Valentine's Day Photo Card

Step-by-step instructions on how to create your own photo Valentine's Day card

By Charlie Kerekes, 1/9/2006

If you are like me, you probably spend way too much time agonizing at the greeting card racks, trying to find the best Valentine's Day card for your sweetheart . This year, put that time toward making something really special—a photo Valentine's Day card.

Learn how to create this Valentine's Day card, customized with your own photo and text.

In this article I show you how to create a photo Valentine's Day card like the one to the right. I provide step-by-step instructions for Adobe Photoshop Elements However, if you are familiar with another editing software, you may be able to follow the steps and translate them to commands in your own software.

Learn how to create this Valentine's Day card, customized with your own photo and text.

When this project is finished, it can be printed at home on 4x6" photo paper.

The steps in this article use the "layers" and "selection" features in Photoshop Elements. Step-by-step instructions are provided; however, if you are unfamiliar with these features, you may wish to start by reading Editing Photos with Layers and Selecting Objects with the Magic Wand .

Selecting the Photos

Cloudy sky high resolution image

We need two photos to create the Valentine. One photo will be the background and the other photo will be of you and/or your sweetheart.

Then, select a photo that you wish to place in the middle of the heart. This can be an image from a digital camera or a scanned photo.

Making the Valentine's Day Card

Now that you have downloaded the cloudy sky image for the background and selected a photo for the heart, we are ready to create the card image.

All steps apply to Photoshop Elements

  1. Create a blank image in Photoshop Elements to match the photo paper dimensions. In this example I am using 4x6" paper. We'll call this the "Valentine image".

    Commands:
  2. Place the cloudy sky background into the the new image, taking up the entire canvas area.

    Commands v4 :
  3. Re-name the new layer created by the sky image to sky .
    Command: Double-click the current image name in the Layers palette and type new name, then hit Enter
  4. Save the Valentine image to your hard drive in a place where you can find it.
  5. Draw a red heart shape in the middle of the image.

    The heart shape has been created in its own layer.

    The heart shape has been created in its own layer.


    Commands:
  6. Re-name the new layer created by the heart shape to heart .
  7. Once you are satisfied with the shape, size, and position of the heart within the image, select its outline and save it. We will use the outline to cut a heart-shaped hole in the sky and to cut a smaller hole within the heart itself. The photo will show through these two holes.

    Commands:
  8. Hide the heart layer so that only the sky is visible.
  9. Select the sky layer.
  10. Cut a hole in the sky the shape of the heart. The checkered pattern of the canvas is visible through the heart-shaped hole in the sky image.

    The checkered pattern of the canvas is visible through the heart-shaped hole in the sky image.
    Commands:

  11. Make the heart layer visible .
    Command: In the Layers palette click the location where the small eye should be to the left of the layer to make it visible

  12. Select the heart layer.
  13. Make sure that the Styles and Effects palette is visible.

    Window > Styles and Effects
  14. Apply the Wow Plastic layer style to the heart layer.

    Commands:
  15. Cut a hole in the heart through which the photo will show. The canvas is visible once more through the holes in the heart and the sky. Our picture will show through these two openings which make up the heart frame.

    The canvas is visible once more through the holes in the heart and the sky. Our picture will show through these two openings which make up the heart frame.

    Commands:


  16. Add the text banner to the lower end of the heart. Shape selection drop-down list with the banner shape circled in red.

    Shape selection drop-down list with the banner shape circled in red.
    Commands:

  17. Re-name the new layer created by the banner shape to banner .
    Command: Double-click the current image name in the Layers palette and type new name, then hit Enter
  18. Apply the Wow Plastic layer style to the banner layer.
    Commands:
  19. Add text to the banner. Don't be too concerned about making your text fit the banner on the first pass—we will adjust the size later.
    Commands:
  20. Move the text layer above all other layers. Skip if text is already the top layer.
  21. Position and size text inside the banner. Text sized and positioned to appear inside the banner.

    Text sized and positioned to appear inside the banner.

  22. Now that we have a completed heart frame, we are ready to insert the photo under all of the layers.

    Commands :
  23. Re-name the new layer created by the photo to photo .
  24. Move the photo layer to the bottom. The Layers palette showing the final order of all layers, with the photo on the bottom.
  25. Size and move the photo so that it fits the heart frame opening. Photo layer is in the process of being sized and positioned inside the heart frame.
    Commands:
  26. Save the completed Valentine's Day card image
    Completed Valentine's Day photo card, ready to be printed or developed.
    Completed Valentine's Day photo card, ready to be printed or developed.
  27. If you have a printer, print the finished image. You want this card looking its best, so be sure all cartridges have plenty of ink and use high quality photo paper.

I hope that this photo project will make your Valentine's Day even more memorable.