A Tutorial: Digital Scrapbooking in Paint.Net

I have to admit a little something to you: I am slightly obsessed with photo-editing and digital scrapbooking.

I am also slightly addicted to tutorials… which makes it very strange that this post is my first one on this blog. It stemmed from one of my random ‘learn something new’ quests (This one brought on by the fact that my girls are spending the night at their Aunt’s house and the boys all decided to go to sleep at seven {!!!!} tonight.) and the discovery that there is absolutely nothing out there about how to make digital scrapbooks on my favorite software!

If you search out any tutorials on digital scrapbooking, the very first thing that you always read is that you have to have appropriate software. Of, course those sites usually suggest something along the lines of Photoshop, Coral, or any of the other super-awesome, but super-expensive programs. Thankfully, for those of us who don’t feel like blowing a couple hundred bucks on software, there is Paint.Net– a completely free, expandable, fully functional, and user-friendly photo editing software. If you’re interested, click the link- don’t try to type the address! Paint.net is not located at paint.net! :- ) 

There’s also a TON of add-ons available for the program, but for what I am going to show you how to do today, add photos to an existing layout or template, you aren’t going to need any of them. I’ve highlighted in pink the areas of the program you’ll need to use in each of the pictures. If you can’t see them properly, simply click on the photo and it will load the full sized image for your viewing pleasure!

Let’s get started, shall we? I’m going to break it down into little, bitty baby steps because that’s how I like my tutorials. :- )

I actually left this part out when I went to explain the difference between a .png (Paint.net’s standard ‘save format) and a .jpeg: It’s actually my suggestion to save periodically while you are working, especially if doing something intricate, and save as a .png. However, once you are satisfied with the final product, the .png can and probably should be deleted from the computer if  you aren’t going to want to edit that page/file again. 

Step 1: After you open the program, you are going to “Open” your template or layout.


Step 2: You then need to add your photo! Click on Layers, Import from File, and select the photo that you want to add.

Step 3: There will be little dots in each of the corners, and you can adjust your photo to the approximate size it needs to be by clicking on any of them and dragging. If you need to rotate the photo, hover over any of the dots in the corner and right click while you adjust.

Step 4: We now need to get our photo to not be covering over the design elements of the layout (the flowers in this example). To do that, we are going to move our photo level down. There are several ways to do this, but the simplest is to simply click the “down” arrow in the Layers box. (Those lovely ladies in the photo are my nieces, Kayla and Kelley- I have no idea when I got this photo on my computer -for B, when you’re sitting there wondering- but I thought it was pretty and decided to use it for my example. I would probably use a background with more pink or true green for this picture if I wasn’t just making an example!)

Step 5: Now to get that photo sized properly and adjusted just right! Select Move Selected Pixels in the Tools window and repeat your adjusting (from Step 3) until you have it just the way you want it.

Step 6: Depending on your template, you may be finished! Congratulations! Skip down to Step 9! However, if you need/want to add text or journaling to you scrapbook page, hang with me for a few more minutes.

Before you click anything else, follow this step and Add a New Layer. Also, any further elements you want to add need to be added in a new layer also. Simply click Layers, Add New Layer. 

Step 7: Add your text. To do this, click on the “text” tool in the Tools window. Click in the general area you want to place your text and type it out. When you are finished, you can adjust the font and size in the Tools bar. You can also move your text around- when you hover over the text with your mouse, a little box will appear in the lower right of the text. Simply move it until you are pleased with the placement.

Step 8: After you are satisfied with your page, sit back and look at it for a moment. Does something look off center (and not on purpose)? Did you add something you aren’t pleased with now? Do your final editing now. You can toggle through the page elements with your Layers box. Which ever layer you have selected and highlighted will be the only layer that your changes are made to, so tweak away! If  you are trying to edit something and are getting no results, make sure that you don’t have something on another layer selected! (I do this ALL the time!). In the Tools bar, there is a little square with a red ‘x’ on it- that’s you’re “Deselect” tool. If you have an accident and delete something, don’t panic! Press CTRL+Z  and the program will undo your last edit. (And as many edits before that as you press the keys, use it slowly!)

Step 9: Yea! You’re almost finished! Now we are going to flatten the page and get it ready to be shared or printed. This step is important, because without flattening, Paint.net automatically saves files as a .png, which maintains the layers and individual editing steps. (You don’t want that if you’re planning on sharing, even if the other computer, page, etc can read a .png -and most can- the file size is generally clutter-some. ) So, we Flatten! Navigate to Image, Flatten. 

Step 10: We’re going to save it to the computer now. I know this may seem like a “duh” step, but bare with me. Like I said a moment ago, if you don’t specifically tell Paint.net to save your picture as a .jpeg or a .gif, it doesn’t.

And that’s it! Yes, yes, I know! You’d like to see my finished product too. About that… {ummm} I know you’re not going to believe this, but in the process of me doing all this, breaking it down into steps, grabbing and editing screen shots, etc, {ummm} my puppy, Moe, turned off my surge protector. Before I remembered to save the actual work. So… yeah. I’m sorry! {And entirely serious!} Just remember to save!

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About beyondmartha

Wife to one, mommy to many, daughter, sister, friend, homemaker, daughter to the King. That's me.

Posted on November 15, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Appreciation for writing this info.

  2. It’s a nice blog you have over here! It’s very usefull information for me and I just want to thank you for that! If you post more threads as this one, I’ll follow your blog active!

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