Black Belt Shopper
Gifts to Make with Your Computer
Last Sunday we celebrated my
dad’s 80th birthday, quite an occasion.
He said he didn’t want any gifts, but I found that spending $3 and a
little time and imagination allowed me to give him a gift that I think he will
treasure more than just another shirt, CD, or book. More...
What I did was use my desktop publishing and ink jet printer
to make him a memory book. The $3
was for the notebook to put it in.
I made a cover patterned after Time Magazine’s Person of the
Year and included a picture. Inside
I put in a biography and more pictures, some scanned and others from my digital
Your computer, desktop publishing program, and ink jet printer
can be your tools to create any one of a number of gifts that are as inexpensive
as they are meaningful.
Here are a few ideas of things you can make:
|T-shirts You can buy t-shirt transfers in most office supply or
electronics stores. Following
the directions for creating and printing you t-shirt (or sweatshirt, or
other cotton apparel item) and your recipient will have something he or she
will treasure for years.|
newsletters You can make
birthday newsletters announcing the birth of your recipient.
You can include comical news stories about his or her birth, movies
that were popular that year, people with common birthdays, and other
information. Books, software
programs, and websites are available to help you plan.|
puzzles Office supply
stores and computer stores have blank jigsaw puzzles with transfers you can
use to create puzzles with pictures you print.
Directions are relatively easy to follow.|
with Avery labels You can
make bookplates, fancy return address labels, and other novelties with Avery
labels. Many programs,
including Microsoft Works, have special printing routines for labels.
Look on the Help menus for how to do this.|
Programs like Print Shop have calendar templates you can use.
You can include family pictures and other photos to personalize your
work. I make family calendars
each Christmas and get them bound at my local office supply store for about
$2 each. You need to know this
is a project that is quite ink intensive, so have a good supply of ink on
hand (and be open to buying generic discount cartridges at sites like
Gifts like this can be quite meaningful.
I have been doing them for sometime.
To have them turn out the way you really want to, though, takes some
planning and doing.
Here are some tips to help you create quality, meaningful
gifts with your computer and printer:
thinking about your creation well before the occasion
I started planning my dad’s calendar three months before his
birthday. That gave me time to
get information, find the right photos, fine-tune the writing and layout,
and enjoy creating it without being under pressure.|
to go through several drafts I
find that I never get all the spacing, phrasing, and other details right the
first time. I accept this and
give myself the time to look at each draft and improve it.|
the right software You
don’t need to spend a fortune on software to create nice gift products.
If, however, you plan to regularly use your computer to make gifts,
quality software will save you frustration and will allow you to create
gifts you will take pleasure in giving.
Print Shop 20 is a good all-around affordable program for calendars,
t-shirts, and similar projects. Microsoft Publisher will guide you through booklets and
imagination, your computer, and your inkjet printer are three tools that you can
use to create inexpensive gifts that your recipients will find meaningful long
after the clothes have been given to Goodwill.
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© 2005 by Larry Wiener. All rights reserved.