25 February 2013

Step by Step: Hybrid Page with Word

 As much appreciation as I have for digital scrapbooking, I don't think I'll ever become a digital scrapbooker. I enjoy the tactile world of paper too much to abandon it for a screen! Having said that, I'm firmly entrenched in my own version of "hybrid" scrapbooking (using a computer to create certain elements of a page). The difference between me and other hybrid scrapbookers is that I haven't invested in Photoshop or other "real" digital tools: I use only Picasa and Microsoft Word. In today's post, I'll share with you how I approach a typical page using Word as a design tool. (Click on any of the photos -- especially the screen shots -- for a closer look.)

1. Arrange Photos for Printing
I don't usually print photos at home but when I do, I typically copy/paste them into a Word document and print several at a time on an 8.5x11 sheet of photo paper. Depending on the size of the photos, this is usually less wasteful than printing via Picasa. For instance, to print a single 5x7 photo for my page in Picasa would have resulted in all of this wasted paper:

Instead, I copied and pasted the photo into a Word document, then adjusted the size to 5x7. I set the "wrapping" to square so that several other photos could be added to the 8.5x11 page prior to printing. In this case, I had 2 smaller photos to print, too, so I decided to create my own "collage":

2. Design Layout
Instead of just printing the photos, I often take things a step further and use Word as a "mock-up" tool for layout design. 

As you can see here, I've created a true-to-size "canvas" to work on by simply changing the size of my page to 12x12. This makes it easier to see how the completed design will look. I moved the pictures around until I liked the arrangement, then I linked them via the "group" function so they wouldn't slide out of place. Using Word as a design tool is a great way to plan pages!

Given the size of the photos, I had to fill that awkward little space below the 5x7 picture. I created a small text box and "filled" it with purple to occupy the space, thinking I'd cut some patterned paper for that area once I printed the photos. 

Next I started playing around with how/where to place my title and journaling, again using text boxes to create a mock-up of how everything might fit together:

I don't have 12x12 photo paper (it's available...I'm just too cheap to buy it!) so once I was ready to print, I switched the page size back to 8.5x11 and removed the mock-up title/journaling pieces, saving them to another document so I'd have the correct size to work with.

3. Print Photos
Meanwhile, I decided to leave the purple text box in place and print it out with the photos as a design element. Here's the photo document ready to print:

This is my beloved Canon wide-format printer. It does a great job with photos and allows me to print on 12x12 paper, which I do a LOT. Unfortunately this model is no longer made, so it will be a sad day when I have to replace it or can no longer get ink!

 Here's the photo collage printed out and ready to cut:

4.  Design Title and Journaling
 With the top portion of the layout done, I was ready to focus on the title and journaling. I looked through my sticker and chipboard letters but couldn't find anything I liked, so I decided to die cut the title. Due to the font size, I knew immediately that my initial plan for the title and journaling would not work, so I cut a piece of scrap paper in the size I'd originally planned then started playing around with the space. Title at the right, sub-title under it, and journaling at the left:

 I measured the spaces on my paper mock-up and then created text boxes with those same dimensions in a 12x12 Word document:

 I created a separate text box for the journaling so that I could give it a dot border. It's easy to do this via the "line style" function:

 5. Print Title and Journaling
I typed my journaling in the text box, then created a separate text box for my sub-title which I decided to print on photo paper. I printed it on scrap paper first:

6. Adhere!
 Once I had everything finalized, I printed the piece on yellow cardstock and cut it to fit. I placed all the elements on the page without adhering them, just to be sure:

Then I decided to add a large square mat of light purple paper behind it all for a little added depth. Here's the completed page:

If you've never used Word for layout design, I encourage you to give it a try. I think you'll find that it's a surprisingly powerful (and economical!) tool for scrapbookers!

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