Tutorials

14 posts.

Guest Post: Creating Photo Strips

Please welcome former Creative Team member (and frequent SBE contributor) Shannon Zickel as the guest blogger this week!

If you would have asked me last year if I would be able to resize photos and create photo strips all by myself I would have thought you were delusional—especially if you had said I would be able to do it without taking any special classes or buying a book.  But after a little trial and error, I’ve come up with a formula that works well for me (and hopefully for you too). It allows me to quickly create photo strips to use in my layouts.  This has become my go to page design because it allows me to fit lots of pictures on a page.  These types of photo strips are great for vacation, sports seasons, and school and holiday recap pages.  You can use the photo strips alone, in a group or you can combine them with a larger focal photo for even more impact.

In the instructions below I am using the very ancient Photoshop Elements 2.0. I actually have newer versions but find myself gravitating to this version. While I have not tested these instructions on other versions, my guess would be that the instructions are very similar.  I also am sure that I am not doing this the professional way—as I said, I just learned this all on my own.  So there may be shortcuts I am missing or other thoughts on ways to improve. If you have one make sure to share it in the comments!

I begin by opening all the photos I want to scrap for an event.  Probably the hardest part of this process is the photo selection.  I find for me strips with four vertical photos, five horizontal photos, or one focal vertical combined with three horizontal photos work best.  For the example I am showing I used two strips of four vertical pictures and one strip of a combination of three horizontal and one larger vertical photo.

Now I am ready to start cropping and resizing my photos.  I choose the crop tool in PSE  and then I set the dimensions.  When I am working on a four vertical strip I set the dimensions at 1.75″ for the width and 2.25″ for the height.  I then set the resolution to 300 pixels/inch.  This setting is the standard for printing and allows for all photos to remain the same relative size when we transfer them to the new document for printing.  Once the dimensions are set I use the crop tool to crop my photo.

I then work through all the vertical photos(with the exception of the one that will be my larger focal photo) sizing them in the same way.

With the vertical photos all resized I move onto the horizontal photos.  I simply change the dimensions to a width of 2.25″ and a height of 1.75″ keeping the resolution the same at 300 pixels/inch. Once the dimensions are set I crop each of the horizontal photos.

The order in which you resize the pictures is not important; you just want to resize them all the appropriate sizes.  If you are using a larger vertical photo in combination with horizontal photos to complete a strip, then you will want to use the dimensions of 2.5″ as the width and 3.75″ as the height.  This will create a slightly larger photo that will match the width of the horizontal photos chosen for your photo strip.

With all the photos resized I quickly pull them all to the left of my workspace.

Now you are ready to open a new document to create your photo strips.  Start by selecting File and choosing new document.  You will want to create this document as an 8.5×11″ document for printing and set the resolution at 300 pixels/inch.  Make sure the drop down boxes on the right are set to inches and pixels/inch.

With your new document over you are now ready to begin moving pictures into this new document.  You will use the Move tool to do this.  After clicking on the Move tool, move your cursor to the photo you want and right-click and hold as you drag the photo to the new document.  Once you have the photo placed on the new document you can release the mouse to drop the photo.

After I move the picture, I minimize the original photo on the right, just part of my own process that allows me to work through all the photos quickly.  I am careful not to close the photo just in case I have made an error on my dimensions or pixel settings.  I also don’t want to save these resized photos, as I do not want to lose my original photo settings. I work through all the photos moving them one at a time to the new document.  At this point I don’t pay any particular attention to where they go on the new document; I just want to get them all over there.

Once all the photos have been moved I group them in the order I want them to appear on the photo strips.

I then increase my viewing ratio up to around 75% so I can align the pictures to be even on the edges.  While you could choose to place the photos and then crop them to create even edges, I choose to do this visual alignment as a shortcut.

With all the photos aligned I can reduce my viewing back down and get ready for the final step before printing, flattening your images.  Choose Layer from the top menu bar and scroll down to choose flatten image. Now you are ready to print!

Don’t’ let the number of screen shots intimidate you.  This really is a very simple process, and after you have tried it once you will see just how easy it is.

Now comes the fun part, time to create!

Personally, I like to trim my photo strips leaving a very small white border around the edges. That is certainly not a requirement, do what makes you happy.  And I also find myself overlapping several photo strips, again a personal choice.  As mentioned earlier, these photo strips are great for getting a lot of pictures into a layout.  Whether you choose to use one strip alone or combine three or four steps, once you get the hang of creating these photo strips I have a feeling you will be as addicted as I am to them!

Shannon

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Trim the Tree

101590205On the back page of our December issue, you can see trees created with patterned-paper and foam cones. Want to make your own? Here’s the scoop.

  1. 101590207Cut patterned paper into 1″ and 3/4″ strips.  Using decorative-edge scissors, cut the strips into 2-1/2″ long pieces.
  2. Curl one end of each piece with a smooth pencil.
  3. Adhere the strips in even layers around the foam cone using a hot-glue gun. When you get to the final layer, fold the tops of the paper strips down and adhere them to the top of the cone.
  4. Embellish with buttons, gems, and brads. Add a star or other shape to the top using a thin piece of wire.

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Jewelry Box + Bottle Cap Necklaces

Love the jewelry box and bottle cap necklace from the December issue (page 80)? Here’s how to make them.SBE-8-6-10-19050

The Necklace

Collect bottle caps from beverages (these were twist off caps from sparkling juice bottles) and wash them. Punch a hole in the top of the cap using a heavy-duty hole punch, such as the Crop-a-Dile. Punch a patterned paper circle to fit in the cap. (We used a 1″ punch.) Adhere the patterned paper with liquid adhesive, and consider sealing with a coat of dimensional adhesive (Mod-Podge, Glossy Accents, or Diamond Glaze) overtop. Once it is dry, add a chipboard letter or embellishment and a ring through the punched hole, then string on a chain.

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The Box

Vicki Boutin decorated a wooden box found at a dollar store to create this jewelry box.

  1. Spray the inside of the wooden box with ink.
  2. Cover the outside of the box with fabric tape and spray with ink. Let dry.
  3. Hammer bottle caps to flatten and add paper circles to the centers. Glue the bottle caps to the sides of the box.
  4. Creatae fabric blossoms by winding cotton fabric in a spiral shape. Adhere it to a cardstock circle using fabric glue.
  5. Spray the fabric flowers with ink. Let dry.
  6. Attach stacks of buttons to the bottom of the box to create legs.
  7. Adhere the fabric flowers to the top. Embellish.
SOURCES Patterned paper: Sassafras. Gaffer tape, velvet leaves: 7Gypsies. Buttons: Foofala by Autumn Leaves. Ink: Tattered Angels. Flower centers: Prima Marketing, Inc. Ribbon: Maya Road. Punch: Fiskars. Adhesive: Beacon Adhesives. Design: Vicki Boutin.

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Gift Tags Galore

In the “Get Tagged” story in our December issue, we share fun gift tags. Here are a few bonus tips and tricks to help make creating tags even easier.

“Joy” tag

To add an extra jingle to her tag, Erin Roe replaced the “o” in her sentiment with an actual bell.

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To attach the bell, cut a small hole in the back of the tag that is just large enough to stick the top of the bell through. Trim a small strip of cardstock and slide it through the top of the bell. Adhere both ends of the strip to back of the tag. It should look like this:

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“Many Thanks” tag

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Dress up a simple tag with hand-crafted flowers, as Vicki Boutin did here. To make the flowers, punch several circles from patterned paper. Lightly dampen them, then layer the paper circles and crumple to create the shape. Add a brad through the center and let dry.

3-D Tree

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Creating a dimensional tree like the one on this tag by Erin Roe is really easy.

101618179Simply cut or punch several triangles from patterned paper or cardstock and fold them in half. Adhere each half to half of another triangle until you create the desired shape, then adhere the accent to your tag.

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Quick Collage Basics: Week Five

Welcome to Quick Collage Basics, a six week blog series sharing basic techniques for our free photo templates. Each week I’ll post a new tutorial featuring a technique readers frequently ask about. All of the tutorials will be in Adobe Photoshop, but leave a comment if you have questions about adapting the instructions to the software you use.

Week Five: Recoloring the Background

Another way you can customize a photo collage is by recoloring the background to match your photos.

WEBrecoloring1

1. Open the photo collage you’d like to use and duplicate the background layer (Layer>Duplicate Layer). Begin building the collage as normal, making sure all of the photos are placed above both background layers.

WEBrecoloring22. Use your Eye-Dropper tool to pull a color from the photos. (I chose the gray that is on the monument in the middle of the horizontal photo.) Make sure your original background layer is selected, then choose your Paint Bucket tool and click on the transparent background.

Here are some examples of collages with color backgrounds.

Michelle Rubin chose a blue color to complement the red of her dad’s car.

Kim Crothers filled her collage background with patterned paper.

Melissa Inman changed the collage background black for contrast.

Have you tried changing the background of your collage? Do you have any tips or tricks for your fellow scrappers? Check back next week for step-by-step info on how to replace a photo block wtih digital elements. And if there are any Quick Collage techniques you have questions about that I haven’t covered, let me know!

Missed a week?

See Week Four: Deleting Excess

See Week Three: Combining and Deleting.

See Week Two: Stretching and Resizing.

See Week One: Flipping and Rotating.

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Quick Collage Basics: Week Four

Welcome to Quick Collage Basics, a six week blog series sharing basic techniques for our free photo templates. Each week I’ll post a new tutorial featuring a technique readers frequently ask about. All of the tutorials will be in Adobe Photoshop, but leave a comment if you have questions about adapting the instructions to the software you use.

Week Four: Deleting Excess from Shape Collages

When you delete excess photo from square or rectangle templates, it’s easy to use the Rectangular Marquee tool to select all of the area that needs to be removed. Some of the shape templates are a little trickier.

1. Open the collage template in your image-editing software.

2. Place your photo over the template block you would like to fill.

3. Go to Layer>Create Clipping Mask (or Layer>Group With Previous, depending on the version of your software) to drop the photo into the template.

4. Use the Rectangular Marquee tool to carefully select a large amount of the extra photo. Press the Delete key or go to Edit>Clear.

5. Zoom in on the area you’d like to delete. Switch to your Eraser tool, adjust the brush size as needed, and carefully erase the excess.

6. Zoom back out, admire your work, and then repeat the process to fill the rest of the template blocks.

Edited to add: I just discovered that when using the collages in Adobe Photoshop CS4, you need to rasterize smart objects before you can erase the excess. To do this, go to Layer>Rasterize>Smart Objects. If any other versions of Photoshop have slight variations, please let me know!

Do you have another method for deleting the extra? Have you discovered any awesome tricks for using the collages? Leave a comment and share your experiences with other scrappers. Then check back here next Tuesday for Week Five: Recoloring the Background.

Missed a week?

See Week Three: Combining and Deleting.

See Week Two: Stretching and Resizing.

See Week One: Flipping and Rotating.

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Quick Collage Basics: Week Three

Welcome to Quick Collage Basics, a six week blog series sharing basic techniques for our free photo templates. Each week I’ll post a new tutorial featuring a technique readers frequently ask about. All of the tutorials will be in Adobe Photoshop, but leave a comment if you have questions about adapting the instructions to the software you use.

Week Three: Deleting and Combining Template Blocks

It’s easy to customize digital templates by deleting or combining template blocks.

Deleting

1. Use your Rectangular Marquee tool to select the template block you would like to delete.

2. Go to Edit>Clear or press the Delete key to remove the block.

Combining

1. Use the Rectangular Marquee tool to select an area that is slightly wider and the same height as the space between the template blocks you would like to combine. Press Control + C.

2. Press Control + V to paste. (This will create a new layer.) Use the arrows on your keyboard to move the block over to bridge the gap between the two blocks.

These are the two methods I use when deleting and combining template blocks, but they aren’t the only way! If you’ve found a method that works for you, share it with your fellow scrappers in the section below! Next Tuesday, check back in for Week Four: Deleting Excess Photo from Shape Templates.

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Quick Collage Basics: Week Two

Welcome to Quick Collage Basics, a six week blog series sharing basic techniques for our free photo templates. Each week I’ll post a new tutorial featuring a technique readers frequently ask about. All of the tutorials will be in Adobe Photoshop, but leave a comment if you have questions about adapting the instructions to the software you use. Missed Week One? You can find the tutorial for flipping and resizing templates here.

Week Two: Resizing and Stretching

It’s easy to resize templates to fit your page (or shrink them to use as tiny accents, as Jennifer Perks did on this nature page and the back-to-school layout shown below.) Or you can stretch templates to bridge a two-page layout.

Resizing

1. Navigate to Image>Image Size. In the dialog box that opens up, check “Constrain Proportions” and enter the new size under “Document Size.”

Stretching

1. To stretch a collage, go to Image>Image Size and make sure the “Constrain Proportions” box is not checked.

2. Enter a new width or height under “Document Size,” press ok, and see the results.

Here are some examples of layout using resized or stretched collages.

Valerie Salmon enlarged this collage so it takes up more space on her 12×12″ layout.

Melissa Inman stretched this collage before trimming it.

Jennifer Perks resized the circle collage to create a cute spinner accent.

Have you made a page using a digital template? What techniques would you like to learn more about? Leave a comment and let us know! And check back next Tuesday for Week Three: Combining and Deleting template blocks.

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Quick Collage Basics: Week One

Welcome to Quick Collage Basics, a six week blog series sharing basic techniques for our free photo templates. Each week I’ll post a new tutorial featuring a technique readers frequently ask about. All of the tutorials will be in Adobe Photoshop, but leave a comment if you have questions about adapting the instructions to the software you use.

Week One: Rotating and Flipping

Rotating and flipping collages can be a great solution if the collage includes several horizontal blocks but most of your photos are vertical, or if you’re just looking to add a little variety to your collage pages.

Rotating

1. Open the digital template in image-editing software then navigate to Image>Image Rotation.

2. Select the amount you’d like to rotate the collage by choosing one of the pre-set options, such as the 90° clockwise shown in this screen shot. To rotate the collage to a different degree, select arbitrary and enter in the amount you would like to rotate.

Flipping

1. Open the digital template in image-editing software then navigate to Image>Image Rotation.

2. Select Flip Canvas Horizontal or Flip Canvas Vertical depending on the look you want.

Here are a few examples of pages with rotated or flipped collages.


Erikia Ghumm rotated this collage counterclockwise.

Melissa Inman flipped this collage.

Amy Licht rotated this shape collage and split it across a two-page layout.

Melissa Inman flipped her canvas vertically and then horizontally to create the collages on this two-page layout.

What Quick Collage techniques would you like to learn about? Check in next week for step-by-step info on stretching and resizing the collages.

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Make Snow Cone Accents

web101553665These yummy snow cones appear in our August issue (on page 12). Here’s how you can make your own.

1. Punch a circle from cardstock, then coat the top 3/4″ with a thick layer of dimensional adhesive, like Aleene’s Paper Glaze. Pour chunky crystal glitter on top, then gently press the glitter into the adhesive. Sprinkle another thin layer of glitter, then allow it to dry.

2. Once the adhesive it dry, randomly ink the glitter with alcohol ink.

3. Create a simple cone template with the top the same width as the widest part of the inked glitter. Trace the cone onto patterned paper and trim.

4. Create the illusion of wrapped paper by taking a small piece of the same patterned paper,  adhering it at a random angle near the bottom of the cone,and trimming off the excess.

5. Roll a piece of white printer paper, use adhesive to secure the roll, then attach it to the top of the cone.

SOURCES Cardstock: WorldWin Papers. Patterned paper: BoBunny Press (green, blue), Chatterbox (orange), Making Memories (purple). Ink: Ranger Industries. Punch: Fiskars. Adhesive: Aleene’s Paper Glaze. Glitter: Jo-Ann Stores. Design: Lisa Storms.

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