Tutorial Tuesday | Grunge Text Effects

Hi scrappers! It’s time for another tutorial… and this week I’d like to share my technique in creating a grunge title.  I’ve been all about simplicity lately, and this effect is quick, simple effort for a big effect result. Perfect!

I ran a Warrior Dash race with a friend of mine years ago and we got all kinds of messy! I think it was the mud pit that we had to army crawl through at the end that really did us in.  So for this page, I wanted a grunge title to match.

Here’s what my page ends up looking like.

It’s super easy to do this! To get started, I chose a big chunky font that had plenty of surface area for effects. The font I used here is called Geomanist.  Go ahead and create your text layers, positioning your title where you want it on the page.

Next, we need to convert the text to shapes.  To do this, right click on the layer in the layers panel and choose “Convert To Shape”.  You can also hit Cmd/Ctrl + E.

Before I added the grunge effect, I wanted to give my text the right color and texture.  So I clipped one of the papers in the kit I was using to the text.  Since we need that to be just one layer, I then merged the clipped paper and the text shape by selecting both layers and then right click in the layers panel to choose “Merge Layers”.

Now it’s time to use some brushes. I used two sets of brushes for this effect. First was a set of grunge brushes that I got for free here. The second set, which I’ll use later, are paint splashes, and I got those for free here.  To use these, first make sure that new shape layer (the one that used to be text) is selected. Then go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All to add a layer mask to the shape.  Then using the Brush tool (B) and with your foreground color set to black, choose a grunge brush (like the ones I referenced above) and click over and around the edges of the text shape until you get a texture effect that you’re happy with.  I changed my brush size to about 700 in this example.


Next, I added a new layer just underneath the text layers.  To do this, select the layer just underneath your text shape layers in the layers panel and then choose Layer > New > Layer. This is going to be for my paint splotches that will match the color of the text.

With this new layer selected, I first make sure my foreground color is the same as the text. I used the color picker to match it exactly.  Now I’ll grab my brush again, this time choosing one of the paint splatter brushes that I just added.  I actually used a few different brushes from that same set, and I brushed (just click once, no dragging) some paint splatters behind my text to get something that looks like this:

And finally, I added a tiny bit of beveling to both the text and the paint layers. To do this, I double clicked on the paint layer and checked the Bevel and Emboss checkbox and used the following settings.  I did the same with the text shape layer.

The result is this grunge, paint splattered titled that works really nicely with the theme of my page!  Hopefully you guys will try this out and find it to be super easy to get this cool effect for a title.  Experiment with your brushes – both the brush and the size – until you get it looking just how you want it to.  Have fun!

About the Author  Shannon has been completely addicted to digiscrapping since she began in early 2016 (though she’s been a scrapper since 2000). Her early morning ritual of a few quiet hours of scrapping while sipping a chai tea is her favorite part of each day. She is also the owner of a web design company, and when she’s not at the computer designing websites or digiscrap layouts, she’s probably hiking one of the local mountains in her hometown of Phoenix, Arizona. She is an avid reader and loves to travel to foreign countries.

Tutorial Tuesday | Getting Creative with Alphas

Hey everyone! and welcome to yet another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! I hope you enjoy reading the tips/tricks and ideas that the our creative team members share here every week. I certainly am always on the hunt for new techniques/ideas, and these tutorials never disappoint!

Today I’m going to talk a bit about using digital alphas — especially ideas related to using them creatively / a bit differently than possibly intended. There are some other similar tutorials on the topic that you’ll fine in our archives; check out How to use alpha sheets by Erin, and Titles Matter by Heidi. There is also a Pinterest board with all of The Digital Press’s tutorials in one place, displayed visually. Now isn’t that handy?!

What comes to your mind when you think of alphas? Creating titles, right? Of course! That is the most common way alphas are used. And yes, they are great for creating nice, bold, impactful titles. We have an amazing selecting of alphas at The Digital Press — available both as part of some coordinated kits, and also available as standalone products (see those here).

So what can we possibly do differently with alphas? Well, a lot actually. Let’s dig in and look at some ideas…


Very simply, alphas can be used as purely design elements, without being in the title.  In the first example below, I have used alphas as stamps to scatter about on my background paper. Of course, if you look closely, they form words like guide, book, map. So that adds so much movement to the layout and a hidden word search challenge!




Simply clipping papers on to alphas can also give a very different look. CT member Maribel created this striking layout by using a big, bold title and clipping patterned papers to it. I just love the eye-popping result!




You can use alphas to label/number your photos and/or journaling or as part of your journaling. In my first example here, I have used the alphas as starter to my words and arranged them in a pattern (ADVENTURE) to add to the interest in the layout.



In my second example, I have used an alpha as my first letter in  my journaling – nothing too drastic but does make you stop and take notice, right? Also naming photos with these wonderful stamped alphas (by Dawn by Design) makes your eye move along the layout and take in all the details.



Mix and match different alpha types in your title – we have some great selections of mix and match alphas in the shop. Mix and Match series by Dunia Designs is quite terrific if you want to create a quirky mixed up title -like I have done below.



Cut out alphas on your layout/photo to create a graphic style. In my example, I used Nini Goes Digi’s Pencil Play alpha, aligned it to my photo and then cut out the words from the photo. Adding a shadow, then, to the cut out photo enhances that effect further.




Mix alpha up with fonts (especially handwritten ones) to get a nice eclectic feel to your layouts. I am sharing two examples from layouts I did some time back.


So, there it is 6 easy ways to give a twist to your alphas.

Hope you enjoyed looking through these examples and it has given you some ideas of your own. Please share any of your ideas as comments to this post or in the galleries – I’d love to see them.

Till next time then, happy scrapping!

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About the Author Shivani is a donner of many alter-egos. A finance professional by day in busy London, she morphs into a seemingly normal mum of two in the evenings and weekends. She is constantly found with her fingers in too many pies and juggling the metaphorical balls. That is living on the edge for her; aided by the two ankle biters and a darling hubby who define the warm and mushy for her. She is ferociously dedicated to memory keeping — almost immune to any nay-sayers (or equally-disruptive crying children or annoying house fires!); keeping her head down and forging ahead at all times.

Hybrid How-To | Shrink Plastic Bracelets

Hi, everyone! Kate here with another edition of our Hybrid How-To series here on The Digital Press blog. Today I am going to show you how to make these cute summer bracelets using printable shrink plastic and embellishments/etc. from your digital scrapbooking stash!

Supplies Needed

  • Digital elements of your choice (I used This Life: Summer Elements by Juno Designs)
  • Photo editing program (such as Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, etc.)
  • Printable shrink plastic
  • Cutting machine or scissors
  • Hole punch
  • Tin foil or parchment paper
  • Jump rings, clasps, crimp tubes, and a pair of needle nose pliers (optional, but gives jewelry a finished look)
  • Beads (optional)
  • Cord or elastic

The first thing to do is pull your chosen elements into your photo editing program and size them…

Every brand of shrink plastic is different, so check the packaging to determine how much bigger your shapes need to be to allow for shrinking. Mine needed to be 3x the finished size, as shown here…

At this point, I also added the holes for the jump rings. You can do this with a hole punch after you’ve printed and cut, but you have to punch the holes before you bake the pieces.

The next step is to print and cut. I used my Silhouette for this part, but I also used scissors to finish cutting through the plastic, in the end.

After that, it’s time to bake the pieces. Check the shrink plastic packaging for the specific instructions. I baked mine on foil at 325 degrees F for 2-3 minutes. While baking, they will shrivel up a bit and eventually go almost flat…

Immediately after pulling them out of the oven, I covered them with a sheet paper and used a piece of cardboard to push them down flat. To get the word art pieces to be rounded, however (see image above), I put them back in the oven for 20 seconds and then used a hot pad to wrap them around a pop can until they cooled.

The next step is to assemble the bracelets. I attached jump rings to each side of the shapes and then threaded the cord/elastic band through the rings, using a crimp tube to complete the loop on the back of the bracelet.

I added beads to the bracelets with elastic band to help keep the band in place. I used clasps the back of the word art bracelets.

And there they are! Using your favorite elements from a digital kit, you can have a cute set of coordinating bracelets.

I hope that you have enjoyed this edition of Hybrid How-To. Don’t forget to visit the CROSSWORD SECTION in The Digital Press forum, and jump into this month’s Hybrid Challenge if you are thinking of trying this project. You can earn points toward discounts & FREEBIES! I hope that you will join in!

Kate About the Author  Kate is on the hybrid team here at The Digital Press. She lives on the Utah/Colorado border with her husband, 5 kids, 10 chickens, and a dog named Gracie. She’s a city-born girl who found she’s really a country girl at heart. She can be found outside, barefoot, and probably in her garden.

Tutorial Tuesday | Documenting the Passage of Time

Welcome to another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! Today, I thought it would be helpful if I shared a few ideas for documenting the passage of time within our scrapbooks! This is my favorite way to scrapbook. I love seeing, at a quick glance, how life has changed throughout the years… and how my boys have grown up before my eyes.

There are many different ways to achieve the goal of documenting time, and I hope this tutorial inspires you to dig through all those years’ worth of photos and start creating!

Document the Passage of Time by Day

Documenting a day in the life — or even a week in the life — is a simple and effective way to pull together a photo summary of a certain period of time. You can document your day by taking a photo on the hour, every hour… or by taking a photo of each new activity throughout the day… or by simply taking photos of most everything, all day long! Once you have all the photos, go through them and pick your favorites (or the ones that will help tell the story of your subject); multi-photo templates are a great tool to help showcase multiple photos on a single layout!

For this layout I documented a simple day in our family’s life…

And here, I documented two days (a.k.a. a weekend)…

Document the Passage of Time by Month

Month-in-Review layouts are a great way to wrap up a time period in your life. I have noticed that many scrapbookers seem to be gravitating to this form of memory keeping (choosing it over the “daily” style of pocket scrapbooking, etc.)! Documenting each and every day can start to be overwhelming, and some days are just not the best to document. So why not showcase the highlights of an entire month?

You could even focus on the 4 seasons, if 12 individual months seems like too much to document… as I’ve done here…

You could even document an entire sports season, or the passage of time within a given event in a persons life, as shown here…

Document the Passage of Time by Year

At the end of every year, I try to compile a single layout (which can be either single or double page in format) that showcases the highlights of our year and/or favorite photos from that year. These are some of my most treasured layouts, and the ones that deserve a place in everyone’s scrapbook! There is just something awe-inspiring about seeing a whole year of photos together in one place.

Here’s an example of one of my two-page spreads…

You can also document a year by subject. To complete a project like this, you have to start off with the end in mind. Yearly photo projects are time consuming but so worth it in the end! For the next layout, shown below, I pulled together all my photos from my Instagram feed. I started the year randomly documenting my feet and where they took me throughout the year… and hashtagged the photos #whereistand. I’ve found that Instagram and other social media sites are super helpful when pulling together a year long photo project (especially because you can search by hashtag; you can create your own hashtag and use it to help sort through all of the photos later!)…

Another method is to document a year “by person.” I try to do this for each of my boys, to wrap up their yearly albums. I like to pull together photos from each month and all the highlights in between; the big things and the little things that made a year in that person’s life special. A simple photo-filled layout with dates and simple blurbs make for a wonderful year-in-review page for a child’s scrapbook album!

Check out this example…

Document the passage of time by years.

This is a fun way to literally see the passage of long stretches of time on one page! To achieve this look, you will have to spend some time going through all of your photos & pull out a favorite (or two, etc.) from each year. This can be done easily if you have your photos organized; I organize my photos by month & year, so it is somewhat easy to find what I am searching for — but this can still be a long process. I don’t mind it, though. Going through older photos always brings back memories and I enjoy the process of finding photos I have yet to scrapbook! Additionally, you can always plan ahead and take the same photo each and every year at the same time. Back to school, birthdays, holidays… these are all times when photo-taking happens at similar times / in similar places / etc. Use these photos together on a layout to showcase just how quickly your subject has grown!

For instance, here’s an example of documenting a child’s growth with a timeline of many years, and simple tidbits (in text format) about who they were at a certain age…

You can even showcase the same person over a period of years, with a similar theme to the photos. Whether it be a certain place, a certain toy, or a specific sport/activity… the similarities within life exist, and it is fun as memory-keepers to bring those moments together on our scrapbook pages…

Holidays are also a simple way to showcase the passage of time. You can compile all of the photos from many years into a simple grid, and marvel at just how fast time does fly…


Another idea… you can document relationships using a photo from each year together…

There you have it! Whether you document the passage of time by day, by week, by month, or by year… it is always fun and interesting to record the passage of time on one page, where it’s possible to see the subtle (or not-so-subtle) differences throughout those treasured memories of life. Creating pages like this will bring you joy when you see them in your scrapbooks for years to come!

JenniferHigniteJennifer Hignite is a mom of three boys and new homeowner with her fiance in the mitten state of Michigan. When she is not scrapbooking, she enjoys photography, watching her boys play sports, decorating, and shopping at Target.

Tutorial Tuesday | Digital Mini Albums (Part 3)

It’s time for another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! Today’s post is Part 3 in a series on creating a digital mini album (you can find Part 1, from March 2018, HERE and Part 2, from April 2018 HERE on the blog).

In that first part of the series, I shared that mini albums are handy for…

  • Scrapping a family vacation
  • Creating a special gift for someone
  • Marking a special holiday
  • Documenting a specific family tradition
  • Capturing a sports season
  • Life Events such as adoption, graduation, birthday, wedding, birth, or death

I also shared that I have found there to be four main steps in the process of creating a mini album…

  1. Planning
  2. Organizing
  3. Filling & Finishing
  4. Printing

  In Part 1 we looked at the first step: PLANNING. Part 2 I shared with you 4 different areas you could ORGANIZE to make the creation portion more streamlined.  And TODAY we get to do the fun part  . . .

Step 3: Filling and Finishing

Filling and Finishing is where all the magic happens.  This is where you get to see your pages take shape and fill in all the little details you have been wanting to add.  IT can be daunting, especially if you have a LOT of pictures to use and pages to make (can you say Baby Album??!!)

However, if you have taken care of all the prep-work in Steps 1 & 2 that we talked about, you should have everything right at hand and ready to go.

In reality, there is NO wrong way to do Step 3, as most of it comes down to your own personal scrapping style.  Some people like to completely finish on page, from photo to shadow treatment, before going on to the next.  However, if you are feeling a little overwhelmed, or the project looks daunting, having a plan and batching your work can help break things up for you and make the process go smoother.

In batching, you do a series of activities or jobs that are all similar at the same time.  This creates a work flow that actually saves you time in the end because you are not having to transition from one task to the next, which (in my case) wastes valuable brain activity.  So when I batch the tasks for my mini album, I do a single task all at once for every page in my album.  This is the method I use.

Start with your PHOTOS

You have already organized your photos into folders so why not start there.

In step 2 we created some BASE PAGES, or templates that we will use over and over for our mini album.  Open up some of these and pull your photos onto pages or templates and save them as Page 1, Page 2, etc.  (Or if you would rather, you can give them actual names.)  This will allow you to make sure you have all the pages you need and also show you if you need to condense some pages, “fix” or create a few additional pages to complete your book, or if there are any other problems you did not expect.  Some people like to do this page by page in the same order the mini album will be in once finished, but that is not necessary.

Here is what one of my pages looked like after filling the photos for the page.

Decide on Two Page Spreads

Since you are already working on your photos and numbering pages, go ahead and figure out your page spreads.

Sometimes this will be easy, for example, when you have a number of photos for one event, you will need both pages.  However, other times you only have one photo, and you will need to decide if you want to pair it with another topic/event or perhaps create a journaling or decorative page to go with it instead.  Make sure you keep in mind how many total pages you planned for during this stage.  You don’t want your mini album growing into a novel!

Also, consider diversifying your pages a bit to create interest.  Here I have combined a full page photo with a journaling page, because there is quite a story behind all the events leading up to this photo, and I wanted my sister to have room to tell it.

Paper and Backgrounds

After I have all my photos in and all my pages made up and ready to go, I start adding my background papers.

I wait to add papers because I often end up switching some pages around during the above two steps.  Adding the papers now makes sure that my double page spreads still compliment each other, and I don’t have to waste time switching out papers that no longer work well together because of page moves.


Once the backgrounds are settled I go to town adding my elements.

As mentioned in Step 2, I try to stick to a certain set of elements that I have already chosen as this creates cohesion and balance in my mini album.  Also, I don’t want to add too many elements, as this will be a smaller than normal book and can easlily get cluttered, but I do want enough to highlght my photos and rerally tell my story.

If you like to tweak your shadows you can also go ahead do that here, or you can wait to the very end if you prefer.


Don’t forget to add your journaling.

It can be as simple as names and dates, or as detailed as whole page stories.  If you have already written and compiled your journaling you can simply copy and paste it in.  If you still need to write your journaling, let your own journaling style shine through here.  If you run out of ideas – look through the blog.  There have been some amazing inspiration and tutorial posts about journaling that can give you some ideas.

Finishing Touches

And finally add your finishing touches.

Maybe you like to tweak your shadows, or create a cover or dedication.  Any of those little things that really FINISH off your mini album should be done now.  Take time to flip through your pages in order and make sure they flow.  Look for events, or pages that got left out, or maybe pages that don’t fit.  See if there are certain elements you should repeat in a few more places to really bring everything together.

Once you have done all that, you are almost finished.  All that is left if to make sure it is print ready and have those pages printed out.  We will talk about that next month.

In the meantime, happy scrapping, and keep an eye out for our final installment – PRINTING!!

See you next time!

ErinErin is an artsy crafty kind of girl who is currently dabbling in far too many things, but is working hard to enjoy every moment of it, while avoiding the rain, which is difficult due to living in the land of many rains. She is slowly learning to use her smart phone to capture all the fun little bits of life that would otherwise go unremembered in the busy craziness that is raising a family!

Hybrid How-To | Gifts For Mom

Hello everyone! It’s Tanya here, and I’m excited to share another edition of our Hybrid How-To series with you here on The Digital Press blog! With Mother’s Day just around the corner, I thought I’d show you how to use your digital papers and/or elements to create a couple of cute (but simple!) gifts for Mom.

I made these gifts for my husband’s Mom for Mother’s Day, but you can change up the tag to suit any occasion.


  1. Your favorite digital scrapbook products
  2. White cardstock
  3. Glossy photo paper (not a must, but it works best)
  4. Circle &  scallop shaped punches
  5. Hole punch
  6. Wooden skewer or popsicle stick
  7. Ribbon
  8. Pop dots
  9. Tape
  10. Scissors

For my sample project, shown below, I used the following digital products: the Lean On Me kit by Anita Designs and Kim B Designs, and Simply Mom Word Art by Kim B Designs. Here’s a look at each of those…

For this project, I used my Silhouette Studio Business Edition software. You can use any photo editing software, however.  The first step is to draw out a 8 1/2 x 11 triangle.  To do this, I used the draw tools to the right of the work space…

Next, I filled the shape with a digital paper I choose by opening the fill pattern on the right…

The next step is to print it out. I have a HP Office Jet and it prints really nicely… but I’ve found that to get the best print possible, you need to make sure when you change between different types of paper that you go into your printer preferences and change the ‘paper type’ there, as well. I also turned ‘borderless’ to ON…

Now, the fun part — creating the little gift bag! Fold as pictured below. I used a flat card (like a credit card) to get good creases. When making your second fold, overlap just a little and use double-sided tape to hold it together. Then fold the bottom up, as shown…

Now, we’ll open the bottom of the bag as shown… and flatten it down… and then fold the top down…

We will do the same to the opposite side by folding the bottom up (I taped with scotch tape). Now, we’ll stick our hand into the bag to open it up. At this point, we’ll want to fold a small portion over and punch holes for the ribbon. Of course we’ll be filling the gift bag with Mom’s favorite treats before closing with the ribbon…

Here is a look at the finished gift bag… isn’t it cute?! Instructions for the tag can be found below, as well. 😉

Next, the cute matching tag!

For the tag, I used my Silhouette Studio software again… but just as with the bag, you can use any photo editing software and a couple of punches… no cutting machine necessary. I created several choices, including the tag that you saw on my gift bag, above… and also, a cute plant flag…

Like I mentioned, above… even though I used my Silhouette to cut out my tags, it’s not a must. You can see below how I also used a couple of hand-held punches…

Next, we will take the bamboo skewer and a couple of the printed pieces… and make a plant flag with all of it. The bamboo skewer will likely be too long, so we will need to trim it with a pair of scissors. We’ll also add a couple of pop dots to the back of the top layer of the flag (I also used a small piece of tape to secure the skewer down). Now we attach to the scalloped circle to create a pretty plant flag for Mom…

Here is a look at the finished project. Just a little touch to let Mom know we went the extra mile to make her feel special…

Aren’t they so adorable?

I hope that you have enjoyed this edition of Hybrid How-To. Don’t forget to visit the CROSSWORD SECTION in The Digital Press forum, and jump into this month’s Hybrid Challenge if you are thinking of trying this project. You can earn points toward discounts & FREEBIES! I hope that you will join in!


About the Author  Tanya is a part of the hybrid team here at The Digital Press. She has been hybrid crafting for at least 16 years now, and loves creating and sharing those creations with others. Her all-time favorite tool is her Silhouette Cameo. She has been married for 29 years to her high school sweetheart, Richard and has two sons: Chris, 26 and Chance, 22. She also enjoys crocheting, photography and woodworking.