digital image to reproduce, here’s a simple procedure to capture the image with any digital camera:
- Find some “open shade.” You want to find somewhere, typically outside, that is not in the direct sun but is not in deep or mottled shade. The shady side of a house, just inside a garage door, inside a large picture window or an overcast day work great. Be sure there is no strong color cast in the reflected light in the shade (for example, a green wall would create a green color cast, even in the shade).
- Set your art up so that you can photograph it “straight on,” where the camera is as perpendicular to the art surface as possible. You could set it on the ground and look directly down on it (you may need a step stool to do this), or you could prop it up on another surface (try for neutral color backgrounds such as grey, black or white).
- Turn off the flash on your camera. All point-and-shoots, even with no other manual controls, will have an option for “no flash.” Check your camera manual if you don’t know how to turn off the flash.
- If you have one, use a tripod. This will help you set up perpendicular to the art surface, but also will help you avoid blur due to the camera shaking if the light is low. If you don’t have a tripod, hold the camera as steady as possible when you take the pictures.
- Fill the viewfinder with the art, leaving some space around it for cropping.
- Take several images with this set up, especially if you are not using a tripod. The color, exposure and clarity may vary shot-to-shot depending on your camera and setup. You’ll want several to choose from on the computer.
- Download to the computer and make any minor adjustments to the image such as cropping or exposure. Any simple photo editing software allows you to do this, and most will have an “auto adjust” feature you can try. If you don’t know how to do this, you can also upload to printing sites such as moo.com. Moo allows you to upload the image, then crop and select the “photo enhanced” option which will try to improve the image’s exposure and sharpness to match the moo printing process. It works well for photographs, in my experience.
View this short YouTube video for some good tips. You can search for other videos on YouTube for help.
Print Your Own Postcards Tutorial
It takes nothing more than a photo print, cardstock and adhesive to create postcards. Here’s how I’ve created my own postcards in the past:
- Start with a photo print. This can either be printed yourself on photo paper or printed through a photo print service.
- Add a strong, double-sided tape, outlining the back of your card. Put some tape in the center for strength.
- Adhere the photo to a heavy weight cardstock. I’ve found the easiest thing to do is to line up the print onto a corner of the cardstock before it is cut, then trim the excess with a ruler and craft knife. If you measure and cut the cardstock first, it’s hard to get everything nicely lined up.
- Draw a line to separate the address and message sides of the postcard. That’s really all you need, as a guide for your writing.
I’ve made postcards with this method many times and they’ve survived through the mail from Italy to the US without problem.
Good luck! Choose the easiest option for you. Remember, creating the art is the most important thing. The postcard is just a way to liberate it.