Love Templates? Make Your Own!

This tutorial comes to us from Katie Nelson at The Daily Digi where it originally appeared. DailyDigiheader Love Templates? Make Your Own!
One of the questions we get asked the most at The Daily Digi is “how can I make my own templates?” I love templates and rarely scrap without one these days. While there are so many great templates already out there, sometimes you might want to make your own. All you need is a photo editing program that supports layers (such as Photoshop Elements or Photoshop). Creating your own digital template from scratch:
Step 1:  Open a new project. I always use a 12-by-12-inch size, 300 dpi for the best quality. For templates I select a white background or colored background. Note: I’m using Photoshop Elements 8 for this demonstration. Steps might vary slightly in other programs. Image01 300x192 Love Templates? Make Your Own!
Step 2: Be sure to save your file to a location where you will be able to find it later. I keep things on my desktop while I’m working on them and move them to a different storage folder after I’m done.
Step 3: Feel free to change the color of the background layer (and any other layer you create) to help you keep track of where things go in your layered template design. Some scrappers like to keep all the papers in one color family, all the photos in another color family and all the embellishments in another set of colors. Others like to make each layer its own color. Some template designers use [only] variations of one color (grays are popular). There is no wrong or right way to do this, just use the method that you prefer. For this demonstration I’m going to use a variety of colors to make it easier to visually follow along with the process.
Step 4: Using the paint bucket tool on the left sidebar, go to the area at the bottom left where you can select the background color. I chose a dark steel blue for the background layer. Then to add another layer, right click on the Layer Palette area next to the first layer and chose Duplicate Layer. Image02 300x132 Love Templates? Make Your Own!
Step 5: You can then rename and/or recolor that new layer as desired. Once you have a layer duplicated (using the right-click method), renamed (also using the right-click menu), and re-colored using the Paint Bucket Tool, you will want to change its size and/or its location in the template. Image03 Love Templates? Make Your Own!
Step 6: Switch back to the Move Tool at the top of the left sidebar. Image04 Love Templates? Make Your Own!
Step 7: I grabbed the corner of the top shape with my mouse and simply re-sized it. This keeps the square proportioned. Instead of grabbing the corner, you can just re-size it in one direction to create a rectangle. Repeat as often as desired, naming each layer. [Editor's note: to rename the layers, double-click on the layer name and type the new name].Save frequently throughout this process. daily digi step 7 296x300 Love Templates? Make Your Own!
Step 8: I like to start with the papers, then move on to the photo spots. Embellishments are always last for me. That is just my design style. Some scrappers might start with the accents and work on papers or photos last. Image05 274x300 Love Templates? Make Your Own!
Step 9: Sometimes you will have shapes that you want to line up evenly. In this case, I want the photo spots to be aligned so I select each shape in the Layers Palette while holding down the CTRL key to allow for multiple selections. You can see that they are not lined up properly in the image to the right so I chose “Align” and then “left edges” from the menu bar above the workspace. Image06 300x167 Love Templates? Make Your Own!
Step 10: Now I have the basics of this layered template done. I have a place for papers (decorative and journaling) and photos.I could stop here to keep it minimal or I can still add a text box, a title placement and embellishment guides. If I’m going to share the template with others, I like to add these finishing touches.Use the Horizontal Text Tool on the left sidebar to add your text and title. If you are going to share the template with others, they will have to have the same fonts installed on their computer to get the same look, so I used a very basic font (Calibri) for this one. Whoever uses the template will probably change the font selection by choosing a different font from the drop down menu when they click on the text area. The title is just to show an idea of where to place a page title. Image07 300x276 Love Templates? Make Your Own!
Step 11: Many templates have decorative shapes on them to show the user ideas for embellishment placement. An easy way to do this is to use the Cookie Cutter Tool on the left sidebar. You will want to create a layer of paper to use the tool on. I created another layer and colored it pink. Then I selected the Cookie Cutter Tool (looks like a star cookie cutter) and went to the drop down menu on the top horizontal bar. I picked the flower shape. daily digi cookie cutter 1 285x300 Love Templates? Make Your Own!
Step 12: Then I click on an area of the pink paper while I have the cookie cutter tool selected. Dragging with my mouse, I can make the shape as big as I want. Once I have the size of shape I want I click the green check mark to finalize the selection. Using the duplicate layer feature and the paint bucket tool, I created a few more flower shapes and clustered them together on the template. daily digi step not sure Love Templates? Make Your Own!
Step 13: Most templates do not include shadowing since most digital scrapbookers like to create their own. If you want to pre-shadow all the papers and elements, anyone who uses the template can still adjust the shadow settings by clicking on the “fx” next to each layer. Image09 300x300 Love Templates? Make Your Own!
Step 14: Now that the template is created, just drag and drop the photos, digital scrapbook papers, and embellishments of your choice into the template. Clip or merge each paper to the chosen layer (CTRL + G is my friend!). [Editor's Note: See our tutorial in this issue for step-by-step instructions on how to use a layered template.]
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Credits: La Patisserie by Sugar Plum Paperie and Paislee Press. Font is Traveling Typewriter.

AuthorImageKatie Love Templates? Make Your Own!Katie Nelson (aka: Katie the Scrapbook Lady) blogs at She lives in Utah with her wonderful hubby and two teenage kids. You can find her tutorials at The Daily Digi along with a lot of other great authors.    Send article as PDF   
  • Jacque

    Great tutorial. Thanks for sharing! :) I will be giving this a try very soon. :)