Category: Tutorials

Hybrid How-To | Halloween Party Fun

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!

I don’t know about you, but I love fall. I love the crisp cool air, the colors, the smells, and the events to come… October Fest, Old Settlers Day, and most of all HALLOWEEN (the cutesy, not scary)! Today I am going to show you how to create some fun Halloween party supplies using your favorite Halloween digital kits!

I have several fun things to show you…. so let’s get started.


  1. Your favorite digital Halloween kit(s)
  2. White cardstock
  3. Pop dots
  4. Double sided tape
  5. Wooden picks for cupcake toppers
  6. Party Straws
  7. Ribbon
  8. Plastic silverware
  9. Scissors

For this project, I used the following digital products…

[ the brand new kit Spellbound by Little Lamm Paper Co, — Spooky by Little Lamm Paper Co. — and Spook by Karla Noel ]

*NOTE* I have recently upgraded from Silhouette Studio Edition software to the Silhouette Business Edition. There are a few features that I have really liked so far… the biggest being that with the Business Edition is that you can use more than one computer at a time. I haven’t tried it yet, but I will soon!

For my first step, I opened the following silverware box cut file that I already had in my stash of hybrid files. I did reduce the file size by just a little (and after cutting it out, I’ve decided that you can go even a tad smaller if you want to; It’s just one of those things you have to play around with)…

My next step was to choose digital paper for my project. For this, I opened the file where my paper was saved on my computer and drug it straight to the box file within my Silhouette software. You can see here how simple it is (and note that you can go into FILL PANEL and adjust the size and orientation of the paper)…

Next, I continued opening the elements and journal cards that I wanted to use for this project. I moved them around until I was happy with the placement. I love to have dimension on my projects, so I usually cut out extra pieces that I want to be raised up. This isn’t necessary, but I think it gives a neat finish to the project. However, if I were having a really large party, I don’t think that I would waste the time or money doing this.

After I finished creating the party supplies I printed each sheet out, ran it through my cutting machine, and assembled as shown below. Here are a couple of tutorials from TDP’s blog if you need more info on print and cuts… HERE & HERE. I used double sided tape to assemble, and then I used pop dots to attach the embellishments I’d cut out in order to add dimension.

Once I had the silverware holders assembled, I filled them with plastic cutlery…

Next came the cupcake holder… and for this, I opened a cupcake cut file that I created a while back. It’s simple and no scallops, and so I thought for Halloween it would be a good choice. I created toppers, as well, with extra pieces for dimension.

After creating the pieces you see above… I simply print, cut, and assembled…

*NOTE* For the toppers, I used little flat wooden sticks that I purchased from Hobby Lobby (they can be found in the raw wood section; I have also seen them at JoAnns Fabrics). I prefer using these over toothpicks because they are flat and your toppers lay flat without ugly ridges in your toppers. I used double sided tear tape to assemble. You can use glue, but the tear tape is awesome.

Finally I created some candy treat toppers, as well. For these, I created 2″x 2″ squares, filled them each with digital papers, and then added some elements. Again, I also added extra elements with pop dots for dimension.

To assemble the toppers, I used 1″ treat bags and filled them with Halloween-colored M&M’s. For the topper, I cut strips of black card stock just a little bigger than the printed square… and then I used double-sided tape and pop dots to assemble…

Below are some of the close ups of all of the projects shown above. Aren’t these the cutest thing you’ve ever seen?!

I also created straw toppers for this Spooky party. I really adore these cute elements. I like the fun part of Halloween, not the really scary part!

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.


Tutorial Tuesday | Gradient Paper Blending

Hi everyone, and welcome to another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! Today we are talking paper blending!

Have you ever wanted to use more than one of those gorgeous background papers you have in a kit but don’t want the harsh line of stacking them? Do you have two or more papers that you think would work beautifully together? Blending papers for a background is something I do fairly often and there are actually several ways you can go about it.

One way is to use the gradient tool, which is what this tutorial is all about. It’s a fairly quick and simple way to achieve and beautiful new look.

Start by layering the the two papers you want to blend:

With the top paper layer selected, click the layer mask icon:

Making sure the mask is selected, choose the gradient tool. Drag your gradient line from the top edge of the image to the bottom, or bottom to top, or side to side, or even diagonally, depending on the way you want the gradient to go. You can play around with different directions to see which effect you like best. You can also start in the anywhere on the paper to move the gradient closer to one edge or corner.

For this one, I first went from bottom to top and then moved to the center of the paper and pulled up again. And just like that, your papers are beautifully blended!

You can also play around with different gradients to get different blending effects.

If you wish, you can add more paper layers and blend them as well.

Typically, I will then take it a step further in PS and adjust the blending options (click the fx button at the bottom and choose blending options), especially on a woodgrain to bring out the texture a bit more. Adjusting the underlying layer just adds a little more blending. You can hold the alt key while sliding to separate the pieces of the triangle for different blending effects.

There is a more detailed Tutorial Tuesday all about that method of blending here – Blending Papers in Photoshop and one on using gradients to blend photo masks here – Masking with Gradient Tool.

Here’s a page I did where I blended two background papers. I used You Are Here Elements and Papers by Dawn by Design.

I hope this will help you to create beautifully blended and unique background papers! Have fun and be sure to link us up to your creations if you try it out!

JanAbout the Author  Jan is a high school teacher, wife, mom, and grandma who spends most every little bit of free time she gets documenting her family’s memories through digital scrapbooking. She is a summertime sunshine and beach lover who gets her energy from being outdoors. She is currently looking forward to retirement and a beach chair with her name on it and someone bringing her fruity drinks on command!

Tutorial Tuesday | Using Brushes


I’m sure that you’ve noticed that some of the kits available in the store at The Digital Press include a file with a .abr extension. There’s even a whole section of the store, Brushes & Stamps, where you can find our designers’ stamp element packs that include these .abr files. Have you ever wondered what those are, .abr files, and what to do with them? (I hope you haven’t just deleted them!) I wondered the same thing myself, and I’m going to share what I’ve learned with you and what I think is the quickest way to load and use those dynamic brush files.

Let’s start with a kit that includes one (actually two) of these digital brush files, Audacity | Collection by Anita Designs & Karla Noél. If you open the folder with Karla’s stamps, you can see there are are 30 png files, each with a wonderful stamp that Karla has created. Each of these png files can be individually opened in Photoshop, and placed as a new layer in a digital layout. Once you get those pngs into your layout, you can adjust the size, the color, clip a paper to it, change the blending mode…..really whatever your heart desires. Easy enough, right?

However, if you want more than one or two of those pngs in your layout, there’s a faster way to get ALL the pngs from that StampSheet folder into your layout (and you can have them there in Photoshop forever, if you want): that .abr file. Now, I use a Mac, so the instructions might be a little different on a PC, but here’s what I do: in Preview, click once on that .abr file to select it; drag it over the Photoshop icon in the tray, and release the mouse button. The brushes automatically load into Photoshop. Seriously. That’s it.



Now, in Photoshop, click SHIFT + COMMAND + N to make a new layer, then click B to select the Brush tool (or click on the paint brush icon circled in the image below). This will open up the Brush menu (did you notice that this bar at the top of the screen changes depending on which tool you have selected?). Click the second downward pointing arrow from the left to open the Brush menu (left red arrow in the image below). All the brushes from that .abr file should be loaded into your workspace. In my Brush menu below, Karla’s brushes start on the eighth line from the top. I also have loaded Anita’s .abr file from Audacity, and some excellent journaling doodles from Laura Passage (I used them to make the arrows on the image below). Select whatever brush you want, then click anywhere in that new blank layer to add the brush. The brush will show up in whatever color you have selected for your foreground (use the Color Picker to change that color if you want, it’s the blue square in the image below), so you can quickly get it to perfectly match the colors you’ve already got in your layout. The number underneath the little image of the brush in the menu gives you an idea of how big it’s going to be. You can change the size of the brush by typing a new number in that Size box (near the top of the Brush popup, where it says 378 px in the image below). You can add multiple brushes to a single layer, or make a new layer for each brush. Much like modifying the pngs, the options for customization are just about endless.


I used this technique, loading the .abr files from the Audacity | Collection, to make the page below. I started with three brush layers (each is a slightly different shade of gray) with 8-10 individual brushes in each layer to make about 90% of the background for my page below. Only the bright black pieces (one phrase and two sets of stars), the “everything you are” stamp, and the paint splatters are pngs that I dragged over individually. My brush layers also have a blend mode applied – Dissolve at 85-95% opacity, depending on the layer.



So next time you find yourself with an .abr file, try loading it into Photoshop and using the Brush tool to add one or more of those brushes to your digital project. You may just find that you prefer this technique to opening individual pngs. Happy scrapping!

caliten 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.

Hybrid How-To | Starting a Traveler’s Notebook

Hi everyone, and welcome to another edition of our Hybrid How-To series here on The Digital Press blog! I’m here today to show you how you can start a Traveler’s Notebook and use it for your memory keeping.

Everywhere I look, I am seeing people using Traveler’s Notebooks (also called TN’s) to document all kinds of things… not just trips and vacations! If you look on Pinterest, ETSY, Amazon, or even if you just google “traveler’s notebooks” …you will get a wide display of manufacturers, sizes, and different ways people are using them. Today I would like to show you a bit about the traveler’s notebooks I am using, and how/why I decided to start using them for all sorts of scrapbooking and memory keeping projects!

Here’s just one example of the types of things you can do with a TN, with regard to memory-keeping…

Here are a few of the reasons I decided to give traveler’s notebooks a try:

  • quick, flexible memory keeping
  • no pressure to do a weekly or monthly layout
  • easy way to break into doing a hybrid project
  • no plastic pockets (unless you want them as accessories)
  • simplicity — photos, journaling, and maybe some stickers & washi tape
  • great for quick topics (vacations, food, recipes) or to record ongoing progress (weight loss, pregnancy, etc.)
  • I, personally, am drawn to the vertical orientation
  • easy to use to document things while on-the-go
  • great way to use digital templates, patterned papers, & supplies

Here’s a look at the Traveler’s Notebooks I am currently using…

I picked a few of them up at my local scrapbook store, and one is from a scrapbooking subscription club. As you can see, two of them are the “standard or regular” size (on the right), and one is a smaller size that is often referred to as the “passport” size (on the left). I didn’t spend too much money on any of them, because I wasn’t sure how often I was going to use them. It turns out, though, that I am documenting in them quite often and may eventually splurge for one of the real leather notebooks. For now, however, I am happy with these less expensive TN’s! They are made of a soft “plether” (plastic/leather) type of material, and come with the elastic bands inside that hold the inserts, and also a band that goes around the book to hold it closed.

Most TN’s come with at least one paper insert. The inserts can be made out of different colors, weights and styles of paper. Here’s a closer look at the inserts from the three TN’s I showed you, above…

The type of paper insert is important depending on how you are going to use them. For instance, f you do a lot of painting or stamping, then a thicker paper maybe needed. If you are mostly journaling in them, maybe you will want plain or lined paper instead of a dot or grid pattern. The color of the paper is important, too, if you want to work directly on that paper; for instance, up above you can see that one of these paper inserts is very cream in color, as opposed to a more pure white — but since I usually cover the insert with patterned paper, that worked for me.

One of mine came with a craft folder that has a place to put supplies and/or keepsakes, as shown here…

Some inserts are stitched together, and some are stapled… and this is also something to consider. The first TN I used had an insert that was stapled together… which enabled me to take the staples out and have flexibility moving the papers and getting them to lay perfectly flat while stamping or gluing things in place, which was nice! Since that first book, I have just left the inserts intact. Both ways work really well, and I think it is just a matter of personal preference.

There are many types of accessories and extra options you can purchase to use with your TN. Extra elastics, charms to put on the outside bands, tags, plastic pockets, zipper cases, and pen loops are all very popular and help you customize your TN…

I love the zipper pocket! Although I don’t scrapbook on-the-go very much, I often will stick in supplies that I want to use just to keep track of everything!

To give you a little more inspiration and let you see the kinds of things you can do with your TN… here are a couple of pages from my Summer 2018 Traveler’s Notebook…

And trust me, it’s all so easy! I simply printed some photos and products I liked, and then played around with putting them together on the pages. As you can see, this format works well for multi-photo pages and also for large photos. I use Epson Premium Presentation Matte paper and a Canon Pixma printer.

For the projects I’ve shown you, above, I printed digital products from these beautiful kits that you can find at The Digital Press…

The great thing about a TN is that you can use your favorite digital products and edit/alter the contents, re-size things, and even change a few colors here and there, before printing… in order to have your own personalized scrapbooking supplies ready to add to the TN. And as we discussed above, there are a lot of options to choose from when selecting and beginning a Traveler’s Notebook. Here are a few final thoughts you might consider, as you get ready to give this a try…

  • the cost — you can spend a lot or a little
  • the size — standard or regular is used by most scrapbookers (it is approximately 8.5″ tall by 4.25″ wide)
  • the paper inserts/refills — the color, weight and the style; grid, dot and lined patterns are popular
  • the topic — decide whether you want your book to be about a specific topic or just a bunch of random photos & stories you love
  • the record-keeping — TN’s are a great way to journal your thoughts, and many people use their own handwriting rather than typing
  • the supplies — use your digital supplies in a whole new way; journal cards, labels & pattern papers work well
  • the contents — large, full-size photos are dramatic and pair well with papers, journaling and embellishments
  • the rules — there are really NO rules! Just play around and find out what works for you!
  • the starting point — really, just get started! it’s so much fun to print, touch, and play around with the items you add to your TN

The important thing is to have fun with it and make it work for you. We would love to see what you create using products from The Digital Press, so please feel free to leave us comments and link us up to any projects you load into the hybrid gallery here at TDP!



About the Author  KerriAnne is a homebody who resides in the desert SW. She started scrapbooking when her kids were little and hasn’t stopped despite the teenagers rolling their eyes and sticking out their tongues!  When not scrapping or being a chauffeur, she can be found consuming large amounts of iced coffee.


Tutorial Tuesday | Fun With Fonts

Hello, and welcome to a new edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here at The Digital Press Blog!

I am Corrin, and I am a font hoarder! I know that I am not alone in this, and so I hope that today’s tutorial will help all of us find some fun new ways to use all of those fabulous fonts.

I have recently been trying to put titles on my pages more often, and so I have been looking for ways to make my titles stand out — even while I am using the fonts and alphas that I love and use all the time. For the examples I will show you today, I will use the same page, but will change the treatment of the font that I have used for the title.

Here are the different ways I have tried using the same font today…

  1. Stack it
  2. Add a Stroke
  3. Clip a paper to it
  4. Erase from a brush background

Stack It

First, I rasterized the font (Layer–Rasterize–Type), which is actually the first step for all of these techniques I’ll be showing you today. Then, I duplicated the layer and moved one of the layers across and up or down just a little. You can play around with how far apart to have the two titles, and how similar to have the colors, as well. I chose to use a deep black title, to echo the deep black image on my page, and then contrasted that with a lighter pink for the layer behind it…

Add a Stroke

Again, I began by rasterizing the font… and then I added a stroke to it. You can choose to add the stroke to the outside of your text, the inside, or a bit of both (the center); it is really just about personal preference, so just try them all out and see which one you like best. Adding a stroke gives the font a really nice crisp and clean edge, and helps it stand out from the background paper. You can easily change the color of the stroke, so I chose to use a pink stroke around my white text. I think that leaving the layer with no shadow makes the title look like it has been printed right onto the page…


Clip a Paper to It

Once the font is rasterized, you can clip a paper to it — a technique that can add color or texture for a fun look. Adding a small shadow to a plain paper/font can make it look like the title is a stylish vinyl sticker or die-cut paper pieces… while a deeper shadow can create the impression of chunkier letters (maybe foam, thicker cardstock, or even woodchip). You can clip a plain paper or a patterned paper — both work really well with a small shadow if you want to create the impression that you cut the letters (very neatly!) out of paper to create your title…


Erase the Title From a Brush

Lots of kits have a painty brush included — or you can also find separate sets of brushes in the store, as well — and these can make a great background on which to put your title. In this example, I layered some brushes in different shades of pink and white, and then I laid my white title layer over the top. This made it look as though my title was erased from the pink paint/brush – as though, in real life, I’d used a stencil and painted around it. I think this is quite a nice artsy look…


You can combine some of these ideas together, as well… perhaps clipping a pretty paper to the rasterized font, and then add a thicker stroke to make your title look like a fun sticker. Or, use a plain title with a thin stroke, and stack a layer below it for a clean, graphic style title… it is really up to you! Endless possibilities.

In the end, I chose to clip a white paper to my title font, and stack it over an aqua font, with a pink painty mask too! Here is a look at the final page I created…

[I used Flamingo Love by Rachel Etrog Designs, Sakura Stitches by ninigoesdigi, and Words & Bits – Two by Dunia Designs]


I hope this gives you some ideas of ways to play and have fun with your fonts, and these ideas would work with many alphas too. I hope you will have a go and see what techniques and combinations appeal to you, and maybe even link me up to your own creations (or leave some of your own font/title suggestions?) with a comment here on the blog. 🙂


CorrinAbout the Author Corrin is a member of the creative team here at The Digital Press. She is a fan of the Big Bang Theory and a lover of cozy pajamas or flip flops when the sun finally shines! She lives in the breezy South of England with her husband and 4 crazy kids, who regularly discover & plunder her secret chocolate stashes, and hopes that maybe this will be the year she reaches the bottom of the laundry pile!

Tutorial Tuesday | Get Organized with Trello

I’ve recently discovered a new way to organize the stories and projects that I want to track for my scrapbooking. The tool that I’ve been using to help organize my scrapbooking life is called Trello! This is a free online tool, and it has really been a game-changer for me and how I scrapbook.

Trello is essentially a list full of lists, which are filled with cards that you can use to organize any project. You simply create a board (mine is entitled “Memory Keeping”) to manage your scrapbooking needs. Once you have a board created, you can add as many lists as you’d like & then each list can be filled with cards. Cards can then be used to create checklists, add labels & due dates, upload files, and add comments.

Tracking Stories

In my Trello account, I have a list for each year, which allows me to track specific stories within a particular year. For example, there are still stories in 2009 that I want to capture in our family scrapbook album. Within the yearly list, I have created a card for each month of the year… and then I use a checklist to contain all of the specific stories from that month that I still want to tell. There is also a description section in each card that allows you to add notes to yourself (or other information you’ll want handy as you work through these stories).

Here are a couple of examples of these annual cards and the monthly checklists that I use to ensure I don’t miss any stories…

Then, whenever I have time to scrapbook, I can look into the various years and decide which story I want to tell. This keeps me from having to search all over the place to find the photos and stories that I want to scrapbook! It saves me time and it makes organizing everything so much easier. And… I’m also finding that I’m actually inspired to go in and get these stories told, since I’m not overwhelmed with the idea of finding things to scrapbook. Another tip that I offer is that you can add in the photos, template or kit previews for stories via the file attachment functionality. You can also use Trello’s labeling function to create a variety of labels to help you track things even more easily!

Tracking Projects

Here is a glimpse into my Memory Keeping board, showing you three of the projects that I’m currently working on. I use these project lists to help me track my progress on the specific memory keeping projects I am actively working on. I have a list for each of them and then I’ve added cards under each list that allow me to track the bits and pieces of each project.

Additionally, here is a look at one of the cards in my “Girl Scout Book” list…

I’m working on getting all of the pages for my daughter’s Girl Scout experiences into an album. This particular card outlines all of the pages that I want to create for my daughter’s second year as a Brownie. I created a checklist for each layout (and the date so I can easily find the photos when I’m ready to scrapbook a particular page. As I finish a page, I simply check off that page from the list. Once I’m finished with a particular card, I simply archive that card so my list only shows the cards with active items to work on. You can also add the photos or other files that will help you with the project. They will be right there, ready for you when it’s time to scrapbook.

What I love about Trello is that it allows me to create a visual tracking system for the important things I want to be sure to stay on top of with my memory keeping activities. Tracking stories and projects are the primary ways that I’m currently using Trello but I am in the midst of creating new lists that will help me track other aspects of my creative life such as creative team responsibilities and tracking the scrapbook supplies that I want to use. Another idea is to create a list for scraplifting which allows you to track the layouts you’d like to scraplift at some point. And lastly, you can track the challenges at The Digital Press that you want to participate in each month. As you can see, Trello offers so many different ways for you to manage your memory keeping life! I hope this tool might be able to help you stay on track with your scrapbooking activities!

By the way, you can use Trello to track anything… recipes, job searches, an editorial calendar for your blog, tracking books and reading, planning a wedding, managing a move or vacation, home renovation, etc. It’s very versatile!


About the Author  Amy lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband and their 13-year-old boy/girl twins. Their 22-year-old daughter is finishing up graduate school at Clemson! She has been scrapbooking since the early 1990s, but discovered digital scrapbooking in 2005 when her twins were born… and has primarily scrapped digitally since that time. She is passionate about telling her family’s stories and documenting their life together. She is also a huge reader (mostly literary fiction), a pop culture junkie, and LOVES all things beauty & makeup!