Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Creating a Custom Clipping Mask (Using Shapes and Text)

One way I like making my scrapbook pages unique is to create a custom clipping mask.  A clipping mask is basically a shape created in Photoshop programs that you can force or "clip" a picture into, and it will take on the shape of the mask. The one I used here for the focal picture is a combination of two geometric shapes, and includes a title phrase as part of the mask as well.  It's nice to be able to create a mask like this if you have a cute kit, but still need something special to fit the theme of your page. 

Here's the process I used to make my clipping mask; if you need a larger view of the photos here, click on each picture to enlarge it.  You can easily adapt what I've done here to fit in with your own project ideas.

Step One:
Start by creating the basic shape you want to use for your clipping mask.  In this case,  I chose the custom shape tool from the tool bar, and created a half circle shape from the menu shown below in the option bar.  I rotated it so that the curve of the circle was facing up and resized to the dimensions I wanted it. 

Step Two:
Create a text path on a circle shape (or any shape of your choosing).  In PSE 10 and up, you can do this by clicking on the text tool in the tool bar, then choosing the "text path on a shape" icon in the options bar.  The icon is basically is a letter T with a wavy box around it.  If you have an earlier version of PSE (which won't have text path functionality), you can buy shaped text paths to use from various sources online.  Here is a text path kit you can buy at Pixels and Company.  

Otherwise, choose the ellipse shape from the options bar, hold down the shift key, and draw a circular text path.  After the path is created, you can see a blinking cursor on it.  Start typing in your text along the path.  You can choose your font either before or after your type in your words.  I used the Cerebral font here.  You may need to resize and reposition your text to look good next to the shape you created.

Step Three: 
Place the text on the top of the half circle, so that the bottom edges of the letters are not visible and seem to blend into the circle.  Again, you may need to rotate the text a bit and adjust the positioning to make it fit correctly onto the circle shape.

Next, create a new layer, then go back and click the shape tool again.  Choose the rectangle shape from the options bar, and carefully create a rectangle that's the same width as your half circle.  Once all three pieces of your custom mask are positioned correctly, hold down the shift key and select all three of those layers in the layers palette (your circular shape, the text, and the rectangle).  Right click on those layers, and from the fly out menu that appears, choose "merge layers."  At this point, the three separate pieces are now all one unit, and your custom mask is ready for you to clip in a photo. 

Step Four:
This step is optional, but if you'd like, add a stroked outline to the top of your mask.  It's adds a nice touch and helps the text to pop out a bit more.  If you'd like to do this, then create a new layer just above your layer with your clipping mask in the layers palette.  Hold down the control key (command key on a Mac), and click down on the clipping mask layer.   This will make the "marching ants" show around the outside edge of your mask.

Then, go to the Menu Bar, and go to Edit > Stroke Outline Selection.  A menu box will pop up and will prompt you to put in the width (or thickness of) your outline, and will allow you to choose the color of the stroke.  You can make the adjustments that you want, and then click OK.  In the picture below, I chose a width of six pixels and changed the color from white to gray (click on the color in the rectangle next to the word "color" to choose a different shade than the one that's showing).

You should now see a colored outline around the outer edges of your mask by those marching ants. Click control (or command) D to deselect the mask.  I wanted to add some visual interest, so instead of leaving the stroke lined up exactly with the outside of the shape, I grabbed the move tool.   Then I clicked on the outline, and then used the arrow keys on my keyboard to offset the stroke slightly to the right.

 Step Five:
Once you are finished with your cool custom mask, drag the mask and stroke layers onto your layout.  To clip a photo into it with the stroked outline on top, place the photo in between the stroke and clipping mask layers. Make sure the photo layer is selected in the layers palette.  Go to the menu bar and choose Layer > Create Clipping Mask, and your photo will conform to the shape of your mask.  Adjust the color of the stroked outline if needed.  I changed the color to the lighter aqua found in some of the triangles on the patterned paper by using the eye dropper tool, then going to Edit > Fill Layer > Use: Background Color.

 I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and if you want to pick up the gorgeous kit I used here, it's the FocusClickRepeat Collab kit by Celeste and Amanda Yi.  Have fun with this technique have a beautiful day!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Featured Designer Sale and a new Collab

It's that time of year again.... Time for a featured designer sale! You can save 25% on everything in the sweet caroline store. Pick up an older favorite like the Honeysuckle Kit or one of the newer releases; School is Cool

You can also pick up the newest release: Focus Click Repeat | a sweet caroline and Amanda Yi Collaboration. 

This collar is the perfect blend of vintage cameras, wood elements and word bits. perfect for everyday photos and events. 

And, if you snag the full kit, you'll get the journal cards for free! 10 journal cards, each available in horizontal and vertical formats. 

It's hard to see the stamps mixed in with all the other elements and papers, so a separate preview was in order.

A little (who am I kidding, a lot) of fabulous inspiration from the Sweet Studio Team and The P&Co girls.

by Jen E. 

by Jen E.

by Janell

by Mandi

by Lorrell

by Meagan

by Liz

by Maribel

by Sabrina

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Hybrid Milk Carton Gift Box

This month for our Hybrid tutorial, I thought that I would share with you a fun and beautiful way to give someone a small gift. 
I ran across this template called Boxed In Vol 10: Mini Milk Carton by Wendy Bird Designs and fell in love with it.  There are so many ways that you can embellish this little carton.  You can make them for teacher gifts with the School is Cool kit, as a wedding favors with Linens and Lace, Christmas gifts, Halloween treats,  or just a fun treat like I did with Sweet Sundae.

Sweet Sundae was so perfect for this hybrid item.  First, I opened the template file in my program.  The download comes with the cutting files for those that are lucky enough to have something like a Silhouette and pngs for those of us that do not.  I hope that you can see that it is really easy to make these by hand.  It also includes instructions, a psd file and the outline if you need it. 

In the program that I use, if I am using pngs as layers, then I need to flatten them first before I fill them.  Either way, you can fill each of the layers with your choice of papers and elements. I filled the main background piece with a solid pink from the Sweet Sundae kit.  In a few instances, I added extra papers onto some of the sides.  Some of the layers are there as guides and you do not want to print them.  Here is a picture of the folding guides overlaid on my pink background.  I usually hide this layer.  The top pieces that have the dotted triangle will be folded to the inside of the carton.  The bottom polygons will the bottom of the carton, most of it covered by the other pieces. 

As I play around with the box, I can add, move around and place elements and papers and even text boxes until I am happy with it.  Here is my finished box, ready for printing.

I added shadows to the doily, cake and angled paper. Since the word art is on a busy background.  I copied it, recolored it and placed it underneath to make it stand out more.  Once you are done, save your work and print it out on card stock.  I like to gather all of my tools together before I start.


(I printed a duplicate of my layout, also on cardstock and a full green doily so that I could cut out the individual pieces to add to my project later.)  

Now, if you had a silhouette cutting machine, it could cut out and put fold lines in it for you.  If you do not have a cutting machine, you must cut it out by hand. 
a cutter for the main straight cuts sped things along
Scissors did most of my cutting though, but only really took a few minutes.
After it was all cut out, I used a scorer to make the lines for folding.  If you do not have a scorer or bone folder, you can use a ruler and a dull pointed object (like the end of a pen).
A scorer will press a straight line to make folding easier and straighter.  
Using a tool that I have on hand and a ruler, I drew in the lines to fold in the upper triangles for the inner part of the milk carton.
I go ahead and fold my box in at this point to check that I have everything right.  This was how I discovered that I had printed my project upside down the first time!  Oops!  Easily fixed, I went back to my program, flipped everything and re-printed!  

Now onto the fun part - adding the embellishments!!  Of course, this box is super cute just as it is, but it adds depth and interest by adding to your hybrid project.  One thing that I did to add interest was to actual sew with white thread over the sewn element from the kit.  To hit the right spots, I would hold the box up to the light and then push the needle through.

A quick way to do that is to put bump dots or foam double sided tape to a duplicate piece.
They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.  I popped up the cake, the word art, the journal card and then the doily.

Next, I added extra embellishments that I had - flowers, pearls and jeweled brads.

 The last embellishment is a flower on top of the doily and I wanted it to wrap around the box, so I went ahead and added adhesive to the bottom and sides of the box and put it together.
Then, I made the flower, by sewing 3 different sized flowers together and then sewed onto the green doily (adding a little glue to each layer).  I glued a pink pearl to the center of the whole thing.
 Then, I folded it in half (making sure to line up those striped patterns and sewed it into the corner.  Afterwards, I attached the sticky bump dots to the corners to hold it down better.

 And that's it!!  You can now fill it with any small treat or gift card even.  Cute right!  I can't wait to give this to my friend as a thank you for helping me out.

I hope you enjoy this! 
Thanks for stopping by Celeste's Blog

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Easy Alphabet Re-Coloring

Alphas are one of the most versatile, but sadly under-appreciated tools in digital scrap-booking. In this simple tutorial you'll see how easy it is to re-color an alpha (in effect, creating a new alpha!). I am using PSE11 in my tutorial, so if you are using a different program, the screen might look slightly different for you.

I loved the hand-drawn look to the alpha in Celeste's School is Cool kit, and wanted to duplicate the look she created in the kit's word art. Here's the layout I created using the kit, re-coloring the alpha in the word art:

Like most things digital, there is more than one way to re-color an element. In this method we're going to use one of my favorite tools, the magic wand. Open the letter or element you want to re-color in your program.

Step 1: Click on the magic wand tool on the left tool bar. With the letter layer selected, click your cursor down in the middle of the solid part of the letter. This will start the marching ants, which tells you that is the section of the png that the program will target.

Step 2: Add and select a layer above your letter or element layer. With the marching ants still marching, click on Select on the top tool bar, then click on modify, contract, and then a box pops up to determine the number of pixels by which you want the image contained within the marching ants to contract. I used 5 pixels for my sample, which left a nice black border similar to the letters in Celeste's word art in this kit.

Step 3: With the blank layer above your alpha or element selected, click on the paint bucket. Make sure your foreground color is the color you want to use to re-color the element. Then click down on the screen within the marching ants to "paint" the section of the alpha or element that is in the contracted marching ants from step 2. How cool is that?!

Step 4: You may need to clean up the stray pixels a bit using the eraser tool. I prefer to create a layer mask on the color layer, so that if I erase too much I can easily correct the mistake without having to repeat steps 1-3 to re-create the color layer.

Click on the mask tool above the layers palette, make sure the foreground color is set to white, then click on the eraser tool. Pick a small, hard round brush, then click once more within the mask in the layers palette (to ensure you are erasing using the mask), then use the eraser tool to erase the stray pixels on your image.

Last step: You will want to link the color layer to your original alpha or element, so that when you move the alpha on the screen, the color will stay in place.

Have fun!