Tutorial: How to use Newsprint Transparencies & Freebie

November 4, 2015

Digital Scrapbooking Day (DSD) is just a few days away! No matter how many years I have been designing, I always have to stop and think… is this iNSD* or DSD?   But you know what?  On both days we do the same thing… celebrate the love of our craft.

(*iNSD is International Scrapbooking Day, and is in May. Help me remember?)

This weekend, all around digiland, there will be tons of new products available for us to choose from; and sales that will save us a lot of money.  (My husband wonders how spending money saves me money… but I’m willing to bet that you understand!)

If you are a personal-use scrapper, when you are shopping for new supplies, I enthusiastically encourage you to look at commercial-use products as well. Commercial-Use (CU) products are not just for designers, but can be extremely useful for personal-use scrappers as well.

Today let’s look at how to use one of my newest CU products,  Newsprint Transparencies – Winter, which is included in my Winter CU Grab Bag, a collaboration with LouCee Creations.

We will explore 2 different techniques when using newsprint transparencies. These are typically a CU product, but are really fun for the personal-use scrapper to add to layouts, creating additional interest.


For this tutorial, Lou has created a lovely layout for us, using  ONLY elements and  papers from our CU Grab Bag. (I love that!)


Let’s focus on the 3 areas of newsprint Lou has used on her layout:


Sometimes using the entire transparency on a layout works out beautifully. Sometimes we might want to pick and choose what part of a transparency we want to use.

Lou decided to use portions of Transparencies 3, 4, and 8.  She used Method #1, as described below, to select specific areas of different transparencies; then combined them all on her layout, placing them exactly where she wanted them.

Let’s look at Transparency #3, where Lou has chosen to use the words “Warm All Winter,” (Spot #2 in the image above.)


Method #1:

  • Select the Lasso Tool, and draw around the part of the transparency you would like to use in your layout. (You may use any of the Lasso Tools that work best for you and your image.)


  • Once you have made your selection, click on the Move tool in the Tool Bar on the left.
  • Go back to the transparency, and click on your selection; then drag it onto your layout and position it as you wish.


Now you are ready to work with the newsprint.  Here are some suggestions for use:

1. Fill the print with color.
2. Change Blend Modes and opacity levels to achieve the look you like.
3. To help give your text a more realistic look, use the “Blend If” option. (Tutorial: Create More Realistic Looking Text.)
4. Clip papers to your selected newsprint graphic(s).
5. Apply Photoshop Styles.
6. Select the print, and stamp with texture brushes.

Method #2:

If you are not exactly sure where or how much newsprint you would like to have showing on your layout, Method #2 is a good place to start.

  • Place the entire transparency on your background.


  • You can really do anything you like to personalize the transparency at this point. (See suggestions listed in Method #1.)  Once you are satisfied, rasterize any layer style you might have applied, and/or merge any papers  you might have clipped, so you are working with just the transparency layer itself.
  • Add a mask to the newsprint transparency layer by clicking on the Add Layer Mask at the bottom of the Layers Panel.
  • Select Black as your Foreground Color.
  • Select a round, soft-edged brush.
  • Click on the Mask to make it active, then paint away portions of the newsprint you do not want to show.  If you make a mistake, switch the Foreground Color to White and brush over the mistake to bring back the portion that you want. (I usually start with a brush opacity of 50%.)

In the example below, I sampled a color from one of the Fabric Flowers (also included in the Winter CU Grab Bag), and colored the newsprint transparency. (Control + Click on the transparency thumbnail to select it: Edit > Fill > Foreground Color). I set the Blend Mode of the transparency to Darker Color.  I like the newsprint border edges and wanted to preserve those in the layout, along with a “Warm All Winter / December” title.  I placed a mask on the transparency and used black at 50% opacity to paint away much of the print. I used the “Blend If” option to make the text integrate more realistically into the background.  I changed my foreground color to White and painted back in just a tiny bit of text at the bottom of the layout.


So now comes the fun part!  I have a Newsprint Transparency Winter Freebie for you to practice with.  (See download link below). Then come meet me on theStudio’s blog next Friday (Nov 13th) where we’ll explore how to give this layout a cold, foggy, snowy effect!




I hope you have found this tutorial helpful.  If you have, please Like, Forward, Google+, PIN – share anyway you like with your friends.  Thank you!

If you would like to keep a PDF of this tutorial on your computer for easy reference, you may download it here: How to Use Newsprint Transparencies.

If you are a PU scrapper, I hope it encourages you look at CU products with a different perspective.

You will find the Winter CU  Grab Bag at:

SnickerdoodleDesigns   |     theStudio    |     The Digichick

Happy DSD!




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  1. Stacey

    thank you so much for another beautiful gift! I love your tutorials. I never can remember, but I look forward to both of them equally!

  2. Stacey

    Karen, is there anyway for you to make this into a pdf file, so I can save it, please? I know this weekend is crazy busy, but maybe afterwards?

    • Karen

      Done! Thanks, Stacey!

  3. Stacey

    awesome! thanks so much! I’m saving all of them, so I can refer back!

  4. Stacey

    thanks again Karen! it worked today!

  5. Ann

    Thank you so much for this tutorial and the lovely gift. I love your tutorials and have learnt so much through this blog. Keep up the good work.


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