How to Make Your Own Paper Certificate

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Making your own paper certificates can be a great way to create awards with just the look you want, whether you’re making professional looking certificates for a formal award presentation, certificates recognizing good work in the classroom or I.O.U.s and fun certificates to use at home. To make your own paper certificates, you can use preprinted certificate cardstock, available at many office supply stores, or make and print certificates of your own design.

Things You'll Need

  • Certificate paper or blank card stock
  • Ruler
  • Computer
  • Desktop publishing program
  • Printer
  • Blank paper
  • Clip art (optional)
  • Seals or stickers (optional)

Choose paper or card stock for the certificates. You can use certificate paper with preprinted borders to make formal or whimsical certificates, or choose blank white or colored paper or card stock if you want to use your own design. Make sure the paper you choose is compatible with the laser or inkjet printer you have.

Set up a new document in your desktop publishing program or word processor. Use the Page Setup menu to make the document Landscape, or horizontal, in orientation.

Measure the borders of the preprinted certificate paper, if applicable. Set the margins of the document to leave room for the borders. For example, if the paper’s borders are 1 1/4 inches wide, set the margins to 1 1/2 inches so that you don't print on the border.

Add your own borders using colored lines or clip art if you’re making the certificates on blank paper. Websites that offer free clip art and borders, such as the one linked below, can be great for giving certificates a custom look.

Type in the text you want on the certificate, making sure the wording matches the formality of the occasion.

Choose a font, font size and color for the text. You may want to use several font sizes to emphasize different parts of the wording. Center the text on the certificate.

Add company or organization logos, graphics or clip art to the certificate. You may also want to add blank lines or spaces to give people places to sign the certificate.

Adjust the size and layout of the text and graphics as needed so the certificate looks appealing and is easy to read.

Print a test certificate on a piece of blank paper. Place the certificate paper, if using it, behind the test certificate and hold both pieces up to the light. Make sure the information printed on the test certificate lines up properly with the borders of the certificate paper, and make adjustments as needed.

Print the certificate on the certificate paper. Embellish the certificate with seals or stickers if desired.

Tips & Warnings

  • You may want to purchase a certificate holder to present and display the certificate. Many office supply stores sell certificate holders and accessories along with certificate paper.

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