• Using Guides to Size Images for Gift Tags

    The holiday season is here! The next four weeks will be festive and fun with plenty of opportunities to show your love and appreciation for others in creative ways. In that spirit, we are beginning our holiday project series with a tip for creating your own circle tags in a size that can be punched with a large, circle paper punch.

    Circle punches are widely available in the paper crafting section of craft stores and scrapbook stores. They come in a variety of sizes that make quick work of cutting circles. Using these punches and your digital scrapbook supplies, you can create one-of-a-kind gift tags this year. Hereís how:

    Youíll need to have the full version of Photoshop or Elements 9 loaded for this project. If you havenít upgraded to Elements 9 yet, you can download a free 30-day trial version from adobe.com. Upgrading to Elements 9 will give you the ability to create and use guides.

    Watch this tip on video.

    Begin by opening a document in the size youíd like to print. For the sample, Iíve created an 8.5x11-inch page at 300 ppi, RGB color mode and white background.

    Make sure you can see the rulers across the top and down the left side of your editing screen. If you canít see them, select View > Rulers from the Menu Bar.

    Measure the diameter of your circle punch. Iím using a 1.75Ē circle punch for my tags.

    Get the Move tool and click on the ruler to the left of the editing window. Holding the clicker down, drag to the right. Youíll see the cursor change into a double-arrow and as you reach the document, youíll begin to see the guide line appear as a dotted line. When you let go of the mouse, youíll see the guideline. I like to make the measurements easy on myself by placing the first guideline at the 1 inch mark. Use the top ruler to place the guideline.

    Now drag out a second guideline. Iíll place this one at 2.75 inches. If you accidentally place your guide in the wrong place, just hover over it with the cursor until it changes to the double arrow. When this happens, you can move the guideline.

    Next, click and drag a guide from the ruler across the top of the editing window. Drag downward and place the guide on your document. Iíll place this guide at 1-inch then drag out another guideline to 2.75 inches. Now youíve got a nice little box that is exactly the size of your paper punch.

    Choose the Foreground color youíd like to use for your digital ink and create a new layer by clicking the Create a New Layer icon in the Layers Panel.

    Load the circle brush of your choice. Chances are, the brush will be too large to fit into your box, so make it smaller by clicking the left square bracket key on your keyboard or adjust the slider in the Options Bar. In the full version of Photoshop, you can adjust the slider in the Brush Picker dialog box. Click to stamp the image.

    Now get the Move tool and drag the stamped image outside of the box. Repeat the process, making a new layer, choosing a color and stamping an image until you fill the page. You can mix it up by placing a photo inside a circle of words or using a digital element in the center of a ring.

    Select File > Print to print your page so you can punch out your tags. Mount them on cardstock and write your To: / From: information on the back of the tags. Attach them to bags or gifts with a pretty ribbon for customized holiday tags.