Misted and Masked Backgrounds

Hi there! I’m Kacy, and I’m excited to share a post with you today.

I am an engineer by trade, and therefore my scrapbook pages are normally simple, contain lots of white space, and squares, squares, squares!  I love using paint on my digital layouts… if the designer makes it and color-coordinates it for me.  Lately, I have been seeing misted backgrounds on scrapbook pages all over, and I really like the look (I have pinned some examples here), but I have never tried to do this digitally, or make my own custom painted/misted backgrounds.  It was fun to step out of my scrapbooking comfort zone a bit for this layout.  :-)

Here is a what a fairly typical layout for me looks like:

Woodgrain background?  Check.  Journaling in handwriting font?  Check.  Multiple background papers under the photo (either square or rectangle). Check! Black and white photo off-center?  Check. Smattering of elements and picture of my crazy ginger cat? Check and CHECK!

I am going to add a misted and masked layer over the background paper to add some visual interest to this layout with Gennifer’s Toolbox Mists, Version 1 and a set of Photoshop shapes I downloaded from the internet (please be careful where you download from!).

First, I am going to convert the digital mist into a brush so that I can brush with any color I want.  In Photoshop, go to File > Open, navigate to the brush you want to use, and click open.  I am using brush number 2 on my layout.


While on the mist document, select all (using Ctrl-A or Select > All from the menu bar).  Then go to Edit > Define Brush Preset and click ok on the dialogue box that pops up to add the mist to your brush palette.


Then, choose your brush tool and find the brush you just defined.  I am going to keep the original size of 3432 pixels.


To make the misting a little more realistic-looking, we are going to have Photoshop vary the how the brush is applied when we “spray”.  Open the brush palette (on the right hand side).  Click on “Shape Dynamics”.  I want the brush to slightly change size between sprays, so I set my size jitter to 20%.  I also want the brush to rotate to any different angle to make it look more realistic, so I set the angle jitter to 100%.  I turned off the smoothing feature, and turned on the “Build Up” feature to mimic layers of paint from an air brush.


Make a new layer for your mist (don’t forget and spray on your background paper!), and select the brush color you want to use – I am using a light green from one of the background papers behind my photo.  “Spray” on this layer until you have the coverage that you want.  I thought mine was a little dark, so I also adjusted the fill of the mist layer down to 85%.  Here is what my misted layer over the background looks like:


Now we are going to use the custom shape tool to cut out a stencil/mask shape from the mist – this will mimic the look of misting over a stencil.  On the left toolbar, right-click on the shape tool and select custom shape.

On the brush toolbar at the top of the window, on the right side is a drop-down box – click on the dropdown box arrow and select the shape for the stencil you want to use.  I love these sunburst shapes I downloaded from a free Photoshop site.


Using your mouse, click and drag across your layout until your shape is sized and laid out how you’d like (Photoshop automatically creates a new layer).  I wanted the center of the sunburst to end up underneath my photos, so I set the shape off to the right side.  This is what mine looks like:


Now we want to select only the new shape.  While your shape layer is selected in the layer toolbar, hold your mouse in the layer thumbnail box, hold down the control key, and click inside the thumbnail box.  This will select everything contained on the selected layer only.  I wanted the shape I drew to be the shape of the mist that remains over the background paper, so I inverted the selection (Ctrl-Shift-I, or Select > Inverse from the top toolbar).

I’m going to feather the selection by 5 pixels to take some of the sharpness off of the edges of the sunburst shape – to this by going to Select > Modify > Feather, type in 5, and click “OK”.


With the shape outline still selected (moving dashed line), select your misting layer in the layers toolbar.  Now hit your delete key – this deletes mist where your digital “stencil” would have been (you may need to turn the visibility of your stencil shape layer off to see the results).  This is what my background with a mist now looks like:


Turning on all my elements, journaling and decorative background papers, and my layout now looks like this:

I like this much better – a simple addition to the background jazzes up my layout and helps to focus the eye on my photo.  I hope you enjoyed my tutorial!

Supplies Used:

My Best Gift Ever

Hey!  Courtney here, bringing you some quick tips and info about scrapping a gift album for a loved one.  I know, sometimes it is hard to find the time to scrap our own life experiences let alone scrap for someone else right?  Well, this past Christmas I surprised my parents with an amazing album I created for them based on their trip out west to celebrate my father’s 65th birthday.  Not only was it my pleasure doing this for them, it was also their favorite gift I think they have ever received from me.  (Well, besides their granddaughter!)  When I saw the tears in their eyes I knew I nailed the album and also tugged on their heartstrings because they could relive their trip at the turn of a page.

Here are some of my tips for creating a meaningful album for someone else.

Tip#1- It doesn’t have to be a secret!  Let them know you are scrapping the experience.  Whether it is a trip, a birthday, or a new baby, if your loved one knows you are going to be working on something for them, they can help with the details of the experience.  You can ask them for quotes, favorite memories, funny moments, and make sure you have the best photos from the life event.  By doing this, they will see their own voice and memories on their pages. For example, I used my mother’s own words to document Zion National Park.  Gen’s kit Indian Summer, was the perfect fit for these amazing photos my mom took.


Tip #2-Scrap your Stash.  Dig deep!!!  I know, there is something about the thrill of downloading that new kit right?  Well, I bet you have all you need in your stash to scrap an awesome album for someone.  You might even end up LOVING scrapping some of your old favorites, I know I did.  If you do need a specific look, shop designers of the week and site sales.  Take all those papers and elements you think you will use and create a folder for them.  This will help you coordinate colors and patterns with your pictures.  I love this photo my mom sent me of the Bellagio Fountain and the kit Photo Bomb, with its glitter and glamour, was the perfect kit to scrap with!

Bellagio Fountain

Tip #3-Organize from the start.  When I offered to scrap my parents an album I began right away with organizing their trip into folders.  I asked for one email per important destination.  My mom helped by documenting each experience and attached a few photos.  This was a big help because all I had to do was copy and paste and play with font and size for the text!  I was able to scrap all of my pages in chronological order this way as well.  Here is another page on their arrival in Sedona.  I used Gen’s kit Far and Away to scrap this one.  I loved how it turned out.


Tip #4- Get a Jump Start.  Many companies run photo book specials every month or two.  If you are done ahead of time you will be able to save money on printing.  I was able to create a 20 page album and received 50% off when the Christmas printing deals rolled in.  If you are done ahead of time, time and savings are on your side!  And lastly, budget your time.  I tried to create one or two pages a day and it took me about a month to make them an amazing trip album.  I am not going to lie and say it didn’t take time, of course it did, but nothing will ever compare to the amazing “Trip out West” album they received for Christmas this year.  The look in their eyes when they opened it reassured me that they LOVED my gift.

Thanks for reading and looking at my pages and I encourage you to scrap a gift from the heart, they won’t forget it!


Hybrid Pockets: One Card, Two Ways

Hello, Michelle here with my first post on Gennifer’s blog! What does hybrid mean to you? Printing cards straight from the designer’s PDF and inserting into your pocket page protectors? Adding a stamp, frame, or some text to your photo before printing? Building and decorating your cards from the base up with digital elements in Photoshop, including photos and journaling, then printing and inserting the completed cards in your album? The answer? Yes! It’s all hybrid, and everything in between.

There’s so many ways you can mix those beautiful digital kits with your paper supplies to create hybrid cards. Today I’m going to show you two ways to make the same 6×4 hybrid card, with a few bonus tips sprinkled here and there.

I’m starting with this kit by Gen, For the Love Of… 

I chose the kiss frame, pink ombre paper, a couple word bits/tags, and gold splatters to create my card. You could start with a premade card, but I loved that ombre paper so I just cut a 6×4 piece out of it in Photoshop. My favorite way to create hybrid cards in Photoshop is to first create a new canvas for whatever size card I need, like 6×4, and then I can drag my paper in and position it wherever I want on that canvas.

Here’s what I came up with for my “base” card, after adding a few splatters to the pink paper:

peek a boo blank card

Now this is where the two cards part ways! For Card #1, I stayed in Photoshop and layered up my digital elements on this card, inserted my photo, and journaled. Here’s the finished, ready-to-print Card #1 – ready to slide right in my page protector.

Peek a boo digital card

Cute, right? And easy! Bonus tip #1: Prefer your pocket pages all-digital? Then you’re done! Clip this card into your favorite pocket page template design and call it a day!

But if you like the dimensional parts of hybrid, more touchy-feely-paper stuff, keep reading. Card #2 takes a different route!

Remember the base card? I plopped that on a 8.5×11 canvas along with the frame and tags, and printed on my favorite Epson Premium Presentation Paper Matte. Here’s my ready-to-print canvas, with the completed hybrid card and the individual pieces:

ready to print peek a boo cards

Bonus tip #2: You could print the photo right in the frame on the cardstock if you like the matte finish. Personally, I prefer the glossy photo paper, so I printed mine separately this time. After printing and cutting out my card components and printing my photo, I assembled the pieces with a few paper supplies and came up with this (I apologize for the photo quality, these were not taken in natural light!):



Paper supplies used: Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher staple, Becky Higgins Project Life date stamp, gold sequins, Sharpie pen. Bonus tip #3: Of course you could also type your journaling on the frame in Photoshop before printing! So many ways you can customize a hybrid project!

Here’s the two cards side by side:

hybrid cards side by side

Thanks for bearing with me, and I hope you’ve picked up a few ideas for your next pocket scrapbooking page, whether you prefer to stay all digital, dip your toe in hybrid waters, or jump in feet first!


Style it with Washi

Kym, here, excited to share with you some of my favorite ways to use digital washi tape.  Awhile back, I pitched Gen a wild idea for some digital washi tape.  Most kits that contain washi tape are just little bits and pieces where you can “adhere” to paper.  I dreamed up of a 12 inch washi tape so that I could “tear” it to any length I wanted to.  I wanted to be able to customize the length of washi tape to fit any layout using a digital brush as an eraser causing a “tear” in the washi strip.  A few weeks later, Gen created “Elemental Kym’s Washi.”  Crazy ecstatic to have a kit that I longed for and more excited to have it named after me. folder

In case you are new to using a digital brush as an eraser, I have included one screen shot to show you.  In this layout, I used the long strips of Kym’s Washi as a clipping mask.  I clipped paper from Miss Molly to create my own washi tape.

1.  Load Gen’s .abr brush file from Elemental: Kym’s Washi

2.  Select the eraser tool

3.  On the top bar, make sure that “brush” mode is selected

4.  Select the “tear” brush you want to use and erase away


In the screen shot, you can see the long strips of washi.  I used the digital tear brushes and cut them down to the size that I wanted. Then I just tweaked the location a bit.  Here is the final layout.


Here are a few layouts that I’ve done that shows why having long strips of washi tape are ideal.



From these examples, you can see that I used them as a mat for my photos or to create a border around my photo or layout.  The possibilities are endless.  But, if you still want to use it to just tack down a photo just take a small strip from Anchored Washi Tape Strips and you can create a super simple layout in minutes.


I hope you enjoyed this short tutorial on using digital washi tape.

Rectanglifying papers

Hello! I’m Lorry and I’m excited to get to do my first post here on Gennifer’s blog. It’s on a topic near and dear to my heart.

I’ve been scrapping in a rectangular format for years now, and I’ve had people tell me that they admired it, and that they wished they could do it. I’m here to tell you that you can! Even if you are delighted with your square 12×12 pages, you may find yourself with a rectangle project such as calendar toppers, greeting cards, desktop or smartphone wallpapers, or simply the desire to take advantage of an awesome sale on rectanglar albums. I’d like to show a few ways to get those 12×12 digital papers to work for your rectangular layouts through a process I like to call rectanglification. (It’s not trademarked. Go ahead and use it, too. ;) )

I happen to be using Adobe Photoshop CC to make 10×8-inch layouts, but most of the general ideas I present will work for any size and in any program with layers and layer masks.

Of course, all the lovely papers I use in the demonstration are by Gennifer, and you can find them in the following products: Far and Away papers, Anchored papersScarlet Letter papers, Fly Away papersBubbly papersBy the Fire papers.

Let me know if you have any questions, and I hope I’ve inspired you to try out the ‘tangle! :)


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