Thursday, March 20, 2014

Making Your Own Digital Designs (and Binder Covers) is Easier than You Think!

Have you ever looked at another teacher’s organized binders (in person or online) and thought, “they must be so creative- their stuff always looks put together and so cute!”

Some of you know that a lot of people purchase these items on Teachers Pay Teachers, Teacher’s Notebook, or another site that sells digital items.  It is also possible to find some items for free on these sites or directly on teacher blogs, just like mine. 

A lot of these digital goodies are designed using Photoshop and other Adobe design programs.  Although these are wonderful (and I do own some Adobe programs, including Photoshop myself), they are also extremely expensive.  Most of the creating I do is done in Photoshop, but occasionally I do dabble with Microsoft Word. :)

Today, I’d like to show you how to create your own really cute, customized binders, labels, etc. for a relatively low cost- and best of all, it will be just what YOU want, not what someone else has designed.

Microsoft Word is a very versatile program- you can do SO many things with it!  At first it may be weird to use it to design graphic items if all you’ve ever done is type on it- but once you get used to it, you will find your freedom and be able to create some amazing things!

In today’s post, I’d like to show you how to create an easy binder cover.  

Creating a Custom Binder Cover:

1.  First, you will need a digital paper.  Think of it as a cute scrapbooking paper for your page.  You can Google Free Digital Papers to find some to download, go to TPT and do the same, or your can download the papers from my store for free today. 

2.  Open up a blank Word Document.  Go to Insert, then Picture (from file).  Find wherever you just saved the digital paper and click “open.” 

3.  You should now see the digital paper in the middle of your Word Document.  It should look something like this:


4.  This is important:  make sure your digital paper is highlighted (the dots are on the corners of it), and then find your Picture Tools.  You should see a picture of a dog with some lines through it.  Click on that- a drop-down box should pop up.  Now click “in front of text.”   This will allow you to move and enlarge the paper.

5.  Next, drag the corners of your digital paper until it fills all of the white part of your paper. It should look like this:

6.  At this point, to create something cute, but basic, go to your AutoShapes (under the Insert tab).  Under Basic Shapes, choose the “sticker” you’d like to put your title on.  I usually opt for the rounded square- kinda classy, but not crazy and not boring.  Drag that shape onto the middle of the page.  Move it around to wherever you like it.  Here’s what mine looks like:

7.  Next, you can play with the border line of the sticker you just put down and even the middle of the sticker color.  You can also layer another sticker on the page to give you some depth.  Here are some ideas: 

The Top Left corner I just increased the border thickness.  The one below it I changed the border color and the fill color.  For the two on the right, I actually created another sticker and put it on top of the other sticker already there.  Then I changed the fill and border colors of each.   Pick whichever style you like best.

8.  To add a title to the cover, click “Insert” then “Text Box.”  Type in your text.  You may then need to make the Text box have “no fill” and the border have “no fill” as well.  Play around with the text until you have it to your liking and drag it into the exact center of the sticker box.   Here’s what my final binder cover looks like:

10.  Print it out in color, and you’re ready to go!

Note:  If you’re like me and have to have a matching spine label to go with it, no problem, just repeat the process, but this time, turn the new document to “landscape” and your paper will be read for the spine label.  Just remember that you will need to make it very thin.  Here is my example below:

I just used the green dot on the top of the image to rotate it around, then used the cropping tool to crop the paper image. 

You can use this same technique to create anything!  Hope this gives you lots of new ideas and inspiration!  Happy creating! J

PS- I have lots of fun papers in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store- check them out!

PS- To get some really awesome fonts, check out Fonts for Peas and Miss Tiina's Free Fonts.

If you are not really the creative type, please see my store for a set of pre-made binder covers!! :)