How To: Make a Postcard in Photoshop
A print-ready postcard is within reach!

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Adobe Photoshop is one of the most popular programs for creating postcards. Thanks to its array of tools, Photoshop offers users great control and flexibility.

For a total beginner, it can be hard to know what to do, but in this short step-by-step tutorial, I’ll show you how to make a simple postcard, front and back, and how to add graphics and custom text to it.

Disclaimer: Many postcard printers offer free design programs that produce Photoshop grade designs without the learning curve. If you are looking to easily create a quality postcard design without the hassle of Photoshop, we recommend one of these great online printers.


Launch Photoshop and create a new document (File>New). Since I’m creating a standard postcard of 6 inches by 4 inches, you will have to enter these numbers into the width and height fields.

Choose CMYK as your color space and 300 DPI as your resolution.

TIP: There are many postcard size options that are considered standard. If you’re giving your document to a commercial printer, check size specs to confirm they will match.

How to Make a Postcard in Photoshop 1


We need to define a safe area to ensure nothing relevant will be cut off when printing, so add a 0.25 inch margin for each border of the postcard.

Enable Photoshop’s rulers (View>Rulers). Right click on the rulers and set the unit to inches.

Click on the horizontal ruler and drag to set the first guide to 0.25 inches. Repeat and drag to the 5.75 inch mark. Do the same for the vertical guides, setting the first to 0.25 inches and the next to 3.75 inches.

All the elements of the design you don’t want cut off will have to be within the area defined by these guides.

TIP: Several online printers offer free templates that can be used as a base to design your postcard, so if you are using an online printer, I recommend downloading some of these templates because safe area requirements vary from printer to printer.

How to Make a Postcard in Photoshop 2


Photos, illustrations, textures and other graphics will all work nicely. Open the image file of your choice. If you have any adjustments to make to your own artwork, it’s better to do it while it’s still in a separate document.

When the image is ready, use the selection tool to drag the image over the postcard document. Use the transform tool to scale the image up or down or rotate it until it fits.

TIP: Choose only high-quality images so your postcard will look flawless once printed.

How to Make a Postcard in Photoshop 3


Select the text tool from the toolbar and position it on the postcard before entering your message or slogan. Take the time to pick fonts and colors that complement your artwork.

From the control panel, set the most appropriate size and anti-aliasing method to make the characters look as crisp and tidy as possible.

Adjust letter spacing (Window>Character) if necessary. Modify the layer style of your text by changing its blend mode and adding drop shadow, glows and other effects to give it a nice touch.

How to Make a Postcard in Photoshop 4


Create a new document with the same specifications used earlier for the front. Grab the line tool, draw a straight vertical line shorter than the postcard’s height and place it slightly off center. Set the line weight to be one or two pixels and the color of the line to black.

To create the address lines, draw another line shorter than the first but horizontally. Select the horizontal path and hold alt while dragging to duplicate it. Hold the shift key as well to keep it aligned with the first line.

Repeat the same process two more times for the third and fourth address lines.

How to Make a Postcard in Photoshop 5

This is a preview of the finished postcard:

How to Make a Postcard in Photoshop 6


If you want to surprise your friends and acquaintances with a personalized postcard, it’s time to start making your own. As you can see, it’s not as hard as it may have seemed. Hey, that kinda rhymed.

Edited in Photoshop CS5.

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About the Author
Kristi Maddox is a master of graphic design, on-site design and ordering, and is the go-to for template and design tool usage.
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16 Comments

  1. Can you make a postcard in Word or does it haave to be Photoshop?

  2. can only follow step 1…

  3. Kristi Maddox (Printaholic.com)

    Racheal,

    What are you having trouble with in step 2? Hope I can help!

  4. How do you print front and back?

  5. Hi, how do you print the front and the back?
    Do I print separately, then glue them together?
    Please help!

    • Kristi Maddox (Printaholic.com)

      It all depends on what kind of printer you have. It usually requires some trial and error, but if you’re talking about home-use printers, you would have to manually flip the paper over after printing the 1st side and then print the 2nd side onto the other side of the paper. Just make sure to pay attention to how the paper is spit out from the printer, and it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out. It’d also be wise to make sure the design you are printing are the same size and placed on the same area of the paper so both sides will line up!

  6. im having trouble with step to i go to rulers then i changed it to inches and there is no 0.25 or 5.75 without going off page

    • Kristi Maddox (Printaholic.com)

      Hi David! Are you sure your document is set to 6 inches by 4 inches? You’ll have to go “off” the page and into the rulers to start dragging the guides into where the teal lines are, as indicated in the photo on step 2. They’ll be located at a fourth past the “0” and three-fourths past the “5.”

  7. what text font or the inner pattern did you use for font

    • Kristi Maddox (Printaholic.com)

      If you’re referring to the font used on the postcard, it is Vollkorn Bold Italic. Hope that helps!

  8. I was fine all the way until this part:
    “Set your brush to a size of one or two pixels with a hardness of 100 percent. With the path selection tool, right click on the line and choose stroke path.”
    I didn’t see an option for changing my brush size or hardness while using the Line Tool. Also, when using the Patch Selection Tool, nothing happened when I right-clicked on the line (there was no option for ‘stroke path’). I ended up just creating a vertical line right where I wanted it (with the grid turned on so I could see that it was straight), then did the same thing for the first horizontal line (also making sure the grid was on) and just using the Clone Tool to recreate the next three lines.

    • Kristi Maddox (Printaholic.com)

      You’re completely right! We’ve updated the article to clear up that step. Thanks for the heads up!

    • Lindsey Carman
      Lindsey Carlton (Printaholic.com)

      Thank you for the catch! Here is the correct step (which is updated under Step 5 in the article): “Set the line weight to be one or two pixels and set the color of the line to black.”

  9. I’m trying to save paper and want to print 2 postcards/sheet. How do I create the file to do that.

    Thanks!

  10. It’s good to see someone thiinnkg it through.