Read back for a refresher in all the GIMP features we’ve used before, because we’re going to be using them all in this project.

Again, we’re making a banner from your own photography. Cartoons and cute graphics are okay if people already know what you sell, but remember that on Etsy people might just click your username in the forums without any other knowledge of your shop. The banner should encourage them to scroll down, just as your avatar should encourage them to click in the first place.

Open up the image you want to use, and click on the Rectangle Select tool in the upper left of the console. Tick that little box that says Fixed: Aspect ratio, and type 760:100 in the empty field. Etsy wants banners to be 760 pixels wide and 100 pixels high, so we’re starting by cutting out a rectangle that is 760 units wide and 100 units high. We’ll resize it later.

Remember to watch at the bottom of the screen to see how big an area you are actually selecting, in pixels — if you want it to be 760 wide in the end, you must select an area that is wider than 760 pixels to start with! Otherwise it’ll end up blurry because it’ll have to be blown up instead of shrunk down.

If you’re not happy with the area you selected, hit Ctrl+z to undo it, and try again. When you’ve got it right, click Image -> Crop to selection on the top menu bar. You now have a banner that is the correct aspect ratio, but larger than you need.

Here’s the new trick for this lesson: text! If you want to put text on your banner, now’s the time to do it, before resizing.

On the left-hand console you’ll see a button with a big black letter A. Click that to open the text options. When you move your mouse over your image, you’ll see that the mouse cursor has turned into a set of crosshairs. Click approximately where you’d like the text, and start typing.

The neat thing about GIMP is that you can adjust the appearance of the text after you’ve typed it. If you don’t like the typestyle, click the button that says Aa beside the name of the font, and pick a different font. If you don’t like the size, click the little up and down arrow buttons beside the Size box. If you don’t like the colour, click the box in the text options panel that shows the current colour, and choose a different one.

If you don’t like the positioning, move your mouse over the text itself on the image, and you’ll see the cursor turn into a standard ‘move’ icon — a cross made of arrows, like a simple compass rose. Click and drag to move the text you’ve typed anywhere else on the image.

If you really need to just get rid of your text and start over, click Windows -> Dockable Dialogs on the top menu bar, and choose Layers. When you’re editing graphics you add new features to your image in layers, and each layer can remain independent so that you can edit easily. One of the layers shown will be your base image (called the background), and another one will be the text (the name of this layer will be whatever you typed — if I typed Little Raven, the layer will be called Little Raven). To get rid of it completely, click it on the Layers window, and then click the little garbage can icon in the bottom right corner of that window. (Or you can just use Ctrl+z to back up step-by-step.)

Once you have an image you like, don’t worry about the fact that there’s still a dotted line around your text. That’ll stay there as long as you’re looking at the image in GIMP, but when you save the final image to upload to Etsy, it’ll go away. Click Image -> Scale Image on the top menu bar, and type 760 in the width box. The height box should automatically change to 100. Click OK and your image will be resized to the size that Etsy needs.

Click File -> Save, type a filename, and choose JPEG for your file type. Click Save and you’ll be asked to confirm a couple of details about saving as a JPEG — move the Quality slider all the way up to 100% when it asks, and if it says JPEGs don’t support transparency (don’t worry about it, it has to do with the layers), just accept the changes.

You’re done! Visit Your Etsy and upload your banner, and admire your shiney shop layout!