Thursday, July 3, 2008

How to Recolor Papers and Elements

Ever fall in love with a paper, but feel limited as to how you can use it because of the color? Ever find a favorite element in a kit, but not sure you want to buy it because you don't feel like you could use that color? Well, here... you will find the basics on recoloring papers and elements by using things like Variations, Saturation, Contrast... and of course (it wouldn't be a TaylorMade tutorial without BLENDING in there somewhere!) ha!

There are soooo many ways to recolor things... we won't cover them ALL here, but we will cover the basics and get you experimenting. :)

Ok... let's start by talking about this layout:

**For layout credits, simply click the image**

Now... I have used a number of recoloring techniques on this layout and will cover them all. The techniques I didn't use, I will cover seperately in a few minutes. Here are the main pieces I started with...

1. For my photo editing... you can see my Photo Blending III - Photo Effects tutorial on secrets to getting great effects on your photo... here I actually used an action that I made... (keep an eye out for that! Don't worry... I'll tell you when and where you can find it very soon.) :)


2. Now... I started with the gray paper. I REALLY liked the subtle and elegant pattern on it... it just seemed to go with the mood of the photo. But the color just wasn't right. I really liked the color of this paper from the same kit, but it only came in a solid:

So... I needed to merge them. In order to simply change the color but keep the pattern... I placed the gray patterned paper on my layout... then I placed my peach paper on top of it and changed it's blending mode to Color. This allowed the color of the peach paper to stay in place but allowed the pattern of the gray paper beneath to show through.

Now... keep in mind that sometimes the blending mode of Color works for this, but sometimes, Luminosity may work better. It depends on the 2 papers you're mixing together. Also, keep in mind that it will not be the exact color after the merge... it will probably be a little lighter... but you can always play with the Variations to get the look you want... (more on that below). There are also TONS of possiblites with altering the colors of paper using your blending modes... i'll show some more examples at the end of this tutorial that might help.

Also, keep in mind that just as with photos... you can get ALL KINDS OF different effects using blending modes and papers. Don't be afraid of experimenting here. I've blended as many as 6 or 7 papers into each other before to pick up texture from some and color from others. Just place a piece of paper on top of one and see what you get. Be careful though... it can get quite addicting. :)


1.) Now... I liked the brown color of the paper I used to clip to my "ATTENTION" title, but I felt it looked a tad washed out when I got it on there. A simple "darkening" using my Variations easily fixed that. On your top menu, choose Image, then choose Adjustments and then choose Variations.

2.) When your Variations box pops up... you can determine how you want to change the color. I simply wanted to keep my paper here the same color... I just wanted to make it darker. So I set it to right in the middle of Fine----Corse, chose Midtones, (which applys your changes to the item overall) and clicked the very bottom right one... this darkened it for me.

Here is the before and after:

5.) Now, in order to change the color of my staples, I actually altered the color of them... I activated my staple layer, pulled up my Variations options and changed them from silver to a more copper-like tone by adding more yellow and red and then darkening them until I liked the result. Here is the difference I got:

You can use Variations to change the color of just about anything. It's probably one of the easiest and quickest ways to recolor paper and most elements.


Now... on this layout, I used a word art and wanted to add some punch to it. I used the Paint Bucket tool. (You can also use the Color Overlay feature for changing the color of word art, but since I wanted more that one color on this one, I used the Paint Bucket tool. For more information on using the Color Overlay feature, see steps 2 & 3 of the Turning Elements into Stickers tutorial.)

Here is the word art I started with:

1.) Choose your Paint Bucket tool from your tools palette as shown below:

4.) Now, let's choose our color. I usually choose a color directly from my photo. To do that, click on your Foreground Color box as shown below:

5.) When your Color Picker box comes up, simply click on a color from your photo that you like (in my case... I like the color of her shirt). It will automatically pull that color from your photo and change your Foreground Color to match perfectly. Then just click ok.

6.) Ok... now, (making sure your word art layer is active) use your Paint Bucket tool and click on each circle/letter you want to be that color.

7.) Now, click on your Foreground Color box again and choose another color from your photo and do the same thing. Again... here is our finished result:

I would LOVE to know what you think of this tutorial. Feel free to leave comments. If you have any questions regarding this tutorial, you can certainly email me at

I would also love to hear what type of tutorials YOU would like to see! While your here, drop a note in the SUGGESSTIONS box! If I don't know how to do what you are asking, I will find out! Then we can learn something new together!!!

You can find a PRINTABLE version of this tutorial (and all of my others) in the Tutorial Section at Oscraps!


Jessica said...

What a helpful tutorial! I had no idea what the "color" blend mode was for! Now I know!! Off to conquer the scrapping world, one altered piece at a time... :)

Em said...

I loved that changing of the colored papers. Now I'm gonna start layering and changing all my papers to fit my needs. No more feeling like I bought a kit that only works one way. Thanks so much. I had to try it out as I was reading and thought this was so cool!

Yvette said...

I love reading your blog and all these tips are so helpful. I would have never figured this out on my own.

Tali said...

Another rockin' tutorial, Amanda! Love this. So ... your new actions gonna be Elements-usable? ;)

No Reimer Reason said...

I enjoyed this tutorial very much. I don't think I have played with the color blend mode yet, so that should be fun!

Thanks for sharing these tips.

Free Spirit said...


I ahve never scrapped digitally before. I receive all these freebies through e-mail and I have no idea how to place my photo's onto existing templates. The templates are white where a pic should be but my picture cannot go behind the ribbon across the frame etc. Do you have a tutorial on this sort of thing. Getting started. I have photoshop and paint shop pro.

Thanks for sharing your talent.

missy said...

oh thank you so much for all these tips. Your tutorials are so easy to read and help me so much!! I have learned so much since I started digi in Dec 07 but there is still so much MORE to learn! I absolutely love your tutorials and your layout/design style! Thank you!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for making digital scrapbooking so easy! The wording you use is so normal that anyone should be able to perform the tutorials! Now back to scrappin'.

Donna Espiritu said...

thanks so much for this awesome tutorial

Cheryl Walker said...

Thanks Amanda! I think your tutorials are wonderful! It saves us so much time trying to figure it out ourselves. I just purchased CS3 and am so excited to be able to do your tutorials as given. Thanks again. I look forward to more.

Liz said...

Wow! I just love your tutorials! They are amazing and I learn so much

about me said...

You write very thorough tutorials. They are very helpful even though I have onbly elements 5.
If you use three different papers to blend into your own, do you gaive credit to all three or is it now your own design?
Thanks again for your generous heart to share with us all.

Carolscrapper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carolscrapper said...

Thanks Amanda for such a well-written and easy to follow tutorial. I use Phtoshop alot, but rarely have I recolored elements, because I was loathe to spend time poring over books to try to remember how!

Laurel Gibbons said...

Wow! I learned so much tonight. Thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge :)

Barb said...

Thank you for taking the time for doing the tutorials and for making them so simple to understand for newcomers to the scrapping world! You are very much appreciated. I would like to know how to create a curve in an object keeping it uniform in shape.

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Gregory said...

Well done, I'll try to apply your ideas to serve out his blog about mother breastfeeding

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