DIY: Transparent Overlay Using Digital Products


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Article Courtesy by Denise Gormish

A transparent overlay is a clear transparency film with an image and/or words printed on it. In paper scrapbooking a transparency overlay can be placed over cardstock or patterned paper to allow the image and words to be displayed on the page. Transparency overlays are sold at scrapbook stores with pre-printed designs on them. For more general information on transparencies read Maureen Spell’s article Clearly Cool and Denise Gormish’s article Using Printed Clear Overlays.

 It is also possible to use your own computer to create custom-made transparency overlays. To create an overlay you will need a computer scrapbooking program such as Adobe Photoshop or Elements, digital products, a printer and transparency film.

 Open your scrapbooking program and create a new file. Set the new file for the size your printer is able to print, 300 dpi resolution and a transparent background. You should be able to select these settings when you open a new file.


While working with your transparency, consider where it will go on the page. Make necessary adjustments for it to fit on the page and arranged in the way you want on your page. For my transparency overlay, I found it advantageous to rotate the page layout 90 degrees so it was horizontal instead of vertical.

 Next, open the digital scrapbooking product that you would like to use in your transparency. Drag the product on to your new file. Edit and resize the products as necessary. For my transparency I opened Anna Aspnes ‘Vacation WordART No. 01 file.” I dragged it on to my file, reduced the size of the WordArt  and deleted one part of it so it would work best with my photographs.


You may wish to add more products on the same overlay. If so, open the product and add it to your file. Again, reduce and edit as necessary. You could even add color if your printer supports color. For my transparency I also added Ali Edwards’s Memory Lifelines and Anna Aspnes’ Heart LoopDaLoop ArtStrokes No. 01 BrushSet. There are lots of things you could include on a transparency including digital images (of hearts, flowers, etc.), photo frames, alphabets, borders, digital dates, journaling boxes, tabs, and tags. Using color fill set to blue, I colored the Heart LoopDaLoop and a portion of the Memory Lifelines.


After adjusting and adding the digital products you want to use, set your printer to its appropriate setting for transparency printing. Insert your transparency so that you will be printing the text on the rough side of the transparency. Let the ink rest for a while before using the transparency as it may take a while to dry. Assemble your paper, photographs and transparency on your layout for your final hybrid page.


 Transparent overlays allow you to use a wider variety of images and products from the digital world on your paper layouts. Take advantage of digital products for your own paper layouts.


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