Newsprint Overlays: How to Use Them, and a Freebie

A few weeks ago I came across some American newspapers dated between the years of 1888 through 1908.

I love using text overlays on my layouts, and thought that these newspapers would make great newsprint overlays.  I set to work on them, and the results are Newsprint Overlays Sets 1, 2, 3, and 4.  I have also bundled them into a value-priced savings package for you, Newsprint Overlay Collection.  Although grungy in appearance, the majority of print can be read, and the stories are fascinating!

Newsprint Overlays Set 1: Subject matter of these prints include:  automotive, retail clothing sales, financial news, travel, health cures, books, and local news.


Newsprint Overlays Set 2: Subject matter of these prints include: household furniture, health cures, retail clothing sales, gossip column, local news.


Newsprint Overlays Set 3: Subject matter of these prints include: love stories, men’s clothing sale, Vanderbilt news, society column, and vacation rentals.


Newsprint Overlays Set 4: Subject matter of these prints include: music, local news, women’s and children’s clothing sales, and Suffragettes invading City Hall!


Newsprint Overlays Collection:


Now let’s take a look at a few different ways to use these!  We can get as “simple” or as “complex” as we like!

Different usage ideas:

1. Place a Newsprint Overlay on a layer above your background paper. Change the blending mode of the Overlay to suit your needs.  Overlay and Soft Light work really well, and I typically start with those options. Lower the opacity of the overlay, if desired.

2. If you would like to match a color in your photo:  Use the eyedropper to pick a color from your photo; create a layer above the photo and flood it with your color choice; place the overlay on a layer above the color layer; clip the newsprint to the color layer, and change the blending mode of the newsprint until you get your desired result.  Merge the 2 layers, if desired.

3. Clip adjustment layers to a Newsprint Overlay. I really like using the Invert Adjustment, which will change the blank print to white.  Don’t forget to clip your Invert Adjustment to the newsprint overlay, or it will affect all layers below the adjustment.

4. Place a Newsprint Overlay over a paper you are using from a kit; use Blending Modes to achieve the result that you like; place a mask on the newsprint overlay, and use a soft brush to paint away areas you don’t wish to see (Renee’s example below is a great example of this technique.)

5. Place a paper Edger on your layout, and clip a Newsprint Overlay to that edge.

6.  Use on your art journaling papers or notebooks in any number of ways!

Clip Newsprint Overlays to other items as well; don’t limit yourself to papers! What about alphas, journal tags or paper strips?

Now let’s look at a few examples:

Diane used an overlay from Newsprint Overlays Set 3, and this is what she did:

1. Placed photo on 12 x 12 document.
2. Filled to part of document with the color blue, which matched the sky in the photograph; merged sky fill and photograph.
3. Placed Newsprint overlay on top of the photograph layer.
4. Added an Invert Adjustment on top of the Newsprint; clipped the adjustment layer to the newsprint, turning the print white.
5. Added an Edge Overlay; added an Invert Adjustment to the Edge Overlay (which was black); clipped the adjustment overlay to the Edge Overlay to make it white.

That’s it! What a gorgeous layout, simply by using 2 overlays, and 2 adjustment layers!
(I added the small blue stroke around the edge of the layout, simply so you could see what it looks like here.  The white edge overlay was blending into the white background on my blog!)


DD_newsprint- heartsongwstroke

Lella used an overlay from Newsprint Overlays Set 4. This is what Lella did to achieve her results:

1.  Lella used a background paper from Heartsong (Paper #9) .
2.  She placed a newsprint from Newsprint Overlays Set 4 over the Heartsong paper and changed the Blending Mode of the Overlay to Soft Light.
3. Next she painted a soft mask across the bottom of the newsprint layer, and clipped her photograph to that mask.
4. Lella next added a Border Buddy from Border Buddies Set 4, and clipped a Heartsong flower to it.
5. She completed her layout using elements from Heartsong.


 Renee used the kit, Ramblin’ Rose in her layout. Here is what she did:

1. Brought in a background paper from Ramblin’ Rose.
2. Placed a Ramblin’ Rose Worn Paper on top of her background.
3. Placed a Newsprint from Newsprint Overlays Set 1 on top of the worn paper, then clipped the newsprint to the worn paper.
4. Placed a mask on the newsprint, and used a soft-edged brush to paint away the newsprint on the worn paper, keeping the realistic look of the worn edges.
5. She completed her layout by embellishing with elements from Ramblin’ Rose.

SD Newsprint Overlay 1-9. With Rambling Rose kit. Font: Olivetti Type2

Both Pat and Norma created gorgeous layouts with minimal work!

They chose a Newsprint Overlay, placed it on top of their background paper of choice, changed the blending mode of the newsprint to soft light, then finished their layouts using kits of their choice.   Super simple and ultra fast!

Norma used a newsprint from Newsprint Overlays Set 4 and Heartsong: (I love the subtle, but interesting look this gives the edges of her paper!)


Pat used a newsprint from Newsprint Overlays Set 2, along with Rise and Shine: (I really like how the newsprint overlay that she chose to use goes so well with her vintage photo!)


Nancy used a newsprint overlay from Newsprint Overlays Set 2, and Uniquely You to create an awesome art journaling page!

She used a combination of overlay blend modes and masks to create this unique page!


Now it’s time for YOU to experiment with a newsprint overlay!

Click on the Bullseye or the image below to download this Newsprint Overlay Blog Gift!



I hope you enjoy using these overlays!  If you have the time to read these, bring the overlays up to 85-100%. For me, in doing so, reminded me that although 100 years may have passed from the time these newspapers were printed until now, people haven’t changed much at all!

Comments (12)

  1. […] Here is a layout that Diane (scrappygal) created using one of her photographs, a grungy border from Jilbert’s Bits of Bytes (Transparent Overlays – Grungy Borders 4) and an overlay from my Newsprint Overlays Set 3.  (For tips and examples of how to use these new Newsprint Overlays, visit SnickerdoodleDesigns blog.) […]

    April 26, 2014 at 4:00 am
  2. Debbie

    I love these newspaper overlays 🙂

    April 26, 2014 at 3:22 pm
  3. stacey

    thanks for the great tutorials and sample. Hope you had a wonderul Easter

    April 26, 2014 at 5:52 pm
  4. Barb

    Thank you! Love the overlays and I appreciate the tips!

    April 26, 2014 at 8:04 pm
  5. […] Newsprint Overlays: How to Use Them, and a Freebie – 1 freebie(s) […]

    April 26, 2014 at 9:14 pm
  6. Sherry P

    Thank you so much for the NewPaper Overlay 🙂 Thanks for sharing the story as well…..Interesting read. My mother gave me a really old book on how to be a good wife…. it is hilarious !!!!
    (I love the vintage buttons that you inherited !! They are gorgeous. When I come across something like that I like to try to use them on something that I wear or use so I get to see them often. )

    April 27, 2014 at 7:28 pm
  7. […] like more information and tips on how to use these overlays, Karen has an excellent tutorial on her BLOG and a freebie as […]

    April 27, 2014 at 10:03 pm
  8. pj

    I think that even I will be able to do this – great instructions! Thank you!

    April 28, 2014 at 3:48 am
  9. Thanks so much for the free sample Karen.

    April 28, 2014 at 10:20 pm
  10. Dona

    These all look great on the layouts. Thank you for the sample!

    April 29, 2014 at 10:50 am
  11. Thank you!!

    May 3, 2014 at 10:12 pm
  12. Jo Campbell

    How neat! Thank you so much

    May 8, 2014 at 5:31 pm
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