How to create & print your own designs for free certificates

Written by daniel ketchum
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If you have a website or blog and want to offer a free give away to visitors, one great idea for that give away item are free certificates. You might also want to create free certificate designs to attract visitors to a business website such as a graphic design service you offer. Or, perhaps you simply want to create and print certificates of achievements for children to make them smile. Whatever your particular reasons, creating and printing your own certificates isn't a difficult project.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Sketchbook
  • Pencils and markers
  • Graphics program
  • Blank CD
  • Printer
  • Paper stock
  • Ink

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  1. 1

    Brainstorm out your design ideas in a sketchbook using coloured pencils or markers. Creating a drawn template is always a good idea before creating your printable design. Decide on what you want as the theme or style for the certificate. For example, a classical more formal certificate might include a stylised font type like Monotype Corsiva. A certificate that is geared more toward children might be less formal and more fun, therefore, a font type such as Kristen ITC might be more appropriate in these instances. Remember that most certificates will include the type of achievement, the name of the honoree, the date and institution granting the certificate, as well as a seal.

  2. 2

    Select a graphics program to design your certificates in: Photoshop or the freeware program GIMP are useful when embarking on this type of project. Create a new document that will become your certificate by first selecting "File" then "New." Set the width and height of your certificate's dimensions to whatever you want it to be. The resolution should be plugged in next. Choose a setting of at least 200 pixels for the best printing results.

  3. 3

    Create your certificate using different layers. For each new element (text, photos, graphics) you add to your design, you should place it on a separate layer. If you need to bring in any external photos or graphics, they will automatically be placed on a new layer. For example, if you want to create a border for your certificate design and then add filter effects to it to make it appear older, you can do so without it altering your text or other graphics that are below or above your border layer. The layers panel allows you to work on different elements within your overall design without the changes you make to that element being applied to your entire design. It also allows you to go back to a previous step without losing the work you've done that you don't want to change. You can also more easily reposition and resize that portion of text without it effecting all the text you have on the page. When you have completed your certificate's design, save it as a high resolution JPEG. If someone else will be printing your certificates you will also need to save a copy to a CD.

  4. 4

    Print your designs yourself of choose a professional printing service to do it for you. If you intend to print your certificates yourself, you will need to buy a quality paper stock, meaning firm not flimsy. Many office supply stores carry this type of paper. Also purchase enough ink to print the quantity of certificates you plan to print. Another alternative is to have your certificates printed by a print shop or and office supply store, such as Staples or Office Depot.

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