Guest Blogger Series

I have been asked time and time again what programs to use for just starting out in scrapbooking.   That is a hard question as each person is different.   Some want to just get their photos on paper while others want to be creative and add all types of embellishments.  While I was helping a friend with her first pages she asked me about using Picasa.   My first thought was no but then I ran across Sarah’s blog posts on Clover Lane and I saw that Picasa could be a good fit for someone starting out and that just wanted to get those photos onto pages without embellishments.   Best of all the software is free.

So I reached out to Sarah and she graciously gave me permission to publish parts of her two part series on scrapbooking with Picasa.  I will of course point you back to her full blog for the details but for those that have never tried scrapbooking this may be a good place to start.   

Why Scrapbook with Picasa?

I didn’t want to spend a year doing pages everyday, and having five kids….I have to streamline. {tweet this}

A nice reader showed me how she used pages to create a beautiful adoption album using Picasa.  Because most (not all) of my photos were in my computer (not nicely organized mind you…that’s what really slowed me down in the earlier years), and I know Picasa pretty well  because I use the same procedure for making my blog banners (no time consuming learning curve), and it’s free, I knew that it was going to work for me.

courtesy of

Example of a Picasa Scrapbook Page

Tips for Organizing Your Pages…

Here’s how I broke down the task at hand:

1. For each child, I took a blank piece of paper,  divided it into sections by year (2005-2010!!!), and went through my pics, and decided what events to record.

2. I also used the little folder I keep for each kid with paper mementos…old report cards, tickets, etc…so I knew what I wanted to include on each page, and left a blank space if needed on the collage. {tweet this} (If there was major stuff, more on this below, I just glued it on piece of actual scrapbook paper and inserted that into the scrapbook next to the digital photo page.)

3. I went down the list on each page, laying next to me at the computer, and using Picasa, found the photos for each event (not the fun part), and created each page (the fun part but stopped being fun at about 2008).

4. Sent all to printer.  (I did this by child and although it cost me $5 each in shipping, it saved me my sanity.)

5. When I got them back (the super fun part) I put them in order (I was smart and marked each page with the year in the corner) and assembled the scrapbook making sure I included the mementos where necessary.

For more information on Sarah’s organization and tips for children albums click here

Tips for Scrapbooking with Picasa

    • First, here’s where you download Picasa.  Totally free, made by Google, safe for your computer.
    • Here is where I’ve downloaded some free colorful scrapbook pages I use for some of my backgrounds.  (You can just use plain old colors in Picasa too.)
    • Here is where I downloaded a few cute free fonts.  Just a note: I used the fonts that look like handwriting a ton, and also…I read that adding lots of fonts to your computer slows it down, so control yourselves!
    • I used Persnickety Prints for printing my 12 x 12 pages.  They are beautiful, crisp, perfect.  They cost $1.99 each, although for a few of my orders I made it in while they were having their semi-annual 25% of sale.  $5 shipping no matter how big your order.  (I also know that you can order at your Costco but they are not convenient enough for me in terms of location, and sometimes get mixed reviews depending on the store.)

Adding Background Paper to Picasa

    1. As of now, you can only import JPG files into Picasa.  Why do you even need to know this?  Because many digital scrapbooking papers come in “kits”…in addition to the papers they come with some cute things called elements.  They are little tags, or ribbons, or frames…cute scrapbooking doo-dads…but they will NOT work in Picasa because they don’t have the .jpg after them.  So just stick to downloading the papers and don’t waste your time trying to get the other stuff in there.
    2. Next open Picasa, and press the Import button at the top of the page.  Go to the drop down menu (Import From) and press folder.  Now find your file that you downloaded and check them or highlight them, and press Import All and you will see them in your Picasa folders.

Creating a Photo Collage in Picasa {tweet this}

  1. Go back to your library and choose your images…your papers and photos…don’t worry if you want to add (or subtract!) some once you are creating your Collage you will be able to do so!
  2. You are offered 7 types of Collages.  I like Picture Pile because it allows you to place every photo where you want it to be, and what size you would like also.  But Mosaic makes the collage for you and that is quick and easy.  You can choose your background image on any type of collage.
  3. Select size…I scrapbook the 12×12 size.  You can type in your own custom ratio also.
  4. Select your background image.
  5. Start moving things around.
  6. Create.  For the page below, I selected a collage I had made earlier using the Mosaic type, and I’m adding it onto a scrapbook paper.  Remember you can discard and add selections as you are creating the page.
  7. Add text…remember there are lots of text options…try the Wingdings for symbols, dots, circles, dashes.
  8. You are finished!

Cutting Paper for Borders and Accents in Picasa

  • I made copies of my scrapbook background pages, and then took one copy and cropped it…that way I could add a skinny little border on one side…it give you some creative options.  (Under File at the very top of the screen is the option that says Save A Copy…it took me forever to find that darn thing.)

I hope you enjoyed seeing what you could do with Picasa and you will be trying your hand at what looks to be an easy way to get started.   And since it is free you are out nothing to begin with..  Then if you like you could always upgrade to another program.   I really think this is a valid option for many people.  Here are the links to both of Sarah’s articles.   Check them out as they have many more examples of what you can do with Picasa.

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