Realistic Washi Tape



Washi tape is probably one of my very favorite elements to scrap with. I love it both in real life and in digital form. In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to use shadows and highlights to make your washi tape look a bit more realistic on your layouts. I’m going to use this layout below. I have everything finished on it, and the washi placed. The only thing left to do is add shadows to the washi tape. You can see here that it just looks a little flat with no realistic dimension.




  • First, add a basic drop shadow to the washi tape. The settings below are what I used, but use whatever suits your preference. I typically prefer a small shadow on washi tape, because if you look at a piece of real washi tape on paper, it doesn’t come off of the paper much. There’s not a lot of shadow there.



  • Now, we’re going to put this shadow on its own layer. To do this, go to Layer>Layer Style>Create Layer. This will put the drop shadow on its own layer below the washi tape.



  • Even this shadow makes the washi look better than it did, but the shadow darkened the washi tape. I like to preserve the transparency of the tape. To do this, load a selection of your washi tape layer by using Command-click (or Control-click for Windows) on the tape layer in the layers palette. This should give you marching ants around your tape. Now click on the shadow layer in the layers palette, and hit delete (make sure you are on the shadow layer before hitting delete… this is important). This will delete the shadow that sits directly beneath your tape and bring back the transparency of the tape. (You can use a layer mask if you’d rather not permanently delete it, but I never have wished I had it back, so I just go ahead and delete.)



  • Command-d (or Control-d on Windows) will deselect the tape.


I think this looks good, and you can stop here if you like. I have left my tape with a basic shadow like this sometimes when I am trying to save time and get a page done. If you want to take it one step further to make the washi tape really look like it’s stuck on your page, follow the steps below.

  • First, you need to select the item the tape is holding down. In my layout, it’s the framed photo of my boys. Command-click that layer in the layers palette to load a selection.
  • Next, select the dodge tool from your tool bar. At the top of your screen, you want a soft brush that’s big enough to brush over the bottom part of the tape covering the photo. For this particular page, I used a brush size of 125. Set your range to Midtones and the Exposure to around 50%. You may need to play around with this exposure depending on the specific tape and how dark or light it is. Most of the time 50% works pretty well.
  • Make sure your washi tape layer is selected in the layers palette on the right, and brush over the tape 2-3 times. This highlights the part of the tape that is “stuck” to the photo.



  • If you think about pressing a piece of tape over a photo in real life, it’s going to leave a little crease where photo meets the background page. In this next step, we’ll create this look digitally.
  • Your frame selection should still be loaded (meaning you have marching ants around your frame). If it’s not, select it again. But now we want the tape that outside of the frame area, so we’re going to select the inverse of what is currently selected. To do this, go to Select>Inverse. It won’t look any different, but now everything except the frame is selected.



  • We’re going to use the Burn tool to add some shadows to the top part of the tape where it is “sticking” to the page. Select the burn tool from the toolbar.
  • This time you want a pretty small brush… just big enough to shadow the tape right at the edge of the photo. I used a brush of size 35, and for this particular tape I set my exposure to 25%. If the shadow isn’t as dark as you like, you may want to change this to 50%. Use the burn tool on your washi a few times along the edge of your selection, until the shadow is as dark as you want it.



  • Command-D to get rid of your selection, and you can see the end result.



Here’s a look at the final layout:

Layout using Summer Bucket List by Amanda Yi Designs and Wishing Well Creations


JaimeAbout the Author: Jaime is a member of the creative team here at The Digital Press. She is a stay-at-home mom to 4 boys and 1 girl. When she’s not chauffeuring, volunteering at school, or helping with play costumes, she likes to digitally record her family’s memories, improve her photography skills, and read (there’s always a stack of books on her nightstand).

Thoughts on your Real Home

Thoughts on Your Real Home
Hello Scrappers! As I write my first blog post for The Digital Press, I ‘really’ couldn’t be more excited! 🙂

As I thought about this month’s word – REAL – it got me thinking about places. Places that are real…places where “I” am real. And there’s only one place that fit the bill… it took me back to my home. The place where I can really be me…no pretenses…just at home with myself…with the ‘real’ me. My home…where I come back to for love and for comfort…where I am welcomed for who I am. My home…which isn’t perfect ….but puts me perfectly at ease. I am sure you would agree that there’s no place like home 🙂

Another thing that also became clear to me is that in my pages, the stories about my home, were the ones that were really untold. In the hum drum of capturing my everyday life with my toddler, I had forgotten about the site where all the action takes place 🙂

That is what I set out to do initially that got me thinking about ‘Home’.

Is home really a place…a house? Where all our memories are created? Where each corner is full of ‘that incident where…’

Or, is it about the city? I know for myself that we’ve moved around so much that just a mere mention of some places tugs at the really does!

Or finally…and most importantly, is it about the people? No matter where we are…when we are with ‘our own’ it doesn’t matter the place, it feels like home.

Well, after all these heavy…soul searching thoughts (I was also getting tired with all the thinking by that time :)), I realized that these are all stories that were left uncaptured by me so far and I need to get started with capturing these very important snippets that make me who I am today.

My first layout was about the first city I called home..the city where I grew up…the city of my friends and family.

Thoughts on your Real Home

In this process I came across some layouts that also beautifully captured my thoughts. Below is a layout by CT Alina where she talks about the city where she lives now…

Thoughts on your Real Home

In the next layout, CT Amie beautifully captures the sunlight streaming through her home…both through her picture and through her words…

Thoughts on your Real Home

Last but definitely not the least 🙂 … is the layout by CT Pamie. She captures her gorgeous house here.

Thoughts on your Real Home

I hope you feel inspired by some of my thoughts. I’m hosting a challenge over in The Digital Press forum today and I’d love for you to share a little about whats home for you and where you can be your REAL self.  The challenge can be found here: May 18: Thoughts on Your Real Home

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About the author: Pallavi Sureka is a wife and newly designated stay at home mom to 3 years old Rajveer. She currently lives in Mexico City but her family moves around a lot. She has previously lived in Calcutta, Pune, San Francisco, Chicago and London. She reflects all these places in her pages as she captures her everyday stories.

Hybrid Scraplifting


Remember this weeks challenge for creating a layout by scraplifting? If not, you can read the full post here: inspiration scraplifting

Scraplifting is one my favorite things when it comes to scrapbooking – no matter if I scrap digital, hybrid or paper. There are so many great inspiration sources outthere and it would be a shame not to use them! Whenever I scraplift I also like to let somebody know that I scraplifted their layout and if I have a photo I will also link it. I always got good responses. They felt honored to be scraplifted. Never skip an opportunity to make someone smile!

For a scraplifting a page digitally or as a hybrid page, I open a new 12×12 document in Photoshop and the first thing I do is to drag & drop the original layout into this document as my referrence. It will be much too small, but you can make it bigger without worrying about the quality – you will not print it, as it is not your layout, but having it as big as your layout will be makes it a lot easier to keep the sizes and proportions or placements.

Browsing through the shop I found this beautiful page:

I love the simplicity and especially this little cluster at the top: a round element in the back, a piece of washi and a button. I do like the colors of this layout aswell, but I already knew which colors I wanted to use for my photo, so I went with another color scheme.

As I said the first thing I did was to create a new 12×12 document and added the layout. Normally I would now go ahead and create shapes for all papers and photos on this layout. In this case it is there is a template available, so I used the template to get me the correct shapes. Ones I finished adding shapes to the page, I will add another copy of the page I want to scraplift on top.
Now I have it as the bottom and the top layer. I will turn both off and on whenever I want to look something up. Sometimes I like to use the overlay mode to keep them semi transparent on top of my working space, but mostly that’s too distracting for me.

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Next step is to add papers and play around with text and embelishments. In this case I decided not to use any real elements as I don’t like to use printed buttons or flowers on my hybrid layouts. I rather use real ones from my stash. Same goes for all other 3D-objects on a page. The only exception is stitching! I do think stitching looks much better when it is real stitching, but laziness wins. It is the first time I’m trying to print a stitch, so I might throw the paper away and replace the stitch with washi tape. I think it is always worth trying to print something you are not 100% sure about. You can always throw it away if it turns out that you don’t like it.

When I know this will be a hybrid and not a digital page, I will not spend any effort on the shadows. There were shadows already in the template, so some shapes now have shadows and others don’t. Overall the page looks unfinished, but I’m ok with that this still is some kind of a prototype of what my actual page will look like.

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If I blend the original layout over it, you will see it looks pretty similar.

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My page just misses some splatters and elements.

Now comes the unpleasent part for me: getting everything on a4 and a3 pages and print it. For the layers where I need my silhouette, I will add a black color overlay, so it will be easier for me to trace them. Now it get’s to the fun part of assembling the page. I start with glue the clusters together, so I can move them aroung more easily on the page then I now where I want to add my stamps and splatters. Don’t forget to cover everything you don’t want color on, because otherwise you have to print again. Been there, done that!

The last step then is to add embelishments from my stash and this is how the finished page turned out.


Anika About the Author:  Anika is part of the hybrid team here at She loves to travel and use the photos her boyfriend takes (thanks for that!) to scrapbook. Digital, paper and hybrid. When she is not scrapping, she is most likely playing a computer game or in a city searching for a geocache.

May 13 Find the Real You Through Inspiration Scraplift Challenge



Sometimes, I have a hard time starting off with a black 12×12 canvas. I stare at it, close my eyes and try to imagine it finished, and then I open my eyes and I got nothin’! When I’m at a loss for creating a layout, I like to browse through my inspiration folders and the galleries looking for the perfect layout to scraplift. There’s a line between taking a layout and using it for inspiration and well, just plain copying it exactly. To really make your layout unique when scraplifting, identify the parts that you are drawn to in the first place. Is it the overall design? The use of color or elements? What exactly made you choose that particular layout to lift? Next, think about how to take the items you love from the layout you are lifting and making them your own. A true to you layout is far better than a just a copy of someone else’s layout. Of course, it will look very similar, but you’ll love it even more when you make it real!

I choose this layout by Amanda. I am initially drawn in by the design, but even more, I absolutely LOVE the use of the vellum word art stapled on top.


Although, I lifted the use of vellum word art, I changed up the design a bit and used a different set of papers and elements to make my layout my own.


Your challenge is to make a new layout using a layout from The Digital Press gallery as inspiration, but make it your own.

Now, for the rules…
1. Pages must be created using 100% TDP Products and loaded in the gallery no later than midnight EST on May 31, 2015.
2. Please link your gallery listing in this thread: May 13 challenge thread
3. Link your comment in this thread in the monthly challenge tracker thread. You can find it here: May’s Tracking Thread.
4. Have fun!!!


FarrahAbout the Author:  Farrah Jobling is a member of the Creative Team here at The Digital Press.  She lives in Denver with her amazing family, Mike, Nicholas (8), Claire (5) and Hope (7 mo puppy).  She works from home as a photographer and enjoys scrapping her personal photos.

Overcoming Obstacles to Project Life: Taking Photos and Journaling



“I want to do (or continue with) Project Life®  but…”


If you’ve ever said either of these phrases to yourself, then this series is for you. (And don’t tell anyone, but this series is for me too!)


Project Life® or the more generic, Pocket Scrapping, is a way of scrapbooking that is supposed to simplify the process of documenting the everyday moments that make up your beautifully imperfect, perfect life. However, so many people feel it is too difficult to start or maintain. Huh?! That is the antithesis of why it was created! So, when I was thinking of what to write about, I asked myself how I can help others overcome their hurdles to starting or sticking with Pocket Scrapping. And this series was born. So let’s start from the beginning.


In order to document the everyday, one of two things must happen first: you must take photos of your everyday life and/or, you must journal about your everyday life. Ideally, you would do both. To some that is a lot of work. And to most there doesn’t seem to be enough excitement to warrant documentation. And that’s ok! It’s not about documenting an exciting life. It’s about documenting YOUR life. And believe me, to your family, that is exciting enough!


So, I’d like to offer a few of the more popular methods for taking photos and journaling everyday.


The No Frills Way

The best camera is the one you have with you. You’ve heard it said over and over again. And it really is true. And let’s face it, today’s phone cameras really are pretty good. So if your phone is the only camera you have, go ahead and snap some photos with it. Then do yourself a favor and delete some of them. My iPhone 6+ has an incredible burst feature, but do I really need 20 identical pictures of my daughter picking a flower? Take the photos, view them and then delete them. Right away. And if you can’t get to it right away, do it while you are waiting to pick your child up from school, while in the checkout lane at the supermarket or while at the doctor. Find your down time and use it.


Of course, you can also use your big girl (boy) camera — your dSLR. Same rules apply. Take at least one photo every day and delete your duplicates. If you don’t do this in camera, I will be talking about doing this using your computer next month when we talk about getting your photos off your phone and camera and onto the computer.


Once you take a photo, you may want to jot a note about it. Unfortunately, the iPhone does not allow for this without the use of a third party app. After much research, I finally found one called Photogene 4 which allows you to very easily modify the IPTC data on your iPhone’s photo. The IPTC data is where you can add a caption to your photo. So even if you never scrap the photo, the story is always attached to it. (Bonus: Photogene 4 is also a pretty good photo editor as well.)


Once you open a photo to use in Photogene 4, in order to edit the IPTC metadata, you need to click on the second icon to the right of the wrench.


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Then you can click on the tab that says, IPTC.




And then you can type in your photo’s story.




Now, onto journaling. A really basic way to journal using your phone is to use the native calendar that comes with it. On my phone, I can just add a calendar entry titled, “Today,” set the time to “All Day,” and under the Notes section, type in any interesting thoughts about the day. I don’t have to type in what I did, because it’s all in the calendar already. You can also do the same on your desktop calendar if you prefer. While this method does not tell the story of individual photos, it does allow you paint an overall picture of the day or tell the stories that don’t have photos to go with them.


The App Way

Yes. There is an app for that. There is an app for everything. Two of the best apps (imho) for combining photos and stories on an iPhone are Day One and Collect.


Day One is an iPhone and desktop app that will prompt you on both of your devices to journal about your day at a time specified by you. I have mine set to the end of the day so that if when it alerts me, I haven’t yet taken a photo, I can quickly take one to represent the day. When you open the app, you are met with two large icons: a camera and a plus sign.


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Clicking the camera gives you the option to use the last photo taken, take a photo or choose from your photo library.


OOPL: Taking Photos


Once you choose or take a photo, you will be prompted to journal about it. And that photo and journal entry will be added to that day.


Collect is also an iPhone app. Again, it is super easy to use. Once you open it, the home screen looks like a calendar. When you select the date, a menu pops up asking you whether you want to access your photo library, dropbox, or take a photo.


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Once you add a photo to the date, you are given the option to add notes to it.


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And finally, for iPhone and Android users, another app that works similarly is Diario, which is also available on your PC and Mac Desktop. (Although I have never tried it personally.)


Photo A Day

Perhaps the hardest hurdle to overcome is figuring out what to take photos of. Some days are easy and others are more difficult and this is where the beauty of documenting your everyday life comes in. It’s finding interest in the mundane. I get my inspiration from other Pocket Scrapbookers. I find looking at their pages and following their blogs very helpful. In addition, there are a lot of Photo A Day prompts out there. Some of my favorites are:



And that leads me to my purpose for this blog series. I’d like all of us at The Digital Press who are working on  documenting our everyday lives to support each other. Let’s share with each other what and how we are documenting our every day, every day. We have started a thread in our forum, which you can find here, to do just that. Let’s help each other tell our stories. Let’s give each other the push we need to take a photo every day (or almost every day) and let’s tell a story every day. Each day, check into the forum and tell us what you took a photo of and what story you told. If you want to share the actual photo, that’s even better, but you don’t have to. But please do stop in and support your fellow scrappers by sharing your strategies for success.


And be sure to stop by next month when I share how to get your photos off your camera and onto your computer.


Jen FlahertyJen is a member of the Pocket Team at The Digital Press. Having scrapped digitally for many years, she has come to embrace the simplicity of Pocket Scrapping since it fits more easily into her busy lifestyle of shuttling her three children from field to field. When she is not on the computer, you will find her working out or really doing anything else she can besides cooking, cleaning and doing laundry.

Scrapping Imperfect Photos

Scrapping Imperfect Photos
Hi scrappers! I’m here today to talk about those less than perfect photos that we all have. You know what I’m talking about, those blurry, out of focus, grainy, or weirdly lit photos that you snapped trying to capture a moment. Sometimes I just don’t want to haul my big DSLR camera with me and sometimes I just miss that perfect shot. So, what is a scrapper to do? I say find a way to make those photos work in your layouts! Here are some strategies you can turn to when your photos are less than ideal…

1.  Make it black and white – Grain, noise, and less than perfect color can often be fixed or improved by converting your photo to black and white. I use this strategy often when dealing with less than perfect images, especially from my phone.

2.  Make it small – If I have a photo that I love but that is blurry, I often include it on my layout but make it small so the imperfections are less noticeable. This works especially well if you have a larger photo from the same event that is in focus. Then, you can include the small photo along with the larger one and still include the special memory.

Here’s an example of this strategy by Tiffany. She made these photos of birds small and cropped way in, and it worked wonderfully!
Scrapping Imperfect Photos

3.  Blend it – Use a mask for your photo or blend it with the background.

4.  Use strategically placed elements to cover up parts of the photo – Do you have distracting parts of your photo that you can’t crop out? Use a well-placed embellishment or cluster of elements to hide it!

Here’s a great example by Stacy where she was working with a scanned photo that lacked in quality. She adjusted the black and white and covered up a trouble spot with an element…

Scrapping Imperfect Photos

5.  Just embrace it! – This is my favorite choice of all! Life is messy and imperfect and sometimes the photo is too special to leave out, even if it isn’t perfect. I try to remember that someday my kids will be looking through their albums and will smile at the moments I have preserved for them. They will never think, “Oh, I wish this photo was a little less blurry” or “Gee, the lighting really could have been better in this shot.” They are going to see the love and wonderful memories that I have captured for them.

Here’s my example of just embracing the photo even when it’s not quite perfect. This photo was clearly out of focus, but it captured a special moment that I couldn’t recreate. I decided I wanted to scrap with it anyway, and I’m really happy with how it came out!

Scrapping Imperfect Photos

I’m hosting a challenge over at the TDP forums this month and I hope you’ll come play along! I can’t wait to see the layouts you are able to create with your less than perfect photos! You can find the challenge here.

KatieAbout the Author: Katie is a member of the Creative Team here at The Digital Press. She lives in Central Florida with her husband and their four sweet but crazy boys. When she’s not dodging Nerf bullets or trying to dig out from under the never ending pile of laundry, she enjoys photography, cooking, going to Disney World with her family, and, of course, digital scrapbooking.