In one of the scrapbook Facebook groups I belong to, we were discussing the pros and cons of handwriting versus printing the journaling on your scrapbook layouts. I was surprised at how many people think it’s faster to handwrite your journaling, because for me that always takes longer. I’m a fast typer but a slow handwriter. It’s hard for me to get a visual idea of how much space the story in my head will take, so I usually end up writing the journaling more than once because the first time doesn’t come out right. Sometimes, when I want to journal by hand, I’ll still type a draft on the computer, get all the words right, and then hand write it! (I’m pretty sure that’s missing the point of handwriting, isn’t it?)
(Also, there’s some truth to the fact that I might be just a little bit particular with how my journaling looks and how I write the story itself. I know many scrapbookers aren’t as persnickety about this as I am.)
I do spend quite a bit of time crafting the stories I include on my layouts, but once I’m done writing, I can have the text printed quickly, so today I’m sharing some tips for printing your scrapbook journaling as fast as possible.
- Write a draft of your journaling first, before starting to design the layout. This gives you an idea of how much space to incorporate for your story. After you’ve designed your layout, come back to your draft, revise as necessary, then format and print.
- Make your font choice simple. Have a go-to font list. If you’re anything like me, you have a bajillion fonts on your computer. Scrolling through and picking out the. perfect. font. for every single layout takes way too much time! Make a list (write it down or just a mental list, whatever works best for you) of 3-5 serif fonts and 3-5 sans serif fonts that you like, and just use them. (This list will organically change over time, I’ve found, as I add new fonts and fall out of love with others.) Rather than using multiple fonts in one journaling space, use bold, italics, or small caps of the same font to add interest without spending time trying to match multiple fonts.
- Use black text. Choosing color takes time, and plus: black text is always going to be easiest to read. If you’re wanting to take more time, experiment with color, but for fast printing, stick to black. If, however, you love using color, then make a RGB color document, where you list the RGB color codes you’ve used successfully in the past. That way, you don’t have to keep experimenting.
- Use a text box or a table to format your text quickly. No matter which word processor you use—I still use WordPerfect unless someone makes me use Word—there are some types of text box and/or table options. Once you know the dimensions of the space you have for your journaling, just format the box height and width with those numbers. Besides making the sizing process easy, using a text box means you can position your text anywhere you want it. You access these features by clicking on the Position button after making the text box, then choose More Layout Options and you’ll get this menu:
Use the Position and Size options as necessary.
Very Important: Don’t forget to remove the border line on the text box (unless you want a black line around your text). Right click the text box, choose Format Shape, Line Color, then choose No Line.
- Understand your printer. How does it feed paper? Where is the manual paper feed and how do you use it? What is the narrowest scrap it will happily print on? What print settings work best with different printing mediums? You learn all this by using your printer! For example, I’ve learned that no matter what I do, I get dismal results if I print with my laser printer on textured cardstock, so I only print on smooth. I know that when I feed paper through the manual tray, it prints on the top of the paper. Every printer is different, but taking a little bit of time to know yours will save you way more time on the other side, when you’re actually printing.
- Print on scraps. I tend to print my journaling on white, pale grey, or cream cardstock or on what I think of as neutral colored patterned paper. (The B sides of Basic Grey’s patterned paper, for example, or the solids that Echo Park has in many of their lines—they “read” as solid but they actually have a subtle pattern.) I keep almost every scrap of these papers and cardstocks. Position the formatted text box in the top left corner of your document, with about .5” page margins, then find a scrap that is at least .75” bigger (both height and width) than the dimensions of your journaling space. Glue just the edge to the very top of a piece of scrap paper (I keep a pile of scrap printer paper right by my printer) and then send that through your printer (I use the manual feed tray for this part).
I don’t know…does that sound time intensive? For me it’s just become second nature.
Here's the layout I made with the journaling I was printing on a scrap:
3. Print on your background piece, even if you don’t have a wide format printer. This does take a little bit more time and planning, because you have to know where you want the journaling printed as well as allow for the seam. This is where it’s great that you’ve already written a draft of your journaling and designed the layout! To print on the background of a 12x12 layout, you have to (obviously) cut the background so it will fit in your printer. As you’re designing the layout, create a place that can be covered by something that is 12” tall. This can be a row or column of photos, a long piece of patterned paper, a row of embellishments. I’ve even covered the seam with ribbon. For my next layout, I wanted to use three photos, and I figured I could make them cover the seam even if one was wallet-sized:
Also, keep in mind that you don’t have to have the seam at the 8.5” mark. You can put it where ever it works on your layout, so long as the piece you’re printing on will fit. Also remember, you can change the page orientation to Landscape if you want to have a horizontal instead of a vertical seam. Once you’ve planned for the seam, figure out where the journaling needs to be printed and place it exactly there, using the Relative Position option in the Position menu. If you’re worried, print a draft on a piece of scratch paper to make sure the text is in the right place.
For my layout, I wrote the journaling, picked a background and some embellishments, and figured out where I wanted my journaling to go. Then I formatted the journaling, using a text box to put it in exactly the right spot, and then cut the 12x12 paper to 8.5x12:
I printed on the big piece, taped the seam back together, and then arranged all of my elements into this layout:
(Looking at this image I just realized I didn't dot my i's! guess I'll go back and do that. Also resisting the urge to apologize for using those thickers on the word "sweet." Why is it slightly embarrassing to use older product?)
4. Print at the highest resolution. This has absolutely nothing to do with the speed of printing, it’s just a personal choice, but for me, I feel like if I’m going to print, I want to make sure it looks really good. The printing resolution is found on the Print menu, then Printer Options, and your choices are based on the type of printer you have, but I always print my final draft at the highest resolution my printer will do.
As I wrote these tips, I found myself imagining another scrapbooker reading them and thinking “forget that, way too complicated.” I think it might seem complicated reading about it, but once you’ve done it a few times and know the process, it’s pretty fast. Admittedly, maybe not faster than finding a journaling pen! But then, there’s another reason I tend to print my journaling instead of handwriting it: I can fit many more words in the same space if I print.
Do you have any tips for making the process of printing scrapbook journaling go faster?