How to make a base template for your card making downloads

When you’re first starting out as a card making download designer, one of the first things you should so is to make a template for your designs.

This is so that each time you make a new design, you don’t have to waste time looking up image sizes, print resolution or what credit you need to add – it’s all there waiting for you. Simples!

Your template should be correctly sized according to the specifications of the site you are planning to sell on, and should contain the required credit text of that site – plus your own name, of course, for self-promotion!

In today’s post, we’ll be walking through how to create a base template for your card making downloads.

How to make a base template for your card making downloads

Step 1: Decide on your paper size

Photoshop gives you the option to create a file that’s perfectly A4 size. To do this, click File > New which will give you a popup box. In the box, select “International Paper” from the “Document Type” dropdown, and then “A4” from the second dropdown that appears.

Once done, your settings will look like this:

Now, this is a perfectly acceptable size for your card making sheets. I know a few crafters who design their sheets at pure A4 size.

However, I don’t do that.

The reason is, many printers don’t actually print all the way to the edge of a bit of paper. By designing your sheets to completely fill an A4 sheet, that means some customers won’t be able to print them properly as the edges will get “cut off” by their printer, leaving a white border around the edge where the end of your designs should be.

To stop this from becoming an issue, I make my sheets slightly smaller than A4. That way, customers whose printers don’t go all the way to the edge can still print my full design.

My base template is made by selecting “Custom” from the “Document Type” dropdown and then changing the settings as shown:

This creates a file that’s slightly smaller than A4.

You’ll notice that the resolution in both of the above screenshots is set to 300dpi. Dpi stands for “dots per inch” – its the amount of pixels per inch. The higher the number, the higher the print quality.

When I first started designing card making sheets, the standard resolution to create sheets at was 150dpi. As printer technology has advanced, so has these standards. Card making sheets now tend to be created at 300dpi. This gives a better print quality. The better the print quality, the more your customers will love your sheets and want to buy more!

That being said, 150dpi sheets are still a popular choice, so if that’s what you would prefer to design to then by all means go for it. 150dpi sheets will be a smaller filesize when saved, so they won’t take up so much room on your computer.

However, personally, I believe that it’s worth having larger file sizes for a better quality end product, which is why all my future sheets will be designed at 300dpi.

300dpi is usually considered the ‘top’ quality for card making download products, so don’t be tempted to go higher than that.

** Important** Some crafting websites have very specific instructions on what size your designs should be. Make sure to double check the designer manual or guidelines to make sure your template matches their requirements.

Step 2: Add your credit text

Once you’ve created your paper size, the next step is to add your credit text. Many card making download marketplace websites (such as Craftsuprint) require you to add certain text to each design that you upload. Adding the text to your base template means there’s one less thing to remember each time you create a new product, and it saves you time too.

Select the text tool and click and drag on your document to make a box. If you need to zoom in, press Ctrl and + on your keyboard, or click “View” in the top menu bar and then “Zoom In”.

Type your text into the box and use the formatting options to style it. Play about with fonts, colours and sizes – just remember that it must be readable. This is how crafters will remember who they bought the sheet from, so don’t make it too small. Likewise, don’t make it too big, as that means you have less room for your card design!

If you will be purchasing third-party graphics (also called “designer resources”) for your creations, add in some placeholder text to remind you to add in graphics credits once you know which ones you will be using in your design.

Step 3: Save your template

When you are happy with how your credit text looks, all you have left to do is to save your template.

Click File > Save As and find somewhere on your computer to save the file. It should be somewhere you will remember! Give the file an appropriate filename such as “template.psd” and make sure that the filetype you are saving as is set to “Photoshop (*.PSD)” – it’s usually the first option in the filetype dropdown.

And there you have it! Whenever you go to make a new design, just open up your template and you’ve got a ready-sized sheet with your credit on it, all ready to go!

Just remember that as soon as you open your template, you should click “File > Save As” and resave it as a different filename – you don’t want to accidentally overwrite your template file with a finished design!

I hope that this Photoshop tutorial has been useful to you. If you’re a bit unsure on Photoshop and would like to learn in more detail how to complete the various tasks outlined in this post, check out Digital Craft Mastery; my online Photoshop course for crafters.

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