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Getting Started: Making page templates

Crafty sewing ladies know that a good strong pattern goes a long way. It can save time and help you get the perfect results every time. This tip holds true for digital scrapbooking as well. To efficiently create layout after layout, start with a template. Here’s how:

Open your photo editor of choice – I’ve select GIMP here for demonstration. Select File > New. You should receive a prompt that asks for a variety of information. The important elements are size and resolution. You want to create a 12″x12″ page (or 8″x8″, 11″x8.5″, etc.) at 300 dpi resolution. Using a high number for the resolution is super important for getting high-quality results. 300 dpi works very well.

You should also select RGB for the color mode and begin with a white background. While starting from white is not essential, it can visually assist with your design process. Once all of these options have been selected, save your file as “12x12template”. Whenever you begin a new page, open the template and re-save with the desired file name. You’ll never have to worry whether your page is the right size or even more importantly, the right resolution to print beautiful pages.

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Getting Started: Making your first digital layout

Like with any creative project, getting that first idea down is often the toughest. Pre-formatted layouts known as “Quick Pages” are a super-quick way to break artist’s block or get your feet wet with digital scrapbooking.

A Quick Page is complete in terms of layout and design – all it needs is your extra love via a photo or two and some text. These single files (usually a .png) are some of the most commonly offered “freebies” – giveaways designers use to entice a digiscrapper to buy the whole collection. As a bonus, adding photos and text is a simple way to boost your confidence in using software like Adobe Photoshop Elements.

Example Quick Page to Download
In future posts, I’ll give you all the tips and tricks for finding freebies on the Web. For now, I wanted to give you a Quick Page with which to experiment. It’s just perfect for preserving all those fall holiday memories.

This Quick Page, or Template, is from Waleria Elisa. You can click the image to download a .zip file and start digiscrapping!

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Getting Started: Printing your digital scrapbooking pages

If you’re familiar with paper scrapbooking, you know that 12″x12″ layouts are very common. While it is very possible to be an 8″x8″, 8.5″x11″ or even 6″x6″ scrapper, these sizes are less common. Unfortunately, that likely means your awesome home photo printer might have a tough time printing the layout you spent so-much-time on! Like with any photos, there are a variety of options for printing 12″x12″ digital scrapbook pages. Here are some of Simple Scrapper’s tips for getting started:

Buy a specialty photo printer
Not all photo printers are created alike. Fortunately for scrapbooking enthusiasts, manufacturers are catching on. Epson and HP have products that can accomodate 12″x12″ paper and print all the way to the edge. One downside though, is the high cost of ink and archival paper.

Visit your local CostCo
While FedEx/Kinko’s can do a 12″x12″ print, digiscrappers recommend the excellent prices and great customer service at CostCo. CostCo prints on 12″x18″ large format paper for just $2.99 – so you can squeeze in a few 4″x6″ photos to the order!

Order online
Since you have the layout already computerized, its often easiest to upload to a printing service and wait a few days for it to be delivered via snail mail. There are many services that can and/or specialize in printing 12″x12″ scrapbook pages. Look for reviews of each of these printers (and others) in future Simple Scrapper posts (prices are for one 12″x12″ matte print):

Do you have any 12″x12″ printing stories to share? Simple Scrapper wants to know how you get your layouts from the laptop to real-life!

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Getting Started: Software for digital scrapbooking

Here at Simple Scrapper, when we talk about “software”, we’re generally referring to a design application that can be used for any creative project, including your digital layouts. These applications let you edit photos as well as preserve memories as a scrapbook.

There are also quite the variety of desktop, web-based and downloadable tools for scrapbook-like results. However, these tools don’t quite mimic the paper-based process. Most of the layouts you’ll see here and throughout the community were created with one of these software packages:

While I personally use Photoshop Elements most of the time and GIMP for quick edits at work, Simple Scrapper doesn’t play favorites. Check out the Web sites and read the reviews. What do you think? Which is the best?

By the way, don’t fret if learning software is not up your alley. Simple Scrapper will feature tips for these software packages as well as reviews of the super-simple all-in-one tools!

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How to start digital scrapbooking

The free, online mini-scrapping service Scrapblog has been around for almost 2 years now. This Web 2.0 application allows you to make digital scrapbooks without having to understand any software. It can even making importing pics super easy by linking to your account at places like Flickr or Photobucket.

An example Scrapblog layout

Scrapblog has certainly come a long way. There are dozens of templates, papers, and embellishments (they call them stickers). They even offer print products – cards and books – just like Kodak, Shutterfly, etc. Unfortunately, you cannot save a high resolution copy of your project to print elsewhere. But, the site is great for putting together an album or page you want to share on the Web or over email. For sure, it is the perfect way to test out digital scrapbooking with zero commitment.

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