How to Design a Custom Menu for Your Holiday Dinner

A custom printed menu can automatically make any dinner or gathering feel more official! After all the work you put in to craft a cohesive, delicious spread of dishes – you deserve to show it off! A printed menu detailing the entire spread makes the meal more memorable and will encourage your guests to pay attention to each dish.

Now, we know what you’re thinking, ‘it sounds like way too much work, a waste of time when there is still a long list of to-do’s, and besides, I know nothing about graphic design!’ But we’re here to tell you that you don’t have spend a lot of time on this and there are no fancy skills required. With multitudes of free customizable templates on easy-to-use websites like Canva, you can have custom-designed menus ready to print in minutes.

Here’s a quick step-by-step guide on how to make your own custom menu – we used Canva. And if you’re feeling inspired, you can try your hand at making invitations and place cards too!


  1. Make an account.

    A personal account is free, and gives you access to all their design templates, typefaces, and the ability to upload your own photos to customize your design.

  2. Choose a template.

    Select a template based on the kind of material you’d like to make. There are over 8,000 available, organized by themes as specific as Dinner Party menu or Thanksgiving Menu.

  3. Get creative!

    Once you’ve found a template you like, select the “Edit this template” button. Navigate through the different editing capabilities on the left sidebar menu. Once you’re happy with the layout, go ahead and work on the different elements, including the artwork, and any photos you want to add. Of course, you can stick with the original template design too!

  4. Add in your custom text.

    You can change the copy itself by clicking on the sample text in the template. Add more text, change the typefaces, adjust spacing, and edit the size of each text block. There are additional customizable typography blocks you can add in with the Text menu. In the Backgrounds menu, you can change the background color or add a pattern.

  5. Add in photos, if desired.

    In the Uploads menu, you can insert your own photographs to utilize in the design. Simply drag and drop into the uploader, and then onto your design! Adjust spacing, angle, and size with your mouse.

  6. Export and print!

    You can download your final file to print yourself, or order prints through Canva. (Note that if you do choose to order prints, they may take up to a few weeks.)

And it’s as simple as that. We’d love to see what you create – share your designs and holiday tables with us by tagging us @caoliveranch and #myCORkitchen on Instagram!

Warm holiday wishes and happy hosting from all of us at California Olive Ranch.


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