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DIY Thank You Photo Cards with Canva

Thanks again to Canva, I was able to whip out some quick and creative, personalized thank you notes to students. Even if you’re new to Canva, it is pretty intuitive. Let me show you step-by-step how these came to be, and how you can make your own DIY thank you cards. I should add, this is not an affliate post.

The Backstory

There’s always a backstory, right? As I was looking through my thank you notes, I discovered an abundance of extra envelopes. This happens quite a bit as I start writing a child’s card in cursive (they’re only 3 and 4), or run out of space, or misspell a word (teacher’s nightmare). But I also discovered that I had some glossy photo paper that had come free with my printer ink. I never print photos for myself so the photo paper just sat neglected.

Of course, the idea came to me that by posing with my gifts and adding a simple thank you note, I could use up some of these supplies rather than waste them. The children never got to see me opening their gifts most of the time so it would be fun to share the experience with them.

So I divided my thank you responses by sending regular thank you notes to the givers of gift cards and the DIY thank you cards to children who gave physical presents.

Help for Canva Newbies

Canva has a lot to offer in its free version. I’ve been using it for years for graphic design. We made our own wedding invitations and stationary for my daughter’s wedding. I’ve made flyers, Pinterest pins, blog post covers, and more. Here are a few video links if you need some help. Canva Tutorial by Natalia Kalinska is a little over ten minutes long and her How to Use Canva Tutorial for Beginners is an in-depth video about 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Four photo thank you cards

The DIY Thank Card process

Before you begin, check to ensure that your printer is capable of printing the size photo paper that you will use. My paper was 4×6 inch Canon glossy and my printer is a Canon Pixma.

Step One was to take my selfies with each gift. My phone automatically saves photos to Google cloud. If you don’t have your phone photos uploading automatically, you will need to upload them manually to your computer before you continue.

screenshot of Canva's home page

Next, I open Canva. Here on the home page you can see that I selected “Custom Size” in the upper right corner where I entered 4 inches by 6 inches as my size.

screenshot of Canva uploading photos

Then the editor opens. My card is already complete as I’m screenshotting today. But you would have a white rectangle instead. On the left, select uploads, upload media, and then upload your photos to Canva.

screenshot Canva selecting fonts

Select text on the left to add it. I usually just grab one and drag it over and customize it after I type my message. I used two text boxes to create my note so that I could move my signature around independantly of my message. As you can see, I chose Garet as my font and 13 as my font size. The icon to the left of the word “Effects” on the top menu is helpful for spacing your line distance, and I use it fairly often.


Next I selected “Elements” on the left and typed heart into the search bar. This will give you several options, but skip the ones with crowns because they aren’t free. I added one I liked before my signature. On Rosa’s card, the heart printed too large. The size can be adjusted using the dots on the image corners and dragging out or in. Give yourself space from the bottom so that it will print completely.

screenshot Canva downloading

Now I was ready to download. To do this, select “Share” from the upper right corner and you will see this dropdown menu. Scroll down to “Download”. Next it will have you choose a format for your file, and I chose PNG so that I would have a nice, clear photo.


screenshot print screen

Printers vary so you may have different options and prompts than what my screenshot displays. Most default settings are for 8 1/2 x 11″ printer paper so you will need to adjust some things. Make sure that your paper type is correct and that you have changed the paper size and the photo size.

And that’s it! I got to use up some extra envelopes, and the kid’s get to see my smiling face alongside their presents. Hope you love this, share this, and make your own DIY thank you cards at home.

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