Bookmarks As Unique As You
Racks and racks of bookmarks ranging from funny to
inspirational are available in most bookstores. But for a truly
unique bookmark, make your own from a treasured digital
This idea came from my wife, who wanted to give something
meaningful to the ladies in her group she met with regularly. She
and her friends love reading books, so the bookmark idea sprung
in her mind. After a few minutes of searching our digital photo
database, we found the perfect image from a rare Valentine's Day
snowfall in Dallas.
Tools you will need
If you have a digital camera then you are half way there to
having all the tools you need to create your very own bookmarks.
The other half is a digital photo editing software such as Adobe
Photoshop Elements 3.0.
More specifically, here are the tools you need, some of them
- Digital photo from which to create the bookmark. This image
could be from a digital camera or scanned in from a traditional
- Digital photo editing software. This is required to trim
(crop) a narrow strip from your original photo to make the
- If you have a photo printer capable of printing on 4" x
6" photo paper, then you can print the bookmarks at home.
Use the thickest photo paper you can find for a sturdy
- If you do not have a photo printer, you can prepare the
bookmark image using the same steps and have it developed at a
- Paper cutter. The final photo will contain two bookmarks,
so you need a way to cut it in half. We found that an
inexpensive plastic paper cutter made for scrapbook enthusiasts
works well for this task.
Selecting the image
This step is completely up to your own taste. Select a photo
and perform any necessary editing to your satisfaction. My wife
selected the photo below and requested that I add a Bible verse
See photos here.
In the original picture she was walking our dog, which I
removed with the "stamp" feature in PhotoShop Elements. I also
converted the photo to black and white. Your photo may be fine as
is, so don't feel like you have to do any modifications.
Preparing the image
Now for the trickiest part of the procedure. Don't be
intimidated-it only seems tricky the first time.
The goal is to select a narrow portion of the original image
so that two will fit on a single 4" x 6" print, including
borders. Ours looked like this:
See photos here.
I will give you the general steps and you can apply them to
your specific photo editing software.
OK, so there is a little bit of math involved. If that
completely turns you off, you may still achieve good results
eyeballing your project, but the numbers below will give you an
- Create a new blank image (or canvas) in the
proportions of a 4" x 6" vertical print.
For example, if you intend to print at 300 ppi (pixels per
inch), then the dimensions of the new image needs to be 1200 x
1800 pixels. I arrived at these number by multiplying 4" by 300
and 6" by 300.
- Divide the total number of pixels in the width of
the image by two.
Using my numbers above, that would give us 600 pixels.
- Determine the number of pixels you need for the
Be sure to leave a generous border to mask slight
imperfections in your final cut. We used 30 pixels all
- Double the border pixels because you will have
borders on the left and the right side.
This gives us a total of 60 pixels for the borders for one of
- Now subtract the border from the half width to get
the width of the actual bookmark image.
In my case that leaves 600 - 60 = 540 pixels.
- Then subtract the border from the total height of
The same math for the height gives us 1800 - 60 = 1740
- Now select a section of your original image in the
proportions calculated above.
My bookmark proportions are 540 pixels wide by 1740
- Copy and paste the selection into your new image to
take up the left side, leaving space for the border.
- Paste another copy of the same image on the right
side, again leaving space for borders.
The result is a single 4" x 6" vertical image containing two
bookmarks. For larger bookmarks, you can print on 5" x 7"
photo paper and re-calculate the dimensions using the technique
Print the image
Now that the image has been prepared, you can do one of two
things. If you have your own digital photo printer, just print,
wait for the ink to dry, and cut.
If you do not have a printer, save the image in JPEG format
and take or upload to a photo lab. When you get your order back,
cut it in half and you are done.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Charles Kerekes is an amateur photographer and maintains the
Digital Photo Guide (http://FlyingSamPhoto.com) web site to
help others find fun and unique digital photo finishing products
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