Since I started creating printables for Homeschool Encouragement, I get asked this all the time: “What can I use to make printables for my blog without spending money?” And that’s been tough for me to answer because I use three things I have spent money on: Adobe Creative Suite including InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator*, PicMonkey Royale, and graphics that I pay for.
But I’ve done some research, talked it over with my husband, and come up with a few things that should work well for you without you having to spend a dime.
Design and Editing
PicMonkey Free is an excellent resource without paying for the upgrade. Obviously, I love my upgraded Royale fonts and features, but plenty of times I have made basic graphics for a project without ever signing into my paid account. It is possible, and even reasonable, to use PicMonkey to create printables.
The biggest drawback to creating printables with PicMonkey is that they cannot be hyperlinked or saved as PDF within the program. When you finish, you will have a .jpg or .png file, which you will need to convert to PDF. Then, if you need a hyperlink added to your printable (and I do recommend hyperlinking to your website at the bottom), you can create an image map.
Open Office has a wonderful open-source selection of software which basically does anything you can do in the Microsoft suite. This amazing team of programmers has worked together to give you free and functional word-processing, number-processing, and presentation creation.
So here’s how you would use those three things to create a printable. You can create beautiful pie charts, and other chart renderings in the number-processing program. You can type your text and create hyperlinks and embed graphics in the word-processing program. If you want to combine word-processing, graphics, and beautiful charts you can do that in the presentation software. All three of these programs can save files as PDF which is what you need for your printables. My husband tells me they also have a couple of graphic design options.
GNU Image Manipulation (an open source alternative for Adobe Photoshop)
Inkscape (an open-source alternative for Adobe Illustrator)
Check out our more complete list of 30 Places to find FREE STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY.
Wikimedia Commons has a fantastic collection of free public domain graphics. Many of the images in Commons require attribution, which you can place at the bottom of the image. This is where I start when I need a free photograph.
Public Domain Clipart has an interesting collection of clipart-style graphics.
Photos in the Public Domain has an astounding collection of photographs free for commercial use. They have a voluntary donations button, and sometimes they require attribution.
WPClipart has a very nice and family-friendly collection of free images in the public domain.
National Gallery of Art has digital versions of a huge collection of artwork in the public domain. The website is clunky to use, but worth it.
Do you know of another free resource for creating printables that I haven’t noticed? Please leave a link in the comments so we can all check it out!
*Adobe Creative Suite is free for the first 30 days, which could be fun to play around with. After that the new version is a pay-by-month plan with an education discount. I use an older version so I am not familiar with the monthly plan, but I’ve heard it is wonderful. I am not an affiliate with this company.