Family Photo Alphabet Flash Cards

By Charlie Kerekes, 10/20/2005

Alphabet flash cards are a fun way for preschoolers to learn letters and basic words. Imagine how much more fun they will have learning from flash cards with pictures of family members and familiar items. Alphabet flash card: C Got digital photos? Here are the steps to turn them into alphabet flash cards.

To make learning easier, select photos in which the main subject is clearly identifiable. Family member portraits with contrasting backgrounds are ideal.

Is your family tree missing a Larry, Linda, Lorie or Lester for the L card? No problem—plan a neighborhood excursion to find and photograph the perfect L.

Numerous layouts are possible, depending on your photo editing skills. For this article I chose a basic layout with letters on the left half and image on the right half of a 4x6" card.

Tools you will need

If you have a digital camera then you are half way there to having all the tools you need to create the flash cards. The other half is a digital photo editing software such as Adobe Photoshop Elements.

More specifically, here are the tools you need, some of them optional:

  1. Digital photo from which to create the flash card. This image could be from a digital camera or scanned in from a traditional photo.
  2. Digital photo editing software with "layer" features. This is required to edit the photo and compose the alphabet flash card image.
  3. If you have a photo printer that can handle 4x6" photo paper, then you can print the flash cards at home. Use the thickest photo paper you can find for a sturdy card.

Preparing the Image: Generic Steps

Alphabet flash card: L

Preparing the Image: Photoshop Elements

Below are the steps for creating the alphabet flash card images with Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0 or 3.0.

  1. Select an image to represent the alphabet letter.
  2. Open the image in Photoshop Elements.

    Command: File Open

  3. Rotate image, if necessary.
    Command: Image Rotate
  4. Make any photo editing, enhancing, color correction, etc., as desired.
  5. Crop the image into 3 x 4 proportions. This will take up half of a 6 x 4 card.
  6. Select and copy the final image.
    Command: Click Rectangular Marquee Tool , drag mouse over entire image to select, Edit Copy
  7. Create a new, blank image which will hold the completed flash card.
    Command: File New Blank File , and in the "New" dialog enter the following:
  8. Insert a solid color layer as the background of the left side.
    Command: Layer New Fill Layer Solid Color , accept the layer name and choose a color
  9. Paste the image you copied in step 6 into a layer of the blank image.
    Command: Edit Paste
  10. Size and move the image as needed, so it occupies the right half of the card.
    Command: Click the Move Tool , drag image to move or drag image corners while holding Shift to size, as needed
  11. Insert a text box in the top left corner, containing the upper case alphabet letter.
  12. Insert a text box in the middle left, containing the word. Commands: See above, except enter 48 as font size.
  13. Insert a text box in the bottom right corner of the left side, containing the lower case alphabet letter. Commands: See above, except enter 60 as font size.
  14. Add a drop shadow to all text layers.
  15. Save image with a unique name, such as "Flash Card - A.psd".
    Command: File Save As , select folder in which to save, enter file name

Printing the Alphabet Flash Cards

Once you have all of the alphabet images prepared, you are ready to print them. If you have a digital photo printer at home, load it with thick 4x6" photo paper, make sure you have plenty of ink, and start printing.