Graduation Layout and tutorial for Con-Gradulations Blog Hop

Welcome to my stop on the Craft Squad’s Con-Graduation Blog Hop, which features a graduation layout and tutorial for digital scrapbooking.  If you’re coming from The Crafty Neighbor, you are in the right place.  If you want to start at the beginning, go to

Graduation is a big deal at our house. Our youngest is graduating on June 8th. Thrilled as we are that he’s been successful, my husband and I aren’t really looking forward to his absence.  With that in mind, I wanted to create a scrapbook layout that shows my mixed feelings. I also wanted to highlight the fact that the memory of him starting kindergarten doesn’t seem old and faded. In fact, in many ways it seems like yesterday.

My Graduation Layout

My graduation layout


I use PhotoShop Elements (PSE) 10, but you can accomplish these steps with other software packages including the open-source (free) GIMP.

Preparing the background photograph

To start my project, I found a picture of my son on his first day of kindergarten. I wanted the photo to look a little dreamy (like a memory).

graduation layout duplicate layers

Click on the eye-icon to turn layers “off.”

First, I opened the photo and made a duplicate (File -> Duplicate) and closed the original so I wouldn’t mess it up. Next, I duplicated the background  layer and turned it off . This gives me something to fall back on if I mess up.

To get my effect, I used the watercolor filter (Filter->Artistic->Watercolor).Graduation layout water color effect   If you want to lessen your effect, you can always reduce the opacity of that layer and turn the original layer back on.

Finally, I used the Magic Extractor tool (Image -> Magic Extractor) to remove the background of my photo.

My Layout

I decided to start with a template and adapt it to my purposes.GettinGrungy I choose a GettinGrungy template.

I used the “clipping” function to add texture to each shape in the template. To do this, import your image or background paper and set that layer directly above your shape layer. Then select both layers. While they are press the  alt key as you hover the mouse over the layers. When the little inter-locked circles appeared, hit enter.

The same technique worked for my son’s current photo, although I filled in the shape a little before I used it.

I typed in my text and dropped in the kindergarten photo. To fade the old photo, I set its opacity to 41%. I wanted to include a graduation tassel, so I moved my title and subtitle to the banners. To make the title and subtitle pop off the page, I used Layer -> Layer Style -> Style Settings to give the titles a drop shadow. On the subtitle, I also added a 1 pixel bevel (outline).

I also selected the banner and tassel layers and gave them drop shadows as well.

Last Stop on the Con-Graduation Blog Hop

I’m the final stop on this blog hop.

Before I send you off, I’d like to call you attention to  my newsletter signup in the left sidebar. My newsletters don’t come out more than once a month, but do have lots of useful tips and ideas. You are also welcome to “be my friend” by clicking on any of the other social media icons. Oh yeah, and I like comments. Let me know what you think.

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