Tutorial: DIY Place Cards for Your Fancy Dinner

PicMonkey Placecard

Place cards make your dinner party extra spiffy and fully qualify you to use the word “tablescape” when you brag about it later. Our tutorial gives you two designs: one based in our photo editor and one done in the graphic Design tool.

Make graphic place cards using Swatches in Collage

These graphic DIY place cards have an extra feature: an area on the back for guests to write on. In this case, we imagine a Thanksgiving dinner, at which guests are invited to write out what they’re thankful for. They can take them home or leave them with the host as a keepsake.

Arrange the layout
screen shot showing Ducks in a Row layout in Collage
Beginning in Collage, click the Layouts tab (the grid icon). Click Ducks in a Row and choose the first layout. Click the circular arrow on the bottom toolbar to rotate canvas so the two cells are vertically aligned. Click the top border and drag the double-arrow cursor downward so both cells are rectangles. Click the Backgrounds tab (the paint palette icon) and set the “Spacing” slider to zero.

Add Swatches

screen shot showing dragging a swatch into a collage cell

Next, go to the Swatches tab (the tags icon). Click and drag Fall swatches (or any other swatches you like!) into your empty cells. When you’re finished filling your cells with swatches, click the Edit button in the top toolbar. This will bring your design into the Editor for overlays and text.

Add Overlays

screen shot showing corner resize handles and overlay palette with two colors

In the Editor, click the Overlays tab (the butterfly icon). Pick an overlay to place behind your text. The Scrapbooky group has some gorgeous ones; we’re using Victorian Labels for this image. Click and drag the circular handles on the corners of the overlay to resize it. Notice, in the Overlay palette, if it’s a two-color overlay. If so, you can pick different colors or just keep them both the same, as we have done here, with a 15% fade.

We’ve added a second overlay for a touch of fall flavor: a bough from the Nature group. In the Overlays palette, use the color picker to set the fill color to light yellow, and the outline to a dark brown. Note the eye dropper tool above the color grid: it lets you perfectly match a color from your image.

Add Text

screen shot showing Add Text button and Text palette

Go to the Fonts tab and select Sacramento font. Click “Add Text” button at the top of the Fonts pane to add your name. Choose dark brown from the color picker in the Text palette. Use the size slider to make your text the right size for the card.

screen shot showing rotate handle

Make a second text box and type “I am thankful for:” then choose dark brown for the text color again. (Tip: the color code we used was 442400.) Use the top handle of the text box to rotate the text so it’s upside down, and place on the solid side (which will be the back) of your card. This way, once folded, it will be on the opposite side of the card. Now each guest can write a statement for other guests to see during dinner!

Done! Now you can create more by replacing the name text with each of your guest’s names and saving each file.

You can also lay out all your place cards in Collage. 1700 x 2200 pixels are the perfect dimensions for an 8.5 x11” sheet of paper. You can read more about print sizing in our Help article.

Make photo place cards

These photo place cards aren’t self-standing, so you have a world of options for presentation once they’re printed and cut.

Import and crop your image

screen shot showing crop controls

Open your photo into the Editor. Click the Basic Edits tab and choose Crop. Use the drop down menu to select “Square” and make sure your subject is centered, because you’ll lose the corners when you make a circular frame later.

Add effects

two images showing Sepia and Sepia + Intrepid effects, respectively

To keep color consistency among the various photos of your guests, use an effect. Click the Effects tab (magic wand icon), select the Sepia effect and keep the default settings for “Fade” and “Color.” Then apply the Intrepid effect to add rich, cool darks to the sepia photo.

Add overlays and text

screen shots showing text palette and text positioning controls

Next, click the Overlays tab and add a Leaves overlay to your photo. Set both color choices to be the same. Go to the Fonts tab and select Amatic Small Caps and click the “Add Text” button. Choose a text color that matches the light colors of your photo. Adjust the size of your text using the “Size” slider, and position the text box so the name is centered on the leaf.

Add Frame

image of frame controlsOpen the Frames tab and choose Rounded Corners. Set the “Corner Radius” slider all the way to the right to get a maximum radius — a circle! Don’t forget to save your image to your computer.

image showing corner-rounded frame with name overlay on image

Finished! Repeat all of these steps for each photo.

three examples of finished circular place cards

Tip: Square Deal layout in Collage is great for putting all of your finished place cards on the same sheet for printing. If you’re printing on 8½ x 11 paper, 1700 x 1700 pixels are good square size dimensions for this project.

Photo  card

Now you can get creative with your display. Tuck the photo card into a pine cone, bundle little sticks together with string and slide the card in, or simply pin into a piece of fruit at the place setting. The options are endless. Embark on your creative quest now, with our photo editor.

Want to learn more? Check out these articles:


  • lynn

    Very cool! Can I use swatches on a single photo?

    • http://www.picmonkey.com PicMonkey

      You can make a one-cell collage, use a swatch in that cell, and then layer your photo on top by pretending it’s an overlay. On the top toolbar, click “Edit” to bring the (one cell) collage into the Editor. Click the Overlays tab, then click “Your Own” and you can tell PicMonkey where your picture is. It’ll plop it on top and then you can resize it and move it around.

      • lynn


      • leilani

        how come i couldnt load more than one picture this time?

  • http://gravatar.com/classysharelle ClassySharelle

    This is positively fabulous!!…I cant wait to have a dinner party to actually DO this…maybe I will plan one just to make place cards!!

    • http://www.picmonkey.com PicMonkey

      Oh hello, Sharelle! You must, you must! And tilt a glass of champagne for us, while you’re at it. xo.

  • http://blondeslovecupcakes.wordpress.com Megan

    Reblogged this on Blondes Love Cupcakes.

  • http://catarinaregina.blogspot.com gigimelo

    That’s great, but I am having problems figuring out the size of the labels.

  • http://thiskittenhasklaws.wordpress.com Catherine Dream

    This is so much work when you have a lot of guests and are as manually able as I am, but looks SOOOO cool!

  • http://www.TheresAChefinMyKitchen.com Chef Donna

    I am sooooo doing this!!!

  • http://soandoconperros.blogspot.com.es/ CARMEN

    Por favor ¿sería posible que pusieran un TRADUCTOR en el blog??… Somos muchos los que no sabemos inglés¡¡… Gracias¡¡


      Carmem…olá também tenho dificuldade use um tradutor como o google ou o bing tradutor ajuda bastante

      • http://soandoconperros.blogspot.com.es/ CARMEN

        Si Andreia, pero con el traductor de google no puedes traducir una pagina entera, solo poco a poco y es un poco pesado y lioso. Lo ideal sería que hubiera un gadget dentro de este mismo blog para que puedas leerlo en tu lengua de origen, como tengo yo en el mi blog y he visto en muchos otros, por ejemplo… Gracias por responderme¡¡. :)

  • http://paxtonvalleyfolkart.blogspot.com Deb ~ Paxton Valley Folk Art

    Wonderful tutorial, thank you! I made up some Christmas tags using your tutorial for my blog followers with a link back to here. Lots of fun and easy to do, thanks for the inspiration!

  • Anna

    What happened with the multiphoto uploader in the collage mode, now its one by one!!!

  • https://laurenraeandcompany.blogspot.com Lauren

    Do you have a tutorial on PicMonkey Christmas cards?
    I’d love to know what pixels to use for 5×7 photo card and what paper is best to use for printing?

    Thank you!

  • http://peachtreeparkdecor.wordpress.com Peachtree Park

    So happy I discovered PicMonkey – What rock have I been under! Having so much more fun editing for our photo album! Also, you have rocked my world for Etsy listings I couldn’t get right before. Maybe I will even get around to doing this tutorial – Love it! I have so little time for editing – Thanks for making it easy and fun!

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  • http://www.annagainandagainreviews.com/ annagain

    Just about everyday I’m here with PicMonkey. Love what you offer! And now I get to be crafty with you as well. Nice :->

  • Bob Ward

    It’s great to see your company grow and prosper. The new options and tips from time to time are much appreciated; keep up the good work!

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  • Lois Stevens

    I can’t figure out how you change the text after the entire project has been saved? How do you change the names without redoing the entire place card? i hope I am missing something easy.

    • Jess Johnson

      What I do is make the place card exactly how I want it (without the name) and save it. I then can add the name, save, delete the name and add the next one, save and so on until they are all done. And if you get a last minute change of guests you have the original “no name” one saved so you can make more without having to redesign the whole thing. I wish they had a “save work in progress” feature- I have lost whole designs that I was still working on when the flash player crashed…

  • Marie

    Hi there,

    I started using picmonkey to edit digital clip arts…. I was trying to figure out how to add a background into a digital frame. In gimp you can use the fill bucket. I am wondering if picmonkey has some sort of options to added background patterns within in digital clip art frame. I hope you understand what I just wrote.


    • http://www.picmonkey.com PicMonkey

      Hey Marie,

      PicMonkey doesn’t have a Fill tool, which sounds like what you need. Thanks for the inquiry, though! Fill tool is on our to-do list.

  • Joana

    how can i turn the card around so i can write inside

  • Asuman

    Hi there,

    Can I print this with a regular printer? Is there any suggestions for the paper?


  • Ronia R.

    I absolutely love this though I am using mine for my thumnbnail on youtube!!! Love it COMPLETLEY!!! <3