Thursday, January 31, 2013

Facebook Banner Fun (and a Spoiler!)

Hi there, everyone! Ron here with another Thursday digi-idea.

When Facebook updated their site a while back, they added the ability to have a banner on your home page. Many members just upload a photo to display in the banner area, but some folks (both companies and individuals alike) have gotten a bit more creative with their banner. So how about a quick tutorial on how to create your own cool banner?

Okay, before we look at how to create your own banner (or 'cover photo' as it's also known), you need to know that Facebook has published a list of things that you can't do with that banner:

You can't…
  • Use it as an ad.
  • Include your contact details – i.e., no website address, no phone number, no email, etc. 
  • Include pricing or purchase information – i.e., ’40% off…’ or ‘Get yours now at our website…”
  • Reference any “user interface element” – i.e.,  you can’t ask for, mention or even use a graphic to point to Like, Share or any other Facebook feature. Facebook even makes special mention that you cannot encourage or incentivize people to upload your cover image to their personal timelines.
  • Include calls to action – i.e., ‘Get yours now’ or ‘Tell your friends.’
  • Use an image you do not own or have the rights to use, that is false, deceptive or misleading.

Despite the things you can't do, you can still create something that's fun! And don't worry about that last bullet - If you wanna use some elements from a Club Scrap Digital™ kit, Tricia said it's okay - you have the right to use them - just as long as it's for your own personal use on your own page. So no making cover photos with CS® parts and start selling them to make extra craft money!
Let's start with the size: 851 pixels wide x 315 pixels high, 72 ppi and less than 100Kbs in size. (I'm using Photoshop, but these steps should be similar in whatever program you're using.)

Now since all of the CS® digi components have a resolution of 300 ppi, it's a good idea to change the resolution of your file to 300 now - makes working with those pieces a bit easier. Don't worry, we'll change the resolution back to 72 when we're done! To do this, go to Image -> Image size and change the resolution to 300, the pixel width and height will change automatically.

Now here's a 'template' that I created for the Cover Photo. You'll notice that it has a red box in the lower left - that's where your profile photo will actually cover part of the banner, so you'll probably want to leave that area blank with you design your cover, since it will end up being hidden anyway. In Photoshop, I keep that red box as a separate layer - you'll see why later on.

Now that we've gotten the tedious stuff out of the way, let's get creative! I'm using February's Up, Up, & Away digital kit for this (yes, I got permission to post a spoiler today!).

1. Pick a background, any background. I chose the blue one, just 'cuz I like blue, but you can pick something else if ya want.

2. Drag it on to the Facebook canvas - in Photoshop, if you hold the 'Shift' key down while you drag, it will automatically center itself.

3. I want to give it a little more visual texture, so I'm going to add one the overlays - cool, huh?

4. Time for an embellishment - I added this really cool steampunk balloon (believe it or not, Jac constructed this out of digital elements - she's so talented!).

5. And maybe a ribbon and bow - with shadows, of course! (but that's another lesson for another time)

6. One last embellie, I think - a word balloon (see, I'm keeping a balloon theme here, folks!) from the Comics kit with "Up, Up & Away" inside - positioned so that it looks like the profile photo is speaking :)

7. Remember I said that I'd do something with that red layer? Well, it's time! I'll turn it white and add a fuzzy shadow all around so that the profile photo will 'glow' just a bit.

Once you're happy with your banner, save it in the program's native format (that would be a PSD file for Photoshop users) so that you can use it as a starting point later to build a new one. Then merge the layers and change the resolution back to 72, and save it as a JPG (you might need to reduce the quality of the JPG to make sure it's less than 100Kb in size). Last step - log-in to Facebook and go to your home page; click on the 'change cover' button and upload your new creation!

That's it for today - now go and create a Facebook Cover of your own - I can't wait to see what you create!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Video Tutorials--Stamp your HeART Out!

I received such great feedback to last week's post featuring all my favorite stencil video tutorials, that I thought it only fitting to compile my favorite stamping technique videos for "Stamping Week". So, without further ado, here are some awesome stamping vids to enable inspire you!

**Trouble viewing these stamping videos?  Please use the links provided under each video**

If you've never worked with Unmounted Rubber Stamps before, this is  the video for you!

Using Unmounted Rubber Stamp

Even if you're an experienced stamper, sometimes your artwork doesn't turn out how you'd like. It never hurts to review the "basics", so check out this just might find Tricia's basic stamping tips helpful.

Rubber Stamping Basics

Masking is one of those techniques that makes cards look very sophisticated, but can really be quite simple. Tricia shows you how.

Stamp Masking

Looking for something unique to add dimension to your pages and cards? Create your own awesome backgrounds with Tricia's help.

Stamped Backgrounds

Watercolor crayons and pencils can be combined with stamping for fabulous results. Check it out.

Watercolor and Colored Pencils 

Ever find yourself scratching your head wondering "How did they DO that?" Yep, me too...this video took me from head-scratching to an "Aha!" moment.

Three in a Row

Some stamps look confusing...until you play with them. Get stunning, artsy results with Tricia's tips.

Bold Blooms 

A really simple stamp can turn into something REALLY special by just adding a simple but unique technique. Check out Tricia's Jumping Leaves tutorial!

Jumping Leaves

I hope this collection of videos inspires you to grab some stamps and schedule yourself some play time. I encourage you to try any one (or more!) of these just never know what amazing art you'll create in the process. And don't forget to post your creations on the Club Scrap Galleria!

Creatively yours,

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What's all the noise?

At Club Scrap, we try to incorporate some sort of texture or "noise" into every collection. And for the most part, each rubber stamp series includes some sort of representation of that texture. It might be text, a tiny pattern, water droplets, etc. Using these stamps can sometimes be a challenge, but it's nothing you can't overcome! And in honor of UM Stamps Week, I've got a fun tutorial for 'ya!

Noise stamps can be great for creating awesome customized sheets of paper that can be incorporated into cards, pages and projects.

Check out the process using three different recipes:

1. Bold Blooms Club Stamp Unmounted Sheet; Carnation, Tangerine and Ruby Inks; Light Pink paper.

Ink and stamp the texture noise onto the paper and stamp several more times until all ink is off the stamp. Repeat until the sheet is covered.

Tip: When stamping off the edge of the paper (and be sure to do that), do not stamp back onto the paper fully. The stamp will make a nasty straight edge on your paper and you'll be super-bummed. If this happens, all is not lost . . . simply stamp over it until the line disappears.

It's fun to add depth to the texture by stamping with additional ink colors.

2. Equestrian CS Unmounted Sheet; Mahogany and Earth Inks; Tan Paper.

At first, the stamped image might seem to have a harsh, straight edge. Don't give up. Keep stamping additional times at different angles until the edges blend.

3. Bright Lights, Big City Unmounted Sheet; White Pigment Ink; Black Paper.

Be sure to heat set if you are using pigment ink.

Once the texture sheets are complete, incorporate them with matching papers and our Idea Deck card making formulas to create fabulous cards!

I was able to make the entire batch of 14 stamped and decorated cards in about 90 minutes.

There 'ya have it! Go make some noise!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Stenciled Backgrounds by Donna Lee

When we saw Donna Lee's gorgeous creations in both the Club Scrap Galleria and our Coffeehouse Chat forum, we knew immediately that folks would be interested in hearing more about her artwork. Take it away, Donna Lee!

I have always enjoyed stencils, and these “Stencil Week” blog posts reminded me just how much fun they can be! While there are lots of different techniques that one can employ to create art with stencils, I wanted to keep it simple this time, so all stenciling is done with Club Scrap Hybrid ink pads and ink applicators.

Since I was hoping that "Stencil Week" will reappear soon in Club Scrap’s upcoming Pro Scrapbookers League competition, I grabbed my stencils to create some custom papers to use in my scrapbook pages.

For this first background, I used Club Scrap's Autumn Splendor Leaf stencil (October 2004), stenciling the image with Topaz, Moss and Earth Hybrid inks. Notice that the leaf images are incomplete around the edges of the page? This is often called “extending off” the page, and the technique gives your artwork a more “natural” look. Next, I stamped the text stamp from Memoirs (July 2009) at an angle across the page. To add depth, I sponged the same three colors randomly throughout the background, and applied Earth Hybrid ink directly to the edges of the page. A spritz of glimmer mist and it was finished!

For my second background, I created a stencil collage combining images from older and newer Club Scrap kits – along with a smattering of stamping. Again, I used Club Scrap’s Earth, Moss and Topaz inks, and added Onyx to the mix. I started with the Versailles (August 2011) border, and built from left to right with stencils from Rhapsody (March 2007) and Papillion (May 2011). To add balance to the design I added butterfly stamps from Papillion and the Mileage stamp from Road Trip (March 2005). I used the same technique of sponging, inked edges and glimmer mist to finish the piece.

Finally, I wanted to make a card for my Dad. I think the simplicity of black and white is perfect for masculine cards. Starting with a piece of white cardstock measuring 5 x 8 inches and Onyx Hybrid ink, I stenciled the car image from Journeys (June 2003). I made a mask by tracing the same image onto copy paper, cutting it out and using removable adhesive to cover the image I had just stenciled. With the mask in place, I added the dots from the Comics (February 2011) stencil around the car. The Chocolate Shoppe (February 2005) flourish and the title from the Textiles & Notions (September 2004) Frou Frou stencil were the perfect finishing touches.

More inspiring artwork by Donna Lee
found in the Club Scrap Galleria.

I hope "Stencil Week" has inspired you to play with stencils. Don’t be afraid to mix and match images that at first glance don’t appear to “go together” – you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results. Try it- you’ll like it!

dlwrules Donna Lee

Friday, January 25, 2013

Stencil Me In!

Greetings Fellow Stenciling Enthusiasts,
I've gotta say one of my favorite stencils that ever lived is the Versailles Masking Stencil.

I started by just misting around the stencil while it laid on the cardstock. Then there was so much fun color on the stencil so I added a little white mist to intensify the color and flipped it over to allow the stencil to make its mark that way, too. I like the positive/negative thing going on here.

I also really like this Chapter One stencil for backgrounds and borders, too.

It makes me feel cool and artsy without much effort. Always a plus!

Oh, and of course I have a special place in my heart for the most recent Retreat Word Stencil and Shapes Stencil!

So many fun things can be done with stencils! Get 'em inky. (Or painty.)

After this week, I'm stencil-inspired. Gonna roll with it now.
As always, thanks for looking and have a great day!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Digital "Stenciling"

Happy Thursday! Ron here with another digital tutorial! Today, I'm gonna talk about stenciling, or maybe I should say 'faux' stenciling, since we don't actually have stencil files in our digital kits. (Club Scrap Digital™ kits used to contain stencil files, but they're not really a digital item, so they were discontinued a few years ago. But if you have any, they'll work fine for this technique.) We're going to use stamp files to create our stencil look today. Bold stamps with lots of dark areas work best, but you can really use just about any stamp image you like. Fonts can also work for this technique.

Note, as always, I'm using Adobe Photoshop 5, but most programs that support layers should work; steps in those programs may vary, however.

1. Open a new document. I like to start with a 12x12, 300ppi file, so that I have lots of room to work.

2. Fill the layer with white. This will make it easier to see what you're doing!

3. Open the stamp image that you've decided to work with. I'm using the Horse stamp from Equestrian.

4. Drag the stamp image onto the new file that you created.

5. Resize the stamp image so that ti's a bit larger - this will make it easier to work with.

6. in the Layers Palette, Ctrl-Click (Windows) or Command-Click (Mac) on the thumbnail of the stamp layer. You'll see 'marching ants' around the image to show that it's been selected.

7. Click on the 'eye' icon for the stamp layer in the Layers Palette. This will hide that layer.

8. Create a new layer above the stamp layer and make sure that layer is selected in the Layers Palette. This will be the stencil layer.
9. In the Tool Bar, select the Brush Tool and choose a fuzzy round brush. The size will vary, depending on the size of your image, but I like to start with something fairly large. I chose the soft round brush and made it about 450 pixels in diameter.

10. In the Color Swatch Palette, choose a light color. I'm using Tan.

11. Use the brush to swipe across the image, coloring in the majority of the image, but don't worry if it's not even - this will better simulate the look of inking a stencil with a sponge applicator. As long as you're still seeing the marching ants, only the selected portion will change color.
12. Choose a darker color and swipe again, but stay closer to the edges so that part of the image will be darker. Again, this mimics the sponge applicator.
13. Repeat with a third, darker color, very close to the edge, if desired. You may want to make the brush smaller for this last step.
14. If you feel the image looks a bit too dark, you can lower the opacity of the layer to lighten it up a bit. This will also allow some of the background to show through, like it would if you were using ink and a stencil on paper.
That's all there is to it! You'll find that some images work better than others, but the more you practice, the  easier it will get. If you create one that you especially like, remember to save it so that you can re-use it!

Here are a few other images, to (hopefully) inspire you.

That's it for this week - go create something wonderful with digital stencils!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Video Tutorials--Let's Play with Stencils!

I have to give a shout-out to Donna Lee, who commented on Tricia's post yesterday that she'd like to see a blog post with all of the stencil technique vids Tricia has done in ONE place. You got it!

Let's start with the "Essentials", shall we? Tricia uses common watercolor crayons to produce cool background effects in this tutorial.

Like the watercolor crayon technique? Then you'll LOVE how Gelatos work with our stencils!

Don't stop there...check out what happens when you ink up one of our larger stencil images and combine it Unmounted rubber stamps...delicious!

Confused about how to use multiple layers or ink colors on a single stencil? This video shows you how to take these stencils to the next level.

Now for an "oldie but goodie"...the Freedom Banner Stencil! This stencil has been known to throw folks for a loop, but here Tricia shows you how to use it with success!

Finally, this one isn't a video tutorial, but it IS a great written tutorial about how to use one of my favorite stencils of all time. Tricia demos the Asian Artisan Stencil in her Four-Part Birdie Stencil blog post. No other stencil to date has the ability to offer this much WOW factor!

So there you have incredible amount of inspiration, packed into one l'il ol' blog post. Now do me a favor...I don't wanna think I did all this research for nothin'...get out there and get some stencils dirty!

Creatively yours,

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Monochromatic Overlay Stencil Technique

Wow, how's that for a totally knock-your-socks-off, gripping, attention-getting blog title? Well, folks, it is what it is. I'll break it down.

Monochromatic: I used one ink color. Club Scrap's® pretty Ocean.

Overlay Stencil: I'm featuring the Orient Express Overlay stencil. It has three parts, requiring you to move the stencil three times in order to produce layers of varying color or intensity.

Technique: It's not hard to do this, but I guess you could say that it's a technique. You need a little bit of practice, a CS® ink applicator, ink, and this totally rockin' overlay stencil.

I figure this would be a great time to break 'er down with this video. After viewing, I'm guessing you'll want to pick up a stencil or two, cuz it's stencil week at Club Scrap! (Read: All stencils on sale! Yay!)

Happy stenciling!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Lots Of Creativity In The House!

Knock, knock...

What a great place for a door-shaped mini album, on a handmade house!

This is my kind of neighborhood . . .


Maybe it's a little early to be talking about the Club Stamp project since it doesn't ship until next week, but I'm excited about it today and Tricia seems to be allowing spoiler-type behavior for the moment, so I gotta run with it, right?

The details will be in the upcoming Stamp Rap and the Club Stamp Project instructions, but here are a couple of pics to open the door to creativity!

The kit will make the house, base, and two darling door-shaped mini albums. One album becomes the front door and the other is stowed away inside the house.

The other thing that always thrills me is that there will be paperless/nekkid versions of the project available! I just had to create this one with my own house number over the door.

The door to creativity is wide open with this cute unique project, and I'm gladly puttin' out the welcome mat!

Creatively yours,