How to Create an Etsy Banner for Free Using PicMonkey.com

Banner

If you have an Etsy shop, you’ve probably tried making your own banner or purchased one from a graphic designer. With my Etsy shops (Mux Originals and Sweet Yogi Headbands), I’ve experimented with both methods and struggled with wanting to regularly give my storefront a fresh look without spending too much time or money. This is the easiest method I’ve found after much trial-and-error.

I hope this tutorial is helpful to you in your Etsy journey – if you have any questions, let me know!

How to Create an Etsy Banner for Free Using PicMonkey.com

PicMonkey.com is an awesome free photo editing website. You can pay for upgraded features but it’s really not necessary unless you plan to use it all the time.

Step 1: Open a photo in PicMonkey. You can use a photo of one of your products, but if you want a solid-colored banner, like the one shown above, any photo will work.

Screenshot 2015-01-01 11.03.22

Step 2: Resize your photo. Select the “Resize” option in the bottom left-hand corner, and enter the number 760 into the first box. Don’t worry about the number in the second box. Hit “Apply”.

Screenshot 2015-01-01 11.04.57

Step 3: Crop your photo. Select the “Crop” option in the upper left-hand corner, and enter the number 760 into the first box and the number 100 into the second box. Hit “apply”.  If you are using the photo you selected as the actual banner background (as opposed to a solid color) move the crop box around until it covers the portion of the photo you want in your banner. 

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Step 4: Add a solid background (optional). To add a solid background, Select the butterfly icon on the left menu and open the “Geometric” option. Select a rectangle and it will be added to your picture. Using the pop-up Overlay box, change the colors to your liking and then resize the rectangle (using the handles on the corners of the shape) so that it completely covers your cropped photo. It’s okay if it’s bigger than your cropped photo.

Screenshot 2015-01-01 11.05.47

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Step 5: Make it pretty! At this point, you can do whatever you want. You can add and customize different shapes from the butterfly menu options and you can also use geometric shapes to create borders and lines. I plan on creating further tutorials on more advanced ways to customize your banner. For now, I’m going to add a simple heart. Use the pop-up “Overlay” box to edit the shape.

Screenshot 2015-01-01 11.06.55

Step 6: Add your shop name. This is the most important part – putting your awesome shop name on your banner! Select the Tt option on the left menu to open the text options. Click “Add Text” at the top of the menu and play around with font, size, placement, and color (using the pop-up Text box) until you’re happy with the results.

Screenshot 2015-01-01 11.08.16

Trouble-shooting: Difficulty selecting the text box or overlay box? 

This will make more sense when you’re trying it, but if you use a big rectangle as a solid background (like my coral background above) you might struggle with being able to select the items “stacked” on top of it (like the heart or text) since the program will simply select the giant coral box. To solve this problem, simply move the background box out of the way temporarily, reposition/edit your overlays and text to your liking, and then return the background box to its original position.

Screenshot 2015-01-01 11.08.34

Step 7: Save your banner! When you’re happy with your banner, select the “Save” option right above the photo and save your banner with the “Sean” photo quality option. You are now ready to upload your finished banner to your Etsy shop! Well done.

To inspire you, here’s a few more banners I created using this simple method:

banner 3

banner 2

banner 4

I plan on making more tutorials on this topic, including how to add a pre-existing logo to a PicMonkey.com banner, like the one for my Sweet Yogi shop. I love finding easy hacks to get around learning more about programs like PhotoShop. As much as I would like to do that eventually, I don’t currently have the time or money to invest in that skill – but I still need Etsy banners! If you’re in the same place, I hope you’ve benefited from this tutorial. Let me know if you have any questions.

PicMonkey Collage 1

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Postpartum/Breastfeeding Diet

For the first month after Miles was born, I let myself eat whatever I wanted. I started exercising regularly as soon as I felt like it, but I didn’t make any attempt to change my eating habits.

However, last week I decided to start eating healthier…I still have about 12 lbs. I’d like to lose (10 from before I got pregnant) and my eating choices were making me feel tired and stressed.

My number one priority is to keep it simple. For me, this means…

  • Eating 2,000+ calories a day
  • Eating the same breakfast, lunch, and snacks each day (changing weekly so I don’t get bored)
  • Cooking dinner at home

Basically, I eat a healthy 500 calorie breakfast and lunch and two 250 calorie snacks. I decided not to worry about the calories of my evening meals because I HATE counting calories when cooking (as opposed to when making a salad or breakfast…that’s doable). The dinners I cook are approximately 500 calories, and, if slightly higher, help me make sure I’m breaking 2,000 calories/day (which I feel I need to do in order to maintain breastfeeding and exercising). I’m planning on sticking with this calorie window for a month and then adjusting if necessary.

I also went through the calendar for the next month and chose 5 cheat days where I can eat whatever I want. This is the only way I figured I can survive the holidays – plus the occasional calorie surplus will help keep my metabolism guessing.

This is the food I’ve eaten this past week, the first of my program. I’ve included daily treats because otherwise I will binge on sugar. It makes the most sense to me to have a little something sweet everyday instead of depriving myself and being miserable.

I tried to think this through carefully and come up with something that is doable for me. I’ve tried and failed many more rigorous diets and I don’t have the energy or time to do that again!

Week of 12.11.14

Breakfast:

breakfast

  • 1 piece fruit
  • 1 tablespoon nut butter
  • 1 hardboiled egg
  • 1/4 cup steel-cut oats, cooked, with 2 teaspoons maple syrup and a splash of 2%
  • Coffee with 2 tablespoons half and half (if I feel like it)

Lunch:

lunch

  • Big veggie salad with 3 oz. pepper turkey, 1/4 cup shredded cheese, 2 tablespoons toasted pecans, and 1 tablespoon Caesar dressing
  • 1/2 cup Edy’s Slow-Churned Ice Cream

Two 250 Calorie Snacks:

snack

  • Peanut butter Ritz Bitz and an apple
  • Greek yogurt and 100-calorie popcorn bag
  • Larabar
  • 1/3 ChocoLove chocolate bar + 100-calorie popcorn bag
  • Protein shake
  • Starbucks Grande Peppermint Mocha with sugar-free syrup
  • A beer (this was at our pub trivia night 🙂 )

Dinners (all gluten-free):

dinner

  • Crockpot ribs, green beans, corn muffins
  • Corn chowder topped with cheddar, sautéed Brussels sprouts
  • Tomato soup with toast and sautéed zucchini
  • Crockpot curried chicken thighs, sautéed broccoli, quinoa
  • Venison broccoli stirfry, rice

A note about Zach:
Zach likes to sleep in until the last possible moment, so part of my meal plan is keeping a grab-and-go breakfast on hand for him. This week I made paleomg.com’s Easy Breakfast Casserole. Lunch is a free-for-all…I just try to have ingredients on hand for meals Zach makes for himself (omelettes, GF pizza, etc.). We obviously eat dinner together. I’ve found the only way to make a meal plan work for me is for it to work for both of us – otherwise it’s just too much effort.

More weeks to come!

A Tour of My Low-Budget DIY Nursery

PicMonkey Collage

Does “low-budget” make it sound like I’m shooting a horror movie? I hope not. However, the one trip my husband and I made to a certain big-box baby store was pretty scary – we were shocked at the price of everything, despite being warned by everyone that “Babies are expensive!” What people really ought to have said is, “American, upper-middle-class babies whose parents buy everything new at retail stores are expensive.”

We ended up spending very little converting the second bedroom/craft room in our apartment into a nursery that is peaceful, cute, and well-stocked for the arrival of our son in (approximately) ten short days! We owe a lot to the generosity of friends and family. However, through the process of pulling this nursery together, I think I’ve implemented a number of money-saving ideas that might be helpful to you as you’re trying to figure out how to make room for Baby without emptying your savings account. Let the tour begin!

Crib photo

toy basket photo

Crib:

My awesome mother-in-law found this crib at a garage sale for $40 – it even came with a sheet and mattress pad. It belonged to a grandma who bought it for babysitting and ended up using it only a few times. Obviously, be careful buying a crib second-hand, but don’t discount garage sales and thrift shops as good resources for this expensive must-have. The tie-on crib net was a gift.

I sewed the crib skirt (using this awesome tutorial) using a sheet from Goodwill as fabric. If you’re having a baby boy – or just prefer less fussy baby decor – be sure to check out upholstery and bedding fabrics (whether at a second-hand or fabric store). They often feature simple prints and high-quality fibers.

The rug was a Target reject found at Goodwill for $14.99. If you don’t shop at Goodwill, locate your nearest one and try to buzz through once a week! Our Goodwills have great turnover and I almost always find at least one thing. I bought the wire toy basket at Hobby Lobby 50% off.

recliner

lamp and basket detail

Rocking Recliner Corner: 

This recliner was another Goodwill find for only $7.99. It was pretty dusty when I bought it but I decided to try cleaning it and scrap it if I couldn’t. However, using a soapy rag, our vacuum, and a lint roller, it cleaned up really nicely! It’s a comfy, good-quality chair and I like the navy color. Plus, now I know it’s washable 🙂

The lamp was stolen from our living room – I think it was originally from Wal-Mart. The plastic laundry basket on the left was repurposed as storage for blankets/burp cloths. You can see the Boppy nursing pillow that I received as gift peeking out from behind my chair. The book basket on the right side was stolen from my bedroom, and I crocheted the blanket on the chair with yarn bought on sale at Joann’s. If you’re the crafty type, be sure to utilize Hobby Lobby and Joann’s online/print/text coupons – they have some great deals!

Hanging Blankets

Hanging Blankets Detail

Hanging Blankets:

To add a pop of color to the nursery, I made three reversible flannel receiving blankets (using this tutorial), sewed on bias tape loops, and hung them from hooks by the recliner. They’re within easy reach of the chair and, since the fabric and hooks were both bought on sale/with coupons, they were a cheap way to add visual interest!

Desk detail

Desk Detail

Desk:

We opted to leave Zach’s desk, which was already in the room, where it was. He’s keeping his guitar in here as well. Our apartment is just too small for one tiny human to have an entire room to himself! I did add a framed baby shower invite and a globe (found at Goodwill) for a little personality.

Changing Table

Art

Changing pad front

Changing Pad back

 Changing Table/Art Collage: 

Our “changing table” is a bureau that was already in the room. I repurposed a little Ikea organizer for diaper/ointment storage, was given a wipe warmer by a friend who was cleaning out her baby stuff, and grabbed a mason jar from the kitchen to store pacifiers. The trashcan to the left was already in my craft room.

Our art collage cost next-to-nothing and I’m really happy with how it turned out. The pictures are attached to the wall via nails and double-sided mounting tape to ensure that they don’t fall on baby. From left to right: a picture of Baby Zach I was given by a family member, a framed deer print found on clearance at Hobby Lobby for $7 (I normally hate their art so this was a surprising find!), an illustrated Bible verse torn out of a church handout and framed in a cheapo Hobby Lobby frame, embroidered initials done by my sister, and two of my favorite cards from our baby shower (these last three were framed in frames bought on clearance at Target).

I bought our changing table pad at Target but sewed the cover myself using leftover fabric from one of the hanging receiving blankets. This cover was surprisingly easy to sew and I’ll probably make more to keep as clean back-ups. I used this great tutorial.

Corner

Closet

Closet Corner:

The remaining corner of the room houses my yoga accessories (I still practice yoga in this room because it’s so quiet and clean!) and a Rock n’ Play we received as a shower gift. I’ve heard that these can be a lifesaver with newborns and I’m excited to try it out.

We also have a closet that I’ve managed to keep somewhat empty in anticipation of more baby stuff – the drawer unit on the left contains the baby clothes we’ve received so far as well as diapers (there are more diapers under the crib in plastic containers too).

Whole room

Overall, I’m really happy with how our nursery turned out, especially since I wasn’t sure how to decorate for a boy when I started. I like that the room is simple, not too matchy-matchy, and coordinates with the rest of our apartment. I’m sure it will go through many changes as our son grows (and acquires more toys!) but I’m glad to get started on the right foot. These are the best suggestions I have learned for saving money while putting a nursery together:

Tips

Also, I picked out a “going home” outfit for our son this week – I made the hat out of an old skirt using this tutorial. Hopefully it fits!

Miles Outfit