Tuesday, 10 March 2015


Today we have another edition of our newest series, Three Way. This edition focuses on Alphas and we'll be sharing creative ways to stretch your Alpha stash. The Pink Reptile Designs shop has tons of alphas in every texture you can image; from glittered alphas to sleek gold metallic alphas ... vellum, crocheted, and stitched alphas to folded & bent alphas. There are thicks and thins and everything in between. Here’s a link to the Alpha Category for the PRD shop.

I love the PRD alphas and they certainly stand out on a page when used as a title, but in the spirit of of our Three Way series, let’s look a little closer at these fabulous alphas and see how we can possibly stretch our alpha stash even further.

First up, have you thought about using your alphas as a monogram on a page, instead of always gravitating towards using them for full titles? Monograms can be such a powerful, elegant or fun way to add a design element to your page. If you make your monogram big it really makes a statement. Monograms on your scrapbook pages are such fun and are so easy to execute, plus they add that little touch of personalization to your page by really highlighting that special someone. Try using two letters and throwing an ampersand in the middle for a page about two special people!

On this page I combined PRD's latest font The Second Case with the Corked Alpha to create the title. But for added punch I added a monogram with the Heimili Alpha. I adore the way a monogram adds that special touch to my page and my kids love seeing their "special letter" in a big and bold way on a page just about them!

Next, what about using alphas as stencils? Playing with stencils is really two fold. You can use the negative image sort of like a cut out or you can use the actual shape of the alpha and fill it with a stamp, transfer or brush. Let’s take a closer look.

Here I used the Soap Opera Alpha as my base for the "little girl" part of my title because I loved the thickness and overall shape of this alpha. I played with using this alpha as stencils with a brush, a png transfer and as a cut out with another paper layered underneath.

-I grabbed the letters needed to write out "little girl" and then merged them together into one layer.
-I Command Click (on a Mac) or Control Click (on a PC) on the thumbnail of this layer in my layers pallete. (This puts the marching ants around all of the letters and make it an active selection.) Now the fun begins.

-I grabbed brush 2442 from the Stamp It No. 1 brush set and rotated it to 90 degrees. There are so many great brushes in this brush pack, but I loved this one for the linear look of the brush and thought it would be a good compliment to all the lean long letters in my title.
-With my selection active, and on a new layer, I used this brush to fill in the alpha, just as if it was a stencil. The marching ants/selection around the letters kept my "brushing" inside the "stencil lines"!

 You don't have to use the brush tool to get this effect. You can also use pngs (transfers, paint, splatters) too.
-Bring in the PNG file you want to use. I used a lovely painty splatter from the Feb 2015 BYOC Seriously? | Element pack.
-Place your paint or transfer over the letters in such a way that it looks pleasing to the eye (NOTE: I changed the black Soap Opera alpha to white here, just so it was easier for me to see the splatter) and so that most of the space inside the letters will be filled in nicely.
-You can make duplicate copies of your PNG if needed, rotate it, stretch it, etc. Whatever it takes to get it fitting nicely inside those alphas.But ... if you have multiple copies of this PNG, merge them together so it is all one layer.

-Just like in the Brush example above, you Command Click (on a Mac) or Control Click (on a PC) on the title (in my case "little girl") to get the marching ants around all of those letters. Remember all those individual alphas should be merged into one layer for this to work easily and quickly.
-Hide the alpha layer. (click on the eye icon in the layers pallete)
-Now go back to your PNG layer and select it. Your marching ants should still be around your alpha, but the PNG layer is the active layer.
-Duplicate it by clicking CMD J (on a Mac) or Control J (on a PC).
-Now hide the PNG layer (not the duplicated layer).
-The duplicate layer should now be the only layer visible and the PNG (paint, splatter, transfer) should have taken on the shape of those alphas! Again just like a stencil!

And my last example for using alphas as stencils is the ever popular cut-out look. The same directions apply as in the above examples for getting your title with the alphas set up, all on one layer.
-Command Click (on a Mac) or Control Click (on a PC) on the layer thumbnail for the title "little girl".
-Go to your background paper layer and make it the active layer.
-Hit delete. When you hide the "little girl" layer with the alphas, you will see that your title has been cut out of your background layer.
-Add in a new paper underneath.
-Shadow the paper layer that has the cut out.

Finally, if you love the shape and the thickness or thinness of an alpha, but maybe it doesn’t quite have the right color or texture for your particular page … what about using them as clipping masks with your favorite patterned papers? I tend to use a lot of light, solid backgrounds and I find that this is a great way to introduce bits of color and patterns in smaller ways. It is also great for when that favorite alpha is just not the right color or texture for your page.

On this version of my layout, I mixed three alphas together : Growing Pains Alpha, More Than Words Alpha and One of A Kind Alpha and simply clipped a few patterned papers to them to match my layout. Easy peasy ... but gives the alphas a new look, has a fun mix-n-match feel, and adds some color to my page!

I hope this Three Way has helped you to think of some new ways to stretch that alpha stash and use your precious alphas in fun and creative new ways! As always, we'd love to hear your ideas or see your pages with these techniques. And be sure to come back for the March Challenge on the 15th, where we'll be putting these ideas to use! Happy Scrapping!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this. It's really useful and clear. Am looking at my alphas in a different way now!