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Easy DIY Photo Cards

Easy DIY Photo Cards from Simple Scrapper

There are so many beautiful photo card designs today, but I’m often frustrated by the price point. We send 80 to 100 cards each year, and that adds up quick!

This has led me to design my own cards for the past three years. I thought it would be neat to share my process as well as the exact template I used for this year’s cards.

Before we get to it, I also want to make a confession here. I chose a 4×6 card size so that it would fit into my Project Life album!

Step 1. Concept

Two years ago I used Ali Edwards word art. Last year I used commercial fonts. This year I discovered the Oh Snap boutique for photographers. This digital shop offers an impressive array of on-trend graphics and ready-to-go templates.

While there were so many designs I loved, I purchased this set so I could easily customize the images. In this case, I really needed to include two horizontal photos.

Making Spirits Bright templates from Oh Snap

I had a particular eye towards the sentiment on the bottom right, as it was vertical in orientation. But having options in this bundle gave me some peace of mind for experimentation!

Step 2. Create

I started by creating a 4×6 template for my card with two horizontal photo spaces and one vertical sentiment space. After inserting my photos I used the color picker to select a red from my daughter’s shirt as a background color.

Free Photo Card Template from Simple Scrapper

I added the selected sentiment and a brief message with our family name at the bottom with the Lora font. There are so many beautiful digital brushes today, making it easy to personalize your card.

Download the Template
Not sure how to use layered templates? Watch this tutorial.

Step 3. Print

I do all of my mail order printing with Persnickety Prints. Chari and her team treat your images and projects with the utmost care. The quality can’t be beat!

Easy DIY Photo Cards from Simple Scrapper

I choose the 4×6 photographic card package (comes with envelopes!) with a matte finish and rounded corners. You can also have your cards printed on card stock, but make sure to leave 1/4″ margins to allow for trimming.

Have you ever designed your own holiday cards? Leave any tips and tricks in the comments!

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Add Digital Stamps to iPhone Photos

This post is part of our summer storytelling series. Click here to register for Stories of the Summer, a free summer scrapbooking class.

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Last weekend I shared this image on Instagram. I used a digital stamp from my Summer Stories Toolkit (see details below) on top of a silhouette photo taken at a recently graduation party. I knew right away I just had to share this relatively easy technique in a post!

Note: The instructions provided are for iPhone, but the apps used are available for iPad as well.

Step 1. Add Digital Stamp to iPhone via Dropbox

Dropbox is a free cloud storage and syncing service that I use on all of my devices. It works on Mac or PC and there are apps for iPad and iPhone. It is the easiest way to access any file on your phone by just dragging it to a folder on your computer.

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Once you open the Dropbox app and identify the desired word art file, click the file to open it. Since it is a black png file you won’t be able to see it. Click the icon in the lower right that is an arrow pointing down into a box. Select the option to “Save to Photo Library.” (You can alternately copy the file to the clipboard.)

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Note: If you don’t wish to use Dropbox, you can email the word art files to yourself and save them to the Camera Roll from your email. Other cloud storage options like Google Drive could work as well.

Step 2. Add Digital Stamp to Photo in Laminar

Laminar is an inexpensive photo editing app with powerful capabilities for creating masks and layers. We can use it for the entire process of adding and recoloring digital stamps to your photos. (Note: You’ll want the Pro version for an enhanced experience on iPad.)

1. When you open the Laminar app, it will ask for the source of the image you want to use. Select your photo from the Photo Library.

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2. Rotate your image, if needed, by selecting Edit > Crop/Size and then the direction of rotation desired.

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3. Click the icon in the top left. Select the option to “Add Layer”. It will again ask you for the image source.

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4. Select Layers > Transform to allow manipulation of your digital stamp. Use your fingers to re-size and move it to the desired location. Click “Apply” when done.

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5. (Optional) If you want to keep the stamp black, at this stage you can select the cloud icon in the top right with the arrow on it. Then choose the desired export format, size, and destination.

Step 3. Recolor the Digital Stamp in Laminar

Other apps have layers (like PhotoForge2), but Laminar also has this masking feature that makes it super easy to recolor elements.

While you could recolor your digital stamps on the computer, the whole point here is to do things quickly on your phone. Here’s how to change a black png file to any color in the Laminar app.

1. Click the icon in the top left. Select the option to “Create Layer Mask”.

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3. Then select “Apply”.

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4. Click “Edit” from the bottom menu and select “Brushes”.

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5. Select “Paint”.

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6. Click “Properties” to increase the brush size. You want a fat brush.

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7. Use your finger to cover the digital stamp with color. Click “Apply”.

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8. Select “Layers” and then the transparent layer with your digital stamp. This highlights the layer. Select “Layer” again and then “Delete Layer”.

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9. Select “Layers” and then the layer with your color mask. Select “Layers” again and then, if desired, drag the opacity slider to the left.

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10. Select “Layers” and then “Flatten Image”.

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11. You may crop within Laminar, if desired, by selecting Edit > Crop/Re-Size.  Then go ahead and select the cloud icon in the top right with the arrow on it. Choose the desired export format, size, and destination.

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12. From here you may share your enhanced photo to various web locations or send it to your printer. I opened mine in Instagram and applied the Valencia filter.

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There are so many possibilities and I can’t wait to see what you do with this technique. Make sure to share your summer photos (with and without digital stamps) with the hashtag #summerstories.

Ready to try it out? I’ve developed a special toolkit for summer memory keeping, which includes the digital stamps shown as well as 50 story prompts for your summertime.

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Get a jumpstart on your summer storytelling!

  • 50 exclusive digital stamps (.png + .abr, preview)
  • 50 original summer-centered story prompts
  • Delivered immediately via instant digital download

Grab the toolkit now for $16.99
(or just $9.99* with you FREE Stories of the Summer registration)

Buy Now - Button Blue

*Discounted checkout revealed after you enroll in the free class.

Have questions about this tutorial? Leave a comment below.

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Faster Scrapbooking with Micro Kits

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen me post several photos of micro kits. These are essentially page kits where I gather one or more photos and a specific set of supplies together for one layout.

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Many times the items are a subset of a pre-coordinated kit, like those from Studio Calico. In this example below, I had gathered items from the Front Row Card Kit.

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I find that making decisions in a separate sitting from my scrapping helps me work faster and be more creative with what I have in front of me. I will sometimes even make several micro kits at a time.

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When I create my micro kits, I start with just one or two pieces at a time. This creates a mood for the page to which I can add more items. Sometimes the mood comes from embellishments, as in this example below, and others it comes from the patterned papers.

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I don’t make too many micro kits at a time, only what I have surface area for. If I’m not feeling creative in a design sense, often combining products together with the story in mind will give me the inspiration I need. If this doesn’t happen right away, letting the concept germinate helps a lot.

How Do You Prepare to Scrap?

Many of our paper-using team members, like Sara Case Strickland, also use kits in one way or another. Sara says: “I’m a paper scrapper all the way so kits are my real go-to item. Pulling out a bag with paper, cardstock, letters, and embellies all coordinated and ready to go? Awesome. I do have wood veneer, my tiny attacher stapler, and flair buttons always on hand too though.”

Since I’ve been working with paper more often recently, I thought I’d also ask some of the Simple Scrapper digital team members how they get ready to scrapbook.

Lisa Corbin Polak’s process very much mirrors mine in digital format and Celeste Smith generally uses a single kit for her layouts as well.

Lisa says: “Most of the time I start with photos, look for a template, and then start picking elements. Lately, I find that I stick mostly to one kit. I’ll pull the papers, the edited photos, and some of the embellishments that I think I want to use into a layout. Often I save that and come back later to scrap. Of course, then I usually go back to look for more embellishments.”

Celeste says: “I typically start with a kit. Then I find photos to match the kit. I open all the papers in the kit and my photos, start a blank canvas and start making blocks for papers. Then at the end I usually have to go hunting for a few more items to complete the page.”

Ronnie Crowley, Jean Manis and Van Nguyen all tend to gather products as they scrapbook.

Ronnie says: “When I scrap digital it starts with the pictures and then I find a template. Then I consider what I want the page to feel like which pushes me to a specific color of paper, or a kit I know I have, or sends me to my organiser to look for a specific item. If it’s a paper or item I find in my stash on EHD I then look at what else is in that kit will work and sometimes I will work with just that. More often than not it will lead me elsewhere in my stash looking for something else. I don’t have to remember where I put it as I tag things multiple ways meaning I can find it multiple ways.”

Jean says: “Working digitally with a template, I choose the photograph then seek papers to go with the template/photos. Embellishments follow. I write the journaling about midway through the process. But I don’t have any [supplies prepared as kits].”

Van says: “When I scrap digitally, I usually stay within a collection and if I need something else not in the collection, I usually stay with the same designer. My go to embellishments like staples and stitches, however are always the same. And I love starting with a template or at least a sketch when I scrap digitally as well.”

I’d love to hear how you work. How do you get ready to scrap? And tell me, what do you think of the micro kit idea? Is it an approach that could help you scrapbook faster?

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How to Prepare for 30 Days of Lists

Next month I’m participating for the second time in 30 Days of Lists, and for this round I’m also serving as a challenge Ambassador. 30 Days of Lists brings people together in the spirit of simple journaling, scrapbookers and non-scrapbookers alike.

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If you’re already signed up or even still considering it, here’s a step-by-step list to prepare yourself for the journey.

Step 1. Sign Up

While there are many ways to get involved in memory keeping online, there are few that offer so much value on one sweet package. 30 Days of Lists is just $8 for thirty daily journaling prompts, many giveaway opportunities and a fun support group. Click here to sign up.

Step 2. Download Your Checklist

All Listers get access to several free bonuses, including a special checklist I created to help you both prepare and stay on track. Yes, you get a list for your listing!

Step 3. Gather Supplies

This project begs for a special journal to keep your lists. Earlier this month I released a companion kit for this round of 30 Days of Lists. It sold out in just over 24 hours! While it is no longer available, the other kits currently in our shop would be quite suitable as well!

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Step 4. Prepare a Foundation

If you’re using a more creative set of supplies, you may want to decorate a cover and prepare your pages for listing. This step, while optional, can make the project more fun and help you stick with it.

I used the kit for my foundation, preparing one page per list with a consistent look and feel for each spread.

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Each spread is exactly like Day 2-3, with a different patterned paper on the odd-numbered side.

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Yes, I realize this is 30 Days of Lists. I’ll be using Day 31 to reflect on what I learned.

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I used my Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher to secure the number tags. It added a little bulk, yes, but like how it gives the book some substance without being crazy thick.

Step 5. Start Listing

30 Days of Lists begins March 1 on a private Lister-only blog. Make sure you sign up now so you can follow along with the group! And don’t forget, you can use the hashtag #30lists to keep up on Twitter and Instagram.

Note: I am an affiliate for 30 Days of Lists and thus, your registration through my link financially supports Simple Scrapper.

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Storytelling when Journaling is Hard

This is a guest post from team member Aimee Maddern.

If you’re like me, you don’t quite love to journal! I have a few reasons why it’s hard for me:

  1. I hate my hand-writing.
  2. I am not a very good storyteller.
  3. I don’t think people are interested in what I have to say.
  4. Most of my layouts are of my dogs and they can’t read.
  5. Photos tell the story alone, right?
  6. I don’t really have much to say.

To make up for less journaling on my pages, I have a few other ways I incorporate the story into my layouts. My title always seems to tell you what I have done or where I have gone. Also I like to date the layout, particularly the day the photo was taken. It’s very easy to see when the photo was taken, because our phones and digital cameras keep track of that in the metadata.

Here are a few ways you could add more story to your layouts without more journaling:

  1. Choose a creative title.
  2. Make a list.
  3. Add dates to photos.

Every once in awhile I like to add a little story other than my title and date. Often I take photos that no one ever sees except me. This photo of Kevin on Sims Bridge is an example. I thought adding a bit of journaling was appropriate for this layout.

1. I type my journaling in Microsoft Word.

2. I measure a tag.

3. In Word, I go to page set up and either find something close to my tag size or create a new size. In this case the tag is to small to run through the printer itself so I know I will need to adhere it to the paper.

4. I then change the font, size of text and start playing with the margins.

5. I print it out to see if it will fit on the tag.

6. I then attach the tag to the paper with some washi tape, and run it through the printer.



7. You can see its not perfect but I am happy with it. I had some colored bakers twine and slide it into the little pocket on my layout.


My journaling: We weren’t in a hurry to get to the Woodburn race. We had left in plenty of time to get there. We have traveled so much this year, but really haven’t stopped all that much and enjoy it. I was needing to put my toes in the water. As we drove up through Mt. Shasta, I could see the steam and wanted to stop. On our second attempt getting off the freeway to find the stream, we found “Sims Bridge”. It was this quaint little spot of the side of the road. It was exactly what I needed. I walked down to put my toes in the water, Jager followed me and Cassie followed you. After I was done with the freezing water, I came up to find you taking in the View of Mt. Shasta. It was a beautiful day in September. I love when I capture photos of you.

Do you like journaling? If it is hard for you, what is one technique you use to tell the story?

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