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Designer Tools & Tips

I love including 2-page spreads in my scrapbooks.  What is a 2-page spread?  It is the placement of 2 scrapbook pages side by side, that provide an overall cohesive look to a layout.  You might choose to use this technique to showcase a particular theme or perhaps an event, where you have multiple photos to share.

I created this 2-page spread for my son’s album back in 1998.  This is a “theme” oriented spread.  The “theme” of the page is “Cultivate good habits. The bad ones grow like weeds.” Here I was able to showcase multiple photographs of my son being both angelic and mischievous.


Renee (CT member) used It’s A Snap to create an “event” themed 2-page spread.  This 2-page spread allowed Renee to showcase her favorite photo from this photoshoot (on the left) and include some fun out-takes on the right.


Norma (CT member) created a traditional layout using It’s a Snap, then decided to create a second page, using the same kit.  When she put the 2 pages side by side, she realized she had a problem. The vines on page 1 and page 2 didn’t match properly.    Let’s see how we can fix that, making a seamless transition from page 1 to page 2.


Optional but helpful:  Open the PSD of page 1.  If you are using a version of Photoshop that allows you to color-code your layers, it’s a good idea to do so. This will help identify which elements are on which page in the next steps.  To color code layers, right click on a layer, and choose a color in the pop-out window.  Or select multiple layers (select top layer, hold down Shift, select bottom layer) to color code all with just one click.


1. Create a blank document 7200 x 3600 pixels in size.  This document size will accommodate two 3600 x 3600 pixel pages side by side.

2. Go back to Page 1. It’s not required, but can be helpful to link your papers and elements before moving them. (Select all layers and click on the chain icon at the bottom of the layers panel.)  Move page 1 onto the new 7200 x 3600 document, positioning it on the left.

3. Do the same with Page 2, positioning it on the right.

4. Unlock all of the layers so you can move elements around as you like. (Select all layers, and click on the chain icon at the bottom of the layers panel.)

5. Move the elements around on your page until you achieve a cohesive, seamless look. All Norma had to do here was move one of the branches from page 1 to page 2. You can see this move reflected in the red-color-coded element (from page 1) that is now mixed in with the yellow-color-coded elements (from page 2).


6. Duplicate your new 2-page spread, and save the original in case you would like to make changes in the future.

7. Flatten the duplicated document.

8. We now need to divide the document in half, saving the left as Page 1 and the right as Page 2.  Use your favorite method to do so. Here are a few different ways:

  • Created a second copy of your flattened 7200 x 3600 pixel layout.  You will now have 2 copies of it.  Create a 3600 x 3600 pixel document (12 ” x 12″).  Drag the 2-page spread onto the document, aligning the left side of the 2-page spread with the left side of the blank document.  This will “cut off” the right side of the larger document.  Crop. Save.   Repeat (using the second flattened 7200 x 3600 pixel document), aligning the right sides to create Page 2.


  • Alternatively: Duplicate your flattened image. Drag a Guideline from the left into the center of the document. It will snap into place in the middle of your document.  (Be sure your “Snap To Guides” is set:  View > Snap To > Guides.) Select the Crop Tool. Depending upon which version of Photoshop or Photoshop Elements you are using, either move the crop lines to the Guide Lines or drag the crop tool across the area you would like to crop. Either way, the Crop tool should snap to the Guide Line, making it easy for you.  Once you have made your crop, save your page. Go to the duplicated document and repeat to create your second page.

You may have other page-splitting methods that work equally well; just choose your favorite method!

It’s a Snap, a collaboration between SnickerdoodleDesigns, ADBDesigns, and Jilbert’s Bits of Bytes was created with the 2-page spread in mind.  How many times have you attended an event, gone on a photo shoot, or just snapped pictures in your yard, where you have come away with one spectacular shot, maybe 5-10 good shots, and then deleted the rest? I do that frequently. When that happens, I love creating 2-page spreads.  The spectacular photo gets highlighted on the 1st page, and the so-so photos that I can’t part with get highlighted on the 2nd page.   The It’s A Snap Kit and Extras are equally suitable for both traditional scrapping and pocket scrapping, but we have also included some pocket scrapping templates that make that opposing page 2 go together “in a snap!”

If you have not worked with 2-page spreads before, why not give it a try?

Here is a beautiful border, created for you by Charne (CT Member).  It can easily be incorporated into any page design, either traditional or pocket scrapping!

Just click on the image to download!

Need some ideas?  Review our tutorial on Stretching your Digi-Stash with Pre-Made Borders!


If you would like to keep this tutorial on your computer for easy reference, you may download a PDF here.

If you are a visual learner, you can view this tutorial on SnickerdoodleDesigns YouTube Channel  and on theStudio’s YouTube Channel.

Please head over to YouTube and take a minute to Follow both channels.  Each Channel will have some exclusive videos, so by following both channels, you will be sure not to miss a thing!


Thanks for stopping by! See you next week!

Credit: I believe the kit used in my 1998 2-page spread was a combination of elements from different Lliella Design kits. Please correct me if I am wrong anyone? Back then, when I was scrapping for myself, I didn’t understand the importance of keeping Credit Notes.

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Over the past month or so, we’ve talked about “repurposing” some of our digital supplies to expand upon their potential use.  In case you missed those posts:

Stretching your Digi-Stash with Premade Borders

Stretching your Digi-Stash with Masks, Part 2

For today’s tutorial, I will be working with Choose Joy, this week’s Round Robin collaboration between Manu Scraps and myself, SnickerdoodleDesigns. If you haven’t joined in the challenge, it’s not too late!  Find the rules here.

Many designers include pre-made clusters in their Kits or Collections.  These make creating a layout so simple and quick!  It’s easy to place a cluster on a background paper, add some journaling, a photo, and be done.  Often times, though, we might not want to reuse that same cluster, in the same way.  Today let’s look at a few different ways to use clusters, and maximize their usage potential!

1. Typical use:

For the layout pictured below, I used a cluster created by Renee, a member of my creative team. I placed the cluster on background paper, clipped a photo of my grandson, Owen, to a Choose Joy Mask, added a Label from the kit, and typed the quote pictured.  I was finished with this simple layout in under 5 minutes.


2. Adding other elements to a cluster:

By adding other elements to a premade cluster, we can “disguise” the fact that we are using the same cluster a second time.  For this layout I added Manu’s Choose Joy Flower Frame.  This very simple addition took just seconds.  Adding other embellishments, whether just one or a dozen, is a great way to get more use out of clusters.


3.  Add a frame to a cluster:

When you are adding other embellishments to a cluster, consider adding a frame too. In the cluster below, Renee added the cluster on top of a frame, and a border below the frame.  She also added a newsprint branch and 2 small paper flowers to the cluster.  This gave it an entirely different look!


4. Use clusters as corner embellishments.

In the layout below, the same cluster has been used  in each corner, after being duplicated, flipped, and rotated.


5.  Other ideas, as listed in previous tutorials (links posted at the top of this post, if you would like more complete details).

  • Blend clusters into background paper
  • Clip to tags or journaling card
  • Tuck behind frames or other larger embellishments
  • Use as a design element in a word art graphic

Experiment with your clusters to see which techniques work best for your particular needs!


Renee has allowed me to share her cluster with you.  You can download it by clicking on the image below.


If you would like to keep this tutorial on your computer for easy reference, you may download a PDF here.

See you next week!

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Over the past weeks we have explored various Filters in Photoshop:  How to create a Soft Lantern Glow (Lens Flare Filter),  Using the Shear Filter in Photoshop,  and Using the Liquify Filter in Photoshop.

We have had a request for  tutorials on other Photoshop filters, so today let’s look at the High Pass Filter and see how it can help us sharpen our images.

There are multiple ways to sharpen images in Photoshop.  This is a screenshot from Photoshop CC2014, so your screen may look different from mine, depending upon the Photoshop or Photoshop Elements version that you are using.  However, in general, if you go to the top Menu Bar:  Filter > Sharpen >   you will find various sharpening tools there.


The High Pass Filter is found in a different place:  top Menu Bar: Filter > Other > High Pass.


The High Pass Filter sharpens images by affecting only the edges of images, rather than the entire image.

Here is a shot of some rocks in my yard.


I’d like to sharpen this image a bit. Here’s how using the High Pass Filter:

1. Duplicate the image you wish to work with, using your favorite method. (I selected the layer in Photoshop, held down Control, and pressed the “J” key.)

2. Making sure your duplicated layer is selected, go to the top Menu Bar > Filter > Other > High Pass.

3. You will see your duplicated image turn gray, and an options box will open.


4.  The slider at the bottom of the options box controls the radius sharpening.   (The last sharpening that was used will reflect in the box when it opens. You can see here that the last sharpening I used was 1.6 pixels).  We want to drag the slider to the left or right until we see some nice edge selection.  In this photo, I have decided to use a radius of 7.4 pixels.  The amount of sharpening you choose will be dependent upon the image you are using.   Once you are satisfied, click OK.


5.  Change the Blend Mode of the High Pass layer to Overlay.



6. This is a little too sharp for my taste, so I can fix that in one of several ways:

  • I can Undo the High Pass Filter and reapply it, choosing a smaller pixel range.
  • I can lower the opacity of the High-Pass Layer in the layers panel.
  • I can change the blend mode of the High-Pass Layer to Soft Light instead of Overlay.  (Conversely, if I wanted the image to be just a little sharper, I could change the blend mode to Hard Light.)

I lowered the opacity of my High-Pass Layer to 79% and was happier with that.


And that’s how easy it is to use the High Pass Filter!

Wondering why I am taking pictures of rocks? I wanted to use them to create some papers in my Round Robin Collaboration, Garden Gate,  with Mel Designs.  Here is the Garden Gate paper I created, using the same image above (with some of the blue removed to better match our palette).



Our friend and fellow designer, Linda Cumberland, created this Garden Gate Cluster for you!  Just click the image below to download!


If you would like to keep this tutorial on your computer for easy reference, you may download a PDF here.

If you are a visual learner, you can view this tutorial on SnickerdoodleDesigns You Tube Channel  and on theStudio’s You Tube Channel.

Please head over to YouTube and take a minute to Follow both channels.  Each Channel will have some exclusive videos, so by following both channels, you will be sure not to miss a thing!  Thank you!


See you next week! And please keep the tutorial suggestions coming! I appreciate them all and will try to get to all of them!

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Save Hard Drive Space by Deleting Hidden Layers

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 7 March 2015
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I change my mind.  A lot.  And about a lot of different things, including digital scrapbooking projects.  I was chatting with one of my Creative Team Members, Renee, the other day, and she admitted to doing the same thing. Here is a beautiful cluster that Renee created using Round Robin Week 1 Fly Away Home.  […]

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Stretching your Digi-Stash with Masks, Part 2

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 28 February 2015
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Over the past 3 weeks we’ve been exploring Photoshop Masks and how they can help us in digital scrapbooking. This tutorial will provide an overview of general techniques. For specifics, such as how to apply a mask, please review our previous tutorials: Masking with the Gradient Tool     PDF     You Tube Stretching your Digi-Stash using Layer […]

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Masking with the Gradient Tool

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 21 February 2015
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Over the past 2 weeks, we’ve been exploring Layers Masks.  As a refresher, or in case you missed those tutorials, you will find them here: Using layer Masks in Photoshop Stretching your Digi-Stash Using Layer Masks Today, let’s take a look at adding the Gradient Tool to Layer Masks and see how that can be […]

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Stretching your Digi-Stash using Layer Masks

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 14 February 2015
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Last week we defined and demonstrated how to create and use a Photoshop Layer Mask. (Using Layer Masks in Photoshop).  Today let’s look at one way in which we can use layer masks to stretch our digi-stash. As a reminder from last week’s tutorial: When would you use a mask? You would use a mask […]

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Using Layer Masks in Photoshop

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 7 February 2015
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Yikes!  This Carnival mask is scary!  If I am totally honest, I have to say that the trepidation I feel looking at this mask equals the fear I experienced when I initially heard about Photoshop masks. I just wanted to look away and pretend they weren’t there.  Since that time, however, I have learned to […]

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Stretching your Digi-Stash with Premade Borders

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 31 January 2015
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I have always liked using “things,” any things, in ways that are different from their intended use.  For example, my nightstand is an antique children’s school desk.  When the word “repurposing” entered the main-stream vocabulary a few years ago, I thought… “Hey! I’ve been doing that for years!” My interest in “repurposing” includes my scrapbooking […]

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4 Ways to use Overlays and Textures Creatively using Blend Modes

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 24 January 2015

Last week I was asked by someone new to digital scrapbooking if she, as a personal-use scrapbooker, was allowed to purchase commercial-use products.  The answer is a resounding YES!  Commercial-Use (CU) products are very often created with both the designer and the personal-use scrapper in mind. While, in general, the Terms of Use (TOU) of […]

14 comments Continue reading…