Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Make a Personalized and Inexpensive Gift for Teacher Appreciation, Graduation, Father's Day, Birthdays, Any Occasion!
It's such a busy time of year with school ending, graduation activities, Father's Day, and summer fun just around the corner! It's also a time for gift-giving, and I've got an easy, meaningful, and inexpensive gift idea for any time of the year.
Perhaps you've seen the fun that can be created with Wordle at http://www.wordle.net/. It's a creative way to display an array of words, thoughts, ideas, or phrases. I was introduced to Wordle last year, and have had such fun creating some personalized and inexpensive gifts with it. When you go to the website, just play around with it---you can change the fonts, the colors, and the layouts until you are happy with how it looks. And it's free to use! (I've provided a few "Wordle Tips" near the end of this post to help you out!)
For each of these gifts shown, I simply created my "Wordle Cloud" at the website, then after I was happy with how it looked, printed it onto an 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of vellum. I then placed the vellum over the top of an image I had downloaded and printed off of the internet. You can see that for my daughter's kindergarten teacher, I printed a simple apple; for my cutie friend who was graduating, I printed a graduation cap and changed the colors to match her school colors using Photoshop.
I then trimmed both sheets to measure 8" x 10" then inserted them together into an 8" x 10" frame with the vellum sheet over the top of the printed image. (The frame only cost me $3 from Wal-Mart.) I added a little ribbon around it, and voila! Gift complete!
I've also made these gifts for the group of Young Women I work with in my church. We gave each of them a questionnaire to fill out at one of our activities. At a special recognition meeting sometime later, the other leaders and I presented each girl with her own personalized and framed "Wordle" to take home with her unique and special qualities highlighted. They were a hit!
You are welcome to use my questionnaire if you are interested. Simply click on the image to enlarge it, then print as many as you'd like.
Some "Wordle" tips:
-The best way to begin your list of items to put into a "Wordle" document is to first create the list in a word processing document, save it, then copy and paste to the website. That way, if you need or want to start over or change anything, you don't have to re-type all of the words in the space provided at the website. You simply make changes in your word document, then paste it again.
-The more times you type a word on your list, the larger that word will appear in the image. I usually type the person's name at least 4 times, then vary other important words by typing them 2 or 3 times. This creates a more visually interesting appearance by varying the sizes of different words.
-If you have a phrase that contains 2 or more words, such as "football player", do not type it like we normally would with a space between the words. Instead, insert a tilde(with no space) which is the little squiggly line at the far left and top of the keyboard that looks like this: ~ between the words. So "football player" would be typed like this: football~player. Otherwise, the Wordle program shuffles those two words around and separates them.
-There is a FAQs section at the Wordle site that can offer more advanced tips as well!
I hope you have a great time exploring the world of Wordle, and creating one-of-a-kind gifts! I'd love for you to send me photos of what you've created to my email listed on the sidebar!