Wednesday, January 12, 2011

More Scrapbooking With Picasa: Using Digital Scrapbook Papers (For Your Blog Headers Too!)

I am catching up my 2010 scrapbooking these boring months of January and February.  See my handy dandy spreadsheet Jeff made for me?  (I am refusing to attempt to learn how to make an Excel spreadsheet…I don’t want to learn, I just want other people to do it for me.)   The little schedule on the bottom of the spreadsheet is the reminder I need to print out my photos for my albums.  Last year I missed a date and ended up printing out 6 months of photos and that wasn’t too fun.

Here are a few pages I made with Picasa:SCRAPBOOK BACKGROUNDS-2SCRAPBOOK BACKGROUNDS1A two page layout:Collages2
I just love doing this and I’m so glad I made the switch from paper to digital…it saves me SO much time and money.  Here’s what the pages look like when they are inserted into the actual scrapbooks.  They look just like I pasted, and glued, cut and framed and all that other work that I didn’t do!  I just pressed a few buttons and WALLAH!
For BEGINNING Picasa collage tutorials go:
HERE…a written lesson from me with photos and screen shots.
HERE….a video lesson series. (Thank you Chari…these are excellent video tutorials that will take you through everything from downloading Picasa to making a beautiful scrapbook page step by step.)

HOW TO DOWNLOAD THE SCRAPBOOK PAPERS INTO PICASA When making a scrapbook page, Picasa allows you to choose a solid color, or an image as your background (like the page above.)  Did you know you can download digital scrapbook papers and use those as your background image?  It really opens up the ability to get a lot more creative.


You can buy these pages from many digital scrapbook companies, but I am always on the lookout for free papers. 

Recently I found some beautiful free papers at the Persnickety Prints blog.


Persnickety Prints is where I have had all my scrapbook pages printed…they are the least expensive I’ve found ($1.99 per page), AND the quality of the prints is just beautiful.  Not grocery store quality…professional photo lab quality…trust me there is a difference!  I really researched it all when I began digital scrapbooking and after reading a gazillion reviews, it was quite obvious that Persnickety is on the very top of the list.

So here’s how to download scrapbook papers into Picasa:
1. Once you press the button to download the kit into your computer, you will have to find the file and UNZIP it.  (Look for a button on your screen that says Extract Files…that’s unzipping.)  As of now, you can only import JPG files into Picasa.  Why do you even need to know this?  Because many digital scrapbooking papers come in “kits”…in addition to the papers they come with some cute things called elements.  They are little tags, or ribbons, or frames…cute scrapbooking doo-dads…but they will NOT work in Picasa because they don’t have the .jpg after them.  So just stick to downloading the papers and don’t waste your time trying to get the other stuff in there.

Fullscreen capture 182011 82104 AM
2. Next open Picasa, and press the Import button at the top of the page.  Go to the drop down menu (Import From) and press folder.  Now find your unzipped file that you downloaded and check them or highlight them, and press Import All and you will see them in your Picasa folders.
Fullscreen capture 182011 84541 AM.bmpFullscreen capture 182011 84551 AMFullscreen capture 182011 84621 AM
1. Go back to your library and choose your images…your papers and photos…don’t worry if you want to add (or subtract!) some once you are creating your Collage you will be able to do so!
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2. You are offered 7 types of Collages.  I like Picture Pile because it allows you to place every photo where you want it to be, and what size you would like also.  But Mosaic makes the collage for you and that is quick and easy.  You can choose your background image on any type of collage.
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3. Select size…I scrapbook the 12x12 size.  You can type in your own custom ratio also.
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4. Select your background image.
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5. Start moving things around.
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6. Create.  For the page below, I selected a collage I had made earlier using the Mosaic type, and I'm adding it onto a scrapbook paper.  Remember you can discard and add selections as you are creating the page.
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7. Add text…remember there are lots of text options…try the Wingdings for symbols, dots, circles, dashes.
8. You are finished!
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You can use these papers, along with my tutorial on making your own free blog banner using Picasa, and get creative with your blog too! 


  1. LOVE your tutorials Sarah! Your Picasa headers are a hit all across blog land! You explain things so well. Your scrapbook pages are just beautiful. I love that you are doing this for your kids. I need to try digital some time - although you know I'm quite fond of all the paper and scissors and glue. :)

    p.s. Abbey is so beautiful in those pictures! Her blue eyes are breathtaking!

  2. You. Are. My. Rock. Star!!! Thank you! I have followed your tutorials for my blog header (just changed it the other day, so 2nd time now!) and a couple of other things. Thank you so much. I stopped scrapbooking now for two years but would love to be creative with my photos so will definitely look into doing this. I love your style in everything! Keep the posts coming! Your fan, Alia

  3. Inspired, once again. You make scrapbooking looks so easy.

  4. Thank you so much for this. You have taught me so much and this one is exciting! Cant' wait to get started!

  5. Any idea how you can use PNG files in Picasa so you can add embellishments to the pages? I have so many cute digi scrap kits but can't use the embellishments because they have a checkered background.

  6. Danielle-I wish! Chari from Persnickety Prints emailed them to ask them if they could please add that would be SO much fun if we could!

  7. I love your Picasa tutorials. I just became a Picasa and Picnik junkie. Thank you!

  8. Thank you SO much for taking the time to walk us through the steps! I have been completely overwhelmed with all of the pictures I have taken, but you make it look so easy to get them all organized! I think I am going to make a Picasa scrapbook for my 2010 photos! Thanks!!

  9. oh how fabulous! very timely for me as i'm just getting ready to jump on the digi scrapping train. where do you have the pages printed? is it very expensive?

  10. You might have just inspired me to do some digital scrapbooking! I also have 5 kids and used to do some but I gave up a while ago. One question, are those 8x10 sized pages, or are they the 12x12. It seems like you can fit so much more on the bigger pages but I don't know if that works with the digital.

  11. Thank you so much for doing these Picasa tutorials! I have a goal to catch up on the last few years of scrapbooking using digital methods - I've tried the paper/cut/paste/embellish method and just flat out failed. Just didn't enjoy it one bit! I like this quick method that allows your creativity to still play a hand. Thanks!

  12. Thank you so much for this post. Helpful as always. I've just adding this to my to do list.

  13. Thank you so much! I'm a paper scrapbooker, but am seriously considering going to digital. I'll be checking out your tutorial.

  14. Thank you so much for doing these Picasa tutorials! I have a goal to catch up on the last few years of scrapbooking using digital methods - I've tried the paper/cut/paste/embellish method and just flat out failed. Just didn't enjoy it one bit! I like this quick method that allows your creativity to still play a hand. Thanks!

  15. Thank you for taking the time to post all of this scrapbook stuff! I learned a lot from you! Last year I switched to Picasa and printed our 2009 pages at Persnickety and I am VERY happy with the results! So thank you, thank you!
    I even learned something new in this post - I had never thought of making a mosaic collage and then adding it to a new page. The results are so cute! I can't wait to try it!
    And thank you for being such an excellent voice for mothers, faith, homemaking, real life. I enjoy reading your blog.

  16. Sarah: Your tutorial on making blog headers with Picasa was such a treat for me. I've had a lot of fun playing around with different formats for my blog, but even better--I've used your tips to make "course banners" for the online college classes I teach and I think my students will find them much more visually interesting than my old format. Now...this digital scrapbooking tutorial has motivated me to start working on 5 years worth of pictures I have of my son. Thanks for sharing your tips! Tricia

  17. I can't wait until my life calms down enough to do this! I recently put all old photos in photo albums (which is what I have time for currently) and my kids LOVE looking thorugh the albums. I has been a fun activity because it reminds me of stories I can tell them about themselves when they were younger. So fun! My baby is 8 months old and I am hoping in the next year I can start digital scrapbooking!

  18. Very nice! I've always wondered where/how to print out a 12x12 digital page, good to know! I am a scrapbooker too but still the traditional paper/scissors kind. I have my own personal scrapbook store (at least it seems that way) to use up before I could consider going digital.

    Thanks for all the tips, your Picassa recommendation was the best thing to happen to my photos about a year ago!

  19. Great job! I am getting caught up with mine, I switched to digital too! I am using Shutterfly digital books right now but I like the look you achieve using Picasa. I might have to switch for 2011!

  20. I am sure it took a long time to learn this Sara and it is so nice of you to SHARE with us what you have learned! (some other bloggers don't share!). I have used your blog header tutorials several times! I just designed my 4th one, but I am still learning! Thank you, thank you for sharing your hours of hard work! hugs, Cathy

  21. Thank you for sharing such helpful digital scrapbooking information! Yours is absolutely the most reader friendly information I've found...and it was purely by accident. I'm so glad I stumbled across your blog as I always enjoy your posts!

  22. This is awesome... I have so many scrapbook supplies I need to use up then I'm going digital!

  23. Would you mind sharing why your prefer doing your books this way versus printing a photo book for each child each year? Is this more affordable or is it to still get to be creative when choosing the background papers,etc. I would love to hear your thought process on this. Thank you for the tutorials. You make it sound so doable I'm thinking I could actually start (and complete) an entire year's scrapbook!

  24. Elisabeth- I use the 12x12 size, but you could easily do the 8x10 size also. I like the larger size to jam everything into one page...the number of photos you can include on one page make it WAY more affordable than traditional scrapbooking. Picasa allows you to make ANY size print you want, but if you want them printed out, you have to make sure what size the printers have available. Not all printers have the 12x12 size, but of course, they will all have the 8x10 since that is a common photo size.

  25. This is wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing! I'm having a problem...I can download it and then find it in my files, but I can't get it to import into Picasa. The import all tab stays gray. I'm guessing that I am doing something wrong??

    Thanks again!

  26. Thanks so much. I had never used picasa until a couple of weeks ago when I saw an old post you did on it. I tried it using your post links and ended up making my entire 2010 scrapbook with it. I just uploaded the picasa pages to a shutterfly photobook. It's in the mail and on its way to me. I'm so excited to see it. Thanks again!

  27. sarah-
    happy new year! we are socked in here in Maine. no school and I am guessing we have had a least 12 inches with more still falling. great day for me to begin teaching myself (with the help of your tutorials) how to digitally scrapbook!
    it is rough going here...i seem to have gotten a collage together. how do I export it to persnickety prints to get it printed? i am not understanding the export to a web album on picasa...or something along those lines.
    did you give them access to your album or did you just email it to them (which i think i MAY have figured out).
    wish there was a hands on class for this!

    thanks for any guidance!!!
    you scrapbook pages look really GREAT!!

  28. Thanks!!! I'm sick right now, but plan to follow your tutorials & catch up this winter!

  29. Thank you. thank you. thank you. This is fabulous. I will be bookmarking this post as I am sure I will need to refer to it -- over and over again!

  30. Wow that is awesome. Thanks for the ideas and showing how to do it. I'm definitely going to try this.

  31. Thank you for this post! Picasa has been a lot of fun for blog headers, etc., so I'm very excited to segue into digital scrapbooking.
    However, after playing around with it, it appears that my Picasa does not have a 12x12 or Custom Ratio sized page. Any advice since I'd prefer to print it as a 12x12? Or are there scrapbooks with 8x10 sized pages? Thank you!!

  32. I just did a post yesterday on my plan to get the girls' books done and quick! Doing a little bit of both digital and paper, I just can't get away from the paper...until I run out at least!

    Great ideas and tips...thanks Sarah!

  33. THIS is SOOOO GREAT! EVERYONE should be doing it this way!

  34. Thank you, thank you, thank you....I am the world's WORST scrapbooker {I have proof}. This is absolutely fantastic. You are pretty much the only person I can understand when it comes to Picasa and have helped me enormously. Sorry to gush...I can't help it:) Meredith xo.

  35. You know I scrapbooked in the past, but haven't done it in a LONG time. Now my computer is loaded with pictures that I want to get into a book. I've been thinking about making the change to digital for a while. Thanks for helping KNOW it's the right choice. Your pages are beautiful! Hope you get much accomplished in these boring months.


  36. Answer to questions:
    Our Family: Make sure you Picasa account is updated to the newest version! (Go to the Help tab at the top of Picasa and you will see the Update button...that should do it.)
    GringoginArgentina: Send your collage (Export button at the button, by the Collage button) to a folder, and then go to Persnickety Prints and follow the path to order prints. You will upload them from that folder onto your Persnickety Prints account.
    I started out making scrapbooks the traditional way with paper and albums in the beginning. I went back and forth about just creating photo books but I decided for two reasons to just stick with the albums:
    1. I like the way they all match.
    2. I like the freedom to include scraps of paper, report cards, tickets, etc.
    I think it ends up being about the same cost. I don't like cheap photo books because I think they rip and wear too easily so I would have went with a higher quality than the usual and probably would have paid a bit extra for that. My kids look at these a lot and I want to make sure they stay safe and nice.
    That being said, I think a photo book might be a faster, more organized way of doing it. If you wanted to include some loose papers, tickets, etc. you could glue a nice big envelope in the back of each photo book also and keep those things in there.
    I hope that helps!

  37. Fantastic. I always love reading your tutorials. Such a smart one you are.

  38. You rock!! Thanks for another fabulous lesson!!

  39. This is great! I haven't scrapbooked digitally before because I haven't known how to start, thank you so much!

  40. and another question: i made a collage and have some background I get those two items on my little clipboard thingy....i can make the paper go the background but how do I enlarge the collage picture which is shown as about the size of a small photo.

    i have a love/HATE relationship with picasa right now!

  41. How cute! A friend of mine owns Pink Ink Studios and always has free downloads for photo stuff you may like!

  42. you are fabulous.
    how helpful you are!
    i wish i did this.

    i wish i was going to be seeing you soon.
    if anything changes....let me know!!!

  43. Thank you for another great tutorial!
    Did you purchase your albums (the actual books)at a store, or did you get them online? I would like to invest in a bunch so that I could have them be all the same too.

  44. WAY easier and cheaper than photoshop. You rock! I just got a new front door so I'm ready to re-do my banner. Yippee! I can put your awesome knowledge to work♥

  45. Hi Sarah! I did it! Please go and have a look on my blog.

    How do I get a blank spot to journal on as I don't like the writing in each little picture. Thank you!!

  46. Hi Sarah! Thank you for this tutorial! I made my first page! Please stop by my blog to see it!

    The more I look at it, the more I don't like writing in the little picture boxes. Where or how do I get a blank or lined portion to journal in? Thank you so much!

  47. I was just wondering if you have printed and received any pages from Persnickety Prints yet? When I went to place my order I got an error message saying that my pics are low resolution. I was just wondering if you have had any issues with this. Thanks!

  48. Yes, I print and receive pages all the time from them and I think you made an easy mistake to I made at first. When you exported your photos/collages to a folder did you make sure that the Use Original Size was checked? When the window pops up after you hit Export, you will see a little slider thingy that determines the size but you don't want to use that...right above that is the Use Original Size that you want to check.
    Email me if you have any more questions and problems!

  49. I am so glad I discovered this post! -- I hope it's okay that I blogged about it, too:

    Though the tutorial was a great find, I love your other posts even more. Thanks!

  50. Sharing your tutorial over on my blog today. Thanks so much for doing this. I found a lot of papers that I love over at
    do you have any other sites that you use? This is so much more simple than dragging out all my supplies and messing it with it all on a desk or my kitchen table. Thanks again.

  51. Wonderful post Sarah! I used your tutorial and I also used Persnickety. My scrapbook pages arrived today and they are just beautiful. Thank you for sharing this information with us. You are an amazing blogger. You've taught me so much.

  52. Thank you. I used this for my blog Zombie Proof Homemaking. It worked great. I am currently getting opinions of Facebook if the zombified picture of me in the banner is a little over the top or not! We have much in common....we stretched the children out...really far. Mine are 25, almost 19 and 10. Makes it interesting and keeps us on our toes!

  53. You are REALLY cool! Thank you!

  54. I just want to say you have motivated me to get on top of my ever growing picture stash. I am about 5 years behind in documenting everything!!!! I am very excited to start this and hopefully it will help me to stay on top of it! Thanks so much!

  55. Do you know if there's any way to use the "elements" that are downloadable from Shabby Princess in Picasa (e.g. buttons, stickers, etc). I haven't been able to figure out how to use them. Thank you for these awesome tutorials!

  56. No...those aren't jpg files and those are the only kind that Picasa accepts...I wish though!!! Maybe one day.

  57. ok my biggest problem is that when I upload my collages into persnickity it is a pixel error (too low resolution). I have selected 12x12 in picasa so what am I doing wrong?? I am so frustrated! natalie.avioli at gmail

  58. Sarah,I just stumbled on this post (I'm a regular reader, not sure how I missed it) and it is lifechanging! Yes, I'm being a bit dramatic:). Our oldest son is graduating in less than two months. I have 2 years of his life in a traditional scrapbook. A year ago I figured out that in order to have the rest done for graduation I would have to scrapbook more than one year of his life per month. Fail. I haven't touched it. I thought about doing a Shutterfly book, but I want to be able to add to the book after graduation - like the pics of graduation!
    I am an avid user of Picasa and this solution is PERFECT for us!! I feel a little silly that I never thought of doing it this way. I read the post yesterday and did two pages last night. I'm going to order the prints of those so I have a reference for the size of fonts I need to use.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I will have a book for the graduation party and can add to it afterwards! And I can get started now on the other two kids' books!
    You rock! Love you blog too:).

  59. I am trying to make the quiet books from Simplyfreshdesigns. She linked you into her blog. But I can't seem to get it. I set the background to one of the pages but it only shows part of the page (not the whole page). How do I solve this? I think I get how to make the collage but just cant get the background. Please can you help me? Thanks so much!

  60. Stumbled upon you! And can't seem to find any free paper at persnickity anymore?! Could you direct me to some places you've found it? Working on a photocard and thinking this would be easier than photoshop :) Thanks...

  61. Oh my goodness THANK YOU. I'm in charge of a big ol' crafty day at church, and I could NOT figure out how to insert images for one of the crafts without finding a Photoshop expert. You ROCK!!!!

  62. Thank you so much for explaining how to do this! I hate the idea of spending lots of time and money learning how to use new programs. The irony is I already have Picasa and use it for my photos, I just had NO clue I could use it for this! Thanks so very much for the great resources!

  63. I hope someone can assist me with my question. I am very new to this idea and my question may sound silly but I will ask it anyway. If I can locate embellishments in a JPEG format, can I use these in Picasa? Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Gail-They won't show up right-that background they have that is invisible (it is usually shown in little gray squares) shows up also.