If you’re like me, you’re a bit artistically challenged, at least when it come to painting, drawing, sketching, etc. And if you’re like me, you’re often financially strapped and unable to shell out the big bucks for real art (Ah… some day…). However, one of my favorite DIY ways to create art, especially typography-style art — without having to resort to stick figures and crayons — is to use a lovely little website called Wordle.
Straight from the website, Wordle is “a toy for generating ‘word clouds’ from text that you provide.” Best of all, it’s free! You may need to download a Java applet if your computer doesn’t already have it, but that’s free (and painless/easy) as well.
How it Works…
Well, of course you can check out the FAQ on the website for some real help, but in case you’re wanting a quick-start guide and don’t want to wade through the bajillion FAQ (they’re so darn helpful), here goes:
First, click on the “Create” tab at the top of the screen. From here, you can type in as much text as you want (tip: the more words you type, the better your wordle will look). You may also enter the URL of a blog, website, or del.ici.ous username to make a wordle of their tags (I don’t personally recommend this feature, it never turns out as interesting as I hope it will).
Things to keep in mind…
The size of the word is based purely on how many times you type a single word. Type it ten times, it should be quite large; just once, it will be the smallest.
To put phrases into your wordle, separate the words with a tilde character —-> ~ (no additional spaces needed). So if I wanted my Wordle to have the phrase “I love you.” I would have to input it as: I~love~you. Get it?
Again, the more words the better.
Next, copy and paste all of your words and phrases into a text field of some sort. This is tres importante because once you hit “Go,” you won’t be able to go back and change anything — all the text will be lost if you go back on your browser or hit “create” again. (I just paste mine into a MS Word doc, just in case I notice a typo or want to add more words after I hit “go.”)
Hit “Go” to generate a wordle! Ooohhhh….. Aaaahhhh…….
From here, you can alter the font, color, and layout of your wordle. Play around with the different features until you find what you’re looking for. You can also create a custom color palette, changing the background as well (so it’s not just limited to black and white, in case you were wondering).
You can’t save wordles from the wordle website because they are Java applets, however you can take a screenshot of your Wordle and edit it in Paintbrush!
“How do I take a screenshot?” What a fine question! :)
On your computer’s keyboard, hit CTRL and the PRTSC/ SYSRQ key (bottom left hand corner and top right hand corner, respectively).
Then open Paintbrush (or a similar program) and hit CTRL + V to paste the screenshot.
From here you can use the cutting tool in Paint to cut just the Wordle.
Then on your keyboard, click CTRL + N to open a new Paint window, choose to not save the current window, then hit CTRL + V one last time to paste your cut Wordle on the Paint canvas (isn’t it purdy?). From here you can minimize the white space of your canvas by pulling it in from the sides (look for those handy arrows that creep up when you run your mouse over the sides).
Finally, you can save the cut wordle by going to “File” at the top of the screen, clicking “Save As,” and giving your Wordle a name (then, you know… save it!).
Now that you have it saved as an image file, you can do whatever you want with it! I think I’ll be sending my to Staples to get printed (their color printing is so much better/cheaper than what my printer can do). Then it’ll go in a frame and I’ll stick it on the to-be-revealed-one-day-art-wall (we’ve still got some work to do).
But first, I have to decide which one to pick/print. Josh and I honeymooned in New Orleans, and it remains one of our very favorite places to go. I thought of as many NOLA related words as I could, then typed those into the Wordle text field and voila!
Three fun options for the future art wall:
(This first one has a typo… I know, I know…)
I think I’m leaning towards the second one. What do you think???
Other things you might fancy…