Saturday, September 30, 2017

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!


  1. In the part where you say, "Copy & Paste the A6 image into the A4 image and close the A4 image without saving.
    I will now refer to the A4 image as the "working image." Wouldn't it be close out the A6 instead of the A4? Just wondering...I'm still trying this out!! Thanks for this!

    1. Yep, it sure would be. I'll go fix it now.