How To’sday

How To-sday | How to Photograph and Edit Layouts

Today’s How To-sday comes to you from former Design Team member Katrina Hunt! No matter how hard I try, I always struggle to photograph my layouts – either the lighting is wrong, I can get it all in focus, I can’t get it straight, the list goes on! Katrina shows us an easy way to put all that right and get the perfect end result every time.

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It is so nice to be back on the ScrapbookSteals blog today! Katrina here and I hope I am going to help you “de-mystify” how to photograph your projects to display in galleries, on your blog, Facebook, etc. Warning, this post is picture heavy but I wanted to try to show each step. There are many ways to photograph projects and many ways to edit. This is what works for me. I am focusing on a layout today, but this will work for cards also.
I have two supplies that are staples for me taking project photos: a white foam core board and also a small easel. The board is big enough for a two page layout and the easel is great for propping projects up on.
Photographing and editing your scrapbooking layoutsI always take my photos outside in natural light. Also, I never use a flash. If you use a flash, it bounces off your pictures and anything that is shiny. Those things are too hard to fix! Natural lighting requires me planning ahead and possibly taking them before work or taking pictures of several projects on the weekend. But the lighting in the house isn’t good for this, so I plan accordingly!
I use Photoshop Elements 9.0 as an editing tool. If you have a different version the steps will be similar to what I am showing.

Step 1. Lay your white board down and place your layout on top of it, as straight and square as you can. Then you want to stand directly over your layout. My front step is the perfect height for me to do this. Snap several pictures making sure to leave white space around your layout. I take several shots and pick out the best one to actually edit. Then you will want to open in Photoshop Elements (PSE).

Photographing and editing your scrapbooking layouts

Step 2. Start to edit your project photo. All of the editing I do is under the enhance tab and 99% of the time I do the auto enhancements that you are going to see here. First is Auto Levels.

Photographing and editing your scrapbooking layouts

Step 3. Then Auto Contrast.

Photographing and editing your scrapbooking layouts

Step 4.Then Auto Sharpen-I didn’t include a picture for this, but it is under the Enhance menu also.

Step 5. This is where the good stuff starts coming into play. You are going to do Adjust Lighting-Shadows/Highlights. A box will pop up on your screen and give you the option to adjust the sliders. This will lighten up your picture and make it brighter. I always just leave it at 25% and don’t really ever move the sliders.

Photographing and editing your scrapbooking layouts

Step 6. Now you are going to go to Adjust Color-Remove Color Cast. Your white board comes into play here. There will be a box that pops up and it will tell you to click on an area that you know is a true white, grey or black. Click on your white board and watch the color change!

Photographing and editing your scrapbooking layouts

Step 7. Double click on your “background” layer over to the side to create a “layer” to work with. To straighten your project you will need to go to the View menu and then select Grid Lines. This gives you something to gauge how much you need to turn your layout to make it straight. Make sure you have the “arrow” tool selected and then click on your project. This will create a dotted line around the layer and you will be able to turn it until you get it straight. Hit the green arrow to save your work.

Photographing and editing your scrapbooking layouts

You can tell where I have slightly turned my project to make it a little straighter and the green arrow is at the bottom to check ok.

Photographing and editing your scrapbooking layouts

Step 8. Last step is to crop down the white space, so that basically all you have showing is your layout.

Photographing and editing your scrapbooking layouts

And my finished project that I will post in galleries and on my blog!


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Katrina, thank you so much for sharing with us today – it’s good to see you back! I am definitely going to be trying this one out! Thanks for the tips :-)

If you have an idea that you would like to share as a How To-sday tutorial, please send your photos and directions to

Have a great day and be sure to stop by tomorrow for Mid Week Mojo sketch Jade #7!

How To-sday | Gift Magnet Boards

Today’s How To-sday by Winter Design Team member Lisa Spiegels is a such a cute gift idea! I love how it can be adapted for whomever and whichever occasion you choose. And for an added bonus, you can use up all those scraps you have lying around! I love the My Mind’s Eye ‘Follow your heart’ collection and the way she mixed and matched products.

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Hello everyone!  I am so excited to have my first post here on the Scrapbook Steals blog!   I’m Lisa Spiegel and I am thrilled to be sharing my scrappy creations here for Scrapbook Steals.
Today I’d like to share with you one of my favorite “scrap” projects.  I’ve made many of these sweet little magnet boards for gifts..they come together very easily and are perfect for the “scraps” from your last project.  They are a great size for Instagram, Polaroid or Fuji pictures, too!
Tutorial using My Mind's Eye for a DIY magnet board gift
It’s fun to make them themed, for teachers gifts, hostess presents, teen presents, and more!  In this case, I had some leftovers from My Minds Eye Follow Your Heart products, some flowers I just picked up at Michaels, and some Cosmo Cricket phrases.
Tutorial using My Mind's Eye for a DIY magnet board gift

Step 1. I have a stash of this stuff, it’s called Metal Flashing and they sell it at Lowes and OSH in the square size, which is what we are going to use for our project. Flip your paper over and trace the flashing onto the paper, then cut it out. I prefer to keep my paper just inside the edges of the flashing so that I don’t have to sand it off.  I also think the little bit of flashing showing gives it a finished look.

Step 2. Round corners of your paper if desired and glue the paper to the flashing using glue stick. Then, using a Cropodile, punch holes 1/2 inch from the top and 2 inches in from each side.

Tutorial using My Mind's Eye for a DIY magnet board gift
Tutorial using My Mind's Eye for a DIY magnet baord gift

Step 3.  Create some cute layered embellishments using lightweight cardboard or cardstock and your “scraps”.

Tutorial using My Mind's Eye for a DIY magnet board gift

Step 4. Add magnets to the back of each.  I used these by Basic Grey, but you can find them easily at Lowes, OSH or Michaels. Since you are only using one side, it doesn’t matter if it’s positive or negative.  These happen to be self adhesive, so just stick them on the back of your embellishment clusters and voila!  You now have magnets!

Tutorial using My Mind's Eye for a DIY magnet board gift

Step 5. Decorate the bottom of the board how ever you wish..

Tutorial using My Mind's Eye for a DIY magnet board gift

Step 6. Add some twine to the top to hang it…(maybe I should add get a manicure, too!)

Tutorial using My Mind's Eye for a DIY magnet board gift
And there you have it!  A cute little magnet board to give or to keep!
Tutorial using My Mind's Eye for a DIY magnet board gift
I hope you’ve enjoyed this How To-sday project.  If you create your own, be sure to link us up in the comments so we can leave you some love!
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Lisa, thank you so much for sharing with us today! I love this gift board! Such a cute idea. I can see what I will be making for upcoming birthdays! Thanks for the inspiration! :-)

If you have an idea that you would like to share as a How To-sday tutorial, please send your photos and directions to

Have a great day and be sure to stop by tomorrow for Mid Week Mojo sketch Jade #6!

How To’sday | Folded Chevrons

Today’s How To’sday by Winter Design Team member Bev Code is a great, quick and easy, technique to make one of the hottest trends for your scrapbook page or card without all the thinking!

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I am sharing a Folded Chevron which was inspired by my friend Nicole and Georgia Heald. Since viewing their tutorials I have been adding these easy, folded chevrons to many of my pages. When I had to hand cut so many pieces I found I didn’t do it that often, but now with this simple method I am hoping you will use them more often also!

In this close up you can see the detail of the folded chevron.

I added some some fun clustered accents on the chevron border. Some ribbon, punched ticket with stamps added and a brad.

Now for the tutorial section of the post.

Step 1. Cut strips 12″ x 2″ (for a full layout border). Adjust if making a card. On the backside, draw a line through the center.

Step 2. Using a sectioned off mat draw 1″ lines the full length of the strip. If you don’t own a mat the secret is 1″ squares.

Step 3. Starting at the center cut every second line on one side of strip. On the other side you will cut every second, but use the alternating lines. Both are marked on my sample to show you.

Step 4. Starting at the centre where you have the 2″ span, fold as above folding the tip (corner into the line ). Every section of 2 folds into each other ( as above). Finish the full side.

Step 5. Now that one full side is done .. flip it over and repeat the same but it will be at alternated points.

Step 6. This is the back when all folded.

Here is the last close up corner showcasing yet again the folded chevron border with some added accents like washi tape, cut and popped up circle with chipboard centre and the stitching pops in this view also.


So glad you could join me today! Be sure to check out weekly what the other Design Team ladies have to share with you. Have a great day!

Supply List:

  • Paper: from my stash
  • Stickers and chipboard: EP for the record 2
  • Punched tag: Tim Holtz Matchbook Notepad Bingo
  • Stamps: Heidi Grace and Misc
  • Brads: My Minds Eye Lush
  • Other: paint, stitching, ribbon, washi tape
  • Tutorial Inspiration: Nicole MSW
  • Scraplift Inspiration: Georgia Heald

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Bev, thank you so much for sharing with us today! I love your layout! I love love how simple it is to make a chevron border.

If you have an idea that you would like to share as a How To’sday tutorial, please send your photos and directions to

Now it’s time to announce the winner of the January Blog Hop! This was the most entries we have ever had on a blog hop – thank you all SO much! Our lucky random winner is from the blog of Andrea Eason. The random winner of the $20.00 gift code to the store is Shelley! Congrats Shelley. Please email and we’ll send you your code. We hope you have fun doing a little shopping and that you will share what you create!

Have a great day and be sure to stop by tomorrow for Mid Week Mojo sketch Jade #5!

How To’sday | Emboss Resist Technique

Today’s How To’sday by Jennifer Blomquist is awesome! You have made it look so easy – such a great effect!

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It’s a new year, and that means a good excuse to try new things.  One of the things I’ve recently rediscovered is heat embossing!  It always looks so classy on a project and here is another technique you can try to take your heat embossing up a notch with the Emboss Resist technique!  It is easy to do, and gives you endless possibilities using your favorite stamps, ink, and embossing powders.

To get started, you are going to need your basics:  Versamark ink, embossing powder, heat gun, stamps, and I recommend an embossing buddy (that little fabric pouch in the upper left corner of the photo). It holds some magic cornstarch-like dust that de-statics your projects and keeps stray embossing powder from sticking where you don’t want it.

First, pick your image.  I like an image with lots of detail and gaps for color between the raised embossed part of the image.  Use the embossing buddy to destatic your paper and them stamp in Versamark. Cover the stamped image with your embossing powder of choice (I like white embossing powder) and heat with your heat gun.


For fun, you can stamp a coordinating image overlapping your heat embossed image.  This is your first hint of how the embossing is ink-resistant!

Now, to start inking up your image.  Grab a sponge – I like the porous yellow sponges that I can cut into wedges. You can use other sponges to get different densities of ink (the makeup sponges or sponge daubers will give you a darker, more concentrated look). I don’t recommend cotton balls or similar items because you tend to get stray fibers from the cotton ball that pick up ink and put it down where you don’t want it. Take your sponge and tap it on your ink pad to pick up ink. Then, starting from the center of your image, swirl the sponge over your heat embossed image in a circular motion. Keep spiraling out, tapping more ink when necessary, until you have covered your entire embossed image and have the color as dark as you want.

When you are done, you should have your embossed image resisting the color you sponged and the paper picking up the ink you wanted.

Another cool look you can get with this technique is to color in your image using this emboss resist sponging. Just start with your heat-embossed, stamped image. For a more subtle effect, use clear embossing powder.

Take your yellow sponge and squeeze it so the part of the sponge that picks up ink is fairly small. Tap that on your ink pad and color in parts of your stamped image using the swirling technique mentioned above.

Layer your colors until you have the look that you want. You may find that when you are doing this technique that the color you were sponging with seemed to have covered up and stained the embossed area. This is especially common with dark colors of ink. All you have to do is grab a paper towel or tissue and clean off the embossed area by buffing it off. I use the same swirling motion that I sponge with when cleaning off with a Kleenex.

Keep adding color and buffing off the embossed area until you get the contrast you want. Now just take your finished embossed pieces and show them off in a cute card or scrapbook page!

It just takes a little bit of experimenting and a few minutes, and you can end up with a card that has a lot of pop and wow factor.  One other tip: I usually do this with dye-based inks.  You may get a bit more staining and a longer drying time if you use pigment inks for your sponging. I hope you enjoy trying this out and have lots of fun!

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Jennifer, thank you so much for sharing with us today! Such a beautiful card. You are certainly going to stretch my heat embossing with these ideas!

If you have an idea that you would like to share as a How To’sday tutorial, please send your photos and directions to

Have a great day and be sure to stop by tomorrow for Mid Week Mojo sketch Jade #4 from another Guest Designer!

How To’sday | Re-covering Gift Boxes

Today’s How To’sday by Liz Qualman is super cute –  I will certainly be trying this one myself!

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Merry Christmas!  Have you done a lot of baking and need to share the goodies with some with your friends and neighbors before you eat them all yourself?  Why not deliver them in a special container to hold all of the delectable creations?  I found this snowman shaped box at my local grocery store (on sale since it was so close to Christmas).  It was already somewhat decorated, but I decided to make it even more adorable by recovering it with one of my favorite holiday collections from Simple Stories called Handmade Holidays (how fitting).
I chose two pieces of patterned paper to line the outside of the box.  Then I measured and cut the strips of paper, matching up patterns where I could since it took more than one strip to go around the box.  Then I used a tape runner and glue gun to adhere the paper to the box.  I would recommend using something like Modge Podge to seal the paper to the box in order to make it more durable and ready for a second use.
To recreate the design, I used a plain piece of copy paper to trace some of the elements on the box and then cut them out as a pattern.  Then I used the pattern to trace on the papers I selected to fit my own style.  Pop dots on the buttons and part of the scarf make the design more fun and dimensional.
Finally I added some sentiments with cardstock stickers from Simple Stories Handmade Collection.  This will be a fun gift for a neighbor or a friend.

Hope you have a safe and wonderful holiday week!

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Liz, thank you so much for sharing with us today! This is such a cute idea – perfect for any neighbour gift! I just wanted to say a big thank you to Liz for being a part of our Fall Design Team – you have shown us so many wonderful things over the last three months. We hope to see you around the community and on our Facebook page.

If you have an idea that you would like to share as a How To’sday tutorial, please send your photos and directions to

Have a great day and be sure to stop by tomorrow for some inspiration!