I recently wrote a tutorial on how I use Microsoft Word to make my own labels, and it occurred to me that there is something else that I use the program for that might interest my readers; making bunting. I've been saving this tutorial for my blogisversary week, because it ties in nicely with the celebratory theme.
I almost always create some bunting when we have a special occasion coming up, and originally I used a graphic program to design the bunting and then pasted the images into Word to make a printable. Then, in a lightening bolt moment, I realised that actually everything I was doing during the design process could be accomplished in Microsoft Word too! So I've used this method ever since, and it is really much simpler making my printables this way, than messing around with two different programs.
DIY Bunting Tutorial
1) I find it helpful to have the page as 'Landscape' rather than 'Portrait', because then you can fit a couple of flags on the page and you are viewing the images as they will actually look as bunting. It just helps with the visualising and design process. You can change the page orientation by going to 'Page Layout' and then 'Orientation'.
2) The first step, naturally, is to pick a shape by going to 'Insert' and then 'Shapes'. I've gone with the common triangle shape for the bunting (the triangle I used comes under 'Flowchart: Merge' in Word 2007). Other shapes that I think would make pretty bunting are hearts, the rectangle shape or something which Word calls 'Flowchart: Manual Operation' and 'Flowchart: Off Page Connector'.
3) I normally have a rough idea of what size I want the little bunting flags to be, so I will right click on the newly drawn shape to bring up the 'Format Autoshape' box and change the measurements under the 'Size' tab. While you have this box up, you can also go into the "Colors and Lines" tab and change the size, colour and style of the shape's outline, (this can also be done under the 'Format menu which I'll come onto in a second). Click OK once you are happy.
4) Your next job is to fill the shape with pretty colours or patterns. To do this, select 'Format' from the menu bar and go to 'Shape Fill'. You can fill the shape with a solid colour, a gradient colour, picture, texture or pattern. For the latter two, there are a variety of textures and patterns which come with MS Word, but you can also use your own which is what I've done in the image below.
5) To add your own background to the bunting go to 'Shape Fill', then 'Texture' and then select 'More Textures'. This is where you can upload your own image by clicking on 'Other Texture' and locating the file your want on your computer. After this step you have a range of other effects you can add to your bunting. Here are a couple of them.
Add Clip Art
1) Go to 'Insert' on the menu bar and look for 'Clip Art'. Click on this to bring up a search box, type in what you are looking for and then scroll through the images to find something you like.
2) Uh-oh. You've probably just found that your clip art is stuck behind your banner and is resisting being moved around. Go to 'Format' on the menu bar, click on 'Text Wrapping' and choose 'In Front of Text'.
3) You will now be able to re-size the clip art more easily and position it where you want it.
Add Letters or Text
If you are making bunting for a celebration then a useful trick is adding numbers of letters, so you can spell out messages (e.g, "Happy Birthday"), names, ages, etc. I find the simplest way to do this is with the Word Art function.
1) Go to 'Insert' on the menu bar and then look for 'Word Art'. Choose any style of word art - you'll be changing that in a second, so it doesn't matter at this stage which one you use.
2) Type in your letter, number or word and pick your font.
3) Your text will be hiding behind your banner, so go to 'Format' and select 'In Front of Text' under the 'Text Wrapping' function. At the moment it is still looking a bit uninspiring, so let's jazz up the text a bit.
4) You can change the appearance of your text under the 'Format' tab on the menu bar. It is actually very similar to the steps you took when formatting your shape in the first part of this tutorial. You can change the colour, pattern or texture under 'Shape Fill' and use a different colour for the 'Shape Outline'. There is also the 'Change Shape' function, which will add effects to the text. I just clicked on the straight line under 'Follow Path' because I didn't want any fancy effects.
5) Finally, click and drag the little squares around the selected text to increase/decrease the size until you are happy with it. You could also right click on the shape and change the measurements under 'Format WordArt'.
Layering Different Elements
Now I'm going to run through a quick example that combines everything you have just learned.
1) You can layer shapes on top of each other.
2) Then add some text on top of that...
3) ... and to round off this bunting flag I've added some clip art. If you find some clip art which is perfect but it doesn't quite fit in with your colour scheme, you can re-colour it. On the 'Format' menu find 'Recolor' and then scroll through your options until you find a colour you like.
4) The last thing I recommend doing is grouping all the different elements together. This means that you can move the bunting flag around the page as one object, rather than having to re-position each element individually. To do this, click on each object while holding down the 'alt' key. Once everything is selected, right click on your bunting and select 'Grouping' followed by 'Group'.
Phew, that was a marathon of a post-writing session, but I think I've now covered everything you could possibly want to know about creating bunting with Microsoft Word. Now someone please go make their own bunting, so I can justify the last three hours of my life ;-)
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