Picnik Aftermath + Making Pinteresting Labels

January 24, 2012

I’ve had two cups of coffee so brace yourselves, this is a long post about photo editing, Picnik, and making labels for Pinterest. My friends, Google dropped a bomb on us over the weekend.  Perhaps you’ve heard, but according to their blog, Picnik, one of the best and most user friendly sites for online photo editing is closing on April 19th.

Deep breath people, deep breath.

Truth is, I’m upset like so many and there are hundreds (maybe over a thousand now) of disappointed and angry comments.  Picnik is/was so great for an easy photo tweak, I loved the Collages and Effects, and I used it to quickly make labels for Pinterest with the Basic Shapes tool.  Some of the basic Picnik tools have been moved to a Creative Kit on Google+ but after visiting, it’s really not the same thing. It seems this is Google’s way of forcing people to join their social network by transferring this popular program over to lure people over to Google+.

Hopefully they’ll reconsider, but let’s assume what’s done is done. What are we to do? What about kids who can’t join or those who don’t want to bother with Google+? We Picnik lovers are now mourning and seeking alternatives. What are our choices?

bye bye picnik

I’ve been hunting around for one over the last few days. It basically comes down to a few other online sites, upping your game by purchasing and learning to use Photoshop Elements, or turning to close but free equivalents like GIMP, Splash Up, and Pixlr.  My brother is slowly teaching me the ins and outs of Elements – I’m just amazed at what it can do.  I’m getting more proficient, but there is definitely a learning curve.  Often my eyes glaze over when working with Elements, which is why I’m excited Layla is planning some tutorials in the near future.

For us Picnik fans, sadly, there’s no one program that does exactly everything I or we want to do as quickly and easily as Picnik.  iPiccy is the most Picnik-like it its layout and user friendliness and has some of the same fancy tools we’ve become accustomed to (Clone Tool, Sketch Tool, and also a Painter tool), but lacks the sophisticated Frames, Borders, Collages, Shows, or Stickers (Geometric, Speech Bubbles, etc.) we loved over at Picnik.  iPiccy likes feedback, so feel free to suggest any Picnik like tools to them.

Fotoflexer has a few Photoshop like tools that are available like the ability to use Layers and Scissors (similar to the Lasso tool), Paint Bucket, Pencil, and Eye Dropper.  There are several fun Effects similar to Picnik and it will Beautify (meaning fix wrinkles like Picnik’s Wrinkle Remover) but still not as great as Picnik.  (Thanks Jen for letting me know about this one).

Pixlr Express is another online editor which offers the ability to make some quick adjustments, and also has some fun Effects and Overlays. They have a Teeth Whitening tool like Picnik, but no other Touch Ups or Stickers and a limited amount of Frames.  Photoshop Express Editor is available as well, and while their basic edit functions are superior to most, they have none of the other fabulous Tools, Effects, etc. offered by Picnik.  I’ve always liked Picasa for a basic photo edit, but again, no fancy Tools or Effects.  And then I checked out Pixenate and LunaPic and gave up due to their ads and the fact they seemed to be not very user friendly.  For two other articles offering helpful tips in the wake of Picnik closing, read the SITS girls post on Photo Editing Sites like Picnik and Susan’s article on 9 Photo Editing Alternatives to Picnik.  Also check out Rhoda’s tutorial on using Photoscape!

I also played with three free Photoshop Elements-like programs, they are GIMP, SplashUp and Pixlr.  GIMP requires you download the software, but it also has Layers, and a good toolbox (Paintbrush, Healing, Bucket, etc).  The nice thing about GIMP is once you download it, you can work without an internet connection.  Splash Up’s layout is also similar to Photoshop Elements, it offers Layers and Tools like EyeDropper, Marker, Eraser, etc.  My favorite was Pixlr, simply because it looks and feels the most like Elements and is completely free so you can work on it anywhere you have internet access. My brother and I played around with it a lot over the weekend and he was pretty impressed.


Onto Pinterest labels.  I was asked by a few how I make them and as I said above, it was with Picnik.  I started making those rectangular labels for my project posts because it looks nice and makes your project easily pinnable for readers. I also appreciate a great label when I spy a cool DIY project and want to file it away on Pinterest myself.  Since Picnik is closing, I’ve turned to Pixlr to make them.  For those of you who are interested in making labels for your projects for Pinterest, here’s how you do it in Pixlr in five steps.

1. Open Pixlr and then open your image.

label open image


2.  Click on the Drawing Tool about halfway down the toolbar, then select the Rectangle Tool in the upper left corner.

choose rectangle tool


3.  Adjust the opacity (50% is nice), change your border to zero, and change your Fill color to white.

change opacity border fill color


4.  You’ll see a little cross symbol appear on your screen.  Click and drag your opaque rectangle where you want it on your image, like so.

click and drag rectangle


5.  To add text, select the Type Tool, then choose your font and color.  (Note: You can adjust the font size up to 130 but if your image is over 1000 px, simply resize it down with the Image Tool in the top navigation bar to get the maximum size text to fit across your label.)  Take the time to watermark your image too while you’re here.

text tool font color


6.  Now save your image to your computer, you’re done.

botanical fern art on wall label blue label


Use the same rectangle tool and play around with the opacity and colors to make even more labels like this one…

pinterest labels


So readers and fellow bloggers, tell me.  Are you as upset at the demise of Picnik?  Any great editing sites or software you recommend? And for those of you who know Photoshop well, what do you think of the similar (but free) tools over at Pixlr?  How do they compare to Photoshop Elements?  Would love to hear from you too.



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149 Responses to “Picnik Aftermath + Making Pinteresting Labels”

  1. Kirsten says:

    I don’t know if this has been mentioned already, but I use Corel Paintshop Pro for all of my photo editing and typographic needs, and have for years. I love it. It has all of the functionality most people need in a Photoshop-like program, but it’s usually available for around $50 on sale.

  2. Erika says:

    So upsetting. Thanks for all the alternatives, Kate. I just got PS elements for Christmas. You aren’t kidding- major learning curve.

  3. Suzy says:

    I too was absolutely gobsmacked with picniks announcement…..WHY?
    I really do not understand. Is Google trying to take over the whole of the internet? I have had a look at Google + and you’re right, it’s just not the same as picnik and one of the reasons I actually paid for picnik was to use the excellent collage facility. As of yet it’s not included in + and I wonder will it be? If they produce the same sort of service picnik did I’d be quite happy to put up with this but I fear they will not. It’s the same with blogger, obviously now unless you use Google Chrome you don’t get the full ‘package’ as lots of blogs turn to a white page if you try to leave a comment but with chrome it works perfectly. Now I must admit I do like the new reply part in the comments section but at what cost, not everyone wants to use chrome and it’s unfair that they seemingly have to. I see a total Googality future!!

    I do have photoshop elements and what I actually have learnt has been good and the more I use it the better it gets and it is an excellent thing but boy it’s not that user friendly, certainly not the one click or drag like picnik. I even have the so called easy guide books to photoshop…..hahaha, say no more! I’m currently trying to master the collage in elements but it’s not easy. So please Layla if you are going to do tutorials PLEASE do it in dummies language (not saying you’re dummies out there, but I am!!)

    Just a quick note on Picasa, I have tried it and quite like some of it’s features but the one thing that really really annoyed me was deleting pictures and the fact that it takes them off the whole of the computer whereas other programs (that I’m aware of) only delete from the program you are using and not taking over everything. I learnt the hard way with this and lost some pictures. Maybe I was doing something wrong but I won’t use it again.

    I’m going to check out some of the others listed now to see how good they are.

  4. Layla says:

    I’ve never used Picnik, but I LOVE Photoshop, and can’t wait to help folks learn how to use it!
    (Thank you for the sweet shout out, friend!)


  5. Andrea says:

    I haven’t used Picnik so I can’t weigh in on that but I do use Photoshop Elements and find it pretty much does everything I require for post-editing (and plenty that I don’t know how to use yet). I found a great book that explains Photoshop Elements very clearly and with lots of pictures. It is the Photoshop Element book for digital photographers by Scott Kelby and Matt Kloskowski. (I have no association with them – just like their book).

    I just created a Pinterest label (like your post describes) in PSE and found it super easy to figure out.

  6. monica says:

    I never used Picnik, but with the outrage over its demise I should have! I actually use Aviary sometimes. But since I’m a grad student, I may pony up and buy Adobe Creative Suite at the student rate. I mean ultimately, Photoshop and Illustrator are the best. :)

  7. Rory says:

    I know…so sad.

  8. Lu says:

    Great post. Thanks for sharing this. I am new at this and I’ve always thought which tools you use to make some images so pretty. Now I know, and maybe I can start doing some pretty ones too. :)
    Thanks. Lu

  9. Rory says:

    Someone suggested befunky.com and I checked it out along with the others you recommend and I think it’s the closest to picnik. If you don’t know what the tools are to do the effects, this is the way to go!

  10. Hello Kate ~ I’ve been following your blog for months now, and am so in love! Thank you for all the wonderful reads!
    I go the email too from Google about Picnik… My poor Love had to deal with all my complaining. But I came across Photoscape a few months back because I was looking for an editor that would do certain things that I couldn’t do with Picnik. I am using it now for my blog and am happy to say, that it is very useful. I wasn’t much into photoshop before, but I’m trying to learn more now. Photoscape is actually a free download so you don’t have to have internet access, and there are still so many tools that I haven’t been able to use. Here is the link so anyone can take a look : http://www.photoscape.org/ps/main/index.php


  11. Sandy says:

    I can’t believe it either! No picnik?!!!! I refuse to be enticed over to Google’s thang they’ve got goin’ on either! I have always loved photoshop elements but I have a very old version so I had been using picnik to do some different fun stuff that my old program couldn’t do. Guess now I’m just going to fork out some cashola for the newest elements version.

  12. Melissa says:

    Thanks for the alternative suggestions. I was gutted to see Picnik is closing. Booo Google Plus!

  13. April says:

    Does anyone know of a site that allows you to make collages similar to the ones you could make in picnik? I too am so sad about Picnik leaving! You can’t even use the collage function on the site anymore! I had planned on making a collage for each month of my baby’s first year, now I can’t! :(

  14. kelley says:

    I am a photographer & DIY hobbyist and absolutely love photoshop & LR3. There is no comparison, free or otherwise. Do yourself a favor and take the time to learn it proficiently. You will be glad you did.

  15. Yes. I was very upset to hear that Picnik is shutting down. I’ve been trying to find something similar since Elements requires a chunk of money and is a bit more complicated than I have time for. I’m going to try Pixlr like you suggested.

  16. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi April, you can do it by hand by cropping and resizing in Picasa with the collage function, just place all your images in a file and open that file in Picasa, click on collage and sort them in the order you like. That’s how I do it!

  17. Yuliya says:

    Upset is an understatement. I’ve used GIMP before and there’s quite the learning curve with that too.

  18. Emily says:

    Thanks for this tutorial! Got my first label ready for Thursday’s post! So kind to share…and I look forward to learning more about other photo editing options as mentioned above. Thanks again!

  19. bj says:

    After I got off OXYGEN and heart machine from nearly DYING when I heard PICNIK was leaving, I finally landed at
    which I am thinking might be as close to Picnik as I can find.
    I need to work with it awhile but sure am hoping it is a good one.

  20. april says:

    Oh my just so blustering mad! I need a few more weeks to be able to entertain any other options, and I am a full photoshop suite user.

    Damn that google!

  21. Thanks so much for this tutorial and the info on Pixlr! Using it now!

  22. Patty says:

    I, too, was upset when I heard the news about Picnik.
    I have been using Pixlr as well and I really like it. I am a professional photographer, however, and I do use PSE for my editing. It does take some time to learn but it’s worth it.
    You don’t have to spend a lot of money. Elements is not that expensive. I use the version 7 and it still pretty good. You can get some good deals on Amazon.

    But, yeah, I am totally going to miss my Picnik :(

  23. I’m totally bummed that picnik is closing. I just recently upgraded to a premium membership. Honestly I use it every single day! I create blog buttons, stickers, etc… using it. What will I do now?

  24. Christina says:

    You are not the only one upset!! Do you know if they will be closing Picasa, too? I hope not. It is really unfair for Google to take this away without food reason. I will not be going to Google+–I think if that is the reason they may be sorely disappointed. I bought Photoshop and Lightroom so I guess I need to learn how to use them!!

  25. Megan says:

    Picasa is a great alternative and is free too.

  26. DeeDee says:

    I was a newbie to Picknik right at the time Google announced it’s plans.
    IMHO I think it’s a way for them to try an prop up the (IMHO unappealing) Google+ environment, by taking great service sites like Picnik out of the main stream and trapping it in G+.
    I guess they hope the fans of the site will move on over to G+ as a result.
    Won’t work with me. Sorry to see it go.

  27. Ellie says:

    I only discovered picnik recently – thanks to your blog actually – and I was so delighted to have found it. I cant believe Google would do this- all to promote their Google+
    What a bummer.

  28. Heather says:

    I’ve been using GIMP for years because I love the layer feature and love that it’s a freebie. My husband is a photographer and has Photoshop Elements and Adobe Lightroom for the big jobs.

  29. I am seriously heartbroken about this. And figures- it is happening the day AFTER my son’s birthday. Guess I will be testing out one of these for the edits. So frustrating!

  30. April says:

    Thank you so very much for the tip Kate! I used Picasa to put together my baby’s 3 month collage. You saved me! :)

  31. Jenny says:

    Thanks for the Pixlr tutorial. I am also very upset that Picnik is closing. I joined Google+ to try their “creative kit” and it was awful. Even if they came out with the full picnik capability, I wouldn’t use it. I immediately removed my account. I don’t want the hassle of doing it on Google+.

    I’ve tried ipiccy a few times, but am so sad the curve tool isn’t there. I use that a lot to lighten up pics just a bit.

  32. TidyMom says:

    I’m very disappointed in picnik and Google, BUT I’m also SO glad that over the last year I’ve learned to you PS and PSE more!!

    http://everydayelementsonline.com/ is the be all end all site to help you learn how to use PSE (and most of it applies to PS as well) Amanda has amazing free tutorials, as well as very reasonable online workshops and actions! SHE is the sole reason I’ve learn to embrace PS and not be intimidated by it!!

    The only thing I had been going to Picnik for any more was for the collages, and Amanda is working on making some with an easy action to use!! YAY!!

    PLEASE check out her site!!

  33. Anna Marie says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Learning about Picnik’s impending doom was a bummer, especially since I was relying on it to edit my Etsy photos after my computer with Photoshop died. Just checked out Pixlr, and so far so good! It is very similar to Photoshop, so I already like it better than Picnik. Your blog is always full of great information, so again, thank you!!!

  34. Shelley says:

    You can apply some interesting photo effects at vintagejs.com and rollip.com.

  35. Barbara says:

    I used Picnik almost daily. As an amiture photographer, it was the most program I used to enhance, airbrush and color correct my photos. I have bought into the program for two years now. It offered so much as is so user friendly. I hate to think of my life without picnik!

  36. Lynette says:

    Thank you so much for going over the options. I have every intention of purchasing either Photoshop Elements or Lightroom some time in the next year. First I have to decide which one will work best for me, and at the moment PSE is in the lead. In the meantime, I really need something that is user friendly. I am overwhelmed with how much I have to learn about taking good photos to start with, much less editing them. I was going to try GIMP, but now I want to check out Pixlr. I am also adding Layla’s blog to my follow list for the tutorials. I have looked at her blog many times before, I’ve really no idea why I wasn’t already following.

  37. Snagit Editor allows you to do some photoshop type editing to screenshots. You can resize images to specific pixel widths, and I believe it also allows you to add text, arrows, etc to your drawings which makes them pinterest worthy. Older versions are free (and not as comprehensive), there is a free trial, and the newest software is only $50 if you can’t live without it. It would be worth a look if you need a quick photo editor. It’s basically a screenshot software that allows you to save the things you “snag” as a Jpeg and other file extensions after editing.

  38. LCutting says:

    Looks like Pixlr.com comes closest to picnik and they are asking former picnik users what functions we want! YAY Pixlr.com. I plan to tell EVERYONE I know about it, FB, blogs photo forums everywhere so they get a foothold. I hope everyone will do the same and make Pixlr.com the latest and greatest (even GREATER) that Picnik. I also hope that google+ goes down in flames and slinks away never to be seen or heard of again. Big corporate greedy monster, buys up the best stuff available and then cripples it but talks out of the otherside of their mouth to convice you it’s better than before, LIES!

  39. Kelly says:

    Progress can be SOOO anoying. I spent nearly a year stressing about whether I would use Piknic enough to warrant the Premium package. Finally, I pull the trigger and BLAM like a shot to the head, two months later they are announcing they are closing it. GOLLY GEESH people, can you have a little sympathy for the technically challenged. Does this qualify under the Disablilites Act?

    Now what? I’ve tried GIMP ~ to convoluted, Photo Shop OMG, PLEASE! I feel so betrayed by Google! I have been a loyal Googler from the beginning and now they treat me like a piece of consumer, catch-up-with-the-Joneses-social media meat. What gives ~ does loyalty mean nothing anymore?

    On a lighter note; I would like to thank Centsational Girl for this post. You just might have saved me from the BEST BUY Hell that is software sales. BE Blessed.

  40. Nancy G says:

    I just have to voice my opinion. I went over to Google+………I don’t like it, I don’t like it, I don’t like it. Okay I feel better! It is ridiculous! I am boycotting Google+ because of how they took away Picnik. (Sorry that is just how I am.) Now with that being said… I just know someone is going to step up to the plate and make a Picnik. Just think how popular they will become! iPiccy, pixlr and Fotoflexer like FEEDBACK…!! So please let them know how you are starving for more Picnik Like Effects. Okay I feel better… Oh… one more thing…I started using BING as my search engine…just sayin’ …!!

  41. Nancy G says:

    Oh…one more thing!!! Thank you for doing this post!!! I really like iPiccy…and if you read their faq page(facts) They are going to be just like Picnik…and have added so much since you did this post!! Happy as a clam…Nancy G

  42. Thanks for this great tutorial, Kate. I just finally had a chance to give it a whirl and it was so easy. Yay! You are a blessing offering such great info…appreciate you!

  43. Poppy says:

    I’m so new to blogging and Pinterest so I found your article exceptionally helpful! I realize Pinterest is a great tool to bring readers to your blog and have been wanting to find a way to make my photos more appealing. Thank you so much Centsational Girl! You have a great site with a focus on many of the things that interest me!

  44. Jenn says:

    Hi Kate,

    My name is Jenn, I’m part of a team of former-Picnikers. We see that you’ve been an avid user of Picnik and love to hear about your passion for great photos! We know you’re probably looking for an alternative to your old favorite so I wanted to let you know about http://www.PicMonkey.com — a new photo editing site built by a couple of the folks who brought you Picnik! It’ll be familiar, fun, and totally user-friendly.

    Sign up on our site and we’ll keep you updated on a launch date. Also, feel free to send me your feedback, feature requests, and, of course, any questions you have!

  45. CentsationalGirl says:

    Fantastic Jenn, thanks so much!

  46. Tacey says:

    A million thank you’s for this article!!! I needed an easy clone tool (my clients love it when they have no double chins in their pictures) and I hadn’t found one til I read this and looked up “iPiccy” I can now panic a little less about giving up Picnik.

  47. Benjalina says:

    Hi Kate,

    Ribbet! have just announced that they’re opening a photo editor that’s almost identical to Picnik (built on the same platform and with all the same features).

  48. JennieD says:

    Hi Everyone! I’ve just read some of the comments left here regarding the “demise” of Picnik and the replacements that can be used in place of “Picnik.” I read where someone said they used “GIMP” and I’ve got to tell you ~ long before I found out that it was a “free” software program ~ dummy me ~ actually paid for the program [downloadable version @ $49.99] and then later had to buy the CD version for an additional $19.99 [where all the tutorials are]. Yep, had a major learning curve & without the CD, would have probably never had figured it out! I’ve since bought PSE9 last June 2011 and self-taught myself the program. I’m still on a learning curve with the program, but for what I’ve used it with my editing on my photos, I’m quite happy. I also have “the photoshop elements 9 book for digital photographers” by “Scott Kelby & Matt Kloskowski” and I’ve found it quite easy to understand & use. Since I bought my PSE9 program, I promptly deleted the entire “GIMP” program off my computer & never looked back! :) I’ll also check out the other sites for some other editing tools to use. Took a quick look at iPiccy.com just to see some of it’s features [comparable to Picnik]. Haven’t had a chance to do anything with it yet. But soon! Will check out the “PicMonkey” site too. Never heard of “Ribbet.” Thanks for the other interesting info y’all.

  49. Thanks for the great article! I’ve been looking for how to do all the same Pinteresting Labels, but photoshop for me was a difficult program. But with Pixlr I caught instantly! You are a miracle!

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