Tuesday, March 1, 2016

How Your Students can use Google Drawings to Create Greeting Cards

Google Apps has loads of awesome tools, but one thing that often gets mentioned as missing is a desktop publishing app. If you want to create brochures, newsletters, flyers, greeting cards, and such, there really isn’t a dedicated desktop publishing app in the standard Google Apps suite. (Of course there are great third party tools, such as Lucidpress.)

However if you are willing to get a little creative, Google Drawings can actually be a decent option for some desktop publishing needs. Google Drawings is a very flexible program, allowing you to add text boxes, wordart, images, shapes, and more, to any part of the Drawing, and at any angle, much like a desktop publishing program would.

One tasks you can certainly achieve with Google Drawings is creating greeting cards. This can be a useful project for students to work on their writing skills, while being able to develop their own creativity in how they express their ideas. They could create greeting cards for real people (penpals, reading buddies, parents, a partner class in a different culture or country, community members, and more,) Or they could create cards for fictional characters, people from history, or to celebrate important dates from your subject area.

See below for a video tutorial explaining how to use Google Drawings to create greeting cards, then read the rest of the post for more details and two templates you and your students can copy to begin the process.

Tutorial Video (15 minutes)

Template File

To help save time, I have create two view only Google Drawing templates that you and your students can use to get started. Simply open the template file, then click “File” and “Make a copy” to get your own editable copy of the Drawing.


The template has been designed with four sections: the outside front, the outside back, the inside left, and the inside right (or inside top and bottom for the landscape version). For each section you can edit and format the text and insert images as needed to create your own greeting card.

Editing Text
  • You can simply double-click inside a text box to edit and add your own text.
  • You can also select text and change the font, font size, text color, and other formatting.
  • You can get additional fonts by clicking “More fonts” in the font selection menu.
  • If needed you can resize the text boxes or remove them entirely.

Inserting Images
  • You can add images to any of the four sections of the greeting card template.
  • You can click “Insert” and then “Image” to add an image by uploading, through your webcam, from your Google Photos, from your Google Drive, or by searching.
  • You can click “Tools” and then “Research” to open the research panel where you can search for images and then drag and drop them onto the card.
  • You can move and resize images as needed.

Flipping Text and Images

Because the greeting card is going to be folded, two of the sections need to be upside down for the portrait version, or one section needs flipped for the landscape version. For a portrait card, the inside left and inside right sections of the card need to have any text and images flipped vertically so those sections will print upside down. For the landscape version, the front outside needs flipped. To flip text or an image:
  • Select the textbox or image
  • Click “Arrange” then click “Rotate
  • Choose “Flip vertically
  • Or choose “Rotate 90 degrees” twice

Removing Guides

There are gray borders around each of the four sections of the template to leave room for margins and folding when the card is printed. When you are done creating the card you will need to delete those gray borders.
  • Simply select each of the gray border boxes and press your “Delete” key to remove them.


When you print your completed greeting card, make sure you let it fill the entire page.

  • Click “File” then “Print
  • Choose your printer.
  • Be sure to check the box for “Fit to page” to make sure the greeting card covers the entire paper.

More Uses

Google Drawings is a very versatile program and can be used to create many other projects. I have created training videos, help guides, and templates on how Drawings can be used to create graphic organizers, and how it can be used to teach mathematics. You can access all of those resources at the link below:

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