Tutorial: Make Place Cards for Your Fancy Dinner
Place cards make your dinner party extra spiffy and fully qualify you to use the word “tablescape” when you brag about it later. Our tutorial gives you two designs: one that is photo-based and one that is graphics-based.
Make graphic place cards using Swatches in Collage
These graphic place cards have an extra feature: an area on the back for guests to write on. In this case, we imagine a Thanksgiving dinner, at which guests are invited to write out what they’re thankful for. They can take them home or leave them with the host as a keepsake.
Arrange the layout
Beginning in Collage, click the Layouts tab (the grid icon). Click Ducks in a Row and choose the first layout. Click the circular arrow on the bottom toolbar to rotate canvas so the two cells are vertically aligned. Click the top border and drag the double-arrow cursor downward so both cells are rectangles. Click the Backgrounds tab (the paint palette icon) and set the “Spacing” slider to zero.
Next, go to the Swatches tab (the tags icon). Click and drag Fall swatches (or any other swatches you like!) into your empty cells. When you’re finished filling your cells with swatches, click the Edit button in the top toolbar. This will bring your design into the Editor for overlays and text.
In the Editor, click the Overlays tab (the butterfly icon). Pick an overlay to place behind your text. The Scrapbooky group has some gorgeous ones; we’re using Victorian Labels for this image. Click and drag the circular handles on the corners of the overlay to resize it. Notice, in the Overlay palette, if it’s a two-color overlay. If so, you can pick different colors or just keep them both the same, as we have done here, with a 15% fade.
We’ve added a second overlay for a touch of fall flavor: a bough from the Nature group. In the Overlays palette, use the color picker to set the fill color to light yellow, and the outline to a dark brown. Note the eye dropper tool above the color grid: it lets you perfectly match a color from your image.
Go to the Fonts tab and select Sacramento font. Click “Add Text” button at the top of the Fonts pane to add your name. Choose dark brown from the color picker in the Text palette. Use the size slider to make your text the right size for the card.
Make a second text box and type “I am thankful for:” then choose dark brown for the text color again. (Tip: the color code we used was 442400.) Use the top handle of the text box to rotate the text so it’s upside down, and place on the solid side (which will be the back) of your card. This way, once folded, it will be on the opposite side of the card. Now each guest can write a statement for other guests to see during dinner!
Done! Now you can create more by replacing the name text with each of your guest’s names and saving each file.
You can also lay out all your place cards in Collage. 1700 x 2200 pixels are the perfect dimensions for an 8.5 x11” sheet of paper. You can read more about print sizing in our Help article.
Make photo place cards
These photo place cards aren’t self-standing, so you have a world of options for presentation once they’re printed and cut.
Import and crop your image
Open your photo into the Editor. Click the Basic Edits tab and choose Crop. Use the drop down menu to select “Square” and make sure your subject is centered, because you’ll lose the corners when you make a circular frame later.
To keep color consistency among the various photos of your guests, use an effect. Click the Effects tab (magic wand icon), select the Sepia effect and keep the default settings for “Fade” and “Color.” Then apply the Intrepid effect to add rich, cool darks to the sepia photo.
Add overlays and text
Next, click the Overlays tab and add a Leaves overlay to your photo. Set both color choices to be the same. Go to the Fonts tab and select Amatic Small Caps and click the “Add Text” button. Choose a text color that matches the light colors of your photo. Adjust the size of your text using the “Size” slider, and position the text box so the name is centered on the leaf.
Open the Frames tab and choose Rounded Corners. Set the “Corner Radius” slider all the way to the right to get a maximum radius — a circle! Don’t forget to save your image to your computer.
Finished! Repeat all of these steps for each photo.
Tip: Square Deal layout in Collage is great for putting all of your finished place cards on the same sheet for printing. If you’re printing on 8½ x 11 paper, 1700 x 1700 pixels are good square size dimensions for this project.
Now you can get creative with your display. Tuck the photo card into a pine cone, bundle little sticks together with string and slide the card in, or simply pin into a piece of fruit at the place setting. The options are endless.