Sep 262015

imageSomeone recently asked me how she could make a greeting card using Picasa. I came up with an idea that seemed to work, using the Collage tool, so I thought I’d pass it on as a Picasa Tip. Although, truth be told, if it were me, I’d use something like Send Out Cards, or use Picasa’s File->Order Prints and a service like Shutterfly to make professional greeting cards.

But, if you really want to print your own, this is actually a great example of how flexible the Collage feature is with Picasa. Here’s the steps I took to make a Halloween card. I used standard size paper – 8.5 x 11 – folded in half to make a card that opens from the bottom.

  1. Choose your photo and make sure it is properly cropped to fit proportionately in the space provided. I wanted the picture to cover the front of the card. That would be 8.5 x 5.5. So, I cropped accordingly.
  2. With that picture, and only that picture selected, I started the collage … Create->Picture Collage. I chose the “Picture Pile” style and set my page size to 8.5 x 11 Letter paper in the vertical/portrait orientation.
  3. I dragged the sizing handle of the picture until it filled the bottom part of the page, and it was straight.
  4. I made sure the background color was solid white.
  5. That’s it for the collage – click “Create Collage”
  6. Now, with the collage picture, I might want to add some text to the front of the card. Just use the text tool, type some text and choose some colors. I chose the “Jokerman” font.
  7. You’re ready to print! Then, I would use another program, like PowerPoint, or Word to print text for the inside of the card. Or just leave it blank and handwrite your own message.

If you want to give this a try and need more help, we have several tutorial videos on our Geeks on Tour site for members. If you’re not a member, you can join here.

Picasa Tip: Fancy Frames

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Jun 182014


Picasa has many framing options including Vignette, Museum Matte, Border, and Polaroid.  But if you really want to get fancy with clipart frames, there is nothing built in to Picasa’s features.  This article will show you how to use a clipart border/frame, and use Picasa’s collage feature to put your picture into a fancy frame.

First you need to find the clipart.  There are many sources of free and pay-for clipart on the web.  You can google for free clipart, but free clipart sites have been known to be distributors of viruses and other malware, so be careful. If your browser gives you any warnings, or if the URL looks suspicious, do not download artwork from there. I downloaded the colorful border above from  I used the search box and entered “border.” There were hundreds of results. If you see something there you like, notice the Download section toward the bottom (do not click on any download button at the right – the right sidebar is all ads), click on Medium PNG and you’ll be seeing an enlargement of the image.  Now you can right-click, choose “Save Image As” (or “Save Picture As” depending on what browser you’re using) and save it in a folder in your My Pictures.

Now you should be able to view the border in Picasa’s LIbrary.  If not, check Tools->Options->File Types and be sure that the .png file type is checked.

Make the Collage

  1. Select both the frame image, and the photo you want in the frame
  2. Create menu->Picture Collage (or click the collage button at the bottom if you have one)
  3. Collage settings = Picture Pile
  4. Click on frame image and use orange handle to make it big enough, and make it straight
  5. Drag the photo into the frame area.  If it disappears underneath, right-click on it and Bring to Top
  6. If the width and height of the photo do not fit the frame, you need to crop the picture accordingly.  Click on the photo and then click the View and Edit tab at the bottom.  This will take you back to Picasa’s editing tools and you can choose Crop.  Make sure the dimension is set to manual.  If the picture was too wide for the frame, just crop the width.  To high, just crop the height.  When you’ve applied the crop, click the Collage tab at the top to return to your collage already in process.
  7. When you have the picture fitting properly in the frame, click the Create Collage button
  8. You should now be looking at the finished collage picture.  You will probably have some extra space around the frame left over from the collage process.  Use the crop tool to get rid of that.

Picasa’s Limitations

I find this technique quite simple to make pictures like that above, or these below, but notice that the framed areas are clean rectangles.

2014055 201307 Teton Yellowstone

Picasa does not support transparency, so you cannot make a framed picture like the oval frame below.

To do something like this, you need an image editor that can work with transparency.  I used Snagit for this, but PhotoShop and many others would do the trick.
If you tried to use Picasa, here’s what you would get:
yuk!  not so good



This is a relatively advanced use of the Collage feature in Picasa.  If you got lost after the first couple of steps, you need to go back and learn the basics of Collages.  For Geeks on Tour Members, we have a complete ‘short course’ on using the Collage tool. The Short Course includes 8 video lessons and a ‘cheat sheet.’

  1. A Basic Collage – Mosaic Style #289
  2. Basic Collage: Picture Pile style and options #290
  3. Where is the Collage Picture Stored? #291
  4. Using Collage to Create a Banner Picture: Setting Size and Adding Text #292
  5. People Collage #293
  6. Using a Picture as Collage Background #294
  7. Using a Collage as Facebook Cover Photo #295
  8. Multiple Exposures #296
  9. Printable ‘Collage-Quick-Reference Sheet’

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, orbecome a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

Jun 082012

Making a Facebook Cover photo with Picasa's Collage featureIf you have a Facebook page, you may want to custom design the Cover photo.  Picasa’s Collage tool is a great way to do this.  If you are a Geeks on Tour member, we recently made a complete ‘Short Course’ on using the Collage tool.  This tip is taking just one piece of that course and making it freely available for all.

Facebook Cover Photo’s Size

The key to making a Facebook Timeline cover photo is the dimensions.  Or, more specifically the ratio of the length to width, known as the Aspect Ratio.  A little bit of research turns up the fact that Facebook’s ideal ratio is 851X315. Not quite sure why it’s 851 – that sounds a bit odd to me.  850X315 works fine.

To accomplish this with Picasa, you need to set a custom aspect ratio.  On either the Crop dimensions drop-down box, or the Page Format drop-down box, you’ll see the ability to ‘Add Custom Aspect Ratio’ at the bottom of the list.  Choose that and just enter 850X315.  See a previous tip: Resizing a Picture’s Height and Width.

Steps for a Collage to be a Facebook cover photo

  1. The proper aspect ratio for a Facebook cover photo is 850X315 (see tutorial video: Resizing Pictures to width and height)  Use the page format setting to change to that ratio.
  2. Re-crop the background photo to the 850/315 ratio as well.
  3. Shrink and move 3 little photos to bottom right in order to make room for your profile picture (avatar) in Facebook
  4. Create collage, then Export results.  Select 850 as the export size (this is not required, Facebook will resize as long as the proportions are right.)
  5. Log into facebook and hover over your cover photo,click where it says ‘Change Cover’ and Upload the exported collage.
  6. Save Changes

Here’s a tutorial video to show you exactly how it’s done.

Many more tutorial videos are available for members at  Join Today – it’s only $58/yearly.