Digital Scrapbooking: Getting Started (Download FREE Digital “Papers” and Embellishments: A How To)

January 15, 2007 at 10:04 am 14 comments

This is a little out of the ordinary for me, but something I had such a hard time learning on my own to get started that I need to help a few friends catch up.  If you are interested in trying digital scrapbooking, Photoshop Elements is pretty manageable to learn, any version (5.0 is the latest, most everyone liked 3.0 very well, also).  I used Creative Keepsakes Designer Software as well.  All fine choices.  This step is needed to do anything at all.  Most people get the software and don’t know where to go from there.  Bookmark this post for when you DO need it, or forward the link to those whom you think may enjoy getting started at some point. 

This process is necessary for ANY digital scrapbooking. 

You need to download 2-3 free digital kit downloads from  (That means to put digital papers from designers on the net onto your computer).  There are other digital scrapbooking places you can find free downloads to get started (a second fav of mine is, either place is fine. 

First, choose a site.  Next, get those files downloaded, installed,  and unpacked for ease of use.  This is lesson one.  Next, we’ll cover unzipping.  Don’t try to unzip the downloaded files yet. Let me know when you guys are ready to move on.  We’ll go to Lesson Two:  Unzipping and Unpacking.

Today, you are going to:

1.  Set up an account at (select a password you can easily remember–you may have to sign in often.)

2.  Go to Digital Scrapbooking from the 2peas menu on the left hand side of their Home screen.

3.  Go to Downloads (second on the list, I think)

4.  You’ll see many things for sale, but scroll down until you see packages that say “Free Downloads”…usually there is at least one each month, sometimes more, and they’ve been offering it for at least a year.  Much to choose from.  Don’t waste too much time being selective, just download a few for now.

5.  Now, select from the list of available downloads “download full kit”. (For some, that is all that is offered, others you can download just one sheet of paper or one element page.  For now, let’s do packages.  THINK:  even if you can’t use, say, “football”, you CAN still use the colored papers and delete/crop off elements you don’t want on the page.  Take it, it’s free!  You’ll use it if the colors match a pic you have!  (And you can change the color of paper in your editing software…so if it’s pink…you can turn it blue, right?)  Take it!

6.  Choose “Save” when the download menu comes up. 

Now….  STOP. 

Before you continue: this is key to saving you time:  Before you select a place to put them, select “browse” from the download menu. 

Navigate your way down to  “My Pictures” on your computer.  If you can’t find “My Pictures”, do a search to locate it.  (If you have trouble, let me know).

Once at My Pictures,  click the little button that allows you to “create a new file folder”. 

Name that file “1 My Digi Scrapbook Downloads” (right click:  rename).  (It is very helpful to leave the “1” at the beginning of the file name…the reasoning will be clear later, but it just keeps the file at the top of our file list instead of having to scroll down to the Ms to find it…you’ll be using it a lot and don’t want to look through a zillion “M” files to find it).

Now, open the your newly created file by double clicking it. 

Click “okay” or “save here” or whatever you need to do to start the download.  Again, your newly created file needs to be open (double click on 1 My Digig Scr…).  HOWEVER, if you accidentally put the file somewhere else to be downloaded…don’t delete it or start over…we can move it later by cutting and pasting the file into “My Pictures”.  This just avoids that step of finding the file and moving it.

7. Download has begun.  Questions:  Time for Downloads? I downloaded 4-5 kits overnight and it took about 3 hours at a LiteSpeed Connection…much faster than 56K.  At 56K, only do one at a time.  Now, to minimize time of download, close anything running heavy in the background that may be taking up your computers “RAM”, screensavers with pics that cycle, email with virus protection [close email].  (I will check email, but just close it when done…don’t let it run in the background if you aren’t using it.)  Kids games running the background minimized need to be turned off as well until you are don’t with “Mommy’s project”.  Or, download them as I did…overnight. 

8.  Also of note:  You CAN select several kits to download at a time with faster speeds, but stop at 4-5.  They will all download a bit slower, but will all be downloading in the background of whatever you are doing.  My recommendation is overnight downloads.  Pick a bunch before you go to bed.  During the day, you can still work on your computer, but it will really slow down system processes.  (Note that anything using heavy graphics will slow down the system considerably for other tasks.  I have trouble using iTunes with all my PSE stuff and email open.  Save often if you multitask) 

That should get you downloading some really nice stuff!  If you have trouble, let me know!

Next, will be a lesson on “unzipping” and “unpacking” the folders for ease of use.  You are well on your way to digital scrapbooking!



Now, this is one of those things you’ll thank me for later.  Ask questions later…for now.

Once you download the file, it will look like it’s zipped up with a zipper.  Hopefully, it is located in “My Pictures” in a file you have named “1 Digi Scrapbooking Downloads”.   If not, create that file, and move all your scrapping packages to it, even while zipped.  Now, you have all your tools together where you can find them easier and compare them once unzipped.  This will give us a color pallette and tools all together where we can manage and see them.

1-screen-shot-1.JPG:  as you can see, there are some files we can “see”, some that are “zipped” and some that we see “vanilla file folder”, but we can’t tell what is in them without “clicking in”.  We want all visible pics to see. 


First, let’s get these babies unzipped. 

You should have on your computing what is called an “extraction tool”…it’s not as scary as the dentist, so shake that off. 

It’s just that the file is “zipped” to make it smaller for you to download.  Now…you have to “blow it back up” to use it. 

First, just go “RIGHT Click” on the file (yes, RIGHT click if you aren’t used to using that).  If you see something that says, “Extract All”…you are in great shape.  Just click it! 

You’ll see an extraction tool menu come up that will guide you–follow the instructions.  

Now, if you do not, you need to go here to download WinZip extractio ntool for free.  Then, you may possible need to restart your computer, reload this page (or print it out for instructions first), open the file back up, and use it.   

So, we are all together now?  So, we all have a new file, not zipped in the directory?  Great!  You may have chosen to see all the contents of that files already after it had been unzipped.  (You have that choice to select during the winzip operation).  If you are inside those files there, go ahead and view your pretty new contents– you just can’t wait to use. 

Don’t use them yet!  First, I want you to do something for me.  You owe me at this point.  As you are explorying the files… in every file, I want you to select all the contents, ‘cut’ them (edit menu in the toolbar), and paste them (edit menu) on the “front page file folder” so that when you click into the file…you see lots of pretty papers and embellishments, not groups of five file folders named “papers”  “embellishements” “brushes”, etc.  (The designers do that to try to help us out, but it’s really annoying in Windows because we lose the benfit of preview.  We WANT and NEED preview.)  This is how to restore that fine feature your computer likely provides you. 

Wait, first, if you do not see anything pretty in your file, try going up to the file options and clicking “thumbnails”.  Here is where to find that…see the little square box with the drop down menu hanging from it?  That’s where you select “thumbnail”.  Sometimes you have to select this multiple times…it often doesn’t “hold” it’s setting.



Now…now when you go to “1 Digi Scrapbook Download” you should see some files with pretty paper embedded on the outside of them.  Nice.

Alright…stand up and stretch.  Go check email.  Take a rest.  You’ve worked hard.

But, before you go, Two more things:  Before you close up shop, you should DELETE all the “still zipped” copies of the files that you just extracted.  Those are simply double copies of what you now have…unzipped.  These are large files–you don’t need two copies.  Click on them, right click, select DELETE.  Answer, “yes, delete this file.”  You can quickly see what color pallettes may work with your project, and there are no unidentifiable manilla envelopes taking up screen space…you will accummulated a massive number of files, so management is key!  Nothing like a clean “digi-computer scrap room”! 

Finally, before leaving each file set, I like to “rename” the file set.  You may notice the designer gave it a random number and their own name.  That doesn’t tell me much, and I can find that info in the TOU file anyway (which we left intact).  So,  I may right click on the file, and choose “RENAME”.  I see the cursor blink in the file name box…delete their name and call it “Green Yellow Blue Duck”  if that is the color and theme.  Or I may say “Red Blue Grunge Brush”.  (Note:  To keep copyrights clear, it is best to KEEP all elements together in one file that “came together” so that if you ever publish something from the group, you can easily give credit to the proper author, even though they were “free”.) 

Keep in mind that you can always use that colored red peice of paper, even though you are not doing a “Birthday set” the paper came in, just like regular scrapbooking, yet if you want to find birthday elements, the file name helps you know there are some specialty things there, so “Red Green Blue Birthday” will help you “sort” things quite a bit!

So…here is the goal of what we want  your windows file screen to look like:  (you can see all the papers, colors, and elements you have installed.  I cleaned house today just for you!  Be honored by that!  So, no blank manilla files staring at us…just pretty papers beggint o be used!)  Just like paper scrapping, we are much more likely to use what we have readily accessible!  Hope this helped you do just that!


~”Maggie” has used Creative Keepsakes Designer software for a year and has recently also begun to use PSE.  In an active family of 5, scrapping keeps her celebrating!  Check back at for links to free digital papers.  As she finds links, she shares them.  Her goal this year is to learn to create some of her own templates using PSE. 

Let me know if this was helpful, or how I can answer questions.  Best Wishes!



Entry filed under: Daily Magnanimity, Digital Scrapbooking. Tags: .

Sunday Review PSE Christmas Layout Ideas

14 Comments Add your own

  • 1. paojava  |  January 15, 2007 at 11:31 am

    you are so cute!

  • 2. Karla~Looking Towards Heaven  |  January 15, 2007 at 5:36 pm

    I’ve got a lot of resources on this too…

    the funny thing is that NOW I am thinking of trying paper scrapping…I had never done either until this past summer… I have LOTS of scrapping supplies but have never used them. I got me an HP Photosmart printer for Christmas and now I’m ready to give it a whirl…


  • 3. paojava  |  January 16, 2007 at 5:10 pm

    Hey–I linked this post to my recent blog entry–and hopefully my sister will notice I mentioned her–LOL.

    Thanks for all the hard work researching!

    Also–I finally put up another template for you. I have noticed that all my digi pages look very “traditional.” For some reason, I can never get the fades to look the way I envision them. Hmmmmmm. I guess I need to play more…

    My “research” was by way of trial and error! You are welcome! Hope to save a few people some time I spent figuring it all out! I can’t wait to get another of your sharp templates! ~Mags

  • 4. Karen  |  January 17, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    That’s a nice clear tutorial Maggie. It’s bound to be of enormous help to newbies to digi-scrapping. Well done.

  • 5. Digital Scrapbooker  |  December 10, 2007 at 12:48 am

    Thanks for such comprehensive information. Very helpful

  • 6. Stacey  |  December 11, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    Thank you so much! This is great stuff.

  • 7. Judy Ryan  |  January 31, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    Maggie thank you for your great tutorial. For sometime I have been collecting downloads, but didn’t know what to do next. My next step is to find a scrapbooking program that is simple to understand. Thanks again for your helpful information.

  • 8. maggie  |  March 19, 2008 at 10:37 pm

    Great tutorials, there are several free kits here
    Have a great day!

  • 9. Beth  |  May 3, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    Just a brief note to say ” Thank You”.
    I came here (via a Google search) very focused on the task of finding a few bits of beginner’s scrap-booking info I could share with some of my students and customers (I own a small computer store and get lots of “computer related how do I do this…?” questions) and what I found instead was a blessing.

    Your helpful and practical tutorial post impressed me to the point that I simply had to find out a bit more about the author. I have spent the last hour just meandering through your blog and gleaning quiet wisdom and encouragement from what you have shared. To put it mildly …I am “undone”. God’s love, and patient tender mercy, has flowed through your words to a very weary heart this morning. I’ve come away refreshed, inspired and encouraged.

    Thank you for reminding me of the difference one person can make in another’s day.

    Warmest regards,
    in Western Australia

  • 10. Kim  |  June 3, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    OMG, thank you so very much! I got into paper scrapbooking long ago but got really intimidated by the digital. (Even though I use Photoshop regularly) I had no idea it could be so cute. Thanks for sharing the “shabbyprincess” link. I am going to have so much fun with this. My daughter is traveling this summer and I can hardly wait to journal her journey.

    You are all that!!!

  • 11. Kim  |  June 3, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    oops, wrong email….just fixed that

  • 12. grethen  |  July 7, 2008 at 8:04 am

    well done and useful content 🙂

  • 13. free embellishments for digital scrapbook pages  |  July 8, 2008 at 2:35 am

    […] free digital ???Papers??? and Embellishments: A How To). This is a little out of the ordinary ……Read “??? ???????? (Corel) ?????????? Corel MediaOne Plus v2.0 Multilingual” at […]

  • 14. Debbie  |  July 13, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    Can you please e-mail me – I am having a hard time unzipping – I’m very frustrated as I am not a dummy but have been working on this project for days! I’m not to give up – just need a helping hand! Thanks

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Sifting the joy from the mundane:

recording, photographing, learning, creating.

I am married to the love of my life, as we raise three children, learning the ways of grace.


Magnanimity (derived from the Latin roots magn- great, and anima, soul) is the virtue of being great of mind and heart. It encompasses, usually, a refusal to be petty, a willingness to face danger, and actions for noble purposes. Its antithesis is pusillanimity. Both terms were coined by Aristotle, who called magnanimity "the crowning virtue."

Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary of the American Language defines Magnanimity as such:

MAGNANIM'ITY, n. [L. magnanimitas; magnus, great, and animus, mind.] Greatness of mind; that elevation or dignity of soul, which encounters danger and trouble with tranquillity and firmness, which raises the possessor above revenge, and makes him delight in acts of benevolence, which makes him disdain injustice and meanness, and prompts him to sacrifice personal ease, interest and safety for the accomplishment of useful and noble objects.[1] (Source: Wikipedia)



"We shall not waste our time in looking for extraordinary experiences in our life, but live by pure faith, ever watchful and ready for His coming by doing our day-to-day duties with extraordinary love and devotion." ~Mother Teresa



"Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not come. We have only today. Let us begin." ~Mother Teresa




A kind heart is a fountain of gladness, making everything in it's vicinity freshen into smiles. --Washington Irving




When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn. -Harriet Beecher Stowe


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Please know that I am not posting as an expert, but as a fellow traveler. I recommend that you research and double check things on your own before taking any advice or instruction from this site.  Information is given in good faith for the time period in which it was written. I am also an affiliate of the Sure Cuts A Lot software, for Cricut, which means you don't need Cricut cartridges to cut any font or .jpg on your computer.  I get some pocket change for introducing you if you choose to buy it by clicking on my site.  And we all know I need more cardstock, so I do appreciate it.  I sometimes review other products for a fee, but I am not required to give a positive review, and post honestly as to my experience.  I hope you find this useful.

Sidebar photographs by Maggie except "clay mugs". Others, stockxchng (by permission) unless noted.

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