Shortly before Christmas I was looking around for gift ideas that wouldn't cost much and I stumbled across another great corner of the web! Tagxedo.com is a place to create word clouds in any shape you could possibly want! If you like word clouds, you'll want to check this out.
Tagxedo is a site that allows you to control many different aspects of the word cloud creation process. You can choose the shape of the cloud, the color scheme, the fonts, as well as what words are used. Let's get started!
First click "start now"
The image that loads will be a shadow of the image you uploaded. You can click the bars underneath to adjust how thick or thin your lines are. Keep in mind that very thin places will be unlikely to get filled with words.
Once you have your image the way you like it, click "accept" and your image will show up with the default words. To change which words show up, click "load" at the top of the left hand menu, right under the Tagxedo logo. From here you can upload a file from your desktop, you can enter a url or you can copy and paste (or type) whatever text you want into the box and then click "submit."
You now have your chosen words filling out your image. If you don't like the way it looks, you can change the shape or text at any point, but I recommend playing around with those before you move on to the next step.
On the left hand menu, you can adjust the color, color theme, fonts, orientation, and layout. Click the "reload" arrow will make a random adjustment, you you can click the black arrows next to theme, font, and orientation to be more purposeful about your adjustments.
When your image makes you happy, you can click "save|share" to...save or share it. There are lots of different options here as well, depending on the quality of the output you are looking for. I made a lot of these for friends for Christmas and printed them directly to the color printer and framed them. They made thoughtful, personal gifts for basically the price of a frame.
The ones I made for my kids were in the shape of something that made me think of them (horse for Frances, puppy for Henry, and tiger for Benjamin). I input words for each kid that included their name, nicknames, and other words that came to mind. I honestly thought it was a dorky kind of gift and more for me than for them, but they have spent hours looking at all the words and shouting them out excitedly. It is especially sweet for Henry because he is just becoming a fluent reader, so big jumbles of letters where words jump out at him are exciting!
Have you tried Tagxedo or do you think you might give it a try now? It's lots of fun with tons of options!