Saturday, January 25, 2014

How to Digital Scrapbook For Free

 When you first start digital scrapbooking it can feel like rocket science as you try to figure everything out. There's always the first shock of kit prices. It's not like you're walking out of your favorite hobby store with armloads of paper and trims. It's just digital after all...but then there's the bonus that, unlike hobby store supplies, you can use these digi supplies again and again and again. Price savvy digital scrapbookers know they will seldom have to pay for anything. Have you been looking at digital scrapbook software? Has the price made your head spin? It is frightening to think about spending on something you don't even know if you can figure out. You should test the waters first...for FREE. After you get the hang of this fun hobby you'll feel more comfortable buying software and even kits if one with a price tag strikes your fancy.

Okay, first things first. Some experienced digi scrappers have stopped by because they saw the cute elements in my How-to pic and they only want to zoom in for a few freebies. Here are the freebies I used to make the preview. Enjoy. (Everyone else hang in there for a second)


Now back to business. When you think about digital scrapbooking I want you to think back to elementary school and teachers with overhead projectors.
File:Bundesarchiv Bild 183-T0617-007, Blick in eine Berufsschulklasse.jpg
Attribution: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-T0617-007 / CC-BY-SA
The projector used transparency layers. Ink on the transparency created a shadow that would be projected on the wall. The teacher could layer the transparencies. For example he might use three transparencies like these to make a final image:
That sums up digital scrapbooking. Digital scrapbooking is just a matter of "elements" on layers. You layer them on top of each other to make a final image. The above example would be two separate PNG files that have been flattened into one. Though background papers are usually standard JPG photo images, elements are PNG images. A PNG file can have a transparent background, making it easy to layer. In scrapbooking and photo editing software a PNG transparent background will look like this with grey checks in the transparent area. When you save the file or flatten your entire image the checks will no longer be there.  
When I talk about flattening an image it's basically melting the three transparencies into one. The image will no longer have layers after it is flattened. 
In this tutorial I am not going to teach you how to use digital scrapbook software. There are too many tutorials for me to bother with that. I will say though that you don't need to spend money on digital scrapbook software when you're just starting out. Drum roll please....May I introduce, if you haven't met before, WWW.Pixlr.Com Editor
I have a basic pixlr youtube tutorial here. Let us leave my video tut lack of skills out of this. You can also educate yourself with tons of other videos here. As you're learning, be patient with yourself. Just keep repeating the mantra "Free, Free, Free, Free."

Okay, that said, I only love Photoshop Elements. It is the most intutive for me and it lets me actually design my own work. There are tons and tons of Youtube tutorial for it and it's a really great price right around cyber Monday in November. Yes, it does cost usually between $50-$100 dollars but it is the best software money I have ever spent. Just saying...So keep it in mind as you're learning the ropes.

Okay next: If you're scrapbooking, be it paper or digi, you'd better be journalling. These images will never be worth as much without words to explain activities, feelings, history...Oh, I could just go on. Journalling is your chance to shape your children's memories. They're not going to remember what really happened half as much as they'll remember what you say really happened. For example, I don't mention the food poisoning on the trip to Disneyland in my pages. I focus on all the other silly stuff and hopefully that unpleasant detail will have completely dropped from their memories in five years.  So what you want is FONTS...and lots to choose from. Every page has a mood to match. You are in luck. May I introduce, FONT HEAVEN:

1001 Free Fonts

You'll find font downloading instructions on their FAQ page HERE.
Downloading Freebies and where to find them:
1. Generally speaking, most of the time a great big green download button is from an advertiser and not the freebie you're looking for...most of the time.
2. Most files come in zipped files. How to extract a zip file.
3. Usually freebies have a download link and instructions to download. Some bring up a download prompt right away on your computer when you click on the link or the preview image. Some freebies take more than one file.
4. Please understand that a freebie is a designers invitation for you to try their product. They hope you'll like their work and go on to purchase something from them. You may have little ads in your zips for other products.
5. Follow the designer's Terms of Use carefully. Here are mine. Mine are a lot friendlier than other designers so be careful how you use your freebies.
6. Some, like my favorite of all time, Far Far Hill, have terrible download hoops to jump through.

My favorite freebies source is me...really. I have more than most designers and Google is gracious enough to host it for free.
    Snip Snap Time to Scrap

And I am a Freebies junkie. I don't really download a lot because I am a designer but I love finding freebies for my Facebook Fans every day.

I have thousands of freebies that I've found and highlighted on a Pinterest Board HERE. You might want join over 3,600 people and follow it if you're going to be a digi scrapper.

Designers will have Facebook Freebies where you "Like" their Facebook Pages and you can pick up a freebie there. I find that the largest and most impressive free kits are Facebook Freebies that are only available for a limited time.

Digital scrapbook stores often have a freebies section.

And my number one pick up freebies source is Blogs. Leave a thank you when you pick up a freebie.
These freebies will be mixed with for sale products and other information so read carefully to find the freebies.
Here are my favorites:
WWW.ScrapbookAlphabet.BlogSpot.Com (Okay, yea, another plug for me)

I could go on forever. Once you get used to hopping around blogs you'll find blog trains with themed kits offered by multiple bloggers for free.

So how was that for whirlwind rocket science? The moral of the story is that you can digi scrap. You can make your own invitations. You can digi scrap for free. Printing them out is another story for another day and it isn't free, but even on your computer in a dusty old file your scrapbooking will be done and beautiful! Welcome to the digi scrap world.


Sugar said...

I have to thank you for introducing me to Freebies both on your site and those you have directed me to. I think you introduced me to an addiction:) For those not wanting to print out scrapbooks, I put mine on USB keys and put into a digital photo frame or direct on to the TV as a slide show as well as having them as screen savers on my computer.
I have also made a recipe book in Word using elements to decorate the pages.

...tiktakro... said...

Reading your post I think I opened a new door and everything behind it is so clear. You made it clear. THANK YOU .

Administrator said...

I am so glad it is helping. I love the ideas on keeping the pages in digi format.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for all the leg-work you've done in providing us with great resources for free digi product. I have done paper scrapbooking for some time and have just become the program director for a ladies scrapbooking weekend camp. I am excited to introduce digi scrapbooking. Your blog is one I will continue to visit for resources.

Administrator said...

I am so glad I can help.

MissStaceyLynn said...

Thank you so much for providing the freebies on your site! I am very new to digital scrapbooking, and these beautiful kits and embellishments will help me decide if it's for me! I also bought the Photoshop Elements 12 and it's been a nightmare trying to figure it out. I am so glad you mentioned YouTube videos for tutorials on it. That is a great idea! Once I try out my wings and get the hang of it, I will be back to purchase some of your beautiful packs! You definitely have a gift! Thank you so much! Stacey Kirk

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for all the time and effort that you have put into the Freebies. I am new to scrapbook projects as in depth of doing them. Recently I came across a craft video how to make a scripture journal for every week for 52 weeks. Being a Christian this project is really important to me. Until I started searching for freebies, because my husband is laid off work and i could not afford to buy the pages I need till her goes back to work. Really did not know what I was going to do since I cannot draw a stick man. LOLL...So, thank you very much for allowing me to use these freebies you provide for my project. Once my husband is back to work, I will be back to purchase some of the most beautiful packs for my other projects I plan on doing for each of my children. God Bless You.

Administrator said...

Your story is exactly why I enjoy giving away freebies. Thank you for sharing it.

SHANZ said...

Thanks so much. I used to be heavily into digital scrapping/graphic design many moons ago, and left the community (remembering the days of yahoo groups, lol) seven or so years ago to pursue my career. I'm now wanting to get back into the digital world of scrapping and I happened upon your lovely site. It's always difficult to get back into the swing of things, not to mention the monetary set back, of a new hobby or passion. I have forgotten so many of the things I once knew like the back of my hand. Thank you for being so generous and creative!!! Cheers.

Administrator said...

My sister-in-law taught me and then became a successful photographer. She's forgotten most of what she taught me. I'm sure I'll forget if I ever stop posting things. Hmmm, I need to leave more bread crumbs and tutorials. I am so glad to be a help to you.

Pineapple Chunker said...

Oh my goodness!!! The information in this article makes me feel much less intimidated and lost in regards to digital scrapbooking. I never caught the scrapbooking bug, because I never wanted to spend the money on all the materials (books, papers, stickers, etc.). It all seemed overwhelming and a money pit, at least for me. When I started researching alternatives to scrapbooking and digital scrapbooking, I immediately felt overwhelmed again. But this article provides the right amount of information for me to move forward with confidence. Thank you for this!!!

Administrator said...

I felt the same way when I started. Glad it was helpful.