Custom Note Cards with Aperture 3 and Red River Paper

I've created a step-by-step guide for laying out fine art note cards in Aperture 3 and printing them with your inkjet printer using Red River Paper stock. A few things have changed since I published the original article for laying out cards in Aperture, so I recommend that Aperture 3 users follow the settings in this article.

The biggest difference that I encountered using Aperture 3.1 and Mac OS X 10.6.5 with an Epson R2400 printer, was that creating a "custom paper size" befuddled the printer causing it to do nothing. To work around this problem, I designed a new template in Aperture 3 that is based on a standard Letter Size sheet (8.5" x 11"). By doing this, you should be able to print these 7" x 10" cards (folded to 5" x 7") with just about any photo printer.

Here are the steps I used:

  1. In Aperture, create a custom theme
  2. Turn on Show Layout Options
  3. Create a photo box 5.75" x 4.25" and place it like this
  4. Add a text box for the back of the card
  5. Place your type and rotate it 180 degrees
  6. You can choose a type style
  7. Be sure to turn off page numbering
  8. Now, all you have to do is print your card

I recommend that you turn on Aperture's Proofing Profile (View > Proofing Profile) for the type of paper you're using. It saves you from having to make test prints. Speaking of paper, there are a variety of surfaces to choose from in the Red River Card Shop. You can get high quality envelopes there too. I generally use #7163 for my card projects.

One finishing touch to consider is creating a handsomely designed 4"x6" insert for your note card. I print these in iPhoto '11 using one of the flat card templates. They look great!

More Aperture Tips and Techniques

To learn more about Aperture 3, check out my Aperture 3 Essential Training on Also, take a look at our Aperture 3 Learning Center. Tons of free content about how to get the most out of Aperture.

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Thank you so much for making this available. I just had a shipment of Red River cards come in today. Have a great Christmas.

Hi Kevin, That's terrific. If you run in to any problems, be sure to post here to everyone can see the conversation. Have a wonderful holiday season!

I wish I read this before. Derrick, good call on the no need to test print, I actually wasted a ton of paper test printing ( a few times ) , finally got it right but not before a total waste.

Bonnie Smith
COO/Director FXP

Thanks for the update Derrick. Very timely. I'm bookmarking this article as I can never find your old articles after they roll off the recent's list.


Thanks for this template. It makes printing cards much easier.

I am having trouble getting the same quality output printing thru Aperture's book formatting process that I do in using the standard process in printing from a project. The prints are somewhat dark and washed out in terms of color and saturation. This happens with all images. I am using Red River Pecos Gloss and Paper Canvas notecards and their corresponding ICC profiles. The prints I do using Epson paper and ICC profiles come out fine. I would appreciate any suggestions that may pertain to Aperture. I have emailed Red River for any suggestions they may have.

Hey Thomas, All of the Aperture content is available via the "Aperture 3" dropdown menu under "Photography". Also, the search works very well for this site. Just enter what you're looking for in the Search box. You should be able to find what you need. I use it all the time.

Derrick, I knew I was missing something. I'll give it a try. BTW, I jut finished printing 17 Christmas cards on RR Polar Matte 2 sided. This time I used Photoshop CS5 but I have used Aperture as well. They look great. My wife is very happy with me - thanks to you.

Red River Paper asked that I try printing in CS5 using their card stock adn profiles, and this worked fine. The problem remains that Aperture prints differently from projects than it does from Books. I am unable to get the same level of print quality using this part of Aperture. I would appreciate any ideas regarding to how to make this work.

Thanks -