I've always loved the idea of homemade gift coupons/vouchers. In a world of mass produced presents and plastic gift cards, they're a truly thoughtful way to treat your friends or family to "labors of love" by offering your services. I remember making them with crayons and construction paper as a kid, and giving them to my mom with promises of extra help with household chores and special tea parties. As an adult, I've made them for my husband for Valentine's Day ("good for 1 breakfast in bed," "good for 1 backrub"), and for friends for their birthdays ("good for 1 lunch date," "good for 1 babysitting session"). They're a creative and budget-friendly way to give unique gifts to your significant other, parents, kids, co-workers or friends for almost any occasion. And the meaningful gesture behind them won't fade as soon as the occasion is over.
Handmade gift coupons by themselves can be wonderful, but they can be a bit bland visually. Sometimes I think my favorite part of giving presents is the process of finding ways to creatively wrap and decorate them to make them more customized and unique. The same concept can be applied to spruce up gift vouchers. While brainstorming recently, I came up with the idea to incorporate photos. This not only makes the coupons much more personalized, it also makes them much more aesthetically pleasing. By making a few quick edits and adding text in Photoshop Elements, printing and cutting your finished photos, and adding some simple embellishments, you can create really beautiful, memorable gifts for your friends and family.
This is a two part project, but don't let the "two parts" scare you. It's easy and only takes about an hour to create a set of 12 gift coupons. You can also reduce it to 4 or 6 coupons if you're really short on time or just want to whip up a small gift.
For Part 1 of the tutorial, we'll use Photoshop Elements to edit your photos and add text.
For Part 2, we'll assemble and decorate the coupons, then put them together into a finished set.
TIP: When choosing which photos to use, try including a mixture of significant shots (you and the recipient together, memories you share, your favorite photos that you've taken yourself, etc.). You're also going to want to opt for high resolution images (300 DPI or higher), since you'll be printing them.
TIP: After this step, feel free to play with your Levels (Enhance > Adjust Lighting > Levels) to lighten or darken your image. Again, you want the white text that we'll be adding to pop.
TIP: To save time when editing the rest of your photos, first reopen the unflattened image that you named 'Template.psd.' As you edit each photo, after step 3 above, you can copy and paste (Command A > Command C > Command V on a Mac or Ctrl A > Ctrl C > Ctrl V on a PC) onto this template under the text and border layers. That way you'll just have to change what the text says for each coupon and won't need to repeat steps 4 and 5.
You are now ready to move on to Part 2!
Lastly, give away your handmade photo gift coupon set, and watch the recipient instantly smile. Seriously. They're going to love it, I promise.
I hope you guys liked this DIY project and that you try it out the next time you need a fun + unique gift idea for a friend or loved one! The tutorial was put together as part of my series partnering with Adobe as a Photoshop Elements ambassador. You can also view my tutorial for creating double exposure effects in your photos here, and my tutorial for giving your photos a dreamy, summertime inspired look here. In addition to here on the blog, you can follow my Photoshop Elements Ambassador adventures throughout the summer via my Twitter and Instagram (@bubbyandbean) accounts. You can also keep up to date with the project and other Photoshop Elements goodness by visiting Adobe Photoshop Element's Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube accounts.