Category: Tutorials

Tutorial Tuesday | Digital Paper Creases

Happy Tuesday y’all, and welcome to another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! Today I’m here to show you how you can use the gradient tool to make digital papers look creased. It’s easy and fun to do, and can totally change the look of a paper with just a few steps.

Sound fun? Let’s get started!

Step 1: Use your Polygonal Lasso Tool and draw a shape where you want your crease. You can take a peek at mine, below, and see that I wanted my crease to appear on the diagonal so I drew a triangle…

Step 2: Create a new layer above your paper.

Step 3: Select the Gradient Tool and choose Linear Gradient. Then, draw the gradient starting in the lower left part of your selection and move towards the center. Wherever you start is where the darkest part will be, as shown here…

Step 4: Use your Polygonal Lasso Tool again to draw another shape on the opposite side. Then, grab the Gradient tool again and start in the middle and move your way to the top right corner. You should notice the white space of your previous selection is next to the dark space of this selection (and where the light meets the dark is where your crease will be!)…

Step 5: Select this gradient layer and change the opacity until you like the desired effect (on mine, below, you can see I liked what it looked like at 14%). Also, you can play around with your blending modes until you get the look you are going for. I personally liked the Soft Light option with this particular background paper. Once you have the settings the way you like them… ta da! You have a crease!

Optional Step 6: Now… you could totally stop here… but I decided that I wanted to add another crease, so I repeated the first five steps in a different location and going the opposite direction (see next image).

You could put this second crease anywhere you want it. For myself, after creating a new layer, I drew another shape in the top left corner with my Polygonal Lasso Tool…

Then I added a gradient with my starting point in the top left corner…

I outlined the remaining portion of my page with my Polygonal Lasso Tool. Notice that you can go outside the page in order to do this…

Next I filled that portion with another gradient with the dark side directly touching the light side of my previous one (just like Step 4, above, but going the opposite direction)…

Once again, I changed the opacity of this layer (this time to 15% — just because I liked the way it looked), and I also changed the blending mode to Soft Light.

Voila! I have a twice-creased piece of paper…

This is so much fun, and really easy to do. You aren’t limited to diagonals, either; feel free to make your creases in horizontal or vertical directions, as well. Just remember that the light side of one gradient must be directly adjacent to the dark side of the other… as that’s what makes the crease.

Here is a look at a layout I created using my newly-creased background paper…

I hope you try this technique and have as much fun as I did making my layout!


About the author  Robin is a member of the creative team here at The Digital Press. A wife of 26 years and a mom of 4 crazy children (3 in college and 1 still at home), she says that her life occurs mostly in the car as she transports said crazy kids to their many, many homeschool activities. When not driving, Robin loves to make her family cringe by pulling out her camera again (and again, and again…).

Hybrid How-To | Lacing Cards

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another edition of our Hybrid How-To series here on The Digital Press blog! Today, I am here to show you how to make these adorable lacing cards using digital elements from your favorite digital kits.


Supplies Needed

  • Digital kit of your choice (I used Be A Unicorn by Mari Koegelenberg)
  • Cardstock
  • Scissors (or cutting machine if you prefer)
  • Hole punch
  • Yarn
  • Yarn needle

The first step is to select the images you want. I try and stick with simple images that will be easy to trace with yarn. The unicorn in this was more complicated than I would normally want, but I just really wanted that unicorn!

I enlarged them a bit, added two images per page, printed and cut them out.

I used an eyelet punch to make the holes around each image. Make sure the yarn needle can fit through the punch you’re using.

And that’s it! They’re ready to go.

I used to laminate them to give them more durability, but our local lamination place shut down and so I started letting the kids use them without the laminate and found it was just fine. Because they’re so quick to make, I can easily print and cut new ones using new images each time. My kids love lacing cards!


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, a dog named Gracie, and a cat named Kit. 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 | Unzip Products on Your Phone

Hello, and welcome to another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! I’m excited today to share with you a new feature of the iOS 13 update that unzips your purchased digital kits right on your phone… no other app needed! It’s a big breakthrough for app scrappers, as the other/previous app options for unzipping kits to use on our devices were very  cumbersome. It is a change that may prove to be really helpful for people who use Photoshop Elements (PSE) on their mobile devices, as well!

First, before we get started… a quick word on the iCloud Drive storage. Everyone with a iCloud account has 5GB of free space to use, and you can see your iCloud Drive in your native Files app (which is where all the unzipping takes place… sounds sultry, huh!). This is more than enough space to store a bunch of zipped and unzipped kits. You will have to move them eventually, however, to create more space for future purchases. But don’t worry!  I will show you how to do that, as well.

Let’s dive in!

And that’s it! It seriously goes so fast once you get the process down. I hope this helps you get your memories recorded that much quicker. I’m so glad Apple added this super helpful feature.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR  Meagan Johnson is a stay at home mom in Minnesota with an avid love for app scrapping and teaching others just how easy it is to scrap in the go! 

Tutorial Tuesday | Google Photos for Photo Organization

Hello Everyone, and welcome to another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! Today, I’m here to teach you how you can use Google Photos to organize all of your family’s photos in one place.

Today I hope to share with you a solution for organizing your photos — both the photos you have on your phone, and those you have stored in various places on your computer.

First off, a little disclaimer:

I don’t claim to be an expert on all the ‘ins and outs’ of how Google Photos works. I just know how I use it to organize my photos for my own scrapbooking purposes, and what works for me. There may be faster, better ways of doing things (share yours in the comments, below!)… but this is what I’ve discovered as I’ve been using it for the last few years. This is also in no way an advertisement or an endorsement of using Google Photos over other options; again, it’s just what I use, and one way to do this in the sea of many.

If you are okay with that, then here we go!

Google Photos allows users to upload photos from any mobile device and provides free unlimited storage for photos up to 16 megapixels or videos up to 1080 HD. To store higher quality photos, there is an option to use Google Drive storage, which charges a monthly fee after 15 gigabytes — $1.99 a month for 100 GB and $9.99 a month for 1 terabyte.

I just use the free option, which works great for me, and I’ve got over 10,000 photos stored there so far!  All it takes is a Google account. If you’ve got a gmail address for your email, you already have access to Google Photos!

You can also download the Google Photos app on your phone, and set it up to automatically sync the pictures you take on your iPhone into the Google Photos program. I can’t remember how exactly I set that up on my phone, but it must have been pretty automatic when I downloaded the app, because I don’t remember a whole lot of setup after that.  If you have questions about setting your phone up to auto-upload your photos… you can Google it. 🙂 LOL

When it comes to organizing my pictures on Google Photos, I use the desktop version rather than my phone using the app. What I’ll be talking about today is for the most part all done using the desktop version of Google Photos.

First, go to  Here you can see all the photos that have synced from your phone, or that you’ve uploaded (which is as easy as dragging and dropping from your computer) by clicking into the PHOTOS menu (one of the main buttons on the side, once you’re in Google Photos).  By default, Google Photos stores all your photos arranged by date, in a huge long list. This is really handy if you know the date your photos were taken…but if you don’t, then you’ll need to organize them.

Before you can organize your photos, you need to select which ones to work with. So you need to click on individual photos to select them. When you hover over the picture with your mouse a little checkmark icon appears in the top left corner of the picture. Click that circle to select a single picture or select several at once.

The bar across the top of your screen lets you know that you have “X” number of photos selected. On the right side of this bar is a + icon. Click it.

This gives you couple of different options, such as creating a new album. In Google Photos, albums are like folders where you can store pictures in categories. I use the albums just like that, as a way to organize my photos.

When you click the Album option, a new screen appears asking if you want to create a new album, or if you want to save the pictures into an existing album and then lists previously created albums. For the sake of this tutorial, we’ll create a new album, but if you were to select an existing album, your selected photos would be added into it. But your photos will always still be arranged by date within that main PHOTOS area of Google Photos.

Creating a new album puts your selected pictures together on the screen.  Now it’s time to give the album a name. I have a system where I name the album with the YEAR and then a short DESCRIPTION of what the photos are all about. For example, I have albums named 2016 Graduation, 2009 Easter, 2014 Yellowstone, etc. Type a name for album and then click the checkmark in the banner across the top of the page to save it.

And that’s it. That’s how easy it is to organize your pictures within Google Photos! Once albums are created, you can access them all at once by clicking the ALBUMS option on the left side of Google Photos.

Once I have my pictures arranged into albums, I slowly work to get them scrapbooked. When I’m ready to make a page, I log into Google Photos, and find the pictures (or album full of pictures) that I want to use. I select my photos and then click the three dots button in the top right corner of the page.

Then I select the DOWNLOAD option, and download those pictures onto my computer desktop, so I can drag them into Photoshop and create my scrapbook page.

Then, after I’ve created my page, I want to make a note to myself that I have scrapbooked those photos, because let’s face it, the old memory isn’t what it used to be!

I go back to Google Photos and click the ALBUMS button to bring up all my albums. I find the album the photos came from, open it up, and I change the name of the album by adding an asterisk (*) to the beginning of the album name (for example: *2016 Graduation). This is just an indicator to me that I have scrapbooked those photos.

Believe me, you will be glad that you have some way to know what’s been scrapbooked and what hasn’t after you’ve made a few hundred scrapbook pages, or if you take a break from making pages for a while!


Now for a couple of cool things that Google Photos does.

Once you have several hundred photos stored in Google Photos, try clicking the ALBUMS button. There should be groupings along the top of the page for PEOPLE & PETS, PLACES, THINGS, & VIDEOS.

If you don’t see these, it may be that you haven’t stored enough photos for Google to have enough info to create these groupings. I have found that you need to have at least 500-1000 individual photos stored in Google Photos before these options pop up.

Because Google is first and foremost, a search engine, it tries to make your photos easier to search through by creating these groupings. My favorite grouping is the first one: PEOPLE & PETS.

Click on PEOPLE & PETS and you will see a collection of individual people’s faces from your photos.

If you click on one of the faces, it will open a new screen where it shows you each album that face appears in (at the top of the page) and each photo the face appears in (at the bottom of the page). You have the ability to Add a Name to the face. Basically, you are telling Google who this person is, and it will use some behind-the-scenes-magical algorithm to locate and “auto-tag” that person in other photos within Google Photos.

So if the person’s face you clicked on is your son Bob, where it asks you to Add a Name, type “Bob”.  Google Photos will now “recognize” Bob, and as  you add more photos of him in the future, it will continue to list the additional albums and photos in which he appears here on the page, or whenever you perform a search using his name.

And because Google is a search engine, once you have started adding names to some of the faces using the above method, you will actually be able to perform a search within Google Photos for “Bob” or “Aunt MaryAnn” or any of the names that correspond with the faces you have tagged, and it will locate every picture they’re in that you’ve uploaded! How cool is that?

This is super helpful, especially if you know in your mind what a photo looks like, but can’t remember the year or event album it’s located in. Just enter the person’s name in the search field and all the photos they are in display, making it visually easy to find what you are looking for.

In my experience, (and I have stored thousands and thousands of pictures in Google Photos), I have found that the facial recognition search engine is highly accurate, even across faces that have aged considerably. But, at times, it will “mistake” a face. This happens most often with my wife and her sisters. It pulls up a picture of my wife’s sister Carolyn thinking it’s my wife, or that my mother-in-law is my wife (much to my wife’s horror!) But before we get into how to correct that problem, let’s talk about another similar one.

Let’s say that you have begun tagging faces as described above, and you’ve already labeled your wife’s face with her name, but it pulls up another picture of your wife that it doesn’t recognize as her. Tap on the face and it will prompt you Add a Name again. Type in the first few letters of the name, and it will show a list of matching names you have already tagged. Click the name of the person in the photo and Google Photos will ask you if the photo you clicked on is the same face as one you previously added.

If it is, click YES, and Google Photos will “learn” to recognize those facial features as the same person. This happens a lot if you have tagged photos of babies/children and then their face shows up again as an adult.

Which leads me to the opposite problem. What if, when you do a search for “Cousin Edgar” it shows in your search results some photos that quite obviously are not your dear cousin. You can also teach Google Photos when it has made a facial recognition mistake.  When you are looking at the list of matching results, select the photo that is mis-tagged by clicking the little circle icon on the photo itself (in the top left corner).

This will add a checkmark and select that photo (you can select multiple photos this way, too). At the top right corner of the page, click the three vertical dots button.

Then select REMOVE RESULTS. That photo will now longer show up in “Cousin Edgar” searches. Easy peasy!

So, in a nutshell, that’s how I organize the pictures I keep stored on Google Photos. And every few weeks as I’ve upload more photos, I do a quick face-tagging round and call it good.  Pretty soon, when you click on PEOPLE & PETS, you will have a big collection of faces you’ve identified, and you can click on any of these to quickly open a collection of photos that person is in.

Google Photos has recently added PET face recognition as well! So if you have taken photos of your dog or cat (haven’t had it work on pictures I took of my ducks, though LOL) you can tag those with your pet’s name just like you did Cousin Edgar!

But… will have a collection of faces that you don’t/can’t identify. Google Photos pulls in EVERY face from your pictures, even those of bystanders in the backgrounds of photos, so I just identify the ones I can and leave the rest alone.

And one last thing. You can also search your Google Photos for other keywords, too. Want to quickly find pictures from the beach? Try searching for the word “beach”, or “palm tree” or “ocean”. Google Photos finds pictures in your albums that it thinks match your search words! You can also try looking in the THINGS or PLACES groupings like you did with PEOPLE & PETS. There’s a lot of meta-data stored in your photos, and Google Photos uses those to try and store your photos geographically in the PLACES grouping.

Well, that’s about all I know about Google Photos, and what little I know I have learned from just playing around with it.  Let me know your experience with beginning to use Google Photos (or if you are experienced, some tricks you’ve learned) in the comments!

About the Author Sean is a native New Mexican who fell in love with a Utah girl 25+ years ago and never went home! He is the designated scrapbooker in his family, preserving the memories of his wife, two sons, and dog Muffin. He loves all things Disney, Harry Potter, and anything related to his favorite animal, the duck! When he’s not writing long-winded blog posts, he’s probably scrapbooking on his phone or computer. He joined the Creative Team at TDP in February 2019.

Hybrid How-To | Halloween Memory Game

Hello everyone! It’s Tanya here, and I’m excited to bring you another edition of our Hybrid How-To series here on The Digital Press blog! Today I’m going to show you how to use your digital supplies to make a cute kids’ Halloween-themed memory game. It’s a super easy project that can even be given to your child’s classmates instead of candy (we all know there will be enough candy already, right?).

First things first… a peek at the Halloween-themed kits from the shop at TDP that I chose to use for this project…

Witch Please by Rachel Etrog Designs

The Haunted House by Julia Makotinsky

Color Blocks: Halloween Elements by Julia Makotinsky


  1. Themed digital products (see my choices, above)
  2. White cardstock paper
  3. Double-sided tape
  4. Paper cutter or scissors (or a cutting machine)

I used Silhouette Business Edition to create this fun project; I use it for all my projects because I find the software pretty easy to use. However, using a cutting machine and related software is NOT necessary; you can also create the same thing using any photo editing software program, and some scissors or a few paper punches.


The first step is to draw out a shape for your game pieces (I used the rounded square)…

This project will have two sides: one side with just patterned paper, and the other with the elements. After choosing a shape for the game pieces, it’s time to fill-in one side with patterned paper (if you’re using another photo editing program like Photoshop, etc… you can use your shape as a clipping mask and “clip” the patterned paper to the shape).

Once applying your paper to your game pieces shape, you can alter the pattern size, if desired…

Now, you’ll replicate this shape/pattern combo across the page… by grouping that selection and then replicating down…

Once the page is filled, you will turn ‘on’ the cut lines (if using a cutting machine), put on your mat, and run it through your cutting machine…

Make sure to keep your image from touching any of the registration marks.

Next, for the back of the game pieces… you will first fill with the paper pattern of your choice, and then add elements on top of that. Make sure to use each image on two separate game pieces (to allow for a match!)…

*TIP* You can use on sheet of paper by drawing a large square out and filling it with paper of your choice (no cut lines for this side)  Once printed flip it over, put pack in printer and cut the element side of the paper.

After cutting both pieces out, you will use double sided tape to put them together.

I created two different sets of the game… and I had to stop myself from making a third!

Here’s a look at some of the finished game pieces…

I hope I’ve inspired you to use your own digital products to create this fun game! If you give this project a try, we would love to see pictures of your completed projects in the Hybrid Gallery at The Digital Press!

TanyaAbout the Author  Tanya is a member of the hybrid creative team here at The Digital Press. She has been paper and hybrid crafting for at least 18 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 30 years to her high school sweetheart, Richard, and has two sons: Chris, 28 and Chance, 23. She also enjoys crocheting, photography, and woodworking.


Tutorial Tuesday | “Hand-Cut” Digital Shapes

Hello, and welcome to another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! Today I’m here to show you how to create a “hand-cut” look on your digital pages.

I have a confession: I was once a paper scrapper… and I still have all of the stuff, even though I haven’t made a paper layout in probably a decade. Back then, I could literally spend an entire weekend (before I had kids, of course) on a single 12″ x 12″ page. For me, lines had to be as straight as possible, the corners to 90 degrees, and everything had to be *just right* before it got glued or stapled or stitched down. Again, back when I had time for these things.

When I switched to digital, I loved that all the lines were automatically straight and the corners were always perfect. I loved that my 2-day process had become a 2-hour process. Then, as I started printing my pages, I realized that I actually missed the little imperfections of paper scrapping: the slightly crooked lines, the not-quite-90 degree corners. Oh, the irony. So… let’s delve into ways to make those perfect digital shapes look “hand-cut,” or imperfectly perfect.

The first step, as always, is to open a new project / canvas in Photoshop. Fill your background with a solid color, or drag in a paper, just to provide some background contrast. Alternatively, you can also apply this technique in a page/project you already have open. If you’re working in an existing project, though, just start here…

1. Make a new, empty layer (I’m a fan of CMD+N (Mac) — or CTRL-N (PC)… but Layer > New > Layer works, too). To this new layer, let’s add a shape. To do this, select the Shape Tool (number 1 in the image below). The actual shape on the shape tool icon will vary based on what you used last. You can change this to the Rectangle by right-clicking on the icon and selecting the Rectangle Tool. Next, add a nice square. Two options for that… right click and type in the dimensions you want, and click OK — OR — hold down the shift key and drag out the size square you want.

2. Making sure that the layer with your shape is selected, click on the Paths tab (number 2 in the image below). A single layer should show up under paths, and it should have been autonamed “square Shape Path” (assuming that you made a square). Right click on that layer (not on the words, or the icon, but in the space just to the right of the words). This brings up a pop-up menu. Select Make Selection, then click OK to close the new menu that pops up. You should now see “marching ants” around your shape. The ants absolutely do not show up in my screen grabs.

3. Now, let’s get to work on making this shape look hand-cut. Right-click the Direct Selection Tool (number 3 in the image above). You’ll now see corner points – called Anchor Points – on your shape. You can click and drag any of those corner points just about anywhere. Pretty neat, eh? Looks kinda like the paper slipped when you were trying to use the paper cutter. You can stop here, click back over to the Layers menu, rasterize your shape layer, clip a paper, add a shadow, and be done. Or, you can make it look like you cut the shape with scissors …. make one or more of those sides a little wavy.

4. To make a wavy side, you’ll need to add a new anchor point. To do this, right-click anywhere along the side of your shape, and select the top option – Add Anchor Point. When you do that, you’ll get a new anchor point balancing what look like barbells for those marching ants. Go ahead and click on either one of those barbell ends, and drag it right or left. That will change the depth of the wave. Dragging one of those barbell ends in toward the new anchor point, or out toward one of the corner points will modify the horizontal area of the wave. You can add as many anchor points as you want. When you’re done, click back over to the Layers menu, rasterize your shape layer, clip a paper, add a shadow, and you’re done.

Just for comparison, here’s an image with a stroke of my original shape, and then my final, imperfect shape in teal. The changes I made aren’t drastic, but I think they add a little imperfection that make my 100% digital page look less than 100% digital….

Lastly, here’s a sample of a couple of these imperfect squares stacked underneath a photo…

*NOTE* I did each layer separately… but flipping, rotating, resizing, or cropping a single layer would work, too. The layer with the blue paper that says “Scotland” is the one from my example, above.

This technique can be applied to more than just squares and rectangles. You can apply it circles, triangles, hexagons, and even letters (I do recommend a sans serif font that already has squared-off or slightly rounded edges).

I hope that you’ll give this technique a try. I’d love to see your imperfectly perfect shapes!


About the Author  Carrie is a creative team member here at The Digital Press. She and her family enjoy spending time outdoors, year-round, near their home in Colorado. In addition to scrapbooking and the occasional hybrid home decor project, Carrie also reads voraciously, accumulates fabric, makes soap, brews beer, grows hops, and tries to keep indoor plants alive.