1. Papers are the foundation of every scrapbooking page. When starting a layout, I always pick my photos first, but the papers come second. Usually I’ll open up about half of the papers that come in a collection and just start layering them on my layout, turning them on and off (using the little eye icon next to each layer in the Layers palette that indicates layer visibility), rotating them, etc. Choosing the right background paper will make or break your whole page.
2. They can be cut to any shape. Digital papers can easily be trimmed using the Marquee tool for squares, rectangles, or circles or use the Lasso tool for freeform shapes. Paper mats under photos or freehanded flowers are some of my favorites. Papers can also be clipped (PC: Ctrl+G in Photoshop Elements; Mac: Cmd+G) to shapes or text to create embellishments or word art.
3. Digital papers can be altered to suit your needs. Papers can certainly be used as is, but I love how easy it is to tweak the colors, blend them with textured ScrapSimple papers, etc. If you can’t find exactly what you need, you can always create it.
4. Papers can be used for crafts beyond digital scrapbooking. As great as papers are for computer projects, I also love them for general crafting and decorating as well. Right now, I am redoing my kids’ bedrooms. I’ve used digital scrapbooking papers there as well.
My daughter had seen some wall art that she loved, but it wasn’t exactly right for her room, so I used my scrapbooking skills to make something perfect. First, I started with an old picture frame that I spray-painted white. Then I created a new document the right size for my picture frame (11×14 inches). I placed a digital paper on the document. Since the paper is 12×12 inches, I had to resize it and add a little to the bottom to get it to fit right. I saved it as a JPG and sent it to my local print shop. They printed it on regular-weight paper (11×17 inches was their closest standard size, so I just trimmed off the excess). I put it in the frame and added some vinyl lettering to the front of the glass. It turned out great, but next time I think I’ll just add the lettering in Photoshop Elements. With a drop shadow, it will look about the same as vinyl and be a lot less work!
5. They can be used to create a color pallet for any project. My daughter was very specific as to what colors she wanted in her room, but my son just said he wanted something “science-y.” Since he left it wide open, I used one of my favorite tricks for picking a color scheme. I found a patterned paper that I loved and pulled colors from it. I fell in love with the navy, light blue, gray, and green in the Boy Joy Collection Biggie by Laura Louie, so I printed out a paper and used it to match paint chips and bedding. His room is still a work in progress – I haven’t gotten much hung up on the walls – but it’s getting there.