All the hype and excitement about it getting up to the 50s yesterday and we never made it past 40, accompanied by an icy cold rain. Even with the cabin fever, that didn’t sound at all appealing, so we stayed in and worked on all of our various projects. As I’ve mentioned before, I homeschool my kids. Often when I mention that, people assume that there’s some moral imperative behind it, but it’s simply what works best for our family right now. Anyway, as we were doing school today, I thought I’d snap a couple of pictures for their scrapbook. They were working so hard and looked so serious that it was adorable.
One thing led to another as their lessons ended and my attention turned to making the perfect homeschool scrapbook page (I know, as if I don’t already have a hundred other projects going on). I ended up in PicMonkey, which is an awesomely fun site (I’m not getting paid to say this either!) It’s like Photoshop lite, where you have a bunch of fun features and filters. It’s free to use, though there are some features that require an upgraded account. I made up this easy blackboard background for their scrapbook page, and it was so fun and simple that I thought I’d share with you how to do it, too.
First, go to www.picmonkey.com. On the top of the page there are four choices: Edit, Touch up, Design, and Collage. Choose “Design” and you should have a blank square in front of you. In the box below, it will ask what shape background you want. Choose whatever suits your fancy, and let’s get started! Click on the photos for full-size if you need to better see directions.
First, we’re going to turn the background black. The “Canvas Color” should automatically come up by itself, but if it doesn’t, go over to the Basic Effects tab, pick Canvas Color, and move the slider all the way left to black:
Next, we’re going to make dried eraser marks on the board. Go over to the Textures tab and go to Paint. Pick the third choice, which is a reddish painted canvas. Underneath, set the blend mode to “normal”. Move the Saturation slider all the way to the left to desaturate and adjust the fade until the contrast between black and white is to your preference:
Next, we’ll soften up those hard lines to make it look more like an erased board instead of paint splotches. Go to the Effects tab and scroll down until you see Soften. Adjust the softeness and fade until the background looks good to you:
This next step is optional, but I like the darker edges it gives alongside the frame. Dark Edges is just a couple down from Soften. Adjust the edges to the size that you like and apply:
If you want to add a chalkboard frame to your blackboard, go over to the Frames tab. Select Simple Edge. Now you can adjust the color of the frame that you’d like (I chose daae57, but make it whatever color you like. Change the inner color to black. Then make the frame larger or smaller, and round the corners slightly if you like until you’re happy with the results:
That’s it! See, it was easy after all, wansn’t it? Now all you have to do is head over to the text section and choose a nice school-y font to write your message on. Some are for the premium accounts only, but there are some free fonts that work well too. If you like the look of old yellowed chalk, you can choose that color for your font instead of white.
… and that’s all there is to it! Save it, modify it some more, or do whatever you like with it! I hope this tutorial helps you out in whatever projects you’re working on. And now I have a bunch of homeschool photos waiting to be added to my blackboard, so I’d better get on that. Have a great Friday!