Create Quick & Easy Word Art Gifts for Your Students

Creating word art gifts for students is not a new idea. However, the idea continues to circulate because, well, it’s a terrific gift idea! It’s quick, easy, and you can customize the gift for each individual student. The best part? You can do this for each student for the cost of a photo frame!

I originally wrote this post in 2015 when I was still at The Plucky Pianista Blog, and you can read the original post here. It’s one of my top 3 most-viewed posts at the first blog, so I wanted to give it a fun facelift and include it for you right here! This new post contains updates and even more helpful hints to make creating this fabulous gift as easy as pie! 

Ready to dive in? Here we go!

The trending question during recital season, at least in piano teaching circles, is…

What is an affordable gift I could give my students at the recital?

Never fear, I have the answer you’ve been looking for! Here’s a fun and simple idea that’s easy to create, very affordable, and looks amazing. I made these gifts for the first time in 2015, and I couldn’t have been more pleased with the results! Drum roll please…

Ta-Da! I was so excited to give all of my students a personalized word cloud/word art gift at our end-of-the-year recital! PS: My Skype student had her word art gift, award certificate, and recital participation certificate too, but she didn’t hold them up for the photo 😊 Here’s a closeup of one student’s word art. This student is currently majoring in music, so I chose her university colors for her word art gift.

Beautiful, right? I am in LOVE with how they turned out, and my students and their parents loved them too!

This tutorial is really easy, and I did include all the nitty-gritty details for those of you who enjoy customizing to your hearts’ content! Yep, that would be me.

Want to stick to the basics? Follow Parts 1, 2, 4, and 5. Skip Part 3. Once you get the hang of it, it’s a piece of cake! (Hmmmm…. I already mentioned pie, now cake….. I must have the munchies! Better go make a fruit smoothie and keep my willpower intact!)

How to create your own word art

Part 1: Collect your materials and information

  1. You’ll need color ink in your printer
  2. Glossy photo paper, card stock, scrapbooking paper, whatever you like!
  3. A frame for each student. I purchased cute black 5×7 frames at Dollar Tree and they were $1 each. Check them out in the recital photo above.
  4. I asked all of my students to write down 15 words that describe themselves, but I didn’t tell them why.
  5. Then I added to their list of 15 words: their name, the year, and their recital pieces and composers.

Part 2: Create the word art

  1. Visit WordArt.com and click the green “Create” button at the top of the screen. If you want to save your designs at the WordArt website, you’ll need to login and create an account. This isn’t necessary unless you want to, though, because we’ll be saving PNGs of your final designs at the end of this tutorial. When you click “Create”, you’ll be taken to a screen with a table of rows and columns.
  2. Click WORDS (you can see it at the upper left of the screenshot above).
  3.  In the “Text” column, type each word on one student’s list, one word per row (or multiple words if it’s a short phrase such as “soccer player”). Press Enter after typing each word or phrase.
  4. Select your capitalization option from upper, lower, or both.
  5. Click SHAPES.
  6. Scroll down and click the shape you’d like to use.
  7. Click the pink/red VISUALIZE button at the top right to see how it looks so far.
  8. On the left, click FONTS and try out a few different fonts until you find one you love.
  9. Click VISUALIZE after making each change so the changes are visible.
  10. Once you are happy with your font choice, on the left, click LAYOUT.
  11. In LAYOUT, you get to choose the direction you want the words to be. I generally choose “Random”, but play around with it, clicking VISUALIZE after each change, until you love what you see.
  12. For “Words Amount”, try all three options. The last option has a slider so you have complete control over how many times each word is present. Slide the slider slowly back and forth to see the changes.
  13. For “Words Size”, I usually don’t change this setting. You can resize individual words in Part 3.
  14. COLORS & ANIMATIONS is where you can customize the colors for each individual student with their favorite colors, colors of their sports teams, college colors, etc. The color options are endless, and so much fun to experiment with!
  15. Uncheck “Use shape colors” if you want to customize the colors.
  16. To add specific colors, use the dropdown arrow and select your color, or add a hex code in the box.
  17. For random colors, tap the blue “Random” button over and over. Delete any colors you don’t like by hovering your mouse over the color and clicking the red “x” that appears.
  18. Continue selecting and deleting random colors until you love what you see.
  19. Change the “Shape Transparency” if you like. I set mine to zero so the background is totally transparent, but do what you prefer!
  20. The “Background Color” is the color surrounding your word art. I leave mine white.
  21. You can skip the rest of the settings.

Part 3: Edit Mode

  1. If you have a few words that are too big, you can change that here. I used this setting to make my students’ names, the year, and one or two special words extra large.
  2. Click “Edit Mode” below the VISUALIZE button.
  3. You can enlarge your image by clicking the little “x”-looking thing on the lower right. That will make your image larger and easier to see.
  4. Click the word that you want to be larger (or smaller if it’s too big).
  5. Click and drag the corner of the word until it is the size you want.
  6. Click “Done” when you are finished, then click VISUALIZE to see how it looks.
  7. Repeat these steps until your word art is complete.

Part 4: Saving and Downloading

  1.  If you want to save your work to the WordArt site to be available to you in the future, click “Save Changes” and sign up for an account.
  2. If you only need your word art images for this specific project and don’t want to make any changes to them in the future, click DOWNLOAD & SHARE on the left.
  3. I didn’t sign up for the site, so the only two options that are available to me to download are PNG (this is the one I need), and CSV.
  4. Click PNG and the image will download automatically.

Part 5: Printing and Framing

There are two different ways that you can print this image.

  1. Option 1: This is the easiest option.
    1. Double-click and open the PNG that you downloaded.
    2. Type your print command. Mine is Command+P.
    3. You’ll see in the preview that it’s quite a large image.
    4. You can print the image as is, or you can change the scale or percentage size of the image to make it smaller.
    5. I’m printing mine at 85% for an 8×10 frame (this leaves a little bit of space between the image and the edge of the frame), and at 55-60% for a 5×7.
    6. Experiment with your print settings until you find the perfect size.
    7. For best results, print your final image using your best print settings. I like to print mine onto glossy photo paper. You could also use colored or textured card stock or some fun scrapbooking paper.
  2. Option 2: This option is a tiny bit more involved, but you can save the documents as a Pages or Word document which can be used as a print template from year to year.
    1. Open a Pages document (or Word if you’re using a PC).
    2. Import the PNG as an image.
    3. Resize it in Pages by clicking “Arrange” on the right (this is a Pages setting). If that isn’t visible, click “Format”, then you’ll see “Arrange” on the right of your window. If you’re using Word, there’s probably a similar option.
    4. A few options beneath “Arrange”, you’ll see “Size”. You can type the exact size you need in the Width and Height boxes. Check “Constrain Proportions” so the proportions of your image remain intact.
    5. For best results, print using your best print settings. I like to print mine onto glossy photo paper. You could also use colored or textured card stock or some fun scrapbooking paper.

To frame your image, simply trim the excess paper to fit your frame, and ta-da! You’re all done!

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  1. Thank you so much for sharing this idea and this tutorial! This is my first year to have over 20 students, so this was perfect for an inexpensive gift. They turned out so nice!

    • Congrats on your growing studio, Megan! I’m so glad the word art gifts turned out so nicely for your kiddos and that you enjoyed the tutorial. Best wishes for the upcoming year!

  2. This is a wonderful idea! I’m thinking this will make a great gift for my harp student who has almost reached 100 lessons!!