I was inspired to make my son some personalized alphabet flashcards after visiting CutieFruity yesterday. She has some free templates to make a letter book using your own photos. I am still technologically-impaired though, so I couldn't make them work. Instead, I stole her idea and used a photo editing site I am familiar with.
I use picnik.com all the time. The basic features are free; and the basic features are plenty for me to play around with. Here are the steps I used to create some personalized alphabet flashcards to put in my son's stocking.
First, you need to make a list of the letters of the alphabet and a corresponding word to go with each letter. I chose to use words that my son is already familiar with because I want him to spend more time associating the beginning phonetic sounds with the letters, not learning new words. Concrete nouns are best for little ones. Words like "weather" and "love" are more difficult for them to recognize in pictures.
Then rifle through your digital stash of photos for pictures to go with those words. If you have to, take pictures of any words you don't already have pictures of. I tried to use pictures with my son in them as much as possible. Save a copy of all these pictures in a folder called "Flashcards." This will save you from having to search all over creation to find the pictures you are looking for. I did not do this step. I had to search all over creation. I don't recommend it.
Now, register for Picnik if you haven't already. It's free; don't worry. If you want to make any adjustments to the original photos, you can do that with Picnik. I recommend cropping all the pictures to a square shape, because that will make later steps easier. Save all your edits because the free version of picnik will only store 5 of your pics at a time.
Now it's time to design the flashcards!
STEP ONE: Upload 5 of your photos to Picnik.
STEP TWO: Click the "Make a Collage" button.
STEP THREE: If your photos don't show up in the bottom toolbar, click "Get From Computer." Use the collage format shown. You can use a different one if you like, but I think this layout works the best. Add your first picture to the square block. Leave the rectangular block blank. If you want to change the background color of your flashcards, you can do that. I chose to keep mine black.
STEP FOUR: In the "Create" tab, click "Text." Choose a font, the clearer the font the better. Add one text box which includes the capital and lowercase letter for that card. Add another text box which contains the word for that card. You can customize the color of the font too. I kept mine white, so they are as easy to read as possible.
Now save it to your computer, and repeat for each letter of the alphabet.
Now upload your photos and print them out at Walgreens or wherever! For $5 or less, you have a great AND educational stocking stuffer.
I would think you could adapt this into a pretty funny bachelorette gift (The ABCs of Marriage) or birthday present (The Alphabet According to _________). Let me know if you come up with any other ideas!
Linked to The Nifty Nest.