Nov 022011

Want to solve all your holiday giving needs with just a few clicks in Picasa!  Collage coffee mugs were my gifts to family last year because we DSCN1555went on a family cruise to Alaska and I put our pictures on the mugs.

You can also order cards with your photo on them, or calendars, or puzzles, or t-shirts, or … well, I think you have the idea!

One of the most popular gifts is a photo coffee table book.  Here’s one from a friend’s trip to Australia.  It’s a hard-bound book and has both text and pictures inside:

DSCN1556 DSCN1557

Here’s how you do it.

vendorsGather the desired pictures.  The most time consuming part will probably be deciding what shoppicture or pictures you want to use.  When you have them all in the selection tray (Tutorial Video: Selecting), click the ‘Shop’ button in the bottom toolbar – or File->Order Prints.  This will bring up a list of possible providers from which to choose.  I’ll use Walmart for this example, but there are lots to choose from – you may want to do a little research on providers of the kinds of gift you want to create.

Upload your Pictures to a Print/Gift provider

Once you choose your provider, you need to create an account with them.  This process is going to upload your selected pictures to the provider’s servers so they need to be identified as belonging to your account.  Notice there is a place to give this group of pictures an ‘album’ name – I’ve used ‘Travels’ for this example.  You should also realize that this will upload your pictures at their highest resolution (size) so that the prints come out as good as possible.  That means this process will take a little time, so, don’t use any more pictures than you need.

Choose and Design your Gift

Once  the pictures are uploaded, you’re now on the provider’s website.  You should see your group of photos and a menu of options.  When I click on ‘Mugs’ this is what I get:


Not only are there 20 different choices of mugs, cups, and waterbottles as I scroll down the screen.  On the left side I see Blankets, Books, Calendars, Cards, Clothing & Jewelry, Mousepads, and more.  The Walmart site gives you the option of having words – a title – on the mug.  Then, you’re asked to select the pictures you want on the mug.  Since I’ve used my Walmart account several times, I have several other uploaded albums to choose from.  All the Album names appear on the left sidebar, so click on Travels, and then click on all 7 pictures and then ‘Continue.’   Next it displays the collage of how the pictures will fit on the mug.  I have the option to shuffle the photos until they’re arranged to my liking and also to type the title I want.  This is all web-based so it is a little slow.  Just be patient.

Once you have your mug designed, you can select a quantity, and ‘Add to Cart.  Read the next screens carefully as they want you to buy more stuff!  Lastly, you’ll enter a shipping address or a Walmart store near you where you can pick it up – or near your recipient, and they can pick it up!

Check out the Other Products

You might want to check out some of the other providers by visiting their websites before making your choice in Picasa.  For example, Snaptotes will put your pictures on purses and tote bags.  Fotoflot mounts your pictures in a way that makes them look like they’re floating on your wall – very high class.  And, how about making that certain someone feel *really* important by putting their photo on a stamp?  At PhotoStamps you create real U.S. postage stamps with your pictures.

snaptotes stamps

Happy Holidays

This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour

Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger or with friends on Facebook. You can subscribe to our free e-newsletters, or become a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.



Photo Gifts Made Easy with Picasa

 Sharing Photos  Comments Off on Photo Gifts Made Easy with Picasa
Dec 162010


Still have some people on your gift list?  There are lots of gift ideas that can be made from your own photographs.  Some of them can be ready to pick up at your local Walmart or Walgreens today, and some can be mailed overnight for an extra charge.  Normally, it takes a week or so to receive the gift.  You can even have it shipped directly to your recipient.  It’s all done online with your digital photos, a credit card, and a shipping address.

What can you Order?

You can order anything from simple prints of your photos, to framed or ‘floated’ wall masterpieces.  You can also order professional hard-bound books of your pictures – I love these books for special keepsake gifts.  Then there’s the fun stuff.  Photo gifts that are also useful, like mugs, tshirts, or mouse pads.  Most of the providers listed offer all of these things, but they each have their specialties.  You can check them out on their various websites before selecting one thru Picasa.  Here’s a partial list of the websites, but make sure to come back to Picasa before actually ordering!  Read on to see why.

Check out the offerings at these providers, then come back to Picasa to order:
CVS, Kodak Gallery, PhotoStamps, fotoflōt, Walmart, Lifepics, Snapfish, Walgreens, RITZPIX, Shutterfly, American Greetings PhotoWorks, Snaptotes

Picasa’s ‘Shop’ button makes it easy

If you use Picasa, all you have to do is select the photo, or photos you want to use and click the Shop button.  Whatever pictures you select will be uploaded with all edits applied – what you see is what you’ll get.


After you click ‘Shop’, you will see the list of providers.  More are added all the time, so be sure to look them over carefully.  Once you choose a provider, you will be asked to create an account – it’s free – they just need some identification for your photos.  Fill in your email and a desired password.  When you click OK, the photos you had previously selected will be uploaded to the provider’s servers under your account.  This takes a while because it is uploading the full-sized file.  It needs the full size to create the best print possible.

Picasa hands you off to the print provider

Once your photos are uploaded, you will find yourself on the provider’s website.  Each one will have very different procedures.  If you are ordering a coffee mug, for example, it is a simple matter of selecting the mug, and selecting the picture you want on it. That should only take a few minutes.

If you are ordering a photo book with 50 photos, this will take you some time to learn how to use their software for designing the book, placing the pictures, adding text etc.  It took me several hours before I was happy with the finished product.  I also kept changing my mind about the pictures I wanted, so I had to go back to Picasa and re-upload each time I added more!  But the finished product, with 80 pictures, is a keepsake that I am confident will be a cherished gift.  It cost me about $50, plus another $12 for expedited shipping … I’m always a little late!

When you’re done with creating your products, you will need to provide a shipping address, or select a store where your gifts can be picked up.  You will also need to provide a credit card.  That’s it!

Happy Holidays everyone!

This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour

Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger or with friends on Facebook. You can subscribe to our free e-newsletters, or become a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

Members may want to view the following tutorial videos.  Not a member?  Join now.

Where’d the Buttons Go?


Nov 042008

One of the subtle changes in Picasa 3 is on the bottom row of buttons, what used to be called ‘Order Prints’ is now ‘Shop.’  I actually don’t see any difference in what the button does, but the fact that it now says ‘Shop’ might get a few more people to try it.

Here’s how it works – you select one or more photos, click ‘Shop’ and you’ll see a list of stores. 

Choose one of the stores, then you will need to set up an account.  There is no cost for the account, but it is necessary in order to upload your photos and store them for you.  Once the photos are uploaded you can choose your products.  The upload takes a while because, for printing purposes, it uploads the full original size.

They all offer to print the photo(s) you upload, and they offer lots of special ways to print them, including notecards.  This is a great way to get custom, photo Christmas cards.  The price at Walmart is about $12 for a dozen simple notecards.  At Shutterfly, a dozen nice greeting cards will cost $25.  You can check out the products offered before choosing by browsing directly to each store.  So, for example, Walmart’s offerings can be found at    Shutterfly’s at

And, don’t stop at cards!  You can buy the gifts to go with the cards as well.  One of my favorites is photo mousepads.  Or, how about coffee mugs, or t-shirts, or tree ornaments?

You don’t need to use Picasa to order these gifts, but, just like so many other things, Picasa makes it so easy.  Just select your photos and click ‘Shop!’  And, if you use Picasa, you’ll know that the photo that gets uploaded is what you see in Picasa, cropped the way you cropped it in Picasa, color corrected or retouched by Picasa.  You can even add text to the picture in Picasa, and that will become part of the photo to be used for your card.

Happy Holidays!
Chris Guld

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