So you’ve created your layout and uploaded it to an online gallery to share it with other scrapbookers. Maybe you’ve even posted it to your Facebook page and photo sharing accounts so that your friends and family can enjoy it. That’s great! Now you may be wondering how to get your layout off the computer and into an album that you and your family can take off the shelf and enjoy looking at.
There are a couple of printing methods that are popular with digital scrapbookers. Some like the clean lines and relatively compact size of a bound photobook. There are many companies who produce photobooks that you can use to compile your layouts into completed albums. The important thing to know is whether the photobook can be done with full-bleed pages. Full-bleed means that the photo (in this case your layout) will extend all the way to the edge of the page with no border around it. If you’re going to print your layouts in a bound album, you have to be a bit careful with the design because most printers will cut off a bit of the layout on each side, and an additional amount will get lost in the binding (unless it’s a lay-flat album).
The other popular method is to print the layouts individually and put them into scrapbook albums – post-bound, strap-hinge, and binders are all popular album formats. My personal choice is to print out individual layouts and store them in page protectors in 3-ring binders. You can print the layouts on a home printer or have them printed somewhere that prints photos. My personal choice for printing my layouts is Persnickety Prints, but there are many other options
If you’re unsure which way you want to go, or where you want to have your layouts printed, you can find discussions of this topic on many scrapbooking forums, such as the community forum at ScrapMatters. If there isn’t a current thread with this topic, start one asking for advice and you’ll get lots (and lots) of responses.
Regardless of the format you use for displaying your printed layouts, the method of getting them ready to print is the same. If you’re printing square layouts (12×12, 10×10, 8×8, etc.) you’ll want to save the layout as a 12×12 jpeg file at highest resolution. That way you’ll always have the option of printing a 12×12 layout in the future even if your albums are all 8×8. There are also debates about the necessity of saving at the highest resolution. I prefer to play it safe, knowing that my layouts will look their best. It doesn’t take much more space on my hard drive to save at the highest resolution so it’s worth it to me.
The process is very simple. First, make sure your layered file is saved. I’m going to repeat that – make sure your layered file is saved! While it’s not necessary to save the layered file after your layout is saved as a jpeg for printing, it is nice to be able to go back and make changes if you find a glaring mistake. Next, flatten your image by selecting “layers>flatten image”. This will make the file easier to work with and may make the resulting jpeg file a bit smaller. Finally, select “file>save as”, change the format to JPEG, and click “save”. In the JPEG Options dialog, change the quality to 12 and click “ok”. You’ll now have a file that can be printed.
If you’ve just completed a 2-page (12×14 inch) layout, you’ll have a few more steps to get your it saved and ready to print (unless you want it printed as a 12×24 photo and can find a place to print it that way). For most printers, you’ll have to save your layout as two 12×12 jpeg files.
Next, you’ll have to “cut” the layout in half and save each half individually. Select “Image>Canvas Size” and change the width to 12 inches in the dialog box that opens. You’ll also want to change the anchor point so that it’s saving half the layout and not te 12 inches in the middle.
This is what you’re left with when you click “ok” -
Follow the instructions above to save the first half of the layout as a jpeg file, then click “edit>step backwards” to unto the canvas size change. Repeat the steps with the right side of the layout and you’ll have two 12×12 layouts that are ready to be printed.
And, please, print your layouts! It took me years to print my first layout and I’m sad that it took me so long. It’s so much nicer looking at the layouts on paper than on the computer – and it’s easier to share them with the rest of the family, too.