Scrapping with the Print in Mind

scrapping with the print in mind

SUPPLIES: Coffee Break by Studio Dawn Inskip; Font: DJB My Life of Daring.

As digi scrappers, our focus is usually on creating beautiful pages that record our stories. Rarely do we start the process by thinking how we will print or share our pages later. But, taking a few steps when you are creating your layouts to make them print-ready, can help you avoid costly mistakes later.

What many scrappers, new and seasoned alike, don’t realize is that most printers have certain specifications your projects need to be designed at for best results. When it comes to photo book printers, the standards are RGB color mode, 300ppi resolution and plenty of bleed. Bleed is extra background paper around the outside edges that gets trimmed off during the binding and printing process. (Listen to Episode 33 of The DigiScrapGeek Podcast for more on bleed.)

The good news is that we can take a few very simple steps when we are creating our pages that will result in a much nicer printed product. Whether you are printing layouts to slip into traditional page protectors, or having your layouts printed and bound into a photo book, building bleed in at the beginning is the best way to go! Let’s take a look at this layout, created with Studio Dawn Inskip’s Coffee Break kit.


I love how this layout turned out! But, if I send this layout off to print as is, I’m probably going to be disappointed with the result. Below is what my layout would look like if I printed this layout in an 8×8, traditionally-bound photo book.


You’ll see I’ve lost almost all of the blue background paper due to trimming. And, once the book is bound, the left side of the paper stack is almost all completely hidden in the binding. In addition, my hearts are cut off and my coffee shop sign is falling so close to the top of the page.

So, what can I do to fix it? The fix is really very simple. Once the page is done, grab all the layers except for the bottom-most background paper and reduce it to about 90-95%. And knowing this would be a right side page, I bumped everything slightly off center to the right to give me a little more blue paper on the binding edge. The page I upload to the printer will look like this:


And, the resulting page after printing and trimming looks like this:


This is so much better! And, it only took a few seconds to make the adjustment while I was doing the layout. So, what can you do to check your layouts to see how they will get cropped during printing? It’s a simple 3-step process.

1) Resize the layout to the printer’s bleed size. (IMAGE>IMAGE SIZE) In general, this is the trim size plus 0.25″. But be careful, because some printers (like Shutterfly) round the numbers on the book descriptions (ie. 8×8 is really 7.75×7.75). For a 12×12 book, resize to 12.25×12.25. For an 8×8, resize to 8.25×8.25.

bleed size

2) Crop the layout to the printer’s trim size. (IMAGE>CANVAS SIZE) In general, this is the book’s page size. For a 12×12 book, it would be 12×12. For an 8×8 book, it would be 8×8.

trim size

3) Crop the layout to the printer’s gutter size, anchored to the left or right depending on how you plan to use the page. (IMAGE>CANVAS SIZE) In general, this is 0.25″ less on the binding side of the page. For a 12×12 book, it would be 11.75×12. For an 8×8 book, it would be 7.75×8. (Note the anchor selection in the image below.) If you haven’t decided if this will be a left- or right-side page yet, you can crop both sides down by leaving the anchor in the center and making it 0.5″ shorter.

gutter size

From here, you’ll be able to visualize what will get cut off on your page. Now you can STEP BACK in your history to the original layout size and make adjustments. (NOTE: You are not uploading this cropped version of the page. These steps are only for you to visualize the trimmed page. Upload the bleed size page.)

If you’re a visual person, I have a video (now available as a direct download in my¬†store), Learn It Season 2, Episode 13: Scrapping for Photobooks. It’s Free With Purchase through 6/28/15! And, be sure to check out the show notes for¬†Episode 33¬†where I share lots of helpful links and articles. Looking for a Photoshop/Elements action to help do this for you? I have quite a few Photobook products in my store, for a variety of printers. Use coupon code¬†wz_dsgfans to get 25% off any product in the Photobooks category!

dsg coupon

If you have any questions on bleed or printer specifications, please feel free to contact me!

Wendyzine Scraps
Studio Wendy @ Scrapbookgraphics

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