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A New Way to Scrap?: A Photoshop Tutorial

Good Morning Scrappers! Tamara here back with a fantastic new tutorial! Even though I have been working in Photoshop for years now, every once in a while I come across a new and different technique that a fellow scrapper has shared and I feel the need to try it myself. Sometimes it works for me and sometimes it doesn’t. This is one of those times that I thought,” WOW! That is really a cool idea.” so I thought I would share it with each of you today and let you decide for yourself!

If you have ever worked with a template, and I am sure that most of you have, then you know that your finished layout can consist of many, many layers.  It is not uncommon for me to have 100’s of layers on my page! For some of us, that is not a problem because we have computers that can handle the overload but for others, I know that it can lead to computer “freezes” and program shut downs. If you have ever had that problem, then you know how frustrating that can be!  Each month, I have around 20-30 students that I teach in my Art of Clustering Class and each month, without fail, I will have someone complain that their computer can’t handle the load. So today, for those of you with limited computer memory..or even for those of you who would like to work with less layers, this tutorial is for you!

For the most part, the majority of us add our paper onto our page and then clip each paper to its template part. We can resize the pattern, move it around to get a different side to the paper… whatever we want. Some of us, like me, keep the clipped paper and template part, mostly because I just MIGHT want to change it at some point. But others of us, decide that we would rather merge the paper and template together and create just one piece…and that is ok too. But what if  I told you that you didn’t have to do EITHER of those AND you can still have the look you are wanting to achieve along with all the great aspects of  keeping your paper clipped!  You would probably think I was crazy, huh?  But, it’s true!  Today, I want to introduce you to the Pattern Overlay tool! If you have never used the tool before,then you are fixing to find yourself  in scrapping  Heaven. If you have used it before, I can bet you have never thought of using it as a scrapping tool..probably more of a designing tool!

When I scrap, I like to pull all of my papers onto my page because I want to be able to flip between them while I am deciding what I want my page to look like. I like to try all sorts of combinations so that I find the best one to create the mood I am going for.  When I do this, however, it can really bog down the computer until I am ready to get rid of some of those unused layers. This method, however will really help me do what I love to do ( have all my papers readily available) AND not bog down my computer!

To begin, open all your papers that you are going to use on your page. Because I like to try out ALL papers, I opened them all at once. For those of you who don’t really know me, I will share with you that I LOVE efficiency! I like to get all of the “busy” work taken care of first so that when I sit down to scrap, I don’t have to stop what I am doing and upload a paper into my pattern overlay tool. By doing the all at once, they are readily available when you are ready to scrap..and I did 20 papers in less than three minutes!

I am using the papers from Mye’s new kit “Down By The River.”   You need to make sure that you only see one paper at a time on your workstation before you begin the process of adding your patterns. If you don’t, then everything that you have showing on the workstation will appear on your new pattern!

With your first paper selected go to Edit> Define Pattern.

A dialogue box will appear and it will ask you to name your paper. I just leave the name that was given to it by the designer. Press OK when you are finished.

Close the paper you just used.

Continue to add each paper you are working with in the same manner, closing each one when you are finished with it.  Once you have added all your papers, you are  ready to begin the “FUN” part of this tutorial!

Open your template. I have selected one of Mye’s fabulous templates from her Cluster It! series.

Start be selecting the first layer you want to add the paper too. Once you have the layer selected, right click on the the paper layer in your layers panel and when the pop up menu appears, select BLENDING OPTIONS from the menu.

After you select Blending Options, the Layer Style menu box will appear. Select Pattern Overlay.  The  pattern that was last used will be the one that pops up first.

Select a paper to add by clicking on the thumbnail photos. You can see the name of the paper by hovering over the thumbnail or you can just click and see the results instantly on your layout! Once you have selected the paper you want you can change the scale of the pattern to fit your template.

You can set the size of the pattern by going to the Scale slider and moving it to the left to shrink your pattern or  to the right to enlarge it.  I try to go no less than 50%  and no more than 150%, the reason being is that you will get seam lines on your paper where the pattern repeats and it doesn’t look good.

You can also change the position of the paper that you are working with. While the layers menu is still up, hover over the layer of the template that you are working on. Your move tool will appear and you can click and move the paper to its new position. If you click off the layers menu and go to move your pattern…you will only move the layer..and that won’t make you happy. Just remember that any time you need to make changes, you can click on the Pattern Overlay words on your layer or on the fx that sits on the right of the layer you are working with. Please note that only ONE of these choices will appear at any time..but I have yet to figure out a pattern as to which one shows at which time!

Once you have added all your papers, you can add your elements and complete your layout!

Now is a good time to note that you are working in the effects mode in Photoshop, which means that any other effects that you want to apply (inner shadow, drop shadows, stroke, etc.)  will need to be added through this menu.  If you come back later on and want to add a shadow layer style, and you go to select it from your Styles menu, it will erase the pattern that you just entered.  The only way to combat that is to work directly in the Layers Menu (double click on the word Effects and then select your blending option you wish to work with on the left)  OR by selecting the layer you added your pattern to, right click and select Convert To Smart Object. Once your object is converted, you will need to right click again and select Rasterize layer. This will give you full editing capabilities on your page and allow you to add a shadow style to your page without having to worry about erasing your pattern. 

For those of you using Photoshop Elements..or those of you in Photoshop who don’t want to mess with resizing your papers, you can also use a modified version of this technique. Once you have added all your papers to your Pattern Overlay Menu, open your template. Select the layer that you want to fill and choose your paint can. At the top of the workstation, it will give you the option to fill your paper with your foreground color or a pattern paper.  Select Pattern. You will find your patterns in the drop down menu next to where you chose to fill with Pattern. Select your pattern by clicking on the thumbnail. While holding your CTRL key, click on the corresponding thumbnail in your Layers Panel. Marching ants will now surround your template piece. With your paint can selected,  click INSIDE of the marching ants to fill your template layer. The up side to doing it this way is that you can do whatever you want to the layer now…shadow, inner shadow, stroke..whatever. The down side is that you are stuck with the paper the way it is applied. This personally is not a HUGE downside to me as most people don’t resize their patterns, but if you are one that likes to use the edges of your paper…than this is not the method for you!

Well, there you have it..a quick and easy way to work with your papers and keep your layers to a minimum!  If you try this new technique, let me know what you think! Will this be something you would like to continue or was it just fun to try? Whatever you decide, knowledge is power..and you just learned something new about your program that might come in handy one day!

Until next week, happy scrapping!




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  1. […] A New Way to Scrap?: A Photoshop Tutorial – 1 freebie(s)? […]

  2. […] more : HERE different-technique, every-once, fantastic-new, fellow-scrapper, photoshop, […]

  3. Jeannie says:

    This is fabulous! Thank you for sharing. It works a bit differently in PSE8, but was able to figure out the differences easily enough.

  4. Natasha says:

    This is a “wow” kind of thing! Thanks so much for posting this. It’s just the thing I’ve been looking for!

  5. Carla Peterson says:

    Is there any way I can buy this template? I love it!

  6. […] Check here to learn how to use a template […]

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I'm Mye De Leon

I'm a mom with a desire to give the best for her family and turned a lettering hobby into a multi6-figure business. These days, I eat strategy for breakfast and turn other businesses into successful empires.

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I'm Mye


My business is to help your business generate more revenue so you can be who you want to be.

I'm Mye


My business is to help your business generate more revenue so you can be who you want to be.