The paper is 100lb stock. I get it from my local paper store. They are even nice enough to quarter them for me. So they end up just shy of a 4x6. I have found clip art from everywhere but mainly have utilized Dover Publications clip art as they are EPS and TIFF files that allow for resizing.
For the applications used I bounce between Photoshop and Illustrator. However there are free alternatives to each of these programs.
For Illustrator try Inkscape
For Photoshop try GIMP or Seashots Seashots is a Mac only app while GIMP is cross platform.
Between the 2 of these you should be covered.
If you are quartering a 8.5 x 11 you are going to end up with an off size paper that is still quite OK for postcards. Beware the bleed. What this means is beware the edges of your print. Not all printers will do a true edge to edge print and will end up cutting off your image.
My current project (almost finished) is my upcoming holiday cards. I decided to do from scratch this year and am still playing around with the designs.
What I've gathered for this project.
Clip art (EPS) from CanStockPhoto. I tried some of the images from Etsy but found the scans I received lacking. Just not good enough for resizing and generally messing with as they were JPG images.
The Postcard graphic is just full of all kinds of wonderful. Each word is an individual graphic and can be individually manipulated to your liking.
Fonts: just the ones included with Illustrator for me which included some scripting fonts. But if you are looking for a GREAT source for FREE commercial use fonts go check out Font Squirrel.
This was all done in Illustrator. If you would like a template for your usage, let me know. This template is for a 2 up on 8.5 x 11.
Here is the project so far.
I'm toying with sending these off to a printer and having them done right. I am getting pretty good results but having some trouble with the registration. At this point I think I'm at the mercy of the printer feed intake :)
Now for the printers listing.
I have sent off for samples from all of these folks. However there is one company that is offering a free 20 cards for shipping with YOUR design. I should have them next week and will share when they come in.
4by6 (free offer)
Vista Print (they do offer a free sample of your design to try them out)
MOO (I know there are some of the other bloggers who use these folks and I will try them for some stickers I am working on)
Stickeryou (looks as they could print just about anything you can want in vinyl)
Printers at home. I am using a plain laser printer. HP 1102w. It seems to handle the card stock I'm putting through it well. A straight path printer (in the front out the back) is your best option if available as it's not bending the paper.
Well that's all for today. Hope this helps some of you out in your DIY postcard projects.