Using the Color Overlay Tool in Photoshop

When I first started digi scrapping, if I wanted to recolor an element, I would use the eye dropper tool to select a new color and then use the Fill Bucket tool to fill in the element. While that is certainly still one way of doing it, the color overlay tool has the edge for recoloring because of a few simple but effective features.

What is the Color Overlay Tool?

The color overlay tool is a really easy way to recolor single-color elements like paint splats, stamps, doodles, and frames. The overlay applies a selected color over the entire layer, and you can choose the blending mode that looks best (like color, overlay, soft light, etc.). Like all layer styles, it is a non-destructive way to edit an element. If you don’t like it, just remove or hide the layer style and it’s gone, leaving the original element intact.

Here are a few elements from The Daily Digi member exclusive kit My Life of Happiness:

For each layer, I selected the Color Overlay style from the Layer Style palette. The menu looks like this:

As you can see, there are three ways to customize your color overlays: (1) Color, (2) Blending Overlay, and (3) Opacity.

Color is pretty straightforward – it’s just the color that you would like the element to be.

The blending mode changes how the color interacts with the element. The choices are shown below. I find that I mainly use Normal, Overlay, Soft Light, Hue and Color, but I like to experiment with different modes until the effect is right.

Lastly, Opacity changes how transparent (or not) the layer style is.

For the example elements, I used a mix of Normal, Color and Overlay blending modes, with the opacity at 100%:

For most of these items, it was easy to recolor using the color overlay. However, it was just luck that the yellow flower turned the right shade of blue. (With very dark or very light textured elements, the color overlay won’t always work and changing from one color to a very different color, like red to green, is really difficult.)

How do you like to recolor simple elements?

Quickly Adding a Stroke to Lots of Photos

A long time ago, I told you about My Most Used Scrapping Trick. Adding a border to photos is a great way to make them pop!

Although the trick that I am going to share with you may seem obvious, I have found that sometimes the most obvious tricks pass me by unnoticed. So I thought I would share a little tip on adding a stroke to lots of photos.

I create a lot of two page layouts with lots of photos. I just figure it is a bigger bang for my scrapping buck. I have lots of kids and lots of photos and not a lot of time to scrap. Plus, I am a storyteller in my scrapping and I use photos to tell a story. That often means that there are many photos.

Sometimes on a layout with lots of photos, especially if there is a dark background, the photos can get kind of lost on the page. Adding a border to each photo helps significantly.

In this layout, for example, I have ten photos. I love the story that they tell but with the dark orange patterned paper, I feel like the edges of the photos get lost. So, I decided to add a border to each photo by adding a stroke.

Instead of adding the stroke to each photo individually in situations like this, I speed the process up.

Once I am done with my layout and my photo placement and I am sure I have the photos I want, I select all the photo layers and merge them into one. I press Command (Control on a PC) and then select each of the photo laters in my layers palette. Then I hit Command E to merge them.

As you can see, all my photos are on one layer now. This makes adding a stroke quick and easy. I do it just like I would when I add a stroke to just one photo.

I press Command and then click on the thumbnail of the photo layer in the layers palette. This selects all the pixels in the photo layer.

With the selection ready, I got to Edit > Stroke (Outline) Selection.

I then select my color (white) and stroke width (25), being sure to choose INSIDE for the stroke location. See this post for the reasoning behind choosing INSIDE.

And DONE! Rather than going through that process ten times with each photo, I just have to do it once! I then add my shadow to the one big photo layer, and I call my layout done.

Do you have any little tips or tricks that make your scrapping go faster?

Click & Create Classes from The Daily Digi

We are so excited to share with all of you that we are now offering CLASSES on The Daily Digi! Yes, CLASSES! It has been two very long years in the process to get here, it feels a little surreal.

Click & Create Classes from The Daily Digi are ready for you, when you are ready to learn! They are fashioned similar to our Playbooks, in that the lessons are in PDF format with written instructions and the videos are embedded right there. Just click PLAY on the PDF page and the video will open. It’s easy! You can also print the PDF, if you like to have it as reference while you work.

We have a class to help you get your photos organized by Melissa Shanhun. Helping you get all of your photos organized across all of your cameras, devices, and harddrives.:

In this class, you will learn:

  • Gathering photos from all your cameras and devices
  • Importing them into Photoshop Elements Organizer
  • Setting up a system for new photos
  • Documenting who, what, where and when automagically
  • Setting you up for success so you have your photos in hand when you are ready to scrap

Then we have an introduction to digital scrapbooking by Janet Phillips (but don’t let the introduction part fool you, I learned several things while I was going through her lessons):

In this class, you will learn everything you need to know to:

  • install Photoshop Elements on your computer
  • find and download products
  • start creating layouts (using templates, quick pages, and creating your very own layout from scratch).
  • how to use many digital scrapbooking tools and techniques in your scrapping.

One of the things that I LOVE about both of these instructors is that the make it so EASY! They break the lessons down into a digital dose that make it possible for everyone to have success! Janet and Melissa both LOVE the topics that they are teaching and KNOW them inside and out!

I’m thrilled to be welcoming them as teachers at The Daily Digi! Keep an eye out, they both have more classes in the works (woot woot!)

Do you have a topic you would love to see taught, here at The Daily Digi? Click “contact us” at the top of the page and let us know your thoughts!

Saving Parts of a Template

It’s no secret that I love templates. I love how much time they save me, how easy they make my scrapping, and how versatile they can be. I’ve already written a number of posts on templates that you can check out (and you can search in the sidebar to the right for even more)

Top Ten Reasons to Love Templates, Part One, Part Two, and Part 3

Changing Photo Spots on a Template

Making Templates Work for You

Two Page Layouts Using Templates

One Template, One Scrapper, Five Layouts

In this quick five minute video I will show you yet another cool thing that you can do with templates: save part of them to use again. If you are reading this in a blog reader and don’t see the video, be sure to click on over to the site.

5 Reasons to Choose Black & White Photos for Scrapbooking

A few weeks ago, my children watched The Wizard of Oz for the first time. I had told them long ago that they could watch once they finished the book. That day finally came and they excitedly settled themselves in for the movie. My nine-year-old son, after only a few minutes, was bored and wanted to turn it off. As he was about to give up all hope, the scenes turned to color and his attention was captured. Apparently he doesn’t see any value in black and white.

I, on the other hand, I love black and white. At least in my photos. There is something so stunning, so timeless, and so meaningful about a good black and white photo. While my kids might see the lack of color as a lack of interest, I believe that properly used, a black and white photo is so much more powerful than its colored counterpart.

I once shared about how to get better black and whites. Although I now use Lightroom instead of PSE to do my conversions, my love for crisp blacks and white whites remains. No muddy grey for me!

One question that scrappers ask is, “How do black and white photos work for scrapbooking? When is a good time to use them?”

In looking through my pages, I have found that there are five main reasons I choose to use black and white photo(s) instead of color:

1. When I want to use a kit that doesn’t match or is “busy.”

In this layout, I loved all the color of the semi-solid background and the big red hearts. I felt that the colored photos would compete with the fun page. By contrasting all of the color with black and white photos, both the photos and the page get to shine.

I love this kit by Kristin Cronin-Barrow and Zoe Pearn (actually, I love any and all kits by either designer, solo or collab!) I wanted to use the great colors and patterns but my photos didn’t match at all. My son’s outfit was royal blue with spots of red and I knew it wouldn’t work with this kit. By making the photos black and white, I got to use the awesome boy kit and the photos I loved.

This layout is another example of me wanting to use a kit that didn’t match my photos. I adore this flowered paper but it wouldn’t have worked with my daughter’s purple shirt.

2. When the quality of the photo(s) is poor.

I firmly believe that black and white photos are more forgiving when it comes to exposure, color casts, and white balance issues. When I lack high quality photos, I often just convert to black and white to solve the issue.

In these photos of my sweet niece, there were awful color casts on the photos due to multiple lighting sources. No matter what I did to try and fix them, they just seemed off. By changing the photos to black and white, I solved the distracting problem and was instead able to focus on her absolute cuteness.

The photos in this layout were taken in Photobooth on my computer. Their quality wasn’t great, but I loved them anyway. The black and white conversion took photos that were only okay and made them great.

Despite what Pinterest-worthy professional photographs seem to imply, newborns aren’t really known for their smooth and peachy skin. I loved this serious-faced photo of my son but his red blotchiness was not easily overcome. Making the photo black and white helped the layout feature his sweet boyness rather than his oh-so-red face.

3. When I am afraid that the story of the layout will get lost in a sea of color.

Sometimes, photos are just too precious to allow them to get lost in the midst of lots of color. This is especially true when the photos themselves are “busy,” as is often the case during events. When I feel like the color in the photos is doing nothing to add to the story, but rather, it is taking away, I take it away. I want the viewers eye to be drawn into what I am trying to communicate through the photos rather than be distracted by the rainbow of visual fluff.

The birth of my son was an incredibly special event. I love all of the photos that my husband took that documented our special day. Having these photos in color, though, would have been distracting. Instead, the black and white pictures tell a beautiful story.

Within a few hours of the birth, our hospital room was flooded with visitors. My five other children couldn’t wait to meet their new brother. My sister and her family arrived from out of town and my aunt and uncle came as well. I love seeing all of these people enjoying our new little one and wanted a layout to remember it all. Because there is so much going on in the photos, I felt that the black and white helps the viewer focus on the on the photos rather than get distracted by competing colors and patterns.

4. When my children’s clothes don’t match.

Now don’t laugh. I can’t be the only mom who lets the kids dress themselves, resulting in some interesting color combos. Sometimes, a photo is so precious that there is no way I am going to let some crazy mismatched patterns and wild colors keep me from using it.

Take this photo for example. We were getting ready to leave the hotel and my kids piled on the bed for a photo. Every time I put my youngest son down with his siblings, he immediately crawled away. I love the photo and I smile every time I see it. When I scrap it, though, I will most likely use a black and white photo so that the crazy colors don’t distract from the priceless expressions.

5. Because I like it!

Sometimes, there is no great reason to use black and whites photos other than the fact that I love them.

These photos were simple enough that they could have been used either in color or in black and white. I tried them both and just loved how the black and white popped against the fun colors and patterns.

Likewise, this photo was pretty in color. However, after playing around with it for a bit and trying both versions on this layout, I decided I like the black and white. It draws me in to the photo, which of course is the whole point of the page!

So there you have it. My top reasons for choosing a yummy black and white. What about you? What makes you choose to ditch the color?

​Clip Paper to Everything

Digital scrapbooking is very flexible. You can recolour, resize, warp and skew anything in a kit. My favourite trick is using elements in a kit as clipping masks with either another paper from the same kit or another kit altogether. (You can learn more about how to work with clipping masks in this tutorial.) This is an awesome way of stretching your supplies and making easy new elements for your scrapbook page.

Here are some elements from Tinsel by Lynne-Marie, which was included in November’s Digi Files.

I used them with some papers (and a couple of outer strokes) from Baby It’s Cold Outside by Etc. by Danyale to come up with this:

A Few More Examples

Here are some interesting shapes from Sweet Days With You by Misty Cato:

And here they with some papers clipped to them from Revealed by Taylormade:

Here are some shapes from My Life of Change, TDD Member Exclusive Kit:

And clipped with other papers from the same kit:

The idea is really simple, but it creates so many opportunities to easily change up a kit and add new elements to your page.

What I HAVE accomplished

hooray by one little bird designs

Jubilee by One Little Bird Designs

As memory keepers, we often focus on how “behind” we are with our scrapbooking, photo organization, documenting, etc. It’s so easy to see what hasn’t been done! How many times do you stop to recognize the layouts you’ve completed? Do you ever pat yourself on the back for the stories you HAVE told? Even if you have only completed one pages, you have accomplished something special. If you have written journal entries, blog posts, or social media updates, you have done something to preserve and celebrate your memories.

I was lamenting the fact that I have so many “holes” in our albums. I scrap in spurts and I scrap out of order so in a lot of ways, I’m quite behind. Then I realize how ridiculous that sounds when I take into consideration that I have literally created thousands of layouts. Yes, I have completed a lot of pages and I’ve told a lot of stories! I’m hoping if I share some of my accomplishments here, it will help you to remember to take stock of what you have done as well. Let’s take this opportunity to celebrate what IS finished!

Pictures on Pages

06.2 right

I’m loving the simple and manageable style of pocket scrapping! Just fill the slots with papers, cards, and photos, and a memory is saved. By letting go of complicated page designs, I’ve been able to get more layouts done which means more stories told.

Here are some great resources to help you scrap this way:

Both Sides of the Spread

2 page spread

I’ve spent years scrapping one page at a time in any order I please. It’s been fun to create as my mood dictates and I still love to do that. However, I’ve been much more aware over the past few months that I really feel a lot of satisfaction from finishing a two page spread. Even if the two layouts don’t “match” each other, it just feels nice to have a complete feeling in my albums.

Help for getting spreads done:

Writing Down the Memories

Scrapbook Lady Stories_White Pas

Anytime I include a big block of journaling on my page, I make sure to congratulate myself. Words are such an important part of the documenting process and I really believe that in some cases they are more valuable than the photos we share. The layouts I love the most are the ones with words!

Resources to help you write more:

Documenting the Details

Scrapbook Lady Sixteens_free layout

With a camera (smartphone) in my pocket at all times, I’m capturing life’s little moments. I have pictures of food, toys, books, shoes, and other small details of everyday life that wouldn’t have been part of my scrapbooking process in the past.

How to document the details:

Enjoying the Process

Scrapbook Lady Sixties_Sample Layout

Perhaps one of the most overlooked accomplishments of being a memory keeper is the FUN factor. I’ve had a great time creating these pages and scrapping is a form of stress-relief, therapy, and recreation for me. Nothing wrong with that!


I love trying out new styles and I can do anything I want with a digital canvas as a starting point!

digi smashing

If you find that you aren’t enjoying the process of scrapping, it might be time to shake things up a bit and try out a new style or some interesting techniques.

Try something new:

Use today’s post as a challenge to yourself to celebrate the things you have learned and accomplished. It’s way to easy to focus on what we are failing at. Let’s all give ourselves a break and enjoy the beauty of being a memory keeper!

katie big

Combining Color + Black & White Photos on the Same Page

combining color with black and white photos

Black and White photos are so stunning on a layout and I love the way they look. I’m also a big fan of bright and colorful pictures. Thankfully, there is no need to choose one over the other – it’s absolutely fine to combine them both on the very same page. Team member Anne uses this technique often and I think you will agree that it is a fun and beautiful way to scrap! Here are some of her amazing layouts:

Anne november


well played


The River


Anne star


Å bygge høge tårn er skikkeleg gøy! Særleg når ein har hjølp av gode venner. MT er ivrig og vil gjerne lære bort kor lett og moro det er å vere byggmeister. Ein må vere både tålmodig og stø på handa, og ein må takle at heile bygg- verket plutseleg kan dundre i golvet. Da er det bare å byrje på han igjen. Som vanleg var MT mest ivrig, men det er ikkje tvil om at  også hadde det moro. Han var i alle fall ivrig til å gje MT pinnane etter kvart som høgda blei så stor at dei måtte finne ein stol for å få satt på dei siste bitane. Diggar storleg bildet der det går opp for dei at tårnet alt er høgare enn dei begge. Stort skal det vere! | 16.10.08</p> <p>Credits:<br /> Template from Slices of Life by Scrabook Lady<br /> Papers and elements from Miles of Smiles by Heater Rosellini</p> <p>Font:<br /> Typewriter Scribbled<br />


It’s kind of odd, but I do love snapping photos of cups and mugs when I sit down for a little break. This is my 2012 collection. </p> <p>Credits:<br /> Template by Nettio Designs (higly modified by me)<br /> Papers and elements by Karah Fredriks (part of the digifiles from February 2013)


Using a combination of different color treatments adds a lot of interest to the layouts and I bet you noticed that the black & white pictures stood out just a little bit more. This is a great way to call attention to some special pictures. The opposite can also be true – on a page with mostly black & white photos, the color prints seem to jump out.

Here are some fabulous examples from our Flickr group (all images are linked for credits)



Ronnie Navy










Ronnie howdy


Have fun mixing color + black & white photos, you will love the results!


So many forms of digital memory keeping

digital memory keeping

After more than 8 years as a digital scrapbooker, I am certain that right now is the BEST time ever for this type of memory keeping. There have never been as many options as we currently have and our community is overflowing with well-designed supplies and helpful resources. It’s a good time to be a digi scrapper!

The definition of digital scrapbooking has broadened over the years to include all forms of digital memory documenting. We can use our computers, Photoshop, smart phones, tablets, apps, social media, photobooks, templates, and any number of designs to capture our memories in a meaningful way.

Want to see what today’s digital memory keeping looks like? Here are some wonderful and inspirational examples:

Scrapbook Layouts

Just like paper scrappers, digital memory keepers like to combine photos, words, and decorative touches to make their memory into a masterpiece. There are so many ways to make a digital layout!

keldakitty layout

page by keldakitty from our Digital Scrapbook Inspiration group


Pocket Pages

Project Life and other pocket scrapbooking formats have made it fun and easy to capture life one rectangle or square at a time. The old time photo album format met up with new age scrapbooking and created a style that is accessible to many different types of memory keepers.


page by scrapandsass from our Digital Pocket Scrapping group


Art Journaling

Artsy and creative don’t have to involve physical supplies – digital art journaling is so much fun and there’s no mess to clean up!

digital art journal

page by lynnirene from our Digital Scrapbook Inspiration group


Photo Books

With so many companies offering drag and drop templates for photobooks, it has become incredibly easy to save memories in this format. We especially love AdoramaPix and want to remind you about the awesome 40% off coupon for our readers – it expires in November, so hurry!


photobook by Katie using AdoramaPix + Instagram


Card Making

In today’s connected world, we often have friends all over the globe. Digital cards can be sent anywhere and shared on social media. Or you can always print them out and give them in a more traditional manner.

card by Ronnie Texas

card by RonnieTexas from our Digital Scrapbook Inspiration group



Yes, bloggers really are digital memory keepers… even if they don’t think of themselves as such. Sharing digital images and words on a blog is a great form of documentation!

Memory Monday_ our first kitchen - Katie the Scrapbook Lady-1

Memory Monday post from Katie the Scrapbook Lady blog


Social Media Sharing

Photo sharing, status updates, and online conversations have become forms of memory documentation that even non-scrappers have embraced. Stories are being told through small posts on sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more.

status update



Using  words + photos type of apps is a super easy and mobile way to digitally document your memories. There are oodles of options out there and you can even create collages that are very similar to full scrapbook layouts!

steph adventures

created by Steph using Over



There are lots of ways to tell your story using online formats from websites. You can save notes & pictures in Evernote, answer prompt questions on Proust, or create picture collages and projects with sites like PicMonkey. The internet is a big helper when it comes to memory keeping!

favorite shoes

created by Katie with Proust



The next best thing to being there in person is to have a video of the moment. YouTube, Vimeo, and photo sites that have video sharing capabilities are all part of digital memory keeping.


Video interview by Janet Phillips


I just love having all of these tools and resources to help me share my memories. I bet you will agree that this is the best time in history to be a memory keeper. Digi rocks!

katie big

Starting With Words and Photos


Supplies: June Storyteller by Just Jaimee

I have so many summertime photos to scrapbook right now, it’s hard to decide where to start. This is a good problem to have though!

I have to start somewhere, so I found a few photos that made me smile. I decided to tell the story related to the photos as simply as I could, by going back to the basics. For me, that meant putting the emphasis on the photos and the story and building the page around that foundation.

First, I created a blank canvas and brought in the photos that I wanted on the page:


Then I rearranged them after reflecting on the story. I decided the one of the water set the tone for the page so it should be the largest. I also added some journaling:


I hunted for the right kit and decided on the June Storyteller kit by Just Jaimee:


I liked the “This Moment” tag because it helped draw attention to the close-up photo. To make the tag fit with the photo, I did a bit of rearranging, including resizing the text and moving the photo.


Then I added a title and a few more elements to help with the flow of the page:


And I’m calling it done! It’s a simple page – but the story is told and both of my children have already walked by the computer and looked at the layout. We talked about the time they petted a fish which made us all smile. As a memory keeper, that’s exactly what I hoped to achieve. Smile 

What are your favourite tips for keeping a page simple and focussed on the story and photos?