Monday, March 30, 2009

How to make a personal blog header

I first chose a new background theme from and installed it in the layout section of my dashboard. 

I like to create a header that compliments my background, so I need to either imitate common themes and colors or take the actual graphics from the design. On a Mac there is a tool called Grab that lets me take a picture of a selection on my screen. I used that tool to copy a branch, a bird, and the vertical yellow/brown/pink stripe from the background. I'm not sure if PCs do that sort of thing, but before I figured out the Grab option, I just copied colors and general designs. It can be done.

Using Photoshop Elements, I first placed the stripes horizontally on a plain white background.

If you are not asleep already, I promise it gets more interesting. But maybe only if you are a creative nerd like me.

I added a gradient layer to the stripe to blend the pink into the background. I also changed the background color to a slightly pinkish white like the blog background.

Next I placed the branch and the bird. 

Oh, dear. They are on a brown background. That will just never do! Using the "magic wand tool" I was able to select just the background of these pictures and delete it, leaving them free as a bird, you might say. Each item placed on the background becomes its own layer, so the background shows through when the layer above it is erased. Did that make any sense?

I erased the pear and one of the leaves, copying the other leaf and pasting it at an angle. I live for creative license. I shrunk the bird and had the idea to make 5 little birds, kind of depicting the members of our family. I can assure you that the head of the family is not keen on the idea of being a bird, but maybe I'll make him a manly bear or a bull in next month's header.

To make multiple birds, I simply made duplicate layers, adjusting the size and position as I went. With the magic wand tool again, I selected the biggest bird, the manliest one by far. I matched the yellow stripe and then changed his color from pink to yellow with the paint bucket. 

Then it was time for text. I used some fonts I downloaded from They are called Rickles and Handwriting Dakota. I could spend hours browsing fonts. They are really fun and free. I love the way the Rickles font has the same flower theme as the graphics from this background.

There are so many options for adding text. Size, placement, color, and wording has a huge impact on the finished product. I usually like to add a Scripture verse, but it seemed too busy with this theme. Then I felt guilt like when I skip church or accidentally drop a Bible on the floor. I'm so glad my salvation is not measured according to my blog header. To easy my conscience, I added the word "blessed" to my description of Paradise. I do live a very blessed and grace-filled life.

Before I was done, I jazzed up the background by adding a gradient layer (looks like bubbles) over the background. By making the layer into an overlay, it becomes very subtle and lets the background color come through. It just adds a little texture. I consider this creative therapy, so my time is not wasted. And then I was done because I have 14 other things to do today. 

Hope you have fun experimenting and making your own unique blog headers. Or maybe you will just have a nice nap now that I've lulled you to sleep.


Melanie said...

Very cute!

From time to time, my husband sees me reading your blog, and he says "she changed her blog header again?"! I can't believe he remembers!

Anonymous said...

Feeling guilt about skipping the verse cracks me up. I can so relate.
Yes, I'm glad our salvation has nothing to do with our creative quirks! They are God given! :)

Linds and Manda said...

I'm going to get there eventually, really. :) I started on our Mac and haven't been able to get it saved as a JPG. I knew how to do it on the Mac I used for work but ours is older and I don't know how to do it. By the time I figure it out I am going to want to change it again. Oh, to have a brand new desktop Mac at my finger tips right now. If there is something I envy right now, that would be it. :)

Lindsay said...

It is so cute Alysun, but I am sooooo lost. :)