Saturday, September 30, 2017

How to Create Your Own Printable Stationery Set Part Two: Stuff the Box

So, now that you have learned how to create a nifty, if not somewhat small, gift box for a stationery set.  The next step is deciding what you want to put in it - other than just paper and envelopes, that is, or even it you want to add extras.  There's nothing wrong with keeping the sets simple :).

For my sets, I decided that, in addition to 2 paper sizes, I liked the idea of adding a bookmark and journaling card insert but, to be honest, that is in part because I sell what I make.  Both of those items translate into products that I can create without having to make separate designs like the Journaling Card Insert Set below.  More dimes for my time and all that :).

And, finally, to complete the sets, I also tossed in some gift tags and decoupage bits to decorate the boxes with.  A gift box needs gift tags and, well, people love to add interest to their crafts using decoupage bits; so, why not?  Other things you may like to include are note cards, seals, address labels, etc.  If you don't know what size to make the extras, a simple search for dimensions will let you know and using those dimensions to create template will save you a ton of time.

For this tutorial, I will only cover the items that I created, but the process is essentially the same, regardless of what you are making.

Part Two: 
Creating the Stuff - How to Make Stationery
Since we are creating papers specifically for the gift box, the size will be A6 so,
File > Open a New Raster image at 1238x1763px at 300 ppi
Select the images that you want to use, open them, and then minimize them.

There is no right or wrong way to do this but, I will share my process with you, just in case it helps.  If I don't already have an idea in mind when I begin, I start by searching through my "Inspiration" folder to get one.  This folder contains other people's creations that I like so much I wish I had thought of them first along with new layouts or patterns that looked fun to try.  Everything and anything that I've come across in my hours of searches that sparked my imagination.

My next step is to search the hundreds, maybe even thousands, of backgrounds, public domain images and design elements that I have saved in other folders. Truly, if my hoarding wasn't digital, I'd have to buy a separate house to put it all in! And, this is why: If I can't find what it is I want in those folders, then I head back to Google and start looking for it. hahahahahahaha

OK, enough rambling.  On with the show!

I think the hardest part about creating stationery in a graphics program is adding lines to the writing paper.  I honestly  think that's so many people opt not to use them in their creations: Because you have no real way of knowing what they will look like on the printed page without actually printing a page.  I think customers prefer lines, though.  I know I do; so, lucky for you, I have already done all that and you can download my stationery lines for free :).

Add your images to the A6 Raster in layers (Copy & Paste, Flood Fill, etc.)
Arrange, colorize, tweak and otherwise edit them until they look how you want them to - in layers.

your layers until you are sure that you are finished and, even then, do so on a duplicated image so that you can save the original.
  - The only exception to this rule is the merging of an element's adjustment layers (blend modes, effects, etc.).  You'll thank me later.
And, remember, Save often.  I save after every change that makes me happy.

After the background is finished, add a new Raster layer directly above it.
Flood Fill this layer with white and then reduce the opacity to about 25-35% until it looks the way you want it to while making sure it appears writable.
- Layer Properties > Opacity
  - I just double-click on the layer in my layers palette to open the Layer Properties window, then adjust the Opacity level, with "Preview on Image" selected and all other settings as shown:

Copy & Paste the lines as a new layer directly above the translucent white.
Create the writing space.
- There are many ways to do this, but here is one of my favorites:
Duplicate the background.
Add a New Raster layer on top of the duplicate
Selections > Select All (Ctrl+A)
Selections > Modify > Select Selection Borders ...

Select "Preview on Image"
For this border you will select "Inside," but you may with to use the other options when creating the next one.  
Set the Border width.  I usually use either 5, 10 or 15.
Play with the settings until you get what you want, then click "OK."

Flood Fill the border with a gradient, solid color or coordinated pattern or just promote the selected area of the background to a new layer and play with the Blend Mode.
Selections > Select All (Ctrl+A), Selections > Modify > Contract
Untick "Preview on Image"
This is going to be a big contraction and, if you don't, it will take a while to load.  Save your image before proceeding.
Contract the Selection by 30-50 pixels, then click OK.
- If the Selection is not the size that you would like it to be, then leave it in place and Contract, again, in increments between 5 and 20 until you are happy with it.
Note: I have a pretty powerful computer and contracting or expanding by more than 50 pixels can cause my program to crash.  I usually only do 20 or 30 at a time, just in case but, sometimes I'll chance a 40 or 50.
Selections > Modify > Select Selection Borders ...
Fiddle with the settings, select OK and then fill in your new border.
Selections > Select None (Ctrl+D). Your image will now have borders like this:

Both of your borders should be on the same layer.  If they're not, Undo (Ctrl+Z) and fix it. hahahahaha
Activate your Magic Wand Tool, untick "Use all layers" and then click the space inside of the first border.
Selections > Select All, Selections > Modify > Expand by 1
Right Click on the translucent white layer in your Layers palette and Promote Selection to New Layer.
Delete the layer that you created the promotion from.
Select the Lines layer in your Layers palette and repeat this process.
Select the promoted Lines layer in your Layers palette and activate your Selections Tool > Rectangle.
Click & Drag a rectangle around the top 1-3 lines and then delete them.
Click & Drag a rectangle around the bottom 3-5 lines and delete them.
- You can either leave the lines as they are or color them to match your borders.  To color them:

Select the promoted Lines layer, Select All, then Selections > Float (Ctrl+F), Selections > Defloat (Ctrl+Shift+F)
If your background is patterned, Select the translucent white layer in your Layers palette, Float, Defloat, then select the background and change it's appearance.  Flood Fill, Blur, or do something else to replace the pattern with something smooth.
Merge the writing area and Lines layers, but not the backgrounds.
Duplicate the image, Merge all layers and save in your favorite format: .png, .jpg, etc.  Close the image.  Your paper is new complete :).

Here is an example of what colored lines look like:

Design Idea: Instead of creating a rectangular bordered interior, you could also apply a Mask to the translucent white layer and lines. Just use the same Mask for both.  If you need a tutorial, here is one for Applying Masks in Photoshop and one for Applying Masks in PSP (for a much older version, but steps are still the same).

Creating the Stuff - How to Make an A6 Envelope

First, we will create a template using the same method that we employed for creating the Gift Box, but with fewer layers and steps.  Please refer to that tutorial for screenshots, if needed:
File > Open a new A4 raster image (2480x3508px) at 300 ppi
File > Open a new A6 raster image (1238x1763px) at 300 ppi
Flood Fill the A6 image, then Copy & Paste it into the A4 image as a new layer.

Duplicate the A6 layer and change it's Blend Mode to Multiply.
Rotate the original A6 layer by 90 degrees.
Move the Duplicate up until you have created a flap to your liking, about 1"-1.5;" longer if you want it to be tucked into the envelope, rather than sealed.
Duplicate the flap layer and Objects > Align > Bottom

Move the Bottom layer up until it is about 3/4-7/8 the height of the center rectangle.
Duplicate the original layer; the Rotated rectangle; Change it's Blend Mode to Multiply, Move it about 1/2" to the right.
Duplicate this layer, then Move it to the left until it, too, is extended by about 1/2."
Merge > Merge All.  Save as either a psd or pspimage.
To create a template for a larger sized folded card or paper, use the full width x half of the vertical length of your stationery's background (or up to the fold in a card) as the center piece and follow the steps above.

Duplicate your template.
Select All > Float > Defloat
Fill with the colors that you used in the stationery's border (or something complimentary).
Add a New Raster layer.
Flood Fill white, then reduce the opacity to 25-35%.
- If the envelopes are created with mailing in mind, then the whiter the better; otherwise, you can just leave them colorful.
Add one or more of the decorative elements from your stationery to the corners of envelope or paste one in the center and reduce the Opacity to 15% or less so that it's barely visible.
Design Idea: Before merging, use a shape to add a fancy edge to the envelops flap.
As an example, here is what the envelope for my Watercolor Phoenix Stationery Set looks like:


That wraps up this segment of the stationery set tutorial.  I hope you are enjoying it, so far.  Please let me know if you have any questions.  Tomorrow I will wrap up this series with the instructions for creating the bookmark, gift tags and other extras that you would like to include in your sets.

Happy Crafting!

Free Journaling Cards

Yay, I did it!  I managed to complete three stationery sets in the past few days: Rococo Roses, Beautiful Booty and Watercolor Phoenix.  Given the fact that I also had to design the templates, this is quite a feat! hahahahahahaha  Making pretty pictures comes much more easily to me than designing things with exact specifications.  It was all worth it, in the end, though.

Rococo Roses Romantic Floral Stationery Set Decoupage Kit Beautiful Booty Vintage Art Stationery Set Decoupage Kit
Watercolor Phoenix Asian Floral Stationery Set Decoupage Kit

Each kit includes a bookmark, an A6 gift box, 2 paper sizes: A5 & A6 with envelopes, 3 gift tag styles and decoupage bits for decorating the box.  Click on the pictures, above, to see them for yourself!

While I was creating the stationery sets, I went ahead and whipped up some A6 (roughly 3"x4") journaling cards, too, and then selected one card from each set for today's gift:

I hope you like them!  The watercolor phoenix card is exclusively for you but, the others are included in the sets that I added to my shop.  Each of those sets include 10 high quality 300dpi jpg images of 2 mirrored cards in 5 colors.  Click the links below to see them:

I am really loving the way they turned out and can't wait to make more.  I am going to have to wait, though, because first I want to work on a few more cracker boxes and greeting card sets.  First on the list is a bumper kit of the vintage Christmas set I made last week and then I want to create some crackers to go with the gorgeous card kits that I made last month: Winter Holiday Rabbits, Bears, Foxes and Penguins featuring the fabulous watercolor artwork of Kristy Kvilis, owner of the Peace Art Shop at Creative Market.

Winter Holiday Rabbits Card Making Kit Winter Holiday Bear Card Making Kit
Winter Holiday Foxes Card Making Kit Winter Holiday Penguins Card Making Kit

So, keep your eyes peeled for a new freebie, next Tuesday, and some terrific money saving bumper kits to help you get your holiday creations under way!

Speaking of saving money, I have some holiday & cameo card kits on special this week, along with a handful of floral bumper kits, if you'd like to snatch them up.  The sale ends tomorrow and, then, this coming Sunday I am going to launch the sale of some beautiful deer and snowman shaped card kits for 30% off.  I will post news of the sale, here; so, be sure to come back and check it out!

As always, I would love to hear from you and see the wonderful things that you are creating, even if you don't use my designs.  I just like to look at pretty things :).
See you in a couple of days,

How to Create Your Own Printable Stationery Set Part One: The Gift Box Template

Hi folks,
After sharing my new stationery kits on Facebook a lady contacted me to ask me if I had a tutorial for how to make the printables in a graphics program; so, I offered to write one up for her.  And, me being who I am, I figured I may as well share it with you, too.  Who knows?  There may be more of you out there wanting to make your own pretty papers :)!

This tutorial will create all of the items that are in my Rococo Roses Romantic Floral Stationery Set , shown here:

I use Corel Paintshop Pro 2018 Ultimate with a customized workspace on a PC with Windows but, I won't be using any commands tools or processes that a Mac or Photoshop and other graphics programs don't have, they may just have different names or be in different places.  A search enging or your software's Help feature can help you find them.  It's a relatively simple process that only requires basic tools, though; so, you shouldn't have any trouble finding what you need.

I should also say that the first part of this tutorial, creating the templates, is optional.  There are quite a few available online that you can either buy or download for free.  Chia's Rubberstamp Art has an easy to use 4x6 gift box template that can easily be resized and The Balance has a wide variety of free printable envelope templates.  But, since I like creating my own, I will start off by showing you how to, as well.

Please note: I sell all of my printables on the European Website CraftsUPrint; so, everything I make is designed to fit on an A4 sheet of paper, because that it what size most of of my customer's printers are designed to accommodate.

Here we go.
Part One:
How to Create an A6 Gift Box Template:
File > Open a new A4 raster image (2480x3508px) at 300 ppi
File > Open a new A6 raster image (1238x1763px) at 300 ppi
Whether or not your background is transparent is a matter of personal preference.

Flood Fill the A6 image with any medium toned color (dark and light colors are harder to work with in the following steps).
Copy & Paste the A6 image into the A4 image and close the A6 image without saving.
I will now refer to the A4 image as the "working image."
Duplicate the new layer in your working image (or just paste it twice).
Change the blend mode of the duplicate to Multiply.
 - I just double-click on the layer in my layers palette to open the Layer Properties window, then select "Multiply" from the Blend Mode menu.

Since the box top has to be larger than the bottom, I am going to create that first, just to make sure the entire template will fit on my page.

Step 1: Creating the Box Top:

Align the blended layer to the right edge of your working image.
- Click on Objects > Align > Right

Duplicate that layer and then, using your Move Tool, move the new duplicate about 1/2" to the left (the 2330 mark).
   - My method is to create a 1/2" guide: Open a new 1/2" wide image a couple of inches in height, Flood Fill black, Copy & Paste into working image, Align > Right, and then zoom in to Move the new duplicate layer to the left most edge of the black.
After you have done this, your image should now look like this:
 Next, you are going to merge the two blended layers.
- Right click on the topmost layer in your layer palette, Merge > Merge Down (you have to merge down in order to maintain the different shades in the blend mode.  Any other option will cause the top layer to take on the properties of the bottom layer).

Duplicate the merged layer and align it to the left of your working image
- Object > Align > Left
Merge the left & right aligned layers.
- Merge > Merge Down
Duplicate the merged layer and Rotate it 90 degrees.
- Image > Free Rotate (or Ctrl+R), tick the radial boxes next to Right, 90 and "Rotate single layer around canvas center."  Untick "All Layers."  Click OK.

Your image should now look like this:
As you can see, it is not quite centered.  Object > Align > Center your topmost layer.
Duplicate this centered vertical layer, change the blend mode back to "Normal" (see above for Multiply)
Flood Fill the Normal layer with any color, then move it down one so that it is beneath the layer you centered.
Duplicate the centered vertical layer, again.
Align > Center the horizontal layer that makes up your right and left box flaps.
Create another measuring guide:
Using your Magic Wand Tool, click on one of the medium blue stripes in your image.
Add a New Raster Layer
- Layers > New Raster Layer
Flood Fill black, then Rotate 90 degrees with the same settings as before.
Zoom in and Move the guide up until the bottom edge is lined up with the top edge of your working image.
While still zoomed in, Move the vertical layer up until the bottom of the outer stripe aligns with the top of your guide.  Object > Align > Horizontal Center
Rotate your guide 180.
Zoom in and Move the other centered vertical layer down until the top of the outer stripe aligns with the bottom of your guide.
Object > Align > Horizontal Center
Move the Normal Layer to the top.
Delete your guide layers.
Merge > Merge All Visible.
Your image should now look like this:
Now we need to create the tabs that will hold the folded edges together in order to form the box.  If, however, you are just creating a pretty paper to decoupage onto an already formed box, you can stop here.
To create the tabs, activate your Selection Tool and set it to Rectangle.
Add a new Raster layer.
Zoom in and align your cursor with the point where the center meets a dark band of color, then click and drag to another point on the same side.  Flood Fill the selection.  It doesn't have to be perfect.  You can adjust it with the Move tool after Flood Filling.  Mine is in yellow, below.

After filling the selection with color, deselect it.  If you need to, Zoom in and Move the tab so that it aligns properly with the point where light meets dark.
Duplicate your tab layer, Zoom in and Move it to the other side, in alignment with the same points.
Merge > Merge Down, Duplicate, Zoom & Move to the bottom.
Merge > Merge Down, then move the tabs layer down one so that it is under the box.  Ta-da!  No more overflow :)!  Merge, Merge Down.

Step 2: Creating the Box Bottom:
Duplicate the merged layer, change the blend mode to Multiply and then Resize it by 99-95%.
- Image > Resize, By Percentage, Lock aspect ratio; untick "Resize all layers" (none of the other settings matter for this).

When you are happy with the size, change the blend mode back to Normal and then save the file in a format that your program allows for layers; .psd works with most.

To use the template for creating pretty boxes, open the image, duplicate it and then close the original.
Activate your Magic Wand Tool to select the areas that you want to fill and add your pattern or color.
To prevent distortion or use patterns that don't tile
- Resize the pattern before copy & pasting so that it will fully cover your template.
- Copy & Paste your pattern over the template as a new layer, hide it, use your Magic Wand to select the areas of the template that you want to fill and then Promote the pattern to a new layer.  

When filling my template, I usually create a separate Raster layer to fill for each section so that I can more easily adjust the colors & patterns until they are to my liking.

A couple of things to keep in mind for making adjustments: 
- The width of the dark stripe on the box's bottom is how deep your finished box will be. 
- The outer stripe will be folded over to the inside of the box and can be as narrow as 1/4," if you would like to make it deeper.
- The center of the box top needs to be large enough to cover the center of the box bottom by at least 1/8" of an inch in order to fit after the box is assembled (maybe more if you use a thicker material to make it but, most crafters will use cardstock).
- The center rectangle of the box's bottom needs to be about an 1/8" larger than the stationery you plan to place in it.
- The tabs will be folded inward, creased and then glued to one side of the box's interior in order to hold the sides upright.

Tomorrow I will cover creating the items that go in the box.

See you then!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Free Holly Jolly Paper Pack

Hi folks,

Lots going on in my creative little world today.  I have just added six new Christmas paper packs to my shop featuring 3 different patterns using Pantone's Fall & Winter 2017 colors for London and New York: Jolly Santa, Christmas Toys and Making Spirits Bright.  To see them, just visit my shop and scroll down to "Recently Added Items."  Today's freebie is a selection from each of the 3 patterns using the London palette's Flaming Scarlet, Pantone's color of the year: Greenery and Navy Peony, a color that appears in both palettes.


The bright colors and festive patterns are perfect for adding a bit of fun to your holidays and, if you already have your own embellishments on hand, there are a ton of cracker and card making templates on CraftsUPrint that you could use.  Be sure to check out Janice Shehan of Tah-Dah Studio while you're there, too.  She has a wonderful selection of gift tags, like the one's below, that you could print to use with them!

In other news: I have started creating my very first stationery sets and, so far, I am loving the results.  Each set will contain stationary paper with matching envelopes, a bookmark, a box template and decoupage papers and bits that you can use to decorate the box with.  I think that they will make wonderful Christmas gifts, especially after you've added your personal touches to them!

The first few sets will be shabby chic and romantic with maybe a vintage or two.  I hope to have several ready for my Friday update; so, be on the lookout for a free printable from one of them :).

If you use one of today's freebies in a design, I would love to see what you create and, as always, remember, if you make something using one of CraftsUPrint's gold star products, you can make money from your photo  After sharing it here, just be sure to upload it to their website, as well :).

See you Friday, amigos ...

Happy Crafting,

Monday, September 25, 2017

How to Make a 3D Decoupage Card

Hi folks,

I found this great tutorial on how to create a 3D butterfly card using cut and paste decoupage elements and wanted to share it with you.  The video features a card front decoupage sheet by Karen Adair at CraftsUPrint made using the beautiful artwork of Moonbeam1212.  The video is a great way to learn a new technique that can be applied to any card making project, big or small, that uses decoupage to add interest.

Interesting note about CraftsUPrint: You can make money from your creations by using what they call "Gold Star Products."  If this tutorial inspires you to create something wonderful, for profit or not, please share it in the comments, below.  I would love to see it :)!

Happy Crafting,