Hybrid templates can make your projects go together quickly and easily . . . but only if you know how to use them, right? Almost all of my downloads include instructions for assembling the template once you have printed it, but how did I get to that point? I’m going to show you my process, and hopefully your next template experience will be a breeze!
- First, purchase a hybrid template.
- Then, click on the download link to download the template. I typically download everything to my desktop so I can find it easily.
- Now, unzip the file. Your computer probably came with a program that will allow you to unzip a file by either double-clicking on the icon, or right-clicking and choosing “Unzip”. This will create a folder on your desktop. Open the folder and inside you will find my templates.
Most of my templates come in layered psd (for use in Photoshop programs) and png (for use in other programs). Since I use Photoshop Elements, I will lead you through using the psd versions. Let’s get started.
Open Photoshop Elements, then go to File > Open and choose the .psd file you will be using. This will open the layered .psd in Photoshop. Many of my templates come in two different sizes. I will be using the Large version of my Puff Box Template Set.
The next thing I do is open up a new, blank “canvas” by going to File > New > Blank File. I set the width and length of the paper I will be printing on. Here in the US, we typically use 8.5x11in. paper (or letter size), but I realize that your paper might be a different size, so go ahead and enter the dimensions of your printer paper. Choose 300 dpi and white background, then click OK.
Now, go back to the template and select all of the layers by holding down the Shift key and clicking on the bottom layer and the top layer in your layers pallet. All of the layers will be selected.
With the Move tool selected (hit V), click the template in the main window and drag it onto your blank canvas.
Close the template file so that you don’t accidentally save over it.
At this point, you can resize the template to fit your canvas by dragging the corners of the template. Make sure all of your layers are selected when you do this. Also, be mindful of what your printer will do to the page when you try to print. Will it cut off the edges? Then shrink the template. Can you print edge to edge? Then you might want to increase the size of the template.
Now, we will add paper to the template by treating it as a clipping mask. Open up your digital paper of choice in Photoshop Elements by choosing File>Open, and then navigating to your chosen paper.
Click on the layer that you would like to cover with your paper. In my example, there is only one layer to choose, and that is the main “box” layer, however many of my templates allow you to choose to add different papers to different sides of the box. By clicking on this layer, you have selected it in the layers pallet.
Now, bring up your digital paper layer by clicking on the thumbnail of that paper. Click and drag the paper onto the thumbnail of your template in the photo bin at the bottom of the screen. Look over at your layers pallet. Your paper layer should be right above the piece of the template that you would like to cover or “clip” with paper.
There are different ways to clip your paper to the template. One way is to hold down the control or command button while hitting “G” on your keyboard. The way I do it, though, is I hold down the alt/option key while hovering my mouse on the line between the two layers until it turns into two intertwined circles, then I click my mouse. Either way, you will have just “clipped” your digital paper to your “mask” (the template) thus creating a “clipping mask.”
Now, you can move your paper around by clicking and dragging it from side to side or top to bottom. I love the butterflies in the upper left of Danielle’s paper, so I moved them around and resized my digital paper (by dragging the corners) until I was satisfied.
Let’s deal with those lines. On my example, the lines are showing up white, which would really stand out badly on my printed project, so I want to blend those lines in a bit, but still be able to see them. There are a couple of ways to do this. Some people change the opacity of the lines (click on the lines layer, then select the opacity % in the box at the top of the layers pallet). Some people create a clipping mask with a coordinating paper (just like we did above.) What I usually do is change the color of the lines using the eyedropper tool.
Click on the foreground color swatch on the left side of your screen. This will bring up the color swatch box. Click on a color in your digital paper that you would like to sample. I chose a dark blue. Click OK.
Now, with your lines layer still selected in the layers pallet, go to Edit > Fill Layer and choose Foreground Color, making sure the “Preserve Transparency” box is Checked. Click OK. Your lines should have taken on your selected color. If you find that the lines are still too noticeable, or maybe not noticeable enough, repeat this process until you have selected the color you would like.
And that’s it! That is what I do to prepare my hybrid template for printing. Go ahead and print your project, then follow the instructions included with your download to assemble your hybrid beauty. And, keep watching the blog for more posts about choosing the right paper for your project and figuring out your borderless printing option.