Video Tutorial: Customizing StorySaver Journal Cards for Hybrid Layouts + a Free Photo Template Download

Cathy ZielskeFree Downloads, Scrapbooking, Tutorials52 Comments

I recently released a new set of six PNG journal card files called “StorySavers” and wanted to show you how to use them in a hybrid project.

The StorySavers are 4 x 8 journal card files, designed to be layered into digital products, or printed out and used on traditional scrapbook pages. They feature cute little check boxes, and have a fun, form-like feel that I’m really digging.


I wanted to do a layout about seeing Crowded House earlier this month with Aidan as my date. It was a really special night, to see my favorite band, with my favorite girl, and a girl who knows more than her fair share of Neil Finn songs. The final page looks like this:


Very simple. A story and a few snapshots. Here is short video that shows how I customized the colors of the StorySaver PNG file.

Customizing StorySavers Journal Cards for Scrapbooking from Cathy Zielske on Vimeo.

All instruction is given using Photoshop Elements 8.0. There is always more than one way to accomplish anything in PSE. These are my steps.

Customizing PNG elements using the Layer via Cut command is the easiest way to isolate elements, and then re-color them.

With the PNG file open, simply use the Rectangular Marquee Tool to select completely around the element you’d like to recolor, in this case, the word “LOVE.” Note: I zoomed in really big so I could clearly see where I was clicking and dragging.

Next, go to Layer > New  > Layer via Cut. Your element will now be isolated on its own layer.

To change the color of the element, use the Set Foreground Color control in the tool palette to choose a color by clicking once on the top square. The Color Picker will come up and you can choose a color. Or, do what I did, and use the Eyedropper Tool to sample a color from one of your photos.

Once you have the color, go to Edit > Fill Layer.  Make sure you have Foreground Color selected, make sure the Blending Mode is set to Normal, and make sure Preserve Transparency is checked. Click OK. Your element color should change.

Next, I changed the size of my journaling card to be 3.4 inches wide, to make for a slightly smaller card size.

Finally, I decided to add a text layer for my journaling. While I love the idea of hand journaling on these, I knew I would run out of room to tell the whole story.


I sent this to print on white cardstock, then trimmed out the card leaving just shy of 1/4 of an inch of white to frame the entire piece.



I figured since I designed all of the elements for this page digitally, why not give you the photo template that goes with the layout. (Click on the green link below to begin download.)

Download CZSimplePhotoTemplate

The photo template contains layer masks for your photos, and layers that contain the crop marks to show you where to trim in order to get a nice even white photo border on your shots. With my photos dropped in, the file looked like this:


To mask a photo into a layer, you simply copy your photo into the template, make sure your photo is directly above the intended mask layer in the Layers Palette, and then go to Layer > Create Clipping Mask (also achieved by hitting Control + G or Command + G). You can then size accordingly within the mask, and move photo to a desired crop.

Print this sheet onto photo paper, then trim. To use the crop marks, you simply line them up on the edge of your paper trimmer.


Do not cut all the way through, however. Trim to the edge of one mark, lift up the paper, turn, and repeat. When you are done, voila! A lovely photo with a nice white border.


If you have any questions about today’s post, leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to answer.

 Kraft Cardstock, OP White by Bazzill Basics
Patterned Paper:
Sonoma Sierra Place by Scenic Route (striped sheet), Basics Poll by BasicGrey (brown sheet)
Border Punch:
Fiskars Threading Water Punch
Digital Journal Card:
StorySavers 1 (Cathy Zielske for Designer Digitals)
Photo Paper:
Ilford Gallerie Smooth Pearl  Font: Archer
Stamps: Making Memories Magnetic Stamp Kit


Cathy ZielskeVideo Tutorial: Customizing StorySaver Journal Cards for Hybrid Layouts + a Free Photo Template Download

52 Comments on “Video Tutorial: Customizing StorySaver Journal Cards for Hybrid Layouts + a Free Photo Template Download”

  1. #1

    love the layout and the colors you chose. Especially love the look of the border strip, thanks for sharing the process with us.

  2. #4

    I loved these the moment I saw them last week. Bought them at the sale price. One problem….I have CS3. Is there another way I can’t seem to find “Layer via Cut” or maybe it’s somewhere else in the full version of photoshop.

    As usual your video is very informative. Thanks.

  3. #5

    “Layer via Cut” that’s a new one for me. Always nice to have more options in your arsenal. Kathy what is the font you’ve used on these tags? Doing homework for Tiffany’s upcoming TextFX class and these are so clean lined and readable.

  4. #9

    I love this, Cathy! I’m thinking I need a new trimmer that’ll allow me to use those cutting guides though. I have a hard time doing it with my Fiskars triple track, even though I’ve watched your instructional video (the one from DYL) over and over and tried to follow your seemingly simple instructions.

    Maybe I should just chalk it up to being a spaz and stick with my current method of trimming the photos without a border and then matting on white cardstock. 😛

  5. #10

    Oh I love these – I think I might need to get these 🙂 Since they are new, will they be on sale this weekend? I am always looking for more journaling pieces for digital scrapbooking! Thank u

  6. #11
    Laura T.

    Cathy –

    LOVE these. Can you still use these/manipulate the files if you don’t have Photoshop 8.0? I believe I have version 5.0.

    Laura T.

  7. #12

    Lori, they arent on sale this weekend. Usually, stuff goes on sale the weekend it goes on sale, which was last weekend, but… i always hesitate to blog about products in advance, because ive had people request that I wait until they can actually buy them after seeing blog posts. : )

    But, there will be a 4th Quarter Sale at DD, i believe in December! They have 4 big sales a year. Great time to save!

  8. #14

    Overlapping the journaling and picture – you rebel Cathy!
    My hubby and I went to see Bon Jovi this summer and at the frist song he said “this ain’t tv, get up on your feet!”

  9. #15
    Karen in Brookville

    Love this template journaling card. I have saved some of your templates at DD for purchase, but I have one little problem. I haven’t printed any pictures in the last 8-12 months. I don’t seem to be able to find a good way to print batches in an organized fashion. I use PSE7 and their catalog, all of which is organized by year/month. But sending it all to print seems to be a real problem. Do you have any suggestions? I haven’t scrapped because the task of printing photos seems way too daunting.

  10. #17

    Like everyone else – LOVE these and the video is great. One question though, since I don’t have PSE 8 (I have 6) I can’t use the guide lines like you did. (I also watched your video on rounding just one corner and you used the same technique – moved the guide lines.) Any other ideas how to make this (recoloring the word LOVE and rounding just one corner on a block) work without moving guidelines? Thank you.

  11. #19

    Thank you Cathy for the free template! I love the digital/hybrid products you design and just had to buy this one. I appreciate the videos on how to use these products as it gives me more confidence to try my hand at digital/hybrid scrapbooking. Thanks again!!

  12. #21

    the guideline is only to help you see as you click and drag. Its really not needed if youre good at eyeballing and selecting. make sense? you just have to make sure you get a clear selection around what youre trying to isolate!

  13. #24

    Okay cool – thanks Cathy for your response. I always save stuff my wishlist bucket at dd until it goes on sale, but I don’t know if I can wait until December for these goodies to go on sale 🙂

  14. #27
    Karen in Brookville

    Yes. It seems so overwhelming, especially since I haven’t done it in a long time and I was wondering what your system was. I have tried moving everything into a “print” folder within PSE7. Maybe I just need to suck it up and bite the bullet, but it seems a bit too overwhelming. I was wondering how you handle your printing and how often. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer. It really is appreciated.

  15. #28

    Love the journaling cards, going to have to make that purchase. Thank you for the. Can’t wait to try it out. Having trouble making time to scrap since you have inspired me to “move more and eat less.” The good news is that I’m down 17lbs. since mid-July. Thanks for getting me motivated.

  16. #30

    ohmygosh! this is one of my favorite cz designs so far! gonna print them in kraft paper and make some great tags with them. thanks for the tutorial, and for the freebie too!
    btw, i think it’s awesome that you go out with aidan as your date – she is one lucky girl! my mom is so much older than me, in so many ways…

  17. #31

    i love that she and I can do stuff like this. From a very early age, we exposed this girl to a lot of music. She has a total passion for all kinds of it. : )

  18. #32
    Tina Shuck

    I’m not doing something right. When I Edit-Fill Layer-the whole rectangle around the word LOVE changes color but the letters stay Black, I am using PSE7. Please help. Thanks, Tina

  19. #34

    Tina, you need to make sure you have Preserve Transparency checked in that command box. Otherwise, the layer will fill all of it!

    Try again!
    : )

  20. #35
    Tina Shuck

    Yeah, it worked. I was trying to cut the new layer from layer 1 instead of the original png. Thanks so much for this tutorial and your cute products.

  21. #36

    So, this is the first tutorial I’ve watched. This is a sign that I am mentally preparing myself to do more with digital. Thanks for taking the time to create these — maybe even your friend Stacy will eventually catch on!

  22. #37

    LOVE these. And since I’m currently making travel journals for myself, my sister, and two sets of aunts/uncles, these were immediately purchased! I especially love the one that says “You can’t make this up”. My family is taking a trip to Israel next month. I will have plenty of opportunities for that phrase, I can promise you that!


  23. #39
    Lynn L.

    Thanks for the tutorial. I am not good with computers, but you have given me the confidence to try. I think these journaling boxes are great…they are my first digital files I have bought! :}

  24. #49

    HI Cathy

    thanks for the awesome inspiration, just a silly questiion how do u create crop marks…..did u create the free template in photoshop

    please help my borders are never even must learn crop marks

    thanks and keep up the good work


  25. #50

    Helen, i made those using InDesign, then imported them, along with the shapes. PS doesnt have a plug in to put crop marks on individual shapes within one document that I know of.

    However, you can print WITH crop marks on the entire document itself, as a print option.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *