Design House Digital

Posts Tagged ‘Photoshop Elements’

Heart Garland Hybrid Project

One of the things I love about digital scrapbooking supplies is being able to print them off and use them in my paper crafting projects.  Some people call this hybrid crafting but I call my little projects “Print and Craft”.  Anyway, I thought it’d be fun to show you how to make a pretty heart garland.  Although Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, these heart garlands are perfect year round as home décor.  And pretty easy to make using my layered PSD template.

Project Notes + Overview: I’m using Photoshop CS6 but the technique works in Photoshop Elements too. If you use a different graphics/photo editing software program other than Photoshop (Elements), you can Google to find out how to use Clipping Masks for that particular program.  Clipping masks in Photoshop (Elements) is pretty easy technique to learn and is definitely for beginners; however, I’m assuming you have basic knowledge of how to use a computer and your software.  I’m using a PC so the file system and shortcut keys might be a little different if you’re on a MAC.

Ok, so let’s get started.

  1. First of all, you will need to download the Heart Garland Template but clicking on this link.  Download, save to your computer, unzip and open it in your graphics software
  2. Choose some digital papers for your hearts.  They can be 12×12, A4 or Letter Size.
  3. With your digital papers and your heart garland template open, select one of the hearts by clicking on the layer in the Layers palette
  4. Drag one of the papers to your heart garland template
  5. Make sure the paper is above one of the hearts as we are now going to clip the paper to the heart shape.  Go to Layers | Create Clipping Mask. Short cut key for this is Ctrl+Alt+G. You can also place your cursor between the 2 layers, click on the Alt key to create the clipping mask. Your cursor should change shape. It should look something like 2 interlocking circles.
  6. Now repeat the process again for the other hearts.
  7. Once you’ve done all 4 hearts, just print out onto good quality paper or card.
  8. Cut out the heart shapes and, using some glue or tape, stick some string to the back of each heart to create a garland.  Done!  Now you just need to find somewhere to hang it up!

More Tips & Tricks

  • Use different paper designs for each heart
  • Resize the papers (smaller) before clipping them.  Also rotate them if you need to.
  • Add buttons or bows on the string between hearts
  • Use digital stamps instead of paper and stamp designs onto the hearts.  Create a layer above each heart and stamp on that layer and then clip to the heart below as described above
  • Create garlands for the Seasons, birthday parties, bridal showers, baby showers, and holidays.
  • Get creative with photos and make a photo garland for a fun birthday decoration.
  • Print the template onto card, cut out and use as a template for fabric and make yourself some fabric hearts for a garland.

I hope you’ve found this project helpful and inspirational!  Go try it and post photos of your garlands in the gallery!  I’d love to see what you come up with.

I used my Ella Papers to create my garlands.

Create Custom Color Swatches in Photoshop Elements

It’s Karla Dudley here talking about all about custom colors! There are many times when I want create a custom color pallet for my designs or layouts & projects. I may want to draw inspiration from an add or website, photograph, layout + more! No matter the case, being able to create and save your own swatches in Photoshop can be a really useful technique not only for making layouts but for design as well. Today I’m going to show you how to make your own custom color swatches from an image within Photoshop Elements. (I’m using PSE 10 for this tutorial)

1.) Open the image you want to make your custom colors from. In this case I’m choosing a layout I did a while back.

2.) Duplicate your image by going to File > Duplicate. This will make a copy so you can preserve you original.

3.) Change the color mode by going to Image > Mode > Indexed Color. (If your image is already in Indexed Color then change it to RBG color and back to Indexed Color again.) The Indexed Color window will open up.

Use the setting as above with the color option going all the way to 256 colors. But most likely you will want to work with fewer colors so for this example I changed the color count to 30.

4.) Next go to Image > Mode > Color Table. The Color Table window with all your color swatches will open

5.) Super rad right? Now we need to save these swatches so we can use them. Click on Save and save the .act file in your presets folder.


c: > Program Files > Adobe > Photoshop Elements > Presets > Color Swatches


Applications > Adobe Photoshop Elements > Support Files > Presets > Color Swatches

6.) Load your swatches to your swatch pallet. First open your swatch pallet if it’s not already open by going to Window > Color Swatches. Open the fly-out window via the top right and select Load Swatches

Find your swatches and your all set! To Load your swatches will add them to the bottom of the swatches you already have. If you want to only have your custom swatches loaded (showing) then select Replace Swatches.

That’s it! I hope you enjoy playing with colors your way! And until next time,

Happy Scrappin!

2012 Shutterfly Wall Calendar – 20 Days of Christmas

This Christmas I am making custom wall calendars for my mom, dad, and Grandma!  It’s my first year doing this and it’s been a lot of fun.

I am printing a Shutterfly calendar. I know there are lots of places to do calendars, so feel free to use your favorite print company.

Collecting Birthdays and Photos

First, I emailed my aunts and cousins and siblings asked them to give me recent head shots of everyone in their family and a list of everyone’s birthdays.  Then I emailed them again, and then again. Finally I threatened the stragglers, and they eventually complied.

I have a account and I use it almost exclusively for getting photos from family members.  I just gave them my username & password and asked them to upload pictures.  And they did…  after a few reminders! has a handy uploader application but it’s a downloader too.  All my relatives have to do is drag & drop their picture folders and the program will upload them.  My brother Jeff gave me 140 photos!  To get them, I had to navigate to his folder and click “Sync.” A few minutes later and I had the full resolution version of all his photos. is a free account, but if you want extra storage you can pay a monthly fee.  I have a Plus (paid) membership and 20 GB of storage but haven’t used much of it at all.

Creating a Calendar Project

First I created a calendar project.  Then I was able to add events.  There’s a white “manage all my events” link at the top left of the screen.  I clicked on it and added everyone’s birthday.

Adding Birthdays with Photos

Then, I wanted to add head shots of everyone on their birthday. This is the process I used:

  • Color-correct the photos you want to use in Photoshop Lightroom (or Bridge/Camera Raw or Photoshop or Photoshop Elements) and then export them to a single folder at a high resolution.  It is not necessary to crop the photos at this point.
  • Upload the head shots you want to use into a new Shutterfly album
  • Go into your Calendar, click “Get More Pictures,” and add the entire head shot album to the calendar
  • Go into each month of the calendar.  There is a nice list of birthdays for the month on the left side of the page.
  • Drag and drop each head shot onto their birthday.  Then double-click on the day square, click “Edit Picture,” and add cropping and effects to the photo.

Making the top half of each calendar month

At this point, you could just upload more photos and use Shutterfly’s wizards to create the top half of each calendar month.  I don’t like to do that, though!  I like to use DHD templates and graphics and make my own digi pages.  So this is what I did:

  • Download the Shutterfly Photoshop Calendar template for the calendar top half.
  • Open the template in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements and save a copy for each month.  The template will have guide lines that mark the “bleed zone.” While you should fill the bleed zone up with the same background stuff you put on the rest of the page, be aware that anything outside the guides will most likely get cropped out.  So don’t put anything too good there.
  • Create your layouts.
  • Save your layouts.  Save one copy as a full .psd file, and another as a high-resolution .jpg file.
  • Upload your layouts to Shutterfly and add them to the calendar project.
  • Select the single-image template option for all of your month top pages, and drag & drop your layouts onto the correct zone.

My February Layout

In the above layout, I used one of Tiffany Tillman’s 52 Thursday Templates and papers from both Celeste Knight (Winter Woodland) and Agnes Biro (Dear Diary).

Make a Calendar Cover

Create a cover layout that is the same size as your other calendar layouts.  Then upload and drag & drop that in as well.  I made this cover using Celeste Knight’s Winter Woodland kit.

My Calendar Cover

School of Design – Blogging Secrets 4

School of Design

Welcome to Design House Digital’s School of Design. Today, and every single day in September, we’ll have new blog posts; informative, detailed, and FREE classes that will take your digital scrapbooking to the next level. Each subject will have a new post weekly, and at the end of the month you won’t believe how much you’ve learned!

I’ve recently had several conversations with my boys about not talking to strangers.  I guess it’s been on my mind.  I’m going to give you a similar lecture!

Today I want to talk about Internet safety and privacy.  As a Digi scrapbooker, we do so many things online these days, and it is really important to keep our family photos and information safe.

Should my blog be public or private?

If you have a family journal blog, ask yourself this:  Are you OK with strangers stumbling on your blog?  How about people you know: bosses, neighbors, family members?  If the answer to any of these questions is no, maybe you want to lock your blog down.

My sister has a really great blog.  She writes in hers like a family journal: everything that she writes about is related to her family.  She has even had her blog printed into a bound book at Blurb!  Her blog is ultra-private: it requires visitors to be logged-in, registered users that she has already approved.

She has a good reason for it.  Her husband has a very sensitive job, and his company doesn’t allow family pictures to be posted on the Internet.

To make your blog private in Blogger, go to Settings > Permissions and select “Only these readers.” That will allow you to specify the people you want to allow to view your blog.

Blog locked down

Should my blog be open to search engines?

Another way to go private is to hide your blog from search engines.  Fewer people will stumble on your blog, but strangers can still visit.  It’s like having an unlisted phone number: only people who know your number will come.

If your blog is locked down, you still need to make sure your blog is hidden from search engines.

To hide your blog from search engines, go to Settings > Privacy and answer “No” to both questions.

Private Blog

I want a public blog!  How can I blog safely?

There are so many great things about having a public blog.  You can connect with new people who have similar interests, you can get ad revenue, and you can share with the world your really fun, useful projects and techniques!  My favorite public blog (besides our blog here at Design House Digital) is my sister-in-law Jen’s blog – The Project Girl.  Take a minute and check it out!

1. Have all email go through a “Contact Us” form with a CAPTCHA

If you want to let people get in touch with you, provide a Contact Us form that has a CAPTCHA.  A CAPTCHA is a box with funny looking text that you have to type into the adjoining box. It ensures a human and not a robot is filling out the form.

I don’t have instructions on how to do this with Blogger right now; I’ll have to cover this in a separate blog post.

2. Strip Geo-coding out of your photos

Did you know that if you post a photo taken by your phone’s camera, your Geo-location is most likely embedded in the photo?  Does that scare you? It scares me, especially when I’m posting photos of my kids. Luckily, you can usually change your phone’s setting to turn this off for good.

If you are using an iPhone:

  1. Go to Settings > General > Location Services.
  2. Look for Camera and make sure that it’s turned OFF.

If you are using an Android Phone:

  1. Go into your Camera app
  2. Click on Menu, then look for Geo-tag photos

You can also change the metadata in photos you’ve already taken.  In the Photoshop Elements Organizer, right-click on a photo and choose “Show Properties.”  The address will appear in the properties in the bottom-right-hand corner of the organizer.

You should remove Geo-tagging from any photos you post online, including on Facebook.

If you only post digi layouts, no worries! The Geo-tagging doesn’t carry over from your photos into your digi layout!

3. Don’t post your address on your blog if you can help it

If you’re not selling anything, there’s no need to publish your address.  Leave it off, and let people contact you via email.

I hope you develop a habit of safe blogging, and protect yourself, your friends, and your family.

By Mary

School of Design – Blogging Secrets 3

Welcome to Design House Digital’s School of Design. Today, and every single day in September, we’ll have new blog posts; informative, detailed, and FREE classes that will take your digital scrapbooking to the next level. Each subject will have a new post weekly, and at the end of the month you won’t believe how much you’ve learned!

How to make a repeating background and put it on your blog

I’m going to show you how to create a repeating background for your blog.  Custom background are not too hard but give your blog a fun, unique feel.

For a repeating background, you will create a small graphic square with edges that match up.  Then when people visit your site, the background will be able to grow and shrink based on how big their browser window is.

1. Create a new Photoshop file

You can make yours as big or small as you want.  I’m going to make mine 100 pixels square.  Be sure to set it to 72 ppi (pixels per inch) because that’s the standard computer screen resolution.

New Background Image

In Photoshop Elements, go to File > New > Blank file..

2. Create a repeating background

A background needs to be the same around the edges.  You can do stripes, prints, solids, or a combination of them.

Sometimes the digi paper you like has a pattern built in.  Here is a background image I built using a flowered print paper out of Karen Funk’s The Sweet Life digital collection.  All I had to do was crop out the repeating pattern from the center.

Flowered Background

Sometimes the look you are going for is not so straightforward.  I’m going to illustrate the steps I take by creating a background out of a solid paper & elements from Celeste Knight’s Menagerie digital collection.

First, I crop a 100×100 pixel block out of the center of the background.  I stay away from the edges because designers usually put edging on their papers that is cool for scrapbooking but not so cool for blending repeatable backgrounds.


Crop a 100x100 pixel square

Second, I offset the image using the offset filter in Photoshop Elements.  I go to Filter > Other > Offset and enter in pixel offsets that are half the side of the image itself.  In my case, 50×50.  Make sure “Wrap Around” is checked.

Offset Filter

Filter > Other > Offset...

I will zoom in and show you how my background has been split up.  Basically, it’s been cut into 4 boxes and reversed, so what used to be the edging is now in the center of the image.  You’ll be able to see visible lines.  This is where the edge of the background didn’t match up.  We’ll fix it next.

After the offset

After the offset: see the lines in the center?

Third, I use the clone stamp tool to smooth out the center seams.  First, I select the clone stamp tool.  Then I alt-click a little above the center horizontal line and then tap across the edge.  Then I alt-click a little to the left of the center vertical line and tap across that edge.

After clone stamping

After clone stamping: lines are gone.

Now, I don’t have to stop at the one layer.  I’m going to add a second layer – a diagonal stripe using one of Celeste’s elements.  To check my work, I select the whole image and go to Edit > Define pattern from selection… and name it.  Then I create a new document, bigger – 1000×1000 pixels.  In the new document, I go to Edit > Fill Layer… and select the pattern I deifned.  If it looks good, I’m done! If not, I go back and fiddle with the original some more.  I can do the Offset Filter as many times as necessary, and stop when I’m happy with it.

3. Save my finished background for the web.

I’m going to save mine as a PNG-24 and name it background.png.

Save for Web

Save for Web

4. Install the background in my blog.

So I go to blogger, to Template and then Customize.  Then I select “Background” in the upper-right-hand corner.

Edit Template Background

Edit Template Background

There’s a little arrow next to Background Image.  I click on that and then on “Upload Image” in the upper left hand corner.

Upload Background Image

Upload Background Image

Here it is.

Blog with background

I don’t like the menagerie background with my blog.

So I installed the flowered one.  Then I decided it was too strong so I lowered the opacity on that layer.  I double-click the layer in the bottom-right-hand corner of Photoshop Elements and change opacity to 60%.  I also put a white layer below the flower layer – without it the background was a yucky milky gray.

Lower Opacity

Lower Opacity

I save it again and upload it to my blog template again.

When I’m happy with it, I have to hit “Apply to Blog” in the upper right hand corner or my changes won’t be saved.  Then I click on “View Blog.”

Here’s the finished product:

Blog with Background

Now you know the secrets to blog backgrounds!  I hope this was helpful to you!

Mary: Web Wonder Woman

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