Create transfers from scrapbook supplies

This tutorial was written for Photoshop CS3+ but I'm hoping you can translate it for other programmes! I've gone into some detail in the steps but it's really pretty easy! It assumes you already have a basic knowledge of how to use brushes.

This is a GREAT way to stretch your stash and enhance your elements, and it's ideal for art journaling because it adds a real softness to your page, and allows for elements to be blended together better. We're going to be making transfers/stamps/rub ons, whatever you want to call them, from elements and other finds found in the kits in your stash!

This technique works best on doodles, Illustrations, Ephemera, flat word art or word bits (non 3d elements), it also works well on flatter style alphas and bonus . . it works AWESOME on photos!!

You will need a stash of Brushes, preferably chunky stamped like brushes that have good surface area but with bits missing from them. (there are lots of brushes available in my shop).

There are going to be several ways to achieve the end results of this tutorial, and sure, you could just erase parts of your element without going to this trouble, but, I believe that doing it this way gives much more control over the shape of the end result and looks much better :) 

  1. Choose the Element or Alpha or Photo etc. that you wish to transform into a stamp/transfer, place it on your background.
  2. Create a new layer below your chosen element.
  3. Pick a brush that is bigger in size than your chosen piece that you are going to transform. If you want your finished stamp/transfer to be one colour and not the original colour of your chosen piece, ensure you pick a colour for your paint with your dropper tool prior to stamping your brush.
  4. On the new layer that we created below your chosen piece we will place our brush stamp. So with your chosen colour (or not if you are going to use the original pieces colour) stamp your brush.
  5. We will now clip our piece to our brush. Doing this will create transparent pixels in our object, it will only cling to filled areas of our brush. To do this either right click on your Element layer and select Create clipping Mask, or use Alt+Ctrl+G.
  6. Now we want to get rid of the excess paint from our stamped layer. To do this you need to create marching ants around the edges of your object. The easiest way I know to do this is to hold down Crtl and click on the layer thumbnail, you should know have marching ants around your object. From the Menu choose Select > Inverse or Shift+Ctrl+I, now with your BRUSH layer active hit delete once.
  7. If you're left with a dark looking outline which can sometimes happen, select your element again with marching ants and then contract the selection by one or two pixels >Select>Modify>Contract. Then Inverse the selection again >Select>Inverse and with your BRUSH layer selected hit delete once, this should remove any remaining dark edge.
  8. You should now be left with your element, in its original colour that looks more like a stamp/transfer. If you want to further distress it you can select another brush and use the clear mode and erase more of the BRUSH layer. I like to use text and ephemera brushes to stamp fun transparent design into my object. The more you erase, the more stamped and transparent your element will become. If you wish to use the colour of your brush for your finished element just hide the top layer (the original element) or just delete it and you'll be left with the solid colour of your brush!
  9. Experiment with different types of brushes for lots of different looking transfers or stamped elements and try it on your photos and alphabets too!

Here is a page that I created today as an example. I wanted to achieve a soft, blended and painty feel to my page. I started blending some papers together, and then blended in some stamped elements and added some ephemera. I wanted a flower bouquet that had the same 'feel' as the rest of my page. I decided to convert a Poppy Bouquet and a leaf from my kit into transfers, then I distressed them further with different brushes until I felt they were in keeping with my background. 

If I hadn't have used this technique, this is how my page would have looked. The leaf and flowers are just too heavy in my opinion for the softness that I was trying to achieve with my page. 

Digital scrapbook page using Digital supplies by Captivated Visions

Instead this is how my page looks after converting those elements into softer transfers :)

Digital Scrapbook page using Digital Designs by Captivated Visions


Roxana also made a page for this feature blog post. She made a stamp from a paper butterfly, a Kraft paper flower and doily. She made transfers from chevon arrows but did something really fun to the ones you can see at the bottom of her page, she clipped a paper to the finished transfer! Roxana also made a stamp from the word art and then changed the blending mode to emphasise the letters. She also used the technique with Fonts to make her title!

Digital scrapbook page using Digital supplies by Captivated Visions

I hope you found this technique fun, don't hesitate to leave a comment or ask any questions that you might have!