DIY: Make Instagram Holiday Cards

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Extra photos for bloggers: 1, 2, 3

Holiday Cards + Instagram = HoliGram?!

No, not like Tupac’s hologram, silly.

We’re talking about Holiday-grams. Real life cards from your favorite ‘grams.

Make and send holiday cards from your favorite Instagram pics or pretty much any photo on your phone.

This guide has a card-making style for everyone, from the super app-savvy to the DIY-ers.

Making holiday cards has never been so instant … and awesome!

Make DIY Instagram Cards!

p.s. Come on a photo walk with us! We’ll be meeting this Sunday 12/2 at the Photojojo Secret Store in San Francisco with cider and cameras.

Why it’s cool:

ingred-smSending snail mail is always cool, even if you only do it around the holidays.

These Holly-Jollygrams spread holiday cheer with loved ones that aren’t technically “your followers” (yet!).

With just a few clicks and the right apps, you can brighten up someone’s mailbox without even leaving the couch.

How’s that for makin’ a list and checkin’ it twice?!

What You’ll Need:

paint-smDepending on how you print your cards, you may need more or less of the items below.

  • Smartphone
  • Tripod (optional)
  • Photo Paper
  • Printer
  • Scissors
  • Photo Corners
  • Blank Cards
  • or Card Stock
  • Envelopes
  • Ruler

STEP 1: Get Ready:

paint-smPlanning outfits and picking locations can be tricky, but there are ways to simplify this.

Pick a theme to help you choose coordinated looks. Don’t be afraid to let your funky personality shine through.

Have everyone wear red and green to be festive, or polka dots and stripes, or even their favorite Ugly Christmas Sweater.

Are you wanting a black and white photo card? Or do you need props like Santa hats or reindeer antlers?

These decisions might influence how you dress. Make a plan beforehand.

Step 2: Take Photos:

paint-smLocations don’t need to be exotic, unless of course you hiked Mt. Kilimanjaro this year.

Simple backgrounds can help you stand out more.

Pick any ol’ painted wall or textured fence for a backdrop.

Use a tripod and a self-timer app for your phone. The GorillaCam app and the Gorilla Pod are a pretty great team for iPhone users. The iPhone Shutter Remote will also do the job.

Android users, check out the free Self Timer app. It has options for 10 and 20 second timers.

If 10 seconds isn’t long enough for you to stage your photo, try using the iPhone Shutter Remote or have a friend help you out by clicking the shutter for you.

TIP: If you are using camera apps, make sure you have them turned on to the highest quality setting.

Step 3: Edit:

paint-smOkay, we know you’re familiar with this part.

Choose the best photo from your shoot. Use your favorite app to edit, crop, and make other minor adjustments.

We like PhotoForge2 and Snapseed for iPhone, and PicSay and Camera360 for Androids.

After straightening and making adjustments, use Instagram to get that square retro look we all love.

TIP: If you want to keep this pic a secret until you send your cards, use your phone in airplane mode for Instagram edits.

Step 4: Add Text:

paint-smSpice up that photo with your favorite holiday greeting.

Apps like Overgram for iPhone and Instanote for Android allow you to edit the font, size, and color of your text.

You can then save the photo with text right to your camera roll.

If you prefer to edit text on the computer, just email the photo to yourself and open it up on your computer to edit.

Use Photoshop or any other editing software to add a greeting to your pic.

TIP: Use a contrasting color to make your text stand out on your photo. If the area where you want text is dark, use a light color and vice versa.

Step 5: Mobile Cards:

paint-sm The best things about smartphones are the smart apps that have come along with them.

While there are tons to choose from, we found Red Stamp for iPhone and Sincerely Ink for Android or iPhone, to be our favorites for designing cards.

Both have great layouts, fun text, and plenty of greeting options.

You can design, personalize, and send your cards from your phone for about $3 a pop.

InstaCard sends customized postcards to any of your contacts. It stays true to the square format that makes Instagram photos so rad. And it’s available for iPhone and Android.

Step 6: Make Prints:

paint-smDesigning your card on your phone may seem quick and easy.

But we know there are still some of you who prefer the more DIY approach.

If you’re one of these crafty people who likes to personalize things the ol’ fashioned way, then check out the tips below for printing.

Apps like PostalPix will make beautiful prints of your photos.

Upload and order them from your phone, then get creative with them when they arrive in your mailbox a few days later. These lovely prints are about $0.30 cents each.

Not into uploading? Take your files to a local photo lab to be printed, or print them out at home.

Step 7: Choose Paper:

paint-sm There are almost as many paper choices as photo editing apps. Well, okay, maybe more.

The trick to making a homemade card look professional is choosing a nice, thick paper.

Fiber based drawing paper or textured card stock can be found in the scrap-booking aisle at your local craft store.

Many places sell square cards and envelopes, or you can order them online.

If you plan to print directly on the card, consider the finish of the paper and how it will affect your photo.

A matte finish will have less contrast, while glossy finishes tend to be shiny with richer black tones.

Step 8: Printer Tips:

paint-smGetting the best print at home means a little sweet talkin’ with your particular machine.

A lot of factors effect the way the prints come out, but the most important are the paper and ink quality.

When you are ready to hit the print button, a dialog box opens allowing you to choose from a number of settings.

This may look different for each printer/computer combo, but the basic info is the same.

Open the print settings menu, and locate the presets box.

From there, select photo paper. This will set your printer to the highest quality output for prints.

Make sure you select the kind of paper you are printing on. The dialog box will have options for glossy, matte, or plain paper.

For more information about printer settings, check out this article.

Step 9: Get Crafty:

paint-smTrim your photos and attach them to your cards in any way you like.

Use photo corners to slide in pics, or glue ’em down if you’re feeling a bit more permanent!

Embellish your cards in your own crafty style. Stamps, pens, glitter and fairy dust- anything goes!

Take it further

Thanks to Photojojo fan Sarah Mason for her inspiring request!


You love love, and you love it big time. So, go BIG this Valentine’s Day.

Print up a 3 foot x 4 foot Engineer Print to show your love BIG time.

Read along to see three fun ways to spread the love to friends, crushes and soulmates using photos!


1. Mailbox Surprise

Just fold up your Engineer Print, pop it in an envelope and mail it to your long-distance love.

Parabo Press’s EPs (as the cool kids call ‘em) are printed on extra thin paper, perfect for easy hanging and mailing too!

Yeah, your print will get creases in it, but we just love the idea of your giftee unfolding and unfolding and unfolding to reveal the biggest Valentine they’ve ever received.


2. Pin the Heart on the Babe

We may have spent a bit extra time on this part of the photoshoot in the Photojojo Office … this game is serious fun! Everyone gave it a go.

Print up a photo of your favorite heartthrob, cut out some hearts, procure a blindfold, give the first contestant a good spin, and watch them just try to find their way to that cutie’s heart.

It’s the perfect pastime for a Galentine’s Party or a cozy night in – just you, mood music, a box of chocolates and an EP of Michael B. Jordan.


3. Surprise! I love you!

Engineer Prints (available in color and B&W) are the perfect width to tape in your
standard door.

Tape your face looking into a room with an inward opening door to give your favorite someone a BIG surprise.

Just make sure your intended recipient is in the room when you stick up that print.



What are you waiting for?


Three Lovely Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day Using Photos

We get it. You need the perfect costume idea.

Whelp, if you like snapping photos and having fun (you sound like our favorite kind of person) look no further!

Check out four easy costume ideas that’ll get you all the best candy (full size only).

Inspector Gadget

Fill a trench coat with gizmos and give your friends a fright followed by relief when they realize you did not dress as a streaker.



Hang the Photo Rope from your neck and use magnets to hang your favorite photos. You’re everyone’s favorite stream of photos. *Liked*


  • A Black Outfit
  • Photo Rope
  • Square Prints (get ‘em free from Parabo Press)

A Beautiful Unicorn

Throw magical colorful clouds around, wherever you go! The more color you fling the more colorful your costume will become.


A Real-Live Photo Booth

Document your favorite costumes and hand out prints as you go. You can even charge your pals for print … just like a real photo booth.


Do you have a super photo-related costume idea? Tell us over on Instagram – we’re @photojojo. Or, show us with #photojojo.

Simple and Silly Costume Ideas for Photographers

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