Hi all, Julie here with a fun tutorial to share with you this Monday!
With the Power Poppy's brand new “Instant Garden” Digital Stamp Release, are you scratching your head and wondering what to do next with these files? If you’re new to digital stamps, then this is the place to learn! Each Monday over the next few weeks, some of the Bloom Brigade will be sharing their tips and tricks allowing you to create like never before when you hit your computer—and then go crazy in the craft room!
What are Digital Stamps Anyway?
Also known as “digis”, these high-resolution, black and white images are either downloadable, or in the case of this release, sent to you as attachments in an email as jpg files. Save them to your computer upon receipt. Then open them up with your word processing or photo editing program and you can manipulate the images before you print them out. If you leave them black and white, you can use these digis pretty much the same way you would as a stamp. But, as you’ll see below, there’s so much MORE you can do! You can resize, flip the orientation, or even change the color from basic black to any color in the rainbow!
Do I Need a Special Printer?
Not all desktop printers are created equal. Laser printers are the most consistent as far as the ability to color your image immediately. For some inkjet printers, you’ll need wait a bit to let the ink completely dry—and then you can color away. If you are concerned, try running your heat tool over the image to heat set first. If your printer really lays on the ink, you can always emboss with clear embossing powder. If using Copic Markers, never use colored embossing powders because they tend to break down when Copic’s alcohol inks touch them. Not only does it make the image unusable, it can ruin your marker tip as well. When in doubt, you can always print and then wait for your images to fully dry overnight.
What Paper Do I Use?
X-Press It Blending Card works beautifully for most printers. It is thin enough to go through most printers without jamming, and it holds the printer ink beautifully, while allowing for beautiful blending of the Copic colors. I’ve also successfully tried Neenah Solar White and Cougar Opaque White Smooth. As with anything new, try different papers and test by coloring small sections of your image to find what works best for you!
How Do I Color Them?
Hands down, Copic markers work wonderfully. Why? Because they have an alcohol base, so they won’t cause the water-based ink in your printer cartridge to run or smear. You will not be able to use your digis and then watercolor them. Colored pencils, chalks, or any alcohol based marker will make your images come to life beautifully. Although I haven’t tried it, some swear you can use any medium by first spraying the image with an aerosol fixative or clear spray first and then coloring. Others say aerosol hair spray works to set your images too!
Using Digis with a Word Processing Program
Don’t have an photo editing program? Don’t worry! You can use something as simple as Microsoft Word to change colors, resize and print.
Simply open a new document. Right next to the Home tab at the top, you’ll see the tab called Insert. Click on that. From there, click on the Picture icon. This allows you to browse and open your digi stamp like so, below...
Select the image by clicking on it and then click on the Insert tab. After you open your digi (I used the Gerbera Daisies image), drag the outer box around your image to create the size you would like to print. Don’t want just a black image? You can even change the color!
Click on the Format tab as shown below and then click on the Recolor tab. A window like the one will pop up....
I chose one of the seven colors offered under the Light Variations category. There’s a grey tone, Blue, Rose, Green, Violet, Turquoise and Sepia.
I chose the Sepia tone for my image. To add in the sentiment, simply follow the instructions above by inserting the photo, clicking Format, Recolor and then Light Variations for a coordinating sentiment!
Using Photoshop ElementsTo help photo edit, I love using the program Photoshop Elements. You can find it HERE on Amazon, and it’s reasonably priced when you consider the price of the Adobe Creative Suite for the professional versions of Photoshop and Illustrator. Let’s get started!
I started by opening up the Gerbera Daisies image.....
To be able to use my image in a more versatile way, I wanted to erase the background. I right clicked on my eraser icon, highlighted below and then chose the Magic Eraser Tool.
From there, I clicked on the white background and in a flash, the background is gone! See?
Instead of keeping my image black, I decided I wanted to create a colored background with these darling daisies! To do that, I clicked on the Enhance tab at the top and then selected Adjust Color and then Adjust Hue/Saturation as you can see below...
At that point, a new box will pop up and you’ll want to make sure that the box that reads Colorize is checked...
To change the color, I simply used the Hue, Saturation and Lightness sliders until I got the color I wanted! I chose a bright and sunny blue!
Afterward, I clicked on the File tab and created a new blank file that was 4.25" by 5.5" at 300 dpi. This would be the blank canvas that I would use to drag my flower image to. You want to make sure that you have clicked the little arrow icon at the top of your tool bar on the left side. From there, drag and drop the flower to your white canvas below until you fill up your “canvas.’ I moved the image all over, flipping it, rotating and making it “just so!’
I printed and then followed the same instructions to get my matching sentiments.
Using Digis to Layer Images
The beauty of digital stamps is the ability to resize, change colors and even layer them to create your own digital decorative paper. The options are truly endless! I started with my basic image with the background removed....
I had downloaded a digital background paper from the site called Pixel Scrapper. I loved this dainty polka dot. I opened the file and then, created a new canvas by clicking on File, New, and Blank File as you can see below.
My blank file was 4" by 5.25" at 300 dpi as you can see below...
Afterward, I clicked on my Gerbera Daisy image and dragged it down to the decorative paper file to merge those two images like this....
I didn’t want to keep my daisies black, so I clicked on Adjust Color, Adjust Hue/Saturation and then followed the steps above to “Colorize” my image....
I wanted a monochromatic look and so this is what I ended up with!
Erasing Pieces of your Image and ResizingOne of the great things with Photoshop Elements is the fact that you can literally erase part of your image. As you can see below, I followed some of the steps above to add my Gerbera Daisies to my digital background paper. I also followed the same steps to adjust the hue of my paper to create this fun shade of blue!
From here, right click on the eraser icon and choose the Eraser Tool. Up at the top you can choose the size of your “brush.” See the squiggly line up in the upper left corner? Right next to that is where you can choose the size by adding or reducing the pixel width. I chose a small brush to erase so that I could get into the illustration’s nooks and crannies to erase the flowers’ stems!
And here’s the finished look!
I added a second image just like below and reduced both of these clusters in size so that they were only about 1-1/4" wide.
Good Thinking: Renewal.
And that, my friends, is it! Some easy ways to use your new digi stamps! Next Monday, Allison Cope will be back to show you how to do more editing techniques — this time with a free photo editing program — to truly get the most out of all your digi files!
See you back here soon!