Hi, you! Ever see a beautiful gift tag and think, “That would be great, if only it were a different color!” Or a different font. Or said something different. And if you’re like me, you wish you could just make it yourself and get exactly what you want.
Well, why not make it yourself?
Do you have Microsoft Word and a little bit of time? Let’s make a thank you tag in Word that looks like it was done by a professional.
We’ll be making a thank you tag, but once you get the basics down, you can change up all sorts of things. Have fun! And don’t forget to print the tag & give it away when you’re done!
:Here’s what you’ll need:
- Microsoft Word (I use Word 2010 and above, but you should still be able to do this in Word 2007.)
- When you’re finished, this tutorial on printing and assembling favor tags
- Caffeine. Ok, maybe not. I just find it helps most endeavors.
Quick note: I use Word on a PC. On a Mac, you can still complete this tutorial, but the layout and options will be a little different.
Fiddly Factor: 1
:STEP 1: Make your background
The goal here is a beautiful but simple ombre background, where the color gradually changes from dark to light.
Open up a new document in Word. From the Insert tab, click Shapes, then Rectangle.
Draw out a rectangle. Don’t worry about size yet. When you click on the rectangle, an extra tab called “Drawing Tools” will appear. Click Shape Outline and choose No Outline. Then click Shape Fill and pick the color you want your first rectangle to be. I went with the default Word colors and chose the darkest Aqua color (the bottom square in the next to last column). Choose the color you want, or click “More Fill Colors” for a custom color.
Select your rectangle (click on it), and choose Copy, Paste from the Home tab.
PRO TIP: Simplify your life with a few keyboard shortcuts. Press Ctrl and C on your keyboard to copy, and Ctrl and V to paste. (That’s for a PC. If you’re on a Mac, it’s Command+C and Command+V.)
Change the fill of your new rectangle to the next aqua color in the column.
Repeat the copy and paste routine until you have 4 rectangles. If you want to keep going with the colors I used, then choose the aqua color at the VERY TOP of the aqua column for your third rectangle, since that’s really the one that comes next in the order. For your fourth rectangle, choose the third aqua from the bottom of the column. If you need to move the rectangles around so they’re easier to select, go right ahead.
Click and drag each of the new rectangles so they’re in a line beside the first one. If they overlap slightly, that’s fine. You just don’t want a gap between them. When you drag them next to each other, they should “snap” into place.
Now we’ll change the size. But first, we want to put these four rectangles together into a group to make them easier to work with. Select one rectangle, then HOLD DOWN SHIFT and select the other three rectangles. Holding shift lets you select multiple items at once. So nice.
With all four rectangles selected (you can let go of shift), go to Drawing Tools and click Group, then Group. Again in Drawing Tools, change the size to 2.25 inches high and 2.25 inches wide. Just type the numbers in the boxes, and press Enter.
PRO TIP: If you plan to cut your tag with a 2 inch punch, make your square 2.25 inches. It gives you some wiggle room and saves brain cells.
Congrats! Background aced.
:STEP 2: Add a pretty border
I want to add a cute dotted border to my tab, but I want to make sure that it will fit perfectly within my 2 inch punch. Here’s how to do that without muttering anything you’d rather the kids (or your dog) not hear.
First, go to Insert, Shapes, and choose oval. To make a perfect circle, hold down shift WHILE YOU’RE DRAGGING OUT YOUR CIRCLE. Make it off to the side and don’t stress about size yet.
Under Drawing Tools, change the fill to No Fill, and change the size to 2 inches by 2 inches. Now move the circle over onto your background and change the shape outline to white so you can see it better. Try to center the circle in the middle of your background. If it’s off a tad, you’re still good.
NOTE: We’re going to delete this circle at the end. It’s just there to remind us where the 2 inch punch will cut. It marks our “safe zone.”
Copy and paste the circle just like you did with the rectangle. Change the size of your NEW circle to 1.7 inches by 1.7 inches. Center it within the old circle.
Now we have fun. Well, more fun. Click Shape Outline (under Drawing Tools) and be prepared to discover a whole new world of Fun Stuff by changing the weight and dashes.
Hover over Weight, and choose 4.5 pt. Hover over Dashes, and choose Round Dot (second option from the top).
Hover over Dashes again, and this time click More Lines. It will open up a new window. Find the option for Cap type, and choose Round from the drop-down menu. I’m using Word 2010 for this tutorial. In Word 2007, I don’t think you have the option to change the “Cap type”, but that’s ok because your dotted line should already be circles after choosing the “Round Dot” like we did above.
PRO TIP: You can actually make all of your outline changes here, but I wanted you to see where the Weight & Dash options are normally, in case you only want a simple change on a future project. When you have time, experiment with the options in this window. You can change the color, add a shadow, and even add a glowing edge. Go forth and play.
Do you notice on my dotted circle that on the left side, two of the dots are closer together than all the others? This is because Word considers that the circle begins and ends at this point, and the dots at the weight we’ve chosen don’t even out exactly-perfectly-completely right. On your screen, those two dots might be in a different part of the circle. Here’s a simple way to hide that: When you select the circle, you’ll notice a little handle with a green dot. This is the rotation handle. Hover your mouse over it, and the cursor will turn into a rotation symbol.
Click and drag this handle until the two offending dots are at the bottom of the circle. It doesn’t get rid of them, but I think they’re much less noticeable at the bottom then over on the freaking side where they stand out like a set of neon lights.
It’s a minor change for the OCD among us, but it makes me feel better. Deep breath.
Border accomplished! This may seem like a lot of steps so far, but you have just made an ombre background into a perfect square, portioned off a safe zone for a 2 inch punch, and changed the default dotted line to the cutest little rounded-dot border. I’m justifiably proud of you. Now let’s get back to work.
:STEP 3: Add Text
I chose the Euphoria Script for this tag. It’s a nice balance of whimsy and elegance.
PRO TIP: Font Squirrel is a fabulous font resource that I use constantly. And, every font on it is 100% free for commercial use! This…is a beautiful thing.
I’m going to show you three ways to use text boxes for this tag. We’ll start with the simplest first:
Text Option 1:
From the Insert tab, click Text Box, and then click Draw Text Box at the bottom of the menu.
Draw a rectangle text box roughly in the center of your dotted circle, and type “thanks” (all lowercase).
Select the text box by clicking on its border, and make the following changes:
From the Drawing Tools tab:
- Change the Shape Fill to No Fill
- Change the Shape Outline to No Outline
From the Home tab:
- Change the font to Euphoria Script
- Center the text
- Change the font color to white
- Change the font size to 48. Make your text box a little bigger if the word doesn’t fit.
Using the arrow keys on your keyboard while the text box is selected, move the text box until it looks centered within the dotted border. Don’t stress about getting it in the exact, perfect center. If it looks good to your eye, it’s good.
At this point, you can delete the thin outer circle that marked our “safe zone.” You don’t need it anymore and if you’re going to use the 2 inch circle punch, it’s actually better to get rid of it. It’s next to impossible to punch a circle out PERFECTLY in the center; you’re always going to be off by just a hair. If you left the border, it will just highlight that your punch is off. BUT…(insert sly grin), if the only border in the design is one that’s SUPPOSED to be smaller, then no one will notice if it’s not 100% centered. Again, if it looks good, it’s good. If you intend to cut out the tag as a square and you like the extra border, go ahead and leave it in place.
And that’s option 1!
Text Option 2:
What if you want to say “Thank You”, instead of just “thanks”?
You could just change “Thanks” to “Thank”, hit enter, and type “You”. But if you do this, you’ll notice that Word, in its infinite wisdom, puts a gap between the two lines that is roughly the distance from the earth to the moon. Round trip.
So, what do we do? Improvise, of course.
Change the font size to 36, and type “Thank” instead of “thanks”.
Select the text box by clicking on its border, then copy and paste. If you copy and paste without clicking on the border of the text box first, you can end up pasting a text box inside a text box, which is how holes get ripped in the space-time continuum. Please be responsible.
If you want to, drag the new text box down a little so you can see better, and type “You” instead of “Thank”. Adjust the size of both text boxes so they fit the word better. Be careful not to cut off the bottom of the Y.
Move the bottom text box until it nestles up under the top word. Either select it and drag it with your mouse, or use the arrow keys on your keyboard. Don’t think about centering the words within the circle, yet; just move the two words until you like their look in relation to each other.
Now we’ll group the text boxes, just like we did with the rectangles. Select one text box, then HOLD DOWN SHIFT and select the second text box. From Drawing Tools, click Group, and Group again.
By the way, if you ever want to ungroup something, just select “Ungroup” instead of Group from Drawing Tools.
Move the grouped text until it looks centered to you. And that is the end of option number 2! Nestling one text box under another gives you a greater amount of control, and lets you start to play with layout.
Text Option 3:
If you really want to play with layout, let’s push Option 2 just a bit further.
I want the T and the Y of “Thank You” to be bigger than the rest of the letters. I could do that by increasing the font size of just the T and the Y, but as we’ve established, I like CONTROL. So we’ll do what we did in Option 2, and copy and paste more text boxes.
In this case, I want four total text boxes:
- “T” at size 60
- “hank” at size 36
- “Y” at size 60
- “ou” at size 36
Adjust the size of your text boxes to match the letter or letters in them; it can get clunky to work with boxes that are much larger than they need to be. If a box is in your way, just drag it off to the side temporarily. When you have your four boxes, nestle them around each other until you like the placement. Group the text like we did in Option 2, and center the text in the middle of the dotted circle.
:STEP 4: Layout for Printing
To get ready to print, select every element of your label, and group it together (hold down shift to select multiple items). Because your background is already grouped, and your text is already grouped, you can just click on the background, the circle, and the text.
Copy and paste it twice, then drag the two copies up even with the first.
Move the left square about a half inch to an inch from the left edge of the paper. Move the right square about the same distance from the right edge of the paper. Leave the middle one for a moment.
PRO TIP: If you hold down shift while dragging the square, it will move over in a perfectly horizontal line, which keeps it even with the other squares. It will also move in a perfectly vertical line if you needed it to.
Select all three squares by holding shift. From drawing tools, click Align, then click Distribute Horizontally. BOOM. Guesswork done, sanity saved. With all three squares still selected, group them.
Now for the payoff. Copy and paste this grouping three times. Zoom out so you can see more of the page, and arrange the four groupings so they are roughly spaced out from the top to the bottom of the page.
Select all four groupings by holding down shift, and go to the Align menu in Drawing Tools. Choose Distribute Vertically, then choose Align Left.
Almost there. With all four groupings still selected, group them. Under Drawing Tools, click Position and choose the center option. The full name of that option is “Position in Middle Center with Square Text Wrapping”. It’s a rather pompous option.
If you want to take this to a print shop to print, you’ll need it saved as a PDF file instead of as a Word doc. When you save the file, click on the drop-down menu by “Save as type” and choose PDF. Next to “Optimize for”, choose Standard (publishing online and printing).
:A NOTE ON KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS:
When it comes to keyboard shortcuts, it really pays to learn a few. Your workflow will go SO much faster. If they seem intimidating, start with just one or two. As you get used to them and they start to become second nature, add in a few more.
To start with, try these keyboard shortcuts:
- Ctrl+Z (Command+Z on a Mac) = undo the last action
- Ctrl S (Command+S on a Mac) = save the document
These are universal shortcuts that will work in almost any program. For me, Ctrl+S has become so much of a habit that if I’m typing and stop to think for a second, my left hand will automatically reach over and save my document without my even thinking about it. Consequently, I almost never lose my work because of a crash. As for Ctrl+Z, I now think that life in general should come with an Undo option. The daily news would certainly be calmer.
When you’re ready for more, add in the ones we used in this project:
- Ctrl+C (Command+C on a Mac) = copy
- Ctrl V (Command+V on a Mac) = paste
Congratulations, Rockstar of the Printable World! You just made a professional PDF of favor tags in Microsoft Word! But don’t stop there, print it out! Use it! Show me! If you upload shots of your mastery to social media, tag them with #occasionalday. I want to see the creative things you come up with now that you have a few design tools in your belt – have fun!
Is there a design project you want to learn to make? Let me know in the comments!
You make awesome content. Shouldn't your graphics match?