How to make your own digital scrapbook template

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One of the questions we get asked the most here at The Daily Digi is “how can I make my own templates?” I (Katie) LOVE templates and rarely scrap without one these days. I bet you will notice that a lot of our team members feel the same way. Templates make digi scrapping so fast and easy! Plus, you can use and re-use them in so many ways. Want to see how to make the same template look different each time?

If you need some general tips for using layered templates, be sure to check out these past posts and tutorials:

While there are SO many great templates already out there, sometimes you might want to make your own. All you need is a photo editing program that supports layers (such as Photoshop Elements or Photoshop).

Creating your own digital template from scratch:

Open a new project. I always use 12×12 size, 300 dpi for the best quality. For templates I select a white background or colored background. I’m using Photoshop Elements 8 for this demonstration. Steps might vary slightly in other programs.

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Be sure to save your file to a location where you will be able to find it later. I keep things on my desktop while I’m working on them and move them to a different storage folder after I’m done.

Feel free to change the color of the background layer (and any other layer you create) to help you keep track of where things go in your layered template design. Some scrappers like to keep all the papers in 1 color family, all the photos in another color family, and all the embellishments in another set of colors. Others like to make each layer it’s own color. Some template designers just use variations of one color (grays are popular). There is no wrong or right way to do this, just use the method that you prefer. For this demonstration I’m going to use a variety of colors to make it easier to visually follow along with the process.

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Using the paint bucket tool on the left sidebar, go to the area at the bottom left where you can select the background color. I chose a dark steel blue for the background layer. Then to add another layer, right click on the layer palette area next to the first layer and chose “Duplicate Layer”.

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You can then rename and/or recolor that new layer as desired. Once you have a layer duplicated (using the right click method),renamed (also using the right click menu), and re-colored using the paint bucket tool, you will want to change it’s size and/or it’s location in the template. Switch back to the move tool at the top of the left sidebar.

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I grabbed the corner of the top shape with my mouse and simply resized it. This keeps the square proportioned. Instead of grabbing the corner, you can just resize it in one direction to create a rectangle. Repeat as often as desired, naming each layer. Save frequently throughout the process.

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I like to start with the papers, then move on to the photo spots. Embellishments are always last for me. That is just my design style. Some scrappers might start with the accents and work on papers or photos last.

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Sometimes you will have shapes that you want to line up evenly. In this case, I want the photo spots to be aligned so I select each shape in the layers palette while holding down the CTRL key to allow for multiple selections. You can see that they are not lined up properly in the image below so I chose “Align” and then “left edges” from the menu bar above the workspace.

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Now they are perfectly aligned.

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Now I have the basics of this layered template done. I have a place for papers (decorative and journaling) and photos.

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I could stop here to keep it minimal, or I can still add a text box, a title placement, and embellishment guides. If I’m going to share the template with others, I like to add these finishing touches.

Use the horizontal text tool on the left sidebar to add your text and title. If you are going to share the template with others, they will have to have the same fonts installed on their computer to get the same look, so I used a very basic font (calibri) for this one. Whoever uses the template will probably change the font selection by choosing a different font from the drop down menu when they click on the text area. The title is just to show an idea of where to place a page title.

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Many templates have decorative shapes on them to show the user ideas for embellishment placement. An easy way to do this is to use the cookie cutter tool on the left sidebar. You will want to create a layer of paper to use the tool on. I created another layer and colored it pink. Then I selected the cookie cutter tool (looks like a star cookie cutter) and went to the drop down menu on the top horizontal bar. I picked the flower shape.

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Then I click on an area of the pink paper while I have the cookie cutter tool selected. Dragging with my mouse, I can make the shape as big as I want. Once I have the size of shape I want I click the green check mark to finalize the selection.

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Using the duplicate layer feature and the paint bucket tool, I created a few more flower shapes and clustered them together on the template.

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Most templates do not include shadowing since most digital scrapbookers like to create their own. If you want to pre-shadow all the papers and elements, anyone who uses the template can still adjust the shadow settings by clicking on the “fx” next to each layer.

Now that the template is created, just drag and drop the photos,digital scrapbook papers, and embellishments of your choice into the template. Clip or merge each paper to the chosen layer (CTRL + G is my friend!)

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La Patisserie by Sugar Plum Paperie and Paislee Press. Font is Traveling Typewriter

Presto! You have created a digital scrapbook template that can be used over and over again!

This layered template will be available as a free download to anyone who purchases the Playbook that comes out this Friday (October 1, 2010) with the new set of The Digi Files!

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P.S. We have even more BIG stuff in store for you on Friday! You have been asking for:

  • a way to be sure you never miss The Digi Files
  • a way to be rewarded when you consistently buy The Digi Files
  • a way to get this kit ….

On Friday all of your wishes will come true! Be sure to stop by on Friday October 1st to learn more!