Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Hi again! beckie here!
This week’s installment of Shoppe Tips & Tricks is one to help you customize any kit to virtually any theme! This is one sure way to help stretch your scrapping dollars and get more out of the kits you purchase!
My 3 year old son Lawson is a super active sweet little boy who rarely stops moving long enough to play with toys! But he absolutely loves Matchbox color changing cars! I wanted to scrap a page to record this sweet little phase, but frankly, didn’t want to buy an entire kit just for one layout. The solution? FREE fonts! Here’s how it works:
1. Find a kit in your stash that has the right colors and papers to match your photos. I selected Smarshmallows because it had the perfect blues and reds for my boy layout!
2. Identify the theme item(s) you want to add. Since my layout is supposed to be about cars, I want to find a car (or two!) to add to my page.
3.Find a font! I like to search for fonts before I get started scrapping my layout because of all the ideas you can get from the variety of fonts available out there.
How to find fonts
I’m in the habit of starting at dafont.com, because I’ve used it in the past. However, you can google “free font” and a TON of sites will come up!
Each site has a search feature. Search for any and all keywords that apply to your theme. I searched for: “car”, “speed”, “fast”. I could have also looked for related items, like “road”, “street signs”, etc.
I was SO excited with what I found! I found a dingbat font that has pictures of cars and another one that can be used to create a license plate effect! (The dafont.com site also has instructions on how to install fonts if you need them!)
If you found a dingbat font, you need to look at all the letters to see the complete list of all characters available. If you have Windows, you can do this by opening the “Character Map” program. From the windows start menu, go to Start–>Search and type in “character map”. Voila! This pops up. Select your newly installed font from the drop down list. (I’m so sorry I don’t know how this works on a Mac! I’d sure appreciate a comment below from anyone who knows, LOL!)
4.Put it together! Start assembling your page, incorporating some of the goodies you found. If you found a font perfect for making a catchy title, give your title prominent placement on your page!
For dingbat fonts, I like to create “stickers” from the shapes I selected to use them as accents. The sticker effect is simple using the “Stroke” feature in Photoshop!
- First, add the “text” (your dingbat image) to your layout in the selected color in a large font size.
- Now, we need to “rasterize” the text. This changes the layer from something Photoshop sees as text to something it sees as a picture. Simply right click on the layer in the layers palette and select “Rasterize Type”.
- Now go to Edit–>Stroke. You’ll see the menu below. Click on the color box and you’ll get a color picker tool, that you can use to select any color from anywhere on your layout. I usually pick the predominant neutral color (white, off white, etc) from my page. Then, set the size of the stroke. Start with 15 or 20, then click “OK”. If you don’t like the effect – the color is wrong, the size of the border isn’t what you want, just hit “CTRL+z” to undo the change, then go back to Edit–>Stroke and change the values. Keep tweaking until you get something you like. Ta-Da!!
Here’s the layout I created! Click on the layout if you want to see complete credits (and font names) – but I used a free dingbat font for the race car, added a stroke and then a shadow. And how perfect is that fun swirly as the dust behind the racecar?! I also used a font to create the license plate – it was super easy! I added a square of paper behind the font and cut out little ovals for the screw holes to finish off the license plate effect.
So that’s it! I hope you find these tips helpful for customizing your favorite kits! If you try it out, please share your layout with us as we’d LOVE to see your work in the “Look what I made!” section of our gallery!
Oh – and I am using Photoshop CS2 on Windows Vista – so if you have any questions/issues for other versions, please just post a comment here and someone on the Shoppe Team will try to help!