Best GIMP Digital Scrapbooking Tutorials

GIMP Tutorial: Creating You First Digital Scrapbook Layout

How does this apply to Digital Scrapbooking?  

This is it. You are about to create your very own Digital Scrapbook Layout! This tutorial will teach how to:

  • Open your Digital Scrapbook Elements
  • Copy and Paste your Digital Scrapbook Elements into your Layout
  • Move your Digital Scrapbook Elements within your Layout
  • Add Text to your Layout
  • Arrange your Digital Scrapbook Elements within your Layout
  • Save your Layout in the most popular image File Format: "JPEG"
  • [Optional] Save your Layout in the Native GIMP File Format: "XCF"

So, although this is your first digital scrapbook layout, you will be learning a lot! If you haven't already done so, I strongly recommend that you read the previous three Digital Scrapbook Tutorials:

The GIMP: Digital Scrapbooking 101

The GIMP: Getting Started

The GIMP: Understanding Layers


We will be creating this simple digital scrapbook layout:


Getting the most out of this tutorial

To get the most of this tutorial and to get a better understading of how to use and manipulate the digital scrapbook elements using The GIMP, it is strongly recommended that you practice doing all of the steps included on this tutorial. You will only learn by doing and you will only master digital scrapbooking by practicing.

All the steps in this tutorial were created using the kit below. To purchase this kit, just click on its image.


Huge Halloween Package


Let's begin!

Opening the First Element- the background paper

Let's open the background image from this kit: back-04.jpg


Making sure your Layers Dialog window is open

The layers dialog window is a very important tool for digital scrapbooking. It allows you to see how all of the digital scrapbook elements are place in relationship to each other in your digital layout.

The GIMP opens the layers dialog upon starting the program, but  if you close it, The GIMP does not re-open it again, unless you tell it to.
The layers dialog window can only be open from an image window. In our example, we are going to use the window "backg-04.jpg".

To open the layers dialog window perform these steps:

Go to the Menu "Dialogs" -> Create New Dock -> Layers, Channels & Path

** Please note: This window can display three diffrerent dialogs: The Layers, The channels and The Paths. To view the Layers tab, click on the layers icon [above the word "Layers"] on the top-left corner of the window.
**Please note: that you layers dialog window will only have the background layer, since that is the only image we had open so far.

This is Layers Dialog Window.

Adding Elements to our Layout

This is the fun part. In this section you get to pick your embellishments and add them to your layout. All embellishments are added to the top of the background paper, each on its own layer [more on this later]. From now on, we will be refering to the window with this backgroud paper as the "Layout Window".

In this section, we are going to be doing a lot of  "Copy" and "Paste". In general, we will be opening a digital scrapbook element, then we will "copy" it from its own window and "paste" it on our layout window.

After we paste the digital scrapbook element to our layout window, we will close the embellishment window. When closing the embellishment window do not save any changes, since 1) We did not modify the file 2) You need to conserve your originals intact for future use. That is the beauty of digital scrapbooking!

Now let's add the halloween elements:

Open this file:


Let copy the Boo.png element to our background page:

Click on the Boo.png image



Now, Let's Paste it to our background/layout layer:

Pasting the "Boo" image in our new layer consists of two steps. 

  • Step 1:  Adding the boo image to our layout thru the paste command.
  • Step 2:  Making the boo image a new layer. 

We have to make the "boo" embellishment a new layer because this is how we can manipulate that embellishment. When the "boo" embellishment is on its own layer, we can apply commands like "Move", "Resize", "Rotate", etc, etc. to that embellishment only vs applying those command to the entire layout. When  the "boo" embellishment is on its own layer, your entire layout is not "stuck together" 

To help you understand why each digital scrapbook element has to be on its own layers, let's picture this: When you create a  tradional scrapbook, you take your pictures,your frames and your embellishments and place them on your layout paper. In the begining you do not "glue" them because you are still trying to see what is the best way to lay them out. You move them around, you place them on top of each other, and once you find the right place for each element -you start glueing them. Once all of the elements are glue, they are basically stuck together and you can no longer move them around. 

Digital scrapbooking is the same way. By placing each digital scrapbook element on its own layer, you are adding them to your layout, but not glueing them. You are just positioning them. You can move, resize and rotate each element on its own layer until you fnd the right place for each element. Once you find the right place for each element, you can then start glueing them. In Digital Scrapbooking we call this process: "Merge Layers". Saving your layout as a JPEG file,  also has the same effect as glueing  it. ---all layers are stuck together now and you can no longer move them.


On the Layout window, Click Edit->Paste



Step 2: On you Layers Dialog you will now see a "Floating" Layer

[If you don't see the Layers Dialog window do this: Go to the Menu "Dialogs" -> Create New Dock -> Layers, Channels & Path]

On the Layers Dialog Window click on the "New Layer" button 

[This is the first button on the bottom of the Layers Dialog]

Your background image/layout should now look like this:


Now that we pasted the BOO embellishment in our Layout Window, we no longer need the original BOO.png file open. Let's close it:

On the "BOO" Embellishemnt window:


[This will also help us avoid confusing while creating our first layer]

Moving our Elements around our Layout

To move our elements within our layout, we will need to use the "Move" Tool. The Move Tool is the one with the "cross" on it. Below is The GIMP Tools Window. The "move" tool, is the 5th one in the second row on The GIMP Tools Window. It is also the one highlighted

To use the move tool:

  1. First select the layer that contains the element that you want to move. In our case, we want to move the layer that contains the "Boo.png" file.On the Layers Dialog window, click on the "Boo" layer. 
  2. Then click on the "Move" tool. This tell The GIMP to move the element(s) on that layer ONLY and not the entire layout.

This is The GIMP Tools Window:

Now let's try to move the BOO to the bottom of the page:

On the Layers Dialog Window: Click on the Layer that contains the "Boo" image.

[This will make sure that the BOO.png file is selected for the move]

On the GIMP Tools Window: Click on the "Move" tool.

[This is the one that look like a cross, is highlighed and is the 5th tool on the 2nd row]

On the GIMP Tools Window [lower section]:  Make sure that the "Move the current layer" option is selected.

          On your Layout window: Click on the BOO embellishment and with your mouse button still pressed down, move the BOO embellishment around your layout page.

Your layout should now look like this:


Let's now add more halloween elements:

The next steps are more like a repeation from the previous "Cut" an "Paste" steps. We will be adding more elements to our layout by using the same technique. 

In the same way that we added the BOO embellishment to the layout window, we can add as many embellishemnts that we want. 

In Summary, to add an embellihsment to our layout window, follow these steps:

Open the embellishment:


Copy the Embellishment:

On the embellishment window: File ->Edit->Copy

Paste it in the layout window:

On the layout window:  File ->Edit->Paste

Make a new layer for the embellishment on the Layers Dialog:

On the Layers Dialog Window, click in the "Floating Layer"

Click on the "New Layer" button  [located in the bottom of the Layers Dialog Window] 

To Move your embellishment:

On the Layers Dialog: Click on the layer that contains the embellishment that you wish to move 

On the GIMP Tools: Select the "Move" Tool

On the "GIMP Tools Window": Make sure that the "Move the current layer" option is selected

On your Layout Window: Click on the Embellishment that you want to move and while holding your mouse key pressed  move it to the desired position.

Now that you learn how to add embellishmens to your layout window, go ahead and add the "Pumpkin Frame" (filename = frame-7.png), following the steps above.

This is how the layout should look after adding the pumpkin frame embellishment:


Following the same steps above, add the Halloween Word Art to your layout:



Following the same steps above, I added three more embellishmens to my layout:


Adding Text

We are now ready to add the date to our layout. On The GIMP Tools, click on the Text Tool, represend by a "T". This one is on the 3rd row, and is the 4th on in that row. It is also highlighted below for better visibility.

Now click on your background image. The GIMP Text Editor box will show up:

Watch out: Sometimes The GIMP's popup window,  popup on the back of the current windows. So if you do not see the Text Editor popup, is probably hidding on the back. Move your windows around to see if you can find it on the back.

Type the date as show above and click on "Close"

You layout should now displayed that text, but it might be too small. To make the text bigger:

On the Layers Dialog: Click on the layer that contains your text

On The GIMP Tools Window: Click on The  Text Tool [The "T"]

Click on the Text Tools Options [Show Below]

Click on the UP arrow of the Size option to increate the text size.

Tex Tools Options Window:


Your layout should now have a bigger text and it should look like this:


Arranging our elements within our layout

In this step, you will get to move your layers in relationship to other layers. You get to play around with the visibility of the layers because by placing one on top of the other, some layers become more visible than others. This technique is use when adding frames to pictures. The layer that contains the frame is place on top of the layer that contains the picture, thus framing the picture.

We will now be adding our picture and frame it using it the pumpkin frame.

In the same way that we added the BOO embellishment to the layout window, add one of you fun halloween pictures to the layout window.

After adding your picture, your picture will appear on the top of all the layers [Shown below in Layers Dialog], but we want the picture to be BELOW the Pumpkin Frame layer.

To move you picture to the bottom of the pumpkin frame, follow this steps:

  • On the Layers Dialog, Click on the layer that contains your Picture Layer [As show below]
  • On the Layers Dialog Window: Click on the Bottom Arrow on the bottom of your Layout Dialog. Each time you click the down-arrow, the layer will move one layer down. Click as many times as necessary to place the picture layer below the frame layer.


Once the picture layer is below the frame layer, your Dialog Layer should  look like this: 


And your Layout now look like this:


Saving our work in JPEG Format:

It is important to save our layout in JPEG format because this allows us to share it with friends and family over the internet, it allows us to view it with most image viewers and also to print it. But once we save our layout in JPEG format, we can no longer move our layers around or change our halloween picture. It becomes finalized. This is where we "glue" the embellishements to the layout. 

In the following steps we will be saving our work in JPEG format, but if you want to do extra credit and learn how to save your layout as a GIMP Template to reuse it later, DO NOT CLOSE YOUR LAYOUT WINDOW and see the section below on "How to save your layout as a GIMP Template" 

To save your work as a JPEG File:

File->Save As

A File Dialog Box appears, type your file name WITH THE EXTENSION:



Click the button "Save"

A Dialog box will appear and it will ask you to "Export" your file.

Click on the "Export" button


Make sure Quality is select at 100%. This will save your layout to its best quality possible.

Click on the Preview button to be able to see the what your file size will be

Click on "OK" To save your file

You did it! Your layout is now saved as a JPEG format. Click here to see your GIMP Scrapbook Homework and finish the tutorial.

To do extra credit [is so worth it!] and save your layout as a GIMP Templates, follow the steps below.

Saving you work as a GIMP Template:

What is a GIMP Template anyway? In the digital scrapbooking world a GIMP Template is a file that we can use to create more scrapbook layouts. For instance, if we save the layout that we just created as a GIMP template, we can come back a year from now, open the file, and with new Halloween pictures create another halloween layout without having to recreate the entire layout. We would only need to exchange the pictures. You should aim to save all of your final layouts as templates in order to reuse them and to have your own layout library for future layouts.

A GIMP Template is save as a XCF format and has the ".xcf" file extension.

Saving our work as a GIMP TEMPLATE:

File->Save As

A File Dialog Box appears, type your file name WITH THE EXTENSION:


Clik on "Save"

Congratulations!! You now have your first GIMP Digital Scrapbook Template! 

Congratulations on completing this GIMP Digital Scrapbooking Tutorial and creating your first GIMP Digital Scrapbook Layout, I'm sure it will not be the only one! 

Have questions ? Got lost in the process? Would like to thanks us? We love to hear from you! Post your comments in our GIMP Tutorials Forum:

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