How to Design Your Own Holiday Cards


*This is a guest post from my friend Amy Luna. Do you remember me talking about P Man’s girlfriend Claire? Well, Amy is Claire’s momma. I absolutely ADORED the family Christmas card that Amy sent out last year and, since she is a talented graphic designer that told me it was “easy as pie”, I ask her to share HOW she did it! Trust me….you will want to replicate this!*

Our Holiday Card 2011

Last holiday season was the first year that I didn’t have professional photos taken in time for our holiday cards. But then I was inspired by this blog post to set up a quick and easy back drop for taking my own photo for our holiday cards.

What You Will Need

– White sheet for the back drop

– White christmas lights

– Something dark to cover the windows {e.g. dark sheets, blanket}

– Any point and shoot camera

– Photoshop software {very little skills needed} or

– Happy kids


We placed dark sheets and paper over the windows to darken our bedroom where the “photo shoot” took place.

Then I draped a plain white sheet along the back wall {above the bed’s headboard} with some of it flowing onto our bed. I also placed another white sheet over the top of the whole bed to create a plain white ground. We strung the christmas lights all across the white sheet back drop {the more lights the better}.

Tip: Use white/clear push pins to hold the white sheet and Christmas lights.


How To Take The Photo

Have the kids sit close to you towards the foot of the bed. It’s best if they are at least 4 feet away from the lights.

My suggestion is to use manual mode on your camera, shooting with a Canon T2i or T3i. If you are shooting on manual mode {50mm 1.8 lens} have your settings at:  200 ISO, 2.0F, 1/160-1/200 SS.

If manual mode scares you then you can always try the settings on “Portrait” mode {which is what I used for this pictures}. This allows you to get a good close up of their faces, but a more blurred background.

I wanted the lit background to look blurred.

Photo Correcting

I imported my original photo into Photoshop and did a auto correct of color and brightness. This lightened up the photo and brought in the right amount of color to look natural and vibrant.

Then I copied the photo and blurred the front layer until I got the blurry lighting effect I wanted.

Next, I erased the part of the photo with the kids’ faces until they were clear. Be careful around the edges so they are soft, not hard. This makes the edges blend into the background photo.

Then I added text that read, “happy holidays from the luna’s”.

Tip: If you do not have Photoshop you can use to edit your image. It’s a free web-based editing software. 

Getting The Cards Printed

This is the easy part! I just uploaded the saved jpeg of my holiday card to Walgreens photo center and ordered my cards online. I was able to pick them up the next day!

If you are looking to save a little cash this holiday season and want to make your own holiday card this is a great way to do it!

// A designer, mama, wife, dreamer and blogger, Amy Luna spends her days designing and nights chasing kids, freelancing and (attempts at making) great food. She blogs at and lives in St.Louis, MO with her husband and two kids. She loves to work with creative people and if anyone has any design inquiries you can email her at“. //


Linking up here:

Home Stories A to Z – Tips & Tutorial {86}


  1. says

    I love DIY work like this!! Amy’s card looks great! {And it doesn’t hurt that her kids are adorable!} :) I have a question about the printing. By going through a place like Walgreen’s do you feel like you get a good quality card or do you think it would be better to go through more of an actual print shop? One of the reasons I like places like Shutterfly, Treat, or Cardstore is because of the quality of the card you get, but they can get to be very expensive if you don’t catch a great deal!
    Brittany C.´s last blog post ..A Lesson on Fear {Just in time for Allume!}

    • says

      Hi Brittany!
      To answer your question, yes I think Walgreens has great quality and it’s so quick (which i love!). I have printed all of my Christmas cards there as well as my son’s birth announcements. If you want to do a matte finish on the photo cards they will be mailed to you but it looks great too!
      Hope this helps!

  2. says

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I have been looking at holiday cards for days now and can not decide what I want since we are working on a budget this year! This is such a great idea and I will definitely be doing this for our Christmas cards this year! =)

  3. Kelly says

    One of my favorite cards from the Luna’s, but their family is so easy on the eyes and their kids so much fun, every photo and card i get from then is a blast to see.

  4. Bets says

    Love this so much!!! Two questions though…did you use a flash and we’re all the lights in the room out? Thank you for your tips!!


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