I just love changing out my desktop background each month with seasonal photos and products. I’ve learned that using a digital template helps me create the background quicker and leave enough space for all of my shortcut icons. Follow along as I show you how to easily create a new desktop background!
Open your desired template file, photo files, paper and embellishments in your photo editing software. I’m using Adobe Photoshop Elements 6.0 on a PC for this tutorial. My supplies include: Tiffany Tillman’s Scrappable Template #27, Kate Teague’s Life in March Paper and Elements, Audrey Neal’s Bit O’ Luck and Dotted Dates.
Create your layout just as you would any other page, using the template. Add your papers and photos to the template, with each photo or paper above the corresponding clipping mask layer in the Layers Palette. Clip your photos and papers to the shapes by selecting Layer>Group With Previous, or shortcut CTRL+G.
Once you have your papers and photos arranged, add a title, elements and journaling (if desired). I generally don’t journal on my desktop layouts since I want it fairly uncluttered with room for icons, so I simply hide the journaling layer. For my title, I typed the word “lucky” in several different fonts and sizes and then overlapped them until I liked the positioning. I then changed the opacity of some of the layers to make the individual words in the grouping not compete or look too cluttered.
Add any additional embellishments or date elements to finish off the layout. Once you are satisfied, flatten the layout by clicking Layer>Flatten Image.Now you’ll want to determine the size of your desktop. Some computers may vary, but this can generally be found by right-clicking on your desktop and selecting Properties>Settings or Personalize>Display Settings (if using Vista). Make note of the screen resolution. The most common sizes are 800×600, 1024×768, 1280×800 or 1680×1024. My desktop is 1280×800.
Return to your photo editing software and create a new blank file with the width and height corresponding to your desktop size, at 300 dpi.
Then, resize the layout you just created to be the same height as your desktop, in my case 800×800. Drag your layout to your blank desktop file. I moved mine a little off center to the right since most of my icons are on the left side of my desktop.
Add additional paper underneath your layout by first resizing the paper to the same height then dragging it to your project.
Add any extra paper or elements to decorate the background, keeping in mind where your icons will overlap. Flatten the image and save your file as a .jpg.
To add your new file as your desktop background, right-click on your desktop and once again select Properties>Background or Desktop, or Personalize>Desktop Background (if using Vista). Click Browse and navigate to your saved file, select and click OK. Select how you want the image to appear (centered, tiled, stretched). If you used the correct settings, centered would be the ideal choice. Even if you email the image to family members or your work computer and those other computers have different screen sizes, centering the image works well.
That’s it! Your new image should be installed as your desktop wallpaper for you to enjoy all month!
Templates make creating a new image each month a quick and easy process to keep up with a year full of new backgrounds. I hope you’ll share your completed desktops in our gallery!